When I started this blog, the plan was to write about all the fabulous cafés, workout studios, and wellness havens that I find throughout the city. I envisioned writing all sorts of reviews of restaurants that veggie-centric eaters would love. I imagined comparing spin classes to find the studio that was the perfect balance of sweaty and inspiring. I’m still planning on doing these things, but as I started to plan blog posts, I realized how expensive it would be to write about something like that every single week.
Fear not—there will still be a roundup of the best turmeric lattes in the city in the near future, and more thoughts on workouts other than boxing are coming soon too (though I’m still fairly obsessed with boxing). But if one of the things I was so excited to write about was food, it seemed silly to ignore my love for cooking. So, I figured I’d create space for a little extra creativity here and share some of the adventuring that goes on inside my apartment too. My kitchen may be tiny, but that doesn’t stop me from spending hours on end inside of it, messing with recipes and creating endless piles of dishes. Plus, that creativity is one of the things that I’ve really discovered in myself since starting to focus on what wellness means to me.
Wellness is a lot more than an expensive piece of avocado toast or paying an additional dollar to have almond milk as opposed to whole milk in your latte. It’s about more than $30 workout classes and paying for a spiritual guru to cleanse your spirit. Wellness can exist without involving your wallet. I’ve been struggling recently with telling people that I’m interested in wellness, for fear that they’ll write me off immediately as bougie and superficial. For me, it’s about so much more than these trends. It’s about carving out time to take care of yourself, even if that time is filled with something as simple as taking a hot shower and going to bed early. It’s about feeling good in your body, feeling healthy, and feeling energized. When I started to dive into the so-called “wellness world,” I realized that I was beginning to prioritize not just my physical health, as is so often the assumption, but also my mental health. I was allowing myself to tune into what my body wanted in terms of food and movement, and also what my soul needed—whether that was a simple hug or some fresh air or a date with my journal.
But what I’m most grateful for is the space I’ve cleared in my life for creativity. Routine, even rigidity, were once very present parts of my life (more on that some other time). Curiosity, though, created the most wonderful counterbalance for that consuming structure. I got excited to try new recipes rather than eat the same bowl of yogurt and granola for breakfast every darn day. I occasionally swapped out a yoga class or a morning run for some time to bullet journal (more on that soon, too) and draw. I started to write more, take photographs of things on the street that made me smile more too. Days, meals, workouts—they all started to become unique in their own sense, instead of uniform. And for me, that has been the source of so much joy and so much excitement. It’s a pretty cool thing to wake up on any given Wednesday and be excited for the day, even if there’s nothing “special” to look forward to.
So while we’re talking about creativity, it seems only appropriate to share the first recipe I’ve ever created for myself. And no, I’m not the only one to ever make a recipe for pumpkin overnight oats, and yes, I’m sure there are recipes that look quite similar to this one. But when I was in the kitchen, mixing and taste-testing and altering different measurements in different batches, it was just so darn fun to be doing it on my own for the first time rather than checking back in with a recipe.
Oh, and I know I may have written that wellness is a lot more than just trends—and I stand behind that—but that doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to all trends either. Case in point, it’s October, and like everyone else, I’m really excited about pumpkin (and apples, and squash, and chai spices, etc etc). I’ve made lots of loaves of pumpkin bread and have even added pumpkin to my smoothies. But I’m an especially big fan of these oats. They’re simple, they’re not to sweet, they’re extra creamy, and they taste super cozy (is cozy a taste?). Plus, they can be made in batches at the beginning of the week and eaten on the go. Fall flavors + easy meal prep = a very happy Willa.
Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
- Dry Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 heaping tsp pumpkin spice (or, add cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg individually)
- 1 pinch salt Wet Ingredients: – 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 Tbsp plain coconut yogurt (plain greek yogurt would also work here)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- In a mason jar, add all dry ingredients and stir with a fork.
- In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and stir until fully combined.
- Pour wet mixture into mason jar, stir to combine, and let thicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.