One of the advantages of writing books with your children as the main characters is that you get the opportunity to memorialize small moments of everyday life. One of the things that I always loved was how little Ethan would say "I want oaka-meal!" meaning oatmeal. So, it was a natural thing to add that as a part of the Towers of Light series.
Light of Mine was reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew recently and it made me smile how many families picked up on that detail and adopted it for their own. So I decided I should share Ethan's Original Oaka-meal. Even this name is a little unique because as a young child he would say "I'll have my original" when we went out to eat, when he really meant his "usual".
Ethan's favorite type of oaka-meal is apples and cinnamon. However, that's a little tricky because he's allergic to the pollen that collects in apple peels. So, if it's going to be apples and cinnamon, we really need to start with applesauce instead of cut apples. I'll also say that if we were going to cook this like the books, we'd need a wood fired oven and spider pot (Dutch oven). But that's for another time. For this recipe we'll stick to a crock pot.
2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
2 Cups Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
4 Cups Water
1 Cup measuring cup
1 Crock pot
1 Cooking dish with a lid that fits comfortably in the crock pot.
Pitcher (with a spout) filled with water
Start by filling your crock pot with about an inch of water from your pitcher.
Add the cooking dish to the crock pot, then pour the 4 cups of water into the cooking dish. This should cause the cooking dish to sink, and you can check the water level around the cooking dish. If it looks like it's close to going over the sides of the dish, then take it out and scoop a little water out.
Add the oatmeal and double check the water level again just to be safe. The main thing with the water bath is that you don't want to suddenly add a significant amount of water as you will end up with runny oaka-meal.
Next add the applesauce, checking the water again.
Then add the cinnamon. When you do this, it will just cover the water in a thin layer. So, you'll want to whisk the whole thing vigorously until it looks like the picture. You'll still have a significant amount of cinnamon on top, but stirring helps make sure the applesauce and steal cut oats cook consistently throughout.
Put the lid on the cooking dish, then the crock pot, and set it on low overnight.
In the morning when you open the crock you should be presented with something like this.
Next, use a serving spoon to stir it up so the top layer of cinnamon gets distributed evenly. Then serve to hungry kids. If the family will be waking up at different times you can put the lids back on and turn the crockpot to warm and it should keep all morning without scorching or drying out.
This recipe is naturally sweetened with the applesauce, but if you want to keep it "the original" oaka-meal you could add a teaspoon of honey to make it sweeter, or if you want to add a little fat you could try a tsp of butter or a tablespoon of heavy cream. Our son Aiden has a milk allergy, so I have a replacement for the cream as a bonus at the end of the article.
If this is more than your family can eat in one sitting, you might consider making quick oaka-meal with the rest of it. Fill a muffin pan with cupcake papers and then spoon in enough oaka-meal to fill the cups.
Make sure the oaka-meal has cooled to room temperature, then put the whole pan in the freezer. Leave the tray in the freezer for at least eight hours to make sure they are really frozen.
Then transfer the oaka-meal cups from the pan to a freezer safe bag and return them to the freezer. Now you've got a quick breakfast for those times you didn't prep the oaka-meal the night before.
To reheat the oaka-meal put the cups in a bowl. 1 cup is a pretty light snack for an adult but might be just right for a young child. Add a tablespoon of water to the bowl to help ensure it doesn't dry out in the microwave.
Put the bowl in the microwave and cover it. Then, run it for 90 seconds. Take the paper off the cups, fork the oatmeal to break up the chunks and spread it more evenly in the bowl. Then, cook it for another 60-90 seconds based on how hot you like it.
1/4 Cup of Almond Milk
1 Scoop of Vanilla bean Pristine Whey Protein Powder
1/4 Measuring spoon
Blender or hand mixer
Blend the almond milk and protein powder together until it has a uniform consistency with no chunks, then pour over the oaka-meal. I suggest that you don't use more than half of this recipe on a single bowl of oaka-meal as the whole thing is likely to make really soupy oaka-meal and the vanilla will overpower the apples and cinnamon flavor.
If you'd like a simple printable version of this recipe, use the form below to subscribe!