super breakfast week, day five: put an egg on it!

Please excuse the tardiness of this post- I know I promised you a new breakfast every day last week, but the week got away from me, and then so did the weekend! So today, I’ll give you the fifth Super Breakfast, which is really more of a concept than a recipe: Put an egg on it!

I like having eggs for breakfast, but they rarely satisfy me on their own.  Even with a piece of sprouted wheat toast, I’m left wanting more.  It’s the combos like broccoli eggs (a.k.a., loaded with vegetables) that really make me feel like I’ve eaten a complete, balanced meal. Recently I realized that SO many of the veggie-filled dishes I make for dinner could be transformed into breakfast in one simple step: Put an egg on it! The one prerequisite for this breakfast is, or course, that you’ve cooked the night before and have some leftovers.  Then all you have to do is roll out of bed, throw an egg in a pan, and lay that sucker on top of last night’s dinner.  Once you start trying this, your eyes will be opened to thousands of possibilities.  Honestly.  So many things are delicious with a fried egg on top!

Oh, you made a giant pot of vegetarian chili and have buckets left over? Put an egg on it!

Veggie burgers from last night’s barbeque staring you in the face? Put an egg on it!

Afraid you’ll be eating that quinoa salad for the rest of your life? Put an egg on it!

Really, guys- ANY kind of vegetable casserole/hash/stir-fry will magically turn into breakfast with the addition of an egg.  I’ll include some more recipe links at the end of this post.

While I’m encouraging you to throw eggs on everything, I should also say a little something about the kind of eggs that I buy.  I’m sure you’ve heard the terms “free-range,” “cage-free,” and “organic” tossed around when it comes to chicken and eggs.  While it’s great that an effort is being made in favor of producing eggs ethically and cleanly, it’s important to know what these labels actually mean; if they mean much of anything at all, in fact.  The definition of an “organic” egg is that the chicken was fed an organic diet, given access to the outdoors, and was not given antibiotics.  That organic feed could be a big sack of corn, though, when chickens are meant to eat grass and bugs in order to be healthy and produce nutritious eggs.  Their “access to the outdoors” could be as little as a porch attached to their giant, overcrowded barn; whether or not they actually go outside and get much needed sunshine (how do you think Vitamin D gets into the eggs, anyway?) is undetermined and not likely.  So what if the carton says “free-range” but NOT organic? Those hens had the same “access” as the organic chickens, but their feed wasn’t necessarily organic and they could have been given antibiotics.  And “cage-free” means exactly that- they didn’t have a cage.  That doesn’t mean they weren’t crammed into a dark, overpopulated commercial barn with no room to move.

All that is to say that personally, I don’t trust the labels that are put on eggs in the grocery store, with the exception of one.  To the best of my knowledge, the cleanest, most nutritious and most ethically produced eggs come from pasture-raised chickens.  This means that chickens spend most of their time outdoors, eating grass and bugs.  Simple.  The way nature intended.  These chickens are happy and healthy and, because of their natural diet and lifestyle, produce eggs with the best possible nutrient content.  Of course, these eggs are a lot more expensive!  But it’s worth it to me to know what I’m putting in my body and how it got to me.  An even better solution would be finding someone who raises chickens, or getting some of my own! A girl can dream.

To read more about the fallacy of an “organic” label on eggs, click here:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/06/08/why-you-dont-want-to-buy-organic-eggs-at-the-grocery-store-.aspx

To read more about the benefits of pastured eggs, click here:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/how-to-buy-organic-eggs-pastured-vs-free-range-eggs/

To read more about the brand of eggs that I buy at Whole Foods, click here:

http://vitalfarms.com/

And more things to put an egg on!

Curry Veggie Quinoa

101 Cookbooks Veggie Burgers

Veggie Enchilada Casserole

super breakfast week, day four: BOMB VEGAN BREAKFAST!

Today’s post comes to us from my good friend Joanne.  Joanne studied nutrition when we were undergraduates (and a cappella nerds) at USC together.  Since graduating, she’s built upon her nutritional knowledge and blossomed into a raw vegan maven.  Joanne posts her fabulous concoctions as Facebook notes entitled “Bomb Vegan Dinner 101.” As you’ll see in this post, Joanne knows her stuff! Don’t be intimidated by the bit of work it would take you to sprout those lentils ahead of time; it’ll be worth it. And I’m sure (though I haven’t tried or asked Joanne) that cooked lentils made ahead of time and stored in the fridge might also work.  Without further ado, I present to you: Bomb Vegan Breakfast 101!

Okay, so first I have a confession to make: most of the time, I actually am not much of a breakfast eater, for a few different reasons. I’m not a wake-up-hungry type of person – thirsty, yes! And after sipping on water and tea from the time I wake up, by the time I’m out the door I feel deceivingly full (of liquid)… even though it won’t be long before I’m snackin on some fruit, which I guess could be considered my actual breakfast. It also must be mentioned that having perfected my morning routine down to the minute, I need a breakfast option to be quick and easy to squeeze in between lunch assembly and dog walking, or it won’t happen. Lastly, and I may get some dirty looks here, but typical breakfasty foods just don’t excite me very much. Yeah, pancakes, crepes, and French toast are all delicious, but I just don’t feel great after eating them. I need something that will provide me sustenance and energy but without weighing me down. As a vegan who also prefers eating as much raw food as possible, my breakfast usually isn’t very thrilling – give me some fresh fruit and a handful of raw nuts and I’m good to go. But that’s not very blog-
worthy now, is it?

So, as you can see, breakfast and I have had a very casual yet non-committal relationship. It’s not that I’ve been afraid to commit to breakfast; I think I just hadn’t found the right breakfast for me! After countless mornings of slipping out the door, trying to avoid scornful glances from the fruit sitting forlorn and uneaten in their baskets, I eventually broke down and agreed to seek counseling – after all, I had been neglecting breakfast, when breakfast had never been anything but good to me. The mediator I chose to help me reconcile with the most important meal of the day is called Raw Food: A Complete Guide For Every Meal of the Day. I’ve found some recipes here that give me exactly what I’m looking for in a breakfast: light, energy-rich foods that are quick and easy to throw together in the morning with just a little preparation. Lately, my go-to has been this fiber-filled fruity delight:

Sprouted Green Lentils with Apple

  • ½ C green lentils, sprouted*
  • 1 Apple (your favorite kind!), cubed
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Honey, to taste
  • And, pictured in Joanne’s version: Walnuts and currants!

Mix it all up in a bowl and enjoy!
* You can buy sprouted lentils at a market, but they’re also easy to make! All you need are lentils (duh) and a sprouting jar – any canning jar with a mesh top, or cheesecloth stretched across and secured with a rubberband. To sprout the lentils, soak 8-12 hours, drain and rinse once or twice a day until the tails of the baby sprouts begin to show (usually 2-3 days). Sprouting the lentils transforms it from a raw food into a “living” food. This is a raw-foodie idea in which soaking or sprouting (seeds, beans, nuts, lentils) activates digestion-assisting enzymes that lay dormant in raw foods; the enzymes are awakened in the living food, aiding in the digestion and absorption of nutrients – thereby maximizing the nutritional value of the food.

A couple variations I have tried using the above recipe: using maple syrup or agave instead of honey, adding shredded carrot, or crushed nuts (try walnuts or almonds!) for extra protein and prolonged satiety. I especially like the idea of adding some sort of nut into this mix, because this creates what most vegans know very well as a complete complementary protein – when foods are combined to provide all 9 essential amino acids (the ones that can’t be manufactured by the human body). These essential amino acids are found in animal protein, leading many people to the common misconception that people who don’t eat animal protein are lacking in protein altogether. However, I’ll let you in on a vegan secret – it’s actually really easy to eat enough protein! It’s all about combining foods to form “complementary” proteins. The easiest formula to follow is to think of foods in the three categories of grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds; then, combine foods from two of the three categories. Sound complicated? How about… rice and beans! Hummus and whole wheat pita bread! And – lentils and almonds! Complete complementary proteins are everywhere! Another cool thing about creating complementary proteins is that you can space them out between meals; have some nuts in the morning, and a grain or legume at lunch and you’re good to go!

So, at this point I’ve slightly derailed the breakfast blog, but now you can see why and how this seemingly simple recipe can be so fulfilling! The sprouted lentils with apples will give you tons of energy, fiber, and keep you satiated until lunchtime. Not to mention, it’s such a sweet way to start your day! Dear Breakfast, please accept this Ode to You as a reconciliation. You really are important, and I will neglect you no longer!

super breakfast week, day three: the green smoothie

Your third Super Breakfast this week has been my go-to for the past few months.  Once I realized that I could pack a couple servings of leafy greens into a cold, creamy, morning beverage, I was sold.  The concept is simple: a breakfast smoothie with spinach, kale, chard, or any other dark leafy green.  I’ll share the main components of mine and some different winning flavor ideas, but know that you have full creative license on this puppy.  You can’t mess it up!

The Freeze
I start with something frozen.  This can be (for one smoothie):

  • Half a banana (Once my fresh banana stash starts looking overly ripe, I’ll cut them in half and put them in a Ziplock in the freezer.), OR
  • 5 cubes of almond milk (just pour almond milk into an ice cube tray the night before.), OR
  • A handful or so of any other frozen fruit.
  • This will ensure that your smoothie is nice and cold, and also thickens the texture a bit.

The Greens

  • Then add as many dark leafy greens as you can! For me this is usually roughly between one and two cups of spinach, kale, or a mix of both.  A couple of handfuls is a good start, but the more the better!

The Fat

Some good healthy fat will not only make this smoothie stick to your ribs, but will also help thicken and smooth out the texture.  I recommend choosing ONE of the following per smoothie:

  • Nut butter! Peanut and almond are my favorite. Use one hefty spoonful.
  • Avocado- This may sound strange, but you will not taste one iota of avocado flavor, but you’ll be reaping the benefits of the monounsaturated fat and creaminess. I use about 1/4 of one avocado.
  • Coconut oil- Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil is proving itself to fit unconventionally on our list of “good fats.” Without going into too much detail, know that the TYPE of saturated fat matters very much- coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides which don’t harm us like the kind of saturated fat in animal products.  It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals and will make your smoothie absolutely delicious. One tablespoon is plenty.

The Grain
When I want my smoothie to be extra filling, I’ll add some grain.  This could be:

  • Raw rolled oats, OR
  • Cooked quinoa or brown rice- Make extra the next time you’re cooking dinner and save it in the fridge! (I wouldn’t recommend using it if you’ve cooked it with vegetable broth or anything salty.)
  • About 1/4 of a cup of any of these grains oughta do it. But this is a non-essential ingredient; I only do it when I know I need my smoothie to last me several hours until my next meal.

The Flavor
Try any of the following to give your smoothie some extra flavor (and sometimes to mask the bitterness of the greens, especially if you’re using kale):

  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Shredded coconut

The Boost

  • Finally, I crank up the nutritional punch in my smoothie with a green superfood supplement.  One little scoop of this stuff contains tons of concentrated greens- we’re talking wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella- as well as antioxidants and probiotics.  All of this together is supporting immunity, healthy digestion, and helping to keep an alkaline balance in my system.  I’ll warn you that it’s a little earthy tasting, but the energy you’ll feel from this stuff is incredible.
  • A spoonful of ground flax for some extra Omega 3’s can’t hurt, either!


Blend all of that together and enjoy! Starting your day with a big glass of vegetables is setting yourself up for success. You’ll feel full and energized and ready to keep making great decisions about what you put into your body for the rest of the day!

super breakfast week, day two: broccoli eggs

Today, I ate a whole head of broccoli for breakfast.

Ok, it was a small head.  But still an impressive amount of vegetables to be eating for my morning meal, I daresay!  That’s the goal, my friends: EAT AS MANY VEGETABLES AS YOU CAN!  This means cramming them into meals where one might not normally eat veggies.  But with today’s recipe, having broccoli for breakfast is easy and tasty.

I’ll start by saying this is probably the most time-consuming of my Super Breakfasts.  But all things considered, it’s pretty darn quick, and some prepping ahead of time could make it even quicker.  I have my boyfriend’s sister Erin to thank for this amazing breakfast!  Erin is a busy, working mom doing her best to eat well.  When we visited her a few weeks ago, I was immediately excited when she asked if we wanted “broccoli eggs” for breakfast.  “Whatever that is…YES,” I responded.  Here is my version of what she made for us that morning:

Broccoli Eggs (serves one)

  • One small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • Two eggs
  • Splash of almond (or other) milk
  • Roasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cheese of your choosing (optional- I used goat cheese crumbles)
  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium.  Add broccoli- the finer you chop it, the more easily it will be incorporated into the scramble.  Stir until broccoli is tender (a few minutes).  Alternatively, you could throw a little water into the pan and cover it to let the broccoli steam.
  2. Beat your eggs with the splash of milk and add them to the pan.  Mix the eggs and the broccoli immediately and keep mixing as the eggs cook.  It should turn into a nice scramble.
  3. Once egg is distributed throughout the broccoli and has cooked thoroughly, add sunflower seeds, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Then EAT!

I realized after making this batch that I went a little crazy on the broccoli.  That head I used was probably two full servings.  If you’re down with that, then by all means, broccoli it up! But if that much broccoli feels a tad ambitious, then use less and it will be more like a typical scramble with veggies.

One way you could make this recipe much faster would be to chop and cook your broccoli ahead of time.  Steam a whole bunch at the beginning of the week, chop it up, and throw it in a tupperware in the fridge.  Then all you have to do is combine it with the eggs and throw it in a pan; it should heat up while the eggs cook.  On that note, don’t limit yourself to broccoli- kale and spinach make awesome egg partners, too!

So there you have it, veggies for breakfast.  At the end of the day when you’re counting your blessings and how many vegetables you ate (or is that just me?), you’ll be grateful that you started the day with a big ol’ handful. Tune in tomorrow for another vegged out breakfast- my current favorite, the Green Smoothie!

super breakfast week, day one: overnight oats

Welcome to day one of Super Breakfast Week! For our first Super Breakfast, I will be a huge cop-out and re-post a previous entry in which I detailed the incredibly delicious, satisfying, and convenient overnight oatmeal recipe.  See below for “The Joy of Overnight Oats,” with new edits from me in italics.

“Another trend in my life (because that’s why you read this, to know about trends in my life?) is OVERNIGHT OATMEAL! Caps lock very necessary.  Basically, I can’t currently think of a better breakfast option than oatmeal in terms of ease, simplicity (I always have rolled oats and water, usually nutmilk, and they’re so easy to fancy up with whatever else you have on hand!) and, most importantly, nutrition; basic whole grain, very amenable to the other nutrient-rich stuff you throw in it (fruit, nuts, nut butter, flax!).  I know they can be microwaved, and that even on the stovetop they don’t take very long, but I’ve stumbled upon a way to eat them that I like even better and takes even LESS time.

Allow yourself to consider eating cold oatmeal for a second.  Not cooked oatmeal that’s been sitting out for god-knows-how-long-but-you-eat-it-anyway, but delicious, RAW oats that have been soaking in nutritious nut milk all night, topped with other delicious goodies.  And, the best part is, you do all the work at night, and literally just have to grab the tupperware out of the fridge on the way to work! I think that’s my favorite part and the root of the obsession- the 15 minutes I’ve shaved off my morning routine.

Here’s a basic how-to:

  1. Start with 1/4 cup rolled oats.
  2. Add 1/2 cup soy*, almond or hemp milk (or regular milk, I suppose- haven’t tried it).
  3. Stir in 1 tablespoon ground flax OR chia seeds.
  4. Put it all in a sealed tupperware overnight, give it a quick stir in the morning, and enjoy!

*Due to controversy surrounding the consumption of unfermented soy products, I no longer consumer soymilk or recommend it to others. 

Flavor/texture ideas:

  • Vanilla or almond extract
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Organic canned pumpkin
  • Honey
  • Nut butter (you can add this in the morning or at night)
  • Fruit! Bananas especially! (add this in the morning)
  • Cinammon, nutmeg, cardamom- add these with some pumpkin and you’ve got yourself pumpkin pie for breakfast!

The oats will absorb the liquid and acquire a texture not unlike cooked oats, but a little better in my opinion- less mushy, I guess.  Do NOT omit the flax or chia seeds.  These both absorb liquid, too (chia seeds especially- 10 times their weight!) and help “cook” the oats.  They are also both omega fatty acid superstars, so you should eat them, anyway! Chia seeds turn into gelatinous little blobs, which sounds gross, but isn’t. It’s pretty cool, actually. I promise.

I don’t consider my bowl of oats complete unless it has something a bit sweet (so if I don’t add a banana, I’ll use honey in the mix at night) and some kind of nut butter.  Almond is a great neutral flavor that I found works great with the pumpkin pie flavors, or with applesauce and cinnamon.  Peanut butter is a stronger flavor but I know I don’t have to remind you how awesome it goes with bananas.”

I generally find these oats sustain me much longer than a bowl of plain cooked oatmeal, and I think the credit there goes to the add-ins.  The flax or chia will add fiber and healthful fat, nut butters or nuts will add protein and more good fat, and any fruit will be even more fiber!  Remember that a rounded breakfast that includes protein, carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, and some beneficial fat will be the breakfast that keeps you full till lunch!

dairy in the raw

YOUGUYS, it’s summer! I decided it was finally time to take the cover off the ol’ Bianchi, fill up her tires, and take a ride through the afternoon sunshine in Santa Monica.  My sore butt muscles told me that the hills between me and the beach were not a good idea, so I took the flat path north to the Co-Op natural foods store on Broadway.

How have I lived in Santa Monica for over a year and never been to this place?! It’s basically a cheaper, cooler, non-corporate Whole Foods.  Plus, they had a lot of stuff that Whole Foods doesn’t carry, including one particular item I’ve been hunting lately: raw dairy.

Dairy is a subject that I won’t claim to have figured out; whether or not I feel it’s ethical to produce, if my body digests it well, if I should recommend that other people eat it, etc.  I’m not surprised that many people are puzzled about the role dairy should play in their diet.  Movies like Forks Over Knives warned me about the links between animal proteins and our country’s epidemic of lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  I’ve been told (and can vouch, as you probably can) that it is mucous-forming; this can be harmful to our digestion and nutrient absorption.  But we also hear about our need for calcium and fat-soluble vitamins like A and D and how dairy is the best source. It’s confusing! Part of me says, “Emily, no other species on the planet drinks another species’ milk, or any milk at all after infancy. Isn’t it strange that humans do?” But another part of me says, “Gee, I sure do like brie.” What’s a girl to do?

The Weston Price Foundation will have you know that dairy is not only an acceptable, but important part of a healthy diet.  Weston Price was a dentist who became fascinated by links he saw between dental health, and nutrition and physical health.  In the 1930’s, he studied a number of non-industrialized cultures across the globe with their traditional diets still intact.  His idea was to figure out what common factors existed in these diets and how they contributed to the stellar health of the people eating them.  I love this approach, because clearly industry, technology, and the lack of traditional eating practices in the United States is part of how we got to the unhealthy place we are today.  If what we’re doing now isn’t working, it only makes sense to observe the diets of people who survived, thrived, even, without pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, or least of all, Cheetos.

So what did Price find? Lots of really interesting stuff, but I’m going to focus on his findings that related to dairy before this turns into my post-bacc thesis.  First of all, of the 10 “primitive” diets that he studied, all of them contained animal products.  Secondly, all of these diets contained TEN TIMES the amount of vitamins A and D that the typical modern American diet does.  Remember, these are cultures with no access to any modern methods of cultivating or processing food whose people boasted exceptional, robust health. To make what could be a really long story short, Price figured that A and D must be super important for developing healthy humans, and his subsequent research proved this to be true.  And it turns out that A and D aren’t really vitamins that we can get easily from plant foods.  This guy is making a great case against vegans, eh?!

Before you go guzzling a gallon of Alta Dena 1%, there are two crucial differences between the way these cultures ate their dairy and the way Americans do today:

1) THEY DIDN’T TAKE OUT ANY FAT. Before the onset of Fatphobia, and before there was a way to remove fat from dairy, people drank (gasp!) whole milk.  Straight from the cow or goat or sheep.  Remember how A and D are fat-soluble vitamins? That means our bodies need fat to absorb them.  So go ahead, take the fat out of your milk…but you won’t be getting the benefits of those incredibly important vitamins, which is probably the reason you think you’re supposed to be drinking the milk in the first place.  We also need fat in order to use calcium properly; consuming calcium-rich milk sans fat is going to send that calcium to all the wrong places (i.e., not your bones, where you want it, but your arteries where it hardens and becomes atherosclerosis.)

2) THEY DIDN’T PASTEURIZE IT. Of course they didn’t, because they drank it straight out of the animal! Pasteurization is a process of sterilization invented by Louis Pasteur in the 1860’s to prolong the shelf-life of milk by killing microorganisms and pathogens.  It also comes in handy today because most of the cows we use for milk live in their own filth and are very sick due to grain diets that are unnatural to their systems; it only makes sense that we should want to sterilize THAT milk.  But the milk of these primitive cultures came from grass-fed cows that were well taken care of and healthy, so there was no need to pasteurize anything.  That’s not all– as it turns out, pasteurization does all kinds of crazy things to milk! I can already sense you falling asleep at your computer, so I’ll summarize: Pasteurization involves heating up the milk to kill all of this stuff so it will last longer and be sterile.  But the heat also kills or warps the stuff in milk that’s GOOD for us, ultimately making the milk harder for us to digest and devoid of nutrients that we need.  Proteins become misshapen and our body mounts an immune defense against them.  Also, because enzymes present in raw milk have been killed, the body must supply its own enzymes to digest the milk, requiring more energy.

Moral of Price’s story? Consume dairy the way the primitive cultures did; full-fat and raw.  But good luck finding raw dairy products– it took a visit to the Co-Op for me to find it.  It’s still highly “controversial” (and illegal to transport across state lines!), probably because of the dairy industry’s influence in Washington; of course Big Dairy corporations want you to buy their mass-produced, pasteurized dairy, which should be pasteurized because it comes from filthy, sick cows.  But find yourself a nice family farm with grass-fed cows, and eating their raw dairy should not cause you any worry.

I should reiterate that this is just one perspective on dairy.  I’d say the jury’s still out, and may never truly reach a verdict on dairy consumption.  It’s different for everyone and there are a million different ways of looking at it!  I’m fascinated by this raw vs. pasteurized comparison and am willing to give raw dairy a shot.

Wow, all of that was to tell you… I ate a grilled cheese for lunch today.  A delicious, raw-cheddar grilled cheese with heirloom tomatoes and avocado on sprouted wheat bread.  It looked like this:

Happy summer, everyone! Hope this provided you with some light beach reading.

For a plethora of information on raw dairy and Weston Price’s research, please visit http://www.westonaprice.org/.

the joy of overnight oats

Baking is becoming a part of my weekend routine.  It’s not that there’s some cause I’m trying to support with a bake sale, or that I’m preparing for a life of domesticity where I keep my husband happy with cookies, or even that I’m disguising some unhealthy relationship with food by making tons of it and pawning it off on my coworkers (tell me you know these people, too!).  The real reason is that I love eating cookies, cake, granola bars, muffins, you name it- but I disagree with how most people, especially food manufacturers, make them. My biggest gripes are the over-representation of refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, preservatives, and crap I can’t pronounce, and the lack of whole grains and healthy fats that can be easily integrated into treats.  So instead of depriving myself the immense joy that can be obtained by eating baked goods, I make them myself.  I do a little research, I spend a little (lot of?) money at Whole Foods, and I give myself some weekend time in the kitchen to insure that my week’s snacking is taken care of.  A lot of the time, I don’t even consider this stuff share-worthy, because I know that most people would take one bite of what I’m calling a “cookie” and be very confused.  Not that it doesn’t taste good, but most of us (myself included) are very accustomed to the nutritionless versions of these things.  My plan is to wean myself slowly, so that one day eating conventional sweets will just be a junk-overload on my system and consuming them will be impossible.  I’ll let you know how that turns out…

Today, I made Karen Morgan’s gluten-free cherry oat bars. They’re a lot like my chewy cherry oat bars, but way easier and with less ingredients.  Mine are sweeter and something I would maybe even peddle as dessert; these are really just a granola bar.  But, at least for me, they satisfy that sweet/carby craving I get after a meal.  Also, I am in love with these videos- I can only find 5 of them but they’re humorously edited and the theme song is damn catchy.

Another trend in my life (because that’s why you read this, to know about trends in my life?) is OVERNIGHT OATMEAL! Caps lock very necessary.  Basically, I can’t currently think of a better breakfast option than oatmeal in terms of ease, simplicity (I always have rolled oats and water, usually nutmilk, and they’re so easy to fancy up with whatever else you have on hand!) and, most importantly, nutrition; basic whole grain, very amenable to the other nutrient-rich stuff you throw in it (fruit, nuts, nut butter, flax!).  I know they can be microwaved, and that even on the stovetop they don’t take very long, but I’ve stumbled upon a way to eat them that I like even better and takes even LESS time.  Allow yourself to consider eating cold oatmeal for a second.  Not cooked oatmeal that’s been sitting out for god-knows-how-long-but-you-eat-it-anyway, but delicious, RAW oats that have been soaking in nutritious nut milk all night, topped with other delicious goodies.  And, the best part is, you do all the work at night, and literally just have to grab the tupperware out of the fridge on the way to work! I think that’s my favorite part and the root of the obsession- the 15 minutes I’ve shaved off my morning routine.

Here’s a basic how-to:

  1. Start with 1/4 cup rolled oats.
  2. Add 1/2 cup soy, almond, or hemp milk (or regular milk, I suppose- haven’t tried it).
  3. Stir in 1 tablespoon ground flax OR chia seeds.
  4. Put it all in a sealed tupperware overnight, give it a quick stir in the morning, and enjoy!

Flavor/texture ideas:

  • Vanilla or almond extract
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Organic canned pumpkin
  • Honey
  • Nut butter (you can add this in the morning or at night)
  • Fruit! Bananas especially! (add this in the morning)
  • Cinammon, nutmeg, cardamom- add these with some pumpkin and you’ve got yourself pumpkin pie for breakfast!

The oats will absorb the liquid and acquire a texture not unlike cooked oats, but a little better in my opinion- less mushy, I guess.  Do NOT omit the flax or chia seeds.  These both absorb liquid, too (chia seeds especially- 10 times their weight!) and help “cook” the oats.  They are also both omega fatty acid superstars, so you should eat them, anyway! Chia seeds turn into gelatinous little blobs, which sounds gross, but isn’t. It’s pretty cool, actually. I promise.

I don’t consider my bowl of oats complete unless it has something a bit sweet (so if I don’t add a banana, I’ll use honey in the mix at night) and some kind of nut butter.  Almond is a great neutral flavor that I found works great with the pumpkin pie flavors, or with applesauce and cinnamon.  Peanut butter is a stronger flavor but I know I don’t have to remind you how awesome it goes with bananas.

Give these a try before it gets too cold and you want hot oatmeal all winter! And maybe carve yourself (pumpkin joke) some time next weekend to do some healthy baking? Here are some of my favorite recipes if you need inspiration:

Trailmix Cookies from 101 Cookbooks
Doughballs from Peas and Thank You
Breakfast Bake from Edible Perspective <–(I turn these into muffins)