Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

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Oatmeal. It’s one of those comfort foods that many people reach for in the morning. But most people grab packets of instant oatmeal and toss it in their microwave. These packets are loaded with sugars, salts, and oats designed to cook quickly. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative that’s just as easy, if not easier, try making oatmeal in your crockpot! Perfect for college students who will come up with any excuse in the universe to not eat breakfast. Also great for moms, dads, and anyone in between!

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This recipe uses steel cut oats. They look much different than traditional rolled oats many people are familiar with. They’re full of those wonderful whole grains that everyone is crazy about these days.

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I use a Hamilton Beach 5-quart slow cooker. It’s one of the more simple crockpot options out there. It only has 4 settings: off, keep warm, low, and high. For this oatmeal, I recommend you use a slow cooker with a “keep warm” setting.

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
dash of salt
1/4 cup agave nectar (optional)
1 tbsp cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and turn it to the “keep warm” setting overnight, or 7-8 hours. Be careful not to cook longer. If you’re planning on sleeping in longer than usual, set a timer for your crockpot or add additional water. Do not use the low setting overnight for your oatmeal. It will overcook it and it will likely burn. If you would rather do it in a short time, cook the same ratios on low for 3-3 1/2 hours. The gentle heat of the lowest setting is enough to have you wake up to warm, thick, delicious oatmeal. And it’s totally customizable!

Makes 4 servings. Can be reheated in the microwave the next day. Add 1 tbsp water and microwave for 1 minute.

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I chose to make my oatmeal with agave nectar and cinnamon. You could choose to not season it with anything except salt. It’s still completely delicious! Brown sugar and cinnamon are good options, but not the only ones out there. You could add fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, and beyond! The options are as endless as your imagination.

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-N

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Easy Homemade Hummus

For those of you who don’t know.. I’ve been vegetarian for about 2 months now. Originally I decided to cut meat basically because most of the unhealthy foods I adore have meat in them. Think cheeseburgers, cheesesteak, fried chicken, taco bell?!!!? They are all so very yummy, but oh so bad for you. So for the past couple of months, I’ve gotten to experiment with a whole new way of eating. Chickpeas are a great option for not only vegetarians, but everyone! Who doesn’t love hummus? It’s an extremely crowd-pleasing item. Not to mention all of the variations possible.

First things first.. I’m sure you’re all sitting there being irresistibly curious as to what I look like while I’m in the kitchen. So I’m going to share something with you that has only been seen by my family’s eyes up until this point…

Image Yes, that’s an apron with flames on it. I was required to make an apron in 8th grade. Obviously I chose a double-sided apron with blue flames on one side, and red on the other. Please hold all comments about being a hot chef until the end of the blog post.

Okay! Time to get going.. here’s what you are going to need to make your hummus.

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Easy Homemade Hummus

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons Tahini (I used unsalted)
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2-2 cups extra virgin olive oil
About a teaspoon of ground red pepper (SPICE!) – optional
Olive oil and paprika for garnish

Combine chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and ground red pepper in your food processor. Start blending the ingredients, while slowly drizzling olive oil into the mixture. It will be thick. Add as much oil to achieve the consistency that you prefer for hummus. Less oil obviously means it will be thicker. For extra creamy hummus, drizzle in a few tablespoons of water at the very end and it will create a creamy cloud of chickpea beauty.

ImageHere’s the chickpeas in action!

ImageI know that a lot of you might not have Tahini, since I’m sure a decent part of my audience is in college. It is a little pricey, but you get a HUGE jar of it. It’s basically ground up sesame seeds. It isn’t exactly delectable on its own, but it’s perfect in hummus!

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If you’d like something besides vegetables to dip into your hummus, consider some homemade pita chips. I used store-bought whole pitas and cut them into small triangles. Preheat your oven to about 375 degrees, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 7-10 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll have the beauties in the picture right below this. So crispy, yet still somewhat soft.

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And as far as garnishing goes, the traditional way of serving hummus in restaurants is sprinkled with paprika and drizzled with oil. So, sticking with tradition.. here’s what my final product looked like.

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Another! Yum yum.Image

So this is my first food post! I know it’s an incredibly simple recipe and the photos/setting of the photos aren’t exactly my best work, but I think that’s completely fine for my first time sharing things with the world. I’m sure things will get easier with time and the more that I do them..

I’ll leave you with a question! What would you like to see next? A DIY craft? More food? If you have a request, leave me a comment! I’m interested to know what people want to see!

-N