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Cold Oats

May 16, 2014

Breakfast is the stuff that dreams are made of. I can’t imagine a better smell to start the day than that of freshly brewed coffee commingled with the sweet smokiness of frying bacon. Naturally, eggs are cooked in the bacon fat, bread is toasted and served with butter and jam, and if you’re really lucky someone has fried a bunch of diced potatoes with onions and plenty of salt.

But if nobody is going to start cooking your breakfast at home while you sleep and you’re somewhere near Albany this Sunday, you could check out Josh Coletto’s special brunch at the Low Beat. For those who are keeping count, this is brunch number two. But just to mix things up a bit, Josh is bringing a new menu with him. The highlights include biscuits and gravy (either meat or mushroom), chilaquiles, and an ode to Miss Albany Diner’s “Rocky Mountain High”. But all the details are available here.

Lately, I’ve been taking a much more virtuous path for my morning meal. Although I have to admit it feels completely ridiculous.

I recently came into a lot of oatmeal. Long story. But the problem is that it’s no longer oatmeal season. Plus, these are rolled oats. When I do cook hot oatmeal, I do it right with the more toothsome steel cut variety.

So I decided to try a little experiment.

Sure, I’m late to the party on this one. Overnight oats lit up the healthy living blogosphere several years ago. People put them in jars, layer them, and make them look super cute with highly stylized and well lit pictures.

As far as I can tell, this seems to be the wellspring.

But the gist of it goes something like this. Before going to bed, dump the following into a jar and stir:
– 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
– 1/3 cup of milk (or more)
– 1/3 cup of yogurt
– 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds
– Something sweet
– Something flavorful
– Pinch of salt

Then in the morning you add:
– Something fatty to swirl in for body
– Something crunchy for texture
– Something fruity for color

The whole thing is pretty flexible. And as ridiculous as it all sounds, I kind of like it. Although it does feel like it’s tearing up my insides. To me, that’s just my body saying, “It’s working.”

My first run through with this technique involved a mango-lassi-styled breakfast. So in phase one I added 1/3 cup of sweetened mango puree and a pinch of cardamom seeds. Phase two included crushed raw cashews and flax seeds. It needed no other color since it was already a vibrant orange from the mango.

As I gained confidence, I went in a different direction, swapping out the flavors of India for much more American ones. In phase one I used one tablespoon of Grade B maple for my sweet and frozen banana for my flavor. The frozen banana turns to mush when it thaws, but that’s what I wanted in this jar. Phase two included a swirl of coconut milk, walnuts and flax seeds. Since I wasn’t taking any pictures of this, I had no desire to add color to something that tasted pretty darn good.

Yes, it probably would have been even better with some dark chocolate chips. But dammit, I’m not making dessert here. This is breakfast.

And as frilly as it may sound, it’s still oats and plain yogurt.

Maybe one day I’ll feel less ridiculous eating it. Or perhaps I’ll burn out of eating raw oats before that day comes. It’s even possible someone will send me some kind of science report that proves I’m doing my body more harm than good in this vain attempt to eat healthfully. But the key driver is really to use up the oats without heating up the kitchen. And with those goals in mind, I’m doing a pretty good job.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2014 9:41 am

    Breakfast is the greatest thing ever. Its my happy place. Overnight oats are perfect for warmer weather. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve made them with chocolate milk, banana, and peanut butter. Does that even count as breakfast?

  2. May 16, 2014 10:50 am

    I’d been looking for some breakfast inspiration lately and had forgotten about this. What a great idea.

  3. May 16, 2014 11:11 am

    I eat this for breakfast almost every day – in fact, I’m eating some while I’m typing this. This is my recipe: 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, 1 container plain yogurt, a mashed banana, some orange juice, some flax seed meal, and a handful of frozen mixed berries. Mix together and let sit overnight in the fridge.

    If I don’t have premade muesli, I just use oats, shredded coconut, some dried fruit in place of it. Everything else the same. It’s my all-time favorite breakfast (aside from carrot cake pancakes, but you cannot eat those every day if you want to live past 40).

  4. May 16, 2014 5:32 pm

    Sounds good — I should probably try this sometime.

  5. June 3, 2014 10:24 am

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