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Posted on Oct 7, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 29 comments

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Holy cheese on a cracker, guys! I had a sneaking suspicion that the topic of fat acceptance vs. fat glorification would be a conversation starter, but I really had no idea that it would inspire such thoughtful discussion (and imagine my delight at how thoroughly civilized it was!) If you have a few extra minutes today, I highly recommend reading through the comments on the post — there was a vast and varied range of opinions shared (including those of my Dr. Dan, my brother-in-law!) All the thoughtful commentary made me a happy schnauzer bear.

Good job, friends, good job.

So, now that we’ve made note of your sheer awesomeness, I shall make an observation. Things have been kind of serious on the blog this week (no, my name isn’t Captain Hammer Obvious, why do you ask?) Between revisiting my darker days and yesterday’s post, I’ve been putting out a lot of heavy, thought-provoking (for me, at least) stuff. And aside from my second foray into the world of vlogging, I haven’t exactly been my chipper self. I’m so glad that I have a forum where I can candidly discuss those kinds of things (and that you all feel comfortable sharing your points of view in return!), but c’mon, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer over here, especially not on a glorious Friday like today!

So! Let’s lighten up! Starting with my first pumpkin oatmeal bowl of the season, which was enjoyed yesterday morning.

Punkin Oats
So Fall-icious.

In the mix, we have:

2/3 cup pre-soaked oats
1/3 cup light soy milk
1 heaping tablespoon pureed pumpkin
1 tablespoon maple syrup
An undetermined amount (read: a lot) of pumpkin pie spice
And a dollop of Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful on top

Warning: this make ALOT of oatmeal. It carried me from 8:30 AM to 2 PM.

If you’ve read more than like, er, one healthy living blog, you are probably familiar with the concept of overnight oats. If not, well, sucks to be you.

I kid, I kid! Let me elaborate: overnight oats are when, in lieu of taking the time to cook raw oats on the stovetop, you let them soak in water or milk before consuming for a period of time (uh, overnight, possibly?) The oats absorb the liquid and become soft, though admittedly not as soft as they would be if they were cooked, and it’s hugely time-saving in the morning because you can prepare them the night before. Huzzah! Since I’m a good li’l healthy living blogger, you know I love me some oatmeal, hahaha.


Anyway, a coworker and I have recently been discussing the idea of pre-soaking grains prior to cooking, and she told me she tried it with oatmeal and had great success! So I figured I’d give it a whirl as well. Turns out pre-soaking your oats is essentially the same thing as making overnight oats, only, um, even easier.

Step 1: Put oats in a bowl.
Step 2. Dump a lot of water in the bowl.
Step 3: Cover and, optionally, refrigerate.

No measuring required! In the morning, you strain all of the water from the oats, and then mix up your regular oatmeal ingredients, only you can use way less milk than normal because the oats are already nice and pillowy. THEN you cook ’em, and they become a creamy, smooth, fluffy bowl of morning comfort. Or, if you’re me, you take the bowl to work and zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes because the very idea of turning your stove on at 7 AM makes you want to cry.


And then you have it alongside a big ol’ glass of iced joe.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear here that I am not exactly what I would call “a morning person.” So being able to throw together quick but hearty breakfasts and lug ’em to work with me is a definite must in order to keep to my “always eat breakfast” mantra.

All right, I have one last “lighthearted” treat for you guys this Friday. This might not be a huge shock to you if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but I went crazy the other night and decided to submit an audition tape for The Glee Project! Urk. So please click through and watch me as I make a thorough fool of myself and (GASP!) sing! And then, even if you hate it, please Like it. 😉

So I know you are probably sick of wedding recap posts by now, but this weekend brings on Wedding #3 of 2011 (here’s #1 & #2), with my good friends Abby and JP getting mawwied in Baltimore! Steve is a groomsman again, and Ben is the videographer, so it should be good times all around!

What are your favorite oatmeal toppings/mix-ins? I like pumpkin in the fall, but my all-time favorite combo will probably brown sugar + raisins. The brown sugar melts into the hot oatmeal, and there’s just something about this combination is so, so good!


  1. dude, that’s awesome. i didn’t know you could sing! i haven’t had a chance to comment on your fat acceptance post yet, but it’s definitely something to think about.

    as for your question, i don’t really like oatmeal all that much. i know, i know, kick me out of the healthy living blog community, right?

  2. Yay, happy posts!!! I’ve loved all of your posts, don’t get me wrong, but I love happiness. However, you are really a good thought provoker so thank you for helping us all think and talk about stuff we ussually wouldn’t.

    In other news, your a singer!! Yay! When you are on Glee, just remember the little people. And I’m definitely for hire as a stylist/baker/comic relief. #justsayin’

  3. Oh you are coming to Baltimore! YAY! We are like DCs weird cousin who no one wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving. But we do have good Sushi. And 2 Whole Foods, 2 Trader Joe’s and 1 Ikea. So there is that. Oh and good beer.

    Anywho. I am going to try this oatmeal concoction. It sounds beautifus.

    • Hahahahahaaaa. Oh come on, that definitely sounds like a cousin that I would totally want to hang with!

      And ’twas truly beautifus, Karen. ‘Twas. 🙂

  4. I like to throw (or slowly let it come out of the bottle) some honey into my oatmeal. And granola.

    Also, your audition..amazing! Maybe I missed something, or is this a super secret talent that you just haven’t talked about?

    • Thank you so much! Haha, I haven’t really broadcast the fact that I love to sing on the blog much, but I guess I’m just deluded enough lately to, I suppose! 😉

  5. I am more of a protein in the morning kind of gal and usually opt for egg whites as the star of my breakfast, but your oatmeal looks so good I just may give it another try. Love the brown sugar idea.

    Happy Friday!

    • Carbs! Must have delicious carbs!

  6. I love mine with banana cooked in, blueberries, sunflower seed butter and fig butter. So delicious!

    • I still need to get on the sunflower seed butter train! I’ve only had a small taste in the past, and I keep meaning to pick up a jar but I always forget! I think I’m worried about how much I would love it, knowing my current nut butter-consumption rates…

  7. Happy Friday! That oatmeal looks super tasty- you should make me some after my race on Sunday 🙂 that is all.

  8. Girl, your Glee video is amazing! Enough said. (Oh, and I “liked it” too, o’course).

    I haven’t been able to comment on your “Fat Acceptance” post yet, either. Every time I turned around there were dozens of new comments on it. So I’m still making my way through it… ya know, in between this thing we call work and all. 😉

    I’ve soaked my oats before cooking before, because it has several benefits in my experience… Being able to use less milk (I just can’t do oatmeal cooked with ONLY water… blech). Also, I find they take less time to cook (obviously) and they also are much less likely to do that horrible bubbling up and spilling out in the microwave thing, which when I have to cook oatmeal at work – drives me crazy.

    I used to LOVE brown sugar on oatmeal, but *try* to not have refined sugars on a daily basis. (*sad face*)… so now I opt for some fruity jam, or peanut/almond butter, unsweetened coconut flakes, or my current fave – my homemade pumpkin butter. Mmm, mmm! 🙂


    • Pshhhh, work schmerk. Commenting on my blog is way more important than making a living, obvi. 😉

      Yeah, I know that brown sugar isn’t the BEST sweetening option (which is why I usually try to use maple syrup, agave, honey, etc — still not the best, but better?) but it just tastes so damn good, hahaha.

  9. Wow I had no idea you could sing! Your video was amazing! I vote for more singing Gretchen!!!

  10. Your audition is so fabulous! Voice. Ideas. Personality. Great proposal for a character. How can they turn you down?

  11. Trader Joe’s tart cherries – yummy!!! I always mix those into my oatmeal and I also like taking a ripe banana, cutting into pieces, and letting it cook with the oatmeal. It comes out so soft.

    My mom used to do the overnight soak too – handy trick also for cooking really good rice pudding.

    • Mmm, tart cherries! That sounds like an even better addition than raisins or craisins… I’ll definitely have to pick some up next time I’m at The Joe (heh.) 🙂

      • Make sure to get the TJ Montmorency dried cherries, seriously addictive.

        I also toss them in a mix of oatmeal squares, popcorn, and baby choc chips. Great snack

  12. wow, soooooooooooooooooo cool!! You have a beautiful voice and you can definitely tell that once you were comfortable, you sang a lot better 😉
    You have more confidence than you probably think 🙂

    I like my oatmeal best with some pb/jelly/flaxseed.

  13. OH, you STRAIN the oats?! Seriously, every time I’ve done overnight oats I’m like “ew, they’re gooey and watery. NO.”. This tip? This makes sense.

  14. Hi Gretchen!! I LOVE your blog. Love the video, and your post yesterday? FANTASTIC. Have a GREAT weekend!!!!

  15. I make old fashioned oats by just putting them in a bowl, adding water, and nuking for 1.5 minutes. Soaking seems like way too much work for this lazy girl.
    My favorite toppings are a banana, some honey, and some almond butter. All together with the banana nuked in with the oatmeal. Yum and hearty!

  16. I bought a big can of pumpkin last year in the hopes of Fallin’-Up my oats, but never cracked it. This year I WILL take part in the pumpkin oat revolution!

    My two favorite topping combinations are as follows:

    1. banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, shredded coconut, cinnamon
    2. dried tart cherries, almond butter, nutella, cinnamon

    Microwave w/ water, finish with splash of milk. Super yum!

  17. Um your voice is AMAZING and I am super jealous!!! I was in a musical once in high school because I could dance and they needed people for the chorus. And they told me to lip synch because I was so bad at singing!!!! I really hope you make the show…you’d be fantastic!

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