Ode To Oats

10 03 2010

Hey, Kiddos!

Guys, I didn’t have to turn the heat on tonight!  Could it possibly be we’re over the hump?!?  And I saw 4 joggers on my way home!  Spring is on its way!!! :cool:

I was feeling extra chipper this morning and wanted to say, “HELLO!”

This was, of course, before I went to work.  Don’t get me wrong – I have a great job, but I have been so busy lately on a variety of projects that I come home every day and feel like this:

Haha.  Can’t believe I’m posting that on the Internet.  I either have great self-esteem or a screw loose.  Probably both :wink:

Between work, blogging, researching new recipes, the gym, household chores, etc. I haven’t been able to spend the time catching up on my DVR and just relaxing.  But there’s always tonight!  Mr. KD had some plans with his friends, so that means no cooking and all relaxation time for me!  Woo hoo!

Since there will be no recipe, I thought tonight would be a great night to have an ODE TO OATS!

I have been getting a variety of questions on overnight oats, so I wanted to address them.  I had never heard of them until I started reading food blogs either. 

Let’s start at the beginning with my relationship with oats.  I’ve always loved oatmeal.  Of course, this means I enjoyed the sugar-laiden packets sold in a variety of flavors.  I’m not knocking those completely.  If that’s your only option for breakfast, it’s still a decent choice, but there is so much sugar added to those packets that it almost defeats their healthy purpose.

I started seeing a nutritionist about a year ago and she encouraged me to eat oats.  Plain, boring oats.  They honestly made me gag.  I could NOT fathom how people ate this for breakfast and enjoyed it.  I thought for sure this was one of those health-freak foods that only super fit people could choke down.  I also thought Splenda and cinnamon were my only “healthy” choices for toppings.

Oatmeal was the first food that the FDA certified as good for your heart.  I WANTED to like them.  I just didn’t know how.

And then I discovered the world of food blogs!  With the proper mix-ins, I have discovered that I could eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.  There are so many combos out there, so you never have to get bored!!  They are so versatile…like a blank canvas, really.

Before we talk about the best way to cook your oats, let me go out on a limb and say something first.  When I started reading about all of these mix-ins and toppings, my first thought was, “Wow – that’s a lot of calories for breakfast.”  That was the old KD.  Since right before committing to this blog (per the “About Me” section), I vowed to STOP counting calories and listen to my body instead. 

Want to know something pretty cool about this philosophy?  I’ve dropped 5 lbs over the last month just by listening to my body.  I have worn a pair of skinny jeans that didn’t even fit when I bought them (twice!).  I’m not saying that calorie counts aren’t important.  BUT, what I am trying to say is that if you listen to yourself, you’ll know when you’re full and should stop eating.  So don’t be afraid of adding in toppings.  Just make sure they are healthy and natural and have a variety of nutrients.  Aim for toppings that’ll help fill you up until lunch.  That’s the point, isn’t it?!?

I hope I didn’t just turn you all off and come across as preachy.  I just know how it feels to be self-deprecating and count every calorie that goes into your mouth and it’s exhausting.  So grab a spoon and dig into a bowl of some heart-healthy oatmeal!!  Just keep it balanced the rest of the day :wink:

To make oats over the stove top, simply follow the instructions on the package for liquid/oats mixture.  For banana oats, mash-up half of a banana into the mix once you add the oats to the liquid (after it’s started boiling).  Add in any additional toppings you prefer.

To make overnight oats (so perfect for the busy week!), simply mix all of your ingredients together and plop in the fridge for the next morning.  As the oats sit, the liquid will soften them.  Heat them up for 45 – 60 seconds in the microwave the next day and DONE.  A general rule of thumb would be to use equal parts liquid and oats.  You’ll notice when I use Greek yogurt as my base, I use a little less oats because there is already a ton of nutrition in the yogurt that I don’t think the normal 1/2 cup serving of oats is necessary. 

You really can’t screw it up, so just mix and match!

Oatmeal Ideas:

Liquid Ideas:
  • Skim Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Water
Mix-Ins:
  • Banana
  • Pumpkin (make sure you buy canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Cottage Cheese (add this at the end of cooking time)
  • Yogurt (Greek or Non-Greek)
  • Protein Powder
  • Egg Whites (for added protein…make sure to use in stove top method so the cook!)
  • Spices
Toppings:
  • All-Natural Nut Butters
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts
  • All-Natural Jellies and Jams
  • Granola (watch your servings on this one)
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Chocolate/Peanut Butter/Butterscotch Chips (for when you’re feeling sassy)

Look at all of those combos, folks!  There are so many things you can do!  If you’re new to oatmeal or even if you have been a fan for a long time, I would love to hear of new combos you come up with or toppings/mix-ins I may have forgotten to mention!

The last advise I’ll provide is to always add a pinch of salt and dash of vanilla.  Both help tremendously!

Now let’s talk about a few things I want to clarify:

  1. After I posted last night, I looked at the nutrition stats of those cookies Mr. KD brought home.  HOLY COW :shock: They had 200 calories a piece!  I took 1/4 of a cookie and expected chocolate chip.  They were chocolate truffle filled!!!  Ahhhhhh – Heaven and The Devil all combined into one cookie!
  2. I lift weights 4 – 5 days/week, but haven’t really been including them in my posts because I don’t think it’s that interesting.  Is this something you guys want me to talk about more?
  3. I drink a coffee every day that doesn’t get posted here.  I buy a small from the cafe at work and use one packet of Sugar in the Raw with milk.  Glad we cleared that up :smile:
  4. I forgot to add that I hit the elliptical for 15 minutes after I completed that run yesterday!!  How silly of me!

Finally, we can talk about today’s eats!

First off:  I went to the gym this morning and hit the arc trainer for 50 minutes (I’ll post the workout another time.  This post is long enough!).

For breakfast, I went with something summery and packed up a peach Chobani Greek yogurt with 1/4 of Kashi Puffs to mix in and some fruit salad.  It was the perfect summer breakfast!  A girl can dream :cool:

I think I might have a new favorite Greek Yogurt brand.  This was my first experience with Chobani and it was SO rich and creamy.  Loved it!  And I love anything peach!!

Lunch was leftover pork loin, some asparagus and quinoa.

I think I need to start veggin’ up my lunches a bit.  About only 45 minutes after eating this AND drinking water, I still was not satisfied.  I attributed this to the lack of asparagus and decided to get some celery/carrots from the cafe.

Definitely need to start buying carrot sticks at the store!

Remember how I told you I barely used any ranch last time?  I took a pic so you could see just how much I’m using.

Notice that I mostly use the dressing that gets stuck to the top lid!

I attended a meeting this afternoon where the President of our company discussed our progress and took questions.  It was 1.5 hours long and from 3 – 4:30.  That’s snack time!  Instead of bringing my snack (I thought it would look tacky), I munched on 4 hard candies in the conference room :oops:   Give me some credit – I didn’t have to blog about them, but I will because I’m being honest with myself.  I am all for having treats every day, but what a WASTE of over 100 calories.  Ick.  So disappointed, but it’s time to move on from that and look ahead!

I was STILL hungry for my snack (did you know pure sugar doesn’t hold you over?), and had my no-bake protein bar and an orange.

This was the juiciest orange I’ve had in a long time!  Yuuuuum!

I was kind of at a loss for dinner because I wasn’t starving.  I purposely freeze dinners for nights like this.  I made a chicken pot pie a few weeks ago and stashed a piece in the freezer.  I decided to make a salad to go with it to up my veggie intake.

And I also got brave!  I bought a pear at the store this past week.  This might sound normal to most of you, but I REALLY don’t like pears.  There is something about their grittiness (is that a word?) that just doesn’t do it for me.  This was, of course, before I started seeing and EATING pears in salads.  They are always sliced deliciously and even better when peared (haha..I think I’m so funny) with cheese!!

While roasting walnuts for the salad, I decided to coat two slices of pear with goat cheese and roast until pears were soft and cheese was melted.

The rest of the salad consisted of romaine, dried cranberries and the remainder of the roasted veggies I cooked up on Saturday night.  Drizzled with some light raspberry vinaigrette.

SO YUMMY.

Pot pie:

Salad:

My dad will be so proud!  He loves pears and doesn’t understand how I don’t swoon over them!

Told you I wasn’t that hungry:

All right, guys, I am off to a SERIOUS date with my couch!

P.S.  Check out what came in the mail today!  More about this in the coming weeks!

Question of the Day:  What is the one tv show you watch that you are embarrassed to tell people?

Mine would be the new 90210.  I watch it out of love for the original even though I KNOW it’s not that good, but I’m hooked anyway!  Can’t help it!  For an hour a week, I can pretend I’m still in high school and have no responsibility :smile:





Spice it Up!

3 03 2010

Good Morning!  How is everyone doing on this fine Wednesday?

I’m a’ight.  Thanks for asking! :wink:

I want to talk about something that’s been bothering me before we get onto today’s eats.  I realize that my breakfasts have been EXTREMELY boring and redundant this week.  I really need to SPICE IT UP!!!!

The reason for the oats every day is the meetings I’ve been in.  It’s very easy for me to nuke the oats and take them into a meeting.  I can’t be scrambling no eggs in a conference room (said in a Mr. T voice)!  I promise if you stick with me through next week, I’ll have better eats in the morning, including smoothies and eggs, etc.  I also plan to make some no-bake bars next week for snack time, so stick around for that!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about today’s oats, which are a repeat with some slight JAZZ.

I mixed up some Overnight Banana Oats (had to use up that other 1/2 banana), but incorporated dried cranberries for some extra pizzazz!  Woo hoo!

In the mix:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • pinch salt
  • drizzle of agave nectar
  • drop of vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries

Toppings:

  • Naturally Nutty Chocolate Butter Toffee

Isn’t she beautiful?  The cranberries add such a nice surprise.  Love them in there!

It wasn’t awkward that I brought my lunch in, by the way, so I decided to do it again.  I’m taking leftover parmesan chicken with broccoli and rice.  I love dishes like this where the protein, whole grain and veggie are all mixed together.  And it’s even better when it has such great flavor like this dish does!

And let’s be honest.  I might have another cookie with my lunch :wink:

BUT I will get back to being health-ified with my snack.  Strawberry greek yogurt with a handful of walnuts.  Love this combo!  It’s like they were made for each other :smile:

Okay, bloggies, I’ll chat with ya after work.  Can’t wait to blog about the spaghetti squash!!!!

Until we eat again…