Overnight Oats with Chia

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. – John Gunther

If you want to have a good day, you should make sure to start it with a good breakfast. If you want to have an even better day, you should make sure to start it with a good breakfast that you don’t have to make. Overnight oats are the perfect healthy breakfast – they’re easy to prepare, extremely customizable, and made the night before, so you can grab them quickly on your way out the door.

jar-overnight-oats

Overnight oats are also great vehicles for chia seeds. Most recipes include a topping of chia seeds and fruit, or include the seeds blended into the base as well. Either way, the combination of oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and fruit equals a great amount of energy throughout the day and enough fiber to keep you full until lunch – so your stomach won’t be growling at your desk all morning (isn’t that the worst?).

There were so many overnight oat recipes to choose from, but I chose to keep it simple as I am pretty new to this idea and have only made this once before. This is not to say that it’s difficult, as you pretty much just combine everything into the jar and stick it in the refrigerator. No cooking required, either – the oats “cook” themselves overnight in the mixture. This particular recipe is from Just A Taste. No photos of my own this week, as it wasn’t exactly the prettiest creation… so click the images to find their source.

What you’ll need:enhanced-buzz-3838-1365803688-29
  •  oats, duh (1 cup)
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
  • fresh fruit to top
How to make:
  1. Combine everything into a bowl and stir well.
  2. Pour your mixture into a mason jar, or bowl, however you will be eating it.
  3. Refrigerate and wait patiently overnight.
  4. Wake up, top with fruit, and enjoy!

If you have a busy schedule, you know it can be tough sometimes to get a healthy meal in when you’re always rushing out the door. These oats give you the nutrition you need to get through the day and require minimal prep work. I highly recommend this recipe and don’t be afraid to customize – there are so many directions this can go in, and they’re all so different and delicious.

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Mango Avocado Salsa

Just like there is nothing better than a nice hot cup of soup on a cold day, there is nothing quite as good as a light, citrusy snack on a hot summer day. This weeks’ recipe contains my last two posts, avocado and mango. You only need a handful of ingredients and a few minutes to make it, and it’s delicious. This recipe is courtesy of Whole Foods, and I must admit I have made it quite a few times before… I did say I wanted to try all new recipes on here but I couldn’t resist (and what else contains mango and avocado)?

Image Courtesy of Whole Foods
Image Courtesy of Whole Foods
What you’ll need
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 (15-oz) can of no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I think this is optional)
Now what?
Or 15 hours ago.
Or 15 hours ago.

Umm.. throw everything together into a bowl and mix it. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and WASH YOUR HANDS immediately after handling the jalapeño. Wash them well, too. I must have washed mine four or five times after handling it, and showered this morning before work (the next day mind you), and rubbed my eyes at work today and it STILL hurt. So take my advice.(and if you do happen to burn your eyes due to the jalapeno, here.)

Uses and recipe recommendations

This salsa is versatile in that it can be a part of a meal, or part of a snack, or side dish. I have had this a few different ways – with tortilla chips, on grilled chicken, or in fish tacos. I have to say it’s really great on meat, as it adds a citrusy, juicy flavor to it.

I would definitely recommend mangosalsa2letting the mixture sit a bit before you eat it. That way the flavors have some time to meld together a bit and it tastes even better. The cilantro is a bit overwhelming (and I love cilantro) if you eat it right away.

If you’re pressed for time (or if you’re not), and you’re looking for a healthy and FAST appetizer to make that’s packed with flavor, definitely give this one a try! I can’t stress how easy it was to make and how inexpensive the few ingredients are. Enjoy!

Zesty Quinoa Salad

For this post, I first wanted to do a vegetable stir-fry over quinoa, but I realized I should do something where quinoa isn’t the base that carries the vegetables, but where it’s the main star of the recipe. This Zesty Quinoa Salad from allrecipes truly showcases how versatile quinoa can be as an ingredient.

Now, I will admit that to find this recipe, I simply Googled “quinoa salad recipe” and clicked the first result. I would have kept looking around a bit, but this looked so delicious and light. And, being that it’s something I haven’t yet made, I was intrigued. I want this to be as much of a discovering experience for me as it is for you, so it was the perfect choice.

Before we begin:

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes (ish)

What you’ll need

(makes 6 servings)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (I used rainbow quinoa)
  • 2 cups water or broth (I used vegetable broth, for some more flavor)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (again, I used tuscan herb olive oil from Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co.)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cuminQuinoa Salad Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 green onions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Now, here’s what you’ll do..
  1. Start by cooking the quinoa with your water or broth. Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s best to rinse your quinoa off before starting to cook it, to get the bitter coating off of it.
  2. Once the quinoa is all done, let it cool a bit (I was a bit anxious, so I put mine in the freezer)
  3. Combine the olive oil, cumin, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk together to make your dressing. Add your 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I added a bit more for some more heat).
  4. Combine the black beans, tomatoes, and green onions in a bowl, and add the chilled quinoa.
  5. Mix together, and slowly add the dressing, mixing in as you pour. Top with cilantro and salt and pepper to taste, and voila! You’re all done.
So, how is it?

I think this came out great. And surprisingly filling, in a good way! I think it’s a nice, light meal full of flavor and zest. The cumin in the dressing definitely stands out, as does the IMG_1875cilantro. This is something I will definitely be bringing to work with me for the next few days for lunch. It would make a great side dish as well, or an appetizer dish to bring to a barbecue. It was so easy to make; and the ingredients are easy to find and inexpensive. And, it looks appetizing, which I have to admit I can’t exactly say for my last recipe.

Some recommended tweaks

While pouring the dressing, I learned it wasn’t necessary to use the entire serving of it. I probably only used about half of the dressing, and my salad was covered more than enough. I think it may have turned a bit too oily if I used all of it. I would also recommend cutting the salt a bit – I found it just a bit too salty, but not too overpowering.

Additionally, as I mentioned, use broth instead of water. It makes a huge difference in the way your quinoa turns out. I also think this would be delicious with some chopped avocado on top – but then again, what isn’t good with avocado on top? Another thing I might add next time is corn or celery, to give the dish some crunch.

I highly recommend trying this easy and tasty recipe! Especially in these hot summer months. Let me know what you think! 🙂

Cooking with Turmeric: Mulligatawny Soup

If you were to ask me a year ago to take a chalky, mustard-yellow colored spice, incorporate it into my cooking, and enjoy it, I would have probably politely declined. One year later, I have a pretty decent-sized bag of turmeric in my spice rack, and I use it as often as possible.

mulligatawny_soup_68949_16x9This weeks’ recipe is Mulligatawny Soup, a traditional Indian dish translated as “pepper water” – due to the addition of curry spice, and in some variations (like this one), turmeric.

Why this recipe?

This particular recipe I’m following, from Allrecipes.com, doesn’t actually include turmeric by default, but I’ve made it a few times and feel that the addition of turmeric will only make it better. I discovered this recipe only a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make, and how delicious it is. My whole family loves it. Within the first few minutes of simmering the vegetables, my kitchen smelt amazing.

Before we begin:

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time
: 1 hour
Ready in
: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Here’s what you’ll need…

(makes 6 servings)

  • Mulligatawny Soup Ingredients1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 apple cored and chopped (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup white rice (I used brown)
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, cut into cubes
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
Now what?
  1. First, take your carrots, onions, celery, and butter and combine in a medium to large soup pot. Sauté for about seven minutes, until onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the flour, curry powder, turmeric, and garlic, and cook for five more minutes.Mulligatawny_saute (1)
  3. Add the chicken stock and mix everything together, continuing to cook until a boil. Once boiled, lower the heat and simmer for about a half hour.
  4. Add diced apple, chicken, rice, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer until rice is done (about 20 minutes).
  5. Add hot cream (I microwaved the cream beforehand for about 20 seconds to warm it).
  6. Serve and enjoy!
It’s all about the taste

Mulligatawny_done (1)This came out delicious! Adding the turmeric really gave it a nice kick. If you’re looking for a warm, somewhat spicy treat for crisp, cool days (or cool summer nights), I highly recommend this recipe.

Some recommended tweaks

Now that I’ve had it with and without turmeric, I would definitely recommend including it. I also included garlic, which wasn’t called for in the original recipe. If you want to make it extra healthy, you can always substitute the butter for olive oil, and the heavy cream for 2% milk. One reviewer even recommended substituting the flour for cooked potatoes. If you’re a vegetarian, consider adding lentils instead of chicken. Your soup may not be as thick and hearty with these substitutions, but the flavors will still be there.

Another tip – this soup gets better with time. If you can, save some for the second or third day; it will give the flavors some more time to meld together, and the unique spices will really come out.

Hope you enjoyed the first recipe! Let me know if you make it, and what you think in the comments!