A fail and a win

5 Apr

The schizo weather in DC is starting to annoy me. It was in the 40s and 50s last week, was perfect in the upper 50s and 60s this weekend, shot up to the 80s yesterday and now it’s back down to the 50s and rainy today. What gives?? Is anyone else in the rest of the country experiencing crazy weather?

One thing I don’t mind about the weather is that the temperatures are bearable – not freezing cold, nor blazing hot. It does get horribly humid in the summer here in DC, and we often don’t have more than 2 weeks or so of Spring to brace for it. So I’m glad I haven’t yet started sweating it out. PLUS, I get to hang on to cold-weather foods for a little bit longer.

I think my current, absolute favorite cold weather food is oatmeal. I’ve always been a fan of oatmeal. It’s just so comforting and filling, and I love it when it’s warm but not piping hot, with some toppings and ingredients mixed in to really boost the flavor.

I used to eat those instant oatmeal packets, the ones with flavors like “Strawberries and Cream” or “Apples and Cinnamon.” They’re delicious, but the serving size is incredibly small. I’d never feel satisfied with just one. Plus they’re packed with way more sugar than there should be in oatmeal. So I switched, not long ago, to un-flavored, slower-cooking oats, both old-fashioned and steel-cut. Sure, they don’t come pre-flavored, but I’ve discovered the fun in creating all kinds of different combinations of foods and spices to mix with my oats. I like that I can control what goes into my oatmeal, and make it healthy while being equally as tasty as the flavored, packaged, stuff.

Unfortunately, I did have a bit of an oatmeal fail recently:

HUGE hassle to clean this off!

I found this recipe from Alton Brown for making overnight oats in a slow-cooker. It calls for 1 cup steel-cut oats and 4 cups water+1/2 cup half-and-half. I never have half-and-half on hand, so I just subbed for milk. And I didn’t have dried fruit, which he includes, so I just didn’t sub anything for that. Um. Yeah. I ended up with a big pot of cloudy soup, with some oatmeal somewhere in there. It was definitely not palatable straight from the cooker. I thought I might be able to salvage it because I had read that overnight steel-cut oats are actually better the next day. And after scooping out the milky goop, I found a lot of burnt oats. I probably should’ve decreased the liquid since I didn’t include the dried fruit, which would’ve soaked some of it up. And maybe I had it in too long? I don’t know. I’m just not going to bother trying it again.

Yuck! I wanted oats, not porridge.

An oatmeal recipe that I read on several blogs that did come out successful was overnight oats. This is definitely my breakfast du jour, because it’s delicious, easy to prep, and all I have to do is throw in some mix-ins to make a filling meal. This is my go-to recipe:

Overnight Oats


  • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of low-fat vanilla soy milk or any milk of your preference
  • a few dashes of cinnamon
  • a drop of vanilla extract (I really love vanilla, can you tell?)
  • 1 banana (1/2 mashed, 1/2 sliced)
  • Mix-ins: dark chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter, strawberries, apples


Combine the oats and the milk in a bowl or container. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. In the morning, you can take out your oats and eat them as is. Or, what I like to do is take the mashed banana and mix it into the oats and add a few chocolate chips. I microwave that for about 45 seconds so the oats are warm and the chips are softened. I add sliced banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and some nuts. NOM.

I'm too lazy to put my oats in a pretty bowl.

Of course, any combination of spices, extracts, fruits, and/or nuts that you like will probably taste great. I’m a big fan of foods you can easily customize to your liking. If you need inspiration, turn to Fit Girl Foodie‘s blog – she always posts photos of these awesome-looking bowls of oatmeal. I’m already looking forward to trying another combo tomorrow: overnight oats spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, then with pear, walnuts, and brown sugar added tomorrow. Heck, that sounds good enough to eat for dessert tonight…

Do you like oatmeal? What are your favorite things to mix in or top it with?

Ever had any breakfast fails like my slow-cooker overnight oats? I want to hear your stories! 🙂


8 Responses to “A fail and a win”

  1. lubos April 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Those oatmeal packets are also great camping food. Those wrappers are waterproof so you just pour hot water into the packet. No cleanup required.

    But yeah I totally agree with you about the weather. It’s nuts! I am glad I went for a jog yesterday, who knows when it will be nice like this again. The rain last night was pretty nuts too. Woke me up.

    • TheNoviceNosher April 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      Totally makes sense that the oatmeal packets are good for camping. I’m not much of a camper, but if go I’ll know what to bring!

      So glad the weather’s cleared up! But I heard it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. 😦

  2. Sheridan April 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I buy the big canister of Quaker Quick Oats so I could get more than the instant packets. I’m pretty simple with my oatmeal: brown sugar, craisins or raisins, and banana.

    I had a big breakfast fail trying to make crepes. I think the pan I was using wasn’t heating evenly and they were burned in one place and raw in another. I’m leaving crepes up to the many creperies in DC here from now on 🙂

    • TheNoviceNosher April 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Mmmm. I love crepes. I would probably also fail at making them myself. I have no problem paying someone else a few bucks to make them right!

  3. Jenny April 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Yay thanks for the oatmeal shout out! 🙂 I’ve had very many oatmeal fails before finally mastering the oats. The first time making my overnight oats was pretty disappointing. Not the right consistency and definitely not appetizing 😦 Now I cannot get enough. I love topping mine with granola, chocolate chips, and pb 😀

    • TheNoviceNosher April 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      You’re welcome! And I’m surprised to hear you had an oats fail!

  4. Allison @ Running With Mascara April 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    I have been dying to try overnight oats – mainly because I don’t have enough time to cook before leaving for work in the AM. But chocolate and banana are literally my favorite duo, and coconut added in is the trifecta!! So yummy!

    • TheNoviceNosher April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

      Overnight oats have definitely been a good solution for those mornings when I’m rushing to get to work. 🙂 Chocolate and banana is the best, I definitely should add shredded coconut next time!

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