Monday, December 10, 2012

Overnight Oats in a Jar

After my last post, this little blog has reached over 1600 pageviews! Thanks to everyone who has read my posts. Your support means a lot to me, and I'm glad that I can share my baking and grad school adventures with all of you!

Do you ever have those jars of peanut butter hanging around that only have a liiiiittle bit left at the bottom? You know what I mean. The ones where you can see the peanut butter, but you can't always get to it with a knife/spoon/pretzel/finger.

Look at it sitting in there, mocking me. 

Lo and behold, I have found a solution to this problem: overnight oats.

You may ask yourself, what does this mean? Overnight? Oats? These are two words not normally found together. Basically, overnight oats are a cold version of oatmeal that you mix up the night before you'd like to enjoy it and then let hang out in the fridge overnight. Poof! You have breakfast waiting for you in the morning! The resulting mixture is along the lines of an oatmeal shake, although you can adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe to achieve your desired consistency.

You don't have to use a peanut butter jar - any container (Tupperware, leftover Chinese takeout container, glass jar, etc.) would work fine. The jars are nice because 1) they use up that pesky little bit of PB (or cookie butter or Nutella...), 2) the airtight seal prevents the bananas from getting brown, and 3) it's easy to grab and go without worrying about spillage. I keep a spare glass jar around to use when I'm not making peanut butter-based oats for this reason.

It looks a little wonky now, but trust me, it's going to be awesome!

I love the addition of chia seeds (yes, like that chia) because it gives the oatmeal extra volume and keeps me full all morning long. When the chia seeds are exposed to moisture, they expand and have a tapioca-like consistency. Also, I cut my banana slices a little bit on the large side so that there are still banana chunks in the oatmeal in the morning. If you cut them smaller, you'll taste the banana, but you might not see the pieces. 

Getting cozy in the fridge, making friends with the lime juice and half & half.

Before I get in the shower, I take the oats out of the fridge and let them sit on the counter for 20 minutes or so to take out the chill. The result is still refreshing but not quite as frigid. It also gives the oatmeal some time to mellow and get ready for consumption.

 The finished product. Yum!

Overnight oats are great because they are so versatile. Don't like yogurt? Leave it out. Can't imagine oatmeal without brown sugar and raisins? Go for it! If you do a quick search on The Google, you will find myriad recipes and variations. I've made versions with peanut butter, assorted fruits, and even pumpkin. Feel free to experiment with all kinds of ingredients. You might find a new favorite breakfast!

Done! Now off to the recycle bin with you!

Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oats

Makes one jar

almost empty peanut butter jar (or about 1 tbsp of peanut butter)
1/4 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats (do not use steel cut oats - they won't get soft enough)
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp Greek or regular yogurt (for extra protein and oomph!)
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 of a large banana, sliced
splash of vanilla extract
honey, sugar, or your favorite sweetener to taste
additional milk to achieve desired consistency (optional)

Add all ingredients to your jar of choice. Stir the mixture gently to make sure that everything is incorporated. Tightly close the jar and give it a hearty shake. Place jar in refrigerator overnight.

Before enjoying, let the jar sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to take the chill off. Open jar, give it a stir, and add additional milk as desired until the perfect consistency is achieved. Enjoy!

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