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?!).
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