I tell ya what, if you’re not a fan of sweet goo for breakfast, then instant oatmeal is not for you. At least, it’s not if you’re not willing to make it yourself. And fair enough, I say, because I can’t bend my head around instant oatmeal, which really is like goo. Real oatmeal is something that I’ve come to love late in life, and that’s only because I discovered the wonder that are steel-cut oats. They’re kind of nutty, chewy in texture, very simple in taste, which means they lend themselves well to additional flavourings.
Plain is fine. Plain is a world of possibilities to engender. And since it just so happens that we’ve entered Pumpkin Spice season (AKA the season formerly known as “Fall”), one of those possibilities is pumpkin oatmeal.
I prefer to call it Pumpkin Porridge because I have this sick fondness for alliteration–mostly it makes others crazy, which gives me glee. Also porridge is a cool word. I think we should call it porridge all the time. It’s way cooler a word than oatmeal, which sounds like something served in an old-folks home. If it was good enough for Goldilocks, it’s good enough for me.
I hope that you’re making your own pumpkin spice, by the way–it’s only four ingredients – five if you want to add cloves. Buying pumpkin spice is like buying pancake mix. Why would you pay a premium for a sub-standard end result to save five lousy minutes? I don’t know. If the reason is simply that you didn’t know such things were possible for mere mortals, well then come visit me and I can teach you how to make both amazing pancakes and your own pumpkin spice.
Mix up a batch, store it in a jar, and you can pumpkin spice all the things, all season long.
But where was I? Oh right–my dislike of sweet goo, given that I’m a savoury kind of gal. And what do you do when you have a family split over breakfast? Well fortunately for you, this bad boy can swing both ways: more sugar, topped with honey, and added fruit like raisins for your friends with a sweet tooth; less sugar, flooded with milk, and topped with seeds and nuts for those who prefer umami.
After all, you can only do tart, apple cinnamon overnight oats so often, am I right?
Pumpkin Porridge with Steel-Cut Oats
In a large bowl that fits into the liner of your slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Set the bowl inside of the slow cooker, and fill the liner with water to halfway up the side of the bowl.
Cover and bake the oatmeal on low overnight, 6-8 hours.
Finish seasoning to taste with additional sugar and pumpkin spice mix, if desired.
Serve topped with pumpkin seeds, milk, honey and fruit.
Cooking the oatmeal in a bowl inside the slow cooker will prevent pumpkin from burning on the sides.
Additional pumpkin spice mix and sugar can be added at the end of baking to taste, so feel free to go easy.
This sweet or savoury treat bakes overnight in a bowl in your crock pot, which not only means you have an awesome easy hot breakfast, but also the bowl protects the pumpkin from scorching while unattended, AND it’s easy clean-up to boot. It’s flexible for the families whose members can’t agree; the seasonings are mild enough that they can be tweaked on the plate to individual tastes, and topped to suit.