It's that Michigan moment in January when the holiday decorations are finally tucked away and the Christmas tree is snow dusted at the curb awaiting pick up. You gaze out the frostbitten windowpanes at a world covered in ice. The layers of snow are old, showing their variegated hues of white, grey and slushy brown, the trees are spiky and bare. The rush of December has passed, the novelty of winter has worn off. The cold air bites your skin, and the only sign of life is from the call of the birds hoping for a refill of seed. January is a time to cuddle up and hunker down, to renew your body after the gluttony of holiday baking and festivities, and to replenish your soul with quiet stolen minutes spent deep inside your head. It is a time of self-care and nourishment. January is what "comfort food" was meant for. Your efforts turn to the kitchen, to the earthy goodness of oats, nuts, seeds and rich cream, ready to warm your body and comfort your soul as you cultivate the will to forge another day in the frozen north and await the appearance of the verdant and brown earth again.
Steel Cut Oats are my favorite way to start every winter morning. I prepare a large pot of oats every Monday morning and have enough to last me until Saturday if I portion it right. I know there are recipes out there for steel cut oats in a slow cooker, but not being a gadget-y person I have never owned a slow cooker. I prefer my food to retain texture and a bit of crunch, so after about 20-25 minutes on the stovetop, even my oatmeal is al dente. You could cook it longer if you prefer it to be creamier. Sometimes I find I need to add more water or milk during the last 5 minutes. I hope that you enjoy one of my winter survival recipes which I like to eat next to my bird feeder window and with an earl grey tea latte out of one of my favorite ceramic mugs by artist Gwyneth Leech.