“Booze and Grooves”

My friend Ben came up with it.

When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.

This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”

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Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.

I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“No, sir.”

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But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.

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I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.

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They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.

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Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!

For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks 🙂

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I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.

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Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.

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Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.

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Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.

So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).

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We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.

On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.

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At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”

“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.

Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!

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It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!

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The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.

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But you could also choose to believe that giants did it. 😉

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photo from my friend Cassandra!

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PC: Cassandra

Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.

Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.

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Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”

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The stew was delicious though!!

One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:

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I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)

Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.

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Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.

Wut.

Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!

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medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl

I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.

Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!

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The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.

Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!

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Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.

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There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!

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I warmed up and did three sets each of:

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
  • squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
  • 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges

Then I did EMOM 10:

  • 5 squat cleans (65#)
  • 8 burpees over the bar

That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.

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I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.

Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.

A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.

The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…

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I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.

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The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.

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Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!

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I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.

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Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.

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We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.

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I’m always down for carrot cake.

I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!

“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.

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overnight oats in a jar that I just ate 🙂

Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!

(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?

What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!

Two things you did this weekend!

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Behind the Scenes #32: I’m Just Weird

Hi!

It has been several weeks since I did a behind the scenes post (last time was my first week of college?!), so that’s what I’m doing right here and now. 🙂

Thinking-Out-Loud

Head over to Spoons’ blog for more random thoughts this Thursday!

1) I had dinner with brother Ben on Tuesday night! It was a spontaneous dinner appointment, but those are the best, right? Especially when those dinners involve small-plate-sharing and carrot cake.

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eggplant with yu xiang glaze, puffed rice, and peach + spiced beef shank with tomatoes, seared halloumi cheese, chiles, and garlic

P.S. Thanks for waiting for me to take photos, Ben.

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Carrot cake with carrot marmalade, spiced frosting, and pecan brittle

I was all excited to take my brother out for dinner since I actually made a little bit o’ money this past weekend, but then I realized that I didn’t bring my wallet with me. The SHAME. I’ve promised to pay for the next two times we eat together.

2) Remember that planner I was so excited to use during college when I bought it this summer? Well, I think I’ve used it an average of once per week, and that’s really forcing myself. All my to-do’s and appointments are either in my iPhone calendar or on the white board in my dorm room, so the planner gets neglected. Oops.

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3) On the topic of school, can standing desks please be a thing sometime soon? Four hours straight of sitting in class is not cool. I’m not even worried about the whole “sitting is the new smoking” issue at this point. I just like to have circulation in my legs and to not fidget in my seat like a five-year-old. Just put one of these babies in the back of the lecture hall, and I’d be overjoyed:il_570xN.492795644_ejno

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4) I’m over halfway through with my first semester of college, wut.

5) Halloween is this Friday! There shall be candy {Reese’s} consumed, costumes worn, and monsters mashed. I was discussing my plans with Daliza yesterday:

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Yeah, we WILL turn up, Daliza. And I don’t know if I should be a ninja for Halloween, because I don’t want to dress up as something I already am in real life, ya know?….

6) My roommate and I kind of love this idea from Gina to dress up as Richard Simmons though.

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via la Fitnessista

Those shorts.

7) I’ve been trying out normal-people toppings on my pancakes and French toast like butter + honey, and I actually love it! Normally I put peanut butter on everything, but I’ve enjoyed mixing things up a bit. I even like to have eggs/omelets for breakfast now— who am I?!

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The butter in the dining halls is delicious— Cabot butter apparently. It’s strangely reminiscent of goat cheese… So maybe the fact that I love that on my pancakes still makes me weird.

8) I’ve become friends with the lady at the swipe-in entrance of the dining hall in the mornings, as well as the lady who makes the pancakes and French toast. They’re awesome.

9) The left side of my body is breaking or something. My left shoulder is grinding more than ever (remember when I brought that up way back when?), my left hip is always popping/feeling very tight, and yesterday my left knee started clicking when I was doing these kinds of sit-ups! I need a physical therapist (heh heh).

10) I hope you all have a wonderful day! Smile, sing your favorite song, and take a nap if you can. ♥

So tell me:

How do you feel about sitting for long periods of time?

What are your plans for Halloween?

What do you like to put on your pancakes/French toast/waffles?

Fascinating Friday Links #32

Hello!

So you know how I said I wanted that piglet from my dream a couple nights ago? Well, I’ve found a way to vicariously have a pet piggy— Hamlet The Piggy on Instagram. I mean….

Victoria and I are now watching every cute animal video on Youtube, “aww”-ing at every puppy and wishing we had one as we lisp through our retainers. (That was an oddly vivid description.)

We also went out to eat sushi last night. It was delicious, but we definitely did not stuff ourselves like we did two nights ago. Goin’ light, ya know? 😉

Moves yesterday included lots of air squats, pushups, and sit-ups throughout the day (basically the 100 challenge) + some fun burpees thrown in there. It wasn’t a formal workout, but I enjoyed taking study breaks to get the blood flowin’ and the muscles working!

Since I missed sharing Fascinating Friday Links with you all last week, I’m especially looking forward to this week’s list! Enjoy!

fascinating friday links

 Health & Fitness

[Keep your bones strong!] 18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium via Greatist

[Love TRX] 45 Insanely Effective TRX Exercises via Greatist

[Get over the bar] How to Complete a Chin-Up: 9 Tips to Help Pull Yourself Over The Bar via Your Trainer Paige

[There is a difference] Difference Between Building Muscle and Building Strength via Cotter Crunch + Workout Nirvana

[Athletes need proper fuel] Fueling for Sports via Kath Eats Real Food + Fresh Food Perspectives

[Move…] Love Your Butt Workout via Purely Twins + 30 Min Bootcamp Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + Hop to It Workout via Fitnessista + Burpee Box Jump Chipper via Peanut Butter Runner

[…and groove :)] Full Body Workout Inspired by Grease! via The Body Dept.

[Get inspired] 5 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Healthy Eating Inspiration via Health News and Views

Food for Thought

[Let go] 9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times via Marc and Angel

[Don’t let your ED define you] I Am Not My Eating Disorder via Fitting It All In

[Appropriate for Good Friday] Why I Do Favors and Don’t Expect Anything in Return via Goins Writer

[Amen] I Will Never Have a Thigh Gap via Thought Catalog

[Weaknesses make us stronger] When Does Weakness Become Strength? via Olive to Run

[They balance out for some people] Inner Bitch vs. Inner Narcissist via Snack Therapy

Food for Belly

[Cookie dough for breakfast?] Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Smoothie via Edible Perspective + Nut Butter Breakfast Cookie Dough via The Big Man’s World

[Such a great idea] California Roll Amaranth Salad via Back to Her Roots

[So springy] Coconut Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf via The Healthy Maven

[Why, hello.] Coconut Syrup Banana Split via The Kitchy Kitchen

[Comfort] Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce via Pinch of Yum

[Creative] Strawberry Banana Smoothie Cake via Fit Foodie Finds

[Want these] Vegan Banana Nut Scones via Cookie and Kate

[Perfect] S’mores Macarons via Budget Bytes

Miscellaneous Fun

[Help out the new mamas out there] 10 Meals You Should Make Your For Your Friends with New Babies via Pinch of Yum

[Incredible] 60 Most Powerful Photos That Perfectly Capture the Human Experience via Distractify

[Honest and hilarious] Real Life of a Newbie Runner via I Think In Comics

[For bloggers] 5 Tips to Improve Your SEO via The Healthy Maven + Photography Tutorial— Editing From Start to Finish via Fit Foodie Finds

[Be a green machine] A Guide To Salad Greens via Oh My Veggies

[So many possibilities!] 76 Genius Ways to Use Coconut Oil In Your Everyday Life via Greatist

[Not all things that say “Whole Grain” are whole grain] Decoding Whole Grain Food Labels via Cooking Light

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Good Friday and Easter if you celebrate! I promise to not accidentally eat meat or nut butter today. I actually unintentionally went meatless yesterday now that I think about it…maybe that makes up for last Friday?? 😉 Breakfast this morning was a nut-butter-less yogurt bowl with a sliced banana, chia, hemp, cereal, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. I also made Victoria Gina’s famous cookie dough cereal this morning and she loves it!

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After Good Friday service today, we’re all heading up to Boston for the final college visit EVER (Boston University for me, Northeastern University for Victoria). We’ll be spending Easter up there, so we’ll get to see Ben too!

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24

So tell me:

What are you doing this weekend?

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Do you like watching videos of cute animals?

 

 

 

WIAW: Full Day of Dance

Hey there!

It’s another crazy week around here, and yesterday I was so domestic that I barely did any homework (I didn’t have much yesterday anyway). I did laundry, cleaned the bathroom, baked muffins, and cooked this rockin’ sriracha chicken all before ballet, and I felt like SUPERMOM. Minus the mom part, so, just super.

I’ll save any rants and thoughts for tomorrow’s Behind the Scenes. Today, I’m joining the WIAW party to show you all what I ate on Sunday, the day of my last dance company rehearsal ever. EVER. It still hasn’t hit me yet, so I won’t talk about it too much. I could burst out in tears at any second at this point.

Anyway, our last rehearsal before a show always involves running our dances multiple times, so it was a long, tiring day. Here’s what fueled me through teaching religious education and 4.5 hours of groovin’!

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Jenn‘s got the linkup for some fabulous eats!

Breakfast

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Fuel for proclaiming God’s word, shushing third graders, and picking up paper and pencils off the floor: 

Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie (plus spinach, minus chia seeds) + side of Greek yogurt. Dipped like so.

Lunch

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Fuel for jumping, running, and turning…all at the same time (aka dancing): 

PB & J. Holy moly I hadn’t had one of these babies in such a long time and it hit the spot like no other.

Snacks

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Fuel for more dancing: Carrots and hummus

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Post-dance fuel: Greek yogurt, sliced banana, crapton of cinnamon and nutmeg, stevia

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Plus nuts

Dinner

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Fuel for finishing homework, blogging, cleaning, and chatting with Dad:

Lime-cilantro salmon on spinach + sriracha + avocado toast

The salmon turned out well! It’s always a celebration when I don’t under-season meat. For this one salmon filet, I put on some fresh lime juice (from half a lime), about 2 tsp. honey, sea salt, pepper, and cilantro. Baked at 400*F for 8 minutes (in our small toaster oven).

Desserts

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Fuel for baking: Half of this juicy navel orange

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Fuel for sleeping 😉

Sample of homemade apricot-orange Irish soda bread

There ya have it! A busy day’s worth of delicious eats. The PB&J was the highlight, without a doubt. Those will be returning to my life with a vengeance; I bought some new strawberry jam a couple days ago just for the cause. 😀

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

So tell me:

Do you like PB&J/AB&J’s?

What has been fueling you through long days?

Have you tried a great new recipe recently?

Overnight Oats {How I Make My Favorite Breakfast}

Good morning!

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What should one do with an almost empty peanut butter jar? (I’m sure every healthy living blogger is thinking, “sheesh, nothing new.”)

Well I’m going to say it anyway–overnight oats! I’ve said it at least a couple times before on here, but overnight oats is my favorite breakfast. I tried it one day over a year ago before practicing driving with my Dad on an early Sunday morning, and I have made it about a thousand times since then. I used Kath’s recipe for a long time, but I’ve made little changes here and there to make it perfect for my palate. I highly recommend visiting her recipe link because you can see all of her overnight oats variations, which look 10x more appealing than mine. Check out The Oatmeal Artist for some yummy ideas too!

As Kath says in the recipe, there is NO COOKING involved! So if you and the stovetop don’t get along well, this takes care of ya! Also, once you prepare the oats at night, there is really nothing else you have to do with them when you wake up. Just take them out of the fridge, put on desired toppings, and devour enjoy!

This is exactly how I like to do mine:

Basic Banana Overnight Oats

by Alison Y.

adapted from the Basic KERF recipe

Serves 1

  • 1-2 tbsp. nut or seed butter of choice (or an almost empty nut/seed butter jar)
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • agave/honey/maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. cereal/granola (optional for topping in the morning)

Spread out nut/seed butter around the bottom of a bowl or large mug [mug>bowl because it mimics jars better!] (or just start out with an almost empty jar of nut/seed butter). Add in oats, greek yogurt, and milk. Thinly slice in the half banana. Add cinnamon and nutmeg as desired (start with a little first, then add more if needed). If using plain Greek yogurt, add sweetener to taste if desired. Mix all ingredients together well, incorporating some of the nut butter at the bottom, but not all of it (I like to have a nice amount of nut butter to eat almost by itself at the end!). Taste a little bit to make sure it is spiced/sweetened to your liking. Place in the fridge covered or uncovered overnight. (Optional: Place a note warning your family what the heck is in there if you’re trying this for the first time. They might be suspicious and throw it out.) In the morning, take it out of the fridge, stir it up, throw on the toppings, and EAT!

Here is a step-by-step photo demo for you visual learners:

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Line ’em up!

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Choose your vessel. (Again–mug>bowl if not using a jar! 🙂 )

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Oats.

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Greek yogurt and milk.

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Thinly sliced banana.

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Cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave.

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Stir it up (optional: using favorite breakfast spoon).

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Making sure to leave a little peanut butter at the bottom! Best part.

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Tuck it in the fridge and say goodnight.

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Take it out, give it a stir, dish out your toppings (I add a little bit at a time so each layer has a fresh batch of toppings).

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ENJOY!

Texture: Something you might have to get used to. Very thick, like a really thick rice pudding. If you want it a little thinner, you can add more milk.

Taste: Hm. A mix of cereal, a yogurt parfait, and nut butter.

Appearance: You can make your own judgements.

Other notes: Don’t be surprised if it feels really filling the first time you eat it. When I first had it with only 1/3 c. oats, my stomach wasn’t used to the filling feeling of the milk, yogurt, oats, and nut butter all together. But now I can have 1/2 c. just fine. Also, don’t microwave it. Just don’t. It was a sad day when I did.

I often add different fruits such as berries, peaches, or pineapple, and then I just decrease the banana size to about 1/3 instead of 1/2. But this recipe is what I do when there aren’t any other fruits in the house.

And finally, I would be thrilled to hear if you love overnight oats, but I wouldn’t be offended if you really hate them after trying. 😀

It’s a rainy, thunderstorm-y day here. But I’m still happy! Have a good one!

So tell me: Have you ever tried overnight oats before? If not, would you consider trying them?