Commuter’s Cuisine

Brookline is quickly starting to feel like home. There’s a cafe down the street at which I’m becoming a “regular” (mainly for two reasons: one, because when I miss the bus and need to kill 17 minutes until the next one, Rita’s Cafe is a perfect place for coffee and two, because when I start my laundry on a lazy Sunday afternoon and later realize that I need 4 more quarters to complete my load, the people at Rita’s are kind enough to trade 4 quarters for the 1 silver dollar I was able to dig up from the bottom of that one purse I haven’t used in months). I digress…

I’ve found a nice little running loop, around a gorgeous pond less than .5 miles from my front porch, alive with couples walking their dogs, girlfriends getting fit, solo onlookers, boats, babies, fisherman, and young, good-looking runners running laps around my survival-shuffle. There’s a market at the end of my block that sells Greek yogurt and red wine in the very same aisle and a Gap just 1.5 miles down the street (yes I know, this does sound like heaven). There’s a bus that scoops me up right next to Rita’s Cafe and drops me off right in front of my office doors at The Street. The commute takes about 20 minutes, door to door. I had a plan to continue riding the T until the weather got unbearable but the Brookline Hills T stop is .6 miles from my front door and the Chestnut Hill stop is .6 miles from The Street, resulting in more walking, an increased commute time, and ultimately, an earlier wake-up-call.  Regardless, I’m a commuter. By bus and by train and sometimes by Uber, I get myself from Point A to Point B with my earbuds in place, Charlie Card in hand and hand-sanitizer easily accessible.

The last few mornings in New England have been the kind that make waking-up particularly bittersweet. When the difference in temperature between the world outside your covers and the world beneath them both jolts you awake and forces you to snuggle deeper into the warmth of heavy comforters and thick blankets that have been stored away for the last 4 months. The mornings where, even though the sun is shining and you’re excited to get to work, and you have a rockin’ outfit already picked out, leaving your bed is simply painful.

For this reason, my morning routine has recently felt strikingly similar to a  mad dash, a race against the clock, all in an effort to beat the #60 bus to the end of Walnut Street. If the bus driver is ahead of schedule by just a minute or two or if I arrive just 10 seconds too late, I’ve missed my ride, which results in an embarrassing text to my boss and an impromptu and unpleasant walk to the T (meaning, I haven’t packed my Toms and I’ll be rockin’ blisters from my ‘work shoes’ in no time).

Nonetheless, however I get to work, as I’m sure you might have guessed, I gotta eat. So when there’s no time for a shower, breakfast, a cup of coffee and the Today Show (an ideal routine that seems to become more unattainable with each passing morning), I’ll have to settle for a little Commuter’s Cuisine, i.e breakfast on the way to the bus stop, at the bus stop, on the bus and/or in the office. Ideally, something healthy that I can make one night in advance and grab from the fridge on my way out the door.

After a lengthy (and expensive!) trip to the grocery store in search of Flax Seed, Chopped Dates, Espresso Powder and more, I spent a few evenings in my new kitchen whipping up 3 on-the-go breakfasts that I’ve since tasted and tested while riding public transit…

*If you’re skimming this post, jump down to #3…

  1. Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites:  Pumpkin Spice this, Pumpkin Spice that, I couldn’t help but test out at least one pumpkin treat to spice up my morning commute. These  no-bake “energy bites” were ok but not great. They’re made with flax seeds, old-fashion oats, pumpkin seeds, chopped dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, honey, coconut and pumpkin puree. Roll up into balls, refrigerate, and enjoy. Next time, I would eliminate the pumpkin seeds and use less nutmeg and while it was nice that they were no-bake, they certainly were not no-mess. They made about 14 bites, which I packaged in 2’s in tucked away in the fridge for the morning.
  2. Banana Mocha Smoothie: Again, good but not great. Combine oats and almond milk and refrigerate overnight. In the AM (if time permits, so this one’s a little risky), add 1 banana, coco powder, espresso powder, yogurt and ice in a blender. Pour into a mason draw w/ a lid and throw it in your bag. Hands are free to lock the door behind
    Overnight Oats at The Bus Stop
    Overnight Oats at The Bus Stop

    you and dig up your buried Charlie Card. Pretty simple.

  3. Overnight Oats: This is by far, hands down the best one yet (and that’s likely because the recipe came right from my mom’s own kitchen, rather than Pinterest). Overnight, combine 1/2 cup of milk, yogurt, and quick oats with 1tsp of ground cinnamon and 3tsp of brown sugar in any type of container with a lid. In the morning, grab a spoon, stir it up and go! Tastes just like a cinnamon bun and you won’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it.

I’ll continue to search Pinterest and scour the web in order to increase and improve my Commuter Cuisine options, but in the mean time, do you have any suggestions for a (relatively healthy and very easy) grab-and-go breakfast?? Let me know in the comments below!

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