Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Granola and Apple Crunch + 5 Overnight Oats Recipes

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oats1605Three months ago I carved out one morning a week for myself and volunteered as a chef’s assistant at the Boston Public Market. The kids were up, fed and dressed by 7am; bright-eyed, sort of, for our saint or, rather, sitter who agreed to come at such an ungodly hour.

Showered and caffeinated by the time our sitter walked into the house, I was ready for my morning.  Bubba and I drove into the city together, alone.  Sometimes we chatted. Other times there was nothing left to say so we just sat, quietly, listening to the radio, his hand reaching for mine while I stared out the window.  The traffic which normally would stress me didn’t phase me at all.  We were together and still.  Nothing left to do but wait..for the next part of our day to start.  A quick kiss and we parted for the day.  He off to his world I know nothing of and me running to the kitchen.

I spent my time at the market prepping food, discussing recipes and chatting with other volunteers.  I didn’t reach for my phone or check the clock. I was present, in the moment, happy to be away from favorites, my one and only(s) for just a few hours.

When my shift ended I walked straight to my favorite vendor: Mother Juice.  Every week, without fail I ordered the same damn thing: overnight oats with almond milk, banana and dates, topped with almond butter, granola and fresh fruit.  Being someone who likes food, you would think I would try something new each week.  Nope.  I craved the oats.  Licked the spoon when I was done.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  If someone offered me an another bowl, I would say yes without a bit of hesitation in my gut.

The banana and dates made the oats slightly sweet.  And then a surprise as I swirled my spoon around: bits of almond butter covered oats!  I was as delighted as a child who finds the hidden marzipan in the holiday cranberry stollen.  Yet, the texture blast that followed is what really sold me on the oats: crunchy granola topped with fresh, bright berries.  Amazing!

My weekly shift in the Kitchen ended two weeks ago, but my craving for overnight oats remains strong, just as my need for some time away. The delicious, creamy oats satisfied my hunger.  But the time just sitting with Bubba and then, alone soothed and sustained my soul. I made my version of overnight oats with some inspiration from a few fellow food bloggers. It’s a start, it’s a step, it’s something.

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Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Granola and Apple Crunch

Oats recipe from Oh She Glows

Apple Crunch adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

Pumpkin Granola adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Serves 4, 2 generously

Ingredients for Oats:

2 large bananas, mashed until smooth

4 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup old-fashion rolled oats

1 + 1/2 cup milk of your choice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Using a small bowl, mash the bananas until smooth.  Add the chia seeds and cinnamon and stir until well combined.

Add the oats, milk and vanilla.  Stir.  Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

When ready to use, stir the oat mixture.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk.  If it is too soupy, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and refrigerate until it is thicker.  Oats, stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated, will last up to 2 days.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Granola:

2 + 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 pumpkin puree

2 cups old-fashion oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pepitas

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325F.  Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, maple syrup and pumpkin puree.  Add the oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds and stir until well coated.

Spread the oats on a baking sheet, leaving some of the clusters intact, so you will end up with yummy, crunchy clusters.  Bake granola for until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. **Be sure to stir the granola once or twice during baking time.** Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely.  Add cranberries and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Mix and store in air-tight container for 2 weeks.

Ingredients for Apple Crunch:

1 large apple, small dice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of ginger

pinch of cardamom

sprinkle of sea salt

Directions:

Chop apple and set aside.  Heat coconut oil and maple syrup in a skillet.  Add apple, pumpkin seeds, almonds and spices.  Cook, stirring often, until the apple are soft and the nuts and seeds crunchy, about 8 minutes.  Remove apple crunch from pan and store in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Assembly, Finally!!

Grab a jar or bowl, whatever suits you and add the oats.  Next add a dollop of almond butter (optional, but yummy) followed by a handful of granola.  Lastly, top this bowl health with heaping spoonful or two of apple crunch.  Sit down and enjoy!

*I like my oats at room temperature.  They taste great cold, room temperature or warm.  You decide!*

5 Overnight Oats Links!

New to overnight oats for breakfast? Head to the Food Network’s blog for a tutorial by Min Kwon of the food blog The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman.

Peanut butter lovers everywhere must check out Minimalist Baker’s recipe for peanut butter overnight oats.  Yum! Have a nut allergy? Use Sunbutter instead!

Steel cut oats can also be made the night before for a healthy and hearty breakfast.  Head to the Lemon Bowl for overnight refrigerator steel-cut oats. 

The kitchn’s recipe for blueberry pie overnight oats is on my must make list.  Pie crust topping, fresh blueberries, oatmeal? Yes, please!

If you don’t want to follow a recipe, head to Food 52 for their tips on how to make overnight oats without a recipe.

Steel Cut Oats with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds + 5 Healthy Breakfasts for 2014

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“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Tennyson

A box of steel-cut oats sat in my pantry for far too long. They kept staring at me, begging me to make something with them, but I avoided it. I am a bit intimidated by steel-cut oats. I know they are healthy, but they seem like too much work at 6:30 in the morning with two kids begging for breakfast and a dog whining to go out. This past weekend I decided to give them a shot. Maybe the new year motivated me or maybe the bitter cold, but either way I set out determined to make a tasty and hearty breakfast. I researched recipes and found one on the vegan food blog Oh She Glows. The recipe mentioned making it ahead and reheating them for up to 4 breakfasts. Perfect. The kids won’t touch it, but Bubba and I will have a hearty and healthy breakfast for two days? Sounds great!

sco0002Here are the very intimidating oats. I know that sounds crazy! I am so glad I gave them a shot. The oats are packed with fiber, protein and iron, so I feel good eating them. 1 cup will serve 4 people. If cooked properly the oats are creamy, warm and comforting: perfect for cold, gray winter days.

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Nearly every morning we eat some sort of fruit with breakfast. This week it is pears. I found a recipe for poached pears by David Lebovitz. This recipe is so easy and the result is soft and sweet pears with just a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

sco0027Seeding a pomegranate is difficult, but the Kitchn has a great tip that makes the whole process a lot easier and less messy. The seeds are a nice addition to the pears and chopped almonds. They add a little tartness which I enjoy.

sco0045The steel-cut oats taste best served immediately. If you want to save the oats for the next day; allow them to cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in a microwave or on the stove. Give them a shot this winter. Your body will thank you!

Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

serves 4

Ingredients for Oatmeal:

2 cups of water

2 cups of milk (I used 1 percent)

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 large bananas, mashed

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1/2 cup chopped, raw almonds (optional)

Directions for Oatmeal:

Combine water and milk in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Add steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt. Stir and reduce heat to low.

Stir in mashed bananas and flax seed. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When oats are creamy and soft, remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Top with poached pears, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. Serve immediately. If making ahead, allow oats to cool to room temperature and then transfer them to an air tight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Enjoy!

Poached Pears

recipe barely adapted from David Lebovitz

serves 4

Ingredients for Pears:

2 cups of water

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions for Poached Pears:

In a medium sauce pan, heat water and sugar until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add sliced pears and keep water at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid. While still warm, add the raisins. When ready to use as a topping for the oatmeal, strain pears and raisins, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl, and add to the cooked oatmeal. Refrigerate any leftover pears in their liquid for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove. Enjoy!

5 Healthy Breakfasts You Should Try in 2014

If you are a fan of smoothies, try Martha’s fruit and oat smoothie recipe.

Looking for a delicious gluten-free scone recipe? Head here.

I love pancakes and I don’t plan on giving them up now or ever. Brooklyn Supper’s buckwheat pancake recipe with poached clementine syrup is definitely on my list of recipes to try this year.

Tacos for breakfast? Head here for the super-food packed recipe.

I know I should eat more kale this month and maybe try a detox smoothie, but I want a muffin. This pear and hazelnut muffin looks delicious.

Rum Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies + 5 Holiday Cookies You Should Bake!

CRDC0018I decided to squeeze in one more post before Christmas because these cookies are too good not to share with you. I rarely turn down a cookie, but my favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip. When I saw a recipe on the blog Simply Scratch for rum cherry & chocolate chunk cookies I was inspired to make an oatmeal version. These cookies are chewy and sweet with bits of dark chocolate and rum soaked dried cherries in every bite. They are a perfect addition to any dessert table or holiday cookie exchange. Give them a shot this weekend!

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For professional tips on how to make better cookies head to the Kitchen and check out Joy the Baker’s post for home bakers. One bit of advice I almost always follow: let the dough rest for a day or two in fridge before baking. The flavors really meld together resulting in a better tasting cookie. Who doesn’t want that?

Rum Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

recipe inspired by Simply Scratch and Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook

makes about 31/2 dozen

Ingredients:

For Rum Cherries:

3/4 dried chopped cherries

1 cup dark rum

For the cookies:

1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 & 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 & 3/4 cups old fashion oats (not quick or instant)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup rum cherries

Directions:

For Rum Cherries: coarsely chop dried cherries and place them in a small sauce pan. Pour 1 cup of dark rum over the cherries. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For cookies: Cream together butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times. Beat in the eggs and vanilla for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again for a minute to make sure the eggs and vanilla are well incorporated.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, oats, salt and baking soda. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.

Using a strainer, drain the cherries, squeezing out any access liquid with the back of a spoon and add them to the batter. Add the chocolate chips. Mix chocolate and cherries into the dough until evenly combined. Place dough in airtight container and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto prepared baking sheet. I used a cookie scoop. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake! Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and finish cooling on a wire rack.  Cookies will last for up to 3 days, in an airtight container, stored at room temperature. Enjoy!

5 Cookies You Should Make for Santa!

I made these dark chocolate truffle cookies last year and they were a huge hit!

Looking for a gluten-free Christmas cookie? Head to Heather Cristo’s blog for a gluten-free candy cane chocolate chip cookie. Yum!

Do you like crinkle cookies? Try Meyer lemon crinkle cookies. I made a grapefruit version last year and they were delicious.

Sugar cookies are a must at Christmas. Try a brown sugar cookie this year!

If I had to make only one cookie this holiday season, this would be it! For a peanut free version, swap out the peanut butter for Sunbutter. They taste amazing!