Where I live, there are is a choice between precisely two grocery store chains: Shaws and Stop & Shop. Price wars? We've nevah heard of 'em. I've been annoyed lately because steel cut oats are $4.99 for a 24 oz. can. I'd always thought cooked cereals were more economical than ready-to-eat varieties because you pay more for convenience, chemicals, and sugar; however, my research indicates that Quaker Steel Cut Oats are the same price as General Mills Cocoa Puffs, more expensive than Quaker Granola, and way more expensive that Post Grape Nuts, Kelloggs Mini Wheats, and Quaker Cap'n Crunch.
I was, therefore, motivated to try something new when I was in the health food store and saw oat groats in the bulk aisle for $1.79 a pound. Oat groats are the grain after it's been de-hulled and stabilized with heat, but before it's cut or rolled into oatmeal. I was told they could be cooked like oatmeal, so I bought some and gave it a whirl. Gentle Readers, oat groats make delicious oatmeal. It comes out a bit creamier than steel cut oatmeal and it's a little less chewy. Plus, you have control over the sugar content. You can't say that about Cap'n Crunch.
I posted a recipe for crockpot oatmeal before, but here is a variation without apples. It's good for when you are putting it together at bedtime and you realize you don't have apples. It's also good if you're like me and fruit every morning can be hard on your blood sugar.
Crockpot Oatmeal (Variation 2)
1 1/3 cups steel cut oatmeal or oat groats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. brown sugar (or to taste)
pinch of salt
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
Your choice of toppings
1. Coat the inside of 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in slow cooker.
2. Bring milk, water, and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat. (Watch this like a hawk. When you see bubbles forming along the edges, yank it off the burner.)
3. Pour milk mixture into slow cooker. Stir everything together. Cover and cook on LOW 7 hours or until oats are tender. (A couple of extra hours does not hurt it at all.)
4. Ladle oatmeal into bowls. It can be topped with walnuts, raisins, craisins, pecans... whatever you like.