I’ve recently discovered how lovely it is to have jars of Overnight Oats in the refrigerator all prepped and ready to grab in the morning. Mornings, after all, are kinda *cough* o’er-busy at our house, with many many mouths, er, beaks to feed, Mack back in school (home school) and the farm fall crops producing wildly.
(Secret confession that I will tell only you, gentle reader: I have chicks in four different stages to care for–eggs in the incubator, week-olds in the garage brooder, pre-teens in the coop nursery, and boisterous teens in the chicken tractor. Madness? Yes! This craziness is quite a feat, even for a chicken-besotted individual like yours truly. How did I accomplish this? A weak moment in my planning (which is, admittedly, sketchy at best of times) possibly, and an unexpected largesse of day-olds at the feed store, maybe? Anybody else succumb to this madness? (*searching for hands in the air*)
But it’s not all bad. When the world is going crazy, my friends, buy some more (or hatch some more) chickens. They will do their part to keep you busy and distracted from things in the world that are driving you crazy. That’s my life advice for the week. You’re welcome.
Overnight oats are are so easy to prepare the night before–an infant could make them (nearly). They are delicious as-is but are delicious squared with blueberries, nuts, honey, cream, peach slices, etc. generously added in the morning. I’m going to share with you how to make this wonderful breakfast, but first, indulge me as we go back–waaaay back–in time, to when I was a girl.
Way, way back. (cough)
I was raised by an amazing mother who believed that a hot breakfast (ideally containing at least one form of protein) was paramount.
more important than anything else; supreme.“a hot breakfast before school is paramount in developing brains” –Elna P. Young
Mom dutifully prepared hot breakfasts for us kids every morning. We’d clatter down the steep back wooden steps to the kitchen in our home in Nelson, Nebraska, and wolf breakfast down as quickly as possible. It was paramount to us not to be late to school, of course, and we had a good ten-to-twenty-minute bike ride ahead of us (depending on whether we were puffing up the hill to the grade school, or riding across town to the new junior-senior high).
Ohhh how I wish my time machine was working. I would love to travel back in time and sit on the edge of that old red wicker couch in the crowded kitchen and eat pancakes, sausages, and eggs that Mom would put on the table in front of us. *wave of longing*
Even if we were running late, we didn’t get out the door without at least taking a few bites. Mom was determined that we’d develop our brains as much as genetically possible. And she believed that the key to brain development was a hot breakfast. She did her best, at least. The rest was really up to us.
I’ve never told my little (now big) Mack about this, though he knows his grandma well, so he probably knows that she still believes that a hot breakfast is paramount.
When little Mack was actually little, I decided that I was much too busy with the needs of my farm to be fussing about with breakfast any longer, hot or otherwise. In desperation to get all my outdoors chores done before we started our morning schooling, probably, I decided that 8 was just the right age to learn how to make simple breakfasts, and so with a tra-la-laa! I delegated–with a bit of fear and trepidation, I can assure you–the family breakfast to my youngest son.
You may think me rash. Foolhardy, even, to delegate breakfast to such a young child. But if desperation pushed me into the driver’s seat, common mothering sense got me there. I knew that–though I would undoubtedly benefit from no longer having the burden of making breakfast on my shoulders–it would ultimately be a good thing for Mack to learn how to make satisfying breakfasts.
Fast-forwarding about a decade in my imagination–(I do this a lot--my time machine, after all, travels both ways–when it’s working)–I could picture tall, handsome curly-haired college student Mack effortlessly whipping up something nutritious and delicious, in just a few minutes before class, as his college friends bolted one more bowl of sugary cereal. Now who, I ask you, was going to thrive in the brain-developing process . . . the former or the latter?
We’re big on brain development here, if you haven’t noticed yet. And I’m concentrating on a brain that will someday shape the world. I’m hoping. I’m praying for that brain and soul, believe me. DAILY. *phew* It’s a big job.
One does not delegate, however, something as important as breakfast without a bit of careful planning. I came up with a collection of 5-minute breakfasts, and a list of all the ingredients to make them, and determined to keep the kitchen well-stocked. My goal: to have at least two weeks’ worth of 5-minute breakfast choices at any time, and to teach Mack how to make these simple breakfasts on his own.
Gentle reader: I’ve never looked back. (You’re welcome, future Mack, and future Mack’s friends, and future Mack’s wife.) It’s not a bad thing to teach your teenager to do something nice for somebody else: to serve your family breakfast, when you are used to being served yourself? This is a great, er, a fabulous thing for a teenage boy to learn, is it not? Or any boy. Or girl. Or anybody.
This is such an easy life hack for those of you, who–like me–are working toward scooting your children out the door when the time is right, with as many practical skills as possible to help them thrive in their adult lives. And that’s really what we want, right? Serving others. Are you blessed with a teenager in your household? Has he/she learned to do this yet? Teach him or her how to serve.
Overnight oats is nearly as easy as falling out of your hammock (which is where you can lounge, as your now-delegated child makes your breakfast every morning). (If you’re not feeding a million chickens during that time, that is.)
Rule of thumb: 2 parts of old-fashioned oats + 2 parts of milk + 1 part Greek yogurt = overnight oats base. Mix together, refrigerate overnight, and voila! You’re ready for breakfast the next morning. Of course, you’re going to want to add other ingredients to jazz up your overnight oats, and you are, of course, that sort of fun person who believes in sucking the marrow out of the bone of life, right, gentle reader?
The Recipe, at last *phew*
If you want to fancy up this simple base recipe just a bit, you can do that in just a minute or two. Here’s how I make our overnight oats.
Fancy Overnight Oats
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tb chia seeds (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (same)
- 1 Tb maple syrup or honey (also up to you)
- The night before: Mix together the oats, milk, yogurt, salt, and chia seeds (if using) in a big bowl. Separate into 3 or 4 pint jars, cover and refrigerate.
- In the morning, spoon the oats into bowls, and add whatever fancifying agents you desire. We like fresh fruit and berries, honey or maple syrup, nuts, and seeds.
(By the way, have you discovered these yet? They are life-changing, I assure you! Especially when you are using your mason jars to make overnight oats.)
Could I ask you a couple of super-quick favors, gentle reader? If you appreciated this post, would you share it with a friend? Maybe you have folks in your orbit who need to learn how simple it can be to make a delicious bowl of overnight oats.
And secondly, leave a comment below. I’m always on the lookout for more 5-minute breakfast recipes. I’d love to hear your ideas in this area especially! Thanks. You’re the best!
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