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Oatmeal 101 ~ O Magazine - March, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I was reading the March issue of O Magazine and ran into a short article on Oatmeal written by Kath Younger.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite comfort foods that is really good for me and satisfying!

Thought I would share these ideas with you today.

Oatmeal 101

In a small pot over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk (cow's, soy, or almond), and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally, until oats are thick, about 5 minutes. If indicated, stir in additional ingredients until warmed through, then pour into a bowl and add suggested toppings:

Blackberry Pie Oatmeal
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1/3 cup blackberries.
Top with: 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, a few more blackberries, and 1 crushed graham cracker

Pumpkin–Cottage Cheese Oatmeal
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1/4 cup canned pumpkin and 1/4 cup cottage cheese.
Top with: toasted sliced almonds and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Chocolate–Coconut Oatmeal
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon shredded coconut.
Top with: a few chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, and a sprinkle of coconut

PB&J Crunch Oatmeal
Follow basic recipe.
Top with: 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon jam, and a sprinkle of granola

Bacon and Cheese Oatmeal
Follow basic recipe.
Top with: 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled, 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese, 2 teaspoons maple syrup or balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or rosemary (optional)

Bread Pudding Oatmeal
Cut a slice of fruity bread, such as cinnamon raisin, into cubes. When oatmeal just starts to bubble and thicken, add bread cubes. Stir in 1 tablespoon raisins.
Top with: a pinch each of brown sugar and cinnamon and 1 tablespoon cream

Fluffy Banana Oatmeal
Add a thinly sliced very ripe banana to oats at the start of cooking. As oatmeal bubbles, whip the oats vigorously with a fork until banana slices melt away.
Top with: 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts and a drizzle of honey

Cooking tip: The basic version is easily doubled and can be made in advance. To reheat, add a few tablespoons of milk to the oatmeal and microwave 1 minute. Stir, and heat for another minute.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/2/2011 3:33AM

    These are great ideas! We eat oatmeal or porridge as we call it very often around here. Usually we put syrup and cinnamon on it and sometimes sugar free strawberry jam but maybe we will expand our porridge menu to include some of these now. Thanks!

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DARBOYMOM 2/22/2011 8:45PM

    I am cutting and pasting this blog entry into my recipe file on my computer. I love oatmeal, and these look like some interesting variations!
Thanks for sharing.

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MYSTERY4EVER 2/17/2011 10:22PM

    I have oatmeal most days. I do it in the microwave with water, not milk and leave out the salt. I usually just add maple syrup or some frozen berries, but I will have to try some of these other additions.

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OLIV0144 2/17/2011 9:41AM

    Oatmeal is very versatile... I love your suggestions! I usually stray on the boring side with old fashioned oats, flax seed and cinnamon.

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1BEACHWALKER 2/17/2011 1:03AM

    Yummy, never even thought of chocolate in oatmeal!All sound good! Now I am hungry-bye-gonna have some oatmeal! emoticon emoticon

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MEADSBAY 2/16/2011 9:41PM

    mmmmm... I love my oats!

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KJMPEACHES 2/16/2011 6:47PM

    Yummy! Sounds really good. Sure gonna give them a try! Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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SMILEYBEE 2/16/2011 3:54PM

    Thanks Maria ... I'm going to try some of these ideas! Thanks for sharing tibbits you pick up in magazines!

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RACHELRUNS26 2/16/2011 3:15PM

    Thanks for sharing! Right now I'm on a kick of having dried cranberries and milled flax seed in my oatmeal. I have been wanting to try it with PB (I think I will get some PB2 to save calories). I also make this pumpkin butter from canned pumpkin that is really good, and it is delish added to oatmeal. I should try it with that and some cottage cheese!

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ONEGREATCAT 2/16/2011 2:05PM

    I eat oatmeal several times a week. My favorite is to just add peanut butter. But now you've given me several more options. And I just happen to have fresh blueberries. (Guess what I'm going to have tomorrow?)

No matter how I make my oatmeal, I always add cinnamon to it. (Same goes with my yogurt...ALMOST always add cinnamon).

Thanks for passing along wonderful ideas!


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ISHIIGIRL 2/16/2011 12:29PM

    Mmm, these all sound really good and interesting. I love oatmeal. My favorite is peanut butter and banana oatmeal. I slice up 1/2 a banana and add 1 Tbsp of peanut butter a little cinnamon and a packet of truvia. Heavenly. I like to add chocolate and pb also, like a reese's peanut butter cup, yum!

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HOT4FITNESS 2/16/2011 11:38AM

    the blackberry pie one is very tempting. I may need to try it. Thanks for sharing!

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CARRENK 2/16/2011 11:33AM

    I find oatmeal is one of the best breakfast options for keeping me satisfied until lunch. I like it with diced apple or pears and a little cinnamon and brown sugar, but I definitely plan to try a few of these variations!

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COOKWITHME65 2/16/2011 11:21AM

    Hi Maria,
Funny I just bought that magazine last night to bring to my Mom today. I flipped thru it a bit but wanted to keep it new looking for her. She will give it to me when she is done. I did see something that I want to tear out of that book thou for motivation. I was thinking of posting a blog on it. Its the picture of Elena, a painter on page 80. It caught my interest and I have looked at it often since buying the mag. I love her haircut. The gray two tones, the long bangs and the layers. I have long hair right now but would love something like this. Maybe for my Birthday in August. Wish my hair was gray already cause I thing she looks beautiful. I also took a likeness to her style. I have the same clothes in my closet but they don't fit YET. I love to dress up jeans with heels and a jacket. She is my new inspiration photo.

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ROSEWCI 2/16/2011 11:18AM

    LOVIN' the sound of the pumpkin-cottage cheese oatmeal! Altho, fluffy banana oatmeal looks pretty good too! I'll give it a try!

Thanks Maria! I know we can always count on you to keep us apprised of fun foods & healthy options! You are appreciated!

Comment edited on: 2/16/2011 11:19:07 AM

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GLASSYJEN 2/16/2011 11:16AM

  Thanks for sharing!!! I just recently started eating oatmeal and this gives me a different variety to choose from!!

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Interesting Point: Tea revs your natural calorie burn

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I was reading a booklet produced by Prevention Magazine called: "Prevention Guide Weight Loss."

This little tidbit caught my eye.
I so enjoy a tall glass of brewed ice tea or a steamy cup in the evening.

Tea revs your natural calorie burn:

Catechins found in green and oolong teas can boost the body's fatburning fire. One study of Japanese women found that just one large cup of oolong tea increased calorie burning by up to 10%, a boost that peaked 1-1/2 hours later. Green tea raised metabolism by 4% for 1-1/2 hours.

It also gave this tip: Try cup of green or oolong tea in place of your morning coffee. Add a splash of lemon, which may help your body absorb more catechins.

Just what are 'catechins' anyway?

Catechins are a type of antioxidant found in the greatest abundance in the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. In smaller amounts, they are found in other foods such as red wine, chocolate, berries, and apples. The health benefits of tea catechins have been under close examination since the 1990s, due to the strong association of tea with long life and health in many ancient cultures.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILLOW-WALKING 2/17/2011 1:59AM

    I recently (well since starting SP truth be told)stopped drinking coffee altogether. Before SP, coffee was the only thing I ever drank.
Now it's water and tea, black with NO sugar every day and I can't tell you how much better I feel.... emoticon emoticon emoticon

I will never forget that week of stopping my coffee intake!! I had headaches, the shakes and felt so totally awful. It really made me wonder, if it was so addictive and so hard to stop with all the withdrawal symptoms I felt, WHAT, HAD IT BEEN DOING TO ME.... emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 2/17/2011 1:01AM

    I also just read recently that 2 cups of green tea everyday helps clear up plaque build up in the arteries! I have been drinking it ever since. Thanks for sharing! I love all kinds of tea! emoticon

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COOKWITHME65 2/16/2011 11:22AM

    I love green tea. Just bought a new box at the chinese market the other day.

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SHELLEY147 2/16/2011 10:04AM

    I LOVE my tea!! Drink iced tea quite often....we always have it in the fridge. Glad to know it's boosting my metabolism!! :)

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NPDSLEUTH 2/16/2011 9:04AM

    Isn't Prevention the best? I love that magazine. I often have two of the same issue just because I hate waiting for the one in the mail (and I'm crazy).

There's something so elegant about drinking tea, isn't there? As you know, I'm a coffee girl BUT this has given me new motivation to get that tea going in the afternoon. what the heck -- I have an adorable tea pot I have YET to use.

Thanks for posting. Nikki

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TELLITFORWARD 2/16/2011 2:22AM

  About five years ago you could go online and spend lots of money at a site to buy ulong tea for weight loss. Well, we went to an Asian store, and it was $10 for 150 teabags. They serve it in Chinese restaurants, which may explain why you digest food better.
I don't dislike it, but have and always will be a fan of the dark stuff; black tea and very dark chocolate! I can choke down green tea, but haven't developped a taste for it. But, I am not a coffee drinker, and do limit my tea consumption. I just inhale deeply and enjoy it when I do have my daily cuppa. I bet there are good things in the black stuff, too.

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ROSEWCI 2/15/2011 2:25PM

    Isn't that something! I began drinking tea because it was just the thing I needed to warm me on those chilly nights! And since it's hot, I sip it & it lasts a long time! I've tried many kinds...& haven't found a tea I dislike yet! I'm not certain it with ever replace my morning coffee tho...

Enjoy your daily emoticon my friend!

Thanks for the post!

Comment edited on: 2/15/2011 2:27:38 PM

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MEADSBAY 2/15/2011 1:23PM

    LOVE my tea!

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SMILEYBEE 2/15/2011 12:02PM

    Good info! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to add drinking green tea in place of less healthy options to my mental checklist (now where did I put that list?) ... emoticon

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BLESSEDGIGI 2/15/2011 11:42AM

    Thanks, this is good to know. I like green tea, but haven't had any in a while will have to get some more.

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ISHIIGIRL 2/15/2011 11:33AM

    yup, love green tea. Thanks for sharing.

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ALICIA214 2/15/2011 11:28AM


Good to know. Thank you for the info. I enjoy a cup of green tea.

Have a Happy Day. emoticon

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SISTAGIRL86 2/15/2011 11:26AM

  I plan on making the switch from my regulat coffee to green tea...I love mine with honey and lots of lemon juice, which I heard kicks up the nutrients in green tea.

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Late-Breaking Chocolate Bulletin - Time Magazine, February 21, 2011 Issue

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We ALL knew CHOCOLATE was GOOD for us!

I just read this short article in Time magazine:

Good News for Chocolate Lovers; not only can your favorite indulgence improve your overall cholesterol levels, but researchers now know why it works that magic. Japanese investigators have found that polyphenols in cocoa attach to genes in the liver and intestines, activating the ones that produce HDL, or good cholesterol, as well as those that help suppress LDL, or bad cholesterol.

So, enjoy that 'healthy, dark chocolate' in moderation for Valentine's Day - without any guilt!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NPDSLEUTH 2/16/2011 9:05AM

    That's pretty cool -- sigh, I'm an addict though so can't start. When I can finally trust myself around food, I'll certainly give it a while, though. Thanks for posting. Nikki

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PETUNIAPIG 2/14/2011 8:24AM

    Ok, if you insist!! emoticon

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BIGMAMAT 2/14/2011 7:51AM

    Yay!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 2/14/2011 6:40AM

    emoticon I just KNEW something GOOD was in it!

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LADYIRISH317 2/13/2011 12:47PM

    That's all I need to hear!

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LILLYPILLY24 2/13/2011 2:05AM

    Hey, thanks for sharing the good news!!

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1BEACHWALKER 2/13/2011 12:57AM

    I also read that they are much better in antioxidants than some veggies! I say we can replace them for some of our veggie portions! emoticon

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MEADSBAY 2/12/2011 9:44PM


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DECEMBERFIRE 2/12/2011 9:20PM

    emoticon I do emoticon me some emoticon

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DRPOOH63 2/12/2011 9:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 2/12/2011 9:09PM

    I keep reading more and more about dark chocolate...great news isn't it? :)


Happy Valentines Day! Hope you and your hubby have a "sweet time".

emoticon emoticon

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Walking is the prescribed medicine, for now!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Walking is the prescribed medicine, for now!

In December I had an acute back attack – a muscle spasm in my lower back.
I have had back issues since giving birth to my daughter nearly 21 years ago. I also seem to come from a family with back issues. I have a younger brother who had back surgery in his early 30’s. And a younger sister who has been able to side-step back surgery, like I have been able to do. Both of my parents and another brother deal with back spasms, too. I always thought maybe I had these issues because I was overweight. I am sure extra weight does not help the situation. The only other person with weight issues is my mother – the rest are in normal weight ranges.

In 1999, I was diagnosed with three herniated discs in my lower spine. I had a MRI and a consultation and follow-up with a neurosurgeon at that time. (No surgery!) Months of physical therapy and some chiropractic care have helped me greatly over the years. It has been several years since I have had an acute back spasm. I blame this latest episode on the fact that I did some ‘high-impact’ aerobics on the day before I worked at the ballot recount for Minnesota governor on November 29th, 2010. I had to sit on a steel folding chair for seven and a half hours. I am sure my posture was off and we really didn’t have time to get up and stretch or walk. Bad move on my part. Anyway, on November 30th I did another long session of ‘high-impact’ aerobics. I had been doing interval training and it was very helpful in nudging along my weight loss. So, on December 1st, I was sweeping my kitchen floor and I bent over with a dust pan and got the back spasm at the stressful angle.

I went to my chiropractor and practiced days of self-help treatments. All the while, I continued to walk gently. Eventually I was feeling better and started to increase my exercise intensity.

By mid-January I was having some other pains or sensations. I ended up making an appointment to see my doctor. He diagnosed me with ‘minor pelvic prolapse.’ I got a referral to Physical Therapy. Last Thursday I had my initial evaluation and was given several exercises to help strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. I was also told to eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.), carbonated beverages, alcohol and aspartame/sugar substitutes for 2 weeks. I can slowly reintroduce those back into my diet (one cup/item every 2-3 days). I am to practice diaphragmatic breathing.

My Physical Therapist did tell me that even ‘a young, physically fit woman’ can have pelvic floor weakness from the pressure of jogging. I will ask more questions next week when I go back for additional follow up. Well, I had back issues, plus I think I was really developing those lower abdominal muscles – BUT I wasn’t doing anything to strengthen my floor. Hopefully, the exercises I am doing will help this situation to improve.

I can walk. So I am walking with Leslie Sansone, like I have been doing – only not doing the high impact sessions of her DVD’s. I can tell that I am not getting the ‘fat-burning’ results that the interval training and the higher impact exercises were providing. I didn’t lose any weight this week, since I started my more restricted exercise program last Thursday.

I have to accept the fact that for now, I am limited in my activity. But that doesn’t mean I can’t walk. Walking is good exercise. I am tempted to increase my exercise time a bit. I think the better revision would be for me to eat in the lower range of my calorie range. I had been eating in the middle range. That’s where I was eating last week and didn’t see a change on the scale. But, last week, I felt I had an exceptional weight loss. More than I felt it should have been. So maybe it’s another mini-plateau. I will hang in there and keep doing what I can.

It’s just a bump in my road to healthy living. It’s not major road construction! LOL!

Thank you, everyone for your continued support! It means the world to me!
~ Maria~

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 2/21/2011 5:06AM

    I know what back pain/spasms are all about. Although I don't have herniated disks, I have arthiritis in my mid back and it can sieze me up pretty good sometimes if I overdo! Plus, I have fibromyalgia-which is having clenched muscles all the time. I hope you do better with the therapy and all. Chiropractic has helped me greatly over the past 15-16 years! I am just starting to do interval training with walking and I really like it. I find when I do the walking that is when the pounds start coming off! Keep being positive-hang in there! emoticon

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NPDSLEUTH 2/16/2011 9:07AM

    When I first started all of this, I began by walking (probably most of us did) and of course it's amazing! I have no doubt you'll do great with this -- you GO girl.

Funny because I have so many "walking" books -- and there used to be a magazine called "walking." I know that sounds silly, but they really are motivating, at least to me, because you find out all of the true benefits from what seems such a simple exercise.

GOOD for you!

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GRACEISENUF 2/12/2011 8:48PM

    I agree with our friend Nancy...walking is the best. Aspartame has so very many ill side effects, hopefully you can cut it our completely. I never realized just how deadly the stuff was until recently. All artificial sweetners are horrible for our health. I like SP coach Nancy was a diet coke fiend. She gave it up over two years ago and inspired me to ditch it also.

I hope you feel 100% better really soon.

Saw your friend feed comment and I want you to know I certainly appreciate all of your support and kind words. So glad to call you spark friend!


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COOKWITHME65 2/11/2011 12:23PM

    At least you have a diagnosis and a plan Maria. You have a great collection of walking videos to keep you moving and you won't have a problem with your restrictions. You are a determined woman. You stay focused and at the long term benifit of things. That's one of the things I love about you. Take care of yourself and be careful of that ice. If you haven't already assigned the sweeping and the loading and unloading of the dishwasher to your family yet you should. The twisting and the bending is not good for your back right now.

emoticon - Kristan

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ONEGREATCAT 2/11/2011 10:17AM

You're not alone. Although my "scaleback" has to do with my knees. I'm not sure why I'm having far more trouble than usual, but have decided to just scale back on my exercise (particularly the "jogging" which I was just getting into) until I have my regular doctor's appointment the latter part of March.

I agree that it's frustrating BUT we CAN and WILL get over those bumps!!!! One step at a time!

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BIGMAMAT 2/11/2011 7:51AM

    Oh my goodness. NO CHOCOLATE??? I think your PT has a direct line to SATAN! emoticon

just kidding. emoticon

They proplably are thinking that the caffine is contributing to the back spasms...

The important thing is that you continue on your quest to a healthier you. I know you have the desire to do more, but you have to listen to your body.

Leslie is AWESOME. Keep moving honey!

The important thing is that we get you feeling better! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 2/10/2011 7:23PM

    WHAT! NO CHOCOLATE???!! Why no chocolate???

Seems to me that under the circumstances, MORE chocolate would be in order! Don't ya think! emoticon

(oh, I know the reason...just kiddin'!)

Seriously tho, I know how frustrating it must be w/the limitations & the restrictions imposed on your weight loss efforts & your fitness routine. But, following doctor's orders IS the best medicine! And you'll be back to your interval training w/Leslie in no time! And you're right! Walking is good exercise! The best in my book!

You're a trooper Maria! Lovin' the CAN DO spirit! Some would use this situation to slide on the exercise & take time off...but not you! Your determination & perseverence is admirable! You're not letting ANYTYHING stand in your way! What an inspiration you are my friend!

You go girl! emoticon

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DRLCORNETT 2/10/2011 5:18PM

    Walking can be great exercise! The most important thing is to keep active :)

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DARBOYMOM 2/10/2011 3:48PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. I get minor little back pains once in awhile, but nothing compared to what you're going through. I think given your situation, shooting for maintaining for now would be an admirable goal. I love Leslie Sansone -- I have a bunch of here DVD's but haven't used them in a long time. I feel like now that I'm paying for a gym membership, I should use it, and I've been using the EA Sports Active on Playstation when I don't want to drive to the gym. Glad you're a Leslie fan too -- walking is soooo good!
I pray you heal quickly!!


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REEDSKI 2/10/2011 2:38PM

    If everyone walked we'd have a much healthier society!
I need to get back to walking. I've been remiss.
Hey, I saw your blog title about the digital scale. I'm going to go read it right now. Sounds interesting.

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SP_COACH_NANCY 2/10/2011 11:06AM

  Walking is a great exercise! I hope you feel better soon!

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MRSBENNETT2 2/9/2011 11:13PM

    Good for you for staying positive and not just giving up! Being healthy will speed your healing whenever you are ill or down for the count. I hope your back issue resolves quickly - it's not fun to be gimped up.

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MEADSBAY 2/9/2011 6:22PM

    I'm in PT, as well, for my hip bursitis and I am following her directions exactly.
I'm paying $150 a week that I don't have so I better!
I also have had to scale back my workouts and have been eating less because of that.
Make sure you don't eat too little for too long- your metabolism will suffer.


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HOT4FITNESS 2/9/2011 5:58PM

    I love the positive attitude!!! We all go through those bumps in the road sometimes and we deal with the setback and move forward. Sounds like you have a great medical team doing all they can do to get you better. Keep up with the walking! You are doing so well!! Keep up the good work! Keep us posted.

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SHELLEY147 2/9/2011 5:51PM

    oh, Maria...I'm so happy your getting some PT. Take it easy and do as your told (said that in my best Mommy voice, could you tell?)! I hope all improves for you soon. ~hugs~

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CARRENK 2/9/2011 5:40PM

    Maria, glad to hear the PT visit was positive. Keep taking care of that back - your weight loss will slow a lot more if you are out of commission. Good luck, and keep walking!

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"Muscle Your Way to More Willpower" ~ Prevention Magazine

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Got the March issue of Prevention magazine and was reading it this afternoon.

Just read a short article on using muscle for more willpower.

Will share it with you:

From Prevention Magazine, March ~ 2011

Muscle Your Way to More Willpower
Next time a cupcake calls to you from a bakery window, make a fist and keep walking. Clenching any of your muscles increase willpower - it's like a mental metaphor for resisting temptation, says Aparna Labroo, PhD, of the University of Chicago, author of a new study. Health-conscious people who tightened a muscle while selecting food from a snack bar were more likely to pass up decadent treats and opt for good-for-you fruit. Caveats: You have to be focused on healthy eating, and you have to clench the muscle while facing the dilemma. - by Brittany Risher.

I'll try this and see the next time the opportunity presents it's self.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLIV0144 2/9/2011 9:59AM

    I read that too but forgot...thank you for sharing it! Maybe now I'll remember that strategy when I need it emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 2/8/2011 4:05AM

    How about clenching the hip muscles a few times. Thinking if I eat this it would make my hips bigger! Just saying.....good information, will try anything! We all need to increase our willpower! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 2/7/2011 8:16PM

    Huh! I wonder why? I would think it's about making the effort a conscious one. Huh! Well, I'll give it try! Who knows!

It may help! Whatever works! emoticon Thanks!

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DARBOYMOM 2/7/2011 10:28AM

    Wow - that certainly sounds like it's worth a try! At this point, I would try just about anything to avoid those tempting snacks -- something I've been struggling with.
for sharing the tip!

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PETUNIAPIG 2/6/2011 9:51PM

    Ok, this will sound really, really weird... but when I'm faced with temptation I'll pinch my belly fat!! Works for me!!


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SHELLEY147 2/6/2011 5:42PM

    I never knew this! I will most definitely try it a few minutes...when I have to walk past the cookies my mom decided to make! Give me strength!

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MEADSBAY 2/6/2011 5:05PM

    cool- will try to remember this!

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SMILEYBEE 2/6/2011 5:02PM

    I'll give it a try!

emoticon (It worked with this one... emoticon)

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HOT4FITNESS 2/6/2011 3:59PM

    Great information!! Let's try it out. Anything to help with the willpower!!

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