Spring had sprung. I wore shorts. I wore flip-flops. I sat on Foss and ate ice cream. Then, Mother Nature decided that spring was only an April Fool’s joke and delivered a weekend of cold temperatures, rain, wind, and of course, snow. Shorts went away, flip-flops went back into hiding, and cravings for ice cream vanished. I needed winter survival foods again, something to keep me warm while walking from Usdan to the Butts. Oatmeal stepped up to the plate.

Sometimes oatmeal gets a bad rap as mushy old people food. However, just listen to all these happy Amazon.com reviewers!

“I love and enjoy a bowl of oats, especially on a cold, raining morning,” said one reviewer.

“Ah, yum. Nice and warm in the tummy,” said another satisfied customer.

“Been eating it for 60 years and I’m still here. That speaks volumes,” said a third five-star reviewer. “I like it because you can throw in all kinds of goodies to vary the taste.”

Yes indeed, you can add lots of goodies to oatmeal. Listed below are ways to make oatmeal taste less like cardboard and more like dessert!

Some of these recipes are Usdan-friendly; all of the ingredients can be found during brunch or breakfast. The others require a few extra goodies and can be prepared in a dorm room microwave.

The liquid amounts listed below are for old fashioned oats, but recipes can be adjusted for instant oats, steel-cut oats, or oats of any other ilk. Just follow instructions on the package.

To prepare amazing bowls of oatmeal, combine all ingredients and microwave for about 2 1/2-3 minutes.

Banana Bread Oatmeal:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup water or milk + 1 mashed banana + 1/4 cup chopped walnuts + 1 tbsp. chocolate chips

Almond Joy Oatmeal:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup water or milk + at least 1 tbsp. chocolate chips + 1/4 cup chopped almonds + 1/4 cup coconut

Cake Batter Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup water or milk + 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder + 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract + drizzle of maple syrup + sprinkles! + optional candle to make a wish

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 2/3 cup water or milk + 1/4 cup applesauce + 1/4 cup shredded carrots + 1 tbsp. brown sugar

Brownie Batter Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup water or chocolate milk + 2 tbsp. cocoa powder + favorite sweetener to taste

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup water + 1 tbsp. peanut butter + 1 tbsp. jelly + 1 finely chopped apple

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