The Best Crockpot Granola

I am not a big, elaborate breakfast person, but I do want to feed my family something healthy!

One of our favorite quick and easy breakfasts is this crockpot granola. I’ve been making it for years. It’s the simplest, best, granola recipe I’ve ever tried. It’s absolutely delicious, takes literally minutes to throw into the crockpot, and makes the house smell WONDERFUL too!

I always double it, making part into bars, which make a great portable snack or quick breakfast-on-the-run. I adapted the original recipe I was given years ago to use coconut oil rather than canola/vegetable oil and added nuts. Any nut will work, I generally use walnuts, but have used both pecans and almonds as well. I like to add chocolate chips when I make it into bars.

My kids love to eat this just like regular cold breakfast cereal in a bowl with milk. It’s definitely a staple in our house…you couldn’t ask for a simpler to make, more versatile or delicious recipe.

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot and cook on low for 5 hours or until brown, stirring occasionally. Make sure you keep the cover on the crockpot slightly cracked. The more frequently you stir, the finer the consistency. If you prefer clumpier granola, stir less.
Add raisins, dried fruits, chocolate chips…whatever you desire. This is delicious as a hot or cold cereal, as a snack, a topping for yogurt, or made into granola bars.
To make into bars: combine 2 cups granola w/2 beaten eggs, put in a lightly greased cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cut into bars and cool.
This keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator, and I bet it would freeze well too, but ours never lasts long enough for me to find out!

Soaked Chocolate Pomegranate Chia Breakfast Pudding

This recipe is a cross between soaked overnight oats and chia pudding! It is quick and easy to make up, and most of the time required is in the soaking process. It keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, so it would be great for a road trip! A great contrast with tart pomegranate seeds, crunchy cacao nibs, and the mild sweetness of the “pudding”.

Stir together oats and yogurt in a glass or jar, cover, and let sit in a warm place 18-24 hours.
Add milk, cocoa powder, salt, sweetener and pomegranates, mixing well. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight (you could eat immediately, but I like the consistency after letting the chia seeds sit for 12 hours.) The next morning, stir in cacao nibs, drizzle with milk or cream, and enjoy!
Note: Cacao nibs tend to get soggy, so make sure to add them right before eating. For a truly decadent treat, feel free to add a bit of mini organic chocolate chips!

Cranberry Almond Quinoa Salad

Okay how happy are the quinoa farmers these days? Quinoa and chia seeds are all the rage in health food lately. We’ve been on board for a while. We’ll often serve quinoa like rice or as a pilaf for a side at dinner. We all love it, even though it’s a really intimidating word to say out loud. It’s pronounced keen-wah. I didn’t try it for a couple of years just because I didn’t know how to say it. No I’m not insecure at all, why do you ask?
It’s so popular, because unlike other grains, it provides a complete protein. It’s the same reason rice PLUS the beans are a full meal vs just rice by itself. And for the anti-grain people, it’s actually not a grain! It’s a seed! Huzzah!
My very favorite favorite dish featuring quinoa is this salad. I adapted it from one I saw on mrshardingcooks.blogspot.com. It’s so delish, you won’t believe it. I eat it for days straight… And it’s versatile, so you can switch it up however you like. But trust me when I say: this combo is a winner. I hope you enjoy!!

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir in the quinoa and craisins. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa is fluffy and liquid is absorbed.
While quinoa is cooking, toast almonds either in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes or on stove-top.
Toss cooked quinoa with nuts, chopped onion, and any other desired ingredients (chopped broccoli, red peppers, snap peas, celery, grapes, etc).
Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting amounts to desired taste. Pour over salad and stir. Add in feta and nuts.
This can be served warm, which is delicious, or chilled and served cold. If serving later, it’s best to mix in the chopped nuts right before serving. They do keep in the fridge for several days, but they’re best mixed in right before serving.

Simple Soaked Rice

Whether you do it for the nutritional reasons of reducing phytic acid — or because you’re excited to finally make rice that DOESN’T stick to the bottom of your pot! — this basic method for preparing rice is a staple for any kitchen.

In a glass or stainless steel bowl, combine rice and water.
Set aside for 12-24 hours (longer is better).
Remove rice and rinse in a small-holed colander. Notice that the rice has grown in size.
Cook rice (with fresh water) as you would normally.
NOTE: if using a rice cooker, don’t go by the new “soaked” volume of rice. Base your water on the pre-soaked volume (ie – 4 cups). The rice has retained water and does not need as much this time.
NOTE: If not using a rice cooker, watch your rice carefully. Usually soaked grains will cook faster than their non-soaked counterparts.
Optional: Reserve your soaking water for the next time you soak rice. Some believe it will aid in soaking your rice more effectively. Store in a jar in the fridge. Don’t forget to label it! Simply add this soak-water to your fresh soak water for your next batch.

Saoked Oatmeal with Fried Peaches

Quick and easy breakfast that my kids love. Fresh peaches sauteed with cinnamon and rapadura provide a sweet treat. Children of all ages will eat this quickly and quiet often.

Soak oatmeal, water, whey (or lemon juice) over night in a nonreactive bowl.
Place in a medium pot with milk, salt and rapadura and cook until tender (5-7 min.).
In a small cast iron pan, add diced peaches, rapadura, and cinnamon.
Cook until sugar starts to melt, then add water.
Continue cooking until peaches are tender and there is a thick syrup (5-7 min.).
Serve over oatmeal with a pat of cultured butter.

Vata Apple Breakfast Bowl

This is a wonderful breakfast for anyone but especially Ayurvedic Vata types. It is aromatic, nourishing, and comforting…perfect for easing your way into the day.

Heat water over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add apples and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
While the apples are cooking, add remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir occasionally, for an additional 5-10 minutes. The liquid that is not soaked up will form a delicious, flavorful syrup. Serve hot.

Crunchy Honey-Sweetened Buckwheat Kasha

When our family gave up cold cereals for breakfasts, I made several homemade cold cereals to keep in the pantry for those days when no one wanted to cook breakfast. The idea for the crunchy kasha came to me after reading about traditional kasha porridge made from buckwheat. I decided that if people made granola out of oats (essentially crunchy oatmeal), why couldn’t I make a crunchy version of kasha? My children loved it! This recipe is only lightly sweetened.

Place groats into a 1/2 gallon wide mouthed mason jar or other container with a similar capacity.
Rinse the groats well with filtered water and drain. Add the acidifyer (live whey, lemon juice, or ACV). The acidyfier will help in the process to reduce phytic acid in the buckwheat. [url=”http://phyticacid.org”]Read more about phytic acid reduction.[/url] Then, completely fill the jar with filtered water. Cover and allow the buckwheat to soak on the counter for 8 hours.
Rinse the now swollen goats two or three times, or until no longer foamy. Foam is a normal occurrence when soaking buckwheat.
Mix together honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
For raw kasha: Pour honey mixture onto buckwheat and stir gently to evenly distribute. If the honey is too sticky, just go back and stir the buckwheat after an hour or so after it’s been in the dehydrator. Pour buckwheat onto dehydrator trays and dry at 150 to 170 degrees for 12-24 hours or until completely dry and crunchy. I tend to stir it a couple of times during the drying period.
For a toasted kasha: Pour honey mixture onto buckwheat and stir gently to distribute. Pour buckwheat onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 250-300 stirring 3 or 4 times until buckwheat is completely dry and crunchy and lightly golden in color, about 2-3 hours.
Store in a mason jar in the pantry.
Serve topped with raw milk and favorite mix-ins like fresh or dried fruit, crispy nuts or seeds or shredded coconut. It also makes a great crunchy yogurt topping.
and dehydrate at 150 degrees

Soaked Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cake

A great peanut flavor, slightly sweet and a thin crispy crust on top. Great breakfast or snack, warm or cold. If I forget to start the oats soaking 24 hours in advanced, I throw in ¼ cup rye flour or flakes to speed the breakdown of antinutrients. This recipe is yummy with any nut butter, make your own with soaked and dehydrated nuts for super nutrition.

Soak oats with water and whey for 24 hours. Place in fine strainer, rinse well and let drip for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar, butter and peanut butter, mix well. Beat in eggs, salt and vanilla. Carefully thin out with milk, mix in strained oats and pour into a 9 by 13 baking dish, spread evenly and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with bananas, raisins and fresh whipped cream.

Fresh Hominy from Dried Corn Kernels

Made from organically grown heirloom dent or flour corn, fresh hominy is a lovely addition to soups, stews or even eaten with unrefined salt and butter for breakfast! The process described here for preparing the corn is called “nixtamalization” and greatly enhances the nutritional profile of the corn. It does take some time, but is not difficult, and if you make a substantial amount all at once and freeze or can the extra, it will be ready to eat when you are!

The night before: Pour dried corn kernels into a large colander. Rinse thoroughly. Remove any ugly or damaged kernels.
Into a 2-gallon heavy-bottomed pot, pour the rinsed corn, add the lime and cover with filtered water half again as deep as the depth of the corn.
Stir. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Leave this to sit all night.
In the morning, pour the corn into a large stainless colander and rinse thoroughly.
Fill the cooking kettle with lots of cold water and pour in the corn. Work the corn with your hands, rubbing and stirring and rubbing and stirring. The water will become yellow.
Strain through the colander and rinse.
Repeat this process until the water is clear when you work the corn. It will take about 4 changes of water.
Rinse in the colander again and return to the pot. Cover well with filtered water.
Bring to a boil, put on the lid and reduce heat.
Simmer until the hominy is very tender (approximately 3 hours). Check to make sure it remains submerged in water.
Drain. Serve warm with unrefined sea salt and plenty of butter.
Freeze the extra in meal-sized containers, or ~ hominy may be canned. Consult a canning guide for instructions on how to can safely.

Healthy Breakfast Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds

This quick and healthy breakfast can be modified with any fresh or dried fruit that you have on hand. You can also experiment with different seeds and nuts in this dish to give the couscous a different texture. This recipe is a nice alternative to your regular breakfast oatmeal.

Heat the couscous, milk, honey, cinnamon, and cranberries in a pot over medium heat. Stir frequently.
Remove the pot from the heat when all the milk has been absorbed into the couscous.
Place the couscous in bowls and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve warm.
Editor’s Note: Couscous should be soaked overnight or at least 8 hours in warm filtered water (enough to cover) along with an acidic medium such as lemon juice, vinegar or whey (approx 1-2 Tbsp). Soaking grains properly before preparation will allow you to absorb nearly double the minerals and vitamins from grains. Learn more about the importance of soaking grains on the Phytic Acid website. After soaking, simply discard soaking liquid, rinse, and proceed with the recipe as above..

Baked Almond Joy Oatmeal

Keep breakfast interesting by changing things up from time to time. This cake-like baked oatmeal is made with a little chocolate, some almonds and nutritious coconut. We like to serve it with a drizzle of fresh cream to help with the richness.

The day before you want to bake your oatmeal, combine oats, flour, and almonds (if using sourdough soaking option, omit the flour) and water in a medium bowl. Cover and leave on the kitchen counter for at least 12 hours, but longer is best when it comes to oats, up to 24 hours. Use of a heating pad on low under the container is helpful to reduce phytic acid even more.
In the morning, beat coconut oil, sweetener and eggs together until glossy. Add baking powder, sea salt, coconut, cocoa and vanilla and stir until well combined.
Pour mixture over soaked oats and beat until a batter forms and there are no lumps.
Pour batter into 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Serve drizzled with fresh cream and extra shredded coconut on top!

Vanilla Hazelnut Breakfast Rice

A creamy, delicious, widely-adaptable and nutritious breakfast dish.

This recipe is a great base for riffing on your own! While I note organic is preferred for everything, do the best you can, and don’t feel bad about using non-organic products if they are not available or are too expensive in your area. Even with “less whole” substitutions, this is a tasty and nutritious way to start the day (and it’s not a bad snack, either!)
This recipe can easily be made vegan/dairy-free, gluten-free (using rice processed in a GF facility,) and allergen-free by selecting from the substitutes.
Substitutions:
For the maple syrup, you can use 2 Tablespoons honey plus 1 Tablespoon molasses, or 2 Tablespoons agave nectar. I have not tried granulated sweeteners with this recipe, but they should work just fine added in place of the syrup at the same point.
For the milk, you can use an equal amount of coconut milk, goat or sheep milk, nut milk, or anything your family enjoys. Water is also possible, though the creamy texture will be affected.
For the rice, nearly any grain will work for this recipe, if soaked and pre-cooked.
Toppings:
Chopped nuts, dried fruit, rolled oats (soaked, et cetera as applicable)
Fresh cream (organic, raw preferred)
Additional sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar
Sliced fresh fruit
Grated citrus zest (lemon and orange are both wonderful)
Vanilla bean paste (contains processed sugar, use with discretion)
Method:
My friend Millie at Real Food for Less Money came up with the base for this recipe, and I’m so glad she did!
Heat the rice and milk in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbly.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook to soften the rice, stirring often to help the rice break down a bit (about 5-10 minutes.)
Add the syrup (or subbed sweetener,) salt, and spices.
Stir well to mix and allow to continue cooking.
Break and beat the eggs in a separate small bowl.
Temper the eggs by adding a small spoonful of the rice mixture to the eggs, stirring quickly.
Add another spoonful of the hot rice mixture to the eggs, again stirring quickly and well.
Add the eggs to the rice mixture on the stove, stirring swiftly to prevent clots of eggs forming.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla and hazelnut extracts, stirring well to combine.
Top with your preferred toppings, pulling from the suggestions above or going completely off the chart with something else – so many delicious possibilities with this base!