So, I’ve been MIA for the last two months but I’m prepared to make it up to you with this recipe for oatmeal that you make in your refrigerator overnight. My friend Will deserves the credit for turning me on to this recipe, which he found on The Yummy Life website. He was looking for a quick, make-ahead breakfast that would power him through a morning of talking about his feelings and visiting sick people and grieving families as part of the hospital chaplaincy internship (CPE) that most of us MDiv students have to complete in order to graduate or be ordained. Luckily I only have to talk about my feelings once a week in therapy, and the only grieving family members I have to hear from are my kids whining about why I won’t buy them soda and ice cream every day of summer break, which causes me the most grief. Nevertheless, this breakfast helps me endure whatever comes my way before lunchtime.
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup soy milk (I use plain, unsweetened, but if you use one with sugar in it you may want to reduce the sweetener in this recipe)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon chia seeds (yup, like the ones from the commercials…I found mine at Trader Joe’s, but probably any health food store would have them)
1 – 2 teaspoons (more or less for to taste) agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (I prefer almond extract, but either one will really enhance the sweetness and flavor of your fruit)
fruit of your choice, chopped in small pieces–dried figs, dates, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, apples, or some combination of ripe, flavorful fruits
optional: 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder for a chocolatey flavor, or a pinch or two of cinnamon or other spice depending on what fruit you’re using
You’ll assemble these in half-pint (8 ounce) jam jars with fitted lids. The above proportions are for one jam jar of oatmeal, so increase accordingly. They will keep in the fridge for two days. I’ve fiddled with the proportions on this and here’s what I’ve come up with: you want basically the same proportions for the refrigerator oatmeal that you would use for cooking it on the stove, since the chia seeds absorb some of the liquid and help thicken the oatmeal. If you don’t use the chia seeds, I would reduce the soymilk by a couple of tablespoons.
Start out by pouring the oats and chia seeds into the jars and mixing them together. If you are making a chocolatey version, add the cocoa powder to the dry ingredients now.
Add the soy milk to the dry ingredients and stir them together so the oats are totally saturated and the chia seeds are pretty evenly dispersed. If you are going to add cinnamon or some kind of spice, add it now and taste it to get the right flavor. Next, add as much fruit as you can fit in the room left at the top of the jar and stir it in. Taste it again and add more sweetener or spice depending on your preference. I’m going pretty light these days, so I’m only using about a teaspoon of the sweet stuff–you may want more than that. Put the lid on and stick it in the fridge to enjoy tomorrow morning. I usually add a little more fruit to the top when I eat them. It’s as easy as that.
I have made this in the following combinations:
- Blueberry (frozen) with maple syrup
- Chocolate banana with agave
- Raspberry agave (make sure your raspberries are nice and sweet, otherwise they won’t taste good in this…I know from experience)
- Strawberry honey
- and my very favorite, dried fig with toasted almonds (which I added when I ate it, not when I made it) no sweetener needed
Some other combinations I’m excited to try are:
- Dates with honey
- Chocolate banana with peanut butter and honey
- Apple cinnamon with raisins and maple syrup
- Dried apricot with honey and almonds
Let me know if you try some other awesome flavor combinations.