Here I am again with another slow cooker breakfast recipe. I am quickly finding that I love waking up to have breakfast done--or at least almost done. And with the weather cooling off, I am finding oatmeal and hot cereal breakfasts to be the most appealing options. There is just nothing better on a cold morning then to dig into a nice bowl of hot cereal.
Of course, then I started looking a little more closely at the options in the bulk section under the heading "oatmeal" or "hot cereal." I found that there are a lot more options than I ever dreamed--blends, mixes, and grains of every kind (and many that I have never heard of before). So I am planning to spend this winter learning a lot about these new options--and of course trying new recipes for them.
For today, I made Honey-Blueberry 8-Grain Hot Cereal that I found on Family Circle (except the mix I bought had 9-grains so I modified the title of this post). In addition to the change in the mixture, I also added brown sugar in at the beginning of the cooking process. When I made my last breakfast-in-the-crock-pot recipe, I kept thinking that it would have benefited from having sweetness baked into the cereal rather than adding it all at the end. However, I learned what I believe is the reason that many breakfast-in-the-crock-pot recipes add the sugar at the end. This recipe baked to the slow-cooker liner so much more than any other I have made--and we were afraid to scrap it off too much because it really looked burnt. We did not want the burnt flavor to spread throughout the meal--and luckily it really did not. But I do not think it accomplished my goal either--I did not think that the hot cereal tasted that much sweeter at the end. I still felt like I needed to add sugar/sweetness at the end as the recipe described. So I do not think I will add sugar to the beginning of a slow cooker recipe again.
Other than that, I followed the ingredients and the instructions pretty closely, but I took advantage of the items I had on hand whenever possible. I used 1% milk instead of skim because that is what I keep on hand. I used a 9-grain hot cereal blend that I bought in the bulk section of my local Sprouts--this option allowed me to only buy what I needed for this recipe which I appreciated since this item was new-to-me. I used frozen blueberries since blueberries were not on sale in my area. I used walnuts on my first bowl--but I have had this breakfast over the last couple of days and decided to also try almonds. I think I personally prefer the almonds--but I tend to prefer them in most applications.
Overall, my family liked this breakfast. The flavor of the 9-grain cereal is quite different from the oatmeal and cream of wheat that we were used too--but not necessarily in a bad way. It was something that we had to get used to. The texture of the cereal on the first day was soft and almost velvety. However, the texture of the cereal does get a little gummy when re-heated the next day so I added a little milk and really mixed it up well. The butter does a lot to the dish--I only used the slightest sliver off my butter and I cut with a sharp knife so I could make it really thin. The enhancement to the cereal was definitely worth the extra calories.
I am not sure if I would make this particular recipe again. I liked it--but I cannot say that I loved it. With so many different recipes out there, I think I would probably try a new recipe for 9-grain hot cereal rather than making this same one again. But I did learn a lot from the experience--and I did get to try a new-to-me ingredient that I will definitely eat again.