When times get super busy, I find life goes into survival mode – I only do what is required to stop myself from drowning in the sea of life. Dinners with friends seem to stop, fitting in exercise gets harder, my house get messier, and my eating gets very…mundane. The variety of foods in our diet dissipates and we tend to eat the same simple foods that we can prepare with our eyes closed.

How does this happen? During time-crunched phases, the practice of meal planning seems to halt, and as a result, our meals get less organized, which results in our grocery shopping becoming more sporadic, and the foods we do bring in the house become those foods on our minimalist food grocery list. This results in us eating the same foods for breakfast, similar foods for lunches and the same foods for supper. It all becomes a bit of a downward spiral of boring, uninspired eating.

When I notice our family is in this spiral, I look for pockets of unused time to help me re-organize my family’s eating. For me, this unused time is found at my kid’s activities. I pack myself a bag with a few small cookbooks or magazines, a pad of paper and a pen, and while my kids are at practice, I look for new recipe inspiration. It doesn’t take more than a few pictures to help remind me to add in a few simple ingredients to my grocery list. A few recipes for inspiration, combined with a few additional foods on my grocery list helps me crawl out of this spiral into renewed meal-planning motivation.

I created this recipe to help add in something special yet simple to our breakfasts. I combined the flavours in orange-date muffins with simple, less-mess ingredients and the convenience of a slow cooker. What I love about slow-cooker breakfasts is the warm and sweet aroma that greets your nose as you stumble over to the coffee pot, helping super busy times feel a little more manageable and enjoyable.

The Dairy Divas are on Facebook! Visit our Facebook page to stay up to date on dairy, nutrition and more!

Written by a Registered Dietitian.

Slow Cooker Orange Date Breakfast Pudding
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
8 hours
8 servings


1/2 cup (125 ml) orange juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) dried dates
8 cups (2 L) cubed cinnamon raisin bread (~12 sliced)
2 cups (500 ml) homogenized milk (can substitute 2%)
4 eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, melted
3/4 cup (175 ml) brown sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
1 tsp (5 ml) gingerbread spice mix (can substitute cinnamon)
1/2 cup (125 ml) dried canberries
butter (for greasing slow cooker)


  1. Place the orange juice and dried dates in a small sauce pan, heat for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Measure out bread, and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and gingerbread spice/cinnamon. While whisking, slowly add in orange juice and date mixture. Add in cranberries. Pour this mixture over the bread.
  4. Grease the inside of the slow cooker with butter. Then, to the slow cooker, add in bread mixtures. Slow cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Serve in a bowl. Top with vanilla yogurt. Garnish with dried cranberries.