Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Oatmeal

Summer Goals: Buy cherries when they are cheap!

I swear, one day, they’ll be at Westside Market for $3.99 a pound, then, in the blink of an eye, they are $9.99 a pound.

I’ve got rent and student loans to pay. I’ve gotta buy those cherries when they’re on the low-low.

I’m purposely giving myself slow plan-less weekends; as I’ll be moving from Inwood down to the Upper West Side in the end of August, I’m taking the time to slowly pack up what I need, pitch what I don’t, and use up what’s left in my kitchen! Luckily, I’ll take any excuse to create and cook, so the latter is obviously not an issue for me.

I’ve recently discovered dairy-free Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread. Being free of palm oil, I feel a bit better about indulging in this sweet treat from both a health and ethics perspective. Mixed with some summer-ripened cherries and healthy oats, this breakfast is a win-win! I don’t even care that it’s approximately 110 degrees in my kitchen right now. I’ll move to my air-conditioned bedroom to eat this goodness! Ha!

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NOTE: Thank you to Crier Communications for providing me with this Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread for testing purposes!

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Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Oatmeal
(Makes three cups)

Ingredients:

– 2 cups water or milk of choice
– 1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
– 1/2 cup cherries, pits removed and quartered
– 1 tablespoon dairy-free Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread (or comparable hazelnut spread)
– 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

Directions:

1.) Cook rolled oats according to directions on package. While oats are cooking, mix in cherries and cook for five minutes. Stir in hazelnut spread until melted and incorporated. Serve immediately!

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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Another month, another new recipe up on Yoga By Candace!

I recently developed these Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites for her blog. Packed with nutrient-dense items and an extra kick of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, these bites will have you looking like Jennifer Aniston in no time!*

While it’s definitely easy to one, snack on something less healthy, and two, eat a breakfast that is less healthy, these bites definitely have your bases covered. Make them ahead of time! You…and your stomach…will be thankful that you did.

Head over to Yoga By Candace for the full post and recipe!

* – Perhaps a slight hyperbole, but a girl can dream…

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

Ugh, I know, this recipe is familiar (I’ve done this…AND this…in the past) and this genre of oat-based creations is a trifle overdone.

Truth: This recipe post was supposed to be my version of Spaghetti al Limone. I was looking through all of the photos I took of it last weekend and shook my head in defeat as I softly muttered, “…nope…nope…nope…nope…” Honestly, not one photo of the bunch was worthy of posting. The lighting on the day I took the photos of the dish was okay, but most photos turned out blurry. In addition, most looked awkward in plating / presentation.

The upside? I guess I’ll have to make…and eat…another batch of Spaghetti al Limone soon! There are certainly worse calamities to deal with in this wacky world of ours.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

So…here’s a filler recipe. My opening sentence may make it seem as though I’m knocking overnight oats on the whole. I’m not. This recipe is my life saver and delicious to boot!  I doubled it last week, brought it to work, and had breakfast for two days!

After years of experimentation, I find that a nice healthy glob of peanut butter is what makes my overnight oats the most palatable and satiating. Yogurt makes them pasty, in my multiple experiences; peanut butter keeps ’em creamy.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

If y’all catch me trying to post another blueberry and oat amalgamation in the future, please stop me from myself. Ha! I think I’ve reached my quota for this blog. 😉

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1/2 cup milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
– 1 teaspoon honey (or sweetener of choice; omit honey if vegan)
– 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or other nut butter)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 hearty dashes of ground cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– If your peanut butter is too hard or creamy, microwave it until softened.

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Transfer to container of choice and place in refrigerator. Allow to sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Oats will stay edible for up to three days.

apple pumpkin oatmeal

Apple Pumpkin Oatmeal

In the world of blogging, one thing you need to do is find at least one good person to collaborate with. It’s beneficial to everyone involved. Ideas are crafted. Bonds are formed. Comfort levels are expanded. Traffic is increased and analytics become more interesting! (Sorry, I work in data outside of this food blog. Ha! Numbers occasionally make me geek out. 😉 )

For many years, I’ve been following Yoga By Candace by Candace Moore, a well-known yoga instructor who runs a healthy lifestyle blog, incorporating her practice into it as well as fitness tips, recipes, and wonderful healthful products. She just released her first book, Namaslay: Rock Your Yoga Practice, Tap Into Your Greatness, & Defy Your Limits, which lays out best practices for the craft as well as how she’s persevered after a very serious illness. I’ve started reading though, and as a non-yoga practicer that has been interested yet a bit intimidated by the whole concept of yoga, she breaks it down in a way that soothes my angst about doing it incorrectly.

Can I throw it back? I’ve actually known Candace since we were nuggets! We lived a few houses away from each other and would play together a lot as kids. If there is one thing I’ll always remember, it was listening to “Love Shack” by The B52s on vinyl (before it was technically vintage and still a primary way of listening to music if you didn’t want to rewind a cassette tape) and lip syncing along; Candace, I’m not sure if you remember this, but you always made to lip sync Fred Schneider’s parts of the song while you got to lip sync Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s parts. I was always upset you never let me do the female parts, though, in hindsight, doing Fred Schneider’s parts is pretty cool. Ha! Also, in a throwback surely all 80s babies can appreciate, we, along with our neighbor Amy, attempted to form a Babysitters’ Club…I remember the excitement of conceptualizing our version of it, but don’t remember it actually panning out. Haha. Needless to say, life happens, adolescence happens, and we had our own friend groups by the time we got to high school. Around 2013, I discovered her blog via a mutual friend on Facebook, and started following along, impressed by her posts. Social media can work in many ways, sometimes driving people apart (hello, politics!), but social media definitely brought us back together again. After posting a status on my personal Facebook page, encouraging my friends to follow this blog’s IG feed, I got a message from Candace over Facebook messenger, and, well…

As I attempt to move this blog from mere “hobby” status into possibly more of a side business in the next few years (I have my eyes on the prize of, one day, crafting a cookbook), I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have to expand my reach, and having Candace reach out to me has made me so incredibly happy. I am glad to have her help, and I am also glad to (hopefully!) enrich her site with wholesome recipes that her readers will enjoy.

Please follow this link for the recipe Apple Pumpkin Oatmeal, featured on Yoga By Candace.

apple pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal

This recipe came to fruition as such:

Due to working on some future blog posts, I was baking a pumpkin pie at 11 in the morning. I realized I hadn’t had breakfast. I made some oatmeal. I threw dried cranberries in it. I had leftover pumpkin puree, and I decided to add a giant spoonful to my oatmeal.

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As far as inspiring cooking stories go, in the grand cannon, this one lands way down on any list.

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At least it tastes great! I can assure you of that.

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal
(Serves One)

Ingredients:
– 1 cup milk or water
– 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
– 1 generous tablespoon pumpkin puree
– 1/4 cup dried cranberries
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– Additional sweetener, as desired

Before We Get Started…

-Adjust ingredients as needed to create additional servings. (I’m stating the obvious here, right? Ha!)

Directions:

1.) Bring milk or water and cinnamon to a boil. Add oats and cranberries and simmer on low for 5 – 7 minutes or until oats are cooked through. Remove from heat.

2.) Add pumpkin puree and mix with oatmeal. Add sweetener, if desired.

3.) Serve immediately.