Summer finally graced us with its presence here in the Pacific Northwest. As I sit here on this sweltering hot day – with no energy to do anything – looking at my absolutely jam packed calendar for the week – I am reminded by the little things I can do to create a healthy breakfast that my entire family can grab out of the refrigerator and go.
Normally on Sundays I am trying to figure out what type of muffin or quick bread that I can bake – usually those are perfect for make-ahead breakfasts. Although today is a little different – with no air conditioning – the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or the stove. All that will do is make us even more cranky. So instead, I turn to one of my favorite no-bake make-ahead recipes –overnight oats.
I was turned onto overnight oats a few years ago – I was walking down the hallway at work, and saw someone eating out of a canning jar. I asked her what she was eating – and when she starting describing it, my mind started instantly racing with all the possibilities. Add that to the fact that you can make it the night before, because seriously, I don’t need to add one more thing to my morning routine.
My favorite part about overnight oats is the versatility you have, depending on your preferences, and what you have in the house. This week I went with a Peaches & Cream theme, but the sky is the limit with this recipe – here’s how it works:
Oats – it is recommended that you use quick-cooking oats, although I have made this with old-fashioned, and it came out just fine. You could also substitute chia seeds, flax seeds or even oat bran.
Milk – there are a ton of options here – you can use regular cow’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk, lactose-free milk, etc…. Pretty much anything that can provide a little liquid to soften up the oats or seeds above.
Yogurt – chose the yogurt depending on how sweet you like your breakfast. I tend to go for the Stonyfield Farms smooth and creamy plain yogurt, as I prefer to sweeten the dish myself with honey, but you can use any type of flavored yogurt here, to give it even more sweetness.
Fruit – again, completely up to your preference – although I prefer to use stone fruit or berries. Bananas are also delicious. I have not tried this with apples, pears, or citrus – but if you like experimenting, go for it!
Sweetener – I tend to use honey, although there are many options you can go with – agave nectar, brown sugar, or add nothing if you are already using a flavored yogurt and you feel that will give you enough sweetness.
Spice – here comes the fun part – and really, this is what makes the dish pop. I am pretty obsessed with vanilla bean seeds, but cinnamon is also a huge winner here. You can also go with coconut, cardamom, or combine a few together for a real treat.
Add all ingredients to a 1/2 pint canning jar. Stir the contents in the jar, and place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning you will have a healthy breakfast waiting for you!