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Slow-cooker gives morning oats new life

Associated PressA bowl of oatmeal hits the spot in the morning. (Associated Press)
Associated PressA bowl of oatmeal hits the spot in the morning. (Associated Press)
Donna Erickson

It would be an apt description to call my husband a “musher” even though he has never trained, led or raced a dog team of huskies. Simply put, he likes to wake up on a chilly January morning to a hot pot of coffee and prepare a big, steaming bowl of homemade oatmeal, or what our family has called it for generations – “mush.”

He makes the “mush” by dumping a cup of steel-cut oatmeal we buy for only 25 cents per cup in bulk at our neighborhood store into a cooking pot on the stove. He adds water, raisins and chopped fresh fruit, such as an apple or pear, and then tosses in a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

It’s ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

But his new job – and a new early wake-up call – prompted a happy discovery: slow-cooker oatmeal. Now he tosses the ingredients in our slow cooker the night before and sets it on low, and the healthy “mush” is hot and ready to enjoy the moment he wakes up.

If your family knows and likes their oats, give this easy and super cheap version a try this winter. (Serves four):

You’ll need:

•1 cup steel-cut oats (not quick cooking or instant oats)

•3 cups water

•pinch of salt

•Dried fruit to taste, such as apricots, raisins and cranberries

•1/2 cup chopped fresh fruit such as apple or pear

•Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Here’s the fun:

Let your kids measure and pour ingredients in the slow cooker before they go to bed. Stir, cover and set cooker at low heat.

In the morning, stir and serve. Vary toppings from day to day, such as brown sugar, cinnamon-sugar, honey, nuts or chopped banana. Add milk if you wish.

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