First things first – it’s Monday.
I don’t know about you, but I need chocolate on Monday. It’s no longer the weekend, I had to set my alarm earlier, I didn’t get to sit and linger over coffee or tea, or watch a few episodes of I Love Lucy before switching to the news.
Mondays….just aren’t the weekend anymore. And that’s just a little bit painful.
So, chocolate is always a good idea on Monday! Especially when it’s thrown into this double-duty baked oatmeal.
I love having dishes that can serve as a breakfast or snack. It makes planning for the week easier, and having something like this in the fridge makes busy mornings a little less hectic and also gives you an easy (and pretty healthy) snack or dessert for after dinner.
The only bad thing about making things that can be breakfast, snack, or dessert? They seem to disappear way faster than anything else.
I was on a kick with this baked oatmeal a few months ago, and was honestly making at least one batch a week, sometimes more. We would heat up pieces to have with fruit in the morning, or I would pack a piece as an afternoon snack to get me through the 3 o’clock slump.
First things first: I think I’m going to start posting Nick’s comments on my dishes. And this is a good one to start with. One, because Nick loves any kind of sweet dish. And two, he especially loves anything strawberry + rhubarb.
When I asked for his review, this is what I got: “Delicious. Can you make some more?”. I don’t think I can get any better than that!
Summer somehow always seems to escape me. This year, spring didn’t even show up – we went straight from winter to summer – and for the past few weeks, it’s felt more like fall even though we’re barely into August.
Ours jobs are year round – there is no summer break. There’s nothing in my normal day that says, “Hey, it’s summer!”
The one thing that reminds me that yes, summer is finally here, is produce. Especially berries and tomatoes. And boy are we stocked right now.
When berries and tomatoes are coming in by the pound, it’s hard to not eat them at every meal. They take over everything. Our porch right now is covered in spaghetti squash and pounds and pounds of tomatoes, waiting to simmer down into sauce.
I’m going to get right to the point.
Today we’re having chocolate. For breakfast.
Honestly, it’s what everybody secretly wants.
Being an adult doesn’t mean we have to eat boring breakfasts everyday – being an adult means you can have whatever you want!
Overnight oats tend to be a spring/summer/early fall breakfast for me. I’m weird about temperatures of food in the winter, so all cold things get put away until there’s green on the trees again. Smoothies, ice cream, and cold breakfasts like this don’t happen for me in the winter. I need warm food to wake me up in the morning – oatmeal, eggs, pancakes.
But this time of year is perfect for overnight oats. The long days of summer practically beg you to prep something for busy mornings. More daylight = more productivity. Or that’s how it is for me, anyway. I’m pretty convinced that winter makes me lazy….way lazier than normal.
In spring, summer, and fall, though, the weather is nicer, the days are longer, and I want to get things done and check them off my list.
Am I the only one who puts things like “pack lunch” or “prep breakfast” on their to-do list, every day? I hope not.
I fell in love with overnight oats a few years ago, but I think this might be my favorite batch of all time! Using the chocolate almond milk and cocoa powder, along with the maple syrup, makes this taste really rich – but it’s really healthy for you! Besides a little maple syrup, there’s no other sweeteners.
‘Tis the season!
Canning is back. Which basically means that our work days don’t end when we get home from the office, my back and feet are aching, and our pantry is filling back up. Thank goodness for summer gardens and farmer’s markets!
A few weeks ago, when our green beans were coming in non-stop, we put up 18 quarts of beans in less than a week. I was exhausted that week…canning really can take it out of you sometimes.
But pickles are a different story. They’re easier! Well, most things are easier than green beans since they don’t include the pressure cooker. For some reason, it takes about a day for the cooker to get up to pressure on our old, inconsistent stove top. Super fun.
Either way, pickling things is the way to go if you want to start canning. It doesn’t take much time compared to other things (jams, tomato sauce) and you still end up with fresh, homemade goods to enjoy this winter.
To be honest, I was not a fan of any pickles besides dill when I was growing up. My Mammaw made bread and butter pickles every year, and I would never eat them. How could I miss out on those?! Sometimes it makes me sad that my taste buds took so long to grow up and start liking things.
But I’m not missing out on things now.
If you’re looking for a great bread and butter pickle recipe, check out this one I tested/updated from Dixie Crystals – it’s so easy! I’ve even halved the recipe, and it turned out perfect.
You’ll be happy you have these pickles in December. Trust me.
You guys. We may have found our new favorite summer treat.
PB&Co. (our favorite peanut butter brand) and Turkey Hill have paired up to make this limited batch banana and peanut butter ice cream. Turkey Hill has come up with the perfect banana base and swirled in peanut butter using PB&Co. Smooth Operator (one of the best!) peanut butter in this limited batch flavor.
The best thing? This limited batch has no additives, and it’s insanely delicious!
I was lucky enough to have some sent to me before it showed up in stores, but lucky for you, it will be available on the shelf starting this month and will probably be around till September or October or until they introduce the next special batch they’re working on.
I’m usually not a fan of banana-flavored things, even though I love bananas, so I wasn’t sure about this at first. But it has actual banana puree in the ice cream base, not banana extract or other flavorings.
The only thing I can think is that this stuff needs to be made into milkshakes – stat.
Make sure to check your local stores if you’re in the Midwest and East Coast. And if you don’t see it yet, ask if they can get it! You won’t be sorry.
One of my favorite things about summer is that I finally crave cold foods for breakfast again.
In the fall and winter, I just can’t have yogurt or smoothies or anything that isn’t warm. I’m always freezing in the morning, so when summer rolls around and it’s hot outside at 6 am, I am more than ready to dig into big yogurt and fruit bowls or overnight oats or smoothies.
Some of my favorites this year so far? This one above with Stonyfield plain greek yogurt, fresh plum and apple, some almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
And this one was incredible! A base of Stonyfield plain greek yogurt, a fresh local peach, blueberries that I picked the night before, pecans, and some local honey. So good! And easy! And quick! All good things for busy mornings.
I’ve also been making a TON of smoothies lately – they’re just so quick to make! I love having them for weekday breakfasts to carry with me to work or as easy weekend lunches, too. Especially when it’s so hot that I don’t want to cook anything.
I think my yogurt consumption increases about 50% in the spring and summer when the weather is warmer, so I’m always finding news ways to use it.
Some of my favorites (besides just a bowl with fruit for a snack):
Most of my favorite summer recipes are for dishes served cold (always good when it’s 90+ degrees outside), but we also love using it a marinade for grilled chicken and in salad dressings or whipped into cake batter or biscuits. You can use yogurt in just about anything!
What are your favorite ways to use yogurt in the summer?
I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.