Got off the phone at 5pm today with not a clue what to make for dinner. After three days away – what kind of mum am I? However. I was on the phone for 45 minutes, about as much time as it takes to cook brown rice. Or barley. Or steel cut oats. Or a combination of the three – which I put on as the phone was ringing. (W scooped them into the pot – quantities of each matter not at all, but he did get overexcited about the act of scooping/dumping, so I ended up with quite a large batch.) I had just begun to panic upon realizing that I have stuff booked every single day between now and Christmas, including taking over traffic reports on the Homestretch on December 22, 23 and 24th. That’s right, I have to work on Christmas eve! Until 6! Unheard of! (When they called and asked me to my instict was to say no, but I decided to get over myself and not be such a baby about it, particularly if it means the regular traffic reporter can go home for Christmas. I think I’ll survive.)
Any of you who have been hanging around this place for awhile knows that my blanket solution to any problem is to cook. If I can’t get a handle on my life, at least I’ll feed my family one good meal dammit. Having eaten some form of pastry for the past three mornings (this morning was the last of the bag of French pastries I brought home for Mike, which I then forced him to share. Again, what kind of wife am I?) I decided to make a big batch of something grainy and warm to carry us through breakfasts and snacks for awhile. W will always eat oatmeal, which is a Very Good Thing, but I decided to up the ante a little and cook up a blend of the aforementioned grains, boiled in lots of water then drained, into which I grated a pear and stirred some ground flax and handful of raisins. We drizzled a bit of golden syrup overtop, since it was already out on the counter for my little caramel making spree this afternoon.
Although you could cook the grains in a pot on the stovetop, apparently it’s doable in the slow cooker as well, making this a great make-ahead breakfast. (I would think if you could cook it on high for 2 1/2 hours, it should work on low for about 6 hours.) Most slow cookers will keep food on warm setting once it has finished cooking; otherwise it’s not going to turn funny if it’s finished before you’re finished sleeping. Just turn the slow cooker on again if you need to warm it up; or reheat in the microwave.