Placesettings: winter wake-up with steel-cut oats

We woke up to a bright and sunny, if very cold, morning today. After half an hour outdoors with the dog, we warmed up with piping hot bowls of steel-cut oats and strawberries.


I started with a bright tablecloth of daisies in red, yellow, and green. That’s a lot of wow for only three colors!

Then there’s a yellow Lu-Ray plate. Because yellow is a happy color, of course. The really old Sterling China bowl is perfect for oatmeal because the thick hotel china holds the heat.

I like steel cut oats a lot, they’re filling and they warm you right up on a cold morning. But I don’t like standing over the stove stirring them for thirty minutes till they’re cooked. Most mornings I have better things to do to get everyone out the door to work and school.

So I cook oatmeal the lazy way: overnight in a crockpot. Easy!

The crockpot method works like a double boiler. The oats cook very gently for hours over hot water. In the morning, the oats will be perfectly done—no lumps, no burned bits, no sludge stuck to the pot.

Here’s my oatmeal crockpot. It’s a small, inexpensive one that stows easily in a cabinet. I add water to the pot till it’s about two-thirds full.


Then I put the oats bowl in the crockpot. My oats bowl is a newer white rimmed Pyrex bowl that just happens to sit nicely on the rim of the crockpot without touching the bottom of the pot. Add or subtract water in the pot so the water comes up to at least the middle of the bowl. Higher is okay.


Then mix the oats in the oats bowl. I use one cup of oats to three cups of water, to make four servings. Throw in a dash of salt if you like.

Turn the crockpot to low and let it cook for about 8 hours. Less time if you like your oatmeal slightly chewy, more time if you like it soft.


In the morning, give it a stir and serve!

I’ve seen a recipe online that includes adding dried fruit to the uncooked oats. I tried it. It’s okay if you like mushy blobs that used to be raisins, because that’s what you’ll get with an eight-hour soak! We add the fixins’ when we serve the oatmeal.

If you have a large crockpot, I think this method will still work as long as you tightly cover the oats bowl (foil, perhaps?) so they don’t absorb extra water from condensed steam. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!