Does Kelsey really need an introduction? 😉 You may know her from her two guest posts, Cookies N Cream Overnight Oatmeal and Spiced Parsnip Oatmeal, or perhaps from her frequent appearances in the “This Week in Oatmeal” series. I have collaborated with her so often that I just assumed I had already featured her as an Oatmeal Enthusiast–turns out I hadn’t! Thus, it is my great pleasure to pass the keyboard to Kelsey and let her tell her story.
My name is Kelsey, but you might know me as @fortheloveof_pb on Instagram. I’m beyond thrilled to be your Oatmeal Enthusiast for February!
At 23, I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where I’ve made health and fitness a priority. I exercise daily (swimming with a masters’ group, Blogilates videos, and hot yoga are current favorites), and I eat an incredibly “clean” diet: vegan, unprocessed foods with minimal added sugar and oil.
It wasn’t always that way. My favorite food used to be boxed mac and cheese, and for the first two years of college my fridge was regularly filled with frozen mozzarella sticks, cookie dough, and chocolate frosting. And you know I wasn’t baking those cookies.
Right after I turned 21, I contracted an H. Pylori infection, but I wouldn’t know that for almost four months. It was like, overnight, my digestive system just turned on me. I was battling constant heartburn and nausea that kept me up every night. It took four months to figure out what was wrong, but even after the infection was eradicated, I spent another year dealing with the lingering symptoms from this infection.
I realized, in order to combat these lingering symptoms, I needed to overhaul my diet.
Over a couple months, I cut out most processed foods and started eating more fiber. One of the first swaps I made was eating oatmeal for breakfast in place of frozen waffles. I can’t tell you how many bowls of strawberry and peanut butter oatmeal I ate my senior year of college because it was about the only thing that never made me feel ill.
This past May, I decided I was tired of taking medication to manage my symptoms. I had heard stories about people with digestive issues that were cleared up by a vegan diet, so I decided to try it. And it worked. I no longer take any medication and have been symptom-free since July.
Throughout my recovery, oatmeal was a constant in my diet because it was one of my “safest” foods; no indigestion or nausea here, ever. Over time I began to expand my oatmeal repertoire and discovered Lauren’s blog. From there I got inspired. There was so much more you could do with oatmeal than just add strawberries. It was something you could put vegetables in!
And I do – every day. Oatmeal is actually where I get a lot of the veggies into my diet. I love that oatmeal offers the opportunity to “sneak” more fruits and veggies into my diet in delicious ways. Sometimes I think about how ridiculous it is that I’m having, say, chocolate carrot cake oatmeal for breakfast. It tastes like dessert, but its really just fruit, veggies, whole grains, and of course some peanut butter.
The funny thing is, even though I eat more adventurously than I ever have, I still eat oatmeal more than anything else. Although, let’s be honest, my oatmeal is often pretty adventurous too. It’s easily my favorite food, and I’m so excited that I get to share it with my family (my Dad posts about my oatmeal on Facebook every time I come home to visit), my friends, on Instagram, and with you all this week! With that in mind, I tried to line up a week of oatmeal that highlights everything I’ve ever considered to be a favorite. I hope you enjoy it and get inspired to try out a new oatmeal flavor!
Saturday: Strawberry PB Oatmeal with Parsnips
I figured I would start the week off with my first oatmeal love, strawberries and peanut butter. Back in the day I would have made this with instant oats and frozen strawberries in the microwave, but today I stepped up my game. I still made instant oats, but I added some shredded parsnips to add some volume and cooked everything on the stovetop. And, because I’m excessive, I made some PB2 to stir into the oats and then topped them with my all time favorite peanut butter from Trader Joe’s. Side note: look how beautiful those berries are! I mean, its January, how did this even happen?!
Sunday: Chocolate Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Honey Almond Butter
Now to fast forward, this is my current favorite oatmeal flavor. It comes from a lovely lady named Cassie, aka superfitbabe, who I’m sure you all know. I love the combination of cinnamon and chocolate, so this oatmeal is right up my alley. And it’s chocolate, so it just makes me happy. And after going to hot yoga, I always want something happy (and also filling because I’m usually starved!) I also spaced and forgot to put almond butter on top before I took photos, but this is fabulous with Justin’s Honey Almond Butter!
Monday: Maple PB Oatmeal with Sweet Potato, Banana, and Chocolate Chips
I’ll admit, I was trying to impress you with this one. This is an adaptation of my favorite recipe from Breakfast Drama Queen. I love this because it uses maple extract instead of maple syrup, so you get that maple flavor without the extra sugar. I also tried (and somewhat failed) to brulee the bananas with maple flakes (aka dried maple syrup).
Tuesday: Banana and Blueberry Zoats with Pepita Sun Seed Butter
Honestly, zoats have never been my favorite. I like them, and I like how I feel after eating them, but I always taste the zucchini, and I don’t like that. To combat this, I put a pinch of several different things in as the oats cook: cocoa powder, cinnamon, coffee extract, vanilla, and PB2; sounds crazy, but its really good. The whole point of having zoats today though was to show you one of my favorite nut butters. It isn’t sweetened, but it has vanilla and nutmeg and with blueberries and banana it tastes just like a muffin.
Wednesday: Morning Glory Oats (In a Jar!) with Maple Sunflower Seed Butter
Today’s a special day; it’s the first day of my spring semester! That’s why I put my oats in an empty nut butter jar; I like to save them for special occasions. And conveniently, this is my favorite nut butter to pair with Morning Glory Oatmeal. This oatmeal was my favorite last spring when I was living in Boston. I ate it for breakfast the day of my college graduation and with my dad when we moved me out of my apartment and back to Virginia. If you like veggies in your oatmeal, you have to try this recipe!
Thursday: Overnight Sweet Potato and Banana Oats (In a jar! Again!)
This is the other time I use oats in a jar; when I don’t have time to cook in the morning. This morning I got out of the yoga studio at 8 and knew I would need to leave the house by 9 for class, so I went ahead and whipped this up to save some time. Truth be told, I don’t love overnight oats for breakfast because I don’t usually find them that filling, but adding sweet potato solves that problem! Sweet potato and PB& Co’s white chocolate wonderful is one heavenly combination and it’s easily my favorite overnight oats in a jar combo. Plus, it’s so easy to make, that I thought I’d go ahead and share the recipe with you!
What you'll need:
- ½ c. milk of choice
- ½ c. rolled oats
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- One small sweet potato: cooked, mashed, and cooled. You know how much food you eat for breakfast so adjust accordingly!
- A small handful of raisins
- ½ tbsp. chia seeds
- White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter, if you’ve got it
How to make it:
- Just combine everything in a jar or bowl (empty PB jar works best if you’ve got one!) and shake or stir well. Let sit in the fridge overnight and eat in the morning! I usually eat it cold and its reminiscent of sweet potato pie, but it also tastes great warmed up.
Friday: Butternut Squash Ancient Grain Oatmeal with Apples, Raspberries, and Pumpkin Spice PB
I saved the best for last. Butternut squash is my favorite vegetable to put in oatmeal. It’s creamy, sweet, and pairs well with a variety of flavors. Today I made stewed apples to stir in, but butternut squash also pairs really well with banana, cinnamon, chocolate, or even almond extract!
Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed seeing a week’s worth of my oatmeal. And, of course, thanks to Lauren for letting me ramble on at you and for being a constant source of oatmeal inspiration. Seriously, I don’t know how she keeps coming up with new recipes, but I’m always impressed.