Happy first day of fall, readers!! Today is officially the autumnal equinox, and thus begins my absolute favorite season of the year.
Though we slowly lose our precious sunlight as the end of Daylight Savings Times approaches in November, the crisp, cool, “just-right” air still makes autumn a comforting time for many. And did you know that without the increasing darkness in the Northern Hemisphere during this time of the year, we wouldn’t be able to witness the beautiful golds, yellows, reds and oranges that are the defining features of fall foliage?!
According to National Geographic, plants can sense the waning daylight and deduce that winter is coming, so they begin to retrieve materials from their leaves before they drop off. Evergreen trees have ways to protect their needles from freezing, but leafy plants do not; therefore, they shed their leaves, typically after the first frost. Beforehand, trees such as the gorgeous Aspen that are characteristic of my beloved Colorado attempt to store up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, much like bears packing in food before they hibernate for the winter. This natural process is what causes the springy green leaves to transform into dazzling displays of autumn color.
Enough of my rambling about changing leaves (although I do enjoy them so!). As many of you may have read last year around this time, I also absolutely adore fall because of the unique and comforting ingredients: pumpkin, apples, cranberries, I love it all! So I wanted to start the season right with a hearty recipe that is sure to keep you warm on the chilly fall days to come: pumpkin oatmeal! Simply throw a handful of ingredients into your slow cooker and let it whip up overnight. In the morning you’ll wake up to a thick, creamy and deliciously flavorful dish to rev you up for the day to come.
Easy-as-Pie Slow Cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal
Adapted from Around My Family Table
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 4 1/2 cups water (you can adjust this depending on if you like thicker or thinner oatmeal)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (about half a can)
- 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Season to taste with brown sugar and top with a few dried cranberries for an extra pop of fall color!