I have a little confession to make.
Back when I first started trying to eat healthy, I used to be a boring breakfast eater. Instant oatmeal every day of the week. I eventually graduated from sugar-laden packets to plain quick oats with my own add-ins, but the answer to “what’s for breakfast” was always guaranteed to be the same.
Oats (yes, even quick oats) are well and good but have you ever thought about eating other grains for breakfast, like barley? Not just for the sake of changing things up, but for something that will stick to your ribs a little longer because it has even more fiber and protein? I have. But I admit, I’m kind of lazy busy and don’t feel like have time to stand over a stove and stir anything. Barley takes a long time to cook.
Thanks goodness for slow cookers. They make those slow-cooking grains so much easier to tackle. With my slow cooker method for Creamy Carrot Cake Barley, full of tender carrots, warm spices, plump raisins and crunchy walnuts, you can make five servings of breakfast in less (active) time than it takes to stop at the drive-through. And, I promise you’ll be satisfied much longer.
But you know what the best part is? You can have your cake and eat it too, thanks to these powerhouse ingredients:
- Barley has a high concentration of soluble fiber, which means is slows the absorption of glucose in the blood, thus promoting healthy blood sugar levels (and keeping you fuller, longer!)
- Carrots contain high levels of anti-aging beta-carotene and cancer-preventing antioxidants.
- Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Vanilla is the unbelievably creamy beverage with 30 unthinkably low calories per serving that provides the richness of this satisfying, hearty breakfast. Milk lovers, have no fear: it also contains 50% more calcium than a glass of skim milk, and is free of cholesterol and saturated fat. By using Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened in place of skim milk in this recipe, we save 40 calories per serving.
Slow Cooker Creamy Carrot Cake Barley
Yield: 5 servings, about 1 cup each
Satisfying whole-grain breakfast of creamy barley, carrots and almond milk with raisins and spices.
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups finely grated carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup maple syrup
4 cups Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Vanilla
1/3 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
Additional raisins and chopped walnuts
Plain or lightly sweetened Greek yogurt
In a 3- or 4-qt slow cooker, combine all ingredients except for walnuts. Stir well, cover, and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Before serving, stir in walnuts. Divide among serving bowls and add toppings as desired.
Tip: refrigerate extra servings in individual containers and reheat with a splash of milk for a quick breakfast.
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Trans Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 58g
Dietary Fiber: 10g
Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com