Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Hugging the Angel Oak in Charleston
Hugging the Angel Oak in Charleston

Spring and summer have been fun and full of travel, as well as cooking from lots of cookbooks and issues of Bon Appetit. One book that we keep rechecking out has been, surprisingly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy, which sadly needs to return home to the library for a bit. She has a recipe for overnight oats that have become a staple in our house, so I decided that I need to write down my modified version of the recipe so I don’t forget it, because that would be tragic.

Also, these oats aren’t pretty. Hence the picture of a tree instead. Trees are prettier than (delicious) brown sludge. Gwyneth clearly agrees, because she doesn’t have a picture for them either.

Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Serves 1

This recipe makes for rather liquid heavy oats, which is how we like them. Feel free to increase the amount of chia seeds and/or decrease the amount of milk to your preference. A handful of berries thrown on top before serving is fantastic.

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup rice or almond milk (we use organic Rice Dream in the original flavor, which is lightly sweetened)
  • 2 dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Combine everything into a bowl or, ideally, a mason jar and mix VERY well. The mason jar is easy to put on the lid and shake.

Cover and leave to soak overnight. Serve cold. Her note says that you can make them up to two days ahead of time, but we’ve never tried.

 

Oven Poached Eggs

IMG_0308   Happy Friday! This week has been busy and mildly exhausting, so I’m more than looking forward to the weekend. I just wanted to write this suuuuuper quick post because it’s possibly the ultimate brunch discovery. See the above egg? It was “poached” in its shell, in the oven. What?! Even crazier, I cooked a few extras, stuck them in the fridge overnight, and then warmed them up in a bowl of warm water the next night and they were still perfect. Just think of what amazing brunches you could make if you could have perfectly poached eggs cooked days before?! I’m nearly giddy (which I recognize is a little odd to be about an egg, but whatever). This might even beat out 6 minute eggs as my favorite egg. For the full instructions, go over to Lady and Pups.

Have a great weekend!

Morning Glory Oats

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When I was a freshman in college, one of my favorite things to treat myself to on my way to class was a caramel macchiato and a cranberry orange muffin. Seriously: day made. When I saw the recipe for this morning glory oatmeal over at Joy the Baker, I immediately started drooling because of how similar (yet much healthier) I knew it would be to my beloved muffin of times past.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here: you probably won’t be seeing this on our meal plan very frequently/if ever again, because Josh did NOT like it. I was actually surprised he was willing to try them, because they fall into a category of flavors that he’s generally not a fan of, the fruitcake like or slightly bitter or remotely marmalade type of flavors. I so appreciate that he tried them, but this recipe is definitely going into the “meals I make when Josh is out of town for a few days” category. Oh well. We live and learn.

Aside: One of the things I’ve really enjoyed learning is what items I immediately want to restock my fridge with after I move to a new home. After moving 11 times in the past 11 years, some local moves, some not local at all, it’s been an adventure of its own to see how my tastes have changed, as well as my cooking habits. Like the vast quantity of asian ingredients that are immediately purchased now, and my shame that I haven’t already bought myself some marmalade for toast.

These oats (should you like the flavors) are the perfect “make ahead and eat through the week” breakfast. I made a batch yesterday afternoon, which made the house smell heavenly, and this morning I just had to roll out of bed and reheat a bowl for a lovely homemade breakfast. Win.

Morning Glory Oats (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 c. steel cut oats
  • 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 c. milk or homemade coconut milk, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 c. grated carrots (1 large carrot)
  • 1/2 c. currants/dried cranberries/raisins, whatever you’d like
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and milk and heat on high.

While the water/milk mixture is heating up, add the butter (or coconut oil) to a small pan over medium high. Once the butter has melted and started to sizzle a little, add the oats, stirring well to coat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the oats are golden and smell nutty. Remove from heat.

Once the water/milk mixture is gently boiling, add the oats, carrot, dried fruit, shredded coconut, spices, sugar, vanilla and salt and stir well to combine. Return this mixture to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low and partially cover. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the oats are soft and chewy and the mixture has become much thicker, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest, then let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Whole Grain Sweet Potato Muffins

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Food52 asks for recipe testers from time to time, and I thought that these sweet potato muffins were something I’d be likely to make anyway, so I might as well try the recipe for them. I’m so generous

Josh has been on a sweet potato strike for close to a year, but I caught him sneaking a second muffin into his lunch bag for work this morning. Can there be any praise higher than that?

I love the hearty nuttiness that came from using whole grain flour, and also love that these muffins don’t veer into “sickly sweet dessert muffin” territory. I wound up using a few splashes of heavy cream at the end to get the dough wet enough, and I think I need to remember that for the next batch!

Whole Grain Sweet Potato Muffins- from this recipe

  • 2.5 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground, if possible)
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (next time, I’ll use coconut oil)
  • 1 c. mashed roasted sweet potato 
  • egg
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk, or milk soured with one teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice, plus extra as needed

If you haven’t done so, roast your sweet potato. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, prick the skin of the sweet potato several times with a fork, and place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, or until very soft. Let cool, mash, and set aside.

Set the oven to 375. Line 12 muffin cups with paper lines and set aside. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to break up any large lumps of brown sugar. In a smaller bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until smooth. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be very thick, and it might be necessary to add a few more splashes of milk/buttermilk to get all of the ingredients fully incorporated.

Fill the muffin liners about 3/4 of the way, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops have started to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, and then either turn on their sides in the muffin tin or remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Grab at least one while still warm, cover in butter, and eat, standing in the middle of the kitchen.

 

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

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The running joke in our house is that once blueberries are in season, a pint of them won’t last a full day before being inhaled. They are, by far, Josh’s favorite fruit, and one of the only ways I can convince him to let me do something with them (besides eating them by the handful) is to tell him that I’m going to make these muffins. That is the power of these muffins.

Honestly, what’s not to love? Fresh blueberries, folded into a not overly sweet batter, laced with nutty browned butter. All very, very good things.

The original recipe calls for a streusel topping as well, but we like them best when they’re simple and unfussy. The batter is thick, and I wind up having to gently mush it into the muffin liners with my fingertips, taking care not to burst the blueberries.

Go find some fresh blueberries (raspberries would work beautifully as well!) and experience them for yourself.

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins (recipe from Joy the Baker)

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Place you oven rack in the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 375. Grease or foil/paper line your muffin tin.

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. It will get all crackly and it might stress you out, but that’s a happy sound. Once the crackling starts to subside, the fat pieces turn a nice golden brown, and it starts to smell nutty, it’s ready to take off the heat. You really need to watch it closely, because it WILL burn. Stressed again?

Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk well.  Slowly stir in the browned butter.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Divide evenly among the muffin cups and spread them out until the tops are flat. I usually wind up doing this gently with my fingertips because the batter is definitely on the thick side.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes.  Best eaten still warm with some extra butter. Butter makes it better.

The Best (Nut Free) Granola

Granola

One of the sad realities that we face is that Josh is allergic to nuts. Some types bother him more than others, but we generally try to steer clear of them all.

This becomes a lot more tricky when trying to find a good granola at the store. The few I’ve found all seem so… boring. Mainly just oats, for a ridiculously high price. We still want all of the yummy crunch and flavors of a good granola, so I set out to find a good version. I eventually discovered this recipe, and started modifying it to fit our tastes. The result? A granola that Josh begs for. As an added bonus, it makes our apartment smell like heaven while it’s cooking.

Note: I buy most of the ingredients for this in the bulk section at Whole Foods, which winds up making this a pretty dang cheap granola

The Best Nut Free Granola 

  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 3 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. chopped dried fruit (dates are always our favorite)
  • 1/2 c. dried, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. dried, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (in the fall I’ve been known to use pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 325.

In a small saucepan, melt your coconut oil. Once melted, add your maple syrup and stir to combine. I usually leave the pan on the stovetop on low to keep the oil from solidifying.

In a large baking pan, combine the oats, fruit, and seeds. Mix that together, making sure to break up any sticky clumps of fruit (I find using my hands for this step works best). Add the salt and cinnamon and mix well. Pour the oil/syrup over the dry stuff, and mix it around for about a minute to ensure that it’s all well coated. Add the vanilla extract and mix one more time. Make sure the granola is spread relatively evenly in the pan.

Place the pan in the oven for about 17 minutes. Stir well, and cook for another 17 minutes. Take it out and let it cool, stirring occasionally to help keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Taste as many handfuls as you deem necessary.

Serve with milk, granola, fruit… whatever you’d like.

Store in an airtight container.

Egg and Avocado Toast

Egg and Avocado Toast

We love avocado toast. We love it a lot. I could eat it 5 days a week and be happy.

I know that it has become a super trendy thing, but at the end of the day, it’s just delicious.

Add an egg to it? Pure brilliance, not to mention hearty enough to get you through your morning without digging through your desk drawer for snacks.

Egg and Avocado Toast

  • 1-2 6 Minute Eggs, cooled and peeled
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 pieces of toasted bread (we LOVE Ezekiel Sprouted 7-Grain Bread)
  • 1/2 lime or lemon, juiced
  • Red pepper flakes (we add quite a bit, since we’re gluttons for pain)
  • Sea salt to taste

Smash together the avocado, lemon/lime juice, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Spread this mixture across the two pieces of toast, and then slice the eggs on top of the avocado. I prefer half an egg on each piece of toast, while Josh prefers a whole egg. Sprinkle a little more salt on each egg and try to consume without making a total mess.

I have yet to succeed in eating this without winding up with egg yolk on my face.

Worth it.