Bowl of creamy spiced oatmeal

Bowl of creamy spiced oatmeal

By: Jennifer Pallian

When the air gets cooler, breakfast should get warmer, don’t you think?  And what better to warm you up first thing in the morning than a bowl of creamy pumpkin spiced oatmeal?

You probably already know oats are really good for you. Our family includes them on regular rotation not just because they’re warm and comforting and the kids love them, but also because they’re packed with satiating soluble fibre, as well as prebiotics to support digestive health. They also contain a specific type of fibre called beta-glucans, which are known to stimulate the immune system. (In combination with immune-bolstering Bio-K probiotics, we’re going to kick flu-season to the curb.) Oats are good for so many reasons.

But did you know there’s a bit of a nutrition hierarchy within the porridge offerings? Instant oats are partially cooked, rolled flat, and flaked very thinly. The manufacturer did the work, so your body doesn’t have to. (Think of it this way: the more processed the oat, the more easily your body can access the carbohydrate, meaning you’ll experience a more dramatic spike in blood sugar and subsequent crash – not what you want to start a productive day.) At the very opposite end of the spectrum are steel-cut oats, which aren’t steamed or rolled flat like their shelf-mates, but offer the whole oat groat, simply chopped with a steel blade into a few pieces. Quick and old-fashioned large-flake rolled oats sit somewhere in the middle.

Steel-cut oats provide a steadier, prolonged energy source, yes, but anyone who has a job, kids, or an alarm clock would probably agree that a 30-minute cook-time during the morning rush is totally crazy. Enter a magical machine already in your closet – the slow cooker! With October is upon us, I’m sure you’ve already brushed off your low-and-slow electric gadget for easy, comfort-food weeknight dinners, so why not put it on night shift?

Before bed, toss some steel-cut oats in with a pour of water, and you’ll wake up to the creamiest porridge you’ve ever had.  Seriously, I’m talking rice pudding creamy.  You won’t know if it’s breakfast or dessert. Take it one step further with silky pumpkin puree and autumnal spice, and you’ve got a breakfast-dessert (bressert?) so delicious you’ll be bouncing out of bed. Trust me, the smell alone is the equivalent of a bear hug.

Ingredients:

2 cups steel-cut oats

1 14-oz can pure pumpkin

1 medium apple, grated (no need to peel first)

6 cups water

2 cups milk

½ cup raisins

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp kosher salt

Toppings: your choice of maple syrup, brown sugar, toasted nuts, granola and/or dried fruit

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients (except for toppings) in a slow cooker and cook on low power for 7-8 hours (turn on the “keep warm” function if you have it). Give it a really good stir and then serve with toppings as desired.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26511097

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v413/n6851/abs/413036b0.html

 


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