Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Camp Cooking #8: Overnight Oatmeal

Not everyone aspires to be a camp-fire chef.  Not everyone enjoys being on KP after every meal.  For those of you who are looking for something wholesome, quick, and easy to clean up after - look elsewhere.

No, just kidding!
I fall into both of those categories - not wanting to cook and not wanting to clean - I can't tell you how many times we just pack up the dirty dishes and throw them in the back of the truck to wash when we get home.  I'd rather spend my last few moments enjoying the sunrise and fresh air.
With that in mind, I started looking for creative ways to 'cook' the morning's breakfast without having massive amount of dishes left to do (and I know, cereal and milk and plastic ware would solve this, but come on! It's camping!) I use my crockpot a good bit at home, and didn't really want to lug it along camping - but I've found that I love it just as much at the campsite as in my full kitchen at the house.  I've since pulled a few recipes off of Pinterest, and have been working on adapting them for our camping needs.
So, you're gonna need a crockpot. And I'd highly recommend the crockpot liners, too - that's part of the appeal to this breakfast, that you don't have to scrub a bunch of pans - but if you forget the liner - you're gonna be scrubbing till the cows come home.

Gather your ingredients: AT HOME.  Yep, there's a bit of pre-work, but it's another part of what makes this dish so easy at camp:

Dry Ingredients:
1 Heaping cup Steel-Cut Oats
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (or more, if you want a stronger flavor)
1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
1/4 tsp Salt

Combine all of these in a bowl with a lid and give a good shake.

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 cup Apple Cider (or apple juice)
1/2 cup water
3-4 Apples
Combine the liquid ingredients in a jar and shake well.  The apples you'll want to wash but keep whole - they'll get prepped in the next few steps.
You might like to take along a few toppings - we love chopped pecans, fresh cut apples - you might like cream over the top once it's cooked - that's entirely up to you.  I think you'll find, though, the oatmeal itself has plenty of flavor and taste all on its own.
Here's how it'll play out the night before:
Chop (the apples),

 combine (wet +dry),
 stir (everything),
 cover and cook. 

That's it!  Set it on low for about 7 hours and you've got a hearty, healthy ready to eat breakfast without having to do a lot of work in the morning.  You've already done most all of the work at home ahead of time.  And clean up should be a snap!
I've really fallen in love with this one and I'm not normally a big fan of oatmeal.  We've done it several times with just apples, but I'm thinking on the next few trips out I'll branch into other fruits - blackberries, peaches, etc - and see how they hold up to the overnight treatment.

PS - since this has become a staple for us, and I'm all about making the prep work easy... check this out:  a small yogurt contain has become my dry ingredients holder (with a copy of the recipe on the lid)

and my empty peanut butter jar (Remember Camp Pudding? It's the same jar I use for that recipe) for all my liquid ingredients.

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