My, how time has flown! Our sweet Elijah is 2 ½ weeks old and growing like a weed. He’s strong and healthy, and my heart is filled with gratitude that he could be part of our family. While the joys of this phase are numerous, so are the challenges. The honeymoon period has come to an end, and we are now figuring out how to juggle the needs of an active toddler and a very hungry boy. More change looms on the horizon as Dan prepares to take a job at a new company at the end of this month. It’s a crazy season, but the snuggles and smiles of my babies are definitely boosting morale.

It’s in times like these that I become acutely aware of my weakness and am so appreciative of friends and family members who have surrounded us with support. A steady stream of meals has freed me from having to plan nightly dinners, and the visitors have offered a welcome dose of adult interaction. Starting this Saturday, we’ll also have two consecutive weeks of live-in help (Dan’s mom is coming for a week, followed by my mom), which I expect will be a huge blessing in the sanity-saving department.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon 02

Not much (if any) of what I’m cooking right now would be considered “gourmet,” but simple recipes like these Overnight Oats are helping provide nourishing fuel when it is most needed. I first tried this meal a couple of years ago after reading about it on Oh She Glows and Kath Eats Real Food, and I’ve been making it ever since. If the idea of cold oatmeal turns you off, I can’t say I blame you, but I encourage you to give this a try. The oats have a nice chew, and since the flavors of the oats and yogurt are relatively neutral, they easily take on the flavor of whatever mix-ins you choose.

Nutritionally, this meal can’t be beat. Full of fiber and protein, it provides a strong start to the day and often keeps me full till 1pm. My favorite way to eat overnight oats is with pumpkin and peanut butter mixed in. Below, I’ve provided my recipe for that concoction as well as for a strawberry banana version, but feel free to add in whatever sounds tasty to you. (Oh, and did I mention these oats take about 2 minutes to prep? That’s my favorite part!)

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats 01

Overnight Oats, Two Ways

Makes: 1 large serving

Overnight Oats, Two Ways

Ingredients

    For the overnight oats:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Variation #1 – Pumpkin Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Variation #2 – Strawberry Banana
  • 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 small banana, mashed

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, Greek yogurt, milk, and chia seeds in a bowl or jar, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, stir in the desired mix-ins and enjoy (choose from one of the two mix-in combinations shown or come up with your own custom flavors!).
http://www.pepperlynn.com/2012/02/overnight-oats-two-ways/

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats 02

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats 03

Tips and Tidbits

  • The sky is the limit when it comes to the possible flavor combinations! In addition to the toppings I mentioned above, you could add any of the following: dried coconut, granola, nuts, ground flax seed, honey, Nutella, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, or fresh or dried fruit.
  • If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, feel free to use whatever type of yogurt is available. You may want to reduce the amount of milk depending upon the consistency of the yogurt so that the final result is thick and creamy.
  • What are chia seeds? These tiny, dark colored seeds can be found in most health food stores and are a nutritional powerhouse of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Chia is also a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
  • The craving for overnight oats sometimes strikes unexpectedly, and I don’t want to wait overnight before consuming a bowl of this healthful treat. In these instances, I reduce the liquid slightly and allow the oats to soak for at least 30 minutes. The more soaking time, the better, but a half hour is usually sufficient to soften the oats to my liking.

ENJOY!

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