Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal [Guest Post]

Happy Friday, and happy early July 4th to my American readers. I’m busy unpacking from my move to a new apartment this week, and to keep the blog from being silent this week, I recruited some fantastic blog readers to share their own recipes with you. THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered to help out, and thank you to Monica for submitting this gorgeous recipe for me to post today.

Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Hello all, my name is Monica and I am from the new food blog, My Pink Recipe Book. I am very honoured to be writing as a guest blog here on the Oatmeal Artist, a blog that I have turned to quite a few times for tasty breakfast inspirations. Today I am sharing with you a very seasonal steel cut oatmeal recipe, featuring loads of strawberries and fresh chamomile (with the option of dried chamomile as well).

Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal #oatmealartist

Over the past year, one of my favourite weekend activities has become visiting my local Farmer’s Markets in Toronto. With all the gorgeous seasonal produce, I find myself creating recipes on my way home, practically jogging to get into the kitchen and start testing them out. This oatmeal was one of those recipes, inspired by the gorgeous chamomile flowers and luscious strawberries I picked up last Saturday. It is a little unique because instead of adding chopped strawberries at the end, you actually add them right at the beginning so that your oats cook in the strawberry juices instead of only water. The result makes me feel like I’m eating a strawberry pie for breakfast.

Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal #oatmealartist #mypinkrecipebook

The chamomile is very delicate, and the crunchy pistachios match perfectly with the existing flavours. Topping it off with some honey tames the slight tartness the strawberries provide, leaving you with a real treat for your breakfast. I hope you all enjoy this oatmeal as much as I do.

Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Roasted Pistachios

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pint strawberries, chopped
  • 2/3 cups pistachios
  • 1 bunch fresh chamomile flowers (about 20 flowers), or 1/2 tbsp dried chamomile
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • optional: 1 tbsp bee pollen

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F (for the pistachios).
  2. Add oats, water, and sliced strawberries to a pot to bring to a boil.
  3. While the mixture is heating, mash the strawberries in the pot to help release their juices.
  4. Add the chamomile petals and yellow centre (avoid the green stem), or the dried chamomile, to the pot.
  5. Cook oats as normal at this point, until achieving your desired steel cut oats consistency
  6. While the oats are cooking, bake the pistachios for 20 minutes.
  7. Portion the oatmeal into two bowls, topping each with 1/3 cup of pistachios, a generous drizzle of honey, and optional sprinkling of bee pollen.
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Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oats Strawberry and Chamomile Steel-Cut Oatmeal #mypinkrecipebook


(Coconut) Bacon and Banana Oatmeal [Guest Post]

Happy Wednesday, friends. I’m currently moving to a new apartment for the fourth year in a row–blegh! To keep the blog from being silent this week, I recruited some fantastic blog readers to share their own recipes with you. THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered to help out, and thank you to Katya for putting all of this together in ONE day. You rock! 

Hellooooo there Oatmeal lovers!

My name is Katya, and I am honoured to contribute to Lauren’s fabulous oatmeal recipe haven.

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Bit about me: I’m a recent high school grad from Canada that will “jump over the pond” so to speak, to go to university in London come the fall. Even though I’d love to study nutrition or if it were a course, veganism, I’m taking courses to attain a BA in international relations. A fun fact about me is that I lived in Iceland for 3 years, and I am fluent in Icelandic.

Now, you may have seen the combination of flavours in this oatmeal and thought “What the heck is she thinking?!?!” and I’m here to tell you that this recipe is one of those where you have to try it before you place judgment.

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We’ve all accustomed ourselves to certain weird/strange combinations, for instance: pickles and peanut butter, French fries dipped in chocolate milkshakes, pickle brine and vodka (yes it’s true— its called a ‘pickle-tini’)* and even the strangest I’ve heard: banana and mayonnaise in a sandwich. . . So, using these as proof of bizarre combinations working, I’d like to introduce you to a new combo: Banana and (Coconut) Bacon!

 *Lauren feels the need to interject here and say that pickle brine is better with WHISKEY. Do it right, people. Shot of whiskey + pickle juice chaser = pickleback, and it’s glorious.

It really shouldn’t work, as one is sweet—the other salty, however when both are mixed into wonderfully creamy oatmeal, they form a (excuse the cheesiness of this) melodic harmony of flavours.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for coconut bacon n’ banana oatmeal!

Katya B.

(Coconut) Bacon and Banana Oatmeal [Guest Post]

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: serves 1

Ingredients

    Ingredients for oatmeal:
  • ½ c. Rolled oats
  • 1 c. Almond milk (or an alternative non-dairy milk)
  • ½ a banana – slightly roasted for about 10 minutes at 350 F
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. coconut bacon recipe (see below)
  • Coconut Bacon:
  • 1 c. Unsweetened coconut flakes (ideally, or in my case—shredded coconut)
  • 1 tbsp. tamari/soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. pancake/maple syrup

Instructions

    Directions for making coconut bacon:
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, line a sheet pan with parchment
  2. Put coconut, tamari/soy sauce, liquid smoke and pancake syrup in a bowl, mix well until fully combined.
  3. Spread onto sheet pan, leave in the oven for 10-14 minutes, checking regularly for “doneness”
  4. Directions for oatmeal assembly
  5. Roast banana at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes in the oven.
  6. Put almond milk into a saucepan, when boiling, add oats and turn down the heat.
  7. Mash roasted banana and add to cooking oats. Add the salt, and 1 tbsp. coconut bacon.
  8. Mix well, and taste.
  9. Once oats have soaked up all of the milk, pour into a bowl, top with the remaining coconut bacon and enjoy!
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How to Make Oatmeal Anywhere [Guest Post]

This is a follow-up to Lauren’s previous travel guide, 10 Tips for Eating Oatmeal When Traveling. Wendy, a regular reader on the blog, has some more ideas to share. You truly can have oatmeal whenever, wherever! 

Hi fellow oatmeal lovers! I’m Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan, and I love to travel to new parts of the world I’ve never seen before. Contrary to what you might imagine, since I became vegan I’ve found that it’s generally quite easy to find healthy and tasty vegan food while travelling, even in countries where the traditional cuisine is not that vegan-friendly. Even so, I do like to be prepared to make a meal for myself here and there if I need to, and I’ve found that overnight oatmeal is the perfect meal to take on the road and can be made practically anywhere. Also, I just really love oats (don’t we all??), so I end up making this for breakfast most days, no matter where I’m travelling. It took a bit of experimentation to get it right, though; when I first tried overnight oats I didn’t really like them that much, at least not compared with stove-top. Through trial and error I finally got my overnight oats just about perfect, and I’d like share what I’ve learned with you so that all you oatmeal addicts can also have oats wherever you go.

First, let’s dispel a couple of myths about overnight oats.

Myth No. 1: Overnight oats must be soaked overnight.

That’s right. It turns out that “overnight oats” is a bit of a misnomer, because you don’t have to soak them overnight. You can, of course, but it’s not necessary. Three hours or so should be plenty for your oats to plump up.

Myth No. 2: Overnight oats must be soaked in a refrigerator.

While you might as well throw them in the minibar if your hotel room has one, you’re not going to get food poisoning and die if you don’t. They’ll be fine just hanging out on your bedside table, and in fact they’ll soak even more quickly at room temperature than if chilled. Note that I’m talking about vegan varieties of overnight oats here; I can’t say what might happen if you let cow’s milk sit out for too long.

OK, so this is looking promising so far as a portable, go-anywhere meal, since we don’t need a refrigerator or a cooking device of any kind. So what do we need? Basically, the necessary ingredients can be broken down into four general categories.

Ingredient No. 1: Oats!

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This one’s pretty obvious. When making overnight oatmeal, my personal preference is for rolled oats rather than steel-cut. They are also more widely available, so depending on where you’re travelling they may be your only option.

Ingredient No. 2: Liquid

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At home, I almost always make oats with soy milk, occasionally with coconut milk, but never with water. The idea of watery oats seemed really unappealing, but I knew that I would not always have access to plant-based milk when travelling. So what to do? The solution is powdered plant-based milk. Yep, it exists! While it’s often sold in health food stores, you can probably find soy and coconut varieties in an Asian market for much cheaper. I’ve even seen powdered coconut milk in the “ethnic food” section of my regular neighbourhood grocery store. But if you can’t get powdered milk, then, to borrow one of Lauren’s ideas, tea-steeped oats can also be really great, though I’d recommend a fruity tea or one with lots of spices. Fruit juice works too, though I try not to use it too often as it’s not a whole food. If none of those options are available to you, then yes, you can use just plain water, but in that case I highly recommend Ingredient No. 3 (if you’re using a liquid other than water, then this step is optional).

Ingredient No. 3: Flavour enhancer

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No, I’m not talking about MSG or any other weird chemical that doesn’t belong in your food. I just mean something with flavour that will permeate the whole bowl of oats. One great option is PB2, which, as a side note, is a vegan traveller’s best friend. Now don’t get me wrong; I love real, whole, full-fat peanut butter, and when I’m at home that’s what I eat. Years before the invention of PB2, I even lugged around a jar of peanut butter on a 25-day trek through the Himalayas in Nepal, and I didn’t regret it for a second. Peanut butter and crackers was what got me out of bed at the crack of dawn every morning on that trip (along with the dawn itself, which was pretty incredible). But there are times when you don’t want to carry half your weight in peanut butter, and now you don’t have to. PB2 weighs next to nothing, and it can stay in your backpack for months without going bad. What do you do when you ask for a vegan meal in a restaurant all you get is a plate of tasteless, boiled vegetables? Bust out your PB2, add a little extra water to turn it into a sauce, and BOOM! Those boring vegetables just became a tasty gado-gado. No matter what unappetizing dish might appear in front of you, odds are that PB2 will give it the extra zing it needs.

But anyway, back to oatmeal. Add a tablespoon or two of PB2 to your oats, and you’ll have yummy peanut buttery goodness in every bite. Another option is applesauce, which is often sold in handy individual packets that are just small enough to make it through airport security. And of course, you could always just mash up a piece of soft fruit yourself; bananas and kiwis work well for this.

Ingredient No. 4 Bulk

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When I first tried overnight oats, what put me off was that the portion looked so puny compared to a serving of stove-top oatmeal. This is understandable, since it’s generally recommended to use half the amount of liquid when soaking overnight as you would when cooking oats on the stove. Over time, though, I’ve discovered a couple of tricks that will allow you to add almost as much liquid as you would for stove-top, which really helps to bulk up your bowl of oats. The first trick is chia seeds. These little guys just love to soak up liquid and will expand to several times their original weight and size when immersed. It’s true that they’re more of a specialty product and thus might be hard to find when travelling, but this is one pantry staple that I’m happy to carry around with me. Since you’ll only be using a tablespoon or so at a time, they’ll last you a long while. And, unlike flax seeds, they don’t have to be ground up and therefore don’t go rancid easily. But if I haven’t sold you on chia seeds, you could try shredded coconut, or even coconut flour, for the same effect. Coconut in either of these forms will also soak up a lot of liquid.

And that’s it! You can now have a delicious, satisfying bowl of oats wherever you go in just a few easy steps. To see how this works in practice, let’s take Lauren’s recipe for Applesauce PB2 Overnight Oatmeal as an example. If you’re heading off on just a short trip, you can prepare your ingredients for each day’s oatmeal in advance.

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In this case, I mixed the oats, PB2, chia seeds and a pinch of salt in a plastic baggy. After that, all I had left to pack was the sachet of powdered soy milk and the applesauce. You could probably even mix the powdered soy straight in with the other dry ingredients if you wanted to. Throw them all together with some water and, voilá! You’ve got oatmeal!

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If you’re setting out on a longer trip, then obviously you’ll need to pick and choose which ingredients to bring with you. The great thing is, though, that oats are available just about everywhere, so you can replenish your stocks as you go. And, while you might not find all the other ingredients mentioned here, no matter where you are you should be able to find at least one from each category, which is all you need. And of course, in addition to the basics described here, you can add whatever local fresh fruit or other ingredients you come across.

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So, whether you’re lounging on a beach in Costa Rica, climbing a volcano in Indonesia, or even suffering through an 81-hour bus ride across West Africa (in which case, dear Lord, do I feel your pain), you can take comfort in the knowledge that a creamy bowl of oats is right at your fingertips.

Have you ever made your own oats while travelling? What’s the most exotic locale where you’ve fuelled up on a bowl of oatmeal? I’d love to hear about your own experiences in the comments section below! 


Bio photo

Wendy is a long-time traveller who loves to explore new places, languages and cultures. She shares her own travel stories along with tips for making vegan travel healthy, fun and easy at The Nomadic Vegan. You can also follower her on Facebook and Twitter.


Weekend Musings: How Oatmeal Taught Me How to Cook

Adulthood caught me unprepared. I was yet another Millennial whose kitchen skills revolved around nuking canned soup or boiling frozen ravioli. Like my peers, I moved out of my college dormroom and signed a lease on an apartment with nothing more than one cereal bowl and a mug. My new fridge contained nothing more than whole wheat bread and sliced deli turkey meat.

As if stocking my first kitchen weren’t daunting enough, I simultaneously developed an interest in the Food Revolution movement led by Jamie Oliver. This meant the simple, artificial, low-nutrient, chemical-ridden convenience foods I had been trained to prepare no longer aligned with my goals. I was committed to whole foods, even if I had no idea how to cook them.

I tackled breakfast first. Every morning of my sophomore year, I prepared flavored instant oatmeal in my dorm room microwave. I noticed how artificial these packets tasted, not to mention the hit they took on my checking account. The tiny portions left me hungry and the fake fruit flavors made my tongue feel cheated.

Warily, I tried my hand at homemade porridge. I chose simple ingredients to mix in, like applesauce or mashed banana. My recipes lacked creativity at the time, but I mastered the basics first—adding the right amount of cinnamon, simmering the oats for the perfect amount of time, topping the final product with toasted walnuts and raisins.

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Pictured above: early recipes, Dark Chocolate & Banana Oatmeal
and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

When you consume oatmeal every day for three years, picking up new cooking skills is inevitable. Slowly, my taste buds craved new flavors. I stewed an apple instead of just dicing it in. I acquired tastes for new spices like ginger and cardamom. I figured out which fruits complemented each other and which worked against them. I bought an apricot, rhubarb, and persimmon for the first time.

Coconut Persimmon Oatmeal (1)

Pictured above: Persimmon & Coconut Steel-Cut Oatmeal

When I reflect on my cooking skills today, I realize how many of those tricks came from making oatmeal every day. I can multitask successfully, babysitting a simmering pot of oats while whipping together a quick berry compote to go on top.

Cinnamon Zucchini Oatmeal with Cherry-Rhubarb Compote by The Oatmeal Artist

I can dice an apple into small pieces or segment an orange in less than a minute.

I can chiffonade fresh basil, quickly remove rosemary needles from the sprig, and finely chop fresh thyme.

Plum Pineapple Rosemary Breakfast Cobbler

I can make instant vegan buttermilk by curdling almond milk with apple cider vinegar.

I can combine textures, like creamy pureed mango with crunchy puffed wild rice.

I can caramelize a banana without butter or refined sugar, grill a peach until it has beautiful sear marks, roast an apricot until it bubbles and caramelizes, and puree a zucchini to make an egg replacer.

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The same can be said about my dinner preparation. I started simple: homemade marinara sauce, pancakes without a mix, pureed soups from fresh veggies. 

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Pictured above: simple soups I made during my senior year of college, often
prepared from farmers’ market produce!

After enduring many a bland pasta dish or undercooked potato, my meals became more adventurous. I rolled out my own linguini (I didn’t own a rolling pin, and my pasta was about half an inch thick, but it was still awesome). I mastered healthy, delicious sides, like oven-roasted sweet potato fries.

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I made pizza dough from scratch. I tried (meatless!) recipes that were completely different from anything I ate in my youth.

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Pictured above: the most incredible pizza I’ve ever had/made – Roasted Butternut
Squash & Kale Pizza by Bev Cooks
, prepared on homemade whole wheat crust

I grew my own herb garden on my balcony, allowing me to “kick up” my recipes and develop an understanding of the earth and its possibilities. I had fresh chive for potatoes, basil for homemade pesto or marinara, and mint for (ahem) mojitos. Also important. ^_^ 

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With three years of oatmeal prep and five years of cooking under my belt, I can now assemble fresh and flavorful meals (often without a recipe) in half an hour or less. They include a variety of textures and flavors, and they’re enhanced with toppings like fresh herbs or homemade pico de gallo or sliced green onion.

P.S. Did you know my guacamole and pico are world-famous? Well, that’s what my roommate thinks anyway.

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Five years later, I still credit my passion for cooking to my hero, Jamie Oliver. I would not be where I am today without his short series on ABC, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, or his helpful website, books, and FR community. The fact that he is now participating in Meatless Mondays and posting vegan recipes is the cherry on top of my diary-free sundae.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.33.24 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.34.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.35.25 AMDon’t get me wrong; I have a long way to go. I still under-bake my potatoes. I still can’t make my falafel crispy. Sometimes, my oatcakes are still too runny and flat. I cannot–CANNOT–cook rice to save my life (just ask my boyfriend :( ).

However, if I love every second spent in the kitchen and enjoy 95% of the meals I make, I’d say that’s a success. I wish everyone could have that same experience. My only advice: practice, practice, practice!


Lemon Blueberry Oatcakes

First, thanks to everyone for your outpouring of support on Monday’s post. I decided back in November (three months into the school year) that it would be my last year teaching, and let me tell you, those next seven months were the longest of my life. That last day of school made me cry the happiest of tears.

So…pancakes, anyone?

Lemon Blueberry Oatcakes

These were super….but I’ve decided that I simply don’t like pancakes that much. :P Even the healthier oatmeal version gives me a bit of a stomach ache and just doesn’t soothe my soul the way a bowl of stovetop oats do. I may still post an oatcake recipe every now and then, but probably like once a year. haha.
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Snickerdoodle Cookie Baked Oatmeal

Today marks my first official day of summer vacation unemployment. It’s true: I’m no longer teaching. If you’ve been following my blog closely for more than six months, you probably don’t need an explanation. You only have to browse a few posts from the past year to infer why I’m leaving the classroom.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Baked Oatmeal #vegan #oatmealartist

I’d love to say I’m full-time blogging now, but that is not (and probably never will be) the case. Boo. I have my sights set on something else, but I’ll wait until that (maybe) pans out before I discuss it on here. In the meantime, hooray for mental health! Continue reading


Chocolate Chili Cherry Oatmeal

As a herbivore, I have to be selective about my chocolate obsession. Luckily, I have a strong preference for dark chocolate (my motto is “higher than 70% or GTFO”), and many brands of dark chocolate are accidentally vegan. For example, Lindt’s dark chocolate (75% and higher) are all dairy-free.

Chocolate Chili Cherry Oatmeal

However, if you want a different variety, such as one with almonds or espresso beans, you’re often out of luck. That’s why I love the Chocolove brand. In addition to their sustainability and social responsibility efforts, they offer several unique dark chocolate varieties that are completely dairy-free!

My favorite of these is–you guessed it–Chilies & Cherries & Dark Chocolate bar. Obviously this bar uses dried cherries, but since it’s prime cherry season, I used the real deal for this oatmeal. Continue reading


Triple Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

“Lauren!” you might have gasped. “Triple chocolate? For breakfast? What happened to your nutrition concerns?”

No fear. It sounds much unhealthier than it actually is. In fact, I was so curious, that I entered the ingredients list into a nutritional calculator to see how this stacked up. Considering how I rarely do this, I was stunned at how great the results were. Despite all the chocolate, it gives you nearly 30 grams of fiber (what?!), 18 grams of protein, and a laundry list of vitamins and minerals, all for under 500 calories. Unbelievable.

Of course, the one hit you will take is in the sugar department, but I think that’s the choice you make when you decide to put chocolate chips in your oatmeal. :)

Triple Chocolate Baked Oatmeal by the Oatmeal Artist

Of course, it does contain chocolate chips, so it is a bit indulgent for breakfast, but that’s all relative, right?

If you make this with a banana like I did, this baked oatmeal is naturally sweetened, packed with nutrients, and filling. If you’re not a fan of banana-flavored chocolate, you could sub hearty sweet potatoes, rich avocado, or neutral-flavored zucchini. Continue reading


Recipes for Zucchini Lovers!

Zucchini! Zucchini everywhere!

I love zucchini (and yellow squash) because it’s so gosh darn cheap. Spring and summer markets boast oodles of fresh berries and gorgeous green vegetables, but some of them can be so pricey. Not summer squash!

I love to cook with them (I’m a big fan of zoodles!), but I have also fallen in love with putting them in my oatmeal. I find grating anything to be a massive pain, but once I discovered pureed squash, it changed everything.

Want to take advantage of the cheap squash bounty? Try these recipes!

Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal

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Let’s start with a classic, eh? Back in my last creative days, I could only imagine using zucchini for obvious purposes, like the beloved zucchini bread. I loved it from the very beginning, but it would be over two years before I recognized zucchini for its true potential!
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Faux-reo Cookie PB2

Perhaps you’ve seen the cookies ‘n’ creme cookie butter at Trader Joe’s. Or the many recipes around the interwebz for a similar product. Or maybe you just eat an entire package of Oreos at once like Oreos.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize none of these options are particularly healthy. Luckily, I have a much healthier alternative for you. I didn’t set out to make it, but I accidentally “discovered” it one morning as I prepared my daily PB2.

Faux-reo Cookie Butter by The Oatmeal Artist #PB2 #vegan

You see, in my pre-vegan days, I made homemade Oreos…not once, but twice. That’s the kind of person I am. (They do have vegan recipes out there, but I used this one because Smitten Kitchen is a queen.) Continue reading