Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bananas Foster Oatmeal

Where are my banana lovers? Let's celebrate.

Let's celebrate this fantastic fruit that makes our oatmeal creamy and our bodies regular. ;)

Let's make this humble fruit feel special and all dressed up. Let's caramelize it and make it a little boozy. (Well...this is breakfast time, so maybe we'll just use rum extract instead.)

True Bananas Foster is flambéed. I suppose you could still do that, but who has time for that in the morning? Simply caramelizing it in the pan is delicious enough.

This recipe uses rum extract. I've always thought that rum extract doesn't have much flavor, which is why the recipe calls for an entire two teaspoons. If you don't have rum extract, you could omit it. I think it would still be delishhhhhhh.

Okay, let me hear your thoughts. Why do YOU love bananas?!

Bananas Foster Oatmeal

by The Oatmeal Artist
Prep Time: 2 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Ingredients (serves 1)
    For the Bananas Foster
    • 1 tsp coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp milk of choice
    • 2 tsp rum extract (can omit)
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp molasses
    • 1 banana
    For the Oatmeal
    • 1 cup milk of choice, or water
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use Country Choice Organic)
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    1. Combine first five ingredients in a small skillet with a whisk.
    2. Cut banana in half lengthwise, and then across so you have four pieces. Place the banana pieces cut-side down in the skillet. Turn the heat on medium low.
    3. Meanwhile, bring milk (I use 1/2 c almond milk and 1/2 c water) to a boil in a saucepan, add oats, and reduce heat to medium. (If you'd like to add a teaspoon of flax or chia seeds, do so now.)
    4. By this point, your bananas should be caramelizing on the bottom and the mixture should be thickening and bubbling. Flip them over and let them cook on the other side until both sides are nice and covered in caramel mixture.
    5. Back to the oatmeal: once more of the liquid has absorbed, add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Stir.
    6. When you're pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl. Add a splash of your milk of choice and the Bananas Foster. Optional: top with banana soft serve!
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    **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!

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Getting Fit #1, Plus 3 Protein-Packed Breakfasts!

    TOA: Happy Saturday, everyone! For the next couple of months, I'm going to be featuring my friend Crystal on Saturdays. She's a rock star figure skater and oatmeal lover, as well as my new personal trainer. Crystal, can you introduce yourself and your fitness background for the readers?

    : Hi Everyone! I'm Crystal and I blog at confessionsofcrystal.com, though it's not nearly as cool as theoatmealartist.com I love reading, writing, figure skating, all things British, and oatmeal. I'm obsessed with fitness and healthy eating. For the last fourteen years, I've been a competitive figure skater and am the 2013 US Collegiate National Junior Ladies Pewter Medalist. Throughout the years, my workouts on and off the ice have varied. At present, I skate between one and half hours to three and a half hours a day, five days a week. I work out with a personal trainer twice a week and do interval sprints two-three times a week. When I have time, I also do Pilates, Body Barre, yoga, and Zumba. Living in Colorado also gives me access to marvelous outdoor recreation. During the winter, I love skiing at any of resorts and in the summer, I enjoy hiking or doing the famed Manitou Springs incline. 

    TOA: Okay, so I want to have a more active lifestyle. I'm not trying to lose weight or anything like that. Ever since I went veg*n, my extreme symptoms from IBS have basically disappeared; however, I still experience obnoxious bloating. Apparently this is a common IBS symptom that has little to do with the food you eat. Instead, everyone I've consulted (aka "the Internet") recommends cardio.

    I've tried jogging a mile or so after dinner, and it really works. I went to bed feeling great and woke up the next morning feeling light and focused.

    But I HATE working out. I work 10-hour days and don't have much energy (...or time...or ambition) by the time I get home. I am turning to you because 1) I need someone to motivate me and hold me accountable, and 2) I was hoping you'd have some tips for me.

    What can I do to jumpstart this whole "active lifestyle" thing?

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Choco-Banana Oatcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse

    Yep, more oatcakes! I know I just posted my Black Forest Oatcakes, but you know it could be months before I post another. (By the way, it's been almost a year since I've posted a muffin recipe!)

    Basically, I felt like I ate my Fudgy PB & Banana Oatmeal way too often, and I wanted to switch it up...but I still wanted banana, peanut butter, and chocolate. I put my favorite porridge into pancake form, and problem solved!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Salted Mango Coconut Oatmeal

    I may crave peanut butter and bananas hardcore during the fall and winter months, but during the spring and summer, I definitely crave a different flavor. I've noticed that everyone's cravings change with the seasons*, and my oatmeal is no exception. These tropical, fruity, and citrusy porridge recipes I've been craving are lighter and more refreshing than my usual cozy bowls.

    *But let's be honest, peanut butter is appropriate 365 days a year.

    For this recipe, I was inspired by these popsicles. I never would have considered salting a tropical recipe like this, but these popsicles were so visually appealing that I wanted to grab one from the screen and try it out. However, I'm perpetually cold (just ask the students who sweat to death in my classroom), so I had no desire to make popsicles. Then I thought, why not try it as oatmeal? So I did.

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Lemon White Chocolate Oatmeal

    Is it spring? I thought it was, but then I went to Philadelphia with my spring coat and basically froze to death. As soon as I returned to my apartment in New York, I switched back to my heavy winter coat. Ugh!

    To fool myself into thinking it is, in fact, spring, I returned to my beloved lemon-flavored oats. Every spring, I just can't get enough lemon in my oatmeal!  This time, I combined it with white chocolate chips. The tang of the lemon and the sweet white chocolate are definitely a winning combination!

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Cinnamon Fig Steel-Cut Oatmeal

    Do not fear cinnamon! I often add just enough in my recipes to give it a warm, cozy taste, but whenever I add more, I never regret it. For this particular recipe, I took a deep breath and added a full 1/2 teaspoon. It looked like too much for a moment: it even turned the oatmeal! However, after one bite, I knew I had made the correct choice.

    I highly recommend going with the full 1/2 teaspoon. You'll never know unless you try. If you must, you could always start with a 1/4 teaspoon and slowly add more until you think you have enough...but that would make you a wimp. :)

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Black Forest Oatcakes...and my blog's 2nd birthday!

    Two years. TWO YEARS! Considering I've been running this blog during the two most challenging years of my life (student teaching/senior year, my year of service in Newark, and my first year of teaching in NYC), it's a pretty big deal that I've managed to maintain this blog through it all. To celebrate, I made oatcakes:

    But first, let me indulge in my nostalgia. Three fantastic things have happened since the Oatmeal Artist's first birthday.

    1. I began my partnership with Country Choice Organic, which has completely changed my life. 
    2. I began the Oatmeal Enthusiast series, which showed me that there are SO MANY PEOPLE that eat oatmeal every single morning, just like me.
    3. The #oatmealartist hashtag began on Instagram, which always gives me a nice ego boost whenever I'm feeling down. As of right now, there's over 2,000 pictures on Instagram with the #oatmealartist tag. So cool!

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Oatmeal Recipes for Lemon Lovers

    Whenever spring rolls around, my porridge palette changes. My craving for peanut butter-laden recipes dwindles slightly, and I suddenly desire bright and fresh flavors. Suddenly, the bottle of lemon extract becomes my favorite ingredient and gets moved to the front of the shelf. Does anyone else experience a similar phenomenon?

    To celebrate these warmer days and sunnier afternoons, here are my five favorite lemon recipes on the blog. If you haven't done so yet, you should really invest in some lemon extract. I found mine at Whole Foods. :)

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Salted Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

    Is it breakfast, or dessert?


    I actually had to go several weeks (if not months?) without buying chocolate chips because I eat them by the handful(s). Because of my IBS, this causes many problems, so I had to quit them.

    Wanting to make this recipe (and a few others), I caved and brought them back into my life.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Apple Beet Oatmeal

    One of my favorite parts of meeting new people is how they influence my food preferences. Before I met my former roommate Christin, I never sauteed my vegetables (I always steamed or roasted). Before my current roommate Chilee, I avoided mushrooms at all costs. And of course, there was my former boyfriend from my junior year of college, who inadvertently converted me to a vegetarian (and eventually fully herbie).

    Then, there's Allison. She's taught me you can never use enough cinnamon. She showed me (before going vegan) that "runny eggs" are nothing to be feared. She introduced me to dozens of foods I had ever tried before, like goat cheese and Indian food and RAMEN (the real stuff). Last but not least, with months of effort, she trained me to appreciate her favorite vegetable: beets.

    I tried them once. I tried them twice. I tried them several times. Each time, I found them tolerable at best, but why did they taste like dirt? Why were they always cold and gelatinous?

    But then this recipe happened. I had thought of the concept ages ago, but making it would force me to confront my wariness of beets. I'm pleased to report that I'm so glad I finally did it!

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Lyndsey!

    Happy April, everyone! It's my favorite month, and I've been enjoying having my window open and sunshine peeking through my curtains later into the evening. For this beautiful month's Oatmeal Enthusiast, I found Lyndsey on Instagram. She's been posting oatmeal pictures almost daily with the #oatmealartist hashtag for months! Like me, she also turned to oats to control a diet-related syndrome, and the habit stuck!

    Hello, oatmeal lovers! When Lauren invited me to be her April Oatmeal Enthusiast, I was ecstatic. I have been following (AKA stalking) her blog ever since I found it on Pinterest last fall and I love the creativity of every recipe. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could write a post on her blog! This has been such fun and unique opportunity. I am also proud to be representing the younger generation of oatmeal fans.

    Let me introduce myself. I'm Lyndsey, a fourteen year old singer, actress, student, clean eater, Disney-lover, big sister, Starbucks addict, Midwesterner, yogi, and, of course, oatmeal lover (hence my Instagram name, @oatmeallover14). I perform in professional musical theatre, and I work hard to balance a busy schedule while keeping up with schoolwork. One day I hope to move to NYC to perform on Broadway, but would also enjoy working in the medical field.

    I have become interested in organic and clean eating in the past year or so, for health and environmental reasons. However, I believe in moderation, and I know that a treat from time to time won't kill me. But most of the time, I lead a clean lifestyle filled with fruits, veggies, and protein, and low in saturated fats, processed food/artificial dyes, and refined sugar. I don't eat a ton of gluten, but this is mainly because of food preferences, not diet choice.

    Now let's talk oatmeal. I have always enjoyed a creamy bowl of oatmeal, but my passion for porridge really took off a couple of years ago, when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. At one point before diagnosis, one of the only foods I could tolerate was oatmeal, and fortunately, I could load it with enough protein and calories to maintain a healthy weight. My Crohn's is now under control, but oatmeal has stuck with me through thick and thin, and has become my breakfast of choice every day. Sometimes I eat in twice a day... But you won't judge, right?

    Here's what a typical week of oatmeal looks like for me!

    Sunday: Banana Brûlée Oatmeal

    This oatmeal was a delectable breakfast packed with nutrients that tasted like an indulgent dessert. The caramelized bananas were definitely the highlight of the dish, and I would recommend it to anyone that is a fan of bananas. And if you like this blog, you pretty much have to be a banana fan. :) [Editor's note: She's right!]

    Monday: Clean Shamrock Shake Oatmeal

    While the vast majority of Americans were slurping down's the McDonald's version filled with artificial dyes and a week's worth of sugar and fat, I enjoyed this clean version of a St. Patrick's Day treat. Free of artificial everything, and packed with a heaping of spinach to fuel you throughout the day. This is my kind of Shamrock Shake. PS. I posted my own recipe on my Instagram page a few days before her, but you can find The Oatmeal Artist's version here.

    Tuesday: Snicker's Oatmeal

    Some days I like to add spinach to my oatmeal, but other days I just like to splurge. And this recipe was definitely splurge-worthy. The best part was, it had no added sugar besides the drizzle of caramel sauce, and had a dollop of peanut butter for nutrition. Win-win. :)

    Wednesday: Strawberry Cucumber Oatmeal

    I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to try this recipe, since I have never seen anyone use cucumber in oatmeal before. But then I thought, if I have tried spinach, carrots, and zucchini in oatmeal, how bad could cucumber be? In the first bite, I regretted not trying this recipe earlier, because it was delicious. Cool from the cucumber and naturally sweet from the strawberries. This recipe would be perfect for a warm summer morning.

    Thursday: Caramel Frappuccino Oatmeal

    This was another recipe that tastes and looks indulgent, but is secretly pretty healthy. Again, the only added sugar comes from the caramel sauce, and the 'ice cream' on top is really just frozen milk. This is a great recipe to satisfy a craving of a high sugar Starbucks drink. Although, I do love Starbucks… :)

    Friday: Blueberry Muffin in a Bowl

    This is all-time favorite oatmeal recipe. Partly, because I have an obsession with blueberries, and also because blending rolled oats after cooking them on the stove is my favorite way to eat oats. The thick texture melts in your mouth, and I swear it is heaven. Anybody who likes oatmeal at all needs to try it at least once. The recipe can be found on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.

    Saturday Breakfast: Chocolate Raspberry Oatcakes

    This was my first time trying Lauren's Oatcakes and I wish I had tried it sooner. These 'pancakes' would be great for someone with a gluten allergy, who is trying to avoid gluten, or simply for someone who loves oats (such as me). I took The Oatmeal Artist's basic Oatcake recipe and added some dark cocoa powder and raspberries.

    Saturday Lunch: Broccoli Cheddar Oatmeal

    Like I said, sometimes oatmeal manages to sneak its way into my lunch or dinner, which is, of course, fine by me. Broccoli Cheddar Soup is my favorite soup ever… so I was so excited when this healthier version popped up on The Oatmeal Artist blog. I made it right away, and it was so yummy!

    That concludes my week of oatmeal, although there are so many more amazing recipes out there that I would love to share with you. To see more of my daily oatmeals, follow me on Instagram at @oatmeallover14. I would love to meet more oatmeal fans like me! Thank you again for this opportunity, Lauren!

    [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!

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Carrot Ginger Oatmeal

    Did you know I used to hate ginger? It's true. If you look at my early recipes when I used ginger, it would always be a teensy tiny pinch. I can't remember when my feelings changed, but I have a much higher tolerance for it now.

    I much prefer fresh ginger, but now that I've acquired a taste for it, I'm fine with ground ginger. I thought half a teaspoon would be too much for this recipe, so I started with just a quarter teaspoon. After a few tastes, I continued adding more bit by bit, until I finally had added half a teaspoon total. Perfect.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Maple-Bacon Oatmeal with Figs

    Where does one find figs in April? Since trying them back in August, I haven't been able to get them off my mind.

    Answer: Whole Foods.

    As the title implies, this oatmeal could be created using a variety of fruits. Maple and "bacon" are the key ingredients of this recipe, but I chose to make mine "with figs." You could make yours "with apple" or "with plum." Go for it. Be you. ;)

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Peanut Butter and Berry Baked Oatmeal

    Saturday was silent on the blog. No new post, no Facebook update. I felt terribly guilty about it, but I was feeling horrific and just couldn't make it happen. I had to remind myself that nobody would die as a result of me not posting a new recipe. Forgive me if I'm wrong. ;)

    I've been pushing myself to try more baked and overnight recipes. This recipe could be used to make a simple raspberry baked oatmeal, but since it was the weekend, I was dying for my traditional peanut butter breakfast. The result was a twist on the PB&J setup, but instead of jam, I just used fresh fruit! Delicious.
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