To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Cullen's Cooking Corner #1: Overnight Oats

I am a bad cook. I'm not not a cook, because I do cook. But I'm bad at it. Its for this reason that I have been tasked with providing you, the non-cook, with the tools and tricks to become a bad cook like me. On this series, I am going to walk you through some incredibly simple recipes that will save you tons of money and will provide you with plenty of fuel for your rides and recovery.

For the first installment, I have decided to teach you how to prepare a simple breakfast. This meal is packed with everything you need in the morning before a hard workout, on race day, or just before work. The best part about this recipe is that "Go To Sleep" is the most important step. Overnight Oats are here to save your morning pre ride routine. 

What you need

Ok so the best part about overnight oats for bad cooks is that you can literally put whatever you want in it. There is two required ingredients, but other than that, go wild! Seriously. Once you've made one batch you can just start looking around your home or corner store for random things and chances are, it'll be good in an overnight oats. No matter what you go with, you can likely make a week's worth of breakfast for extremely cheap. Here's what I had lying around my house:

  • Rolled Oats (the only important ingredient, though I'm sure gluten free oats work)

  • Almond Milk (but you can use any liquid here, within reason)

  • Icelandic Skyr (but any yogurt would be good)

  • Blueberries

  • Chia seeds (I don't know why I have these)

  • Peanut Butter

  • Jam

Obviously, I have more food in my apartment, but this is the stuff I thought might work for this meal. Another good thing to have is some kind of large jar or many small jars to prepare this in. This is mostly for the #instagramfoodblog style content you can get after making this. Everyone will be so jealous of your very fancy #mealprep. 

This might seem silly, but just the main step is just like, putting everything in a single container and mixing it up. I'll walk you through my specific steps but seriously, you cannot mess this up. Sure, there are some vague ratios you have to hit, but I'll explain below.

Ok lets make the dang thing:

Step 1

Put about, oh I don't know, a cup or a cup and a half of rolled oats in first. If you notice I'm not being very precise here,  its important for you to remember It Doesn't Matter.

Step 2

Put in some milk or liquid. This is the crucial step that turns this into a meal, because technically you now have two ingredients. Put about 1.5 times the amount of milk in as oats. So if you did a cup of oats, do 1.5 cups of milk. If you did 8 cups of oats, do 12 cups of milk. [Editor's note. Don't use 8 cups of oats. That's too much]

Step 3

Add in some kind of fat. I put in about half as much yogurt as oats. So 1 cup oats means 0.5 cups of Skyr. Some kind of yogurt is best here, but it doesn't have to be milk based. I just happened to have Skyr around. After this round, try making it without the yogurt. I bet it still tastes good. Nothing really matters, man.

Step 4

Toppings. This is what separates the terrible cooks from the sorta bad cooks. Get creative, but don't get carried away. It's important in life to have boundaries. Just kidding, I threw a bunch of candy into some overnight oats once, and guess what? It tasted incredible. Today, I'm putting in some blueberries, chia seeds, peanut butter, and jam. Feel free to experiment here. And most importantly, do not worry about getting this right or wrong. Put some in, mix it around, if it looks "good enough" then it probably is.

Step 5

Cover the jar and put it in your refrigerator. Now comes the most important part - we leave the whole dang thing in the fridge overnight. I saw you. You were all "ok Cullen, I'm mixing this all up, but why are they called 'overnight oats'." Well, mon frere, now you know. You just stick the thing in the fridge (covered!) and go to sleep. Thats it. When you wake up, pop the top off the jar, scoop some into a smaller jar (yes I live in Brooklyn), throw some dry oats you didn't use on top. Maybe some chia seeds, or like I dunno, I'm just spitballing here, almonds? It doesn't matter and nothing does. The world is a lie but you have created sustenance. 

Congrats, you are no longer a non-cook. You are a bad cook and perhaps maybe, you are on your way to being a not-so-terrible cook. But you have to start somewhere and this meal is as good a place as any. 

If you decide to undertake this meal, post an Instagram story of you making this meal and tag us in it. We aren't giving out any prizes but we'd love to see what you come up with.