Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With JuliaMaple Blueberry Overnight Oats – a sweet and easy breakfast treat reminiscent of Swiss muesli — is brought to you thanks to my husband’s new-found interest in the maple syrup industry. After reading up on New England maple sugaring practices, he decided we ought to tour a local operation.

Though it’s hard for a lifelong New Englander to admit, I knew very little about maple syrup, except that it’s yummy and way more expensive than the imitation stuff. After last weekend’s trek to nearby Turtle Lane Maple Farm, though, I’m psyched to share with you some of the cool facts I learned from Farmers Paul and Kathy.

♦ First of all, did you know it takes 43 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of maple syrup? No wonder it’s so expensive. Liquid gold indeed.

♦ Maple sap straight from the tree is naturally around 2% sugar (mostly sucrose). I got a chance to taste it – just like slightly sweet water. I also got to taste it the 4% and 8% sugar syrup stages, as well as the final product – 67% sugar (known as ‘Vermont Standard’ maple syrup).
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With Julia♦ The professional evaporator they use to boil down the sap is basically a huge wood oven with a pan over the top. It burns at about 1,000 degrees! They go through about a 1/2 cord of wood a day. Wowza.
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With Julia♦ Boiling sap forms bubbles on top. This is no good, since this traps the heat and steam which they are trying to expend to boil the sap down. Their magic method for dissipating the bubbles? Touching a metal spatula very lightly to a stick of butter, then swiping it across the bubbles. The tiny molecules of fat break the surface tension of the bubbles and they dissipate immediately.

♦ Take a look at this array of syrup samples. Each row is an entire season’s sampling. Note the different colors throughout each season, from a pale gold to a deep brown. Can you guess why there are different colors?
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With JuliaMaple sap is naturally higher in sugar content in the early part of the season, and lower towards the end of the season. However, the lower the sugar content, the longer the sap has to be boiled. This results in darker syrup with a more intense maple flavor. That is why maple syrup made early in the season is typically lighter in color than that made at the end of the season.

♦  There were samples galore! In addition to the 2%, 4%, 8% liquids, and the standard 67% pure maple syrup, we also had maple cream (83% sugar), maple candy (92%), and maple sugar (100%). All delicious. But none could compare to the little surprise they threw at us at the end…

Maple bacon ice cream!! Oh yeah, as crazy delicious as it sounds.
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With JuliaSo, you’re probably wondering…did we take any booty home? OF COURSE! It was tough to decide, but we settled on a little tasting jar of maple cream (AH-MAZ-ING on toast) and a humongous bottle of pure maple syrup. Yes, it cost a pretty penny but we’ve been rationing it out carefully :)
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With JuliaWhat to do with it first? While it’ll be topping our pancakes soon, I decided to use some as a sweetener in overnight oats, the perfect breakfast when you haven’t got time for breakfast! Such a simple recipe to throw together – no chopping, peeling, or baking. Just measure, mix, and put it in the fridge. You sleep while your breakfast prepares itself!
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats -- Juggling With JuliaMaple Blueberry Overnight Oats
Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes     Cooking time: zero

2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with extra blueberries, if desired.

ENJOY!

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7 Quick & Healthy Recipes for Busy People -- Juggling With JuliaIf ‘busy’  is a disease, then I’ve got it bad. I try not to overload our lives. (Really, I do.) But it seems that the minute I push one low priority ‘thing’ to the curb, another more obviously important priority shows up at the door. With luggage.

I know you get it. We’re ALL busy! We’re working hard out of the home, at home, and we’re driving all over creation, all the time. It’s soccer and track practice, that fundraising event, then theater rehearsal, and don’t forget book club and the dentist/allergist/chiropractor.

At least I don’t have CCD to contend with. Do you know how many times I’ve said, “Thank God we don’t have to go to CCD.”  Thank. God. Do you think He minds that I’ve invoked irony in His name?

Anyway, this dastardly busy-ness is what’s inspired today’s post. National Nutrition Month is nearly over, and while I’d really love to share a delish new dish from my kitchen, I’ve just not had time to experiment. But what I CAN give you are 7 Quick and Healthy Recipes for Busy People. (Pssst. That’s us). These dishes have saved my butt time and time again. They’re easy to pull together, full of the nutrition you want your family to have, and include some of my favorite ingredients.

Maybe one of these will help you with your busy-ness! Good luck, friends, and let me know if you try one of these!

Cheers,
Julia

Chicken Sausage and Barley Soup with Spinach
Quick-cooking barley and fully cooked chicken sausages make this a snap to make on a busy weeknight.
Chicken Sausage, Spinach, and Barley Soup -- Juggling With Julia
Frittatas
Frittatas are one of man’s greatest inventions. Similar to a crust-less quiche, you start it on the stove top and finish it under the broiler. Unlike a traditional quiche, however, it takes less than 20 minutes to make! You can add literally whatever you like. Some of my favorites include red pepper, mushroom, spinach, and onion. A little sprinkle of cheese is always a nice finish.
Swiss Chard and Onion Frittata -- Juggling With Julia

Chicken and Brown Rice Bowls in Easy Beer-Cheese Sauce
Using frozen brown rice (like Trader Joe’s) and leftover cooked chicken makes this super easy to throw together in well under 30 minutes. For a warm bowl of delicious happiness? That’s not long to wait :)

Chicken and Brown Rice Bowls with Easy Beer-Cheese Sauce - Juggling With Julia
Barbecued Pulled Pork with Mango and Feta
The crockpot saves you here. All it takes is a few minutes prepping the meat the morning of, or the night before. By the time you screech to a stop at dinner time, there is an incredibly tasty pulled pork ready to be layered with whatever you like. We love the combo of sweet mango with salty feta. Peaches or nectarines would be great as well.

BBQ Pulled Pork with Mango and Feta
Chicken Tortellini and Spinach Soup
This is the type of soup that requires only a decently stocked pantry. It uses dry tortellini, chicken broth, already-cooked chicken, and a little bit of fresh spinach. I’ve clocked this in at 30 minutes TOTAL, and that’s including prep and cooking time. Eat it as fast or slow as you like. That’s on you :)

Chicken Tortellini and Spinach Soup -- Juggling With Julia
Hearty Beef and Barley Soup
Another crockpot keeper! If you’re not on the barley bandwagon, I suggest you climb aboard. A whole grain packed with iron, fiber, and protein, it’s got a great nutty taste and chewy texture.  It’s a great compliment to the thick broth and beef. Just brown up your meat, toss it all in the crock, and you’re good to go ’til supper time!
Hearty Beef and Barley Soup II -- Juggling With JuliaBreakfast Nachos
Breakfast-for-dinner is a long-standing tradition here. Get your favorite tortilla chips (mine are the sweet potato kind), pile on the eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa, and shredded cheddar, and you are chowing down on the best and most fun supper ever. Filling and protein-packed and only requires a quick turn at the stove to scramble the eggs. Share ‘em if you like, but you don’t have to :)
Breakfast Nachos -- Juggling With Julia
                                                                                                                                                                     ~ENJOY~

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Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread

March 22, 2015 Breads/Quick Breads
Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread -- Juggling With Julia

So excited to share this easy, yummy Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread recipe with you today! I’ve made it twice in the past week (once with raisins, once without). It’s a fantastic recipe that requires no special talents and appears hard to foul up. That’s the hallmark of a great recipe, if you ask me […]

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How One Little Cheese Slice Rocked the Nutrition World

March 18, 2015 Hobbies
Repeal the Seal

Did you hear the story of how one little, bitty ‘cheese’ slice crumbled the credibility of a nutrition organization 75,000 dietitians strong? No? Well, I’m going to tell you and then I’m going to ask you to sign this petition which aims to get this whole mess fixed up. In case you haven’t heard about […]

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Coconut Banana Bread with Nutella Swirl

March 12, 2015 Breads/Quick Breads
Coconut Banana Bread with Nutella Swirl - Juggling With Julia

My favorite banana bread recipe, a sweet, delicate loaf with the tiniest bit of a crisp on the edges, just got an upgrade. Coconut flakes add a hint of coconut flavor, and the Nutella swirl – well, really, there’s no need to explain the echelon of excellence that brings. If this banana bread was your […]

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What’s the Difference Between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

March 11, 2015 Nutrition
National Registered Dietitian Day 2015 -- Juggling With Julia

You know that bottle of artisan rosemary infused organic olive oil you’ve been saving for a special occasion? It’s time to pop the cork! The occasion is here, for today, March 11, 2015, is… NATIONAL REGISTERED DIETITIAN NUTRITIONIST DAY! I’ve celebrated this day on this blog in various ways. I asked you to thank the […]

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Quinoa Breakfast Bars

February 17, 2015 Breakfast/Brunch
Quinoa Breakfast Bars -- Juggling With Julia

Sugar, that insipid invader of everyday foods, is slowly retreating from my family’s diet. As you know, I’m not ANTI-sugar.  Lordy, no! I’m just against it being EVERYWHERE from our sandwiches to breakfast cereal to our grab-n-go snacks. We’ve done a decent job on the peanut butter and cereal fronts. We’re now 100% into natural […]

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Winter Kale and Sausage Soup

February 15, 2015 Chili/Soup/Stew
Winter Kale and Sausage Soup - Juggling With Julia

Winter, you vindictive beyatch. Overkill much? I refuse to mope and moan, though. Here’s what I love about our winter of late, even while I wish it would end: Light and fluffy snow that’s fun to flop around in, and is easy to shovel, too. Endless snow days from school, allowing for lots of baking, […]

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Barbecue Rubbed Salmon

February 8, 2015 Main Meals
Barbecue Rubbed Salmon -- Juggling With Julia

Here in New England we are really enjoying Winter. Ok, fine. I’m a dirty liar. We’re not totally enjoying it. While there are some idyllic photo ops including the snow-covered woods and my favorite canine frolicking in the deep powder, I could certainly do without 10-foot snow banks, the constant barrage of school cancellations, and the […]

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Zesty Snack Mix with a Kick

February 1, 2015 Appetizers & Snacks
Zesty Snack Mix with a Kick -- Juggling With Julia

The zesty snack that bites you back. My Zesty Snack Mix with a Kick is the perfect blend of savory, crunchy, and spicy. The kick is a 1-2-3 punch that comes from the cayenne and hot sauce, as well as the buffalo-style pretzel pieces. I was hoping to capture some of the wholesomeness of a […]

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