Make this the night before and wake up to the wonderful aroma of this nutritious, delicious, ready-to-eat breakfast. The hearty ingredients make this a healthy power house that will help you beat the hungries all morning.
1-3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy or non-dairy milk)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats (gluten-free, if desired)
1/4 cup maple syrup (may substitute other preferred sweetener)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened,unflavored)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or one apple, peeled, cored, and grated)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, brown sugar, additional milk or butter
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker, using 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 5 hours, or until oats are cooked & softened, but edges haven't browned. (Slow cooker times may vary.) Taste and stir in more pumpkin pie spice, if desired. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.
Alternative slow cooker method for extended cooking time without over-browning the edges: Insert a heat-tolerant bowl inside the slow cooker; coat inside of bowl with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to the bowl; stir to combine. Pour water into the slow cooker on the outside of the bowl so that the water fills approx. halfway up the sides of the bowl. Put the cover on the slow cooker, and cook on low for up to 8 hours.
To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot. (If frozen, microwave longer at half power.)
Recipe may be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.