Monday, February 3, 2014

Oatmeal Enthusiast: Meet Maria!

I am pleased to introduce you to yet another Oatmeal Enthusiast, Maria. She reached out to me on Twitter, showing me her own blog and some of the oatmeal recipes on it. Her passion for porridge was obvious, so I've added her to the Enthusiast club. Here's how her week of oats turned out.

First and foremost, I would just like to thank Lauren for giving me this opportunity to collaborate with her and be the February Oatmeal Enthusiast. I've been a huge fan and an avid follower of The Oatmeal Artist ever since I discovered the blog, which is well over a year ago now. Back then, I never thought I'd be writing up my own feature for The Oatmeal Artist herself, so it's sort of a dream-come-true for me.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Maria Foran and I am a nineteen year old girl who lives in County Offaly, Ireland. At present, I am under-going a horse-riding instructor coaching course through Horse Sport Ireland and I should have my Level 1 qualification by the end of summer 2014. I then plan to complete a Personal Fitness Trainer course through Image Fitness, as my next venture. I also run my own blog called Breakfast Addiction, and as you may have gathered from the title of my blog, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I not only eat typically breakfast related foods at breakfast time, but often for lunch or dinner too. 

I am very passionate about healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle. I choose to lead a dairy free diet and eat only poultry and fish (although I have been considering going Vegan recently). I also consume only wholegrain carbohydrates and avoid added sugar and salt whenever possible. This is for health and performance reasons. On the exercise front, I have a passion for running. I began running back in November of 2012 and have never looked back since. I typically run at least three times a week and usually clock up a distance of between 3 and 5 kilometres each time. As you may have guessed from my current study choices, I also love to ride horses. Although, I don't really count it as high intensity exercise, personally I view it as more of a recreational sport which I do for pleasure. I have my own horse. He is an Irish Draught and his name is Kendwa. 

I have always loved oatmeal ever since I was a child. My favourite way to eat oatmeal back in the day was made on the stove with full fat cow's milk, finished off with about a tablespoon of sugar mixed through it and a big spoonful of sugary raspberry jam piled up in the middle. Not very healthy though, is it?

Since then though, a lot has changed. I became very health conscious when I moved to Australia in 2011 and by the middle of 2012, I had rediscovered oatmeal, in a whole new way. I started off buying the instant microwavable packets (I still remember the flavours; brown sugar and cinnamon or fruits of the forest), but once I realised that they really weren't all that good for a person because of the added sugar, I began buying rolled oats (or old-fashioned oats) and making porridge for myself from scratch, and it's just grown from there! I moved back to Ireland in the middle of 2013, but my love for oatmeal still stays strong. To this day, I still have porridge every single morning, and I don't see that changing any time soon. 

So enough of all that, onto the important part. I've documented a week of my porridge recipes every morning, starting from Friday the 10th of January to Thursday the 16th of January. I started documenting my porridges straight away after Lauren contacted me, so I guess you can say I was a bit excited. I've even thrown in a bit of a 'holiday' themed recipe, since I am the February Oatmeal Enthusiast after all, so I felt I should include a Valentine's Day porridge recipe. 

I hope you all enjoyed my post and maybe some of you might even want to try some of my original and inspired recipes. You will find all of my recipes below, plus loads more on my blog, Breakfast Addiction. Finally, thanks a million, once again, to Lauren for giving me this opportunity. 

Friday 10th January - Chai tea steeped oatmeal

I steeped a Starbucks chai tea bag in boiling water and then let it cool before removing the tea bag and using the room temperature chai tea to cook my porridge in. 

Saturday 11th January - Sweet potato pie oatmeal

I grated a raw sweet potato (leaving the skin on for extra fibre) and added a 1/4 of a cup of it to my porridge along with some sultanas and a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Sunday 12th January - Peanut butter and jelly oatmeal

I made a peanut butter porridge by adding a teaspoon of organic peanut butter (I buy a brand with minimal ingredients and no added sugar) to my regular oatmeal. Then, I finished the porridge off with an additional teaspoon of organic peanut butter and a teaspoon of my home-made no-cooksugar free raspberry jam

Monday 13th January - Cranberry & almond oatmeal 

I added a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg to my regular porridge oats and then topped the oatmeal with a tablespoon each of toasted slivered almonds and dried cranberries. 

Tuesday 14th January - 'The Elvis' oatmeal 

I cooked up my usual porridge oats then garnished it with a sliced banana, a tablespoon of organic peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. This combination of flavours was apparently Elvis' favourite, but in fried sandwich form. 

Wednesday 15th January - Mint chocolate chip oatmeal

I steeped a peppermint tea bag in boiling water and then left it to cool to room temperature before removing the tea bag. I used a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder along with the cooled peppermint tea to cook my porridge. I then topped the porridge off with some chunks of 70% dark chocolate chips. Since vanilla and mint chocolate chip are my all time favourite ice-cream flavours, I appropriately used my cute ice-cream bowl too.  

Thursday 16th January - Valentine's Day pink velvet oatmeal 

I created this 'pink' porridge by cooking the porridge using two tablespoons of my home-made no-cook sugar free raspberry jam. I then topped the porridge off with 'icing' which consisted of a tablespoon of Alpro vanilla soy yoghurt (read my review here) and a few chunks of 70% dark chocolate chips. This was by far my favourite oatmeal I made this week. 

Favourite oatmeal of all time: Its a draw between my interpretation of The Oatmeal Artist's original recipe for pina colada oatmeal...

or my original recipe for poached pear and walnut oatmeal.

[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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