Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm taking my oats elsewhere...

Well, I finally did it. After months of deliberating, I made another blog. It's called The Oatmeal Artist, and it's my new home for oatmeal recipes. Ever since I posted "The Oatmeal Addict" back in December, my blog has slowly changed more and more to a consistent string of porridge posts. Additionally, if you look at my list of most popular posts, the oatmeal ones seem to reign supreme.

So anyway, at the moment the new blog is extremely simple. The design is basic, and I merely transferred all my oatmeal recipes over there. I plan on editing the posts over time, taking new pictures (I need prettier bowls), and finding a consistent way to present the actual recipes, especially regarding the multitude of optional ingredients I typically add, such as flax and coconut oil.

Sometimes, I worry that I'm being too noncommittal, but ultimately, who cares? As much as I love cooking in general, nothing matches my love for porridge, and it's something I'm actually good at. I have a lot of practice with porridge. It's my specialty, you know? When I post other recipes on here, I'm usually "meh" about it because I don't know if others will like it as much as I did. On the other hand, when I post oatmeal recipes, I feel a surge of pride. I know it rocks.

I do not think I will delete this blog (because I'm too proud of the Food Revolution badge), but I'm not sure if I will continue posting here. We'll see. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Honey Nut Oatmeal with Apples

I highly admire several food activists fighting Big Food these days. One of my idols right now is Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian from Seattle. He's one of the best tweeters, constantly posting clever, educational, and witty updates. He's also friendly and helpful, and he always answers any questions I ask him.

One of these questions popped up about a month and a half ago. I saw that bizarre PB2 product at the store; it's basically a jar of dried peanut butter, in the form of powder. I rolled my eyes the first time I saw it, but then I couldn't stop thinking about it later. Think of the possibilities! And what would it be like in my oatmeal? Wouldn't it be like using cocoa powder instead of chocolate syrup (not to suggest chocolate syrup is in any way nutritionally similar to peanut butter!)?

So, I asked Andy what his opinion of PB2 was. Not surprisingly, he replied passionately that this product was a prime example of the narrow view of nutrition, focusing just on calories and fat content. He pointed out that peanut butter is full of healthy fats, and reducing it to a reduced-fat powder takes away its nutritional value. My question ignited such a passion in him, in fact, that he wrote up an entire blog post about it the very next day. At least I can say I inspired him, right?

But here's the thing: I do understand that peanut butter has healthy fats...which is why I eat it by the truckloads every day! But as someone with IBS (which makes me sensitive to fatty foods, no matter if it's healthy fats or not!), replacing one of these multiple servings with PB2 would ease some of my discomfort.

In the end, I purchased a jar (mostly out of curiosity). This product appeared to be safe, so even though I agree with Andy that it's nutritionally inadequate compared to the real deal, I thought it was a fine ingredient for oatmeal.

Here is my favorite recipe with PB2. The flavors are warm and comforting, like apple pie (only better, in my opinion). This particular bowl of oatmeal ranks as one of my top favorite recipes!

Here's what I did:

1. Begin bringing one cup of liquid (I used almond milk) to a boil. While it's heating, add two spoonfuls of PB2, and then whisk until any clumps are gone.

2. When the liquid begins to boil, add 1/2 cup of regular rolled oats (and, optionally, a spoonful of milled flax). Stir.

3. Dice and add an apple (I only used half an apple) into the cooking oats.

4. Once the oatmeal has thickened up a bit, add a splash of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, some cinnamon, and some peanuts or almonds. I also added raisins. (At this point, I also added a spoonful of coconut oil, but that's totally optional [I'm on a high-calorie diet]).

5. When you're pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl and drizzle generously with honey. You could also add another splash of liquid, but I didn't this time. Enjoy!

**You can check out my other oatmeal recipes here, or by clicking the oatmeal tag. You can also find dozens of other oatmeal recipes on my Pinterest board (along with tons of other meatless recipes!). Thanks!