Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm hosting a giveaway!

Exciting announcement!!

My friends over at Country Choice Organic have developed and released a handful of new products. I had the honor of trying them out for you. ;)

I'm particularly excited about their gluten-free oats. Here's what Country Choice has to say about their two new gluten-free options:
Though oats don’t contain gluten, they are traditionally grown and processed in close proximity to wheat and other gluten containing grains. Producing GF oats takes extra care to ensure no cross contact with gluten containing grains. To answer consumer demand for gluten-free oats, Country Choice Organic is packing gluten free organic oats in traditional resealable canisters and pricing them to sell at a similar price as conventionally grown gluten free oats. With Country Choice Organic, consumers who prefer organic products, but need to avoid gluten, no longer need to be concerned about cross contact and the price will not be a barrier to consumption.  [TOA: Emphasis added by me.]
In other words, you can have gluten-free AND organic oats without shelling out more money. These canisters are available in old-fashioned (aka "rolled") and steel cut varieties. Although I do not have a gluten intolerance and cannot comment on that aspect of it, I can confirm that these oats act identical to their regular  (non-gluten-free) counterparts. I tested it out in the (upcoming) recipe pictured below!


The other new addition to the CCO line is flavored, single-serve packets of steel cut oats! Technically speaking, these are their quick-cook steel cut oats (my favorite!!), but in pouch form. They already came in a plain variety, but now they've added two flavors: Maple & Brown Sugar, and Apple Spice.


The pouches contain directions for how to prepare them in the microwave in five minutes...which was pretty darn helpful for me because I never really could figure that out. I can't tell you how many times I have had to clean out a messy microwave from cooking oatmeal that bubbled over! However, you can also prepare them in the traditional format on the stove.

Here's what CCO has to say about them:
Country Choice Organic Single Serve Steel Cut Oats contain only organic, whole grain steel cut oats, a powerful source of fiber and protein. Every box includes eight single serve packets, each with 150 calories, four grams of protein and three grams of fiber. Apple Spice and Maple & Brown Sugar join Original flavor, creating a flavorful variety of oatmeal that can be cooked-up in just five minutes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between.
As you know, I am all about plain oats and making my own "flavor," but I will admit that I was impressed by the ingredients list on these puppies. I can pronounce and identify all of these ingredients! If you know anyone who is devoted to pre-flavored pouches of oats (*cough*MYMOTHER*cough*) that resembles more of a science project than actual food, maybe you could persuade them to make the switch to one of these!


Now for the announcement: to celebrate these new products, Country Choice Organic and I would love to give away one of each to YOU! This means there will be four "winners:" one will win a canister of gluten-free steel cut oats, another will win a canister of gluten-free old-fashioned oats, another will win a box of Maple & Brown Sugar steel cut oat pouches, etc.

To be sensitive toward those of you with a gluten intolerance/allergy, we are providing two separate "registries." One is for the gluten-free canisters, and the other is for the boxes of single-serve steel cut pouches (which are not certified gluten-free). You may register for both if you want. Each "task" that you complete (such as liking Country Choice Organic on Facebook) will increase your chances of being randomly selected.

Enter the Gluten-Free Giveaway Here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Enter the Single-Serve Steel Cut Pouches Giveaway Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**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!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Breakfast Cobbler

FINALLY I got my hands on some rhubarb. I thought the entire summer was going to slip away without me finding some. Would you believe my sister had some the entire time?


Considering how much I enjoyed my Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler, I decided to try something similar with my rhubarb. As you can see, the result was gorgeous.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Elvis Oatmeal Smoothie + Getting Fit #8

Yesterday on Facebook, I shared the post for Peach Pie Oatmeal Smoothie. As of today, that recipe is exactly one year old. I have not posted a single oatmeal smoothie recipe since! I'm not a huge smoothie person--although I'm not sure why. I've just never been one to crave a smoothie.

However, someone commented on the Peach Pie recipe, "Ever thought of coming up with more oatmeal smoothie recipes? This one was delicious :)"

Reading that comment gave me the motivation to finally make this recipe!


This is the eighth 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! I hope you are fine and dandy and your training for the collegiate championships is going well!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lava Baked Oatmeal [Guest Post]

Hi guys it's me, @laura__kiss, again  :) You may remember me as I was the Oatmeal Enthusiast in March.

I was so happy and excited that so many people liked my guest post!

And I think Lauren liked it to ;) She asked me to send her and all her readers the recipe for the lava baked oatmeal, so here you go :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cherry Almond Fudge Oatmeal

Since going to my parents' house a little over a week ago, I've been hooked on my Fudgy Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal. Every time that I've had to photograph a new recipe--like this one--I basically had to force myself to say "no" to my beloved favorite. This recipe was a little easier to swallow since it's still "fudgy," but...no peanut butter?! The horror!


Luckily, I am satisfied with my decision as soon as I take the first bite!

I love cherry season. I think frozen cherries lack flavor, and dried cherries are tough and too chewy. Whenever I have fresh cherries to work with, I am a happy lady.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Elephant in the Room (My Blog + Its Role with ED)

After (finally) purchasing an iPhone and joining the Instagram community, I watched my follower count grow quickly. This should have been exciting for me, but instead I began to worry. I noticed a pattern immediately. At least half of my new followers used similar handles: most of them made references to "ana" (short for anorexia) or "recovery" (as in, recovering from an eating disorder). Similarly, when I searched the #oatmealartist hash tag, they were accompanied by ED-related handles and hash tags. Here is a glimpse of some of the pictures I frequently see:




Why did this worry me?

As someone who is awkwardly tall and thin, I have received my fair share of condescending weight comments and have always been self-conscious about it. Thus, when I started seeing all these Instagram followers, I freaked out. My thought process was as follows: Is my blog the new hangout for teenage girls with eating disorders? What does that say about my blog? About me? Do they think my blog is diet food? Do my friends and family think that my blog is diet food? Do my friends and family think I am eating oatmeal to diet?! Do my friends and family think *I* have an eating disorder!?

I suffered silently with these thoughts for months until I collaborated with Charlotte, May's Oatmeal Enthusiast. She wrote:
I have struggled with an eating disorder for 8 long years, but it got very bad in 2011. My anorexia took over my life, and I was no longer able to enjoy food. I found Lauren’s blog in 2012, and even though I was still very much in denial and did not want to get better at all, there was something about those delicious looking oatmeal recipes that caught my attention! I suddenly had an interest in food again, which was both scary and exciting. I started experimenting with my breakfasts, and although I was too afraid to follow the actual recipes, it was still a step in the right direction. 

I went inpatient for 4 months in the summer of 2012, and as I was getting better all I could think about was going home and finally be able to try all of the recipes on The Oatmeal Artist’s blog. Unfortunately I had a very bad relapse, but even through that relapse I continued to eat oatmeal almost every single morning, and that was without a doubt one of the reasons I made it through. Today I consider myself recovered, and Lauren’s blog has definitely helped me get to where I am now.
 I heard similar narratives from many other young ladies, all with the same point: my blog helped them recover, not fuel the disorder. I then recognized that the Instagram handles I was seeing all discussed recovery; these were victims of EDs who were using online communities to overcome their tough relationships with food.

I recently read this article on Buzzfeed called "Teenage Girls are Using Instagram to Fix their Relationships with Food." By the title alone, this article struck a chord with me. Considering that the majority of the pictures tagged #oatmealartist on Instagram also contain hashtags like #EDrecovery, I have personally witnessed this trend. The article states:
“I think sometimes that people (me included) get so caught up on having what some might regard as the perfect and healthy diet, that they forget that it is also very important to have a healthy mentality towards food and not be obsessive,” wrote 15-year-old Tina, who recently shared a bowl of oatmeal cooked with artfully displayed raspberries, banana, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, medjool dates, and homemade chocolate almond butter to her 45,000 followers.
[...] Aside from purported health benefits — less bloating, more energy, clearer skin, etc. — popular users said the practice was therapeutic, not just because it helped suppress the urge to diet but because it made eating fun instead of traumatic.

Several months ago, somebody left a comment on one of my posts stating that they used my recipes during the peak of their eating disorder, and was wondering what my role was in fueling eating disorders. My initial reaction was horror, and then anger. To suggest that my recipes caused her eating disorder was infuriating to me. The comment bummed me out for days, until I responded with some almost-cordial-but-mostly-snippy comment about how my blog does not need to play any role at all.

Any health-focused blog could obviously become a haven for someone looking to restrict calories, but that’s not what my blog is about. Never does my blog discuss limiting calories, trying to lose weight, or dieting. That has never been my focus. I create recipes that I believe are nutritious, filling, and delicious; what someone chooses to do with those recipes is out of my control. Am I to blame if someone cooks their oatmeal in water instead of almond milk and omits the peanut butter?

Furthermore, you will not find calorie counts on my blog. This was a choice I made from the beginning. I believe focusing on calories creates feelings of guilt or stress that should never be associated with food. Food is fuel! This is the vibe I try to create on my blog, to empower us to make healthy choices not as a “diet,” but as a way to nourish us physically, mentally, and spiritually in a world where we are constantly bombarded with options that are making us sick.


Anyway, I've been avoiding the “ED recovery” community because I did not want my blog associated with eating disorders in any way, mostly stemming from my own self-consciousness. However, after seeing the role my blog has played in so many girls’ recoveries, I have realized I should no longer ignore this community out of fear of what others would say. If my goal as a blogger is to alter people’s perceptions of food, then my vision aligns with theirs. May my oatmeal bring them nourishment and recovery.

Instead of posting a recipe today, I would like to share with you four Instagram users whom I personally follow, who are winning  (or have won) the fight against an ED, and who post gorgeous food pictures almost daily. Most of them are vegan because vegans are the best. ;)

Please check out these ladies, and feel free to share your story below in the comments!

**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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler

This. This recipe is summer vacation to me.

Not summer, but summer vacation. As in, "I'm not working 80 hours a week, so I can experiment with recipes that I imagined a year ago but never had the energy to actually create."


This is actually just a super simple baked oatmeal atop a sea of blueberries. Don't be freaked out by the cast iron skillet; you could make this in any ramekin.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Apple Baked Oatmeal with Espresso Almond Butter Frosting

Remember how I bought almond butter and managed to not demolish it within seconds? Here is another recipe I created with it. Seriously, what could be better than a robe of almond butter smothering a baked oatmeal cake? Nothing, that’s what.


To see how I made it, scroll to the bottom. I’m about to do some sappy reflecting.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Isaiah!

Happy July, oatmeal lovers! When I found Isaiah on Instagram, I was delighted: a male reader! Hizzah! Considering I find most of my Enthusiasts on Instagram using the #oatmealartist hash tag, and we ladies are the ones who are most likely to post pictures of our breakfasts (haha), it's hard for me to find a diverse population. As soon as I knew Isaiah was a fan, I invited him to be July's Oatmeal Enthusiast. Yay! Read about him below, and don't forget to wish him a happy birthday!

Hello fellow oatmeal fans. I have to say it’s my great pleasure to be a part of the Oatmeal Artist blog this month. In fact it's particularly special to be the Oatmeal Enthusiast this month because it's my birthday month. I am a licensed social worker, therapist, and health coach. I am equally passionate about working out as I am with the food I consume.

On my journey to live a healthy lifestyle, I really got into the science of food and nutrition. As you may already know, oatmeal is one of the healthiest items you can consume for breakfast, packed with whole grains and even some protein. If you add some healthy fats and a little fruit you have a complete meal. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast for years. My favorite way to make it is with (almond) milk, bananas, peanut butter, cinnamon and honey or golden raisins (later discovered through the blog that was Elvis’s Oatmeal recipe; who knew we shared this in common?) After sticking to this recipe for who knows how long, I decided it was time for some variety.

One short internet search later I stumbled upon the Oatmeal Artist. Wow, all of these incredible recipes now before my very eyes. I literally jumped out of bed early and made different recipes every morning. I stuck with the stovetop recipes at first because I didn't own a mason jar and what exactly is a ramekin anyway? Of course now I have both. I was stuck on the baked recipes for a while and when I woke up too hungry I went straight for the stovetop to break-the-fast. Eventually I started to dabble in the overnight recipes as well. Being the adventurous person that I am I found myself turning stove top recipes into overnight recipes and overnight recipes to baked recipes; eventually it was "Oatmeal Gone Wild."

As of late I have been turning recipes from all three versions into oatcakes, and I am totally hooked! Topped with fruit, greek yogurt icing and or peanut butter mousse; like Lauren I use a lot of Peanut Butter & Co. varieties because they are truly awesome (and I make sure I visit their shops whenever I travel to NY.) I also discovered an up-and-coming brand Wild Squirrel; they have some really great flavors that are all natural and Non GMO certified.

Without further ado, the oatmeal recipes of the week:

Day 1:

Sunday had to be a little special, so I really went the extra mile for this one. Here we have oatmeal whole wheat waffle topped w/ maple pb, spiced apples, and of course bananas. This was quite delicious and a wonderful way to start the week.

Day 2:


Monday I was still feeling the theme from Sunday so I went with waffles again. Just to add a little twist I combined the gingerbread oatmeal recipe with the caramelized bananas recipe. I don’t have to tell you how incredible this was.

Day 3:


Tuesday I changed the whole format and cooked my oats right on the stove. I usually have carrots to snack on and carrot cake is easily one of my favorite desserts, so it wouldn't be long before I made the carrot cake oatmeal happen. I recall Lauren writing the ambitious version had greek yogurt frosting so mine had to have that as well.

Day 4:


Wednesday I guess I will still craving beta carotene, but had some leftover sweet potatoes from dinner and still plenty of shredded coconut from my last Co-op visit. When I looked down the recipe list, coconut sweet potato oatmeal seemed just right.

Day 5:


Thursday I wanted to try this recipe for awhile but never seemed to have all the ingredients on deck at the same time. Once I finally did I knew this would easily be one of the best. Berry and cream cheese baked oatmeal recipe is highly recommended if you haven't tried this one as of yet!

Day 6:


Friday...still thinking about the berry and cream cheese baked oatmeal. Recreated into oatcakes. Basic recipe for oatcakes added half a scoop of vanilla whey protein and some strawberries to the batter. For greek yogurt icing used another ½ scoop of whey, 1oz of low fat cream cheese, 2 oz greek yogurt and 1 tbls of almond milk.

Day 7:


If you're lucky on Saturday, things slow down a little but and you have a little extra time and desire to make something really awesome for breakfast. I used Lauren’s recipe for german chocolate baked oatmeal added a ½ tsp (rounded) of baking powder and voila german chocolate oatcakes w/ coconut pecan butter.

So there you have it my oatmeal recipes for the week. I strive for the trifecta of healthy, filling and nutrition in all meals I prepare. Lauren has definitely aided me in this mission; thanks again for having me.

Isaiah

[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, July 5, 2014

Getting Fit #7: Alternative Workouts

This is the seventh 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: Happy Saturday, everyone! I have spent all week moving into my beauuuutiful new apartment that I love so much. Considering all the hauling, pushing, pulling, packing, unpacking, and building IKEA furniture (ugh) I've been doing, I took a pass on running this week. I was sweating enough as it was!

I always enjoy when I accumulate exercise without having to "exercise." I think that's how it should be: our lives should be so naturally active that we don't have to do absurd things like run in place on a treadmill.

This week, I asked Crystal to share with us her favorite ways to stay fit without having to run or lift weights!

Crystal: I honestly hate running. I like what it does for my body and I like how I feel afterwards, but the actual act of running is so monotonous. Most of the time, I actually like going to the gym, but this too can get repetitive. Being an active, physically fit person doesn’t mean monotony! There are plenty of ways to work out without actually going to the gym to “work out” or run.
Top Ten Favorite Alternative Workouts
10) Zumba Anytime I’m feeling bored with my interval sprints, I change it up by taking a Zumba class. Dancing to Latin and salsa music reminds me of my trips to Spain, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. The class always goes by quickly and is so much fun that I forget it’s a workout!
9) Jumping on the Trampoline When my sister and I were little, we saved up our money to purchase a trampoline. I have fond childhood memories of jumping on the trampoline for entire afternoons. In Colorado Springs, there a place called Trampoline World where they offer open gyms to use the trampoline. It’s definitely a fun way to release my inner child while working out!
8) Horseback riding My sister is a competitive equestrian and has five horses. While riding is a strengthening workout in itself, when you add in hauling water and feed to the barn and mucking out stalls, horses create quite a work out!
7) Swimming When I go swimming, I usually just stand or bob about in the water. But if I’m in the mood for an actual workout, swimming provides great resistance-free cardio. It works every muscle group!
6) Biking I was very impressed when I visited Boulder and Fort Collins because everyone biked everywhere! Seriously, there were more bike stands than parking places! Someday I hope to live in a city like that where I can incorporate exercise into my daily commutes.

5) Hiking I am lucky to live in Colorado, where there is no shortage of hiking trails. Hiking requires less effort at once and is a more stable pace, so it is easy to relax and enjoy the hike and not actually feel like I’m working out.
4) Rock climbing I don’t have much upper body strength, so my arms are always shaking after just two trips up a rock wall! It doesn’t matter, I still love the challenge!
3) Yoga There are so many different forms of yoga, I really think there is one for everyone. If I feel like doing a really hard work out, I do hot power fusion or hot yoga. I think that is more of a work out than even running. Sometimes 108 degree heat is too much, so I opt for a slow flow yoga class, which is relaxing and helps stretch my body.
2) Skiing I absolutely love skiing, especially in Colorado! Vail, Breckenridge, and Keystone are among my favorite places to ski in the state. The views of the mountains are unrivaled and skiing down from 12,000 feet is exhilarating. I already miss skiing! Plus, carrying my poles and skis whilst wearing ski boots proves to be another added work out!

1) Figure Skating I bet everyone saw this one coming, but figure skating really is an all-body work out! It takes a lot of strength to launch myself into the air, rotate, and land on a quarter inch of steel! Plus, getting through a four minute program is no easy feat! I train at 6,000 feet above sea level, which makes it even harder. Next week, I’m competing at over 8,000 feet, which is slightly terrifying!

TOA: Comment below--what are your favorite ways to stay active?
**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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