Illustration: Nicole Antonuccio

As I’ve mentioned, I have a tough time navigating mornings. Two kids, early meetings, and even summer day camp doesn’t offer us much of a break (Sunscreen! Swimsuits! Bug spray!). So I’m intrigued by anything that could get me a few minutes ahead in the a.m., like preparing breakfast the night before. I’ve tried egg cups, and a French toast casserole, but I was fascinated by the concept of overnight oats, which seemed simple enough. And you didn’t even need to turn on an oven, a bonus as the temperature rises.

I went straight to the experts at the Quaker Oats website, and found out that this process couldn’t be simpler, as long as you have a mason jar around (or borrow a few from the neighbors, like I did). Equal ratios oats, milk, Greek yogurt, and then add some fruit on top. It was so simple I even threw it together recently after a late-night viewing of The Bachelorette with some friends (later days, male model Jordan), adding a variety of berries. Just before midnight, I put the oat jars in the fridge to sit.

Photo: Nicole Antonuccio

The next morning, the kids and I were psyched to have an already prepared breakfast for once. That excitement dissipated slightly as we spooned the oats in to a bowl. The milk and yogurt did a fine job of absorbing the oats, making for a consistency as mushy as the oatmeal I so often tossed in the microwave (which lacked an appealing fluffiness). But the temperature… [shudder]. Waking up to cold, mushy oatmeal was hardly something I could get whipped up for, so maybe I’m missing what all the overnight oats excitement is about? And I didn’t want to microwave it, since it had yogurt in it.

Once the oatmeal warmed up to room temperature, the concoction was much easier to take. We added a little honey and cinnamon, which helped. And the concoction was so simple to put together that I’m ready to try a little more experimentation, adding some extra time for temperature modification. Vanilla yogurt and bananas. Sautéed apples and cinnamon. Lemon yogurt and blueberries. As long as I have enough mason jars, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

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Overnight Oats (adapted from Quaker Oats recipe)

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cut-up fruit
  • honey, vanilla, and/or cinnamon to taste

In a mason or bell jar, pour in the oats, then the milk. Layer the yogurt and fruit and top. Close up the jar and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, season to taste and serve.

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