Thursday, 19 June 2014

Breakfast at your desk – overnight oat jars

Hands up who has time to make a decent breakfast in the morning before work?

When I started this blog I wanted to change my attitude towards breakfast. As well as exploring unique brunch spots at the weekends, I wanted to think differently about my average weekday breakfast. 

“Step away from the boring cornflakes and sliced banana,” I told myself. “Put down the stodgy bacon and cheese croissant.”

So I’ve now set about discovering tasty, exciting (and often healthy) options for breakfast, while making sure they’re easy enough to transport to work and eat at your desk.

One of the first healthy options that comes to mind is oats. But while porridge is really good for you, I much prefer cooking my own than eating the "convenience food" microwave sachets which have invaded offices across the country. If I cook my own I know exactly what goes into my bowl with no added sugar or nasties. But I also know I prefer to spend those extra 15 minutes in the morning hitting the snooze button than slaving over a hot stove.

Recently, a friend told me she’d been experimenting with overnight oat jars. And after doing a little research, I see these are all the rage on Pinterest, Instagram and blogs on the web – it seems to be the latest healthy trend for the super-busy urbanite.

While overnight oat jars need to be prepared the night before, they only take 60 seconds to pull together. Throw milk, yogurt, oats and whatever flavours you like into a jar and pop it in the fridge to allow the oats to absorb the liquids overnight. 

Simple store-cupboard ingredients

What you’ll need:
  • A Kilner jar, Mason jar, or any jar with a lid
  • Equal amounts of oats, yogurt (I used coconut) and almond milk (good for low calorie, low GI and no saturated fats)
  • Flavourings – I kept it simple with raspberries, half a banana, linseed and a pinch of ginger for a zing, but let your imagination run wild.
  • Toppings to add in the morning – granola and pomegranate seeds, but again, go crazy!
Between you and me, I was so excited when I put my first jar in the fridge, it was like Christmas Eve, I couldn't wait to go to bed so I could wake up and try it!

Result? Weekday breakfasts will never be the same again.

My beautiful breakfast bounty,
drunk with a cleansing lemon and hot water

A jar of healthy goodness

It was brilliant. You have the comfort of porridge, yet it's a cool fresh summer alternative to the steaming hot bowl I associate with dark winter months. And it was delicious - the ginger really came through, but the sweet pomegranate jewels and tart raspberries cut through the spice. And there were so many textures, from the gloopy porridge, to the firm banana and crunch of the granola, and not to mention the gorgeous pink colour.

The only downside was that the coconut yogurt was overpowered by the raspberries, but I'm not sure it was strong enough to begin with. Next time, I'll try my favourite Rachel's Organic brand of coconut yogurt and combine with some calmer flavours.

The added bonus is that it can be eaten greedily from the jar before you dash out of the house – or even better take it with you to enjoy at a slightly more leisurely pace at your desk with your morning earl grey.

If you’re anything like me, you could get a little too excited and throw too many flavour combinations into one jar, but stop and think about what flavours go well together.

I fancy trying cacao and coconut, lavender and blueberry, or grated apple and cinnamon. Oh wow, so many combinations. 

Note: While you’re experimenting make sure to taste your jar in the morning before running out of the door, add extra milk if its too gloopy, and taste to see if it needs a touch of honey or maple syrup to sweeten – raw oats are not as sweet as cooked porridge because they haven’t been in contact with heat which breaks down the starch into sugar.

Enjoy and please share your inventions with me by emailing, tweet me @cl_baldwin or I’d love to see your pictures on Instagram @breakfastatcarolines