Slow cooker maple, pear, pecan oatmeal_2

Can you think of any better way to start a cool, autumn morning that a piping hot bowl of maple, pear, pecan oatmeal? It’s fall packed in a bowl.

I mix up the ingredients before I go to bed, so it’s waiting for me in the morning. With a healthy, delicious option like that, who even wants to reach for those donuts? It’s a little trick to resist the morning sweets. Plus, it feels like someone else made breakfast — who doesn’t love that?

Remember when you’re grocery shopping, you must use steel-cut oats for this recipe. Other oats just won’t hold up under the long cook time. Plus, steel-cut oats are way healthier for you than their processed cousins. Also, use real maple syrup. Those syrups for kids are basically corn syrup. With real maple, you’ll get way more flavor without the bad stuff.

Lastly, substitutions are totally fine. I love this flavor combo as-is, but if you want to use walnuts instead of pecans or apples instead of pears, go for it.

SLOW COOKER MAPLE, PEAR, PECAN OATMEAL

6 cups water

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats

3/4 cup maple syrup (plus more for serving)

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2 ripe pears, chopped (plus more for serving)

1 cup pecans

Spray the inside of a 4- to 6-quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the water, oats, syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves. Whisk until combined. Add the pears and stir.

Set slow cooker to high and cook oatmeal 3 to 3 1/2 hours (or cook on low for 6 to 7 hours).

To toast pecans: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pecans in single layer on baking sheet. Toast for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pecans are slightly darker and fragrant. (Keep a careful eye out because they can burn quickly once done.)

Serve hot. Top with toasted pecans, milk, more cinnamon, pears, or more maple syrup, if desired.

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