Overnight Oats!

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe


It feels strange to be sitting here writing this post. Strange in a good way. Familiar yet new. I’m hoping that blogging is like riding a bike because daaaammmmnnnnn, I’ve been gone a long time. So umm, a belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I’ll jump in here with an early Happy St. Patrick’s Day, just in case.

I could insert approximately 47 reasons here to explain my two+ month blogging hiatus, but let’s not waste our time with that boring stuff. The important thing is that I’m back here sharing a recipe and my ramblings with you. My hope is that this post will kick-start a much more reliable and frequent schedule of recipe-sharing, so…fingers crossed! Let’s just jump right in.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Overnight oats.

I realize that I’m a little late to the overnight oats party. They’ve kind of been a thing now for a while. And being the oatmeal lover that I am, when recipes for overnight oats started popping up a couple of years ago, I was eager to give them a try. I mean, throw a few ingredients in a jar, put the jar in the fridge overnight, and wake up to a delicious breakfast? Sign me the heck up!

Sadly, my first experience with overnight oats was not a good one, and it turned me off of the whole idea for a long time. The texture was really off – kind of watery, yet chunky – and I couldn’t get over it.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I decided to give them another try. The game changer for me was the addition of Greek yogurt and chia seeds – the original recipe that I had tried just called for almond milk, oats, and fruit. But the Greek yogurt and chia seeds give the mixture a much creamier texture, similar to that of traditional hot oats. And with the right toppings, you can turn overnight oats into a downright satisfying, decadent, yet still super healthy breakfast. Seriously, I feel a little nip of sadness after I take the last bite. But the best part is that these overnight oats hold me over all morning until lunch time.

The recipe below lists the base ingredients – I always use oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and chia seeds. You can certainly substitute another milk for the almond milk, if you prefer. And then I add whatever fruit I have on hand. The toppings are up to you, but I’ve included some of my favourite additions. Best combo to date: fresh strawberries, crunchy natural peanut butter, hemp hearts, and cacao nibs. It was like breakfast dessert!

Side note: I can’t stop putting cacao nibs on everything. Help.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Overnight Oats!

This recipe makes one serving; however, you can multiply to create as many servings as you’d like. These oats keep well in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to make a bunch of servings at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge for quick and satisfying breakfasts all week long. If you’re using plain Greek yogurt, you may wish to add your favourite sweetener, or other flavours like vanilla extract. I tend to use flavoured Greek yogurt (usually vanilla or strawberry). 

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (flavour of your choice)

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

1 TBSP. chia seeds

1/3-1/2 cup fruit (ie. fresh or frozen berries, banana, chopped apple)

Optional mix ins: 1 TBSP. natural peanut butter, 1 tsp. hemp hearts, 1 tsp. cacao nibs, 1 tsp. shredded coconut, nuts, etc.

Combine the oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and chia seeds and stir together in a mason jar or sealable container. I usually add my fruit here too, as well as peanut butter if I’m using it. The mixture shouldn’t be too thick at this point – if it is, add a bit more almond milk. Refrigerate overnight. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Nutritional info for base recipe (before fruit and mix-ins): 216 calories, 7.0 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 30.2 g carbohydrates, 11.4 g protein, 7.7 g fibre, 8.7 g sugars.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

It’s good to be back, friends!

I Like Cookies | Chewy Almond Butter Oatmeal & Dark Chocolate Cookies

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

I’m a bit of a cookie snob. I mean, not all cookies are created equal. You know?

For me, a good cookie has three requirements. First of all, and most importantly, a good cookie has to be chewy. Not hard, not cake-y, not crispy, but chewy. Secondly, I like cookies that have some heft. Don’t get me wrong, a good buttery chocolate chip cookie can easily win my heart. But most often, I love a cookie that’s got substance – oatmeal, coconut, raisins, chocolate – you know, good mix-ins! And finally, I really prefer cookies that are thick as opposed to thin. Thickness matters.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

We’re still talking about cookies. Don’t get distracted!

And if the cookies can maybe possibly be considered healthy…even better. Now, I’m going to use the term “healthy” quite loosely here. These cookies do have plenty of sugar. BUT! They are filled with many good-for-you ingredients like oats, flax, almond butter, coconut oil, and dark chocolate. If you use gluten-free oats, you can call these gluten-free. And if you use vegan chocolate (most good-quality dark chocolate is considered vegan), then they become vegan too. Which means we can share these cookies with all of our gluten-free and vegan friends! Bonus!

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

This is really good news for me because when I make a batch of cookies this good, I need to get them out of my house, like, immediately. Otherwise I will eat more than the daily recommended intake of cookies. Unless that number is somewhere in the double digits. In that case, I’m doing fine.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

These cookies are so darn chewy and so freaking good. Seriously. But please don’t take my word for it. Mix up a batch for yourself and then invite me over to help you eat them. I’m real considerate like that.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Chewy Almond Butter Oatmeal & Dark Chocolate Cookies (adapted from Eat Live Run)

You have the option of making these cookies gluten-free, if desired. Just use gluten-free oats! If you want to make them vegan-friendly, just be sure to use vegan chocolate. Makes about 30 cookies. 

1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups regular oats (or gluten-free, if desired)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1 cup almond butter

2 TBSP. ground flax mixed with 6 TBSP. warm water (aka. a flax “egg”)

2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your cookie sheet(s) by lining them with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla and ground flax + water mixture. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients along with the dark chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

Roll the dough into small balls (golf ball size) and place three inches apart on the cookie sheets (12 per sheet). Do not flatten the dough balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy and just barely beginning to brown around the edges. Let cool for 5-10 minutes (or until set) on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer. I imagine these would freeze well too, but they were eaten too quickly for me to need to do such a thing!

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Have a great weekend friends!

Snack Attack | Chewy Granola Bars

Granola Bars



















Friends, the holiday season is upon us! Have you noticed?

Christmas music has begun to play in the stores, new seasonal drinks are now available at Starbucks and the like (Peppermint Mochas!), and every evening when Bella and I get out for a walk, there are lights twinkling inside and outside of all the houses. (Oh, and it’s also dark by 4:30pm, hence the craptastic photos. Sorry friends, I couldn’t wait to share this recipe!) I love this time of year, but I must say, it really has creeped up on me this time around. Christmas is merely a few weeks away!

Granola Bars



















Every year when December hits, I find myself scrambling to bake Christmas goodies, get my shopping done, and partake in fun holiday activities. Sometimes I am scrambling so much that I forget to take a breath and enjoy it all. And really, the main reason I am so in love with this time of year is that there is practically a standing excuse to gather together with friends and family to celebrate. There is something purely magical about coming together, eating delicious food, and toasting to the season with those people that bring joy to your heart. Call me a cheeseball, but I just luuuurrrrrve it.

On my bucket list for this holiday season:

  1. Go on a sleigh ride. I don’t know how I’m going to make this happen, but I’m sure gonna try! Anyone got a horse I could borrow? And a sleigh?
  2. Make a gingerbread house. Even though gingerbread houses never seem to get eaten (who wants to eat all that candy and cookie business after it’s been gathering dust for weeks?!), the process is so darn fun! And by process I mean putting more candy in your mouth than you put on the house. Magical.
  3. Watch one Christmas movie every week from now until Christmas. Top on the list – Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life (which I’ve never seen before – how?!)
  4. Fill a huge thermos with hot chocolate and Bailey’s, get a group of my favorite people together, and go tobogganing.
  5. Learn how to play an easy Christmas tune on the guitar. A party ain’t a party without a sing-a-long.
  6. Donate to those in need. I am very inspired by this.

…to name a few. What are some of the activities on your holiday bucket list?

Granola Bars



















The holiday parties have begun. Time to get my arse in gear. But in all of this busy-ness, one cannot forget to eat! No problemo, I’ve got you covered with a dense and energy-packed granola bar that you can grab for a quick breakfast or snack on the run. I have been searching for ages for the perfect granola bar recipe. One that is chewy, not too sweet, and somewhat healthy.  The original recipe (taken from Whitewater Cooks) uses corn syrup, but I substituted brown rice syrup with great results. I’d really like to find a way to cut down a bit on the butter and sugar, but for now, it will do. This recipe makes a rather large batch, but they freeze very well once cut and put into an airtight container. I have also cut the recipe in half without issue – just use a smaller cookie sheet.

Feel free to change these up by adding your favorite mix-ins. I definitely recommend including the sesame seeds as they add a delicious crunch to these chewy bars. Any kind of dried fruit can be subbed in for the raisins, and some dark chocolate chips would take them to a whole other level.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the balsam friends. 😉

Granola Bars
























Chewy Granola Bars (slightly adapted from Whitewater Cooks)

Makes 24 very generous bars.

1 cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 ½ TBSP. vanilla

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup brown rice syrup

6 cups large flake oats

1 cup shredded coconut, toasted

1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1 cup sesame seeds, toasted

2 cups dried fruit/chocolate

Lightly toast the coconut, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat, then set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add in the brown rice syrup and mix, and then add the remaining ingredients and stir by hand.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large (ie. 12 x 18 inch) cookie sheet with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the perimeter and just set in the centre. Let cool slightly and then cut into bars. Freeze if the bars will not be consumed within a few days.

Granola Bars

What The What? | Lentil and Oat Cookies

What the what?!

There are moments in life that prompt this question. Consider it the G-rated cousin to the more popular phrase: “What the f&@#”?!

What the what?! popped into my head a several times over this past week. Let me explain.

1.On the weekend I was standing in line at the grocery store. Sundays afternoons are a busy time at the grocery store, and nearly every Sunday I ask myself why I choose to come at this time. The place is crowded, lines are long, and people are just…weird. More than normal. I was two people back in an obnoxiously long line at the check-out when I witnessed the guy who was about to pay for his groceries say to the cashier “Hold on, I just have to run to the bathroom.” Umm…what the what?! Dude, do you really think that this is the most opportune time to go and relieve yourself?! Apparently so. Three minutes later, he returned and paid for his groceries and left, whistling on his way out.

2.I share laundry facilities with the people that live in the basement suite below me. Sharing laundry facilities with strangers is not recommended. I’ve been trying to determine why these people are always using the washer and dryer (seriously, at least 6 out of 7 days per week). Either they’re hiding a family of 8 down there or they each own approximately one pair of socks and underwear, one shirt, and one pair of pants. Those are the only explanations I can think of for why 2 twenty-somethings would need to be doing laundry so often. As a result, I find myself doing laundry marathons on the rare occasions that I find the washer and dryer free. Good times. But not really.

3.Children are strange creatures. I took my little sister swimming recently to the local YMCA. I was floating on a floaty-raft-thing, minding my own business, when a wee little 7-ish year old boy backed into me (read: his fault). He turned around, scowled (viciously) at me, shook my floaty-raft-thing violently for about 5 seconds, then shoved it as hard as he could before turning around and carrying on. What the what?!

4.It is still snowing here. Apparently Mother Nature isn’t aware that it’s SUPPOSED TO BE SPRING TIME. Pay attention for crying out loud.

5.Yesterday, the girl next to me in my yoga class farted during Warrior 2. She acted like nothing happened. This has always puzzled me, because if I ever farted in yoga class I’d t0tally start laughing. Maybe even sum up the courage to say excuse me. I realize that it would be totally embarrassing, but just ignoring it when everyone knows exactly where that sound came from just seems worse. In fact, I almost started laughing. I’m incredibly mature.

6.I saw this recipe for lentil oat cookies a few weeks ago on the Food Network. And I thought “Lentils in cookies?! What the what?!” But let me tell you, it totally works. These taste like an oatmeal cookie with an extra oomph of health. Very hearty and satisfying. And a great way to use up leftover lentils!

Lentil and Oat Cookies (adapted from Bal Arneson, Spice Goddess)

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup lentils, cooked and crushed with a fork

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup large flake oats

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper, a Silpat, or spraying with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream the lentils, butter, and brown sugar together and then add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir in the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, raisins, and chocolate chips and mix well. Feel free to choose mix-ins that suit your tastes (ie. different nuts, dried cranberries, etc.).

Drop cookies by the spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, and allow to cool on a baking rack. This recipe makes a large amount of cookies, but leftovers do freeze well!













Hope you’re having a great week friends!

Intention | Kindness Cookies

What is your intention today?

That is the question that my yoga instructor asks of her students at the beginning of every class. In other words, what is your aim or objective for the next 75 minutes? A little self-love? Compassion? Forgiveness?

My intention in my very first warm Hatha class was to make it through the class without passing out. Me + intense heat + exercise does not typically yield the best results. But after a few classes, my body adjusted to the temperature and I learned when to push a little harder and when to hold back. My energy has shifted to other intentions, such as focusing on my breath and deepening each pose. Definite self-love. I cannot begin to describe the powerful flow of positive energy that runs through me during a yoga class. I rock warrior pose. I balance through tree pose. I relish relaxation in savasana pose.

Have you ever tried setting an intention for your day? Do you make a conscious plan about how and where you will direct your energy in a given moment? It’s more challenging than it seems. Certainly harder in real life than in yoga class.

Not long ago, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main character, a shepherd boy named Santiago has a recurring dream about a treasure and travels to the pyramids of Egypt to find it. Along his journey, Santiago meets an old king who teaches him about discovering his personal legend – what he desires to accomplish in his life. The most important piece of wisdom that the king bestows upon Santiago is that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” If you’ve never read The Alchemist, you should. I found it to be totally inspiring. Do I believe in the aforementioned “motto” of the book? No, not particularly. If it is true, then the universe has most certainly failed me on several occasions. However, I do believe that setting an intention is the first step to realizing your dreams and goals.

So…what is my intention today? At this point, I’m keeping it simple. My intention, each day, is to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of reasons to be happy. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, an education, and a great job. And I do fun things. Often. But this is a crazy world that we live in. Have you noticed? War, famine, murder, natural disasters, untimely deaths. And fortunately for me, I live in one of the safest countries in the world. Much less crazytown than others.

But my point is, on some days, it’s not as easy to just feel happy. Despite this, my intention is to focus on the positive aspects of my life, rather than focus on the negative. I am going to be good to myself and to others. I am going to laugh more. Put positive energy out into the universe and it will come back to you…right? Someone get me a copy of The Secret.

My intention for these cookies was even simpler: stuffing them in my face. And sharing them of course. Because nothing makes me the same kind of happy as the smiling faces of people as they eat something delicious. And these are kind cookies. Kind to animals. Kind to the Earth. And kind to your body. Just ask Alicia Silverstone. Her book, The Kind Diet, is spectacular. Check it out if you have the chance.

*I made two variations of this cookie. In my first batch, I used whole wheat flour and molasses. The molasses are part of the original recipe. In the second batch, I used all-purpose flour, left out the molasses, and added in a pinch of nutmeg instead. Each batch had a very distinct but delicious flavor. The molasses batch had a bit more chew to them, but even a tablespoon of the stuff makes the flavor quite pronounced. The non-molasses batch really showcased the flavor of the dried cherries and walnuts, which I loved. However, I adored both cookies and will be making both variations again and again.

Kindness Cookies, aka. Vegan Oatmeal, Cherry, and Walnut Cookies (adapted from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone)

1 cup large flake oats

3/4 cup whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 TBSP. molasses (or a pinch of nutmeg)

1/4 cup dried cherries (cut in half)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup dried coconut

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, molasses (if using) and spices. Finally, add in the cherries, walnuts, and coconut. Use your hands to shape the dough into balls (golf ball size) and then slightly flatten with your fingertips. Bake for about 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Each batch made 14 cookies for me. Don’t forget to stuff them in your face.

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