Weekend breakfasts are perfection; you can leisurely wake up, lounge in your pyjamas, and spend a fair bit of time cooking. French toast. Pancakes. Eggs benny. Hash browns. Waffles. The possibilities are endless.
But week days? Not so much.
I get up fairly early, usually to walk the pooch before I start work at 7:30 am. I
need prefer to sleep as long as possible, which gives me a very small window between when the alarm blares and when I have to rush out the door. Get dressed! Put on my face! Feed the pooch! Then feed myself.
What’s quick, easy, uses minimal dishes, and will satisfy my morning hunger? For the longest time I just scarfed down a bowl of Cheerios and that was that, but having that every morning got old pretty fast. Plus, by the time mid-morning hit I’d be starving. I needed something heartier, something filling, something healthy and delicious.
Growing up, I was never a huge fan of oatmeal, as I found it to be too bland and, well, mushy. I loved my mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but plain oatmeal? Something about the texture just put me off, so once I was out of the house and living on my own, I never gave it a second thought. But, in my quest for a healthier/easier breakfast alternative, I rediscovered oats.
Turns out, they’re insanely good for you. Seriously, just Google them. Plus, there’s a LOT of different ways to cook them.
Have you heard of the “overnight oats” trend? It’s a trend for a reason. Mix your oats and liquid in a 1:1 ratio. Add in whatever you fancy – chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, jam, berries – and let it sit overnight. The oats absorb the liquid and soften up while retaining a chewy texture. You can top it with whatever you like, pop it in the microwave, or eat it cold. Either way, there’s virtually NO morning prep, it’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s HEALTHY (provided you don’t drown it in sugar, of course).
While I love overnight oats and I eat them every morning (maybe I’ll do a post some day), occasionally I spice it up. I took it a step farther and blended it up to make a tasty morning smoothie. The only downside to this recipe is that you have to bust out the blender, but if you’re willing, I’d suggest investing in one of those single-serving blenders, like this one. You dump the ingredients in the blender cup, let it sit overnight, and then just blend it in the morning in seconds.
I love to flavour my oats with chai, and I’ve included my favourite chai masala (a chai milk tea) in the notes section of the recipe below. You can find bottled chai in most grocery stores (or Starbucks!) but I find it much easier (and cheaper!) to make my own (as does Finn!). I’ve adapted my recipe from the Joy of Cooking; it yields about 6 cups, so you’ll have a large batch to use for smoothies all week. Or, simply, drink it cold or hot. It’s pretty dang tasty.
The oats, apple, and chia seeds do a good job at thickening the smoothie, but feel free to add a banana to the mix if you want it a bit creamier. Just be aware that the flavour of the banana might overpower the chai.
|Overnight Apple Chai Breakfast Smoothie|| |
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chai masala* (recipe below)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- In a medium bowl, combine apple, chai, water, oats, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Store in the fridge overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
- When ready to serve, transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
4 cups water
2 cups milk (or any dairy-free milk)
3 cinnamon sticks
3/4-inch piece of ginger, sliced thin
1 star anise pod
10 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
2-5 Tbsp granulated sugar, to taste
2 Tbsp black tea leaves
In a large pot, combine water, milk, cinnamon, ginger, anise, cardamom, peppercorns, and cloves. Bring to a low boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
Bring back to a low simmer and add sugar, to taste, stirring until dissolved. Add tea leaves. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 minutes.
Strain the mixture in a fine-mesh sieve. Store in the fridge until ready to use.