Overnight Oats: Morning Glory or a Snooze?

Pumpkin Pie Oats I’d been seeing overnight oats all over the place (and by “all over the place” I mean “Pinterest” of course) and I was intrigued. I’ve always been used to making my oatmeal the traditional way – hot! – so the thought of mixing my oats with a bunch of goopy stuff and letting them sit in the fridge for hours was a bit strange. But I figured that I love cookie dough and mixing oats with wet stuff would be kind of like cookie dough, so I should at least give it a try, right? You really can’t get any more simple than this. Start with oats (duh), add some moisture (almond milk, yogurt, peanut butter, mashed banana, etc), choose your favorite mix-ins (nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, protein powder, spices, fruit) and just go wild! I decided to get into the spirit of the season and make my first batch a pumpkin-y treat.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats

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Spicy Bibimbap Oatmeal

Sick of the same old breakfast? Bland old cereal and fruit not doing it for you anymore? Well, today I’m here to spice up your morning routine… literally. Presenting your new favorite way to start the way: bibimbap oatmeal!

The idea for this glorious creation came together last week when I was trying out a new condiment, Gochujang, or Korean Hot Pepper Paste, from CJ Foods. I love anything spicy and/or Asian, so I was curious to see how this product stacked up to beloved old standbys like Sriracha. I gave myself a little taste test and determined that the Gochujang has a bit of a slower, more controlled savory burn that builds up after you eat it, while Sriracha is a bit more of a bright, immediate in-your-face kind of spice. Both are fantastic—and in my opinion, crucial—condiments for any home chef.

Anyway! I was thinking, hmm, what creative new dish can I make with my new chili paste? Then it dawned on me… the spicy oatmeal I read about and pinned from HuffPo last week! If it’s good with Sriracha, I bet it’s even better with Gochujang and Sriracha! And that’s how my Bibimbap Oatmeal was brought into this world. I added some complexity to my dish by combining quinoa and oatmeal, but you could easily make it only with oatmeal or only with quinoa. I made my first version with just the grains, seasonings, and egg, but in true bibimbap fashion I encourage you to mix in sautéed seasonal vegetables and/or some thin-sliced meat. Either way, make sure you have that runny yolk on top, because that makes all the difference.

Spicy Bibimbap Oatmeal

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The New Granola Bar: Golden Raisin Oatmeal Squares

I have nothing against prepackaged granola bars. In fact, I rather like them. But they’re usually kinda dry…and have strange things in them…plus they’re really small and always leave me ripping into another shiny wrapper to get a second one. Most of them are more candy bar than granola bar. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not the best choice for a healthy snack. Remember Kudos?! I managed to convince myself that chocolate-covered granola bars studded with candy and caramel was a healthy snack. It’s got GRANOLA, right?

So when the lovely people over at SunMaid sent me some of their golden raisins, I decided to try my hand at a healthy granola bar. I wanted something kind of cakey and dense, chewy, sweet, and soft. They had to be soft. So I came up with these oatmeal squares, and I think they’re pretty darn good. Each bar has 160 calories and 3 grams of protein, so these are a great snack for a lunchbox or even as a quick breakfast.

Golden Raisin Oatmeal Squares

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Top 10 Foods Only a Baby Could Love

Around here, we love top 10 lists.  I particularly enjoyed Jessica’s Top Ten Things I Ate in College That I’ll Never Eat Again.  It brought back some fond memories and the taste of stomach acid.  I might also add the Ramen sandwich and instant apple cider made with dorm room sink water.  But it’s been ten years since I entered that freshman dorm, and life as a parent has taken me to some new culinary lows.  So, here we go…the top 10 foods only a baby (or maybe a toddler) could love:

10. Single-Grain Cereal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a child, my mom tried to sell me on the virtues of a strange paste called Cocoa Wheats, sometimes singing the jingle as she stirred the gluey concoction on the stove.   Even at the tender age of 8, I knew that stuff was nasty.  And yet, we are told to give it to babies as their first food because it’s “highly digestible”  and has a “smooth texture.” I think we’ve only succeeded this long because they can’t talk back.  Just a warning, parents, they get over it pretty quickly and you’ll be stuck with a box of the stuff for months or years to come.

9.  Pureed Vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the texture of rice cereal, plus the power to stain any and all surfaces they touch — liquified veggies are truly abhorrent.  Since we waited until Elijah was six months old to give him solid foods, the mushy green paste period was mercifully short.  We never tried the jarred meat, so I can only imagine the horror.  And the smell.

I have been to a few restaurants lately where super-smooth vegetable mush was passed off as “sauce.”  Nope.  I’m on to you.  Gerber has a stake in this somewhere.

8. Food Off the Floor

Now, before you go and call me a snob, know that I am not talking about the 5-second rule, or even the 30-second rule.  I am talking about days-old, dried up, stuck-to-the-floor old food.  My son was never big on putting foreign objects into his mouth, but if it is, or once was, food — look out.  On the upside, I will say that my sweeping standards are dramatically higher as a result.

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Really Good But Even Better Low-Fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love cookies. L.O.V.E.  Since I like to eat them frequently (as in multiple times a day), I’m always attempting to make healthier versions of old favorites like chocolate chip or oatmeal. So I was stoked when I saw this Sun Maid recipe for Really Good Low-Fat Raisin Oatmeal Cookies in honor of Heart Health Month (which was February, but shouldn’t we always promote heart health?) I tried them — and they are really good. But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made a few little tweaks to the recipe and now I think they’re even better.

So here you have it: Really Good but Even Better Low-Fat Raisin Oatmeal Cookies. And even with my tweaks they still come out to about 60 calories per cookie, so I don’t feel too guilty about the fact that I ate like 5 of them out of the oven and about 5 cookies worth of dough as I was making them.

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S’mores Gone Wild

Ah, s’mores. That simple-but-perfect campfire treat that ranks as one of America’s greatest food inventions. Gooey, crispy and chocolatey, they just couldn’t get any better. Or could they?

We got pretty excited when we saw frozen s’mores on a stick at the Iowa State Fair and wondered what other new takes on s’mores are out there. Turns out food bloggers have been busy giving this old-fashioned treat a new-school makeover. Check out these seven inventive treats that take s’mores to the next level. Give us some more indeed.

1. S’mores Cookies

An entire s’more submerged in a chocolate chip cookie? Yes, ma’am.

Recipe: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

2. S’mores Pops

All the gooey goodness of a s’more, made right on your stovetop.

Recipe: Bakers Royale

3. S’mores Oatmeal

Breakfast will never know what hit it.

Recipe: une deux senses

 

 

 

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