Happy April! Meet this month’s Enthusiast, Rachel. You may know her from Instagram as @rachelhoatmeal, but I know her as the person whom I secretly thought was my sister-in-law for several months due to the fact that they share a first name and last initial, and I’m stupid like that. 😂 I eventually convinced myself they were not the same person, and I’m happy to share Rachel’s story here today!
Hi fellow oatmeal lovers! My name is Rachel. I am 18 years old and a high school senior in Missouri. I am a very active person, involved in gymnastics, track, student council, yacht club and AP classes. A busy lifestyle like mine requires much energy, and I get a great deal of my energy from a hearty bowl of oatmeal each morning.
In elementary school, I always ate breakfast at school; then throughout middle school I usually had Pop-Tarts or chocolatey cereal for breakfast. Sometime around my transition from middle school to high school I decided to try making chocolate oatmeal with instant oatmeal packets I found in our pantry. Unfortunately, I was not too pleased with my first oatmeal concoction. Following my first oatmeal blunder, I began to put Nutella and/or chocolate protein powder in my oats and thus began my relationship with oatmeal. Pinterest helped me discover many more ways to spruce up the measly instant oatmeal packets, besides Nutella and protein powder, soon I started using oats out of the carton instead of the packets. I happened upon Lauren’s blog when I was googling recipes, and I hopped onto the oatmeal bandwagon.
My sophomore year of high school was when my oatmeal enchantment really took full swing. I was infatuated with all the different recipes to try on the Oatmeal Artist and many of the overnight oat recipes on Pinterest that I enjoyed after morning weightlifting for track. Most often I made oatmeal with ⅓ cup oats to ¾ cup almond milk and water because the instant oatmeal packets were a ⅓ cup. However, during this time I also began to develop an obsession with working out and eating healthy. This year was a great time for me in track because my height in pole vaulting increased two and a half feet, but my weight dropped into a low percentile. Eventually my mom took me to the doctor who instructed me to gain weight for my health. Following this ordeal, I began to make my oatmeal with a full serving of oats. This aided in my recovery, but I also learned to love my body for all it allows me to do.
[Note from TOA: Yes!! Instant oatmeal packets come in smaller portions so they can say it’s “100 calories” or “150 calories” on the front of the box. Ugh!]
At the beginning of this year, I showed my friends the wide variety of oats I had on my camera roll, and they suggested I make an Instagram account to display my oats. I was hesitant but gave in, and my friend Emily named the account Rachel Hoatmeal, as a play on my last name and the word oatmeal. I have constantly made Lauren’s recipes, but until the beginning of this year I had never shared them on social media. I do really enjoy sharing my oatmeal in the mornings and my Instagram has become like own little oatmeal collection.
Day 1: Dark Chocolate Dreams Overnight Oatmeal
This is a bit of a twist on Lauren’s Dark Chocolate Dreams Oatmeal, but I made it overnight oats because I had track weight lifting before school. To make this an overnight recipe I used equal amounts of oats, almond milk, and Greek yogurt, then put some strawberries and bananas into it along with chia seeds and mixed everything in a nearly empty peanut butter jar. I usually eat a banana and maybe drink some coffee before weights then eat my overnight oats afterwards because I don’t like to eat a whole lot before weights and because it’s quicker in the morning to just pack already made oats then eat them at school.
Day 2: Blackberry Peach Oatmeal
Today I used some fruit that my grandparents gave to me to make Blackberry Peach Oatmeal. I have some frozen blackberries and peaches that my grandparents grew and canned. The blackberries are great to cook in the oatmeal because it just bumps up the flavor, then the peaches pair well them because their sweetness couples with that of the blackberries. And of course, I also throw some vanilla extract and cinnamon in there for good measure.
Day 3: Pumpkin Cheesecake Overnight Oats
Another day of morning weightlifting then PE in my first block, so I needed some good overnight oats to keep up my energy. Even though it’s not really fall I made Pumpkin Cheesecake Overnight Oats, a recipe I made up on my own. Of course, I use the staples of pumpkin pie like pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves, but then I mix in Greek yogurt with the other ingredients, oats and almond milk. As the finishing touch, I crumble half a graham cracker and layer it with the oats to give it that cheesecake flavor.
Day 4: Banana Orange Oatmeal
Today was basically like Friday, and I realized I had not made any oatmeal this week that involved bananas. To fix that problem I made Banana Orange Oatmeal. I cooked these oats in a mixture of orange juice and almond milk along with mandarin orange pieces, then added a mashed banana and tossed in some cardamom for good measure.
Day 5: Cherry Cashew Oatmeal with Cardamom
We didn’t have school because it’s a teacher work day, but my sister and I went to get passports. On days when I don’t have school I prefer to make my oats on the stove which is what I did this morning. Today’s oatmeal was Lauren’s Cherry Cashew Oatmeal and I added in cardamom for a little extra flavor because it’s one of my favorite spices next to cinnamon. Although I did have to use frozen cherries rather than fresh ones, it still turned out delicious.
Day 6: Plum Almond Oatmeal
This morning we had drug testing, track practice followed by the Polar Plunge that afternoon. I had Plum Almond Oatmeal because I love the tart taste of fresh plums chopped up and mixed with tartness of almond extract. To get in even more almond flavor and protein, I topped the oatmeal with creamy almond butter.
Day 7: Blueberry Apple Oatmeal
I really enjoy putting homemade applesauce in my oatmeal because it sweetens it without a bunch of added sugar. This morning I chose to combine the applesauce with blueberries for Blueberry Apple Oatmeal. In celebration of the first week of track practice and my week of oatmeal documentation I decided to top off my oatmeal with some Peanut Butter Monster trail mix from Target.