September 14, 2009

Crock of Carrot Cake

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.)

Ingredients
  • 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
Serves 4...maybe.

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:

Ingredients
  • 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
  • Rainforest Alliance Certifed shade-grown Arabica coffee beans
  • rBST growth hormone-free milk, organic cane sugar
  • Fat-free or Low-fat, preservative free
Delivers a "Healthy Buzz" of Energy
  • 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!

19 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

What a heavenly breakfast treat!!

I don't have the patience for slow-cookers, haha ;)

Dori said...

Heaven.

I would never have the patience. But, heaven!

Lizzy said...

sounds heavenly to me! :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Few things...dairy free kefir. Made with coconut milk and coco water on your countertop, I blogged about how to do it last week. Only thing that's nonvegan about it (and you can buy online very easily) is my starter. But if you're ok with trace dairy in the starter, your in biz for 99% vegan kefir.

Next up...your carrot cake oats look off the chain. Carrots and dates in oats, whodda thunk. I dont have a slow cooker, but i do do overnight refrigerator oats in almond milk. I am going to do the same now but add carrots and dates, cook as usual but know that the carrots, dates, spices will kick it up to new levels.

Swamp cereal...lookin really swampalicious and good!

Pom iced coffee..wow, they make everything these days those Pom people!

Lele said...

Those breakfasts both look fabbity fab. I start basically every morning with some kind of massive and messy and mushy bowl of grains (and whatever fun randomness I decide to throw in with 'em). You really can't go wrong.

Diana said...

Wait, slow cookers require patience? I SLEPT while my oats cooked and they were done when I woke up. I don't think anything could be any lazier! Haha...

Averie-

Thanks for the heads-up on your homemade coconut kefir. Will def. check it out. If I'm making homemade almond and hemp milks these days, surely I can handle kefir now!

Devan Geselle. N said...

that looks like pure love on my taste buds!
i have never made oats in a crock pot.. but now, i think I must.

BroccoliHut said...

Ah man! You're making me miss my slow-cooker! I love using it to make oatmeal...the smell alone in the morning is enough to make me fall in love. I especially like making pumpkin pie oats in the slow cooker with walnuts and raisins (there's a recipe on my blog if you're interested!)

Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) said...

Holy cripes those oats look tasty! I need a mini crockpot, my big one is a behemoth!

Mom said...

Carrot cake oats -- atsa my girl!! (I think I need a taste test)

lesley living life said...

Mmmm, I've never slow cooked my oats before but that's a great idea ... yours look great! : )

Gina said...

carrot cake oats?? Awesome!! I love the creativity of that dish, very nice :) And, thanks for letting me know about the POM with coffee! Very cool.

brandi said...

I"ve made oats in a crockpot before, but no carrot cake ones! I need to make these. it sounds amazing!

K from ksgoodeats said...

Oh goodness, that is a crock pot full of love! "Visions of cinnamon swirls" - that would be a wonderful dream :)

Gena said...

I have always wanted a crockpot!

Shannon said...

ok, i'm totally getting in on those oats! looks like a mountain of deliciousness :)

Missy said...

Wow the oats look amazing! If I ever buy a slow cooker one day...I may have to try! Love what you did with the POM coffee too! I need to try Kefir now.

Hayley said...

This sounds incredible! My "slow cooker" seems to cook really quickly, which makes me kind of nervous. A recipe says to cook something on low for 8 hours and after 4 it's usually done. I think I need to go buy me some medijool dates. :)

Jenny said...

serves 4?! pahleaseee by the looks of those oaties I could polish off the entire crock easily.