cacao overnight oats + australian sun

cugood

It’s been just over a week since Aaron and I returned to the city of endless sunshine and eucalyptus trees. Despite initial apprehension, the Australian weather has been treating us kindly, with temperatures largely under 30 degrees C (86 degrees f).

Despite this fact, I’ve been struggling with the brightness and heat after four months of increasingly grey skies and chilly mornings. On the day that Aaron and I left London, we wore woollen hats and kicked autumn leaves whilst drinking hot mulled wine from paper cups.

pour

Today I’m dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, with bare feet and a scraggly ponytail. A glass of iced water sits on the coffee table in a dripping pool of condensation.

But it’s not all bad. Despite initial fatigue, jetlag and lack of internet (we are still awaiting a home broadband connection) we’ve spent many hours catching up on lost time with beautiful family and friends (and their adorable new puppies, eep! Say hi to Mooch below). I’ve rediscovered my balcony garden, planting rainbow chard, dark Tuscan kale and a glut of organic tomato seedlings.

sleeping paw

Cooler afternoons have been spent in our tiny, cramped but altogether beautiful kitchen kneading spelt pizza dough and making fragrant tomato passata. I’ve pounded basil for pesto and picked mulberries from a nearby churchyard (with permission, of course) for baked goods and fresh chia jam.

It’s been idyllic, really. All the things I’ve missed wrapped into a warm, fuzzy ball of eight days. I’d be happy for it to last forever but (understandably) four months of travelling has made a significant dent in our bank account. Cue our return to full-time work (with 6:00 am wake-ups, a million emails and 20 minute lunch breaks for me) next week. Sigh.

bowl mix

In preparation for our return to routine, I’ve been dabbling in healthy pre-prepared breakfasts, lunches and snacks over the past week. Transportable, nutritious deliciousness that can be shoved into an airtight container and snatched from the fridge as we rush out the door. First on the list were a million things in jars ranging from creamy nut butters to pesto, chia pudding and sauerkraut (from this recipe by my friend Graz) followed by healthy fruit slices and wrapped nut-and-seed bars.

In terms of breakfasts, I’m a big fan of homemade granola (I’m a sucker for this Christmas-y recipe from lovely Kate) but after reading this recipe from my beautiful dietitian friend Heidi, well… I had to make a batch. Before heading to bed last night, I folded the ingredients together, popped the bowl in the refrigerator and (as always) went to sleep with happy thoughts of breakfast.

cover

This morning, I awoke to a bowl of creamy, chocolatey overnight oats. Aaron and I topped our servings with tart raspberries, strawberries, toasted sunflower seeds, crunchy dried mulberries and plenty of sliced banana (Aaron doused his in extra milk because, well, that’s what he does) before happily tucking in. We’ve now decided to make one double batch per week (to be scooped into bowls or packed into transportable boxes) for health, deliciousness and convenience. It’s the perfect transportable breakfast for an active day.

bowlyelo

Now, in terms of the recipe – I’m not going to include it here as I don’t want to deprive you of a visit to Heidi’s beautiful blog, Apples Under My Bed. It’s one of my personal favourites, both for wholefood recipes and heartfelt, honest stories (the hashtag #wishwewereneighbours perfectly applies).

Heidi states in her recipe that the maca powder is an optional extra, however I was happy to include a large spoonful towards both mood and hormone regulation (post travel and cessation of, uh, certain medication). I’m still debating whether the investment is worth it, so if any of you have experienced any personal benefits (or detriments) from consuming maca, I’d appreciate your advice.

wood

As I finish this post, it’s just past six in the evening. The soft remants of daylight are slowly melting into an inky, cloud-streaked dusk. Aaron is sketching next to me, tiny templates of figures for a commissioned project. Light falls upon his face and as always, my heart melts.

We’ll soon be eating garlicky greens with smashed avocado, poached eggs, goats cheese and this seeded sourdough from Wild Bakery for dinner. I relish the simple things in life. Like oats for breakfast and home grown vegetables.

And the wet noses of puppies. Yep, I just went full circle.

nose

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79 responses

  1. What a shock to the system this weather must be Laura! Welcome home! Great to see you back.
    Love my overnight oats and I have a whopping big bag of cacao in my pantry… off to check out the recipe now.
    Enjoy the puppy cuddles and good luck easing back into work again.

    • PS. I just made the overnight oats (took 5 minutes!) and it smells beautiful. Can’t wait ’til the morning. I didn’t have maca powder, but have been curious about it for some time so I’ve popped it on the shopping list for next time. I tried to comment on Heidi’s blog but received one of those Mod_Security warnings which pop up from time to time. She has a lovely blog!

      • I thought the same when I made them Sas, such a rich and delicious smell! They’re really rich but they give you such a great kick-start in the morning. I’ve got a massive bag of cacao too so I’ll be making the recipe regularly :) Thanks for the lovely note. It’s great to be back, despite the hot weather! xxx <3

  2. A little bit of puppy love would take the rough edges off settling back into a routine, I suspect. I make overnight oats quite a bit and love them. I must try Heidi’s recipe. I tried to like Maca, but I couldn’t. My personal trainer friend urged me to try it for my running (endurance) and general well-being, but the smell alone made me gag (sorry to be so graphic). I ended up taking capsules, but they were rough on my tummy. I gave up on Maca, but I hope you find it beneficial. Welcome back.

    • Haha, it’s definitely an interesting fragrance. I don’t really mind it though and so far my system doesn’t seem to be too upset. I’ll see how things progress I suppose! Thanks for your input, it’s helpful :) Definitely give Heidi’s overnight oats recipe a try, it’s a delicious way to get a bit of extra cacao (and chocolate for breakfast, hello!). Thanks Jen xxx

  3. Welcome home! I’m returning today to working two days a week, instead of one, as I’m slowly getting back into the pre-surgery groove. I won’t lie…I’m not looking forward to it. But, it’s what we do. Hope your days back to work go well for you. Enjoy the sunshine and warm days. We’re headed into winter and praying it won’t be too bad this year. Send us some warmth and some of this yummy oatmeal, ok? xx

    • I hope the two days per week goes ok Julie, recovery is a slow and gradual thing isn’t it. I have been thinking of you and the progress is so good to know (even though returning to work isn’t a lot of fun! But glad you feel well enough for it!). I am definitely in for a shock when I start up full time again. Argh! It’s necessary though and I look forward to seeing my lovely colleagues. Sending you hugs, thanks for the kind words beautiful Julie! Xx

  4. There is truly no place like home. I’m so like you, prepping ahead all kinds of healthy food so that the busyiness of life doesn’t affect good eating. I always make overnight oats, never thought to make a week’s worth, which is a great idea!

  5. Four months is a long time to be away from home. Long enough to become acclimatized to your surroundings, making the first few days back home that much more difficult of a transition. Even so, it’s a good transition. I’ll gladly suffer jet lag and that “malaise” if it follows a fantastic holiday filled with wonderful memories. It really is a small price to pay. Of course, new puppies help, too. ;)
    Love the idea of chocolate-y overnight oats. What a great way to start the day!

    • These are wise words John. I definitely think the malaise is worth it, though the jetlag is so bad when flying 20+ hrs across hemispheres! I almost feel back to normal now though. Other than the weather, haha. Thanks for stopping over John, always so nice to hear from you!

  6. It always makes me so happy to read your posts! This looks truly scrumptious (and so does mooch! too cute!) I feel you on the 6am wakeups, it’s torture! I’m looking forward to 6 weeks in Europe and then Vietnam with my boyfriend at the end of the year … seriously counting down the days! xx

    • Oh yay, how exciting! I can’t wait to see your travel posts and photos Ally! I definitely see travel as an investment in itself. Worth every penny! Thanks for the kind words beautiful xx

  7. My goodness, you’re divine. Welcome home, lovely. Sounds like it’s been a nice, gentle return. I hope work goes well. I am beyond thrilled you both liked this recipe. I’ll be making a batch for Ben & I tonight. I cannot say if the maca has helped…I believe it may have but other things have helped too so I cannot say it was directly the maca. I do know I used to find it repulsive but now actually enjoy the flavour. & it may be a placebo, but I believe the endurance, power effect to be true! Thanks again for your sweetness x

    • Thanks lovely. I do remember the beginnings of your maca trial and it’s useful to read your views on it now. I’ll keep going with it for a while as weirdly, I don’t really mind the flavour at all (I quite like it!) and I do feel a bit all over the place. Aaron and I love the recipe. It’s such a great way to pack nutrition into the day. Thanks for being such a sweet inspiration Heidi, love being able to journey with you from the other side of the country! Xxx

  8. I just ate the hugest bowl! It was soooo good, and would also be lovely for dessert, being quite puddingy. My boys loved it too. I scattered shredded coconut on top. Definitely a keeper. Thanks Laura.

    • Oh yay! I had some more for breakfast too, with banana, seeds and unhulled tahini drizzled over the top (definitely recommend it, goes so well!). Glad that it was a hit with the boys too! Xx

  9. So much to love about this post Laura! Looks like a wonderful breakfast, packed full of flavour and textures. Happy to hear that you’ve had a week to allow to jet lag to fade away and get back into the groove of things… must be wonderful to be home and cooking in your own kitchen again! :)

    • Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day :) I always feel much better about getting out and doing things after a good bowl of oats! Thanks for the kind words Margot, it’s great to be home despite the persistent jetlag. I am LOVING my time in the kitchen! x

  10. My go-to breakfast at the moment is very similar to this, but I cook it in the morning and have it warm with raspberries or banana. But I love the idea of soaking it all the night before, to ease the morning rush! Best of luck with your return to work…readjusting after a long break always takes a while! xo

    • Oh, that sounds lovely! A hot bowl of oats is definitely wonderful on cooler mornings (it’s hot here at the moment so overnight oats is the go!). Thanks so much for the kind words. I am going back to full time work from tomorrow so I’m trying to steel myself for the return to routine! xo

  11. Peh to full time work. As Obi says, “the weekend should go for four days and the week should be three”… I tend to agree with that kid. He’s wiser than his years! :)
    Thanks for the mad props, glad you’ve been enjoying the ‘kraut. And those oat look damn tasty too!

  12. Yey for puppy noses, paws, ears, bellies, tails … so cute :)
    And welcome home to you (not that I can really welcome you when I’m not there, but I send welcoming thoughts from across the world!) and good luck for the return to work. At least you’re stocking up on yumminess to see you through it all. xx

    • Eeep, thanks Trixie! I am now millions of miles away from you and that glorious Borough market (so sad not to see your brother there, I wish I visited the market a long time before our final day in London!). I appreciate the lovely thoughts and yes, yumminess does a lot to raise the spirits! xx

  13. Welcome back, Laura! I loved following your travels, but have really been looking forward to your being home (which means more posts!). The cacao oatmeal is such an unusual preparation. I will have to try it some morning in lieu of my big bowl of cocoa for breakfast!

    • Haha, yes indeed David! I am hoping to get back into the proper blogging swing of things very soon (once I’ve adapted to being back at work, argh!). Do try the cacao recipe, Aaron and I loved it (though it is very rich, so I’d recommend that the recipe above be for 3 bowls rather than 2, with plenty of fruit and maybe some extra milk. I like the fact that it’s got so much goodness in it as well as flavour! Thanks as always for stopping by my friend! x

  14. Glad to see you tucked in at home again! It’s true when you return from a trip, home seems all the more dear. And loved the oats recipe! Never had chocolate with my oatmeal– and why not!!!? thanks for the recipe and the recommendation of Heidi’s blog.

    • Thanks lovely Rhonda! I appreciate the kind words. You’re exactly right, after being away for a while it’s wonderful to be reunited with family, friends, favourite coffee shops and your own pillow! I hope that you enjoy the oats, I loved the recipe (and Heidi!) xx

  15. So great to hear that you arrive at home step by step with friends and garden and home-made treats – it always takes so much longer then just the way from the aiport and the unpacking of suitcases, doesn’t it :-). Wish you all the best for re-entering the working schedule as well – this post’s wonderful little oat treat seems more than suitable to make it easy. Best and hugs!

    • Thanks so much Claudia. Yes, definitely easier when there’s something delicious to eat in the morning! Hope that you and Arne are going well (on the other side of the world now!) xx

  16. Yum, Laura, this looks delicious and I love the pics of the puppies! Oh, puppy toes, how I love them =) Have you ever notice how they smell like corn chips? Hilarious. So glad to hear your travels brought you home safe and sound and I BET the weather was an adjustment! Christopher and I will be heading to Minnesota for Thanksgiving this year and coming from San Diego, we are preparing ourselves for the cold. Hopefully, we’ll get some snow =) Hope all is wonderfully well with you, lovely, have a wonderful rest of your week and talk again soon. Big hugs xo

    • Haha! Corn chips? I need to check that for myself! Thanks so much for the lovely comment, I hope that you and Christopher have a wonderful time in Minnesota over the Thanksgiving week! Sending you love. I’m going well, despite the adjustment issues! Hugs xx

  17. Welcome back Laura! This truly looks like the happy after effects of a wonderful break! As lovely as it is to be away, there’s something so reassuring about getting back into the kitchen, whipping up treats and being at home again, minus the 6am wake up of course! Love the idea of idyllic afternoons making passata, alongside puppy tummy rubs and yummy breakfasts like these! here’s hoping you get a few more in soon :)

    • Aaah, thanks so much Alice! So nice to get a message from you. Hope that everything is going well! If not, well… a bowl of delicious breakfast makes the process that tiny bit easier ;) Love xx

  18. Welcome back home. Re-entry must be a huge adjustment, but what a wonderful collection of experiences you and Aaron had in your travels. The puppy is so, so sweet. We have a 13 week-old puppy now and she has added so much to our lives already. I’m craving garlicky greens with avocado and a poached egg now, BTW. That would hit the spot for me right now :-)

    • Aw Susan! Puppies are beautiful, I’m wanting one of my own but I’m not sure whether it’d be fair to the dog when our apartment is so small. Yours sounds wonderful! I do hope that you had the garlicky greens with avo and a poached egg. It’s one of my favourite quick meals, so delicious and so easy xx

  19. Hi Laura! Hope you are well! I love overnight oats and have been eating them every morning….cinnamon roll style…but I also lov cacao so much and need to switch it up to try with the cacao. Looks so good. I remember coming back from Paris a few years ago and struggling for almost 2 weeks to adjust. I was begnning to think it was permanent!
    Anyways, welcome back and I just love the puppy pics!!

    • Oh thanks so much Brandi! I’ve missed reading your blog, I’ve gotten so behind on everything since leaving home and I’m just starting to try to get back in the rhythm of blogging again. I’m now settled back into our apartment but I do have twinges when I miss being away. As for cinnamon roll oats?! Ah! Yum!!! That sounds amazing xxx

  20. It’s getting chilly here, winter in kicking in, and I’d rather have some hot Aussie weather right now? Is this the same gorgeous puppy I’ve been seeing in your Instagram? So cute! Good luck with your cessation of certain medication ;) I”ve been wanting to try overnight oats for ages,.. but I forget about making them at night. Maybe I’ll try tonight and have a great breakfast tomorrow.

    • Yes, it’s the same one on Instagram Sofia!!! So, so cute. I really do wish that I could steal him away but, well, Manuel would miss him too much ;) Thanks for your kind words about the changes too, haha. Seems fine so far! I do hope that you stay warm and happy as we get into the festive season lovely! xx

  21. Coming back from holidays is always the hardest! And having to change temperatures dramatically like that is no fun.
    Luckily your afternoons sound idyllic and I hope they have given you some peace before you head straight back into work. We have some long hours coming up before Christmas holidays here at my work and I could definitely use both quick and easy breakfasts, and some mood regulation. These overnight oats sound like the perfect prescription. Thanks Laura.
    P.S. Puppy noses! Gorgeous and glorious :)

    • Aw, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post Amy. Yep, it’s been an adjustment and I’m still feeling a bit exhausted after being back at work full-time for two weeks. Never mind. The most beautiful, rejuvenating part has been seeing my friends and family regularly. I missed them so much!
      I hope that the work hours before Christmas go well, eep! I’m steeling myself for a bit of Christmas craziness too… I am so disorganised! Sending you hugs. Thanks for the lovely words xxx

  22. I don’t know a lot of things that we noses and cacao wouldn’t fix or ease, as a transition. I think that, by now, you are enjoying being back home and in the sun while still thinking back fondly to all those wooly sweaters.. :) xx

  23. Hi Laura… You have absolutely captured the essence of puppy. Beautiful.
    As for the oats… yum. Ollie, my hubby, eats soaked oats every morning. I’m going to give this a go for him… and me. I’m thinking some cocoa nibs might be a nice addition and maybe coconut. I’d also like to hear thoughts about the maca powder. I’m a sucker for super foods… i’ve got hemp, chia, bee pollen, nibs… on and on. But no maca to date.
    And lastly, I’m a pack your lunch gal. I take my salads everyday. Maybe I should post them sometime.
    Be kind to yourself during your transition back to routine. x wendy

    • Aw, thanks so much Wendy! I appreciate the lovely sentiment. I hope that you and Ollie enjoy the overnight oats – cacao nibs and coconut would be awesome in terms of contrasting texture. Yum :)
      YES, definitely post some info on your lunches, I always enjoy seeing what others take for healthy sustenance! As for maca, it has been beneficial (I think… it’s hard to isolate a substance and credit any improvements to it). I do think it’s helped in terms of hormonal regulation, possibly energy levels? Nothing to lose in trying some as part of your breakfast routine. I don’t mind the flavour either, though I’ve heard other people say otherwise! Sending you hugs, hope that you’re having a lovely december so far! xx

  24. These overnight oats look fantastic. I loved overnight oats all summer, so delicious! Anyway, I still haven’t tried maca powder but I’m definitely dying to try it.

    Cute puppy! Hi Mooch! :)

    • Aw, thanks so much Ruby. Overnight oats are awesome for warm weather (as we are getting now – first week of summer as I type!). Did you have any other recipes on your blog? I’ll have to take a look xx

  25. You are obsessed with the same things as me….their feet and their nose! I have umpteen photos of my cats feet and noses. I love looking at every little detail. My youngest kitty has what I call a “reverse freckle” on his nose. His nose is a chocolate brown and he has one pale spot…basically a reverse freckle. I love it. Where would we be without our furry darlings?

    • Awwww, yes! Noses and feet are so adorable. Now that we have our Loki, I find myself playing with his little paw pads on every occasion. Luckily he doesn’t seem to mind! There will be more pup photos on the blog from now on… it’s nice to know that you and I share the same obsessions (albeit me with dogs and you with cats – as I think I mentioned previously, I guess people tend to be one or the other). The reverse freckle sounds adorable. One day I want to get a white boxer with those sorts of markings… when we have proper yard space for the energy involved! So glad that little furry friends are part of this world xxx

  26. Pingback: Coconut Cacao Buckwheat Granola « Laura's Mess

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