My OOIAJ is better than your OOIAJ

In case you haven’t heard of them, OOIAJ = overnight oats in a jar and they are delicious. Today, I did them right. These might be the best overnight oats I’ve ever had.

You say, “but Lauren, it’s twenty degrees outside. Why would you eat cold oats in the morning?”

To you, I say: I love overnight oats. I love nutella. And when you have an empty jar of nutella, you make overnight oats in a nutella jar. Don’t even talk to me about hot oats in a jar. Nutella OIAJ is a dish best served cold. Bundle up and enjoy it.

In an almost-empty nutella jar, combine: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon light & fit), dash of cinnamon. Stir, cover with the jar lid, and place in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, the oats will have soaked up the moisture and become mushy. Top them with sliced or mashed banana and chopped hazelnuts. Delish!

“Banana and nutella. It’s like tomato and basil.” –Richard Blais

 

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

I have this little habit that is draining my bank account, cramping my morning routine and expanding my waistline. But it feels so good!¬† It’s my Starbucks habit and it is out of control. I know I’m not alone on this one but that doesn’t make it any better.

ADDICT!

 

Honestly, it’s not the coffee that bothers me; it’s the pastry case. The coffee is a necessity that I simply cannot start my day without. The pumpkin bread or breakfast sandwich is just an add-on that I find hard to resist. Why do I continue to buy Starbucks food? Time.

Mornings are usually somewhat of a fire drill for me. I am not really a morning person (although I really really wish I was!) so getting out of the house on time for work in the morning in the appropriate attire, with makeup and hair done, and equipped with everything I need for the day, is a little miracle every morning Monday through Friday. To also have coffee prepared and breakfast eaten by that time is nearly impossible. So I grab coffee and food on the run and eat while I am driving to work. Enter Starbucks, enemy of my wallet and waistband.

On the weekend and on my days off, I enjoy oatmeal or cereal for breakfast and I make coffee at home. My favorite breakfast is a big bowl of oatmeal loaded with toppings like nuts and dried fruit, and drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I love the taste and the texture and I love how it fills me up until lunch time rolls around. I have tried to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal before work in the morning but it is hard for me to find the time.

What I really need is to be able to eat oatmeal while I am driving to work. Due to the safety concerns that I have about using a spoon while steering to scoop hot liquids out of a bowl and into my mouth, I haven’t tried it yet. Richmond drivers, thank me later. Fortunately, I will never have to try it because I have found a solution.

Behold, the oatmeal breakfast cookie.

This photo was totally taken on the weekend. As if I have the luxury of waiting for the sun to come up before I have to go to work.

I modified a recipe that I found here and came up with a pretty awesome breakfast that tastes just like my beloved morning oatmeal, except it’s in my hand. Which leaves one hand free for driving to work. Maybe now I can get my act together enough to make coffee so I won’t have to stop at Starbucks at all! (Don’t hold your breath.)

Even if I do need to make an espresso run in the AM, at least I won’t be tempted by the pastry case. I plan to make these on Sunday nights and have them ready to go throughout the week so I can grab and go in the mornings. They aren’t super sweet like dessert cookies because they are breakfast, although I might up the amount of honey or substitute maple syrup in the next batch. They are just sweet enough to not be bland. Either way, this is a great basic recipe that I (and you!) can modify at whim.

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 3 mashed bananas (ripe)
  • 1/4 cup¬†apple sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you want to add)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or any other chopped nut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let this mixture stand for ten minutes to let the oats soften.
  3. Divide mixture into six large mounds and place the dough mounds onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart from one another.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week.

I have even included the nutritional information (estimated) from Spark Recipes here, in case you are interested:

Nutrition Facts – Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Enjoy!

Summer Weekend

The progression of my mood over the weekend has started to pique great interest from my friends, my boyfriend, and my cat. Lately I have rushed home on Friday night, still fully entrenched in work week mania: over-caffeinated, detail-obsessed, and plan-crazy, like the multitasker I am required to be in my work life. Routinely on Fridays I have indulged in pizza and a large ( seemingly ever-larger) glass of wine, and collapsed in bed before the clock strikes twelve. I dream about timely task completion, effective crisis response, customer satisfaction and, occasionally, world domination.

Saturdays the mania ensues, as I drag Kyle out of bed for coffee, breakfast, and an early AM trip to the farmers’ market. And then as I peruse the stalls, smelling local fruits, chuckling at oddly shaped vegetables, and chatting about social plans for the week ahead, I calm down and begin to enter weekend mode. By the time I toss my market loot in the back of my car, I am a little less concerned about sales reports and delayed shipments. I am more focused on preparing fresh tomato sandwiches, locating the recipe for homemade pesto that I had tucked into a binder or notebook at home, and popping ripe raspberries into my mouth as I enjoy a glass of chilled Prosecco on the balcony.

By Sunday morning I appear to be a different person than I am on Fridays. I make fresh coffee, cook a delicious breakfast, and make lists. On Sundays I do cleaning, errands, and cooking, but not with the fervor with which I approach my job Monday through Friday (or anything I tackle on Thursday or Friday evenings). I am much more relaxed because on Sundays I have countless moments to myself, and the feeling that I can do whatever I choose all day long, free of meetings, phone calls, or deadlines, except the self-imposed ones.

This morning I saw the bottom of the bag of this Virginia roasted coffee from Dark Hollow Roasters, purchased at Ellwood Thompson, my local grocery store. I guess it’s time to buy some new coffee.

Pardon the poor quality of this photo, taken with my Blackberry. I never claimed to be an excellent food photographer, just an excellent food enjoyer! I didn’t even take a picture of my breakfast this morning because it looked so good that I couldn’t wait to eat it. But I’m still going to talk about it because you can make this breakfast in 15 minutes or less and get a restaurant-quality brunch for minimal effort (and cash).

Fried Eggs Over Creamy Polenta, Melted Provolone and Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes

Ingredients

3 ounces prepared polenta

2 tablespoons milk (you could use cream for creamier polenta, but I went with 1%)

1 tablespoon butter

2 large brown eggs

1 ounce of provolone cheese (about 1 thick deli slice or 1.5 thin slices)

1 thick slice of heirloom tomato

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Mix the milk into the polenta on a microwaveable plate and cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high, until just heated through. Let sit in microwave one minute and then remove to counter to set up a bit.

2. Heat the butter in a pan over low-medium heat. When the butter is melted, crack two eggs, one at a time, into the pan.

3. Add salt and pepper to the polenta. Put the provolone on top of the polenta and let it get melty. Top with a slice of tomato.

4. Flip the eggs and cook to desired doneness. I like mine not hard but not runny (I know, I’m picky) so I break the yolk before flipping and then cook an additional minute or two until the yolk is set but not cooked through.

5. Put the eggs on top of the tomato and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Dig in before you even get a chance to snap a photo for your food blog.

I’m off to recipe plan for this evening. Kyle works on Sundays and I always make a big dinner on Sunday night that we enjoy together before my hectic work week begins. It’s one of the highlights of my week!