Overnight Oatmeal: Morning Hero!

by Shaking Bird 5 days ago in healthy

Six easy variations to save your life

Overnight Oatmeal: Morning Hero!

Riddle: What's cheap, easy, versatile, healthy, and ultimately delicious?

Answer: Overnight oatmeal!

And what's even better? Absolutely no cooking involved! Just a few favorite ingredients, a container, some measuring spoons and a good appetite in the morning. And a little forethought before bed. Then voila! A little magic to go with your morning coffee!

It has taken me a couple of years to perfect this simple recipe, and I'm still discovering new variations. The whole journey began out of necessity while I worked a job that began at stupid o'clock AM. I don't know for sure if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I can kiss my mental powers goodbye unless I've eaten something first thing. But who wants to cook and clean that early, and wake up the whole house besides, when you could be using those precious extra minutes to sleep? Not me!

Enter, our new best friend: Overnight oats!

All prep is done the evening before, usually in less than fifteen minutes from start to finish, and ready in the morning just as soon as you can stumble out of bed and into the kitchen. Just a quick stir, maybe some fresh fruit on top, and you're golden.

Here is my super-simple base recipe, with some favorite variations to follow. With this framework, the possibilities are endless!

OVERNIGHT OATMEAL BASE

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, Tupperware container with a lid, or a cereal bowl. (If using a bowl, cover with plastic wrap). Mix very well. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Stir again in the morning before enjoying!

Notes:

I don't like my food very sweet, but watch out if this seems like too little sugar for your tastes, as the sweetness intensifies overnight. You can always add more in the morning, if it seems bland, but start out cautiously! Especially if you're adding dried fruit like raisins, chopped figs or dates, you might want to halve or nix the sugar entirely or the sweet can be overpowering by morning.

A note on liquids: It took a lot of trial and error to discover the correct ratio of liquids to oats. Standardly, cooked oatmeal gets twice as many cups of liquid as oats, but since the overnight method doesn't boil the extra away, early on I kept ending up with a soupy mess. But the above 3/4 : 1 ratio means that your oats are neither too wet, nor too dry!

Most recipes use all milk, instead of milk and water. In the beginning, when I was making these oats to eat early while I was still half asleep, the full-milk versions tended to hit my gut like a bomb and leave me queasy afterwards. On the flip side, using all water, instead of milk, resulted in a sad, flavorless, swimming mush. Hence, the milk-water split! No more nausea, and plenty of creamy flavor besides!

As to containers, I prefer the mason jar method, and not just because it's charming. The size and shape not only makes it easy to fit into the fridge overnight without fear of spilling, but also slips conveniently into a lunch box or if your goal is to take it with you to work or school. Just make sure that your container is large enough to allow the oats to expand a little overnight, or they'll run over and you'll have a mess to clean up!

Almond butter works, as well as peanut!

Now, for some REAL flavor. The base recipe is the same for all variations below, just add the toppings.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA

1 tbs crunchy peanut butter

1 banana, sliced

1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

Chocolate chips (also optional, but totally necessary if we're going to survive quarantine)

Combine oatmeal ingredients, peanut butter, chia seeds and chocolate until well combined. Refrigerate overnight before adding the banana.

More coffee? Like, YEAH!

CHOCOLATEY MOCHA

1/8 cup brewed espresso (approx. 1 shot)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tbs pecans, roughly chopped

Chocolate chips (optional)

You could probably do this with instant coffee granules too, but I've never used those before. Give it a try, though, if that's what you've got on hand! Combine all ingredients, refrigerate.

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine, refrigerate, enjoy!

The best part? You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving!

PUMPKIN PIE

2 tbs pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp cloves

Combine, refrigerate, enjoy!

Slightly healthier than an actual cookie, perhaps!

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE

1 tbs raisins

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs pecans, chopped

COCONUT ALMOND

Substitute 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup for brown sugar

1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup almonds, sliced or chopped

1 tbs dried cherries

pinch of cinnamon

You know the drill! Mix it up, make it cold, make it gone.

Breakfast . . . Your way!

And the list goes on! Try adding blueberries, raspberries, or dried fruit. Switch it up by using different sweeteners like coconut sugar, molasses or maple syrup. Try a dollop of yoghurt or whipped cream on top. Allergies? You can substitute your favorite dairy free option for the milk, or use almond butter instead of peanut. Explore new flavors and enjoy your mornings without the hustle and bustle of food prep, and enjoy a little extra sleep!

I hope these recipes have been useful to somebody. Please feel free to like and share! If you liked any of these ideas, and to promote more quality content, please consider leaving a tip. It's like a social-distanced, germ-free hug (or handshake), and MUCH appreciated! Thank you!!!

Stay safe, eat right, and have fun!

healthy
Shaking Bird
Shaking Bird
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Shaking Bird

I'm an artist, an Aspie, a square peg in a world of round holes. Tring to be kind and kind of strange, sometimes making progress, sometimes making a mess, but always trying to improve. https://m.facebook.com/ShelbyLynneArtist/

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