Overnight Oatmeal

I'm always looking for ways to make my life more efficient... and I guess healthy.

While I'm sure that I'd feel terrible, I'd love to eat bacon and everything bagels with cream cheese.... almost every day. In order to balance that out, I've tried a few different ways to make breakfast more exciting, cost effective, and healthy. A couple years ago, I decided to give overnight oatmeal a go. I had seen it flooding my Pinterest homepage far too much to not try it out. What I discovered is yet another versatile meal that can fit into the fold super easily. Not to create a mountain out of a molehill - it's just oatmeal - but here is how I go about making this.

Base + Extras + Time = Oatmeal

Base. These are the primary essentials that you really cannot avoid. You really need these - but obviously the amount of sugar and milk is a judgement call. Do you like it super sweet? Well, you'll want more sugar than I prescribe... Do you like it soupy? Well, you'll want more liquid. I opt for traditional milk most often but have been known to substitute for almond milk or water/milk combo.

Extras. After you have your base ingredients, what else do you like? This is essentially like the homemade pizza of the breakfast family. I normally opt for chia seeds and sliced almonds - but have been known to add in some frozen fruit, fresh fruit, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, etc. There are literally a million iterations of this. 

Time. I'll be honest with you. Despite all my best efforts, there have been times I made this the morning of. Yes, it is best when the oats get to mingle with the milk all night long. But if you give it about an hour or so to soak, you will still be happy. I would take my premade portions of base in a mason jar, add the milk, give it a shake... and then go to work. By the time I got there, the "overnight" oatmeal was ready for some email attacking.

Now, here's the caveat. My mom has been asking me to make her a batch of base that she could just scoop out each night/morning. I'd been really resistant to this for a few reasons: (1) I never had a formal recipe and (2) I was concerned about the mix being consistent. While I was able to correct for the first point, I still think the second point is valid. If you are looking to make this in advance, I'd encourage you to do individual portions (plastic bags, tupperware, mason jars, etc). This helps to correct for the "bagel chip sadness" in chex mix. You know when you only get 1 bagel chip in a bag... and you are pissed slash devastated?

The end result is a perfectly tailored healthy-ish breakfast. The oats are the right degree of soft and maybe even creamy? Can oats be described that way? Plus, with the added fruit or chia seed you are getting a few other boxes checked off.

Here's how it goes:
(Step 1) Combine all your dry ingredients in your bowl or to-go container. Feel free to toss in any fruit, nut, topping that suits your fancy. Fresh fruit can be added right before eating or the night before -- but frozen fruit should be added the night before so that it gets a chance to defrost. Fresh fruit is obviously better, but money doesn't grow on trees ... so I'm not judging.

(Step 2) The night before or morning of... add in enough liquid to just about come to the top of the oat mixture. This is not something to stress about but it is a little bit of an art. I would recommend being conservative on milk knowing you can always add more later.

(Step 3) Let sit in the fridge overnight... and eat the next morning.

Shopping List (per serving approximately)
1/2 cup - Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp - Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp? - Sliced / Slivered almonds
1 Tbsp - Chia Seed

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