On my off-days from the gym, I usually make a smoothie and drink it on the way to work, but if I’m hauling ass and lifting weights at 6am, you can be sure I want something a little more substantial. And since I’m even more pressed for time than usual on those mornings, I need something that can be prepared quickly. As promised, I’m going to be sharing with you as many of my on-the-go breakfast solutions as I have to offer, and this is one you won’t want to miss out on!
You might be wondering why I don’t just make myself some instant oats, but if you’ve ever had oatmeal cooked properly on the stove, you’ll know it’s like asking why I don’t have a bag of cherry blasters when I’m craving fruit. That analogy might be on the extreme side, but you get what I’m saying. The texture is all wrong, the portion sizes too small, and don’t even get me started on those weird sugary flavourings. Even plain instant oats just fall flat when compared to their thickly cut, slow-cooked cousins.
Any Scottish person will tell you that the ONLY acceptable utensil for stirring porridge is a spurtle, which is why I bought one in Scotland and always use it for the task. To my endless delight, it came packaged in a red plaid box, and while Conor thought we should throw it out, I flat-out refused to participate in any such insanity. Of course, in reality, a wooden spoon is just fine, but… you didn’t hear that from me. 😉
These oatmeal cups are a total breakfast game-changer, and a freezer staple in my house. Every couple of weeks I put aside half an hour in the evening or on the weekend to prepare, and then I get to enjoy real oatmeal on any morning of the week, which feels super indulgent. The great thing about this recipe too is that you can customize it endlessly. Don’t like pumpkin? Ditch it! Allergic to nuts? Add seeds. Or change things up each time you make a batch and see where your creativity takes you. This version reflects what flavours and textures I’m currently digging, but I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll try something new, perhaps with some different seeds and dried fruits in the mix.
Did I mention there’s no sugar added to this recipe?
A note on preparation:
I take mine out of the freezer the night before, since I already know what mornings I’ll be heading to the gym, but you could just as easily throw a couple of pucks into a ziplock bag and bring them to work with you. They’ll defrost a little on the way and you can then enjoy them whenever you’re ready for breakfast. Just pop in the microwave with a touch of water or milk, and then top with some nut butter (this one is PERFECT for this recipe) or sliced banana. At home I reheat them over the stove while I’m getting dressed for work. 2-3 cups make one serving.
Pumpkin Pecan Freezer Oatmeal Cups (makes about 20 cups, or 6-7 servings)
Inspired by The Kitchn’s Frozen Single-Serve Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cherries
~ gluten free, vegan, no added sugar, soy free, nut free option ~
- 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- unsweetened shredded coconut (1/3 cup or so)
- a handful of pitted dates (around 8-10), quartered
- a handful of cacao nibs
- a handful of chopped pecans
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat on the stove, then add your oats. Stir them frequently for a few minutes, until they’ve just started to brown and have developed a nice, nutty aroma. I haven’t met a grain yet that didn’t taste better when toasted first.
- Add your coconut milk, water, and pumpkin puree, and bring to a low boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10-12 minutes, or until just cooked. It’s okay if they’re slightly underdone because they will soften in the freezer and then again during the reheating process.
- Now add your sea salt, vanilla, and cinnamon, and stir well to combine. Let cool.
- Thoroughly grease two standard muffin tins with coconut oil. Once the oatmeal has cooled, spoon it into each cavity and fill just to the top.
- Now add your toppings, and press down slightly into the oatmeal so that they stick (and won’t come loose in the freezer.)
- Place your muffin tins in the freezer overnight (or over the course of a day), and then remove from the freezer and let defrost for a few minutes – just long enough that you can pull the pucks out, but not so long that they become soft.
- Place the pucks in a freezer-proof ziplock bag or tupperware and store until ready to eat.