Most of my Enthusiasts are found through the #oatmealartist tag on Instagram or the Oatmeal Artist Facebook page. However, Charlotte was a friend of mine before TOA. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, she even helped me name it! After posting several oatmeal recipes on my first blog, I told her that I thought I had “found my calling.” She agreed. I then threw out a million possibilities for new blog names, and she helped me narrow them down. So yeah, we go back. Anyway, recently Charlotte’s been telling me about all the oatmeal she has been eating, and I immediately began begging her to be my Enthusiast. 🙂
Hello! My name is Charlotte, and I love oatmeal. I first met Lauren online about 10 years ago because we were both massive fans of Sasha Cohen, and over the next 10 years we discovered many other common interests, the biggest of which is that we both have careers involved in education, and both absolutely love food – oatmeal in particular. I remember the earliest days of Lauren’s blogging, before she created The Oatmeal Artist, and I remember the early days of The Oatmeal Artist as well. Watching it become a huge success has been a lot of fun, and I am so incredibly proud of her!
I can’t remember the first time I tried one of her recipes, but I know it was when she was still writing that earlier blog, and I remember being amazed by her ingenuity. As she transitioned over to The Oatmeal Artist, I began trying her ever-increasing variety of recipes on and off throughout the years. I started telling all my college friends to look up The Oatmeal Artist and try her recipes whenever they were lamenting their inability to make decent breakfast food. I remember that many of them would laugh, and then come back a few days later to tell me how utterly amazed they were that you could do so many things with oatmeal!
For the last two school years, I had an incredibly stressful job that left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and angry all the time. I gained 20 lbs while I worked there. At the end of June, I left, and in August started a new job doing what I love most – teaching choir to middle schoolers. I’m much happier now, and when I started the job on August 3rd I also started a new diet and exercise plan to get rid of all the excess weight (and hopefully go even further!). Whenever I start over again on my on-and-off health crusade I always go back to oatmeal, because it works. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is not only healthy and filling, but incredibly delicious. I never feel like I’m missing out when I eat oatmeal, and I’ve always felt that that has to be the key to make life changes that actually stick.
Lauren’s always been very supportive of my attempts to be a better me, and I’m endlessly grateful for that. Below are the bowls I made during this week. You’ll notice that I’m not very innovative, or fancy. They all look very similar. I mostly just really like nut butters and berries. When I taught in China for a year, the only American food I could consistently find was peanut butter, so I always had a jar on the counter for bouts of homesickness. I never really realize how much I loved peanut butter until it became my American touchstone.
Monday – Triple-Almond Oatmeal
I eat this a lot. It’s simple and it works. Almond milk, almond butter, and slivered almonds with some maple syrup (my sweet tooth is much larger than Lauren’s and I’ve never been able to totally skip sweeteners the way she can), salt, vanilla, and lots of cinnamon! I absolutely adore cinnamon and add much larger quantities of it than is normally listed in recipes on TOA. Also, you’ll notice a cup of tea in all of these, somewhere in the background. Earl Grey is my favorite thing forever.
Tuesday – Loaded PB&J Oatmeal
Like I said, lots of nut butters. I tried to figure out a way to make this look less messy and failed, but it still tasted amazing! Peanut butter and raspberry jam mixed into the oatmeal, with almond milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon, raspberries on top. Raspberries are, in my opinion, by far the greatest of the berries.
Wednesday – Lemon Berry Oatmeal
On rare occasions I venture outside of my nut butter love and try something new. The oatmeal base in this instance was lemon juice, honey, and poppy seeds. I also added lemon extract, but I forgot something important – I kind of hate lemon extract. I hadn’t used it in a long time and it slipped my mind that there was a reason behind that. It tastes too fake to me, and in retrospect I wish I’d just gone with only lemon juice. I would have like this a lot more. I topped it with berries, and mostly just sat there wishing I hadn’t added the extract as every mouthful tasted like the idea of a flavor rather than the flavor itself!
Thursday – Banana Almond Butter Oatmeal
Like I said, I really tend to stick to the same basic flavors. It’s cheaper and I don’t really get bored with them. This is essentially PB&B oatmeal, but with almond butter in place of peanut butter. I did not add a sweetener in this instance – my bananas were ripe enough that it wasn’t necessary!
Friday – Mixed Berry PB Oatmeal
Basically, it’s what I ate on Tuesday, but with blackberries added, and blueberry jam instead of blackberry. I rarely buy blackberries, but they were on sale this particular week, and I forgot how much I love them! They really added a nice contrast to the other berry flavors, being slightly less sweet and more tangy. I always mix some peanut butter into the oatmeal, but I love topping with it, too!
Saturday – PB&B Oatmeal
This is my other biggest standby, besides the Triple Almond Oatmeal. I never get tired of the combination of peanut butter and bananas! I mixed half the banana into the base and topped the oatmeal with the rest. Maple syrup was also added, as it is my favorite sweetener and complements the flavor of oatmeal the best.
I am happy to report that, since school started on August 3rd, I have so far lost 10 lbs of the weight I gained at my last job! I am hopeful to get the other 10 shed soon, an oatmeal will, as always, be a staple of my daily regimen.