I’m back! I had a great trip to Montana this past week and after our 12-hour drive back home, I am finally getting back into the swing of things. You might recall that it took us 13 hours going to Big Sky, so how did we manage to shave an hour off on the return? Well, I was forced to make quick pit-stops, travel during the day instead of in the dark, and let Chris drive most of the way…he drives faster than me. I am tentative with his boat attached to the trailer hitch and some say I drive like a grandma….and I am ok with that 🙂
Although I did work a little, 95% of the time I was able to relax and enjoy my vacation. I spent a good bit of time outdoors – taking the dog on a walk, running, hiking, log splitting, riding/off-roading in the Ranger – and I also enjoyed indoor activities – shopping/looking around, puzzles (this was SO fun, I hadn’t put one together in ages!), watched a few movies and of course, lots of eating 🙂 I didn’t do much cooking personally though, which was a nice change of pace BUT I was more than ready to get back in the kitchen when I got back home!
Just a few highlights from my trip:
1. Hiking Beehive Basin with Chris’ little brother Ty and his buddy Kyle. I don’t know exactly how long the hike was since my Garmin froze on me but we guessed about 5 1/2 to 6 miles round-trip.
The scenery was beautiful, creeks running through the trail and a serene lake was waiting for us at the top with a cool breeze. We even saw patches of snow and the boys couldn’t help but “play” and throw snow at each other 🙂
Do you see the two boys heading up to the snow?
I didn’t partake and instead decided to enjoy the sunshine and the quiet, along with my snacky-lunch that I packed – raisins and almonds, string cheese and a ClifBar — lots of energy!
2. A trail/”long-run” in the mountains – no photos to show here but it was a slower-than-normal but enjoyable pace going up and down hills.
3. Completion of (almost) two puzzles – you may make fun, but I hadn’t put together a puzzle in YEARS! I thought it’d be a good exercise for my brain, lol and I became very competitive with myself trying to finish both of them. The first was a Parisian bistro theme and the second was of a little boy that I almost finished…but didn’t have enough time on the day of departure 😦 What activity have you done recently that you hadn’t in a while?
And the one I almost finished…I was so close! I even had the hardest part done (the white door)…
4. Shopping in the little boutiques and mountain shops. I was set on finding another handmade JuJu t-shirt skirt (I bought one two years ago at the farmer’s market and wanted a 2nd!) and went on a quest with my step mother-in-law, Bethany, and father-in-law…they were very patient 🙂 My favorite color is blue, so this one hit the spot! It has a cute little elephant on the front that says “Have you herd?” – I love a good corny saying or play on words! You can order one online or even request a custom made skirt if you can’t make it Big Sky – they are SO comfy and totally my style 🙂
Bethany and I saw this t-shirt in a small resort shop – I would have bought one if they had it in my size! Too funny 🙂 The fit was a bit funky and I wasn’t about to pay $40 for a shirt that sort of fit. Maybe I will have to make my own version!
5. Dinner at LotusPad – five out of the seven of us ate a family-style dinner at this quaint little Asian/Thai restaurant and everything was AMAZING! We started with an order of shrimp spring rolls and chicken lettuce wraps (the lettuce wraps were my fav). For our main courses, we ordered and split three huge servings of different curries – Green Chicken Curry, Panang Curry with Chicken and the special of the evening, Spicy Beef and Mango Curry – YUM! They were all so delish but the mango dish was my favorite but just a nudge, I am on a mango roll these days! I am sorry to say that I didn’t take photos of our feast (I am bad about taking my purse places! Shame on me…) but Bethany was kind enough to snap a shot on her iPhone for me. Another reason I forget to take pictures of food when hanging with the family – the food disappears SO fast that I would miss out if I didn’t dig in 🙂
Now I am back to reality, which is always hard after a nice break but I am thankful to be able to go visit Montana once or twice a year!
And onto today’s concoction…I’ve been changing up my breakfast dishes lately, which is unusual for a creature-of-habit like me. I am really enjoying trying new recipes and incorporating variety and flavor combinations in my meals! I kept hearing about the magic of overnight oats and when I saw Sonia’s chocolate and cherry take on the dish at The Healthy Foodie, I knew I had to give it a whirl! Her gorgeous photos kept calling me to run to the kitchen immediately and make this easy breakfast (or hearty snack). Instead of a chocolate-cherry version, I slightly tweaked the recipe for a gluten-free spiced cherry flavor that was ever-so-yummy and filling! If you want a higher protein content, add a scoop of protein powder when mixing the dry ingredients.
5-6 fresh cherries, pit removed and chopped
¼ cup gluten free rolled oats
1 tbsp millet
1 tbsp black chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp buckwheat groats (I used toasted but raw is fine)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves and pinch of ground nutmeg
6 chopped almonds, toasted (pecans or walnuts would be good too)
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp honey (or agave nectar for vegan or coconut sugar or stevia to taste)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Spoonful of plain Greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt for vegan)
2 almonds, toasted and chopped
1 fresh cherry
1 tsp grated unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cacao nibs, optional for a chocolate flavor
non dairy milk for serving (I didn’t use but Sonia recommends!)
The previous night or 4 hours prior to serving
1. Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a small non stick pan, over medium heat.
2. Add oats, chia, millet, flax, buckwheat groats, toasted almonds, spices and salt to a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Close the lid and give that a good shake.
3. Add boiling water, vanilla and honey and stir until well combined. Toss in chopped cherries and give that a quick stir.
4. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours)
In the morning
1. Transfer overnight oats to serving bowl, garnish with coconut, cherry, almonds and yogurt as desired and enjoy! If you prefer, add your favorite milk for a oat-y breakfast reminiscent of cereal.
Recipe Notes: If you don’t have millet or buckwheat, feel free to substitute more oats, I just like the variety and texture of the combo!