It’s getting too hot in Budapest to eat warm porridge every-day, so I have turned to my trusty Pinterest for solutions. Mainly to prevent me getting a croissant from the bakery every day, which while magnificent in every way, is arguably not the best way to keep healthy. Arguably.
Pinterest did not disappoint! Hipster-tastic as it may be, I’ve made overnight oats with great success in the past and I love them. Not only are they super easy to put together, since you just mix everything in a large jar or Tupperware box, but in the summer, they’re so refreshing and delicious since they’re cold. It’s also great for the non-morning types out there, like me, since you just spoon it into a bowl and devour in your zombified state. The added bonus of being able to add your favourite fruit, nuts and seeds and make it as healthy as you can ain’t too shabby either!
I found this recipe, which I amended to suit my own taste and made lactose-free. I’ve heard mixed reviews about cutting out lactose altogether, and while milk is going to be easy for me to drop since I’m not so keen on the taste, I can’t abandon dairy products. Just can’t do it. Even the thought of a grilled cheese is making my mouth go dry. But where possible, cutting down on your lactose intake or substituting for other products can be beneficial for your health, especially if like me, you’re trying to be more healthy without giving up the food you love.
It just so happens that a health food shop near the office is closing down and having a half-price sale, so I took the chance to clear out their stock of almond milk, calendula flowers and cane sugar!
For the first time ever, I bought and tried chia seeds. They’re widely praised as a superfood, high in fibre, calcium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium and Vitamins B1, 2 and 3. They’re high in anti-oxidants, low in carbs and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are difficult to come by in fish-deprived, landlocked Hungary. Alongside all of that, they’re grown organically and are gluten free. So far, so fantastic!
The only catch is its price – a tiny 200g packet costs the same as an incredible taco lunch! But I’d read so much about how beneficial chia seeds are, I decided to skip tacos and go for something healthy. Just this once.
They’re available in all health-food shops, and since Hungary’s a bit organic food-obsessed (always a good thing!), there are lots of different brands and options you can go for.
Overnight oats are very simple – basically mix equal parts of oats (not instant; for this we need the old-fashioned variety) with liquid. This can be either milk, almond/soy/rice milk, yoghurt or water – or any combination of these. Alongside this, you can add whatever nuts, dried fruits, seeds or spices you like. The only tip I would give here is to be careful when using fresh fruit with dairy products, since leaving them together overnight may make the oats curdle and become too sour, because of the acidity from the fruit. If you prepare small amounts and eat it quickly though, there should be no problem.
This recipe involved more bowls and steps than I could be bothered with, and at 9:30pm when all I could think of was my lovely warm bed, I wanted to make the process as quick as possible.
I peeled and grated one large apple (feel free to keep the peel. I like to, but this one was getting a little brown so I composted the peels instead), to which I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon, some nutmeg and a pinch of allspice.
It’s easiest to just mix everything together in the airtight container they will come together in, so to a large Kilner jar, I added a cup of oats, a cup of almond milk and two tablespoons of chia seeds. Add the apples, any seeds or nuts (I added pumpkin seeds and raisins) and mix it all together well. Add a little extra liquid to allow for the oats to expand a bit more.
Close your container and leave it in the fridge overnight. I think this jar will last me about 3-4 breakfasts.
The next morning, take out as much as you’d like, adding a bit more almond milk to loosen up the mixture, and honey if you’d like, and enjoy! That’s it! The spices give everything a wonderful apple pie flavour so even though what you’re eating is fantastic for your health, it doesn’t taste like it!
Enjoy, tell me how yours turned out!