Friday, September 25, 2015

Celebrate National Breakfast Month with Overnight Oats

September is National Breakfast month! By now, everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it sets the tone for how you’ll feel and the food choices you make the rest of the day.

And I really think there’s truth to that!

Personally, when I don’t eat breakfast I get a headache, and I can’t concentrate. But I know a lot of people feel like they don’t have enough time in the morning to make breakfast. And then sit down to eat it.

So I’m going to focus this post on “make-ahead breakfasts!” Make your breakfast several days ahead of time and have your breakfast ready for the entire work week!

First off, the latest internet sensation – overnight oats!

I love eating oatmeal for breakfast. I grew up with my mom making me homemade oatmeal on the stove every morning before I went off to school (and even now when I visit home).  It’s kind of like breakfast comfort food – warm and filling.

But a lot of people don’t set out time in the morning to make oats over the stove. And that’s okay because you can get the same creamy results with “overnight oats.”

Overnight oats are simply oats that have been soaked in milk overnight. Once again, the purpose of soaking them overnight is to achieve the same creamy results that you get when you cook them low and slow over the stove.

You might be saying, “Hey Kylee, why don’t you jut make instant oatmeal?” Well first of all, no instant oatmeal will ever taste as good as homemade oatmeal. And secondly, when you make the oatmeal yourself, you can control everything that goes in it. You can make it gluten-free, you can make it sugar-free, you can make it nut free… you get the picture.

Also the cute little mason jars are easily portable, and they heat up well in the microwave (you must take off the lid of course!)

Since overnight oats are easily customizable, I’m going to list the essential ingredients and steps as well as add-in possibilities.

Step 1: Pour your oats and liquid into a jar. Your oats to liquid ratio should be 1:2. I typically use 1/4 cup quick oats and 1/2 cup skim milk. But you can really use any liquid – dairy milk, almond milk, soy milk, yogurt, or juice.

Step 2: Stir in your favorite flavor combinations and sweetener. If I’m keeping it simple, I just add 1 teaspoon Splenda and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. I also like to add a tablespoon of raisins or craisins or other dried fruit. And fresh fruit is especially good – add half a banana or apple or 1/4 cup blueberries or strawberries or even some pineapple! Also, chia seeds and flax seeds are a great, healthy addition to your oats.

Step 3: Cover your jar and let sit in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 hours).

Step 4: In the morning, open the jar and stir oats. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute (technically, you can eat them cold, but I prefer to heat them up). Top with more fresh fruit or any crunchy stuff you might want – like granola, pecans, walnuts, or almonds.

TIP: Make several of these on Sunday so they’ll be ready to go throughout the workweek. They keep for up to 5 days.

Since it is officially fall, I thought I’d share my recipe for pumpkin overnight oats!

Pumpkin Overnight Oats
Serves: 1

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin granola
  1. In an 8-ounce size mason jar combine milk, oats, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.
  2. Mix until completely combined.
  3. Put lid on mason jar and store in refrigerator overnight.
  4. Stir and heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  5. Add granola on top and enjoy!

If you’re not an oatmeal fan but you still want to try out some healthy make-ahead breakfasts, here are three other options!

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