Obsessed with Overnight Oats

We all want the same thing on weekday mornings: quick, easy breakfast that also tastes gourmet. And when you’re left with either a bowl of Lucky Charms (minus the charms, because you ate them all) or a piece of toast with peanut butter, it’s hard to think that either of those is inherently gourmet. Insert: overnight oats. This Pinterest trend was something I always overlooked. Months ago, when I first saw a pin about it, I thought it seemed strange to eat oats that hadn’t been heated up with water in the microwave. Furthermore, my oats expertise hadn’t diverged much from Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal, the OG oatmeal of my childhood. But overnight oats are on the rise, so I decided to give them a try. And I’m SO glad I did.

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Overnight oats are the perfect easy meal, and it’s portable for those mornings when you really need your breakfast on-the-go. I’m also a fan of the fact that you can mix and match ingredients to your liking. My favorite: blueberries. Blueberries are perfectly in season right now, and they’re just so delicious.

Necessary for making overnight oats: use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats for a much less soggy morning crunch.

Take my advice and take a leap of good faith. These oats take seconds to prepare the night before, and taste like a party in your mouth the next morning.

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Simple Overnight Oats

Yields 1 Serving

Prep time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats (I used Quaker)
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 spoonfuls vanilla greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) blueberries
  • Sprinkle of brown sugar (I used Domino pourable brown sugar)

Directions:

  • Combine oats, milk, yogurt and berries in that order in a mason jar. Tighten lid on mason jar and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, sprinkle on brown sugar, and enjoy cold!

The Diner Diary: Brunch at 983

I’m a brunch kind of person. So when Jorge and I woke up this past Sunday morning, there was no doubt that we wanted to find a brunch place, and STAT.

After an intensive research of our neighborhood’s brunch spots (AKA a quick Google search), we found a place nearby that had chicken and waffles, one of Jorge’s favorites. Reviews on the restaurant, 983, said it was an affordable spot, so we were sold.

Affordable it was indeed. The menu ranged from classic sweet items like pancakes and french toast to more savory brunch items like breakfast sandwiches, scramblers and salads. The best part: everything was around $10, AND the coffee was cheap as well as delicious.

I settled on an order of strawberry pancakes and a coffee, while Jorge ordered his chicken and waffles and a coffee.

While waiting for our food, we couldn’t resist from people watching. The foodies at 983 are classic Bushwick hipsters with full beards and tasteful outfits. But even better than the foodies is 983’s ambiance. Trademarked as “Bushwick’s Living Room”, the ambiance is unexpectedly chic, with a bar that extends the length of the restaurant and a wide array of art strewn across the walls.

This spot is without a doubt a new favorite. Affordable and fun: it’s the perfect recipe for a Sunday brunch.


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983 Pancakes

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The Diner Diary: La Lupe

It’s hard to find restaurants that serve good Mexican food. And even after finding this nearby restaurant, La Lupe, I still have a long way to go to find something that tastes up to par with my old favorites from both Colorado and the hole-in-the-wall I loved in Madison, Wisconsin (#SO to Taqueria Guadalajara). When Jorge and I walked by this place on our first day in town after moving to Brooklyn, we were both excited to try it. The restaurant is a tiny but seemingly well respected joint on the corner of Jefferson and Myrtle Ave.

La Lupe chips and guac

I ordered a margarita, two chicken tacos and one carne asada taco. Jorge ordered a beer and two of their chicken flautas. Together, we grabbed an order of elote and some chips and guac to share. All in all, it was a pretty expensive meal (for two young poor recent college grads), but we were able to get a really good feel for the food and what was the restaurant’s best to offer.

La Lupe tacos

For starters, the tacos were delicious: a warm corn tortilla shell with fresh meat and a salad of veggies on top. The chips and guac, though, might have been my favorite of the bunch. It’s hard to mess up guacamole. Because really, it’s avocados. But this guacamole is fresh, creamy and full of cilantro flavor.

The elote was a new experience for both of us. Jorge grew up eating elote and introduced me to the Mexican street corn delicacy sometime last year. This elote was VERY different from the few kinds  I’ve had in the past. For starters, it was grilled and sweet. There was more of a peppery spice to it rather than a chile kick. And although there was still a creamy mayo taste, there wasn’t any butter to give it that deep finish. Still, though, it wasn’t bad. It was just different.

La Lupe elote

Finally, I can’t forget to talk about the margs. I’ve been on a strange margarita kick for the past couple weeks, and this one was delightful. The tequila wasn’t overbearing, and the salt rim had different spices added on for extra flavor. I’m just regretting the fact that we chose to go to the restaurant on a Saturday evening instead of hitting it up during the weekday when they have $5 margaritas during happy hour (keeping that in mind for next time FOR SHORE).

Although I’m not one to put things on a rating system, I’d have to guess that I might give this restaurant a 3.325 out of 5 stars. But that’s just an estimate.

A Day Trip to Chicago

One of my favorite parts about Madison is its vicinity to Chicago. As a young girl I always dreamed of one day living in Chicago so I could be near the American Girl store downtown (Now though, there are soooo many more locations than just the Chicago store. Not. Fair.)

But there are many more things to do and explore in the city than just the American Girl store. So my boyfriend Jorge and I packed our bags for the weekend to stay with our friends in Chicago before we make our final move this week to New York.

There’s just something purely blissful about going downtown with no agenda, sunny weather and a full day of nothing-ness. And that’s exactly what we had on Saturday. We took the train down with our friends just in time to catch lunch in the city.

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For those of you (much like me) who had never heard of the restaurant Vapiano, it’s a must. Technically, it’s an international chain. But I’d never heard of it, and we had the most amazing lunch there. I got a ricotta and spinach ravioli and Jorge got a Diavolo pizza with fresh bell pepper. Both were made FRESH right in front of us in a matter of minutes. And for a lunch in downtown Chicago, it was surprisingly (and thankfully) cheap.

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Following lunch, we made a beeline for Millennium park to walk around in the sunshine, see the bean and, of course, make a stop for some Italian ice (watermelon, strawberry and lemon, please!) We finished off the afternoon with a long walk around the lake and up the river on the river walk. I still can’t believe we’re leaving this city behind. But, hey, New York is even better. And it’s only a few days away.

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7 Days of Lemon Water

I’ve always seen claims that warm lemon water in the morning is one of the best things you can do for your body. And with a simple Pinterest or Google search, you’ll find endless posts that claim that lemon water provides endless health benefits both inside and out. Although I was always drawn to these claims (and, I have to admit, I LOVE citrus), I could never hop on board the lemon water train with all the craziness and instability of a school schedule.

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Following my graduation  a few weeks ago, I decided to start my journey with lemon water. As my boyfriend likes to remind me, it takes 21 days to create a habit, but even after 7 days of my lemon water test, I am here to tell you that I am already reaping the benefits.

Here are some of the claims that Pinterest posts and blogs will try to tell you about the benefits of warm lemon water.

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Alkalizes the body
  • Hydrates lymphatic system
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Fights bad breath
  • Hydrates body
  • Prevents UTIs
  • Improves digestive health
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Balances pH levels
  • Replaces caffeine
  • Creates happier, cleaner skin
  • Boosts immune system
  • Relieves respiratory problems
  • Boosts levels of Vitamin C
  • Reduces heart burn
  • Purifies blood
  • Boosts brain power
  • Improves liver function
  • Boosts mineral absorption

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From my novel experience, these are the benefits I’ve actually experienced:

 

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It’s amazing how much I felt energized after drinking only a cup of warm lemon water. I didn’t feel groggy in the mornings, and even after a few days, I didn’t feel a dependency on coffee.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.23.17 PMWhen I was doing some internet searches on lemon water benefits, there was a lot of research showing that your body naturally dehydrates itself overnight. The lemon water did nothing short of hydrate my body and rejuvenate it right away so I didn’t feel sluggish.

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There was also a lot of research proving lemon water’s improvements on digestion. Although I’m not a doctor, I can say with certainty that the lemon water helps me feel not as full after meals, particularly breakfast, which always a difficult meal for me because I love it, but it makes my stomach  hurt if I eat it too quickly after waking up.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.27.04 PMAlthough I’ve personally never really struggled too much with my skin, I am guilty of occasionally forgetting to remove my makeup (resulting in problem pimples). Admittedly, one of the days during my week with lemon water, I went to sleep with my makeup on – and somehow the lemon water did magic on my skin and kept its clear nature  despite the built up oil from the leftover makeup. Also helpful: the lemon water seemed to diminish my under-eye  bags.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.28.15 PMRight now during the change from spring to summer is THE WORST for my allergies. Although allergies aren’t the same thing as a common cold, it was almost miraculous how much healthier I felt after a cup of lemon water. My allergies seemed to be momentarily tamed with just one cup.