Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mango Raspberry Oatmeal

Dude. Teaching is hard.

I'm sure all jobs are difficult. That's why they're called jobs, and they're for adults, and we spend our first twenty years of life preparing for them. But the learning curve for teaching is just intense. You'd think after observing teachers for my entire life up to this point, I'd be a master at it, but it seems the opposite is true. After being a student my whole life, teaching just seems foreign and terrifying.

But I'm taking it one day at a time. Yesterday morning, I was stressing out about...everything, and I came upon this tweet:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Coconut Mango Oatmeal

I used to call myself a locavore, which is the new trendy term that means one sources all of his or her food from local farmers and all that jazz. I still strongly believe in the moment. However...

Being a locavore in South Dakota is nearly impossible. It would mean eating virtually nothing nine months out of the year. It would mean having very little variety in my diet. It would mean never having a mango, pineapple, banana, peach, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, avocado, grapes, or any other fruit that only grows in the tropics/subtropics.

Sorry, but that's not the life I want to live. Seriously: if I let myself survive solely off local agriculture right now, I'd only be able to eat asparagus and rhubarb. We don't even have strawberries yet.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Zucchini-Nut Bread Oatmeal

I do actually make up the majority of my recipes. I slide out of bed, zombie-walk to the kitchen, and experiment. Trust me: when you make something every day, it's hard not to become somewhat of a master at it.

But sometimes I just like to try other bloggers' ideas. Why not, right? Like I said about my Gingerbread Oatmeal: there's no point in reinventing the wheel!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Oatmeal

As I've said before, coffee was never a big part of my life. It wasn't until I started ignorantly dieting several years ago that my interest in the drink really blossomed (What? No calories??). I would drink the stuff black during my brief stint as an office assistant the summer after my freshmen year of college. Brewing and drinking coffee (and cleaning up the machine afterward) gave me a break from my eight hours of scanning and shredding. 

As a result, when I returned to school in the fall for my sophomore year, I was completely clueless about the nutrition of specialty coffee drinks. I had a few extra minutes before my Western Civilization class, so I stopped at Java City, the Starbucks-like company on our campus. I was in the mood for something sweeter (so not black coffee), but I had no idea what anything on the menu went (mocha? latte?? americano??!?). I did, however, see a large poster promoting the in-season Pumpkin Spice Javalanche (blended drink). Feeling adventurous, I ordered one of those.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blood Orange, Cranberry, and Pistachio Oatmeal

Have you ever been in a moment so perfect--when everything you appreciate most in life is happening all at once--that you are rendered speechless and can only look around in awe?

These moments seem to pop up when I least expect them. For example, last night I barely knew the people I was hanging out with (the exception being the girl that invited me). However, halfway through the night as we were sitting around laughing and having stimulating, intellectual conversation (a rare find at my age), I could do nothing but smile and take a mental photograph of that moment.

Yes, intellectual conversation is all it takes to make me happy. :) I am an English major, after all.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Loaded Banana Oatmeal

Do you ever have trouble deciding which kind of oatmeal to make in the morning because you kind of just want everything??

If so, this one's for YOU. It's like an Everything Bagel, without the garlic.

Normally, when we hear the word "loaded," we think of heart attacks like loaded chili or loaded baked potatoes, which usually feature bacon, sour cream, and junk food like "Funyuns." No, thanks.

THIS loaded concoction can be as healthy (or unhealthy) as you like. For a healthier route, look for toppings like fresh fruit, dried fruit, peanut butter, puffed rice, any type of yogurt, nuts, raw chia or hemp seed, banana butter, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, granola, or more sliced banana. You could also add maple syrup or honey on top.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal

I think my internal calendar is confused...

Lately, I've been going through a pumpkin phase. It's not very summer-ish of me, but I can't stop making oatmeal with pumpkin! I just find something so warm, cozy, and comforting about pumpkin. It reminds me of cool autumn days, light sweaters, football games, and trees ablaze with orange and red leaves. Favorite season? Yep.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oatmeal "Green Monster" Smoothie

Have you ever woken up sweating, and the thermometer already reads 77 degrees, even though it's still early in the morning?

Those are the mornings when oatmeal is not so appetizing. I eat porridge year-round, but some days, the thought of a bowl of hot cereal steaming up into my already-hot face is a little...nauseating. On those days, it's good to have a back up--like a "Green Monster" smoothie.

But I didn't want my oats to feel left out, so I threw them in as well. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Orange Almond Poppy Seed Oatmeal

Eating is personal...especially if you follow a particular diet like I do. The ingredients I choose and the meals I create feel like an extension of myself. I would even go so far as to say that my kitchen is almost like my diary; when friends come over and step into my kitchen--or worse, see inside my refrigerator--I feel exposed and self-conscious. Will they judge me for drinking almond milk? Or for buying organic spinach? And then there's the flax and chia seed in the cupboards...

Does anyone else feel this way? Or is that just me?

Anyway, the point is, my kitchen is my comfort zone. I never realize how truly "at home" I feel in that space until I have to cook in someone else's kitchen. For example, my whole world is flipped upside down when I visit my parents. I spend my mornings in a panic: where's the almond milk?! Where's the natural peanut butter??? Where's my EARTH BALANCE?!! Oh, the horror!

But that didn't stop me from making this beauty. Unfortunately, I had to make it using water. Gag. I don't understand how people can make oatmeal with water. It just makes such a sad bowl of porridge...

I overcame that, though. No coconut almond problem! I'm a teacher; I'm trained in creativity and flexibility. Even without my most beloved ingredients, I managed to whip up this bright and lively creation. Sha-blam!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cajun-Spiced Oatmeal with Red Pepper, Black Beans, and Spinach

My mouth is on fire from this one!

To tell the truth, I don't know much about Cajun cuisine. It's not exactly a cuisine that Midwesterners ever experience, sadly (we fear cayenne pepper), and it's not the most vegetarian-friendly cuisine, either. However, I recently discovered Cajun seasoning, and I love it. I made these awesome crunchy Cajun tofu sticks once, and they were so great...

Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal

My kitchen tends to be a veganized zone (as long as you don't count my brother's groceries! The cheddar slices and turkey are his, I promise!), so it's not surprising that the majority of my oatmeal recipes follow suit. In general, they use nondairy milks and no eggs, and I only use honey from time to time, usually as an optional topping (like in my favorite grapefruit oatmeal). In other words, if they are not vegan, they can easily be made vegan.

Except this one. And I apologize for that. (UPDATE:'s a vegan version!)

This recipe is unique in that the bulk of the flavor is happening above the oatmeal, instead of within it. Obviously, many fellow oatmeal lovers have been doing this for ages, but it was my first time. :)

I created a rather neutral-flavored oatmeal, which I found enjoyable to balance out the tartness of the strawberries and yogurt. However, if you try this out, you may find it necessary to add more honey to the oatmeal itself, or even to stir in some of the yogurt so the flavor is more balanced throughout the bowl. It's your breakfast--do what you want! ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gingerbread Latte Oatmeal

Who says gingerbread lattes are only for wintertime?

It hit me like a jar of coconut oil--latte oatmeals! Coffee oatmeals! Mocha oatmeals! This recipe for gingerbread latte oatmeal is actually just ONE of DOZENS of ideas I have using coffee as the liquid base. I am so excited to share with you all my ideas! I seriously cannot post fast enough.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Hello! I've returned from California. It was such a blast!

I didn't check my email the entire time I was gone, and I was so pleased to come home to so many new blog comments, as well as my lemon poppy seed oatmeal being posted on Healthy Aperture! Hurray!

Can you guess what I missed the most while I was gone?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Oatmeal

I will never, ever, ever think that frozen fruit compares to fresh fruit, especially when it comes to oatmeal. However, I like to always keep some on hand because you never know when it will come in handy.

Like today, for instance. I'm actually jetting off to visit a friend across the country for the week (post-graduation present to myself), so the last thing I should do right now is go to the grocery store and stock up on produce. Instead, I'm trying to finish up all the food that I have (or freeze it) so that I don't come back to moldy bread and rotten berries.

I always, always, have sliced bananas stocked in the freezer, but sometimes I keep a supply of blueberries or raspberries in there as well (but never strawberries. Frozen strawberries are the worst). Today, with no other fresh fruit available to me, I was able to grab that bag of raspberries and make a delicious (and deliciously pink) bowl of oatmeal.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal (2 ways)

If you can believe it, I didn't try lemon poppy seed until I got to college. In my depression/identity crisis, I basically ate my feelings, so I made frequent trips to the on-campus eateries throughout the day. One of the treats I became addicted to was the lemon poppy seed bread. It was dense, chilled, and super sweet. I shudder now at the amount of extra calories I consumed every week from that bread alone.

When I started eating oatmeal the following year, I initially set out to recreate dessert recipes. I tried banana bread, carrot cake, cheesecake, french toast, and chocolate chip. Basically, oatmeal was my attempt to make dieting suck less (before I discovered whole foods).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Variations on PB Oatmeal

Considering my love for peanut butter, it's no surprise that it frequently finds its way into my oatmeal! I was editing my 3 Basic Oatmeal Recipes post this morning, and I was baffled at how to display all the possibilities for peanut butter oatmeal without it being cluttered and confusing. Finally, I realized it deserved its own page. Think of all the variations I've created!

Here is a list of possible variations for my basic peanut butter oatmeal:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fruity Tea-Steeped Oatmeal with Kiwi

I'm extremely picky about my teas. If it's weak and boring, get it out of my sight. However, if it's too strong and the flavors are super intense, I'm not a fan of that, either.

This makes purchasing new teas extremely risky. They come in packs of twenty, so if I end up not liking it--too bad! I still have nineteen more. Luckily, I've developed ways to use up the teas I don't like.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gingerbread Oatmeal

As an about-to-graduate-from-college teacher candidate, I've been told trillions of times, "Don't reinvent the wheel." In other words, don't bother recreating something if someone else has already created it. Don't waste your time. Borrow. Make something your own, but don't spend hours duplicating materials that are already available to you.

Which is why I'm sharing this recipe for Gingerbread Oatmeal with you. I tinkered with my own recipe for a while, adjusting the spices and such. I tried with banana, and I tried without. I tried with more molasses, and I tried with less. I tried with mild, and I tried with blackstrap.

Alas, I gave up and did some Googling. I knew I had seen Gingerbread Oatmeal recipes before, so maybe comparing my recipe with someone else's would help me figure out what was wrong.

Orange-Clove Oatmeal (or "Montana Gold" Oatmeal)

I'm really proud of this. Like, insanely proud. But before I tell you what it is (and, more importantly, how to make it), I have to tell you a story of how I created it...

It all started with quiche. (Just go with it, okay?)

I was in western Ireland, sitting on a patio outside a cafe at Kylemore Abbey. The weather was unusually warm and sunny, and we had the rare pleasure of enjoying our lunch outside in the beautiful weather, along with a perfect view of the neo-Gothic castle across the lake. 

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