This was my first year living away from home and I must say there are totally pros and cons to being solo when it comes to food. In some ways, it is so nice to be able to start getting hungry at 4:30PM and think “what do I feel like eating tonight?” and have absolutely no one to consult about it. On the other hand, this year also taught me how much easier it is to find motivation to make a slightly more elaborate meal when it’s for several people to enjoy. Spending an hour chopping and cooking is just a whole lot less appealing when the meal is for ONE PERSON.
Another big difference is that while my family tends to keep a bursting-at-the-seams fridge with all the produce imaginable, I am on a tighter budget and don’t quite have that luxury while I’m away. I typically only purchase the cheapest produce or what’s on sale. And let me tell you, if I do splurge a bit on a food item, you best believe that I am not going to let it go to waste.
Zucchini is a pretty perfect example. To me, it’s on the pricier side, but sometimes I cave and buy some. A few times this past semester I wasn’t sure what to do with the last of my starting-to-wrinkle zucchini and thought it was worth a try to throw into my morning oats.
And what a good idea it was. Even when I come back to my parents’ house and have access to any produce I could possibly want, this oatmeal recipe still pops onto the roster. The zucchini honestly doesn’t impart all that much flavour but just adds a nice texture. PLUS, don’t tell me you don’t feel like the biggest bad-ass when you sneak in a veggie at breakfast!
(Makes one large or two small portions)
-1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
-1 1/4 cup liquid (I usually use a mix of milk and water)
-Pinch of salt
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-1 Tbsp Chia Seed
-3/4 cup shredded zucchini (fine shred)
-1 ripe banana, mashed
-2 Tbsp dried cranberries
Topping ideas: dried fruit, shredded coconut, nuts/seeds, nut/seed butter
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer (that’s usually medium for me) and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and oats start to stick to the bottom (about 5 minutes). Stir in the zucchini. It will release some water so I typically let it cook for a minute more until it’s thick again. Finally, stir in the mashed banana and add desired toppings.