Blood Orange and Berry Oatmeal

ALERT!!! It’s orange season! It’s cara cara orange season! It’s blood orange season!

This might surprise you, but oranges are one of my absolute favorite fruits. I don’t eat them much in my oatmeal (I find their flavor is muted in porridge), but they are one of my favorite fruits to eat as a snack.

Blood Orange and Berry Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist With beautiful blood oranges back in season, I was determined to make another recipe. This time, I discovered the trick to making better citrus oatmeal: zest.

I should have known this was true, considering how much I love lemon extract, which is imitates lemon zest far more than lemon juice. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to figure this out. All I need to do was zest one of the orange halves into the oatmeal, and it changed the game.

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Apricot Cardamom Oatmeal

Remember my angst against apricots?? How they are basically just wannabe peaches? Well, I have discovered one perk they have over peaches: they have a more powerful flavor than peaches, making them more enjoyable in oatmeal. Peaches tend to “disappear” when mixed into oatmeal, but apricots are still pretty in-your-face.

Apricot Cardamom Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist

As a result, I used apricots for this recipe even though I originally envisioned it with peaches. Of course, you could use either.

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Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal with Chocolate PB2 Frosting

Did you know that they only real difference between yellow cake and a regular “white” cake is just the use of egg yolks? My mom is a cake decorator (in addition to her full-time job as my best friend an accountant), so I’ve seen her make many a white cake. I remember her telling me once that the recipe used only egg whites because the yolk would turn the cake yellow…so I guess it makes sense that a yellow cake uses the whole egg.

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal with Chocolate PB2 Frosting by The Oatmeal Artist

Thus, when I decided I wanted to make this recipe, it left me puzzled. How would I recreate it without eggs (not vegan) or food coloring (too many chemicals)? And how could I make it without it tasting like bananas?

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PB2 Oatcakes + 3 Easy PB2 Hacks

The affection I have for PB2 is real. I feel like I owe it something.

For many years, my life was a cycle of toomuchpeanutbutterinonesitting –> stomachachefordays –> that’sitI’mquittingpeanutbutterforever –> omgImissitsomuch –> Icanhavejustalittlebit –> nopeIwannaeatthewholejar –> repeat.

PB2 Oatcakes by The Oatmeal Artist #vegan

I tried many tricks to overcome this addiction. I would make CCK’s banana butter, or Happy Herbivore’s nutty spread, or Oh She Glows’ ABU (made with peanut butter),  but ultimately, all of those tricks required me to buy peanut butter. None of the recipes require you to use a full jar of peanut butter at once, which meant I would have a half a jar of undiluted peanut butter calling my name.

The thing about PB2 is that the fat is taken out. Most people would say–and I would agree–that it is flawed thinking that PB2 is “healthier” because the fat is taken out. However, the fat in peanut butter is what makes it so good. So addicting. So easy to enjoy by the spoonful (after spoonful after spoonful after spoonful) until the jar is empty and you feel sick. The high concentration of fat caught me in The Pleasure Trap, and I couldn’t escape it. I had daily stomach aches from my inability to put down the spoon. Although I make light of my peanut butter addiction on this blog, in reality it brought me much grief and pain on a daily basis.

PB2 Oatcakes by The Oatmeal Artist

Not only does PB2 allow me to enjoy peanut butter flavor without igniting my pleasure-seeking desires, but I have to actually make it each time I want it. When I put PB2 in my oatmeal, I have to physically mix up a serving of it. I can’t just go back for another spoonful. I have to make more. It’s not that hard, and I’ve done it before, but there’s a huge difference between opening up the jar for another (and another, and another, and another, and another) spoonful of peanut butter, and stirring up one more serving of PB2 and realizing you don’t actually want/need any more than that.

Because I’m sure people will comment on it, I want to clarify that removing peanut butter from my diet required me to add fat and calories to other parts of my day. Although my peanut butter has been replaced with PB2, I still top my oatmeal with tons of nuts (now more than I used to). I still eat a ton of avocado. Et cetera.

Please do not use PB2 as a low-fat or low-calorie substitute if you have a healthy relationship with peanut butter. I didn’t; that’s why I needed a change. Eating food in its natural form is always the best option. (But I recommend trying PB2 either way since you can use it for cool tricks like on popcorn or in place of flour when baking.)

As a full-fledged PB2 lover, here are three hacks I’ve learned:

  1. Add extra liquid to make a PB2 sauce. It’s perfect for pancakes. Sometimes I even mix in maple syrup for a PB2 version of my Maple-Nut Sauce.
  2. Add a drop of almond extract for “AB2.” While we wait for the almond version of PB2, this is the best we can do. Is it a spot-on replica of almond butter? Obviously not. However, since I can’t be trusted with a jar of almond butter (Exhibit A), I found this pretty darn satisfying. Note that I said a drop. It does not take much.
  3. Mix in coconut butter. I found out–after purchasing a jar–that I do not enjoy store-bought coconut butter. It’s very greasy and unpleasant–more like oil instead of butter. Thus, I keep my jar of coconut butter in the fridge, where it hardens. When I make my PB2, I scrape out about a 1/8 tsp of coconut butter and mix it into my PB2. The result is fabulous–not only do you get a bit of the fat back, but you get some lovely coconut flavor, too. :)

PB2 Oatcakes - The Oatmeal Artist

Anyway. THESE PANCAKES. :)

PB2 Oatcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats (I use Country Choice Organic)
  • 1/4 cup PB2
  • 1/2 cup's worth of zucchini, preferably peeled
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • rounded 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl or cup and let sit for ten minutes.
  2. While waiting, prepare Chocolate PB2 Sauce by whisking it all together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Put all pancake ingredients (including milk-vinegar mixture) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add extra liquid if necessary (just a tsp or so at a time). It should have the consistency of paint. :)
  4. Heat a griddle pan over medium low heat.
  5. When griddle pan is ready, spray with nonstick cooking spray (it only needs a little bit!), and use a large spoon or a small scoop to pour pancakes onto the griddle. I made small pancakes, so I used a large soup spoon, and it worked perfectly. Generally, don't go any bigger than 1/4 a cup, but I find that too big still.
  6. When bubbles have formed at the top of the pancake, flip over and cook for another minute. Repeat until all the batter has been used!
  7. Serve with syrup (I recommend fruity syrups) or fresh fruit. I used strawberry syrup and pomegranate arils.
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Hummingbird Cake Batter Oatmeal

I knew I would love this recipe. Bananas + pineapple + cinnamon + pecans. I love all of those ingredients, and I keep them on hand consistently. So why didn’t I make it earlier?

Hummingbird Cake Batter Oatmeal by The Oatmeal Artist #vegan

I always envisioned it as a baked oatmeal recipe. As my regular readers already know, I much prefer stovetop oatmeal. That kept me from making this sooner. Finally, last weekend I decided to do things my way and enjoy this recipe in the form I would prefer. Therefore, I give you cake batter. Cake batter is trendy now anyway, isn’t it? ;)

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Blueberry Oatcakes

Now that I know that zucchini is the trick to making neutral-flavored oatcakes, THERE ARE SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! First up on my list: blueberry pancakes.

Blueberry Oatcakes by The Oatmeal Artist #vegan

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Roasted Apricot Oatmeal

You know how I don’t like pears because they remind me of a sad, flavorless, soggy apple? That’s kind of how I feel about apricots. :P They remind me of a hard, off-tasting peach. And YOU KNOW how much I love my peaches. I often grab apricot-flavored jelly or pancake syrup, thinking, “Ohhhh, this will be like peaches!!” But the whole time I’m eating it, all I can notice is that apricot taste, and how it’s not peaches.

Apricots are like decaf coffee. It’s almost what you want, but it’s mostly a disappointment.

Roasted Apricot Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist

However, when I saw the clamshell of apricots at Trader Joe’s this week (TJ’s loves its clamshells…), I felt inspired. Apricots are so cute! That golden hue with sporadic shades of blush just spoke to me. :)

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What It’s Like to Fall in Love with Oatmeal

The first time you try to make oatmeal from scratch (with no help from instant flavored packets) and being unimpressed and not finishing it.

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The moment you start to hate yourself for giving up instant flavored packets because the homemade version just doesn’t compete.

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But then comes…the first time you make an oatmeal recipe that makes you say, “….Oh, wait…this is actually pretty good!”

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And then the first time you make an oatmeal recipe that makes you realize your one true love in life.

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The first time you use your favorite oatmeal recipe for emotional support.

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The time you return to your favorite instant flavored packet for a bit of nostalgia…only to realize that you now think it tastes like chemicals and glue.

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The first time you start actually enjoying waking up and getting out of bed…because it means it’s time for oatmeal.

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…And then the first time that you start waking up at ridiculous hours, wondering if it’s too early to get up and eat oatmeal.

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…And then the first time you cheat and have oatmeal for dinner because you can’t even wait until breakfast.

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The first time you try your oatmeal with almond butter.

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The first time you actually feel offended when someone else insults your breakfast of choice.

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And finally, the first day you realize that you maybe, possibly, definitely ate oatmeal for all three meals.

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Almond Joy Oatmeal #2

Yep, I already have an Almond Joy Oatmeal. I KNOW. This isn’t an “improved” recipe, either. The other one was already perfect. I just came up with a different way to make it.

(To be honest, I just wanted to eat more chocolate PB2.)

Almond Joy Oatmeal by The Oatmeal Artist

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Blueberry PB2 Overnight Oatmeal

When it comes to peanut butter and PB2, there are two camps: those of us who like to stir it into our oatmeal, and those of us who like to keep it in a glob at the top of our oatmeal. I happen to belong to the latter group.

However, I know not everyone does. I have often told myself that I need to include recipes for the Stirrers, but I always resisted. Today is the big day that I put others’ needs before my own. :D

Blueberry PB2 Overnight Oatmeal

Using PB2 is an easy way to add peanut butter flavor to your entire porridge. And since it’s less decadent that actual peanut butter, you could always add a glob of PB2 at the top, too. Which is exactly what I did. ^_^ #notsorry

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