May 102016
 

When I first started reading blogs they talked a lot about something called “oats in a jar” and “overnight oats.” I admit, I didn’t get it. At all. But it seemed like all the rage on every blog.

Fast forward a few years…I recently bought some steel cut oatmeal and one morning, while Logan was fussy and not really making it easy for me to fix myself breakfast, I realized that the oatmeal I bought took 30 MINUTES to make! What?! I love oatmeal and I’ve tried all different kinds out there, but this was the first time trying this particular kind.

I was frustrated with myself that I bought something that was supposed to make my life a little easier–and ended up with something time consuming. Grrrr. I complained on Twitter and a few people suggested I do overnight oats. So I did some googling and found some recipes.

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This was the first recipe I tried.

Flax and blueberry vanilla overnight oats

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1

Calories per serving: 295

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats OR quick oats
  • 2 /3 cup water
  • ½ cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal
  • 1 baby pinch of salt
  • blueberries, pecans, brown sugar, and other goodies for topping

Instructions

  1. In an individual food storage container, add the ingredients in the order listed (except for toppings). Do not stir. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning, stir up the mixture; it should be thick and the oats should be completely soft. Add the toppings of your choice. Repeat forever.
  3. The different varieties of oats affect the texture, so if you like a thicker, chewier texture go for rolled oats and if you prefer something softer and creamier, go for quick cooking oats.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=50083

I used the recipe as a jumping off point. I did:

1/2 cup of steel cut oats

2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

pinch of salt

handful of frozen blueberries

Then I put it all in the fridge overnight and mixed it up in the morning. I topped the mixture with some slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Honestly probably didn’t need the brown sugar since the blueberries were sweet enough but since I used plain Greek yogurt instead of vanilla yogurt, I thought it might lack flavor. Next time I know it doesn’t need the sugar.

It was really tasty. I liked the flavors a lot. The blueberries were sweet enough that it make the dish delicious but not overly sweet. The texture was a little weird. The steel cut oats were really chewy. Not too chewy but chewier than I think regular oatmeal would be. But the upside to that, it wasn’t a bunch of mush like I think regular oatmeal would be. I was also worried that eating cold oatmeal would be gross. It wasn’t.

It was super easy and fast. It was easy to eat while taking care of the baby. It was easy to clean up and not a ton of calories. I liked the convenience of it. I like that I didn’t have to spend 30 minutes cooking the steel cut oats. I think it would be a good breakfast for mornings when I go back to work–either eating at home or taking to work with me to eat it after dropping Logan off at daycare.

I wanted to experiment though and see if I could find the perfect recipe or create my own. I found another recipe and decided to use it as a base to tweak what I did originally. Here is that recipe: OVERNIGHT STEEL CUT OATMEAL (PLUS MIX-IN IDEAS)  (Author: Lovely Little Kitchen.)

Attempt #2

I changed it up a little bit the second time. Here is what I did:

1/2 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

pinch of salt

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup water

handful of frozen blueberries

This time I mixed the liquid with the steel cut oats before adding the other ingredients. Let it sit overnight, mixed it all together and added some slivered almonds to the top for texture.

Verdict: I liked the texture a little better with more liquid and mixing it in before refrigerating it.

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Flavor was still great. I don’t know that I noticed a different flavor using almond milk. To save calories I may just stick with water.

Attempt #3

I realized that I was eating more than one serving. 1/4 cup of steel cut oats is actually a serving, not 1/2 cup like several recipes I saw used. The upside to eating more, I didn’t need a snack mid-morning. But I didn’t want that to become a habit. So this time I made a little bit less to make sure that I was eating one serving and keeping my calories in the right range.

I looked around for other recipes. This one sounded delicious to me.

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

1 tablespoon peanut butter

The above was 314 calories. Then I topped it with sliced banana and a little agave and slivered almonds the next day. That added around 125 calories more.

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Verdict: I think I figured out the right portions of everything! The oats were the perfect chewiness and everything tasted great. I will try this “recipe” with the blueberries. I liked the peanut butter and banana flavor–it was very rich, but it was also higher in calories and tasted a bit decadent. Peanut butter is just a little too much for me I think.

I like the addition of the almonds–I think it adds texture that a dish like this needs (same with the blueberries). I’m glad I spent the time practicing and figuring out the right recipe for this. It will be a great option for breakfasts going forward, at least a few days a week.

Do you have an overnight oats recipe that you love? Link it here!

May 032016
 

The next day of their visit Michael had the day off so we got to spend some time together. First order of business: exploring a beer and wine market I’d been wanting to check out: John’s Marketplace. It’s in Multnomah Village, which is a cute little part of SW Portland. I actually used to live there long, long ago and loved my little apartment not too far from John’s Marketplace.

I knew Andy would love to check it out. He’s kind of a wine and beer expert and their selection was supposed to be the best in Portland–and it was! The place was huge. They had a large wine selection but honestly the beer was the star of the show.

They had the beer organized by regions–Washington, Oregon, Portland specifically, England, Asia, Mexico, etc.

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I saw so many beers that looked intriguing. I got a nice selection of some that I was familiar with and a few that were new to me, too. Our stash:

 

And then I decided to try these two, which sounded interesting to me. Next hot sunny day I’m giving these a try:

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Logan did great (and slept through the whole trip).

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We got our selections and then went back home just in time for my parents to arrive! They had been in Arizona for a few months (my dad became a snow bird in retirement) and were driving home to Seattle so it was the perfect pit stop for them and a nice treat for us. It was the first time we’d all been together at the same time since my wedding. Wish my brother lived closer!

We all went out to lunch at Iron Horse Mexican restaurant in Sellwood and once again Logan did surprisingly well…for most of it. I was able to eat all of my food though before he got fussy. I got the Yucatan taco with rice and beans (it was pork with coleslaw and pineapple salsa). It was delicious and just the right amount of food for lunch.

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Anyways, just as I finished eating Logan got fussy. I got to change his diaper in the ladies room on the changing table for the first time, so there’s that. New experience! And of course just as I took his diaper off and was about to put a new one on Logan peed on everything. And I mean everything. Thankfully I had a change of clothes in his diaper bag (good thinking on my part). So I cleaned all that up and him, changed his clothes and then he puked on his new outfit and my sweater. Ah the experiences you get to have as a new parent. 🙂

But it was all good, just more laundry when we got home. We got to spend some time at home with the family before my parents left for home.

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Logan got these really cute Star Wars toys from his aunt and uncle. 🙂 Even though I’m not a fan I can admit they are cute stuffed animals. And handmade from an etsy store. So cute!

 

And then Andy started cooking us dinner again. We sure got spoiled this trip! This time it was one of Andy’s famous pasta dishes. He made the sauce from scratch–tomatoes, sauteed onions and sausage, garlic and artichoke hearts.

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Dinner was absolutely delicious! It was spicy and tasty and I loved the addition of the artichoke hearts to the sauce. He topped it with fresh parmesan and basil. We drank a bottle of wine with dinner and then splurged for dessert:

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The Bourbon Ball from Papa Haydn’s and a little bit of the dessert wine they brought from home–it was a hazelnut Port. I’m not really a fan of dessert wines, they are way too sweet for me, but I had a taste of this one and it was actually quite good and I liked it a lot. It went nicely with dessert.

The next day we had breakfast together and then dropped them off at the train station for the last leg of their west coast trip–off to Seattle then back home to Philly. It was bittersweet saying goodbye. I hate that they live so far away and we don’t get to see each other very often. I also hate that visits are always so short, but I get it. It’s hard to see everyone on one trip. But it was a nice visit and I’m so happy they were able to spend some time with us and meet Logan. They come back next summer for a wedding and they’ll get to see Logan again and he’ll be a big boy! I’m already looking forward to it.

After we dropped them off it was back home and I went to the gym. It felt good to be back at it after a few days off. And it was a good distraction from feeling a little sad.