How I do mornings + chocolate protein oats

This post was created in partnership with OXO.


Unless you're new around here, you're well aware that I'm an up-by-6AM kinda morning person. I live for mornings and the quite, dark hours before everything starts to stir. It's my time to sit with my thoughts and my coffee and just chill the F out before I start the day.

So it should come as no surprise that the first thing I do when I get out of bed each morning is walk downstairs, fill the electric kettle (I'm not one to promote unnecessary consumption but if you haven't upgraded your stovetop kettle to the adjustable temperature pour-over kettle-- WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) (not only do you get to control the water temperature (!) but the body and handle design make for a super smooth pour), and drink a big glass of room temperature water while I wait for the other water to boil. Once the water is ready, I make my favorite cup of pour-over and savor it from the comfort of our couch (or bed). I do this every single morning of every single day and it's been my routine for as long as I can remember. Even on days when we have to be out of the house by 6AM, I'll wake up an hour before Thom just to ensure I get that little chunk of quiet time to myself.

Depending on the day, I might go to the gym. But probably not because lately I've been really good at talking myself into doubling up on workouts which means I only lift weights ~*two days a week*~ and yes it's basically the best idea I've ever had (but I don't think it's something I can sustain much longer because bodies are weird). So maybe I'm going to the gym. Or maybe I'm whipping up a protein-heavy breakfast and eating it across from my handsome husband (who actually never makes my coffee, despite what these photos convey). Or maybe I'm packing up breakfast (and second coffee) (and Thom's first and only tea) and eating it from the heated passenger seat of our car because, if it's a weekday, chances are we're leaving our place. Which not only means we're probably taking breakfast and warm beverages to-go (beverages that actually stay warm thanks to our handy travel mugs), but it also means I've got to tidy up before we head out for the day. Cleaning before we leave is a really weird habit I developed over the course of however many months (nine?) we've been living in our tiny loft. When we get home at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is run the vacuum or wash a bunch of dishes, so I take the extra 15-20 minutes each morning to give our place a quick clean. And you know what? It makes a huge difference in our ability to come home and unwind at the end of a long day.

Oddly enough, weekend mornings aren't that much different from the weekdays. I still wake up at the same time but try to stay in bed until 7AM, if I can. I'll sneak downstairs to make my first mug of pour-0ver then head back to our bed to catch up on the news (lately I've been avoiding it throughout the week) (#mentalhealth) or answer emails. Or, you know, just mindlessly scroll through that reaaally addictive photo sharing app. When Thom finally wakes up (he's a night owl and definitely not a morning person), we make breakfast together and eat it at the dining table. Sometimes he makes blueberry pancakes. Sometimes I'll make (not protein) waffles. And sometimes we go the no-fuss route and he'll heat up a pastry from one of his favorite bakeries and I'll whip up a quick breakfast to match.

Speaking of breakfast! Mine are almost always heavy on the protein. I try to eat 130+ grams of protein each day and it makes it really easy to hit that goal when I start my day with a solid 40 grams. Some mornings I guzzle a protein shake and other mornings I make a single-serving vanilla protein waffle, but lately I've been on an oatmeal kick because the protein powder burnout is real and I need to use every trick in the book to mask the flavor of that nasty stuff: extra cacao, lots of tangy yogurt, fruit, and nut butter are pretty good at that. The thing I love most about the oatmeal recipe is that it literally comes together in minutes and can easily be taken on the go. It's got a good mix of protein and carbs and fat and it keeps me satisfied for hours. Like, so many hours that some days I'll forget to eat lunch (guess who hates when I forget to eat lunch?) because I'm still so satisfied FROM A SERVING OF OATMEAL.

So, tell me, how do you do mornings? I wanna know.

Our mornings wouldn't be complete without many of the items you see in this post: the adjustable temperature pour-over kettle (I will never go back to a stovetop kettle), 11 pound food scale, glass pour-over dripper, plastic creamer, twisting tea ball (it actually twists and is a game-changer for those of you who are tea drinkers.. or those of you who prepare tea for your tea drinkers). Or our single serve travel mugs, conical burr grinder, and 9-cup coffee maker - all three of which make mornings at the office a little more tolerable.

Notes: You might be thinking, why not just use chocolate protein powder? But it's not the same (trust me, I've tried it). Adding the cacao powder yourself ensures there's enough of it to mask the flavor of the protein powder. And as someone who's reached peak protein powder burnout, masking the flavor is crucial. But since you can't mask it entirely, adding a boatload of toppings helps considerably. This bowl packs 40+ grams of protein and while there's debate about how much your body can absorb at once, the excess protein will aid in keeping you satisfied much longer than a regular bowl of oatmeal. I use this protein powder and love it. I've tried every vegan protein powder under the sun and it's the only one I can recommend; especially if your goal is to build muscle. If you're not into quick oats, here's a recipe for hearty protein oats that uses the steel-cut variety.

This post is sponsored by OXO, maker of some of the smartest gadgets and kitchen tools available on the market. All opinions are my own (and I think OXO rules).

CHOCOLATE PROTEIN OATS

1/2 cup (45g) quick cooking rolled oats
1 scoop (45g) vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon (10g) chia seeds

1 tablespoon (5g) cacao powder
Pinch of vanilla bean powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cups (270g) boiling water

YOU'LL ALSO NEED
Homemade coconut yogurt
Banana slices
Roasted almond butter
Almonds, roughly chopped
Toasted coconut flakes

Combine the oats, protein powder, chia seeds, cacao powder, vanilla bean powder, and sea salt in a bowl or jar; mix to combine. Stir in 1 cup of the boiling water (this is where the electric kettle comes in clutch - HOT WATER IN <2 MINUTES!), just enough to ensure everything is smooth and combined, then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of water to thin things out. Let the oatmeal sit for 2-3 minutes then add more water if a thinner consistency is desired. If eating immediately, top with yogurt, banana slices, almond butter, coconut flakes, and almonds. If stashing in your fridge overnight (heads up: I prefer overnight protein muesli to overnight oats), add all the toppings except for the banana slices.

Yield: 1 serving