I’m not selling it.

Disclaimer: this post may bore you to death. Or it could save your life. It’s hard to say. It’s about the very mundane details of breakfast. So if the mundane details of breakfast are killing you like they were me, then this is for you!


Breakfast is a crazy time in our house, and while we have tried all kinds of different things, we had settled into oatmeal most mornings. While my kids love cereal, it isn’t really a great choice. It makes me think of when I passed out in the bathroom at school, and it is certainly not a cost effective choice when you have a pile of children who can eat. So oatmeal was our game. Old fashioned oats from Costco. And it worked. It was fine. Whatever. Sometimes we burned it while I was doing hair away from the stove. Sometimes we didn’t want to clean out the burned oatmeal pan. I tried a crock pot oatmeal thing but we didn’t like it, as it was super gluey and weird.

But there has been a revolution at my house. Maybe revelation would be a better word for this. Either way, I wish I had found out about this ages ago because it is working so ridiculously well that it almost makes me sick. And I’ll tell you the truth – this surprises me. It isn’t that uncommon for me to try to cook up a scheme that will fix some problem. And it is also not uncommon for the scheme to do nothing of the kind. So when this worked even better than I had hoped and dreamed, well… I’m pretty thrilled.

I happened upon someone on the interwebs casually referring to the porridge setting on a rice cooker, and I said to myself, “Hang on, hang on!” I had a basic 10 cup rice cooker that had been used and abused to within an inch of it’s life, so I thought I should look into this whole scene. I bought myself a new fancy rice cooker – a 10 cup fuzzy logic one from panasonic. This was not a super cheap rice cooker, but it makes great rice (noticeably better than the last cooker), great quinoa, I even pulled off a risotto in it the other night. I am confident that if I ever felt the need to use the cake button it would do what it is supposed to do. But none of these things have endeared it to me quite like the daily breakfast application.

What I do is load it up at night with steel cut oats and other yummy stuff, set the timer, and go to bed. It will soak overnight, but then turn on and cook it in the early morning so that it is ready and just keeping warm when we get up.

Now the reasons this is so brilliant are abundant. First, it only cooks the oats in the amount of time they need to cook (this was my problem with the crock pot method). Second, I bought a 25 lb bag of steel cut oats at Winco for $15. That is 50 breakfasts for all of us – crazy cheap. Even when I add tons of good stuff to it it still probably works out to a dollar a day. Feeding 8 people, that’s pretty great. Then there is the fact that this rice cooker has a battery in it. So it keeps track of the time and remembers the time that I set last time. So after I throw the stuff in, I select the porridge setting and then hit timer and up comes 6:10 like always and I hit start. So it’s not like I am reprogramming the clock every night, which would annoy me immensely.

Then there is the fact that it is totally delicious and actually full of protein. The oats themselves are high in it – about 7 grams per adult serving, almost as much as a glass of milk. But I throw in flax seed and chia seed (both protein rich), as well as a little Β PB2. We put a little salt, vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon in, and then when it is out top with Craisins and nuts if we have them – or my favorite, frozen raspberries pushed into the hot oats with some pecans. I’ll know tomorrow if the honey nut version was a good idea or not.

Guys. I’m telling you. This is solving problems for me I didn’t know I had. Luke summed it up nicely when we were in the kitchen one night and he patted the rice cooker and said, “This thing has paid for itself in the spiritual and emotional benefits alone.”

So now you know. I’ve got new problems to solve, but this one… case closed!


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31 thoughts on “I’m not selling it.

  1. There once was a modest rice cooker,
    Whose owner had e’er overlooked ‘er,
    But a genius from Pinterest
    Re-piqued her interest,
    And the days of glum breakfasts forsook her.

    (Three cheers for rice cookers and steel cut oats!)

  2. Oh, yes! Been using mine for years like this! Although, I do not have the fancy one you do with timer preset. I have to manually set the hours of delay. I had the same problem of burning it, too! We homeschool, so our morning is not a rush out the door, but a rush nonetheless. πŸ™‚ Even if it is not preset I will still throw my oatmeal in there and get little ones dressed and cleaned up etc while breakfast cooks and waits– without burnt pans to clean.

    Also works to cook soaked dry beans on the brown rice setting with same convenience. πŸ˜‰ Glorious!

  3. I’ve looked at all the options to have oatmeal ready in the morning, even a timer on a slow cooker…can’t remember why that didn’t work. So, I would love to have the exact name and model number of your rice cooker…

  4. Awesome, that sounds great! I’ve been doing the crock pot dealy and we like it (though it doesn’t taste at all like oatmeal), but then I’ve got whole groats rather than steel-cut and they really do take that long to cook.

  5. You can also do rolled oats (plus barley and others if you like) mixed with yogurt and frozen berries in the fridge overnight. No cooking, and yummy! It lasts a few days, too, you want yo do a bigger batch.

  6. Awesome. We don’t have quite as many mouths to feed, but the microwave oatmeal method is actually pretty useful too. 1 part oatmeal to 2 parts water and nuke it for 10 minutes (a little more for more than 4 servings, a little less for less). It’s great to put in first thing in the kitchen, then I can prep lunches while it zaps away!

  7. Morning, Rachel! Is it possible you could give us a link to the particular model you purchased? (For those of us who might like to duplicate your breakfast success!!) Many thanks, Ali.

  8. For those without a rice cooker, look at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe website and search slow-cooked oatmeal. Mel has discovered that the steel cut oats can be boiled a very short while at night in a large pot, removed from the burner, then covered all night and reheated in the morning with a quick boil. I tried it and was quite pleased, although I might use a tad less water next time.We aren’t oatmeal lovers, but I’ve found that a light sprinkle of purchased granola on the top of each person’s bowl does the trick in a hurry. I don’t know Mel personally, but she has some fantastic recipes.

  9. I’ve realized that oatmeal is the way to go and I’ve even taught myself to not hate it. I just had my 5th baby yesterday… I Need One Of These.

  10. Whoopsies. The comments hadn’t loaded up properly before I asked my question. Glad to have the model number. Thanks, Ali.

  11. Woah…pretty sure I’m going to buy one of these now! You’re a great saleswoman! Any ideas for shoe storage?

  12. i’m still patiently waiting to hear about your ‘no-dressers’ solution. pretty please? and post photos? πŸ™‚

  13. Today is my third child’s first birthday, and I gave up making breakfast whe he was born. I make a 9×13 of baked oatmeal, or some made-up egg casserole with leftover potatoes and veggies and cheese (whatever we have that makes sense!), and that is out breakfast staple for the week. We actually like the steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot overnight, with fun toppings like you mention. But since we homeschool and are all home for lunch, you can also use either of the “pan” breakfasts for lunch, too. Or, have a more elaborate meal of breakfast foods for last-minute suppers! I know how you feel, this thrilled me to my toes when I realized it worked and I only have five people at my house for breakfast!!!

  14. @ Amber–she did post on the laundry thing a while ago. It’s under “My Laundry Stresstimony.” I was eagerly awaiting that post too! πŸ™‚

  15. Do you put the oats in with just water? Just curious if you use milk and/or cream too.
    I’m excited to give this idea a try soon!!

  16. I am filing this one. I really do love steel cut oats with walnuts, craisins, and cream. Or even better; diced green apples, craisins, white raisins, and cream. Who knew that even mush could be redeemed? Right now though, I’m on a new tactic where I actually cook outrageous breakfasts. Because I like eating them and I can. We do homemade hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy, smoothies, scones, buttermilk pancakes, breakfast burritos, a whole menagerie of baked eggs, and breakfast pizzas.


    The catch? I don’t make lunch. We can go through 5 dozen eggs in one week. What more do they need? At lunch time I say, “You’re fine. Here, have a cracker.” Or a peanut butter sandwich or something. Since we homeschool I’m stilling racing the clock at noon. It’s so much easier to slice some cheese, throw up my hands, and holler, “Done!” Morning, on the other hand, is one of the few peaceful times and I can slot a half hour just for cooking. Since we eat dinner early, 5:30 or even earlier during soccer season, it’s not long to the homestretch after our so-called “lunch.” So far it has been working great. If my husband were ever able to work from home I would really like switch to the two meal a day model. Which revolves around a hearty, farmer’s breakfast. And frankly, breakfast is too much fun not to eat. It will be the economy thing that eventually gets me. But not yet!

  17. Just beware of steel cut oats going rancid! I always thought I didn’t like them. In fact, I do. It’s just that the first couple times I tried them they were rancid. Ewwww

  18. Great idea! We have breakfast angst here, but it’s not nearly as bad as lunch. I only have my littlest two home with me at lunch time, but it still sneaks up on me every day, and I’m just like, “Food? Again? Really?” And often the only thing they seem to want is crackers.

    I’m trying a new solution this week, which was making a big batch of five-minute artisan bread dough over the weekend, and then baking up a loaf for lunch every day, and serving it with fruit and cheese. It does require a little bit of forethought–I have to remember to take the dough out of the fridge to rise for forty minutes and to preheat the oven–but it’s not too bad, and the big upside has been that, if bread will go well with dinner, I can bake an extra loaf right then and get some dinner prep done. I think I’m going to have to experiment with some different kinds of dough so they don’t get too sick of it.

  19. This sounds great! I’ve always thought of rice cookers as being unnecessary uni-taskers (Alton Brown’s term) for the small amount of rice MY family eats. But this, THIS, makes me think again! For even more inspiration, you might like to find Beth Hensperger’s Rice Cooker book at the library. My family eats a LOT of bread so I’ve enjoyed using a bread machine over the last year and Beth Hensperger’s Bread Machine Book is THE BEST!! πŸ™‚ Congratulations on your breakfast solution. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Rice-Cooker-Cookbook/dp/1558326677

  20. THIS IS SOOOOOO BRILLIANT!!! I was just thinking about this subjects. You have saved me brain work, and that makes you a good friend. Thank you, thank you!! Happy Breakfast!

  21. as a former Jankovic, I will testify to OATMEAL BURNOUT~still can hardly think of the stuff without remembering the year we were too poor to eat anything other than oatmeal for breakfast.

  22. PB2? Peanut Butter too? We are definitely trying this idea and my kids are all dying to know what PB2 is. πŸ™‚

  23. For UK readers- I do the same in my tefal 8 in 1 multicooker- you can’t really get that fuzzy logic one here. 1 cup medium oatmeal to 3 cups water. 2 cups oatmeal feeds our family of 6. Just FYI! Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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