Over the past week, I’ve been lacking a little in the sleep department. The sun starts streaming in through our window at a fairly early hour, turning the bedroom into a sauna, and my internal alarm clock jolts me awake at about the same time. (Note to self: Research DIY blackout curtains on Pinterest…)
As a morning person, I usually make it through to mid-afternoon on natural energy and adrenalin, but around the time our little pup starts begging for a walk, the need for caffeine sets in. After escorting her through the park yesterday, I headed in the opposite direction to the Starbucks inside of Safeway just down the street. The grocery store offered me an unlimited coupon for April: buy any Grande espresso beverage for just $2! It’s practically impossible to resist… That’s over 50% off!
Being a short person with a low sugar and caffeine tolerance, I usually customize my order a little more than the other customers. When I reached the counter yesterday and the barista inquired what I’d like, I replied with my favorite drink: “A Grande half-caf skinny caramel latte, please!”
On autopilot, she grabbed a clear plastic cup for iced beverages. Before she started scribbling in Sharpie, I politely interrupted. “Would you mind making that hot? It’s actually a little windy today!”
“Oh! Sure!” she responded, and I smiled.
“I’m probably the only person to ask for that!” (Living in sunny northern California, spring weather hits around the end of February—we’ve been wearing shorts and flip flops for two months!)
With a nervous laugh, she agreed before self-consciously repeating, “That was a Grande half-caf?……”
I kindly filled in the blank. “Skinny caramel latte. Too many words this late in the afternoon!”
To which she finally relaxed, reassured I wasn’t an angry and demanding customer, and chuckled again. “You got that right! I’ll have it right up.”
While most people think of coffee as a comforting start to the day, it isn’t the only thing that’ll get you out of bed in the morning! A quick and easy breakfast does the trick… Especially one that tastes like dessert!
Enter my latest obsession: Skinny Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Oatmeal. A thick and creamy bowl of cozy oats flavored like your favorite dessert from the Cheesecake Factory, including the slightly melty decadent chocolate bits. It requires just 4 ingredients and is ready in less than 5 minutes, but it’s still secretly low fat and low calorie. With a big protein punch and lots of filling fiber, breakfast really doesn’t get much better than this!
Besides the stereotypical old-fashioned oats, milk, and chocolate chips, you’ll need a secret ingredient: instant cheesecake pudding mix. Just use 1 serving of the sugar-free, fat-free powder. It provides the characteristic cheesecake flavor without lots of excess fat and calories from the usual slice of dessert!
Because oatmeal naturally thickens as it cooks, you don’t need to prepare the pudding mix according to the package directions. We’re only using it for the flavor, not the thickening properties! Add the oats, milk, and pudding mix to a bowl for the microwave—or a pot for the stove—and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft, thick, and creamy.
You must wait to add the chocolate chips! Once the oatmeal finishes cooking, it’s extremely hot, and the chocolate chips would instantly melt if you mixed them in. Even after waiting 2-3 minutes for the oatmeal to continue thickening, they’ll still melt. But at least that means sweet swirls of chocolate in every bite!
If you prefer un-melted chocolate chips, make overnight oats instead! Add the oats, milk, and pudding mix to a bowl, and stir thoroughly to combine everything together. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 8 hours) until it thickens. Then stir in the chocolate chips and you’re ready to eat!
Sweet and creamy, this Skinny Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Oatmeal tastes sinfully indulgent, but it’s still a secretly healthy morning meal! The hearty oats add lots of fiber to keep you full, while the milk provides energizing protein fuel. And those decadent chocolate chips? Basically a necessity in my book.
After one bite of this, you’ll never want to skip breakfast again!