Adventures with Overnight Oats and Other Fun

Lots to cover in today’s blog! From a breakfast-whoops to an easy lunch, decent workout, new dinner recipe and
even a dessert… here we go!

Last night I got hit with a weird bout of insomnia – I’m really not sure where it came from. I’m a big internalizer – i.e., if something in my personal life or something at work is bothering me, stressing me out, or just taking up a lot of my thoughts during the day, I tend to wake up in the night thinking about it. The weird thing is, I didn’t wake up thinking about anything last night… just wide awake. I tried to read and put on some dumb TV to bore me to sleep, but I couldn’t get myself to go back to bed. Unfortunately, this put a serious damper on my early morning workout plans, so I scratched my 5:30 a.m. alarm and decided to put in some time after work instead.

Breakfast
I had grand plans for tonight’s blog to be a rave review of what should have been the best breakfast I would ever make. Though I had intended to make a different dish this morning, I happened upon Liz’s blog over at I Heart Vegetables last night and found the best-sounding overnight oatmeal I’ve ever heard of. Because this is now a story about what happened to breakfast, I’ll have to save my thoughts on the new and amazing world of overnight oats for another time (but let me say, I am obsessed with them.)

I jumped off my couch the second I was finished reading her oats recipe/assessment, to check my kitchen and ensure I had the ingredients. I. Was. Pumped.

And you know what? I did!


… and so I proceeded with the recipe:

Chocolate Overnight Oats
(Courtesy of Liz at www.iheartvegetables.com) 
- 1/3 C Old Fashioned Oats
- 3/4 C Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (Liz used Soymilk)
- 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder
- 1 TBSP Chia Seeds
- 1/8 TSP Truvia (Liz used Vanilla Stevia)

I mixed all of the ingredients together very well – These are the oats pre-night in the fridge.

Then I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight. Some people preach “air tight” containers for overnight oats, but I have found that putting the oatmeal in a bowl and “sealing” with cling-wrap does the same job.

I was pretty groggy rolling out of bed today, but got very excited when I remembered what was waiting in the fridge!

The oats were perfect when I took them out:

overnight oats

I stirred them a bit and snuck a bite – they were AMAZING. However, then I was onto step two – the ice cream-like topping.

This is the part where I completely ruined breakfast.

Right when I put my oats in the fridge last night, I also poured almond milk into four cube slots in an ice cube tray and froze them over night.

frozen cubes

So this morning, I put the four almond milk cubes, a small splash of almond milk, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, a frozen banana, and a 1/8 tsp of Truvia into the blender. The result was far too solid, and I felt it needed a bit more almond milk to be what I imagined would be the right consistency. At first, this looked promising, and I was salivating while I poured it onto the oats:

oats and frosting

However, I instantly had a soupy mess on my hands. Have you ever eaten a bowl of ice cream that has some sort of solid food mixed in (i.e. cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, etc.?) When it melts, you just have soupy melted ice cream with junk at the bottom of the bowl. That was my oatmeal this morning.

I should have stopped and just followed the instructions… but I was so anxious for a healthy, indulgent tasting treat that I ruined it. The oats themselves would have been great, and I’m sure when made right, the topping is just the icing on the cake. I am going to revisit this recipe next week. Sadly, this morning I ended up just having a banana and some Ezekiel toast. Not as flashy as some sweet new oats, but it did the job.

*** I want to thank my froworker Jenny (lucky me, I have a good friend who is ALSO a co-worker – a froworker!) for helping me remember that blogging about experiences with trying new foods and recipes isn’t just about sharing nice pictures and things that turn out perfectly – she reminded me that I should share when I flub, and point out why. That way I can help others avoid those mistakes, and at the end of the day, no one makes perfect food all the time (especially those of us without a natural knack for it!) ***

Lunch
It was another crazy day at work, and I packed my lunch once again. I used to go to Subway a lot (it’s right downstairs!) or find reasons to eat out. Working downtown, there is always somewhere with something new that people are talking about. I found that I saved myself a LOT of money by taking 5 minutes in the morning (or the night before, if I’m feeling really ambitious) to pack something healthy. I still make an emergency trip to Subway on occasion, but it is rare these days.

After nomming on some strawberries and greek yogurt mid-morning, I unpacked another quick & easy to-go lunch favorite: a pita!

I love stuffing whole wheat pitas with a good protein and lots of veggies. Like my Flat Out wraps, pitas are super easy and quick to make, for someone like me who would rather spend my “food making energy” on breakfast and dinner! I really like the Brownberry brand whole wheat pitas – some pitas seem a bit dry and break apart too easily when you’re stuffing them, and their pitas are soft and easy to work with (not to mention sweet and delicious.)

Today I put my secret tuna salad mix (1 can white tuna in water, 1 tbsp light mayo, diced celery and my Mom’s secret ingredient – a tiny splash of pickle juice!) into the pita along with a handful of spinach. I enjoyed the pita with a fuji apple and my daily indulgence, a Diet Dr. Pepper, while I worked through my lunch once again.

photo 5

Workout
I was excited to work out when I got home tonight – mainly because I had some yummy recipes to make when I was done, and I wasn’t allowing myself to embark on the joys of cooking/baking until I’d put my time in on the treadmill.

I also was seriously avoiding my GMAT study guide. I know that I’ve been out of school for a few years (it’s been almost 2 years since I finished my first Master’s, CRAZY!), but some of the questions make me feel pretty rusty (mostly the math portions.) I only have a few more weeks until I’m scheduled to take it. I hope I’ll be ready!

I did a make-shift-quickie-interval workout today. I think it would have been better if I had integrated more repetitions of the strength exercises into it, but I will provide this disclaimer: I got five hours of sleep last night. I need somewhere between eight and nine to feel like I’m on top of my game. This was what I could muster after a long day at work …
Untitled-3

… or so I thought! I surprised myself when I was done with my little interval deal and decided to do some abdominal work. I put my new GymBoss to work and chose three of favorite moves from Jillian Michael’s Six Week Six Pack DVD for one minute each, with 15 seconds between moves (repeat 6 times): Burpees, Russian Twists, and this side plank crunch move whose name I can’t remember unfortunately… all I know is, they BURN.

(my cute little GymBoss – yea, it’s pink.)

I’m really glad I tacked on that additional workout, because it made me feel like I pushed myself a little farther than I thought I could go today. And that’s the goal! Going beyond what you think you’re capable of… Right?

Dinner
I saw a recipe on Cookie Dough Katzen (home of new blogger friend Alex) earlier today that I knew was perfect for me tonight. I needed a dish that would use a bunch of spinach I had sitting in my fridge, and I was also hoping to use some quinoa I had in my pantry. I am still new to the world of quinoa, but am finding it easy to make, filling, and very versatile. Like magic, Alex posted a yummy dish that combined both the spinach and the quinoa! And the highlight? It used my new favorite thing in the whole wide world —– GOAT CHEESE.

Goat Cheese Quinoa Veggie Comfort Food
(I was craving some good veggies tonight, so I used a ton of the green stuff)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups spinach (I used fresh)
- 1/2 C Low Fat Cottage Cheese (Alex used sour cream)
- 1/4 C Crumbled Goat Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Quinoa (Measured uncooked)

I cooked the quinoa on the stove for 15 minutes, while I cooked the spinach and broccoli in a pan with olive oil, black pepper, and a little bit of garlic salt (just a little!) I added the goat cheese and cottage cheese to the quinoa when it was done cooking, mixed, and then served in a bowl. I topped the cheesey quinoa mix with the cooked veggies, mixed it up, saved some for lunch tomorrow, and then devoooured it. I definitely have a new go-to-warm-yummy dinner!


Dessert
I wanted to find an easy cookie recipe to try to tonight that I could make for the boyfriend, “PG.” He’s a fan of sweet treats too, so I wanted to find something yummy for him. I found a recipe for Giant Rainbow Cookies that Jessica at HowSweetEats posted, and, potentially driven by my own desire to snack on Mini M&M’s during the baking process, I thought I’d test it out!

Giant Rainbow Cookies
(Courtsey of HowSweetEats)
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup mini m&m’s(Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.)

I mixed the flour and baking soda in their own bowl. Then mixed the brown and white sugars and butter, plus the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. I added in the flower/baking soda mix bit by bit until the dough took on a good consistency.

I used a cookie-scoop to put the cookies onto greased sheets and baked for about 11 minutes.

I tried one and I think they’re pretty good – but they don’t look like the pictures on the original recipe site at all. You also can’t really see the “rainbow” element in the picture.. as I think a lot of the colored M&M coating melted off somewhere in the baking process. We’ll see how they go over :)

I have a really easy, really difficult to screw-up recipe for tomorrow’s breakfast that I’m hoping will go without a hitch!
Have you ever been super excited about a recipe and completely botched it?
Did you figure out where you went wrong and try again, or ditch it?


8 responses to “Adventures with Overnight Oats and Other Fun

  1. Overnight oats are amazing! But agreed- I only like them without the topping smoothie part. That’s best on the side :) Love your blog!

  2. Oh no! I’m sorry the smoothie topping didn’t work out! What kind of blender do you have? (I have a vitamix, so I’m spoiled with the ability to make a smoothie, even with frozen cubes!) Overnight oats by themselves are always delicious, and you can always add a little nut butter on top! Thanks for the shout out!

  3. I think the future I may prepare the topping and serve it on the side as more of a “dip”-like addition!

    Liz, your recipe was SO thorough and easy – If i just would have followed it I know the topping would have been amazing, I know it! I will be making this again next week, with a bit more recipe-following-discipline!

  4. I don’t know, I love when ice cream is like that so maybe that would have been my kind of texture. i am a weird texture person though…

  5. Yay glad the quinoa meal turned out! It really does make great leftovers. Looks good!

  6. The cookies were delicious. Unlike Kanoe however I have yet to kick myself into eating better, and managed to leave only 3 cookies for later….whoops :)

  7. Well if the cookies have PG’s approval we’re golden :) You’re officially the guinea pig.

  8. Those overnight oats look so thick and fantastic. Sad to hear that they got soupy though. Definitely will work next time!

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