Today I have the honor of introducing our very own chef! Monica Spees is a good friend who can cook good food and most of what I see from her is healthy, win win :) Let me know if you try her first recipe!
My name is Monica, and I’m a young career woman whose current primary goal is to make healthy concoctions that won’t make my boyfriend gag. It’s hard to say when the cooking bug bit me, but cooking had long seemed like a good idea in my head. Kind of like learning the guitar or making lye soap “Little House on the Prairie”-style. Luckily for recipients of my Christmas gifts, I chose to experiment in the kitchen.
Some people call me a foodie, and I guess I sort of am, but I don’t know if I fit what I often think of as the hipster-esque foodie mold. I don’t watch the Food Network. The only time I catch “The Chew” is in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Cooking competition shows seldom hold my interest.
It’s my mom. My mom, the quintessential southern lady, has always been most comfortable in the kitchen. Our home has never seen a can of biscuits. There’s just no room for them when we’ve got Mom’s homemade ones. Every holiday or sit-down dinner meant my mom would be in the kitchen for two days preparing at least four times more food than everyone could eat. At nearly 25 years old, I still can’t bring myself to cook something in her kitchen without her there. She’s known that kitchen for 30 years, and I just don’t think it would respond to anyone else’s touch.
Some may think it’s antiquated for a woman to spend so much time in the kitchen. Many more may think it’s degrading that my mom has brought my dad his food on a tray in the living room for all 39 years of their marriage. I won’t say there have never been times when my mom has slammed a ruined meal in the trash can after hours of preparing it or griped at my dad for hollering requests from the living room. But the kitchen was never the place to put her in her place; it was the place where she thrived and blossomed. It’s the place where she shows her love.
My mom appreciates the tradition of cooking, displaying her grandmother’s antique rolling pin and using my dad’s mom’s biscuit cutter. It’s the recipes, heirlooms, and the care my mom takes to preserve them that makes me want to cook. Food is more than calories or a microwave. Food is memories - sweet or bitter - love, and legacy.
I said that I’m a young career woman whose current primary goal is to make healthy concoctions that won’t make my boyfriend gag. But my mom says that’s where it starts. I look forward to the day when my kitchen is as warm as hers and my recipes even a fraction as good.
All that said, here’s one of my favorite breakfast recipes: Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Overnight Oats.
I had never heard of overnight oats until about three months ago, but I’ve hardly missed a morning without them since. This is a quick, healthy breakfast that you prepare the night before and indulge in the morning. I’m pretty well stuck on chocolate-based overnight oats because…chocolate.
First, grab your favorite mug. Mine is bright yellow and has a smiley face on it :) To make things less complicated and to keep from dirtying another dish, put about 1/4 of a frozen banana in the mug. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the banana is pretty soft and some juices have collected at the bottom of the mug. Don’t be alarmed if it looks a little brown. That’s normal.
Next, drop in half a cup of oats. I recommend the one-minute oats, but you can use old-fashioned oats. The one-minute oats are smaller and I think make the consistency thicker in the morning. Then put in 1/3 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup plain yogurt. Follow that with 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder (I use the sweet cream flavor of Vi-Shape, but any plain powder will probably be fine), 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon butter extract, a dash of sea salt, and sweetener to taste (I recommend a packet of Stevia).
Once you’ve got all that dumped in there, stir that baby up. Watch out for little dust clouds of cocoa if you get too crazy with the stirring. When it’s chocolatey and thick and there’s no yogurt hanging out by itself at the bottom of the mug, cover the mug with foil and pop it in the refrigerator overnight.
When you take it out in the morning, you can eat it plain - cold or heated - or you can do what I do: top it with a teaspoon or two of mini chocolate chips. Then you have cookie dough for breakfast. No judgement.
Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Overnight Oats
1/2 c oats
1/3 c almond milk
1/4 c yogurt
1/4 ripe banana, heated
1 1/2 T vanilla protein powder
1 T cocoa
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/8 t butter extract
dash of sea salt
sweetener to taste
mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs to top (optional)
1. Heat frozen banana in a mug in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the banana is soft and juices have collected at the bottom.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to the mug (oats, almond milk, yogurt, vanilla protein powder, cocoa, vanilla extract, butter extract, sea salt, sweetener).
3. Stir to combine.
4. Cover the mug with foil and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. It will be ready for you in the morning.
Nutrition information: 375 calories, 63 g carbs, 7 g fat, 19 g protein, 123 mg sodium, 19 g sugar