I’m continuously amazed by the enthusiasm for oatmeal I find on Instagram. Are there really that many people like me who eat oatmeal every single day? Turns out, yes. Recently, I found another one. Her name is Claudia, and she knows how to cook some creative oats! I had to ask her to be this month’s Enthusiast immediately…and she did not disappoint! Claudia not only documented an entire seven days, but she had oatmeal multiple times a day! Hmm…could we be long-lost sisters?
Hello! I’m Claudia, I’m currently studying economics at university and I have an oatmeal addiction (as you can see from my Instagram page @professorclaude, or from the blog I recently started http://breakfastdramaqueen.wordpress.com/).
Despite celebrating Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, I’m actually from Sydney, Australia (I’ll take any excuse to make a dessert). My mother was born in Italy (but hates garlic!), my father was born in England, and I grew up watching nothing but American television – so my food inspiration comes from many places. My favourite foods include oatmeal, muesli, pumpkin, pasta, bagels, and peanut butter. I’ve also been a vegetarian for about six years.
I am super-excited about being this month’s Oatmeal Enthusiast. But first, here’s something you probably wouldn’t have guessed about this month’s Oatmeal Enthusiast: I never used to like breakfast. Growing up, I used to hate breakfast food (except for pancakes), and would eat leftover pasta – or worse, apple pie – for breakfast. I gradually became enamoured by breakfast during high school, and now I often wake up ridiculously early just because I’m so excited about my oats!
My love of breakfast began when I discovered muesli, and it wasn’t until last year (2013) that I discovered the joys of oatmeal. Why oatmeal? I wanted something warm and healthy for breakfast. Since I’m a vegetarian and can’t stand savoury food in the morning, the whole eggs and bacon thing wasn’t an option. My parents both ate oatmeal, so I thought I’d give it a try.
First, I tried some microwaveable oatmeal recipes – and it kept exploding! While I liked the taste, the oats kept turning into goo (which was undoubtedly due to my over-zealous microwaving). Then I came across the Oatmeal Artist, tried making oatmeal on the stove, and became hooked. I’ve tried tons of Lauren’s recipes, and recently started making a few of my own.
Since making my first stovetop oatmeal (Caramelized Banana Oatmeal from the Oatmeal Artist), I’ve become so enthusiastic about oatmeal that sometimes I have it for lunch or dinner. While I’m a huge fan of desserts, these days I’m more interested in turning my favourite desserts into oatmeal than I am in eating the “real” thing. Has that happened to anyone else? (From Lauren: me!!)
But enough about me, here’s the important part: the oatmeal. I decided to document my week from Wednesday to Tuesday, just because that was the day after Lauren asked me to be an Oatmeal Enthusiast (and I was feeling excited!)
Wednesday Morning: Oatmeal Suzette
I love having Crepes Suzette at restaurants, but there’s a ton of butter in it. So this is my healthier oatmeal version. I sautéed an orange in honey, orange juice, vanilla extract and brandy extract, and then mixed it into the oatmeal along with some orange zest. Crepes Suzette usually has a fair amount of Grand Marnier, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to get hammered before 9am.
Wednesday Lunchtime: Salted Caramel Macaron Oatmeal
I was eating a salted caramel macaron at a café, and thought, “There are just some things I can’t turn into oatmeal”. And then my brain responded with, “Well, not with that attitude!” So I made this oatmeal. Sure, it didn’t quite have the texture of a macaron, but this oatmeal definitely satisfied my salted caramel craving. The oatmeal had some caramel syrup (from Starbucks), a little cinnamon, almond meal, vanilla extract, two egg whites and, of course, a pinch of coarse salt.
Thursday Morning: Christmas Pudding Oatmeal
As I mentioned earlier, my Dad was born in England. And the English eat a lot of weird food, or at least food with odd names – there’s Toad in the Hole, Spotted Dick, and Bubble and Squeak, just to name a few (and whatever you do, don’t try the Blood Pudding!). One of the more “normal” traditional British foods is Christmas pudding, which is similar to fruit cake, but is much better. So that was the inspiration for this recipe, which included half a shredded Granny smith apple, orange zest, cinnamon, brandy extract and a ton of dried fruit. I also added some custard on the top.
Thursday Dinnertime: Italian Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal
Ok, I wasn’t originally going to have oatmeal for dinner on Thursday. But then I had all the ingredients for this Italian Cheesecake oatmeal that I’d thought of earlier. What makes a cheesecake “Italian”? Ricotta cheese. Italian cheesecakes use ricotta instead of cream cheese, or use a combination of ricotta and cream cheese. This makes the cheesecake much lighter, and in my opinion, much better (but I am biased). This baked oatmeal included low-fat ricotta cheese, orange zest, lemon zest, vanilla extract and sweetener. I also added raisins and half a crumbled digestive biscuit (it’s like a graham cracker) for a little cheesecake “crust”.
Friday: Black Forest Overnight Oatmeal
This was inspired by the Oatmeal Artist’s recipe, except I had to add in more chocolate! I also left out the coconut milk and used more cherries and yogurt. The topping is muesli with cocoa powder, maple syrup, chocolate chips, shredded coconut and cherry jam. I don’t mean to sound boastful, but Oh My God this was so delicious! It was like I died and went to heaven – or maybe some kind of fantastic hell?
Saturday: Zucchini Oatmeal
I’d originally planned to have a chocolaty oatmeal, but I actually didn’t feel like chocolate! Probably because of that overly decadent oatmeal yesterday. So instead I went with a nice, green oatmeal. This oatmeal had the usual zucchini accompaniments of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and maple syrup. As I didn’t want to use too much maple syrup, I added some apple juice for extra sweetness. I grated/shredded one large zucchini, threw in some chia seeds, and the result was a huge green mass of oats. I couldn’t have been happier!
Sunday: Baked and Flooded Banana Hot Chocolate Oatmeal
Firstly, sorry about the picture. I’m useless at removing things from ramekins. You’ll have to believe me that it tasted better than it looked.
This was the oatmeal I’d originally planned to have yesterday. I was really intrigued by the Oatmeal Artist’s flooded oatmeal, and I love hot chocolates, so I put the two together. It became a banana hot chocolate oatmeal when I noticed that I had a banana that was way overripe. The banana added a really fluffy texture, and extra sweetness. I had originally planned to flood my oatmeal in a hot chocolate (or just some warmed up chocolate milk), but then I noticed I had some leftover custard in the fridge (from Thursday’s Christmas pudding oatmeal) – so I figured, “Why not? I’ll throw it in.” So I added some hot chocolate powder to the custard and poured it over the oatmeal. Mmmm… so chocolaty!
Monday: Apple and Cherry Strudel Oatmeal
I used to live near a German bakery that made fabulous apple and cherry strudels, so I thought I’d try to recreate that dessert in this oatmeal. Firstly, I sautéed my chopped apple in apple juice, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Then I removed the apple from the saucepan, boiled the almond milk, and threw in the oats, sautéed apple, chopped cherries and raisins. And the piece of actual strudel next to the oatmeal was just to compare the taste. Not because I still like eating dessert for breakfast or anything J
Tuesday: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirl Overnight Oatmeal
Peanut Butter. Chocolate. Need I say more?
Not really, but I will anyway. I made two separate overnight oatmeal batters – one with peanut butter and a little cinnamon, the other with cocoa powder, hot chocolate powder and vanilla extract. Then (the next morning), I transferred the chocolate batter into a margarita glass, poured the peanut butter batter over the top, and tried my best to make some swirls. This was my favourite oatmeal this week, since I’m a sucker for peanut butter!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my week of oatmeal, as I certainly enjoyed eating it. Some of the recipes are already on my blog, and I’ll post all of them soon.
So goodbye for now, from the future (Sydney is 16 hours in front of New York).
P.S. If you’re ever in Australia, whatever you do, don’t try Vegemite or Weet-bix – they’re both just awful. However, I can recommend Tim Tams.
[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!]