May 29, 2011

Carrot cake overnight oats

A few people have asked me what, if anything, I miss while on my eating challenge. To be totally honest, I don't miss meat all that much - I pretty much only eat chicken anyway, so the diversity of trying all these different veggie recipes has me quite satisfied. I don't feel deprived.

That said, I've been oddly craving eggs lately. I don't eat them all that often, but I haven't even kept eggs in the house since my mom was here because I knew that having eggs around would lead to making cookie dough, and I didn't want to enable myself. But the other afternoon, I got hit with an intense desire to eat an egg salad sandwich on rye toast. Triple threat of things I don't really eat anymore: bread, eggs, mayo.

When I *do* eat eggs these days (pre-challenge), they're either hard-boiled (white part only) or in a whites-only omelette. My Monday-through-Friday breakfast is usually a cup of yogurt, but on weekends, I branch out a little. Because if I've said it once, I've said it a million times: breakfast is my favorite food. All of it.

I'm thrilled with a bowl of cereal. French toast is amazing. Eggs any way? I'm done for. I think I like breakfast the best because it's the easiest meal with which to go either sweet or savory. I'm just as happy with banana pancakes as I am with a spinach and artichoke omelette.

I've been enjoying green smoothies and oatmeal for my breakfasts these days, which is great because they could be completely different from one day to the next.

Peanut butter/chopped apple, blackberry/blueberry/coconut, and cocoa/brown sugar/chopped apple. Delicious, and ready in about five minutes! I always grabbed a yogurt for breakfast because it was easy in terms of both preparation and calorie counting, but I think if nothing else, the oatmeal habit I've developed during this challenge will stick with me.

Something I was a little concerned with before giving up my yogurts was the calories, for sure. A little cup of Yoplait Light has 100 calories; even before adding anything, a half cup of oatmeal has 150. Typically my add-ins bring it to around 300 calories, but you know, it's not bad - I feel full for longer, eliminating the need for the 80 calorie mid-morning snack I ate during the semester.

I've been reading a lot on Twitter and in people's blogs about overnight oats, and I was curious. I had the image in my head of a cold gooey blob and couldn't see the appeal. Then I heard mention of carrot cake overnight oats, and I was sold. (I wish I remember who suggested it! I owe them, incredibly. This recipe may have changed my life.)

Basically, you mix oats, liquid (could be regular milk, soy milk, almond milk, whatever), and your mix-ins, and let it soak up overnight. In the morning, you have a nice bowl of unbelievably delicious breakfast - not gooey, not unpleasant. Far from it, in fact. Heavenly.

For my carrot cake overnight oats, I started by shredding a few baby carrots with the thin side of my cheese grater.

Then I add a little box of raisins.

Top it off with 2 tablespoons each of unsweetened coconut flakes and crushed pecans from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Shake on a generous amount of cinnamon - I don't add any sweetener, so the spiciness of the cinnamon is complemented really well by the natural sweetness of my fruits, veggies, and nuts.

Toss it all up with a fork to ensure even distribution.

Then add half a cup of oats. I bought the store brand at Target in a giant canister - not the "quick cooking" ones. (Though, they only take five minutes when they're not "quick." I don't quite get it...)

And mix again! Again, we want a good, even distribution of oats and "stuff."

Now I add the liquid.

I used unsweetened vanilla hempmilk - about 3/4 to 1 cup, but really, just enough to cover it all without drowning it. The more mix-ins, the more liquid you'll need.

Now comes the hard part: being patient. It smells sweet and spicy and delicious, but they aren't ready yet. You need to let the oats get acquainted with the kale overnight.

And when you wake up ... voilĂ ! Breakfast is ready!

It's sweet without being artificial or overpowering, not sticky, not lumpy. Just perfect. This came out to about 425 calories, and I didn't feel the need to eat again for another six or seven hours.

What about you? What are your favorite oatmeal mix-ins - for hot or overnight oats?


Unknown said...

I am craving eggs too! Isn't that so strange...I agree, don't miss the meat but eggs! And that recipe for overnight oats sounds amazing. I have seen that on blogs for a while now. I will have to give it a try.

Jessica said...

Yum! I will have to try this :)

SheZug said...

Thank you! I've tried to make overnight oats before and now I know what I did wrong. I'm SOOO going to make this for breakfast tomorrow.

Jenni said...

Wow, the recipe sounds delicous! I will try it pretty soon.

I love them pretty plain but also hot with apple, raisins, cinnamon, a bit of lemon and all cooked in water.

Tim said...

I've never heard of that before but it looks great!

I've never seen hempmilk before so next time I go shopping, i'll look out for that and will attempt this! It would be an ideal breakfast for me before work.

Sarah said...

OMG I want those oats now. Pity it's already morning and I have none prepared! I think you will see them on my blog soon:)

SheZug said...

My oats came out pretty good. I just made another batch for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I am gonna try that this week! I like the shredded carrots in it! I think I will have eggs for dinner tonight.

I am very susceptible to you! Perhaps I should read about your bike riding more often. Maybe that will rub off on me as well. I haves me doubts tho.

Unknown said...

So you eat it cold?? It looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

H'omg.. I cannot wait to move back to an area (i.e., not rural Morocco) where I will have access to the ingredients you have listed in the carrot cake overnight oats recipe. It sounds beyond delicious! Thanks for sharing it :)