So . . . growing up the only way I ever ate oatmeal was in a cookie, preferably with chocolate chips or Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich style. In the form of breakfast cereal, forget it, though! I would gag and let prepared bowls of the congealed substance sit in front of me for as long as I was made to sit in front of it before being allowed to leave hungry without any alternative choice of food because I would rather feel pangs of hunger than eat oatmeal. That’s how much I disliked it and how vividly I remember not liking it. This was back in the days when oatmeal didn’t come in a thousand flavors in convenient packages and 101 flavors either. You basically were served the prepared cereal and toppings were optional dependent upon your household. Brown sugar, butter, milk and raisins were common in my youth. I personally didn’t mind the brown sugar, butter and milk . . . on their own. . . I mean, add some flour, eggs, vanilla and chocolate chips and that’s pretty much the best cookie ever, right?
Back to the oatmeal and the overnight oatmeal. Several years ago I was introduced to the concept of preparing oatmeal and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator to be ready to go in the morning. It also allows the oatmeal to be easier to digest when using some yogurt with the milk soaking liquid. I discovered that I enjoyed this method for several reasons: 1) the texture was so much better – if you use steel cut oats, they are almost chewy even 2) it saves time by having breakfast ready in the morning because you can make up a bunch at once and 3) there are so many options!!!! The first recipe I tried was the Bananas Foster you’ll find in this collection by Laura Fuentes, then found at her Super Glue Mom blog, but well known to many at her Momables website serving up fun lunches and snacks ideas for kids. It was a simple recipe and full of flavor. I was sold. Then I discovered Lee over at FitFoodieFinds’s Overnight Oatmeal Week (she’s now done a few of those). If you want to be excited for breakfast, check out the Moose Tracks Overnight Oatmeal (this one takes is definitely more involved, but look at those pictures on her site!).
I am currently finishing my Masters in Public Health-Nutrition by completing the practicum portion of the program. The first nutrition education class I observed at my practicum site highlighted a Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats recipe. Two pluses of oatmeal are that it’s budget friendly and a whole grain. My preceptor and I happened to get into a conversation about overnight oats and I her birthday was this week so I assembled a collection of 40 overnight oatmeal recipes from some of my favorite bloggers as a gift for her. After I gave it to her, I thought I’d share it here for all of you as well. If you make any of the recipes, I’d love to know which ones.
A few tips on the recipes. Use gluten free oatmeal if need a recipe to be gluten free. Adjust/substitute sweeteners in the recipes to suit your tastes. The rule of thumb when making substitutions for sweeteners is to substitute liquid sweeteners with other liquids and dry ones with other dry ones for example, you could substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar or honey for agave (if you wanted to do so). As for milk, substitutions can be made for whether full fat, low fat, non fat, dairy free, etc.
For those who might be wondering about the picture, that’s an overnight oatmeal I picked up from a local restaurant. Isn’t their packaging the best? They have the most amazing food and enticing way of presenting it. Their chia pudding is the best – it’s like eating a rainbow with all of the beautiful strawberries, blueberries and pistachios.