One aspect of my blog that brings me more joy than almost anything else is my international audience. How cool is it to appeal to such a variety of people with such different tastes! When I discovered Mahrukh through Facebook and Instagram, I never even realized she was from outside the United States. Interacting with readers like her has taught me that it doesn't matter where we're from and what our regional cuisine is; anyone can love porridge. And peanut butter. ;)
Greetings, Fellow Oatmeal Lovers! My name is Mahrukh and I am currently doing my M.B.A in Human Resource Management from NUST University, Pakistan. Yes, this might come as a shock to most of you. But I feel absolutely honored to have been contacted by the Oatmeal Artist to exhibit my love for oatmeal on her highly drool-worthy blog. Isn’t it simply wonderful how people living million miles away can connect on the basis of love? Thank you, Lauren, for providing me with the opportunity to bridge distances on a common ground. J
Oatmeal (or as many over at my side of the world like to call it, porridge) might be one of the simplest and minute things of life, but for me it means the whole world. I cannot imagine life without it. Over-exaggerating much? Heh. I mean it! It became part of my life 5 years back, and now I am totally hooked. Joining the gym and wanting to lead a healthier life is to be credited for this addiction. Initially, I was subjected to a lot of criticism from my family and friends as oatmeal in my country is normally a part of the older lot’s diet, but from simpler starts such as honey or banana, I have slowly mastered the art of dessert-like combinations and transformed the doubters into die-hard fans. And of course, until recently Lauren became one of my major inspiration.
I came across her blog a few months back and I am absolutely in awe with all the recipes. My only wish is to at least try making more than half of them, but I am time-constrained or I simply lack the essential ingredients required to make a delicious bowl of oatmeal. Can you imagine we don’t have blueberries, raspberries, cranberries or pumpkins over here? Sad, I know. Even then I try my best to come up with as many combinations while incorporating ideas from her blog as well.
Oatmeal is love. Literally. But my love for oats just does not stop there. I love using oats for making pancakes, as well as mug cakes. These two are also a huge part of my everyday routine and I absolutely love experimenting with different flavors and combinations. This love for oats has now developed as a healthy addiction and even if I have an exam one day (as I did the last week), I cannot fathom going a day without an absolutely gorgeous meal. Many of my friends call it an obsession, and I wouldn’t disagree. But then most of them also suggest that I should take this love to the next level and start my own small healthy food deli. Who knows? I just might!
Coming back to this post, I decided to stick with oatmeal for most of the days. In case you guys are curious about the other items, feel free to hop over to my Instragram for daily updates; my id is: mahrukh_23.
Monday: Popeye Pancake
I hadn’t yet received a confirmation e-mail from Lauren until now, so I had my Popeye Pancake. Why Popeye? The reason being simple, it is made out of his favorite thing in the whole wide world; spinach. I topped it off with peanut butter/banana sauce and crushed nuts (i.e. walnuts, pistachios, almonds and cashews).
Tuesday: Fudgy PB & Banana Oatmeal
This is one of my ‘favoritest’ combination! I absolutely love chocolate, banana and peanut butter and when these three mesh together? It is eternal bliss! Now as far as the presentation goes, I love turning oatmeal into parfaits. It simply adds a bit more drama to it.
Wednesday: PB&J Oatmeal
I have always been fascinated by this combination, but never actually took the risk of trying it. I know it’s quite popular in the US but at my side of the world, peanut butter itself is uncommon which makes PB&J a myth. Anyhoo, for the sake of this post I decided to finally take the plunge and I absolutely fell in love with this combination. I used Sugar-Free Kiwi Jam for this purpose and since I had recently bought Kiwi from the market, I decided to incorporate it as well. It was absolutely delicious! I cannot wait to try a PB&J toast someday. Though I have a feeling it might not triumph over this lovely oatmeal parfait.
Thursday: Fruit Chaat Oatmeal
Took inspiration from the Oatmeal Artist, but I added my Asian twist to it or as we like to call it, the desi touch. Fruit Chaat aka. Fruit Salad is highly common in my part of the world, especially during the month of Ramadan. Hence, for this oatmeal, I took as many fruits as I could get my hands on (i.e. apple, banana, pomegranate, red and green grapes) and added them to my oatmeal. Then I added the secret ingredient to it which is ½ tsp of Shaan’s Chaat Masala (i.e. Salad Spice). It simply adds so much zest to the oatmeal! Tried this for the first time and absolutely regret not doing it any sooner.
Friday: Applesauce Oatmeal
I recently bought baby food applesauce from the grocery store and bumped into this recipe on her blog and decided to give it a shot. I garnished it with pomegranate arils, diced apples, cinnamon and raisins. It was scrumptious and delicious!
Saturday: Mug cake with Choco-banana Sauce
This sauce, and in fact all her sauces, are to DIE for! I find myself using them quite frequently, be it as a topping on my pancake, mug cake or just drizzling it on top of my oatmeal.
In the end, I’d just like to conclude by thanking Lauren yet again for providing me with this lovely opportunity. It has been an incredible experience--one I am bound to cherish for years to come. It feels great to connect with people on the basis of similar interests and the love for food, good food, being the finest of them all. As they say, ‘people who love to eat are always the best people’. I’d like to add just an itsy bitsy to it; ‘people who love to eat good are always the best people’. Goodness being oats!
With love, from Pakistan!
[Editor's Note: If you're interested in becoming my next Oatmeal Enthusiast, be sure to show your enthusiasm by tagging your oatmeal pictures with #oatmealartist on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Thank you for all your love and support!]