Sunday, February 26, 2012

Inspired by Oatmeal

This post is inspired by a blog inspired by another blog. The blog I was directly inspired by is The Magpie's Fancy by Gigi Thibodeau, who I can always count on for a post filled with something happy and beautiful: a new recipe, a walk in the woods, a beautiful free write, all of which are always accompanied by beautiful photographs. (Wow, have I used the word "beautiful" enough?) Yesterday, Gigi's post was inspired by another blogger by the name of Katie, author of Chocolate-Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog. She blogged about one of Katie's oatmeal recipes called Peanut Butter Breakfast Pudding, which, I'm in agreement with Gigi, combines all of my favorite foods: oatmeal, peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate (which is optional but I will definitely try). Oatmeal and peanut butter especially are my two staple foods. I have them for breakfast at least five mornings a week, and they never fail to jumpstart my day. Usually I just have a bowl of oatmeal and slice of peanut butter toast on the side, but I've never figured out a way to combine them before. It's a crazy dream come true! Between Katie's ingenious recipe and Gigi's delicious photographs, I think I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.

So, this post is indirectly inspired by Katie of Chocolate-Covered Katie. What I love about her blog is that she doesn't only supply amazing recipes, but she also blogs about health, and how we shouldn't feel obligated to eat or not eat something because it's "healthier." She blogs about listening to your cravings, but finding healthy alternatives for them, too. Why make yourself miserable by depriving yourself of your favorite foods? What good are you doing?

Personally, I  know food makes me happy. No matter how terrible of a day I could be having, a dish of my favorite ice cream or a Reese's peanut butter cup (the one candy I always mark "Off-Limits" in my Halloween bag) can brighten my day. They always say "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Well, I think my stomach is the gateway to my heart, too! This past week being school vacation, I had the opportunity to make myself breakfast more than usual. I love the mornings I can wake up leisurely and prepare breakfast. It always sets the mood for a happier and fuller day. I hate the mornings when I'm rushing out the door to catch the bus and have to gobble up my breakfast. I can't enjoy it. My brother always comments on how slow I eat, but it's because I don't want it to be over! Mealtimes are by far my favorite times of the day. When they come around, I want to savor every. last. bite.

In talking about food, I will admit that I can be very picky. Sure, I'll eat anything and I love most foods, but I do have a thing for the quality of a food. In my eyes, presentation is key. It doesn't matter if all I'm having for breakfast is a bowl of cereal. Just putting it in a special bowl and taking the extra time to slice up a banana on top makes it all the more appealing and all the more delicious for me. It's a treat for myself. The same way you may put on makeup sometimes, even if you're just lounging around the house all day; you're dressing up for yourself.

If you read my post about art class , then this is not the first time you have heard me say that I wouldn't consider myself a particularly artfully-inclined person. I love art and I wish when I was bored in class I could think of something other than a heart to doodle in my notebook, but alas I was not blessed with such a gift. I do love to decorate though, and this love for decoration comes out in my love for cooking and, to bring this post full-circle, my love for oatmeal.

What I love about oatmeal is that it never comes out the same and there are so many different ways to play with it. Decorate it. Eat it! Chocolate-Covered Katie has over sixteen different oatmeal recipes and tips that make me want to eat oatmeal for the next sixteen meals. In fact, as I was drooling over Katie's recipes this morning, I myself was enjoying none-other-than the comfort of a self-prepared bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal and a slice of peanut butter toast. In making the oatmeal, I couldn't help myself getting fancy with the toppings. 

Like how Chocolate-Covered Katie combined her favorite foods to make Peanut Butter Breakfast Pudding, two years ago my mom combined two of her favorite breakfast foods, yogurt and oatmeal. Old-fashioned oatmeal with a yogurt top-hat.

To make the oatmeal, all you need is rolled oats (approx. 1/2 cup per serving). We prefer milk as the base because it makes it extra creamy. Water works fine too, or even a combination of the two. As a general rule, I usually put in a little less than double the amount of liquid as we do oats because I like a thicker oatmeal. (So if you use 1/2c of rolled oats, pour in about 1c of milk or water.) It all depends on how thick or liquidy you like your oatmeal. Pour your milk/water and oats into a pot and stir on medium-heat until the oats absorb the liquid.

You can use whatever yogurt you want for the top hat. I always put on a dollop of plain yogurt because I like to leave the flavoring job to the accessories! Because now, here comes the fun part. Accessorizing!

For my oatmeal this morning, I sliced up half a banana and one fat strawberry. Then I sprinkled a little granola to add an extra crunch, and to top it off, I made an almond flower with a dried blueberry for the middle. If you're like me and love texture in your food, you will love this recipe. The smoothness and coolness of the yogurt contrasts wonderfully with the warm and hearty oats. The fruit gives you something to chew, and the almonds and granola add a nice crunch. It's the cherry on top.

Sometimes when I make oatmeal I drizzle a little honey or maple syrup if I'm in the mood for something a little sweeter. The best part about oatmeal is that the recipe all depends on your personal cravings. It is a food designed for YOU! 

Well I could write about oatmeal (and food in general) forever, but alas I must pull myself away to finish up homework before school tomorrow. Inspired by Gigi and Katie, I will certainly be blogging more about food in the future!

Happy Experimenting,

Megan ;)

P.S. I apologize for the quality of the images. I think investing in a digital camera might be a wise idea, especially because I love what pictures can do to a post...they really make it come to life! Until then, I guess that's what the effects in iPhoto are for!

No comments: