We’ve all had days that make us question our sanity…The fire alarm runs out of batteries in the middle of the night, your car is mysteriously falling apart at the mechanic shop even though you only took it in for an oil change, you have a “to do” list that rivals the Great Wall of China in length and that splitting headache you got yesterday around the time you realized your cell phone was still in that taxi as it drove away, is resistant to every NSAID you have in your arsenal. Next is napalm…and you are not sure it’ll even take care of it…
While all hell breaks loose around you (and you try to keep your chin up thinking it could be worse), the rest of the world still wants a piece of you: doggies need their walk, family needs to be fed, kids need to get to school…You want to do a good job of it but can’t help to wonder how on earth it’ll be possible to get to everything. Truth be told, by that point, you know you will not get to everything…
At home, I personally like to take shortcuts. Elsewhere it’s not always possible or recommended. Not the kind of shortcuts that later make things fall apart and really lead to more work in the end. Those are bad shortcuts…kind of wolves in sheep’s clothes. Instead, I like shortcuts that do not compromise my sense of accomplishment and still make me feel that I did a good job.
Take breakfast, for instance. These days I am no longer reprising my acclaimed role as “octopus mom” with one arm stretching in each direction, but I still like to get through the morning relatively unscathed. I find that streamlining our breakfast is an easy way to avoid last minute pitfalls. Nobody leaves on an empty stomach and becomes easy prey for the fast food joints, the cafeterias or the vending machines along the way to work.
One of my favorite time savers is the so called “refrigerator oatmeal”. I find that name rather unfortunate since it doesn’t really convey how delicious this breakfast can be, but I suppose it is descriptive enough to let us know what the first step will be. Apparently, you just place some oatmeal inside your refrigerator for later consumption. In reality, it is slightly more involved than just that, but still easy enough to make for a better, more relaxed morning commute. I opt for variety and make different versions throughout the week: blueberry, pumpkin, chia or apple are some of the best ones…but the sky is the limit! You can quickly develop a family favorite without much effort using affordable, readily available ingredients.
There is no assurance that your cat won’t throw up in your slippers or that you will be able to navigate around monster traffic jams like a NASCAR driver, but by the time you wake up your breakfast will be waiting for you at the ready and you won’t have to give it a second thought. If you are as busy as I tend to be, that alone should put a smile on your face. A tiny dose of antidote against that detestable Murphy’s Law so at play during weekday mornings: everything that can go wrong probably will…
Easy Overnight Oatmeal Porridge
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup coconut or almond milk (unsweetened)
2 Tbsp walnuts
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp milled flax seed
1 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 tsp honey
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cardamom
The process is the same no matter which ingredients you decide to try. Use a pint size mason jar to store the porridge in your refrigerator. Should you choose to warm it up in the morning, you can simply remove the metal lid and place the jar in the microwave.
Layer the ingredients inside your mason jars (make more than one at a time to last through the week): oatmeal at the bottom, flax and hemp seeds, dried fruit and nuts. I put emphasis on the quality of these otherwise rather humble ingredients. Try to use organic options whenever possible. Add the liquid leaving about an inch of space at the top. Close and store. If you wish, you can always add a handful of blueberries or a sliced banana right before eating your oatmeal. Enjoy!