Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Rochelle!

Every month as I select the Oatmeal Enthusiast, I try to find variety. However, after searching on Instagram for the last year, I was only finding the ladies in their teens and 20s! (Thanks for using the hashtag, ladies! ^_^ ) I knew that wasn’t an accurate representation of my blog. I realized that if I wanted to find some diversity in my Enthusiasts, I was going to have to look at my other platforms–not just Instagram. That’s how I found Rochelle. She is a frequent poster on Facebook and a commenter on my blog posts. Hooray for change!

Hi! I’m Rochelle! I have two wonderful children, I work two jobs, I’m in school to get a degree in the medical field, and I dedicate any extra time to exercising and eating healthy. I love reading and learning new things. (Who takes an American Politics class for fun?! I DO!) I enjoy doing anything outside: swimming, basketball, biking, rollerblading, running, snowboarding, or sledding. I will be building some snowmen this weekend. (I’m from Chicago and we just got another 3 inches.) I might be brave and take on the Polar Plunge at Lake Michigan too! The family and I try to take advantage of the wonderful city we live in by heading to the Brookfield Zoo, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and of course, the beach in the summer!

I didn’t always enjoy oatmeal as much as I do now. When I was younger I was told I had to eat breakfast and it mostly consisted of high sugar cereals. When my mother passed away 2 years ago, I was a heavy drinker and smoker. My dinner consisted of ramen noodles (yuck!) at 10 o’clock at night and some days I would only eat one meal a day. (I want to clarify that I did not smoke in my house or in my car and what I ate for dinner, didn’t mean my children ate that.) My kids knew I smoked and my son had been asking me for months to quit, but at that time in my life, my bad habits spiraled out of control.

Four months after my mother passed away, right after my 28th birthday, and a thousand nags from my son to quit smoking, I did. At the same time, I quit drinking. (I figured if I was going to do it, go big) I realized I had 2 amazing children that needed me… alive. I knew I had to change my lifestyle because I had heard so many times that people that quit smoking gain weight. This is when I decided to try yoga to help me relax and gain control of myself in times that I would get upset or stressed and usually had a cigarette. I fell in love with it. Then I started running and I could tell such a huge difference in my breathing.
People started noticing a change in my weight and this inspired me to change the way I ate. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and kind of a crappy one at that. There are so many options out there for protein and I shoveled pasta, breads, and cheeses into my mouth. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. (I hear my mother telling me every morning.) So I wanted to start with changing the first meal of the day.

When I discovered Pinterest from a friend, I couldn’t believe all of the recipes there were. I knew oatmeal was good for you, but I didn’t want the instant packets or plain boring oatmeal. I was searching for something exciting. This is when I stumbled across Lauren’s Oatmeal Artist page and I was in oatmeal heaven!! I couldn’t believe there were so many possibilities for oatmeal! My breakfast didn’t have to be boring, but adventurous and filling at the same time. Who knew zucchini would taste so good in oatmeal?!

There are times I have oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In place of ramen, I make oatmeal with paprika, garlic and onion powder, topped with shredded cheese and sliced scallions. For dinner, sometimes I make a vegetarian meatloaf with oatmeal or have an oatmeal burrito for lunch. I love how versatile oatmeal can be. There’s savory or sweet, old-fashion or steel cut, baked, overnight, and stove top.

I feel so much healthier now that I have changed my lifestyle and eating habits. I have yet to get my kids to eat oatmeal, but I won’t stop trying! I love when I eat oatmeal in the morning, I’m not hungry for hours later. If I eat something else, I’m hungry in less than an hour. I have lost 37 pounds since I started my journey and I couldn’t be happier. A huge thanks to Lauren for her oatmeal page that I turn to religiously every day. Thank you for letting me be a part of your blog and sharing my story.

Day 1

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This is Lauren’s Berry Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal. I used a mix of frozen cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. I did use a whipped cream cheese instead of a regular kind. This was my first time making this oatmeal and I’ve made it 2 more times since. The cream cheese and berries are perfect together. I like how baked oatmeal turns out, but the downfall is how time consuming it is.

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Matcha Oatmeal

This may not be the best way to open this post, but I’m not completely “won over” by matcha. I’m not even exactly sure what it is. ^_^ It’s a green tea powder with a very unique taste. You can find it in lattes (green tea latte), in candy, and in ice cream. My favorite is the last one.

Matcha Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist

I decided to buy some to try for my oatmeal. As I did my research, I learned that quality matters. Matcha powder can be pretty pricey, but don’t settle for a cheap one. Read the reviews before you buy; some can have an off-putting flavor.

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Snickers Oatmeal

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

After a week vacation (hooray for mid-winter break!), it’s a little painful to head back to work on my birthday, but at least it means I have plenty of people to celebrate the day with.

Snickers Oatmeal

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10 Recipes that are Practically Begging for Almond Butter

I am all about PB2 lately, but I’ll admit that almond butter is unbeatable. I haven’t had it in months, but I still remember its glorious taste…

I tend to not use it much in my recipes because…well…every time I buy a jar, it’s gone a few days later, so it doesn’t make it into many recipes. :P

So for those of you who DO love using almond butter…here are ten recipes that want dat almond butter!!!

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Imagine finding swirls of almond butter throughout Mocha Almond Fudge Overnight Oatmeal

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Blood Orange & Toasted Coconut Oatmeal

If you cannot tell from my intermittent posting this month, my hours have been pretty tied up lately. I began my grad school classes two weeks ago, and the workload that accompanied them has stolen all my free time. Although the classes themselves recharge me during the week, the readings and assignments just burn me out anymore.

I’m like black toast. Charred broccoli. The crusty black layer of oatmeal that sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Blood Orange and Toasted Coconut Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist

The easiest thing to give up would by my blog, considering it’s the one with the lowest stakes. I’m not paying thousands of dollars for it (unlike my grad school classes), and no children are relying on it for the quality of their future (unlike teaching). However, I refuse to do that because it also happens to be the thing that brings me the most joy.

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Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Oatmeal

It should be no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that peanut butter cookies speak to my soul. Chocolate chip cookies are great, and snickerdoodles are another great choice, but I just can’t pass up a peanut butter cookie!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Oatmeal - The Oatmeal Artist

This is similar to my Peanut Butter Cookie Baked Oatmeal. I think the baked version tastes more like the actual cookie, but this recipe is lovely when you don’t feel like waiting 20 minutes for oatmeal to bake (which is how I feel 80% of the time).

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PB&J Oatmeal Parfait

As you saw last week, Claudia (aka the Breakfast Drama Queen) and I are doing a little experiment. She agreed to take one of my oatmeal recipes to inspire a non-oatmeal recipe, and I would take one of her non-oatmeal recipes to inspire an oatmeal recipe.

PB&J Oatmeal Parfait - Oatmeal Artist

Here is my creation! It was inspired by Claudia’s PB&J smoothies, which does not actually contain jelly, but instead, has raspberries in the “jelly” layer. Claudia often creates multiple flavors for her smoothies and layers them together, so in honor of her, I did the same with my oatmeal.

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Chocolate Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter [Guest Post]

Hello, oatmeal devotees! I’m Claudia from The Breakfast Drama Queen and I’m delighted to share a recipe with you. No, it’s not oatmeal – bear with me here, people – but it does contain oats. And peanut butter!

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So, why am I here? Well, imagine this: The Oatmeal Artist contacts you with an exciting idea. She’ll take one of your recipes and turn it into oatmeal. Then you’ll take one her oatmeal recipes, and turn it into a different breakfast food. Was I about to say no to that?

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Oatmeal Enthusiasts: Meet Queena!

It’s my birthday month, everyone!! Hooray for February. Recently I was browsing #oatmealartist photos on Instagram, and I came across some bright, lovely aerial shots from a user that I had not seen before. I was instantly in love with her shots and couldn’t wait to ask her if she’d be February’s Enthusiast!

Hello, everyone—from oatmeal lovers to those who have yet to see the light!

I’m Queena, hailing all the way from the Philippines, who is in love with music, art (I wouldn’t call myself artistic though—I’m more of a viewer) and literature. With just one semester left, I’m about to graduate with a degree in secondary education, majoring in special education. After a year of work experience, I’ll be entering law school. I know my bachelor’s degree doesn’t really match with being a lawyer, but to be one has always been a dream, yet I wanted to spend college dealing with kids and people in general, to do something that would help me get out of my shell before I bury myself in thick, massive books on constitution. Basically, I just wanted to make the most out of everything. And I guess that’s already a sneak peek into the kind of person I am.

I have to admit, I wasn’t very athletic in the past. I didn’t care about physical activity except for the good ol’ games Filipino children typically played on the streets. Later on, in high school, I stopped playing with neighbors; I focused on academics and reading for pleasure. It was also during this time that I discovered all sorts of stereotypes through the Internet, and from this, I learned that I was, for all a label’s worth, an introvert. I lived up to that since I enjoyed the quiet and being on my own anyway, but I still belonged in a circle of friends, except that when I got in university, it was literally a whole new world. I saw all kinds of people there, and that was when I became too self-conscious, constantly thinking that I’ll never be as attractive as that girl across the cafeteria, and wondering when I, too, will have someone walk me to class and make after-school plans with me. Along with the heavy academic load came the realization of all my flaws, particularly how I have always been a chubby girl. I then remembered all the times I was teased about my baby fats and my round cheeks—I guess I just didn’t care at the time—and without even any preparation or notice, I started to go on a diet. What type, you ask? Starvation diet.

To read more about Queena’s struggle with an ED, click here (TRIGGER WARNING).

Then leading to the last quarter of 2014, through Pinterest, I was introduced to Lauren’s blog. I was amazed. I didn’t know that you could do all this stuff to the oats I only used to drench in water! At first, I kept it to myself, without taking it to Instagram (@queenamarticio), even though I ate a different, beautiful bowl every single morning (and sometimes even for dinner!). I think it was because I did not want to tamper my identity as a foodie, deceived by the thought that being one meant trying out every restaurant in the city. But then, December came and so did the the traditional Misa de Gallo that transpired on the nine days before Christmas, and I “monitored” my attendance by posting a photo of a different oatmeal recipe everyday. To my surprise, friends whom I feared would criticize me for being obsessed with healthy eating actually said that they would love to have breakfast with me! (My niece once slept over just so I could make oatcakes for her.) I also recently became fond of yoga, and it was beautiful. I learned to listen to my body, and I got back to healthy eating. On the 23rd of December, I took it up a notch by going vegetarian (lacto – ovo), inspired, of course, by the likes of Lauren and other people over the Internet as well as a couple of people I recently made friends with, which made me believe it was possible in a country like ours. What I like about it, as opposed to all the other restrictive diets I tried (i.e., 3-day military diet, 7-day fruit, veggie, chicken and turkey diet, juicing, etc.) was that I could still eat food I liked such as pasta and fancy desserts sans the carb coma and sugar rush.

On the first day of the new year, seriously, I woke up feeling good in my own skin, which I haven’t done in a long time, and I attribute it to the lifestyle I have chosen, among others. So far, so good. Although my family is not 100% okay with vegetarianism because aside from the fact that the Philippines is not exactly a haven for people like me (excluding a few select specialty places that I love, which include vegetarian / vegan restaurants and a really accessible grocery), they think it’s my way of going back to my underweight self. Also, I read an article on the science of simplicity, explaining why successful people such as Steve Jobs didn’t spend that much time with supposedly simple decisions like what to wear and eat. But I am glad about my choices, and honestly, I have learned in this crazy and long process of finding myself that it doesn’t matter what other people say about you, as long as you’re happy. Good thing my mom and my grandmother would choose that over my self-starvation in the past, so yes, I cling to them for support. With that, here’s my week of oats for you! Everything’s from Lauren’s blog since I intend to try everything I can from there before I start experimenting on my own. It’s a long way to go, what with her gazillion ideas, but so what? Each and every bowl is always wonderfully delicious.

Day 1: Tropical Oatmeal

Day 1

Living in a tropical country has its perks—we are famous for our sweet mangoes! I used to prefer Lauren’s dessert-like oatmeals, but now they’re in a tie with all the others just like this refreshing bowl! Every time it says coconut milk in the recipe, I use coconut water. I’ll probably get my hands on coconut flakes right after I finish this pack of desiccated coconut.

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Fudgy Banana Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Peanut Butter

So you love my Fudgy Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal, eh?

Well, what if you want to make a steel-cut version?

…Or what if you want to feed a friend (or a “friend” ;) ). Or maybe a whole crowd. Or yourself…for a week!

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Here you go. The ingredients are shown for two servings, but it will work perfectly to double everything for four servings. Yay!

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