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  • Melissa Orquiza

Port Cranberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats, Pure Love, Brahms & Haydn

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Port Cranberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats. Plant- based and do ahead. Perfect for the busy weeks!

Port Cranberry Overnight Oats. Please zone out and enjoy!

Port Cranberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats, Pure Love, Brahms & Haydn

I’ve always craved comfort and security. Amongst life’s bouts of chaos and excitement,

there is nothing I love more than a mellow, comforting night in. I’ve always been this way (to the amusement of my friends and family)… so much so that those who do not know me assume I’m much more exciting than I really am. Now you know! Like most artists, creators and makers, I thoroughly believe excitement and contentment can be made.

I honestly don’t remember the first time I heard Brahms’, “Variations on a Theme by Haydn: St. Anthony Variations, Op. 56b.” If it was a significant piece of music in my life, I usually can remember when, where, how I felt, who I was with and sometimes, what I wore. I remember the first time I heard Clapton. (Third grade, our living room, on the radio, with my bro and sister, wearing a nightgown). I remember the first time I heard a Chopin Scherzo. (Eighth grade, CA state piano competition, hotel ballroom, high schooler in a tux playing, I was wearing a black or navy blue formal dress.) These Brahms’ variations… absolutely no clue.

It could’ve been when I was in junior high, trying to study, with classical music in the background. (I needed to focus because I’d get bored…) It could’ve been when I was in high school, listening to random selections of classical music in order to discover “new” music. I do remember having a “drop the needle” segment my freshman year in college. (They play a few seconds of a symphony and you identify the composer, piece, movement, and musical significance.) It’s like I’ve lived or felt this piece in my bones… all this time. Utterly strange.

When you feel or live with something or someone to the point of forgetting when you first met, the initial, gut reaction can be to dismiss its significance… taking it for granted. When I do have a chance to people watch, I marvel at how so many of us are wrapped up in our own lives, our own fates, or our own inertia, that we (sometimes) forget to marvel at the mundane, daily wonders that make us happy. A great sunrise (my favorite), a great cup of coffee (another luxury), a smile from my daughter, a favorite song jogging a beautiful, forgotten memory, a great workout, or 10 minutes to step outside, breathe, and exhilarate in surviving another insane day, month or season. Pat yourself on the back!

The stereotype of the passionate, focused and sometimes quirky (or scatter-brained) musician exists for a reason… (although I’m highly organized so that’s kind of an anomaly). So many of us have inadvertently loved a thing- music, in addition to a person, that oftentimes, the imperfections of a partner being human, tips the scales into relationship dysfunction. If you love music, it never calls you names, disrespects you, disappoints you, acts inappropriately or irresponsibly like an imperfect human. (But it can break your heart… but that’s another discussion.) For that reason, I’ve seen so many musicians grapple with the love of their art along with balancing their love of another, their partner or family.

Isn’t love also the ability to look past these imperfections, to plaster away our cracks in order to (hopefully) make something new and more beautiful? Here are some interesting “love” quotes to help you navigate where and how you feel about whomever (or whatever) you love. I hope it makes you laugh, smile, and hopefully, tenderly remember that love comes to us in multiple forms and in so many ways.

100 Pure Love Quotes

Finally, the Brahms Variations. I prefer elegant simplicity in almost all areas of my life or at least, it’s a daily goal. Two pianos, stunning and concise with Argerich and Freire, along with the two piano reductions score. Sometimes, the simplest things are the most impactful. Companionate or the supportive love offered to a child, sounds like this to me. (I’m also heavily biased because I’m a pianist.)

Two Piano Version with Score

Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op.56b (Argerich and Freire)

Here it is LIVE with different artists.

Brahms, Variations on a theme by Haydn for two pianos, op. 56b

And finally, the more “refined” orchestrated version played by symphonies around the world. The precision and elegance is in its execution. Temper this later with something more messy…

Johannes Brahms - Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op.56 | WDR Sinfonieorchester | Cristian Măcelaru

Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, smile, and think about love or life in a new, more elegant way. Here’s to cutting through the chaos and prioritizing what makes you happy or sing! (Like the two piano version of the Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme by Haydn.”) Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Port Cranberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats. Don't worry, the booze cooks out!

Adapted from Blueberry Cheesecake Oats from mindbodygreen

Port Cranberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats

Makes 4 servings


4 oz. vegan cream cheese

½ cup plain coconut yogurt

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

3 Zest strips of 1 medium orange

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups cranberry port sauce

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats


1. Set out 4 (12-oz.) glass jars with their lids.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegan cream cheese, coconut yogurt, almond milk, maple syrup, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk the ingredients together until they are smooth. Or, for an extra-smooth texture, combine the ingredients in a food processor. Set the mixing bowl aside.

3. Add ½ cup of cranberry port sauce to each jar. Then add ½ cup of oats to each jar on top of the blueberries.

4. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between the 4 jars.

5. Secure the lid on each jar, and shake each jar vigorously to combine the ingredients. Place the jars in the refrigerator overnight. Then, just pull a jar of your overnight oats out the next morning, top it off with some extra blueberries, and enjoy.

6. Each jar will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days if sealed tightly and unopened.

Port-Cranberry Sauce

This is leftover from Thanksgiving. Enjoy!


1/2 cup ruby port

Three 1-by-3-inch strips of orange zest, cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

12 ounces fresh cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

Directions 1. In a medium saucepan, combine the port with the orange zest and orange juice and bring to a boil.

2. Add the cranberries and sugar and simmer over moderately low heat until the sauce is jamlike, about 25 minutes.

3. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The cranberry sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

#portcranberryovernightoats, #portcranberrysauce, #foodandwine, #mindbodygreen, @brahms, @brahmsvariationshaydn, @marthaargerich, #twopianos

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