Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oatmeal Recipes for Pie Lovers!

You know what I don't like? Cake. I blame my mother. She's an accountant, but she decorates cakes on the side. I've licked one too many frosting-covered beaters and eaten about a hundred too many leftover cupcakes. Sure, I'll make an exception for "specialty" cakes like this Black Forest Cake, but most cakes I will scoff at out of principle.

When people don't accept that explanation, I just say, "I'd rather have a nice slice of pie." And then everyone's on the same page again, because who doesn't like pie?!

Here is a round-up of my BEST pie-inspired oatmeal recipes!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Brownie Batter Oatmeal

Cocoa powder is just the best. It's really one of the few ingredients that can turn anything into a decadent treat without harming its nutritional profile. I think I've put cocoa powder in all my breakfasts for the last week and a half. I used to save that only for weekends (so it felt special), but now I'm just throwing it in everything with reckless abandon.

This is a porridge that's been ruling my mornings (and a couple dinners...) lately. It actually began when I was making my favorite Fudgy Banana and Peanut Butter Oatmeal, but I used Country Choice Organic quick-cooking steel-cut oats instead. I noticed the consistency and flavor was highly reminiscent of brownie batter. Thus, the idea was born.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Peachy Oatmeal

Have you tried pureeing your fruits before adding them to your oatmeal yet? My recent interest in this started with the Strawberry Limeade Overnight Oatmeal and progressed from there (I think I had done it a few times before that, but just here and there).

As you may remember, I bought a bunch of peaches a while ago and frantically raced to use them all up. I was continuously frustrated with how poorly the peach flavor distributed throughout the porridge. I mean, come on, peaches are incredibly juicy and have tons of flavor!

Well, I thought I would try the puree method and see how it went. That way, the wonderful peach flavor would dominate every spoonful.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grape and Walnut Oatmeal [Guest Post]

There comes a time in every food blogger's life when they see a recipe on the internetz and think, "Damnit. Why didn't I think of that?!" This is what happened when I stumbled upon a few recipes on a blog called Cinnamon Soliloquy. I could quickly tell from Stevie's blog that she was an oatmeal fan and read my blog. The format of her recipes even resembled mine a little bit! Jealous that she had some cool oatmeal ideas that I hadn't thought of yet, I decided to reach out and ask her to write a guest post for me. (This is my first guest post on the blog; there are more in the works!)


My name is Stevie and I blog over at Cinnamon Soliloquy - but Lauren has very kindly given me the opportunity to include this guest post in her gorgeous blog! 

I am currently studying Classics (lots of ancient Greek and Latin) at the University of Exeter, Devon in the UK. I love exercise and try to live a balanced, healthy life - which includes what I eat! 

My blog is mainly a way for me to share recipes - the majority of which are oatmeal (or as we call it here in England - porridge!) based. I have eaten oatmeal for as long as I can remember, however for the first 17 years of my life it was the flavoured stuff which came out of a Quaker packet.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mocha Sauce

The hardest part about moving is the whole grocery situation. Have you experienced this? You're leaving soon, so you want to be finished with all your produce and have as little grocery items to move/toss as possible. However, you also don't want to starve to death or survive entirely off restaurant food for the final few days.

This issue is further complicated if you are a food blogger. I'm trying to maintain a blog while my pantry and refrigerator become more barren by the second. For this reason, today I'm sharing a recipe for a topping. I will not apologize for this (even though I know you'd much rather have a new oatmeal recipe) because this glaze is ballin' and you should try it whether or not you're kitchen is better stocked than mine at the moment.

This sauce took five ingredients and a pinch of salt. It came together in less than a minute. It can be easily adjusted for preferences in sweetness and coffee flavor.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Banana Bread Steel-Cut Oatmeal

In the span of one week, I've come to really love the texture of steel-cut oats. I can't quite explain it, but there is something almost luxurious in the mouthfeel of these pillowy, nutty, hearty oats. I'm definitely a fan.

Last Saturday, I prepared steel-cut oats for the first time. I threw in a single serving on the stove with some coconut milk and then jumped in the shower. The directions said it took 30 minutes, and my showers are never even a third of that time. It seemed safe to me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Organic? My story, and an announcement!

It was spring break during my sophomore year of college in 2010. I was curled up in my bedroom at my parents' house, watching documentaries on Netflix. The words showed up boldly on the black screen:

These were some of the words from the final minutes of the documentary that changed my life, Food, Inc.  Although it can be melodramatic at times (like most documentaries), I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if they have little knowledge or have never questioned the American food system. This film not only exposed me to the horrific nature of a few dirty companies, but it empowered me with my right to choose--three times a day.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Apple Spice Oatcakes for One

One of my favorite parts of New York City is its glorious abundance of farmers markets. Access to local and fresh produce ranges from tiny little stands on the street to mega-markets like the Union Square Greenmarket. That's where I found myself last weekend, just before the vendors started packing up and going home for the day.

Obviously I was smitten by the organic leafy greens and the fresh baked bread, but this market had so much more. There was hard cider. And wine. And vegan pies.

And my favorite: jams, jellies, and other jarred goods. I always seek these out at big farmers markets. I consider myself a collector of artisan fruit spreads. It fits nicely with my PB&J sandwich obsession (not to mention my oatmeal addiction...). Beth's Farm Kitchen uses local ingredients to make some phenomenal jams, fruit butters, marmalades, chutneys, and pickled veggies. My purchase? No-sugar-added apple butter. And no, that does not mean they used Splenda, and no, that does not mean they sweetened it with "white grape juice concentrate." It means they took a fruit. Added spices. Cooked it down to a butter. No sweeteners necessary.

...So I made pancakes! Now, of course, any apple butter will do. In fact, if you do not have apple butter, you can use applesauce instead, and then spice the pancakes yourself. However, the apple butter creates a convenient recipe because the spices are already included in the product!

As you can see, I made tiny little silver dollar pancakes. How precious are they? I will stick to the silver dollar size from now on. It was much more fun to eat a tower of mini pancakes than a short stack of fat ones. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

3 New Overnight Oat Recipes!

Overnight oatmeal has been my "thing" for a few months now, which inevitably resulted in me creating recipes that were never shared with you. Most of them align with my stove-top recipes, so I didn't feel too guilty about it. However, lately, I've been enjoying these so much that I just had to put them on your radar!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Berry Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal

My roommate Allison pulled a tub of strawberries out of the fridge. It was the robin's-egg-blue-colored, recyclable cardboard crate that they give out at farmer's markets.

"Will you make me strawberry cheesecake oatmeal in the morning?" she asked. "My mom bought me these strawberries and I need to use them up."

I hesitated. My mind recalled all my failed attempts at that very recipe from earlier this year. Maybe it just needs a little lemon juice. Less lemon juice. Maybe some apple cider vinegar will help. More cream cheese. More yogurt. Less yogurt. I eventually came to the conclusion it was an impossible feat, yet she was requesting me to attempt it once more. This time, however, I wouldn't have to jump the hurdle of making everything nondairy, and that could be cure. Sorry, but Tofutti sucks.

I knew from the moment I set the ramekin in the oatmeal that I had failed to replicate an actual cheesecake, but I remained hopeful that I was providing a suitable alternative. I presented the baked creation to Allison, who was sitting eagerly on the couch in her pajamas. "Berry Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal," I titled it.

"Ohhhhhhhh my GOD!" Allison exclaimed after her first bite. I don't know if I'll ever have success at making a cheesecake oatmeal, but for the time being, I know I can make a hell of a cream cheese baked oatmeal. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peach Melba Oatmeal

It's June 9th. That means we have 2.5 weeks of school left. In 2.5 weeks, I'll be bidding farewell to students who I likely will never see again. I'll be embracing the three kids I've tutored daily for over nine months. Let's be honest:  I'll probably cry.

But on the other hand, I'm very eager for summer vacation. Like most inhabitants of this world, I look forward to the summer season and all it represents. Certainly, summer is not my favorite season (I prefer autumn, especially here on the east coast!), but how can one not love summer? Vacations, sundresses, lazy Saturdays in Central Park, cookouts, afternoons at the pool or the beach....and summer produce.

Oh mercy, I do love summer produce...the watermelon, berries, and peaches. It's a little early for true peach season right now, but they've started popping up at Trader Joe's. When I saw they were selling small crates of them for $3.49, I couldn't resist.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Muffins

Muffins again? I know, but I'm not sorry. I had an urge to make muffins, so I decided to make the most out of the urge and experiment with multiple recipes. Hence, I give you experiment #2....lemon poppy seed!

These muffins are slightly more traditional than the Thin Mints Muffins (although not quite as decadent!). They are perfect for an easy breakfast or on-the-go snack. If you want to use them for dessert, you could top them with a glaze!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Savory Pizza Porridge

Remember when I said I didn't enjoy savory oatmeal? I have changed my mind. This recipe was a game changer. And I want it tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

I didn't even need cheese to make this porridge happen, but I'm sure that would only make it more "realistic" if you wish. For me, a dusting of nutritional yeast was perfectly adequate! There were so many other flavors in this oatmeal that the omission of cheese was no problem at all.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thin Mints Oat Muffins

Happy Sunday, everyone!

What's the weather like in your neck of the woods? It's crazy hot here. I was in Philadelphia all week chaperoning a school field trip, and the students and I just trudged around, sweating and fanning ourselves the whole time. Gross!

My roommate and I had planned to spend Saturday afternoon at Central Park, but it was just too darn hot. Sweltering. Blistering. Stroke-inducing. So instead, I stayed inside in the air conditioning and made some muffins for YOU!

Yep. They are, in fact, as delicious as they look. :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hidden Banana Oatmeal Recipes

I may be an organic-loving food elitist that sticks her nose up at fast food joints, but the truth is, I can be super cheap. When I do my grocery shopping, I stock up on bananas, apples, and oranges. This girl can't afford mangoes and grapefruit on a regular basis!

The bad part about always having bananas on hand is that sometimes I just really don't want bananas in my oatmeal that day! Luckily, I've found ways of masking the banana flavor while still enjoying its creamy and nutritious properties. Here are my favorite recipes that utilize banana without actually letting you taste it. (I tried to narrow it down to five, but I just couldn't knock it down from six!) The great news is that many of these also happen to be some of my favorites!
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