Thursday, September 25, 2014

Double-Chocolate Mango Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut

What kind of recipe-creator would I be if I didn't take some risks? Chocolate and mango are not often paired together, but it has been done. For example, there's chocolate-covered mango, this chocolate-mango loaf cake, this coconut mango cashew chocolate bark, or Oatgasm's Chocolate Chili Mango Baked Oatmeal.

I was in the mood for peanut butter when I made this, so I found a way to include that as well. I actually made Happy Herbivore's Nutty Spread, but instead of adding cinnamon, I added cocoa powder. I love Nutty Spread because it gives me less of a tummy ache than pure peanut butter, and it can be supped in for peanut butter in most situations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tiramisu Oatcakes for One

You know my oatcakes always feature some sort of fruit or veggie, whether it's mashed banana, pureed peaches, apple butter, or pureed beets.

Can you guess the produce packed into this one?

It's zucchini! Now, I have experimented with using zucchini in the past, but it has often failed to serve the purpose I needed it for. I usually want it to be a "tasteless filler" in an otherwise "nutrition-less" recipe (see: any cookie recipe). However, it never worked as nicely as I would have liked. Just recently, I used it to make a brilliant recipe (you will just have to wait until I "nail it" to see what it is!), but I could taste the zucchini. As low in flavor as it is, it does leave some sort of flavor, particularly when paired with cinnamon, as it was in that recipe.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

20 Ways to Take Your Porridge to the Next Level

Oatmeal has a tendency to seem pretty humble. It's traditionally a peasant food, after all. If you really want to impress your breakfast guests, here are some tricks you can stun them with!

1. Use vanilla bean paste (or even a fresh vanilla bean) instead of vanilla extract. 

[Strawberry Vanilla Bean Oatmeal]

2. Toast your coconut just before topping your oatmeal.

[Tropical Oatmeal]

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spiced Brownie Baked Oatmeal

It may look like a calm, traditional brownie (or at least the baked oatmeal version of one), but this brownie is feisty. He's maybe even a little vicious.

Of course, you have control over his viciousness. You could just give him a little bit of bite. OR you could be like me and drop three generous pinches of cayenne pepper into the batter. It's up to you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ambrosia Overnight Oatmeal

Ambrosia reminds me of my high school days working in the deli of my hometown grocery store. Yes, your dear Lauren used to stand behind a counter and weigh super thin slices of smoked turkey, bread and fry chicken, and gobble down leftover chicken thighs at the end of her shift. I was basically a walking tub of grease for two years. To this day, I can't stand the smell of a deep-fryer...and most fried foods, actually.

However, our deli counter also offered a variety of salads. The standards were, of course, potato salad and macaroni salad, but there was also always a couple "sweet salads." The Midwest is infamous for its...erm...salads (Exhibit A and B). I think Ambrosia is actually "a thing" outside of the Midwest, but it was definitely one of the occasional offerings at my humble little deli.

Any excuse to take out my martini glass, yes?

The key ingredients for Ambrosia are mandarin oranges (blegh), pineapple, marshmallows (obviously), cherries (the faker, the better), and coconut, all mixed together in a creamy base. I have a strong disdain for mandarin oranges, so I used good ol' navel. I skipped the cherries because I'm too cheap to buy them. I omitted the marshmallows know...breakfast. And finally, I subbed So Delicious yogurt <3 for the cream.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5 Back-to-School Oat-tastic Solutions for Students & Teachers

Some people think students and teachers live a different world. WRONG. I became a teacher because I wanted to be a student forever, and it's the closest I could get.

Either way, both students and teachers have some early mornings and long days. And both groups are known for skipping meals--particularly breakfast!

Here are 5 solutions for enjoying your oatmeal during that dreaded morning rush!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mocha Almond Fudge Overnight Oatmeal

I need to confess my feelings. My strong, unwavering feelings.

I'm in love.

...with the So Delicious brand.

I've been eating their yogurt for a couple years now, but their pints of ice cream are a new world for me. I stopped buying prepared desserts and snacks several years ago--for a few different reasons. 1) Michael Pollan says to eat as much junk food as you want--as long as it's homemade (the result being you want eat that much junk food because it's hard work to make your own french fries, desserts, etc.). 2) I cut junk food from my budget to help me afford organic produce. 3) IBS, of course. Always.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blackberry Thyme Oatmeal

Remember less than a week ago when I said that my rosemary plant was the only one still thriving?

Joke's on me! It's dead now.

Shortly after making the Grape Rosemary Oatmeal (which was delicious!), my rosemary plant went from green and robust to brown and brittle. I don't even know...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#FarmFreshOatmeal Update

Remember, the jam/applesauce giveaway will go to the Instagrammer who uploads the 50th #FarmFreshOatmeal post! I am happy to announce that we are over halfway there, and we need just ELEVEN MORE to reach 50 before next Friday!! As I said earlier, if we don't reach 50, I'll keep them for myself. ^_^

Here are some of my favorite uploads from the past couple of weeks.

First of all, I was super pleased to see that someone already made my Strawberry Pretzel Overnight Oatmeal...with farm fresh strawberries!

Lenore made use of her local peaches.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Grape Rosemary Oatmeal

Ugh, you guys... I suck so much at taking care of herbs.

I bought four different herbs from the farmers' market: basil, cilantro, thyme, and rosemary. The basil looked beautiful for nearly two weeks, and then it turned a sad yellow color. The thyme turned brittle after a few days. The tall bush of cilantro collapsed into a  yellow pile within hours. All three of them never fully recovered. I believe the basil and thyme improve a little bit every day, but the cilantro had to be removed from the pot and tossed. The only plant that still looks functional is the rosemary.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mango-Coconut Overnight Oatmeal with Puffed Wild Rice

Before I share the beautiful recipe pictured below, let me just declare my love and commitment to New York City. I love you, NYC, and there's nobody else for me than you. Please don't be jealous at what I'm about to say. At the end of the day, my rent money goes to you, and it's your beautiful bridges and skylines I drool over.

That being said, there's another city I adore: MSP, better known to the rest of the world as "Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Yasmin!

TOA: Happy first day of September! It's also Labor Day, which means I have the day off. :) Today, I'm happy to share with you the work of Yasmin, whom I know better as @binilein from Instagram. While searching through the #oatmealartist hashtag, I was immediately smitten by her gorgeous, cozy photos of oatmeal. She and I share a love for aerial food photography, bananas, and peanut butter. I could not wait to feature her beautiful photos on my blog!

Hello fellow oatmeal lovers,

My name is Yasmin and I am in the proud position to be the Oatmeal Enthusiast for September. I got so excited when Lauren asked me because I have been a fan of her blog for quite a while. I love oatmeal, and breakfast in general is my favorite meal of the day. Let me tell you some facts about myself.

I am German and I lived in northern Germany until the age of 18, when I started to study Journalism which took me to the other end of the country. Since then, I haven’t lived in the same city for more than a year. I finished my BA studies last year and continued with my masters shortly afterwards, which will take me to London this fall. When I am not trying out new oatmeal recipes, I like to run, read and travel.
I don’t really know anymore how I discovered oatmeal, but I remember my first attempt to make oatmeal. Thinking it was enough to just heat up the milk, I ended up having some kind of oatmeal soup with a sliced banana in it. This was in the fall of 2011, and since then my oatmeal skills have improved immensely. How I found Lauren’s blog I don’t know anymore either, but it has been bookmarked on my list of favorite websites from the day I found it.

You have to know about me that I have suffered from an eating disorder for years and years. But no matter how bad it was, I always would have breakfast. Breakfast was the only meal I never ever skipped. Days ahead I would plan what I would eat for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) and I always would look forward to my morning oats. I would come up with new combinations and would add more fruits, nuts, and nut butter after a while. Oatmeal became and still is to this day my favorite breakfast. There are so many flavors to add, different kinds of fruits to put into it, that it never gets boring. Luckily, today, I am way better and healthier.

I am a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives you fuel to get through the day. I could eat breakfast foods all day long, to be totally honest with you. Oatmeal is so nutritious, healthy and filling that it makes the perfect breakfast. Especially on cold winter mornings, a hot bowl of oatmeal is the best way to start a busy day.

For the week I documented I decided to try out a lot of new recipes. I always bookmark new and interesting looking recipes I want to try, but then I tend to be too lazy or I am just too busy to really try them. But since I have summer break now, I didn’t really have an excuse not to try all these recipes – and I really was looking forward to every one of them and enjoyed every bite I had.

Day 1: Quinoa Flake Porridge

I love trying new recipes and experiment with other grains than oats such are buckwheat and quinoa. I recently purchased a bag of quinoa flakes, so I was looking forward to have them for breakfast. I used the quinoa flake porridge recipe from and it was delicious. Apart from the banana the recipe requires, I added blueberries, dried white mulberries, almonds and almond butter. It’s a great alternative to my usual oatmeal, very nutritious and filling!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Carrot Cake (and Carrot Banana) Steel-Cut Oatmeal

TWO recipes today! You're welcome.

Carrot Cake Steel-Cut Oatmeal isn't that exciting; it's basically an adaptation of my regular Carrot Cake Oatmeal. The only difference is it takes longer to cook (and it serves four instead of one, but that's just an issue of multiplication and division).

Thus, I'm including a variation. A banana variation, because potassium. (Everything about that last sentence is making the grammarian in me cringe, but whatever.)

I can't say much about the Carrot Cake version--it's exactly what you would expect. Instead, let me tell you about the banana version.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Strawberry Pretzel Overnight Oatmeal


Yes! Pretzels!

Strawberry pretzel bars are a bake sale, potluck, and picnic favorite. They are a lovely blend of sweet and salty. They begin with a bottom "crust" of crushed pretzels. Above that is a thick layer of cream cheese. Finally, the top layer is jello-fied strawberries.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#FarmFreshOatmeal Giveaway!

It's happening slowly, but more and more of you are joining me in eating #FarmFreshOatmeal!

In case you missed it, I'm challenging my readers to buy something--anything--from their local farmers' market (or from their own garden) and use it in their morning oats!

Now, the response to this was slow, and I expected that. I am not even slightly discouraged. That slow response is, in fact, the whole reason why I feel this challenge is necessary. We are not utilizing these markets enough. We are relying too heavily on corporations and cookie-cutter supermarkets.

Last weekend, I was at the Union Square Green Market to buy produce for the recipe I intended to make that evening: ratatouille. I purchased locally-grown eggplant, two tomatoes, leeks, a bell pepper, a banana pepper, two zucchinis FOR UNDER TEN DOLLARS. That would have cost me double at Whole Foods.

Here are some more ways that my readers are enjoying #FarmFreshOatmeal!

Now, as promised in the title of this post, I am hosting a giveaway!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Peach Almond Oatmeal with Pomegranates

Mmkay. Time to be vulnerable.

I've been somber lately. Maybe even a little hopeless.

My apartment does not offer great lighting. My window faces almost directly south, meaning the sun never fully shines inside, despite our big windows. I cannot take pictures outside without walking straight onto the bustling sidewalks of New York and lookin' like a fool. I try taking pictures near my bedroom window during the brightest time of the day, but they still turn out grainy and discolored.

I have a pretty great camera (the top-rated point-and-shoot on the market), but it functions best in natural lighting. It's not ready for indoor, dimly-lit food photography. Having just signed a lease on my first how-the-heck-does-it-possibly-cost-this-much NYC apartment, I can't even fathom buying a fancy camera at this point.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

10 Oatmeal Recipes that are Basically Desserts in Disguise

Running this blog for about two and a half years, I've noticed a trend.

You people love chocolate.

My chocolate recipes consistently receive more traffic than my non-chocolate ones. The nut butter ones perform well, too, but nothing compares to those chocolate ones.

It's not like I'm surprised by this: eating dessert for breakfast is da bomb! (People are still using that phrase, right?)

To celebrate, here are ten recipes that are basically just desserts in disguise.

P.S. I will not be posting any new recipes this week as I will be taking a "mental health week." I will see you again next Saturday! In the mean time, don't forget to check out your local farmers' market and upload your oatmeal creations with the hashtag #FarmFreshOatmeal! Shout out to @lenoresmiles and @healthymonkey_ for already uploading theirs!

10 Dessert "Oatmeal" Recipes ;)

This recipe is surprisingly healthy. It's sweetened by bananas and nothing
else (unless you add chocolate chips). Surprisingly, it tastes like decadent
brownie batter!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Peach Banana Muesli

Week 6 of not having a stove.

It's becoming painful, yo. When so much of your happiness relies on your ability to cook and prepare food, not having a functioning stove is a terrible blow. We've been dealing with our electronic company for weeks trying to convince them to turn on our gas. Every time, it's "You need to do X." So then we do X. We wait. We call back. They say, "You did X, but you still need to do Y." We say, "You never told us that, but okay." We do Y. We wait. We call back. Etc.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Hello, happy people! Or unhappy people. I don't discriminate.

Like I mentioned last week, I'm digging farmer's markets lately. It's my new weekend hobby. I absolutely love living in Manhattan and having such easy access to so many markets. It's kind of like this:

Anyway, I have been using the farmer's market as inspiration for my oatmeal recipes. My list of recipe ideas is pretty much a mile long, and being the indecisive person that I am, it's a tad overwhelming to select which recipes to make that week. Using the ingredients that are available at the market alleviates the stress of that decision.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Getting Fit #9

This is the ninth segment of my Getting Fit series. This series features my friend Crystal, a rockstar figure skater and fellow oatmeal lover. You can her blog, Confessions of Crystal, and check out her Instagram,@crystalchilcott.

TOA: Hello, Crystal! I have been watching all of your travels throughout Colorado on Instagram, and it looks like you're having such a blast these days. You also share pictures of your "grocery finds" and meals from special restaurants.

I'm completing a 5k this fall. I know you have Collegiate Nationals next week (good luck!!), so I was wondering how you fuel yourself in the days leading up to your big competition.

Crystal: Hi Lauren! I've really enjoyed exploring more of Colorado before my year abroad!

Congratulations on your decision to complete a 5k! In the days leading up to an event, I usually stick to my usual diet. The changes usually happen on the day I travel to the competition and actually compete. Staying in a hotel room without a kitchen makes it hard to follow my usual diet so I have to adapt.

TOA: How do you do that? Do you bring your own food, or do you have to eat out?

Crystal: It's usually a mix of both. I always ask for a fridge in my hotel room and stock up on staples like fruit, carrots, and Greek yogurt. I do usually have to eat out for at least one meal though.

TOA: What do you typically eat for breakfast and/or lunch on the day of a competition?

Crystal: My stomach is always upset on days I compete so I try to stick to oatmeal and whole grain bread with nut butter and fruit. I also make sure to have some green tea.

TOA: I have a similar problem! Back in high school when I had vocal contest, I wouldn't be able to eat a thing all day until after my solo (at which point I went straight to the cafeteria and ordered one of everything, haha).

Do you practice the day before your competition, or rest?

Crystal: I have to force myself to eat something or else I won't have energy! I have a 20 minute warm up where I just go through everything a few times. It depends on what time I compete what I do the rest of the day.

TOA: If you could pick any oatmeal recipe to eat on the day of your competition, what would it be?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sweet Corn, Blueberry, and Basil Oatmeal

The best part about Manhattan can be summed up in one word: access. In this city, you can basically track down anything..with relatively little effort (as long as you've mastered the public transportation piece). Certainly, I could access most things from Brooklyn, but it was always such a drag. I used to make excuses about how inconvenient or tedious it would be, and I would just stay home. In my new location, it's so easy!

Farmer's market. No excuses.

What is it about farmer's markets that is so incredible?! Maybe it's because there are so many unique items (love the habanero jam I bought from Beth's Family Kitchen). Maybe it's because there are free samples. Maybe it's because everything is so stinkin' fresh. :

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Frosted Brownie Baked Oatmeal

You know what's fun? Eating dessert for breakfast.

I mean, I could never literally eat dessert for breakfast--at least not what most people consider dessert. Thanks to my IBS, I have the world's most sensitive stomach. Living in New York City, I enjoy a variety of vegan desserts frequently (shout-out to Wild Ginger and the PERFECTION that is their Peanut Butter Bomb Cake), but it never takes long for the pain to settle in! Thus, when I order desserts while eating out, it's often a conscious choice with a careful consideration of the consequences.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Marina!

Happy August! This month's Enthusiast has been a long-time follower of the blog. She already eats and photographs oatmeal every morning, so asking her to complete the Enthusiast challenge was no struggle for her. :) When I saw her delicious photos on Instagram, I was instantly sold!

Helloooo fellow oatmeal lovers!!

My name is Marina and I am beyond ecstatic to be this month’s featured Oatmeal Enthusiast! I discovered Lauren’s blog about two years ago and have fallen in love with oatmeal and breakfast in general. It will forever be my favorite meal of the day. Alright, here’s a little more about me!

I grew up in a household that preached eating your basic doses of vegetables, fruits, carbs, and occasional red meat. However, you would NEVER find cookies, chips, or candy in my house, and I was always amazed at my friend’s pantries compared to mine! Wait, you have Doritos?! WHOA. Also, I was never (and never will be) a meal-skipper, but it took me years to realize that the so-called “healthy” cereals I ate every morning were actually processed junk. Yes, Honey Bunches of Oats and Frosted Mini Wheats, I’m talking to you! Now that I think of it, I was usually hungry an hour after I ate breakfast and my energy levels were pretty low after a certain point in the day. Now as kids we learn to ignore this, eat a cookie, and move on, because everything is so much easier when you’re a kid! :) As I grew up, I realized what my goals were and decided I needed to get serious about my health if I wanted to become a stronger dancer, both physically and mentally. Oh I forgot to mention that, I’ve been dancing for 15 years and plan on doing it professionally!

Anyway, my journey to better nutrition really started the year before I got to college. Knowing that I would be in for some rigorous days, it was important to be fueling my dancing body properly. It’s not that I was out of shape or anything, I was just tired of not seeing results from all the hard work of dance. I wasn’t happy with my eating habits. While I still ate pretty healthy foods of course, I wasn’t really thinking about portion controls, snacking, or processed foods/sugars. I felt sluggish and knew I had to whip myself into shape. I used to run sparingly, but then I started running almost every day along with dancing and I immediately saw a change in my mood and health. I started by making smarter food choices, eating about 5 smaller portioned meals a day, (rather than 3 huge ones), and also stopped eating meat, except for seafood. I still love me some salmon! ;) All in all, I ended up losing about 12 pounds this year at school. Good for me, right?!

Not necessarily…I started to develop a problem…a really big one.

During my weight loss period, I cut my calorie intake drastically and started counting them like crazy. High numbers really scared me! Thinking this was normal, I noticed that my clothes were really loose and I could see my bones more than I ever have. I was also always tired and irritable, but I thought this was just from dancing all day long. I didn’t understand, I was eating just like everyone else! My problem was that I wasn’t eating enough calorie-dense foods to match my activity level. My food obsession took over my life and I became its slave. But wait, cue OATMEAL Stage Right!

Oatmeal has been the food that started my journey to health. Not only is it a nutritional powerhouse, but it was the only breakfast food that kept me full throughout the morning. The more I ate it, the better I felt all day. Personally, I’d take Apple Pie Oatmeal over boring cereal any day…Lauren, along with other bloggers, create recipes that showcase how oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring either!

Not convinced yet?! Here, let me help you out a bit by showing you what a typical week of breakfast is like for me:

Sunday: PB and “No J” Baked Oatmeal

All PB, no J! I used fresh grapes and blueberries instead of jelly and it was fantastic! Sunday oatmeal usually consists of whatever fruit I have left in the house before we do the weekly shopping. In this case, there were about 10 grapes left and a handful of blueberries so I made it work and I guess it was pretty good… ;)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Melon Berry Overnight Oatmeal

So,, um....watermelon is not the most photogenic fruit. Forgive me.

Okay, so the idea behind this recipe is that you can endlessly combine various berries and melons together. Here you see blueberry + watermelon, but how about raspberry + cantaloupe? Blackberry + honeydew? Strawberry + cool exotic melon from the farmer's market (have you ever had a lemon drop melon?!).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grape and Dark Chocolate Chunk Muesli

...Because chocolate chunks are just plain better than chocolate chips.

Although most of my favorite food blogs are vegan (or at least vegetarian), I take inspiration from all food lifestyles. I check FoodGawker at least twice every day and browse until I have viewed each new recipe, and I know the times of the day that the site is usually updated. It might be an addiction...

Ever since I "met" Haley from Cheap Recipe Blog, hers is one of the sites that I often find inspiration. Recently, she shared a cheap and easy entertaining idea of serving frozen grapes, dark chocolate, and wine for dessert. Um, I love all three of those things, so YES.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nutty Pumpkin Berry Oatmeal, + Other Hacks for Banana Haters

Dear Banana Haters,

This post is for you. Although it may seem like we play for opposite teams (I'm all like, "BRING ON THE 'NANAS," and you're all, "UGH, I GAG!"), we're not all that different.

You see, as much as I love (and NEED) my daily banana(s), I also know what it's like to loathe an ingredient. Even before my transition to a herbivore lifestyle, I have never appreciated the taste of sour cream. I think it's pretty vile, in fact. If my favorite blog kept making oatmeal topped with sour cream, I would be pretty ticked.

Therefore, I have a solution. You have probably noticed by now that most of my favorite recipes contain banana. Not wanting you to miss out, I have compiled a list of hacks for all you banana haters...including one new recipe (pictured below--scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe)!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Root Beer Float Overnight Oatmeal

I have so many recipe ideas. Unfortunately, some of them require obscure ingredients that I couldn't imagine myself using regularly (or, in the case of macadamia nuts, I can't afford to use them regularly!). This was my problem with root beer extract. Wouldn't it be cool to have a root beer float oatmeal? But what else could I possibly do with it?

Thus, I was pretty freakin' pleased when I perused my mom's baking cupboard and discovered root beer concentrate. You see, my mom's quite special. She may appear to be your standard accountant, but when she comes home, she transforms into a cake decorator. She used to just do average sheet cakes and basic wedding tier cakes, but when the cupcake trend blossomed, so did her repertoire.

She now pumps out all sorts of "hip" cupcakes: Oreo, dreamsicle, red velvet (of course), lemon, salted caramel, etc. If you've seen it on Pinterest, she's probably tried it. Anyway, sometime during her experiments, she must have done a root beer cupcake, and thanks to her, I can give you this recipe today.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm hosting a giveaway!

Exciting announcement!!

My friends over at Country Choice Organic have developed and released a handful of new products. I had the honor of trying them out for you. ;)

I'm particularly excited about their gluten-free oats. Here's what Country Choice has to say about their two new gluten-free options:
Though oats don’t contain gluten, they are traditionally grown and processed in close proximity to wheat and other gluten containing grains. Producing GF oats takes extra care to ensure no cross contact with gluten containing grains. To answer consumer demand for gluten-free oats, Country Choice Organic is packing gluten free organic oats in traditional resealable canisters and pricing them to sell at a similar price as conventionally grown gluten free oats. With Country Choice Organic, consumers who prefer organic products, but need to avoid gluten, no longer need to be concerned about cross contact and the price will not be a barrier to consumption.  [TOA: Emphasis added by me.]
In other words, you can have gluten-free AND organic oats without shelling out more money. These canisters are available in old-fashioned (aka "rolled") and steel cut varieties. Although I do not have a gluten intolerance and cannot comment on that aspect of it, I can confirm that these oats act identical to their regular  (non-gluten-free) counterparts. I tested it out in the (upcoming) recipe pictured below!

The other new addition to the CCO line is flavored, single-serve packets of steel cut oats! Technically speaking, these are their quick-cook steel cut oats (my favorite!!), but in pouch form. They already came in a plain variety, but now they've added two flavors: Maple & Brown Sugar, and Apple Spice.

The pouches contain directions for how to prepare them in the microwave in five minutes...which was pretty darn helpful for me because I never really could figure that out. I can't tell you how many times I have had to clean out a messy microwave from cooking oatmeal that bubbled over! However, you can also prepare them in the traditional format on the stove.

Here's what CCO has to say about them:
Country Choice Organic Single Serve Steel Cut Oats contain only organic, whole grain steel cut oats, a powerful source of fiber and protein. Every box includes eight single serve packets, each with 150 calories, four grams of protein and three grams of fiber. Apple Spice and Maple & Brown Sugar join Original flavor, creating a flavorful variety of oatmeal that can be cooked-up in just five minutes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between.
As you know, I am all about plain oats and making my own "flavor," but I will admit that I was impressed by the ingredients list on these puppies. I can pronounce and identify all of these ingredients! If you know anyone who is devoted to pre-flavored pouches of oats (*cough*MYMOTHER*cough*) that resembles more of a science project than actual food, maybe you could persuade them to make the switch to one of these!

Now for the announcement: to celebrate these new products, Country Choice Organic and I would love to give away one of each to YOU! This means there will be four "winners:" one will win a canister of gluten-free steel cut oats, another will win a canister of gluten-free old-fashioned oats, another will win a box of Maple & Brown Sugar steel cut oat pouches, etc.

To be sensitive toward those of you with a gluten intolerance/allergy, we are providing two separate "registries." One is for the gluten-free canisters, and the other is for the boxes of single-serve steel cut pouches (which are not certified gluten-free). You may register for both if you want. Each "task" that you complete (such as liking Country Choice Organic on Facebook) will increase your chances of being randomly selected.

Enter the Gluten-Free Giveaway Here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the Single-Serve Steel Cut Pouches Giveaway Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**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!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Breakfast Cobbler

FINALLY I got my hands on some rhubarb. I thought the entire summer was going to slip away without me finding some. Would you believe my sister had some the entire time?

Considering how much I enjoyed my Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler, I decided to try something similar with my rhubarb. As you can see, the result was gorgeous.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Elvis Oatmeal Smoothie + Getting Fit #8

Yesterday on Facebook, I shared the post for Peach Pie Oatmeal Smoothie. As of today, that recipe is exactly one year old. I have not posted a single oatmeal smoothie recipe since! I'm not a huge smoothie person--although I'm not sure why. I've just never been one to crave a smoothie.

However, someone commented on the Peach Pie recipe, "Ever thought of coming up with more oatmeal smoothie recipes? This one was delicious :)"

Reading that comment gave me the motivation to finally make this recipe!

This is the eighth segment of my Getting Fit series. This series features my friend Crystal, a rockstar figure skater and fellow oatmeal lover. You can her blog, Confessions of Crystal, and check out her Instagram,@crystalchilcott.

TOA: Hello! I hope you are fine and dandy and your training for the collegiate championships is going well!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lava Baked Oatmeal [Guest Post]

Hi guys it's me, @laura__kiss, again  :) You may remember me as I was the Oatmeal Enthusiast in March.

I was so happy and excited that so many people liked my guest post!

And I think Lauren liked it to ;) She asked me to send her and all her readers the recipe for the lava baked oatmeal, so here you go :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cherry Almond Fudge Oatmeal

Since going to my parents' house a little over a week ago, I've been hooked on my Fudgy Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal. Every time that I've had to photograph a new recipe--like this one--I basically had to force myself to say "no" to my beloved favorite. This recipe was a little easier to swallow since it's still "fudgy," peanut butter?! The horror!

Luckily, I am satisfied with my decision as soon as I take the first bite!

I love cherry season. I think frozen cherries lack flavor, and dried cherries are tough and too chewy. Whenever I have fresh cherries to work with, I am a happy lady.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Elephant in the Room (My Blog + Its Role with ED)

After (finally) purchasing an iPhone and joining the Instagram community, I watched my follower count grow quickly. This should have been exciting for me, but instead I began to worry. I noticed a pattern immediately. At least half of my new followers used similar handles: most of them made references to "ana" (short for anorexia) or "recovery" (as in, recovering from an eating disorder). Similarly, when I searched the #oatmealartist hash tag, they were accompanied by ED-related handles and hash tags. Here is a glimpse of some of the pictures I frequently see:

Why did this worry me?

As someone who is awkwardly tall and thin, I have received my fair share of condescending weight comments and have always been self-conscious about it. Thus, when I started seeing all these Instagram followers, I freaked out. My thought process was as follows: Is my blog the new hangout for teenage girls with eating disorders? What does that say about my blog? About me? Do they think my blog is diet food? Do my friends and family think that my blog is diet food? Do my friends and family think I am eating oatmeal to diet?! Do my friends and family think *I* have an eating disorder!?

I suffered silently with these thoughts for months until I collaborated with Charlotte, May's Oatmeal Enthusiast. She wrote:
I have struggled with an eating disorder for 8 long years, but it got very bad in 2011. My anorexia took over my life, and I was no longer able to enjoy food. I found Lauren’s blog in 2012, and even though I was still very much in denial and did not want to get better at all, there was something about those delicious looking oatmeal recipes that caught my attention! I suddenly had an interest in food again, which was both scary and exciting. I started experimenting with my breakfasts, and although I was too afraid to follow the actual recipes, it was still a step in the right direction. 

I went inpatient for 4 months in the summer of 2012, and as I was getting better all I could think about was going home and finally be able to try all of the recipes on The Oatmeal Artist’s blog. Unfortunately I had a very bad relapse, but even through that relapse I continued to eat oatmeal almost every single morning, and that was without a doubt one of the reasons I made it through. Today I consider myself recovered, and Lauren’s blog has definitely helped me get to where I am now.
 I heard similar narratives from many other young ladies, all with the same point: my blog helped them recover, not fuel the disorder. I then recognized that the Instagram handles I was seeing all discussed recovery; these were victims of EDs who were using online communities to overcome their tough relationships with food.

I recently read this article on Buzzfeed called "Teenage Girls are Using Instagram to Fix their Relationships with Food." By the title alone, this article struck a chord with me. Considering that the majority of the pictures tagged #oatmealartist on Instagram also contain hashtags like #EDrecovery, I have personally witnessed this trend. The article states:
“I think sometimes that people (me included) get so caught up on having what some might regard as the perfect and healthy diet, that they forget that it is also very important to have a healthy mentality towards food and not be obsessive,” wrote 15-year-old Tina, who recently shared a bowl of oatmeal cooked with artfully displayed raspberries, banana, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, medjool dates, and homemade chocolate almond butter to her 45,000 followers.
[...] Aside from purported health benefits — less bloating, more energy, clearer skin, etc. — popular users said the practice was therapeutic, not just because it helped suppress the urge to diet but because it made eating fun instead of traumatic.

Several months ago, somebody left a comment on one of my posts stating that they used my recipes during the peak of their eating disorder, and was wondering what my role was in fueling eating disorders. My initial reaction was horror, and then anger. To suggest that my recipes caused her eating disorder was infuriating to me. The comment bummed me out for days, until I responded with some almost-cordial-but-mostly-snippy comment about how my blog does not need to play any role at all.

Any health-focused blog could obviously become a haven for someone looking to restrict calories, but that’s not what my blog is about. Never does my blog discuss limiting calories, trying to lose weight, or dieting. That has never been my focus. I create recipes that I believe are nutritious, filling, and delicious; what someone chooses to do with those recipes is out of my control. Am I to blame if someone cooks their oatmeal in water instead of almond milk and omits the peanut butter?

Furthermore, you will not find calorie counts on my blog. This was a choice I made from the beginning. I believe focusing on calories creates feelings of guilt or stress that should never be associated with food. Food is fuel! This is the vibe I try to create on my blog, to empower us to make healthy choices not as a “diet,” but as a way to nourish us physically, mentally, and spiritually in a world where we are constantly bombarded with options that are making us sick.

Anyway, I've been avoiding the “ED recovery” community because I did not want my blog associated with eating disorders in any way, mostly stemming from my own self-consciousness. However, after seeing the role my blog has played in so many girls’ recoveries, I have realized I should no longer ignore this community out of fear of what others would say. If my goal as a blogger is to alter people’s perceptions of food, then my vision aligns with theirs. May my oatmeal bring them nourishment and recovery.

Instead of posting a recipe today, I would like to share with you four Instagram users whom I personally follow, who are winning  (or have won) the fight against an ED, and who post gorgeous food pictures almost daily. Most of them are vegan because vegans are the best. ;)

Please check out these ladies, and feel free to share your story below in the comments!

**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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler

This. This recipe is summer vacation to me.

Not summer, but summer vacation. As in, "I'm not working 80 hours a week, so I can experiment with recipes that I imagined a year ago but never had the energy to actually create."

This is actually just a super simple baked oatmeal atop a sea of blueberries. Don't be freaked out by the cast iron skillet; you could make this in any ramekin.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Apple Baked Oatmeal with Espresso Almond Butter Frosting

Remember how I bought almond butter and managed to not demolish it within seconds? Here is another recipe I created with it. Seriously, what could be better than a robe of almond butter smothering a baked oatmeal cake? Nothing, that’s what.

To see how I made it, scroll to the bottom. I’m about to do some sappy reflecting.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Isaiah!

Happy July, oatmeal lovers! When I found Isaiah on Instagram, I was delighted: a male reader! Hizzah! Considering I find most of my Enthusiasts on Instagram using the #oatmealartist hash tag, and we ladies are the ones who are most likely to post pictures of our breakfasts (haha), it's hard for me to find a diverse population. As soon as I knew Isaiah was a fan, I invited him to be July's Oatmeal Enthusiast. Yay! Read about him below, and don't forget to wish him a happy birthday!

Hello fellow oatmeal fans. I have to say it’s my great pleasure to be a part of the Oatmeal Artist blog this month. In fact it's particularly special to be the Oatmeal Enthusiast this month because it's my birthday month. I am a licensed social worker, therapist, and health coach. I am equally passionate about working out as I am with the food I consume.

On my journey to live a healthy lifestyle, I really got into the science of food and nutrition. As you may already know, oatmeal is one of the healthiest items you can consume for breakfast, packed with whole grains and even some protein. If you add some healthy fats and a little fruit you have a complete meal. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast for years. My favorite way to make it is with (almond) milk, bananas, peanut butter, cinnamon and honey or golden raisins (later discovered through the blog that was Elvis’s Oatmeal recipe; who knew we shared this in common?) After sticking to this recipe for who knows how long, I decided it was time for some variety.

One short internet search later I stumbled upon the Oatmeal Artist. Wow, all of these incredible recipes now before my very eyes. I literally jumped out of bed early and made different recipes every morning. I stuck with the stovetop recipes at first because I didn't own a mason jar and what exactly is a ramekin anyway? Of course now I have both. I was stuck on the baked recipes for a while and when I woke up too hungry I went straight for the stovetop to break-the-fast. Eventually I started to dabble in the overnight recipes as well. Being the adventurous person that I am I found myself turning stove top recipes into overnight recipes and overnight recipes to baked recipes; eventually it was "Oatmeal Gone Wild."

As of late I have been turning recipes from all three versions into oatcakes, and I am totally hooked! Topped with fruit, greek yogurt icing and or peanut butter mousse; like Lauren I use a lot of Peanut Butter & Co. varieties because they are truly awesome (and I make sure I visit their shops whenever I travel to NY.) I also discovered an up-and-coming brand Wild Squirrel; they have some really great flavors that are all natural and Non GMO certified.

Without further ado, the oatmeal recipes of the week:

Day 1:

Sunday had to be a little special, so I really went the extra mile for this one. Here we have oatmeal whole wheat waffle topped w/ maple pb, spiced apples, and of course bananas. This was quite delicious and a wonderful way to start the week.

Day 2:

Monday I was still feeling the theme from Sunday so I went with waffles again. Just to add a little twist I combined the gingerbread oatmeal recipe with the caramelized bananas recipe. I don’t have to tell you how incredible this was.

Day 3:

Tuesday I changed the whole format and cooked my oats right on the stove. I usually have carrots to snack on and carrot cake is easily one of my favorite desserts, so it wouldn't be long before I made the carrot cake oatmeal happen. I recall Lauren writing the ambitious version had greek yogurt frosting so mine had to have that as well.

Day 4:

Wednesday I guess I will still craving beta carotene, but had some leftover sweet potatoes from dinner and still plenty of shredded coconut from my last Co-op visit. When I looked down the recipe list, coconut sweet potato oatmeal seemed just right.

Day 5:

Thursday I wanted to try this recipe for awhile but never seemed to have all the ingredients on deck at the same time. Once I finally did I knew this would easily be one of the best. Berry and cream cheese baked oatmeal recipe is highly recommended if you haven't tried this one as of yet!

Day 6:

Friday...still thinking about the berry and cream cheese baked oatmeal. Recreated into oatcakes. Basic recipe for oatcakes added half a scoop of vanilla whey protein and some strawberries to the batter. For greek yogurt icing used another ½ scoop of whey, 1oz of low fat cream cheese, 2 oz greek yogurt and 1 tbls of almond milk.

Day 7:

If you're lucky on Saturday, things slow down a little but and you have a little extra time and desire to make something really awesome for breakfast. I used Lauren’s recipe for german chocolate baked oatmeal added a ½ tsp (rounded) of baking powder and voila german chocolate oatcakes w/ coconut pecan butter.

So there you have it my oatmeal recipes for the week. I strive for the trifecta of healthy, filling and nutrition in all meals I prepare. Lauren has definitely aided me in this mission; thanks again for having me.


[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!]
**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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