Overnight Berry Cardamom Oats

I am NOT a breakfast person.  I am NOT a morning person.  One of the nice perks about being home is the chance to hit a snooze button or forget to set an alarm entirely.  Then I can putter upon awakening, give my tummy time to catch up, and then indulge in breakfast of sorts.  Unfortunately, I often decide breakfast isn’t worth the effort and make unwise choices later in the day.

Click here to skip my rambling…

I am making a concentrated mindful effort to improve this one aspect of my diet.  As a whole, I’m trying to be more thoughtful of the food I’m eating, but I’m still going to choose a glass of grape juice and probably a cookie or granola bar if my sugar is crashing even if I’ve made other not-so-nutrient dense choices up to that point. Staying conscious and – you know, alive – will beat counting calories every time.

That said, I’ve been working with my health care team to align a number of (I hate using this word but it’s all I have at the moment) issues and find the balance I need to improve my overall health.  Movement, mental health, medication, and diet all have a role to play without getting into the complexities of keeping this incredible, dynamic, important machine running.

Back to breakfast… I’ve been experimenting with a lot of smoothies.  Some are better than others (don’t ask me about the one that curdled in my glass!) and I’ve been making small swaps for certain ingredients to see if they help me feel better.  (i.e. less milk, more almond or coconut milk options; less animal product, more plants.) I’ve also been trying to eat 40 different plant-sourced foods in a week.  It’s a fun challenge and helps keep me from getting into a rut… but I’m not beating myself up if I don’t make it, you know?  Again… balance.  Smoothies have been a great way to play up the plant aspect and finding what works without spiking my glucose levels or leaving me hungry has been interesting.  Unfortunately, smoothies can start to feel a little… the same. 

When I’m dreading the thought of another smoothie, I’ve been turning to overnight oats instead.  I know this is not a groundbreaking discovery, but hear me out. I don’t love the cold oats, but I either a) pull up my big girl pants and eat them anyhow or b) give it a reheat in the microwave or stovetop.  For extra nutrients, it’s easy to throw in some chia seeds, flax, or hemp hearts without greatly affecting the taste and if you don’t have a certain ingredient, it’s so versatile (like the smoothie) that you will rarely go wrong.  I mean you CAN go wrong (and I have) but usually, at worst, it’s just a little lacklustre.  I think I finally found my favourite flavours combination this morning: mixed berry and cardamom.  It reminded me of fresh berry pie, but healthy!

This was my exact recipe, prepared last night.  I found it to be a bit too filling this morning, so I reduced the oats a bit for tomorrow and eliminated sweetener altogether.  (P.S. it was higher in carbs than I anticipated, BUT because it was mostly “good” carbs – I say that as a diabetic and yes, I know a carb is a carb is a carb – I found my calculated insulin dosage actually surpassed what I needed. Even though I was full, my blood sugar dropped a bit too fast and quite a bit lower than I was comfortable with.  I’m talking 2.4 post-meal.  Yikes!  Tomorrow I’ll reduce my insulin to carb ratio and see if that helps.)

All the yummy details…
Frozen Mixed Berries
Makes It Easy!

In a glass container with a lid, add 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries.  Top with 1 tbsp chia seeds. Add 1/2 cup dry quick oats. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Add 2 tbsp cultured coconut milk (yogurt substitute). Top with another 1/2 cup mixed berries.  Add 1 cup almond milk, give or take, knowing the oats suck up all the liquid.  I like mine really creamy and loose. Sprinkle with ground cardamom to taste (I think I used about a teaspoon, but really just eyeballed it.) Cover and refrigerate overnight.  To serve, dump into a bowl and mix (or mix in the jar) and eat – or – mix, heat, and eat.  Seriously – it’s an awful lot like berry pie for breakfast, but a bit leaner, with protein and heart-healthy ingredients.  Win.   Unfortunately I don’t have a photo… I ate it too fast, proof in itself that it was just that delicious.

Recipe Test: Korean Beef Sloppy Joes via Dinner Then Dessert

I stumbled across a Korean Beef Sloppy Joe recipe from Sabrina at Dinner Then Dessert a few weeks ago and thought it might be the perfect burger replacement in our meal rotation without the taste of a typical sloppy joe – which I honestly don’t love. I loved the idea of added extra of veggies that might work for my sometimes picky eaters. (This idea failed as the pickiest one actually requested that if I make this again, I serve the veggies on the side…. so no mom-win there.)

While I prepped the veggies and started sauteeing the meat, J. (our eleven year old) started measuring out the ingredients for the sauce. It all came together nicely and made more sloppy joe filling than we needed. (Ideas on how to use the leftovers?) Overall, no major complaints (aside from the hidden veggies) and J. took a strange pride in this very tasty sauce.

The only change we made to the original recipe is that I added some ginger paste (the kind that comes in a tube) for a little extra punch. For vegetables, I included 2 shredded carrots, finely chopped red onion, and finely chopped red pepper (half of each that were sitting in my fridge leftover from our omelettes this morning.) I tossed in a few handfuls of baby spinach for extra greens and used extra garlic because my cloves were tiny – also you can never have too much garlic. We served our sloppy joes on toasted ACE classic buns with sliced cucumbers on the side.

While I’d love to share the actual recipe with you here, I’m going to respect the original copyright and instead send you over to the original post – credit where credit is due and all that… plus she has the nutrition info posted if you’re concerned about that!

If you give this meal a try, let me know your thoughts and variations and be sure to share your comments under the original recipe as well. As for us, I’ll keep it in our rotation and probably use the sauce for other tasty concoctions. It rates pretty high for dinner satisfaction (aka lack of complaints) – a hard achievement when my two ridiculous boys can never agree on a meal!