Sunday, September 7, 2014

Recipe: Overnight Oats, 2 Ways

I think I've mentioned before, I'm a super-cool urban hipster who is always up on the latest trends.

Oh, wait, what was that? You're snickering at me?

OK, fine. If you don't believe me, check out this lunch I recently packed for myself:

Why, yes, that IS a green smoothie in my lunch.

See, that's THREE Mason jars in one lunch. Other hipsters tip their waxed moustaches at me (yes, I spelled it the French way!) when they see that.

One trend that I've been enjoying recently is the rise of overnight oats. This is oatmeal that you don't have to cook; it's vegan-friendly (I'm not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but sometimes I play one on TV) and it tastes delicious ... if you are someone who likes things that are the consistency of rice pudding. I say this, because there's a large segment of the population that doesn't like pudding-type things with chunky bits. However, if you LOVE rice pudding or other types of chunky pudding (tapioca, bread), then you will like this a lot.

There are a lot of overnight oats recipes out there, from simple to complex. The basic principles are these: You put 1 part oats to 1 part liquid (I like almond milk) and an optional 1/3 part chia seeds in a container and put it in the fridge overnight. The oats and chia seeds soak up the liquid, and become a kind of pudding.

PUDDING FOR BREAKFAST!! And it's pudding that's ready the moment you wake up!

Make it in a funky jar for extra street cred -
if the street is in Portland and is lined with artisan barrel makers
and food trucks selling Korean-Finnish fusion food (kimchi herring - yum!). 

In experimenting with overnight oats, I've come up with two variations that are my favorites. 

The first is Cherry Vanilla Almond. I am a huge fan of dried cherries, particularly of the sour variety.

The second variation I've dubbed "Funky Monkey." The first time I ever had a smoothie, it was at a little shop in Santa Barbara, and the drink I had was called the Funky Monkey - peanut butter, chocolate, and banana (hence the monkey).  I've named my concoction after this perfect combination of elements.

Here are the easy-peasy recipes.

Cherry Vanilla Almond Overnight Oats

Ingredients (per serving)

1/3 cup rolled or steel-cut oats (steel-cut make a chewier texture)
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
about 1/8 cup chia seeds
1/3-1/2 banana, mashed (optional)
a dash of cinnamon
a handful of dried sour cherries

Mix all the ingredients in a container (or Mason jar!), making sure to incorporate the banana well. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight.

When you take it out of the refrigerator, it will look pretty firm and the chia seeds may be resting on top. Add a splash of the almond milk and stir. Garnish with your favorite fresh berries or sliced almonds (blueberries are especially delicious).

Funky Monkey Overnight Oats

Ingredients (per serving)

1-2 tablespoons peanut butter (I find 1.5 to be the sweet spot)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/3-1/2 banana, mashed
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
1/8ish cup chia seeds
a squirt of honey or other sweetener, if you want (I don't like very sweet things, so I often omit this, but the pudding isn't very sweet without it - especially if you're making this for a kid, I would add it, at least until you have them hooked)

Whisk together the peanut butter, cocoa, banana, and almond milk until well incorporated. Then mix in the other ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Splash with almond milk and stir to serve. 

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