Thursday, June 5, 2014

Overnight Oats in a Jar

I recently started a new job where I no longer work from home but have to go into an office every day when I'm not traveling.  Unfortunately, the office is too small to have a great cafeteria so I've had to figure out how to bring breakfast and lunch to work for pretty much the first time in my life.  (I know, I've been spoiled.)

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Now that I'm not able to make myself candied bacon chocolate chip pancakes every morning (just kidding!), I was kind of lost with what to do until I remembered the wonder that is overnight oats.  Basically, you just soak dry oats in any kind of liquid overnight in the refrigerator.  For regular rolled oats, you can use a 1:1 ratio of oats to liquid.  For something thicker like steel cut oats, the ratio should be closer to 1:2 oats to liquid.  In the morning, the oats have softened enough to eat as is.  It sounds kind of boring, but the fun comes in customizing your oats!

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To make what I call New England Morning Overnight Oats, I added real maple syrup and freeze-dried blueberries (available from Trader Joe's) to 1/3 cup of steel cut oats in a small Mason jar and filled it up to the top with vanilla soy milk.  Put the lid on, shake it up to make sure everything is mixed, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.  That's it!  The next morning, I just grab the jar on the way to work and eat the oats straight from the jar at my desk.

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I've also made Almond Joy Overnight Oats (not pictured) by adding cocoa powder, sliced almonds, and shredded coconut to the oatmeal.  Other ideas for toppings include raisins, dried cranberries, sliced bananas, fruit purees or preserves, yogurt, other nuts, cinnamon, honey, and nut butters.  I prefer to use either soy, almond, or coconut milk for the liquid.

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My current favorite combination is to use Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats and add freeze-dried strawberries (also available from Trader Joe's), sliced almonds, shredded coconut, and chia seeds.  The quick cook steel cut oats are not as chewy as regular steel cut oats (sometimes my jaw would hurt from having to chew so much!) but not as mushy as regular rolled oats.  And the chia seeds give the overnight oats a thicker, more pudding-like consistency (they're also packed with omega-3s!).

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It doesn't look very photogenic, but it's super yummy and only takes a minute to make the night before.  I've pretty much been packing this every day for breakfast whenever I have to go into the office, along with a travel mug full of magical cold brew coffee, which I also prepare the night before.  Just two less things to think about every morning!

Next:  Vegan Almond Joy Ice Cream and Bon Bons
Previously:  Homemade Ginger Beer
Last Year:  Rosemary Honey and Lemon Frozen Yogurt

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