It was easy to choose Erica (@missoatstagram) as my Oatmeal Enthusiast this week. Take a look at her gorgeous photos!
Hi fellow oatmeal lovers!
My name is Erica, and I’m a 19 year old college student studying dance, finding my way in NYC, and of course eating a daily bowl of oats! (When not roaming the streets of the big city, I can be found on Instagram @missoatstagram).
Growing up, my mom has always been an incredible and avid baker and cook (following in the footsteps of her Italian mother and grandmother), and I guess the gene was passed down to me as well. I especially love baking, and find it incredibly soothing. In high school (and even now when I go home for breaks), I can always remember asking my mom “what can I bake?” Don’t get me wrong, baked goods are wonderful, but at some point your mom cuts you off because the flour supply is constantly low and there’s only so many baked goods a family can eat. Well, with a desire to bake, but a limit on how much I could, I found this blog. You mean I can make a single served baked oatmeal for breakfast? I was sold, and from there my casual, every once in a while oatmeal breakfast turned into a daily ritual and well, obsession.
Although I was originally drawn here for the baked oats, I slowly started trying other recipes on the blog, and have since discovered the beauty of stove-top oats. I may still have baked (and overnight) oats on occasion, but I have since transitioned to the beauty of a big bowl of warm stove-top oats each morning. My “base” is typically the same with 1/2 c old fashioned oats, 1/2 c water, 1/2 c almond milk, 1 T chia seeds, and from there I get creative.
Oatmeal is “me time.” In this insanely busy and tiring college life filled with lots of dance, academics, a social life, and all the craziness NYC has to offer, I find the whole process incredibly calming from stirring the oats to sitting down with a big bowl of deliciousness. I think my roommates are now used to my morning oatmeal cooking, but for a while they were intrigued and perplexed I would spend so much time in the morning preparing oatmeal.
This could seem like an exaggeration, but oatmeal, most importantly, is currently saving me. I’d prefer not to go in depth with my personal difficulties, but I will admit I have also been struggling and am in the process of overcoming many mental hurdles I have temporarily covered by over-controlling my intake and exercise. But I’d rather focus on the positives here, and how oatmeal is really a key component in my recovery. Skip oatmeal? NEVER. Oatmeal (and all the wonderful things you can do to it) has been so helpful in re-teaching myself how to properly nourish my body.
So thank you to oatmeal to giving me the fuel to dance and do what I love. Thank you to oatmeal for calming me when I’m stressed. And thank you Lauren for choosing me as this months Oatmeal enthusiast!
Day 1: Pumpkin Pie Oats
I am often confused when it turns fall and everyone suddenly becomes obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin should be enjoyed all year round! Not only is pumpkin delicious, the creamy consistency you get when pumpkin puree is added to oats is too good! I was also lucky enough to find some pumpkin morsels hidden in the pantry from October, so added them on top along with greek yogurt, almond butter, banana, and dried fig (too many yummy toppings to chose from!)
Day 2: Peanut Butter, Banana, and Kabocha Squash Oats
I love getting creative with my oats, but at least once a week all I want is the classic peanut butter and banana combo. It’s such a classic and NEVER gets old. But, today I made it a little fancier by adding kabocha! If you’ve never tried this little Japanese pumpkin, you MUST. It’s by far my favorite winter squash with it’s sweet and fluffy flesh and delicious edible skin. Seriously, once you start you won’t stop eating it until your skin is tinted orange!
Day 3: *Purple* Sweet Potato Oats
Ever since discovering there was such as thing as a purple sweet potato, I searched high and low until I FINALLY found them (and let me tell you the day I found them was quite the day). They taste like normal potatoes, but their deep purple color is so beautiful, and I have since developed quite an obsession with purple foods (purple Brussels sprouts anyone??) I of course topped my usual oats with the beautiful potato, along with banana and greek yogurt. I sincerely hope my skin doesn’t turn purple!
Day 4: Butterscotch Oats
One of the things I love about the Instagram community is all the new oatmeal “tricks” I learn. People are so creative! These oats were SO fluffy (and had an extra punch of protein) thanks to stirring in a 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites and some butterscotch pudding mix. Then they were topped with banana, blueberries, and of course almond butter.
Day 5: Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Bowl with Oats
This is another combination I highly recommend you try. Make your favorite smoothie bowl (here I made a strawberry banana smoothie), plop you’re warm oats in the center, and top with some nut butter. The warm oats, the cool smoothie bowl, and the melty nut butter combination is everything.
Day 6: Cranberry Fudge oats
Because when a chocolate craving hits, fudge oats are often the answer! There is something so delicious about the sweet chocolate and tart cranberries. Not to mention that pool of almond butter on top…
Day 7: Fig Oats
All throughout my childhood we had a fig tree in the backyard which each year would yield maybe 3 figs (if lucky). I think this tree taunted me so much, I now find figs such a luxury. So, when I found some at the store last week I picked a few up and naturally topped my oats with them. But, to make the fresh ones last longer I topped it with half fresh and half dried (and shocker…almond butter). Gimme all the figs!!
[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!]