Monday, August 5, 2013

Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Sophie!

I'm pleased to introduce you to the feature of the second installment of Oatmeal Enthusiasts, Sophie. Her connection to oatmeal and the stories she has to tell about her food journey are extraordinarily similar to mine, and I have truly enjoyed following her on Instagram (@thehealthybunny) for those reasons. Here's her story!

Hey fellow oatmeal lovers!

I’m thrilled to be the second Oatmeal Enthusiast on here, and, in all honesty, honoured to write a guest post for The Oatmeal Artist blog. I’ve been following this blog religiously for over a year now, checking everyday or almost to see if there was a new recipe, talking to many friends about it and getting excited over so many recipes that I wanted – and still want – to try. I’ve set myself an oatmeal-related goal; try out every recipe on Lauren’s wonderful blog, but also try out to create more recipes on my own.

I’m Sophie, I’m 19 years old and I’m entering university in September in translation (French-English). It’s a scary transition, but I’m thrilled to see how university will be like! I live in Quebec in Canada, so my first language is French, but I’m wishing to really master English. I got in touch with Lauren on Instagram after I saw Brittany’s post on the blog and started to tag my pictures featuring her recipes with #oatmealartist. I was so excited to realise I could get in touch with the author behind the blog I loved so much, it was just silly haha! A few days after, she contacted me to ask me if I would be willing to write the second Oatmeal Enthusiast and that’s how I’m here now!

I basically developed my love for oatmeal when I decided I wanted to lose weight and watch my calorie intake more, and eat healthier. Probably like the majority of us here, I started with the sugar-loaded, rather unhealthy –yet low-calorie– cheap Quaker packets. The more oatmeal I ate, the more it grew on me, and the more I slowly started to experiment. At first, it was only fresh fruits added on top of my oatmeal, but as time went by, I started to try different things, such as mixing more spices with it, or topping it with a fried egg to keep me full longer. At that point, I was beginning to fall in love with cooking, which led me to wonder how to cook oatmeal on the stove with rolled oats, which, if I remember well, led me somehow to The Oatmeal Artist. I was thrilled to find such a huge variety of oatmeal, and there started the long journey on my way to try as much recipes as I could haha!

I’ve been a long way since the time I was eating oatmeal packets every morning, popping them in the microwave (and always making a mess somehow :P!). Even though it’s only been a year or so, it seems so far away! I am so hooked on oatmeal now I wake up an hour earlier on school days just to take my time to cook and enjoy it properly. I’ve pretty much had oatmeal every single morning since last November, except for a few mornings when I’ve run out of oatmeal or when I decide to do a fancy breakfast for my boyfriend (which very often includes oats anyway, but just not in a porridge form haha!). Oatmeal gets me up in the morning and I’m more than often really excited about it, planning it the night before and thinking of how tasty it will be :p! Cooking it on the stove has become something I do almost mindlessly in the morning now, half awake and starving. 

With my growing passion for cooking came a strong interest for health concerns and nutrition. I slowly made the transition to vegetarianism and I haven’t eaten meat in about 5 months now. At the moment, I consider myself to be “almost vegan” as 90% of my meals are vegan, except for the occasional Greek yogurt or cheese I have once in a while. I recently read The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell and that, on top of various documentaries I watched, made me certain that I did not want to go back to animal-based food. I know so much more about the food I eat and the nutrients I put inside me, and it has become such a big part of my life. Eating a plant-based diet makes me feel glowing inside, and so good about myself! To come back on the subject a bit more, I think I’ve crossed the point where I can say that oatmeal has become a part of my life and I’m determined to have it every morning as much as I can! It gives me so many health benefits, makes me feel full longer and offers me so much variety. It gives me an opportunity to eat more fruit as well!

Now, here’s my oatmeal for the week! I actually decided to document my breakfast Friday to Thursday as I always do the groceries on Thursday night, when the new sales for the week begin. I thought it would be a more accurate picture of my breakfasts as that was when I’d have the most fruit. I mostly use recipes from here, but I do sometimes come up with my own, and I especially did so during the week, so I wouldn’t feel too bad about only using Lauren’s recipes :P!

Friday: Cinnamon Apricot-Plum oatmeal topped with honey pan-fried apricot and plum. I used one apricot and one plum, one half of each inside the oatmeal, diced and warm and the other halves on top of the oatmeal, pan-fried and melty. Apricot ended up being quite bland when cooked in the oatmeal, but the flavour totally stood out pan-fried.

Saturday: Apple Pie Oatmeal. This is my favourite apple-oatmeal recipe for sure! It’s so simple, yet so good! This particular morning, I decided to grate part of my apple to add inside and as a topping. It was really nice that way!

Sunday: Strawberry & Cream Oatmeal. This one was deliciously creamy and tasty. I cooked 1/2 cup oats normally and added vanilla essence, one tablespoon organic cane sugar and ¼ cup Greek yogurt at the end of the cooking process!

Monday: Lemon Kiwi Oatmeal. It was my first time trying both lemon and kiwi in oatmeal, and I’m so glad I finally tried it out! Organic kiwis were in sale at my grocery store that week, so I was really excited to finally be able to try it. It was refreshing, a perfect summer recipe.

Tuesday: Blueberry Jam Oatmeal. I cooked my oatmeal in overnight-steeped Organic Blueberry Jam tea from my favourite tea shop, David’s tea. I folded in the blueberries at the end, but most importantly, I topped my oatmeal with a blueberry chia jam. It was yummy!

Wednesday: PB&J Baked Oatmeal. This is one heavenly, decadent, baked oatmeal recipe! I think it was the first time I ever allowed myself to have two tablespoons of peanut butter in one breakfast, but boy this was one nice treat!

Thursday: Kiwi Mint "Green Monster" oatmeal. This is one of my most complex creations. I was really excited about this one, and it turned out GREAT! Refreshing, but most importantly, packed with nutrients and pretty ♥ I love green food, it makes me feel better about myself for some reason hahaha! I blended one banana, one cup liquid (1/2 cup soy milk and 1/2 cup water), one sprig of mint, 2 tbsp lime juice and a huge handful of spinach together. I then poured the mixture into my sauce pan and added 1/2 cup oats. I suspect it might be because of the banana, but as I expected it started to gurgle right away..Next time I will try with only half a banana! I mixed one diced kiwi at the very end and topped it with another kiwi.

Whenever I claim my passionate love for oatmeal to my friends, I more than often receive frowns and comments about how bland and disgusting it is. I don’t understand why many people seem to have a bad opinion of such a wonderful breakfast! It offers SO much variety that can be adapted to your taste and what’s available in your kitchen. Even the poorest student can manage to make awesome, tasty and nutritious oatmeal! To be honest, as long as you have bananas and peanut butter, there are already so many possibilities! One day, I stayed over at a friend`s house, a non-oatmeal-believer, and I convinced him to try some of my oatmeal the next morning. I cooked him Apple Pie Oatmeal, and believe it or not, he now loves oatmeal! I think it’s only a matter of knowing there are not only the bland Quaker packets, but hundreds of possibilities if you are willing to spend 10 minutes over the stove. 

Lauren asked me to say what would be my favourite oatmeal recipe but honestly, this is one of the hardest questions someone’s asked me! In autumn, I’m pretty hooked on Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal..In summer, like right now, I love to take the opportunity to enjoy summer fruits and I love Nutty ‘Nana Berry Oatmeal!  
**You can also find hundreds of other oatmeal recipes (as well as tons of other meatless recipes) on my Pinterest account!  You can also like The Oatmeal Artist on Facebook. Thanks!

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