Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Don’t let cough syrup give cherries a bad rap. One taste of these juicy, summer rubies, and you’ll be declaring a new favorite fruit in no time. Fresh cherries have a pretty short season here in New England (peaking late June through mid July), but they are so deliciously addicting that most people can put down several weeks worth of cherries while simply standing in front of the refrigerator. Not that I know anything about that.

Delicious enough to enjoy straight out of a bowl, cherries are also the perfect natural sweetener, and that’s how I’m showcasing them in this chilled, chocolately recipe. These succulent little stone fruits eliminate the need for added sugars, while tangy yogurt and rich cocoa deepen the flavor. Overnight oatmeal is usually a breakfast pick, but I like to keep a bowl of this chocolate cherry concoction in the fridge for dessert, especially on hot summer nights.

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup fresh pitted cherries (Don’t buy a cherry pitter! Use this trick)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat organic)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

Optional garnishes: sliced almonds, fresh cherries

Method:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mash cherries with a potato masher or a large fork, under cherries are smooshed and juices are released.
  2. Add all other ingredients to bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Transfer mixture to a mason jar or a breakfast bowl, and set covered in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Serve cold, after mixture has chilled and the porridge has thickened (at least 8 hours).
  5. Top with optional garnishes, such as fresh cherries or sliced almonds, if desired.

Nutrition per Serving: 260 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 44g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 16g sugar*), 15g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 16% Iron, 12% Calcium, 1% Vitamin A, 12% Vitamin C

*all sugars are naturally occurring, none are added sugars

– Kelly

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (No sugar!)

Like any self-respecting locavore, I aim to feature seasonal farmers market produce whenever possible. But alas, my penny-pinching food budget has the final say, which is why I tend to avoid picking up groceries until every scrap of food in the cupboard has been eaten.

That brings me to this chocolate cranberry milkshake. More indulgent than fresh fruit, but more nourishing than a chocolate milkshake, this cocoa-cranberry beverage is the perfect balance of nutritious and delicious. Cranberries may not be popular this time of year, but if they’re in my freezer, they’re fair game. Eating healthy need not be expensive; so if you’re out of fresh fruit, don’t hesitate to use up what you have on hand (frozen fruit, dried fruit, or fruit canned in water or juice). Par for the course with my other milkshake recipes, this one is sweetened with fruit alone, meaning you don’t have to worry about nutrient-empty added sugars.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Healthy! No sugar!)

Cranberry Chocolate Milkshake

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 date, pitted and chopped (or 1 Tbsp date paste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Secretly healthy! No added sugar!)

Nutrition: 280 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 59g carbohydrates (9g fiber, 43g sugar*), 9g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 8% Iron, 26% Calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 29% Vitamin C

*none of these sugars are the dangerous added sugars – all are naturally occurring

– Kelly

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Move over, baklava! Sugar-kissed nuts and cinnamon have found a new home.

In this Mediterranean-inspired quinoa recipe, I let dried fruit and cinnamon contribute all of the sweet taste — no added sugars needed. Dried figs are startlingly sugary, and when joined with Turkish apricots, raw walnuts, and cinnamon, this breakfast cereal is given a decidedly Mediterranean flair. Oatmeal is usually my go-to breakfast grain, but warm summer mornings call for cold cereal, and this quinoa fits the bill.

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

^^Dried fruit (apricots left, figs right) and nuts make this recipe easy to enjoy year-round

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

^^New to quinoa? You can tell that it’s done cooking when a little white tail separates from the grain

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained (any color – I used red)
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 4 extra large dried figs (or 8 smaller dried figs)
  • 8 dried apricot halves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk (I used organic skim milk)

Method:

  1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 15 minutes. (The outside coat of the grain will separate into a curly tail when done cooking.)
  2. While the quinoa is simmering, chop the figs, apricots, and walnuts into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the chopped fruit and nuts and cinnamon to a large bowl.
  4. When the quinoa is done cooking, add to the bowl and toss with the fruit and nut mixture until combined.
  5. How to serve: Divide the quinoa mixture among 4 mason jars, and add ½ milk to each jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (This allows the fruit to soften a bit, and also allows the flavors to mingle more freely.) Alternatively, you can also keep the quinoa mixture in a covered container in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to eat, simply scoop about 1 cup quinoa mixture into a bowl, top with ½ cup milk, and eat like regular cold cereal.

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Nutrition per serving (including milk): 290 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 47g carbohydrates (5g fiber, 16g sugar*), 12g protein, 60mg sodium, 10% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 21% Calcium, 15% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are added sugars

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

– Kelly

Basil Smoothie

Basil Smoothie

My basil smoothie post on Instagram last week prompted several inquiries, so today I’m sharing a full recipe post. Since I’m now the proud owner of an organic basil plant (thanks, Ashley!), this smoothie has been on heavy rotation during the beautiful, 80 degree days we’ve been blessed with in Boston lately. The Sweet Basil Smoothie recipe from my Giada at Home cookbook inspired this recipe, but to add creaminess (and cut the added sugars), I omitted the sugary simple syrup in favor of a frozen banana. Sophisticated, yet unfussy, this 3-ingredient masterpiece is the ultimate warm weather refresher!

Basil Smoothie

Basil Smoothie (inspired by Giada de Laurentiis)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen in chunks
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method: Add all ingredients to blender and blend until combined.

Nutrition per serving: 180 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated fat), 32g carbohydrates (3g fiber, 19g sugar*), 14g protein, 50mg sodium, 8% Vitamin A, 19% Vitamin C, 16% Calcium, 3% Iron

*All sugars are natural. None are the dangerous added sugars. 

– Kelly

Two Healthy, No-Sugar Chocolate Milkshakes (PB & Mocha)

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes (with NO added sugar)

The weather outside might be frightful (40 degrees and rainy – lovely), but inside I am peeling off layers and blending up cold beverages to stay cool in my cozy Boston apartment. Final exams are right around the corner for all of my loved ones in college and grad school, and that means snacks need to be quick, easy, and somewhat sinful tasting.

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake is energizing and filling, so you don’t have to worry about your stomach rumbling embarrassingly on the quiet floor of the library. For something rich and caffeinated to power you through a late-night study session, try the Dark Chocolate Mocha Milkshake recipe. It has the deep chocolaty taste of your favorite flavored coffee drink, without the stomach ache or sugar crash from those liquid calorie bombs.

Either way, both luscious milkshakes are made from nourishing whole foods and contain no added sugars, which means you won’t have to worry about the dreaded finals week bulge. So to my friends, sweating alongside me in their overheated apartments while churning out research papers, and to my brothers, making their way through the balmy 70 degree Texas weather to and from the campus library, this post is for you.

No Sugar Added Chocolate Milkshake Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake (Serves 1)

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (no added sugars or oils!)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Nutrition: 270 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrates (25g sugar*, 6g fiber), 12g protein, 9% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 24% Calcium, 8% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are the dangerous added sugars

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes -  No sugar

Dark Chocolate Mocha Milkshake (Serves 1)

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Nutrition: 200 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrates (24g sugar*, 7g fiber), 10g protein, 9% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 25% Calcium, 11% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are the dangerous added sugars

–  Kelly

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal (Step-by-Step)

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

While many folks claim to be unwaveringly loyal to a warm breakfast, I have converted quite a number of oatmeal enthusiasts to cold porridge (at least during the warmer months) by offering them some of my famous overnight oats.

The allure of overnight oatmeal is that it is prepared ahead of time, so in the morning, you can just grab a spoon and dig in. Overnight oats have taken Pinterest by storm for well over a year now, but for those that are hesitant, I have created a step-by-step guide. Once you have the basics down, you can concoct any number of flavor combinations, from Pumpkin Spice to Tiramisu.

Ready to shake up your breakfast routine? Here it goes!

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

In a small bowl, mash half of a ripe banana with a fork.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Add 1/4 cup of raspberries to the bowl and mash them into the banana.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Add 1/2 cup (or 1 individual carton) nonfat plain Greek yogurt to the fruit mixture,

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

and mix well. Now you have naturally sweetened yogurt! (Note: If you find that the fruit and yogurt mixture is too tart at this stage, feel free to add the other banana half.)

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Pour the fruit and yogurt mixture into a mason jar (or container that can hold at least 12 oz). Then add 2 teaspoons chia seeds, 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 cup blueberries.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Shake up the jar (or stir well) so that the contents are evenly mixed. Then place in the refrigerator overnight. As you sleep, the mixture will thicken up and the oats will soften.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

In the morning, enjoy your refreshing oats straight out the jar, or spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with berries.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ ripe banana
  • ½ cup raspberries, divided
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (or 1 individual sized carton)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • ½ cup water

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mash the banana half with a fork.
  2. Add half of the raspberries (1/4 cup) to the bowl and mash them into the banana.
  3. Add 1/2 cup (or 1 individual carton) nonfat plain Greek yogurt to the fruit mixture and mix well. This is how you make naturally sweetened yogurt! (Note: If you find that the fruit and yogurt mixture is too tart at this stage, feel free to add the other banana half.)
  4. Pour the fruit and yogurt mixture into a mason jar (or container that’s at least 12oz). Then add the chia seeds, oats, blueberries, remaining raspberries, and water.
  5. Shake up the jar (or stir well) so that the contents are evenly mixed. Then place in the refrigerator overnight. As you sleep, the mixture will thicken up and the oats will soften.
  6. In the morning, enjoy your oats cold straight out of the jar, or spooned into a serving bowl. Feel free to garnish with berries.

Nutrition: 350 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 55g carbohydrates (12g fiber, 20g sugar*), 24g protein, 1% Vitamin A, 42% Vitamin C, 15% iron, 28% calcium

*All sugars are naturally occurring- none are the dangerous added sugars.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Looking for other overnight oats recipes? These are the four that I make most frequently:

– Kelly