I'm not sure what possessed me to do overnight crockpot oats this weekend, but before I knew it, my mind was whirring with the idea for carrot cake oats. Nothing that hasn't been done by others before me, I'm sure, but honestly, this crock full o'nuts (and fruit, oats and carrots) came out SO well that I wondered if it was in fact me who put it together off the top of her head.
It was one of those all-too-rare instances where something you make comes out so incredibly delicious that it's basically shocking. Thus, it would be a crime for me not to share the recipe, especially as we approach colder months which demand ultimate coziness and autumnal aromas. Furthermore, far be it from me to deny a fellow carrot cake-lover the closest thing to the actual cake you'll find this side of the oven. And made completely with whole foods--nothing refined, all naturally sweetened! TOOT! (As in my own horn, not breaking wind, you dirty birdy.)
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
8 medjool dates, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup coconut, shredded & unsweetened
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Coat your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray, then dump everything in it! Like so:
Attractive, no? Wait, it gets better.
Cook on low for 8 hours (use more water if you're gonna let it go longer--otherwise I recommend shutting the cooker off after 8 hours for sure).
You will sleep with visions of cinnamon swirls dancing in your head and wake up to this:
Even more attractive, no? Stay with me--it really does get way better.
Once you've turned off the crockpot, extract any burnt, crusty bits from the edges.
Bust out your trusty immersion blender and whip the oats into submission (or at least until any larger carrot and/or date chunks are broken up and distributed. You can skip this step if you don't have a blender (immersion-style or otherwise), but in that case I recommend that you chop the dates quite small and perhaps grate the carrot. This is oatmeal, not beef stew.
Spoon into four bowls (or two Diana-sized troughs) and top with "icing": stir 1 tsp pure maple syrup into 1/4 cup plain yogurt (or kefir, in this case...and non-dairy/vegan subs are welcome, as always). Drizzle over each serving. Top with chopped walnuts, raw almond butter or other nuttiness of your choice.
I tell you, my eyes practically crossed with joy when I tasted this (because one tends to go crosseyed when overjoyed, naturally). Not in my wildest dreams did I expect it to come out so well. Thanks be to Bob I have a couple servings (or just one, if I'm honest) leftover, waiting in the freezer for next weekend's breakfast treat time.
I don't think the pictures do it justice, so you'll have to take my word for it. But have I led you astray yet? ...Don't answer that.
And perhaps oatmeal's not your thing (though I can't imagine why), let alone the kind you cook overnight. For the weirdos' benefit, I did have one other rather pleasant breakfast concoction this weekend. It was fairly random, so I shall just call it Swamp Cereal. You'll see why.
It's a face only a (health-foodie) mother could love. Nontheless:
2 cups puffed kamut
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp-ish chocolate Amazing Grass Superfood (whatever amount was left in the bottom of my canister)
1 cup plain, lowfat kefir (yogurt would work too)
1/2 packet stevia
3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
unsweetened, shredded coconut for topping (optional)
Stir everything together in a bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge until all liquid is absorbed (a half hour should do it, though I let mine congeal overnight).
Topped with a little coconut for aesthetics, this tasted a whole lot better than it looked (which is like swamp poop...whatever that is).
I can't lie, as much as I feel my best when I eat vegan, I do love kefir. Since it's a cultured milk product, though, it doesn't bother my belly at all, and the occasional probiotic ain't exactly gonna kill me. And it was on sale SO cheap last week! (The truth comes out...)
Along with my breakfasts of pleasure and glory this weekend, I enjoyed several side shakes the likes of which I'm such a fan these days. Someone upstairs obviously heard me profess my undying love for the java because Molly at POMx Iced Coffee generously sent me some samples recently. I decided they would be the liquid stars of this week's smoothies.
A few informational nuggets about the bottled coffees, if you please:
All natural: Good for you, good for the planet
POMx - a potent antioxidant rich extract from POM Wonderful pomegranates
Contains a daily dose (650mg) of polyphenol antioxidants from pomegranates (more potent than those found in red wine, green tea, grape and acai extracts)
High caffeine content for extreme energy boost (175mg per bottle)
I made both my sample shakes with a bottle of POMx Iced coffee (minus a few sips off the top), 1/2 cup juicer pulp and about 2/3 frozen banana. Each shake came out very sweet and creamy. In fact, the Chocolate flavor was too sweet (did I just write that?) for this particular shake recipe, but the Cafe au Lait flavor worked well. Banoffee green smoothie, anyone?
For straight-up coffee consumption, I'm partial to drinking fresh-brewed coffee that I lighten and sweeten with my hippie combo of agave + hemp milk, but I gotta say, these plump little bottles make for a very decent on-the-go option with a little antioxidant benefit on the side.
For the third shake I made this weekend, I just let my freak flag fly, though, since it was a dessert shake and all. 1 cup kefir + 1 frozen banana + healthy squirt of agave + raw carob powder overload (2-3 tbsp?). Schlurp x infinity.
Maybe I should have called this post "Tribute to Kefir!" I didn't mean for it to be in everything I mentioned tonight, but hey, I love it and it's one of them use-it-or-lose-it fridge items you hear so much about. For what it's worth, it is a capital smoothie ingredient because it's so thick with creaminess, yet thin enough to drink without a spoon. No ice cream necessary.
So there you have it: my sweet tooth hath takeneth over this posteth. Do you ever make oatmeal in a slow cooker? The carrot cake oats experiment was only the second time I tried it, so I'm interested in any favorite ingredient combos!