by Holly on July 1, 2012

in balance,breakfast,daily eats,giveaway,PROJECT CLEANOUT,recipes,vegan

I am just going to come out and say it: I don’t have this freelance thing figured out.

Some days I’m throwing my hands up in the air and giving an Arsenio Hall “woof, woof!” fist pump and feeling on top of the world. Like hey, I CAN do this…and I WILL. Then other days, the majority of days, I’m worrying about grown-up things like money and how I am going to pay for $400 in car repairs and am I good enough to do this and stressing over the fact that I am totally unorganized and cannot find a way to stay on top of the multitude of projects I am working on.

And then I eat carbs. Lots of them.

Because this is real life, and sometimes bagels are the answer.

It’s really too bad that I can’t eat bagels for breakfast every morning. I mean, I could but let’s level with each other: if that happened, I’d spend all day beached on the couch rewatching episodes of Downton Abbey, napping and Instagramming an obnoxious amount of pictures in a lethargic carbohydrate coma. It would be good for nobody except maybe Bruegger’s Bagels.

Instead, I’m bringing back oats.

Specially, the overnight kind.

Because in the three short weeks since I quit my job and started this crazy freelance life, I have already picked up a few helpful things. Things that are probably pertinent to most busy, unorganized people but maybe just slightly more necessary for freelancers:

(1) Take an extra 10 minutes in the morning to write out a schedule of your day. Appointments, workouts, blocks of writing time, errands, things you want to get done that day – write it all down.

(2) Get off the social media + email. It’s a total time suck. I allow myself to check email right away in the morning, while eating lunch and once at night. As for social media, I cap my time at 20 minutes per day. Instagram doesn’t count (mostly because I browse photos on my phone while walking places and that to me is productivity at its finest).

(3) Simplify your finances. Extravagant, non-vital expenses be gone! One of the best ways to do this with food is to start shopping the bulk aisle.

Overnight oats helps me with all these things.

Prepped the night beforehand, it’s ready and waiting for me in the morning and easy to eat as I make out my daily to-do list. Less social media = less temptation to want to make fancy breakfasts. Get back to basics. Overnight oats is one of the best staples to add to your breakfast routine. Buy all the ingredients (minus the milk) in the bulk aisle. Dolla dolla bills saved.

And it can easily be customized to your dietary preferences! This one is vegan, but a Greek yogurt-based version can be found here.

For that, I think I deserve a “woof, woof!”

Vegan Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup oatmeal
2 T chia seeds
2 T raisins
1 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
agave nectar, maple syrup or honey, to taste
1 cup non-dairy milk*
peanut butter, jelly, fresh fruit, nuts, granola, optional

*I buy Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk

In a cereal bowl, mix oatmeal, chia seeds, raisins and spices. Add sweetener and milk, stirring until well-blended. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, add toppings of your choice and wash down with a delicious iced coffee.

Makes 1 serving

P.S. If you’re about to complain about how expensive chia seeds are (I’m right with you!), don’t. Instead, enter to win a free 32-oz bag of chia seeds on my Facebook page. ‘Like’ me and find the giveaway post on my wall. I’ll be picking a winner tomorrow night.


Hillary July 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

My type-A personality works best with a schedule/deadlines/directions, so I can understand how daunting it must be to suddenly be in charge of keeping yourself on track. Seems like you’re doing a great job though, lady. Go get ’em!

Stacie@ Snaps and Bits July 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I’m scared about joining the instagram party but it looks so fun! I am scared of more time sinks than FB and blogging. How do you do it? Glad you are getting there :)

sarah @ sarah learns July 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

i have a hard time working at home without making a schedule for myself and knowing which things i’m going to concentrate on on a given day. having breakfast ready and waiting for me helps – i love overnight oats! i haven’t put raisins in mine for a long time though. i love how they plump up overnight! :)

Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats July 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Now if I can only win some chia seeds I can give overnight oats another try! I found them really…bland before?

Way to go keeping yourself productive! I know I can spend way too many hours staring at pinterest/twitter/instagram/facebook! >.<

emily (a nutritionist eats) July 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I’ve been on an overnight oats kick this last week – but I’ve been using oats + greek yogurt + almond milk + frozen blueberries + ground flax seed. In the morning I eat it with a spoonful of almond milk – obsessed!

Coco July 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Great tip about writing out your schedule in the morning. I think this also gives us permission not to be worrying about the next day’s tasks the night before — always a good thing!

Tt July 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I looovvveee overnight oats- and i put chia seeds in near everything! I actually got a crazy deal on and bought 3lbs for under $30! Ive got a lifetime supply in my freezer…..tho i just heard some costcos also have chia seeds now

Clair July 2, 2012 at 7:41 am

Great advice for anyone. As a grad student, I’m constantly juggling things in the same way, as I have all sorts of projects going on.

I’m also bringing back overnight oats…they are just perfect for the summer, aren’t they?

You can definitely do this freelance thing. You’ve got the whole bloggy world rooting for you! =)

Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

This sounds REALLY good. I’m used to seeing overnight oats made with some yogurt, too, but I want to give this version a try! Any idea if it will still come out alright if I don’t use chia seeds?

Megan (Braise the Roof) July 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

The schedule habit is a really good one to get into- that’ll save you! And bagels. Oh, bagels. I really wish I could eat one every day. I miss the days when I kinda sorta did. :)

KateSaysYes July 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

After reading an article about women under 30 burning out at work, I made a list of healthy summer work goals, all in the name of balance and increased productivity!
Scheduling is numero uno!

Alysha @Shesontherun July 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

My local health food store sells chia for $7.99/lb – it’s the cheapest I’ve seen BY FAR. Now I put them on everything.

Eileen July 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I definitely hear you–working on your own schedule just takes a lot more energy and willpower than working in an office with social pressure. But the tradeoffs are definitely worth it! Those oats are a great plan–especially for hot summer mornings. Yay!

Suzanne July 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

WOOF WOOF to you!

You had me at peanutbutter and jelly :)

Erica { } July 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm

You’d think I’d finally jump on the overnight oats bandwagon after seeing them on every great health blog out there!

I also quit my job just over a month ago to focus on writing and my new career and it was a HARD adjustment those first few weeks!

Katie July 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Love the lists and schedules…since I just chase a toddler all day, they are enormously helpful in my world, too. So proud of you for going after it, Holly! <3

Alysha @Shesontherun July 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

The store is called the Health Hut – they have locations in Brookfield, West Allis and Hales Corners (all surbs of MKE)

TeriLyn [a foodie stays fit] July 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm

you ARE good enough to do it so you can stop worrying about that <3

emily July 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

Freelance is hard, Holly, so be kind to yourself and realize that even the most seasoned freelancers and small business owners feel like they’re still flailing (where is my next project going to come from …what if it doesn’t!), but somehow month after month, year after year, the bills get paid. You’re doing it, but it’s going to feel like a puzzle for a long time. I’m so proud of you and feel lucky to get to be your cheerleader during this brave and passionate time of your life.

Mackenzie July 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

the bulk section and i are BFFS. #cheapnooch. #collegegirlproblems. and also #bagelsaretheanswer. okay, i’ll stop being obnoxious now. LOVE YOU!

Joelle (on a pink typewriter) July 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Yesss, I love making these with Greek yogurt. My job lets me work from home, and I’ve totally had some of the same life realizations as you.. There was a good chunk of time that i felt like a frazzled cavewoman.

Christa @ Edible Balance July 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I love love love overnight oats! I’m also hooked on overnight buckwheat as well… so refreshing and easy! I have to admit, I’m totally obsessed with Instagram, like I need another obsession… :-/

BTW, I am in awe of what you are doing. It mustn’t be easy to quit your job and pursue your passion, but from what I can see (here comfortable in my little cubicle LOL) you are going to be just fine. In fact you are already killing it lady!

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