Overnight Oats; A Love Story

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I don’t know who “They” are, but I’m almost habitual when it comes to skipping breakfast during the week, because way I’m too busy hitting the snooze button leaving me in a frantic state when it’s actually time to get ready.

The sad truth is, I need more sleep so I wake feeling refreshed and ready to conquer my day because breakfast actually IS the most important meal of the day. It improves your brain function, kick-starts your metabolism, and gives you the actual energy needed to conquer your day.

This still doesn’t help me get to my daily dilemma of there’s never enough time, and I don’t even have kids! (I have plants, which are sometimes just as fussy!)

This was all until I recently was speaking with a friend who was panic-stricken because her daughter had been diagnosed with having a gluten allergy. She sought my help because ‘Everything’ I make is not from a box, but she’s short on time. I told her not to panic, and that eggs or fruit take minutes to prepare. I told her I’d get back to her with a few more ideas.

I empathize with children who have sensitivities to certain foods. While I am not allergic, I’m fascinated by clean eating and do notice that I actually feel better when I’m eating clean foods, and making conscious lifestyle choices.

Her mother told me that she loves oatmeal. Technically, oatmeal isn’t gluten-free, even though it’s not wheat. There’s too much room for cross-contamination as wheat and oats are usually planted side-by-side. Ariannna… points if you get the reference. πŸ˜›

I stumbled across this crazy method of preparing oatmeal that has literally changed my morning routine. Overnight Oats.

It’s exactly what it says. Oats that ‘Cook’ overnight, except they don’t cook. They may break down with some of the fruit juice acids or cultures in the recipes, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

I’m a go-go-go kind of person. Once my day starts, who knows when it will end. The benefit of this recipe is that it’s a sure sign of the end of your day. Which to me, cooking and preparing food is very therapeutic. It’s a way to simmer down the stress of the day, and time to take a little “You” time. Also, I have excess energy at the end of the day. This is probably due to my addiction to cold brewed coffee, but I’m mentally stimulated and have a good idea of what I’m doing which is probably a good time for me to prep meals for the next day.

Overnight Oats is super easy to prepare. You can get very elaborate or you can make it hella easy. You’ll need a mason jar with a lid and a good small spatula to stir your ingredients.

I’ve tried a few recipes and I’m at a point now where I just experiment with different flavors.

The method is this,

1/4 cup of gluten-free (doesn’t have to be though) quick-cooking oats.

and 2/3 cup of a nut or grain milk of your choice. I prefer almond.

Alternatively you can mix in some Greek yogurt if you like. This is going to make your oats creamy and delicious.

Finally, if you want some added good-for-you texture add in a tablespoon or two of Chia seeds.

Now we get those creative juices flowing and talk about your add-ins, the toppings, and the overall mood of your overnight oats.

Most of the food we eat gets described as sweet or savory, and the same is true for these oats. You can go bold or you can be a little subtle and bright with your flavor palette. And the saying, “A little goes a long way,” is so true for these. You’re flavoring your oats, so it’s not the time to get crazy, it’s just a hint of flavor, so we’re talking a 1/8 of a teaspoon to 1/4 of a teaspoon.

For Bright Flavors consider adding,

  • Citrus Zest (1 tsp)
  • Vanilla (1 tsp)
  • Maple Syrup (1 tsp)
  • Honey (1 tsp)
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (1 Tbsp)
  • Toasted Slivered Almonds (1 Tbsp)
  • Fresh Citrus Juice (1 Tbsp)
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Banana slices
  • White Raisins

For Bolder Flavors consider adding,

  • Cocoa Powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Carob Powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Vanilla (1 tsp)
  • Honey (1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/8 to 1/4 tsp)
  • Fresh Orange Juice (1 Tbsp)
  • Dried Cherries
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dark Raisins

Once you’ve added your selected toppings, stir the ingredients until they’re mixed together, and close the lid. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or overnight. πŸ˜›

These aren’t recipes, they’re suggestions as add-ins. You can mimic a key lime pie version by using lime zest and coconut flakes, or you can go bold and sexy with doing a version a la chocolate covered cherries. I’m anxious to try a few this fall with some add-ins like Pumpkin and Ginger!

My friend’s daughter tried this and made a few of these herself, she’s 11! She is hooked and loves them. Recipes like this are super easy, and it helps kids use their imagination as it teaches them experimenting with flavor. Did I mention it teaches some science too?! The breakdown of oats is usually accredited to heat and liquid, but in this recipes; It’s time, liquid, and the citric or lactic acids found in Greek yogurt or in the citrus you’re using.

It’s not bullshit I promise. Ceviche, a popular Peruvian dish, uses Citric acids to lightly ‘Cook’ raw fish, sort of like Peruvian Sushi. Citric acid is powerful stuff, and it’s packed with good-for-you vitamin C to help conquer your day!

 

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