Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chocolate Cranberry Refrigerator Oatmeal

I cannot take credit for this idea - this recipe is adapted from The Yummy Life. If you love easy, healthy, make-ahead breakfast ideas, please head over and check her out! She has 16 recipes for refrigerator oatmeal that are really tasty!

My husband ran across her recipe a few weeks ago, and shared it on his Facebook page. It's taken me this long to remember to grab the ingredients at the grocery store! He and I have kind of a standing deal - I fix oatmeal for him to eat every morning, and he exercises and eats healthy, and we get to skip  cholesterol medication. It's a win-win situation, right? Before the baby was born, it was no big deal for me to get up and cook some oatmeal while he took a shower. I had to be up anyhow, and I liked the bit of quiet before the kids came downstairs. Post-baby, though, has been a different story! When he gets up in the morning, I am so groggy, I usually sleep through his shower, my alarm, and most of our before-school prep time completely. Ouch. Sometimes we do steel cut oats in the slow cooker, but he likes to schedule early morning tennis court times and doesn't eat breakfast before he plays. And we never remember to coordinate our schedules to that degree, so if I DO remember to make him oatmeal, it's a morning when he won't be at home to eat it.


Enter, refrigerator oatmeal! I can pre-make a few jars, and he can either eat at home or take it with him for a post-workout meal. The oatmeal is served cold, so it just couldn't be simpler. Greek yogurt and skim milk are mixed with regular (raw) oatmeal and chia seeds. To that base, you can add any mixture of sweeteners and flavors you like!

Today, I made three versions, from The Yummy Life: Maple Blueberry, Cinnamon Apple, and Chocolate Banana. Or, I meant to. At the last minute, I decided to make a change to the banana pots. I just couldn't see day old, chopped bananas, soaked in yogurt, as being too appetizing. I subbed in dried cranberries (Craisins), because who doesn't like chocolate and cranberries, right? Getting these going assembly line style was really slick - I can definitely see myself doing this twice a week. Hopefully the kids will enjoy them, too!

Chocolate Cranberry Refrigerator Oatmeal
(Adapted from Yummy Life)

Serves 1

In a half-pint sized jar (or similar 8 oz. lidded container), layer: 
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk (skim, soy, almond, etc.)
1/4 cup regular oats
1 1/2 tsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. sweetener (agave or honey)
2 Tbsp. cocoa

Put the lid on the container and shake vigorously to combine. Open it back up and fill up the rest of the space with dried cranberries, about 1/4 cup. Put the lid back on and turn it back and forth a few times to distribute the cranberries. Stick your jar in the refrigerator, and in the morning you can enjoy the fruits of your labors! 

One last note. I made up one jar of Maple Blueberry Oatmeal on Saturday night, to test the waters. It was tasty, but it never made it to the thick consistency I was looking for. The other versions I made today set up quite quickly. Just FYI.