Ultimate (quick) oatmeal

More often than not, my days are a little crunched for time.

That’s not a complaint. It’s just reality.

To cope with this, I’ve learned how to manage and prioritize my time. Time with Dan, working out, school and work all go at the top (in varying orders, depending on the day). Next come less urgent and necessary things, such as making my bed. Finally, at the bottom of the list are little goals or non-time sensitive ideas.

For as skilled as I have become at managing this, there are still time when 24-hours are simply not enough to accomplish even my top priorities.

Right off the bat, I knew that today was going to be one of those days.

The snooze button was a little over-utilized this morning, so I needed to make breakfast speedy without sacrificing satiety.

Ultimate microwave oatmeal tips

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C oats + 2 T oats (divided)
  • Just less than 2/3 C water (despite my love of calcium, water works best for microwave oatmeal)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 T sugar-free jelly
  • 1 T peanut butter
  • 1/4 C frozen blueberries (or strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)

Directions:

  • In microwave-safe, high-rimmed bowl, combine 1/3 C oats with water, cinnamon and vanilla. Cover with napkin (to avoid potential splatter) and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Remove, stir and cook for an additional 15-25 seconds, as needed.
  • Top with remaining 2 T raw oats, jelly, peanut butter and frozen blueberries.

I love this method, because it allows me to get the best of both world: Convenience of the microwave with the good, chewy texture I get from stove-top cooking.

And, as is always the case with oatmeal, the options for toppings are endless. These are just some of my classic suggestions…

Thanks to the speedy preparation, I was able to leave for class with time to spare. That was a good thing, too, because the rest of my morning was pretty non-stop.

The next real break came when I met up with my friend Mandy for lunch.

As per usual, we had a good time catching up, complaining chatting about journalism and taking a moment from our busy days to breathe.

Although lunch gave me an opportunity to slow down and collect myself, I had to just right back into action with more class and some interviews for a project I’m working on (and can’t wait to share details of!).

Then, I knew I needed to get homework done, but I was too burnt out of the newsroom, so I decided to go home. Alas, there were even more distractions there and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to focus.

Since I was simultaneously craving a caffeine boost, I decided to head over to a coffee shop to get my work in. I was planning on a boring ol’ cup of joe, but when I saw an advertisement for a seasonal pumpkin spice latte, I was sold.

And, by the time I heard that a small cup was still going to cost me $3.91, it was too late to back out. Oh well, a girl’s gotta splurge every now and then.

What really made it worth it, though, was that I was able to get in some really solid work. I would have kept the momentum going, but I had to go back to the newsroom for a weekly meeting.

By the time that was done, I was both hungry for dinner and eager for a mental break. And, in good timing, Dan called me the exact moment I stepped out of the meetings. I told him to meet me at my house in a little bit for some quality relaxation.

I beat him to my house, so I threw together a quick dinner and was ready to sit down right when the doorbell rang.

Dan and I spent the next couple hours sitting firmly on the couch, catching up on some NBC comedies (30 Rock is my favorite!) and having some fun of our own…

All in all, the day was pretty successful. In fact, the only item on my “top priority list” that went unchecked was working out.

I’d be lying to say that wasn’t a mental struggle for me. I always have some guilt when I go a day without working out. However, when I felt those feelings creeping up, I asked myself, “How will this really benefit me today?” The answer honestly was that it might clear my conscience, but it would also tire me out and make me stressed about everything else.

When it was laid out like that, it was a clear decision for me to take a day off. I’ll be back to it with more energy and less stress tomorrow.

Question: What does your priority list look like?

My priority list is usually centered around two components: health and happiness. However, I’ve learned that happiness really should never be sacrificed for health.

Friday Fragments: When I was growing up, I would beg my mom to take me to McDonald’s. Although my ignorant taste-buds did like the chicken McNuggets and french fries, I was really after the Happy Meal toy.

I even remember going to McDonald’s at the crack of dawn to get the newest “Teenie Beanie Baby.”

The food was just secondary, but it certainly didn’t go to waste.

That means that as a “teenie” kid, I was consuming hundreds of calories, dozens of grams of fat and more sodium than is needed to sail a ship.

Although I think it’s an action well overdue, it seems that some cities are beginning to take more firm action against the direct-to-child advertising that fast food restaurants employ with free toys.

For example, on Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banned fast food places from offering toys with foods that didn’t meet nutritional standards. And, because Burger King is yet to offer a Kids Meal with salad and fruit, the San Francisco law is effectively a ban on kids meals in general.

Personally, I think this is an admirable move on the part of San Francisco to pick up the slack where fast food restaurants have failed to. It will just be interesting to see how effective it is.

Thoughts?

 

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3 responses to “Ultimate (quick) oatmeal

  • christina

    I just heard about them taking away toys in Calif. How cool! I think I like it! 🙂

  • Lucy Glover

    Teenie Beanie Babies – brings back so many funny memories. They came out while we were traveling on a vacation with our best friends. We stopped at every McDonalds along the way to our destination until we found all four kids the newest beanie baby to add to their collection. Ask Dan if he remembers that with the Knox’s. I still have them in a box in the attic because we were told that they would be worth millions some day if we had the entire collection. I am the perfect sucker consumer, am I not? Do you also remember collecting the mini Baribies from around the world. Yep, I am embarrased to say that I have that entire collection in the attic also. I should have part ownership in McDonalds! McDonalds french fries was Claire’s first finger food, back before I read labels and thought getting off of deep fried southern cooking was all I needed to do in order to be healthy. We have come a long way as a nation. I am glad they are cracking down on the kid’s meals, but still have a soft spot for the toys.

  • Megan

    Whoa I think that is awesome they banned the toys w/ those yucky meals!! I remember teenie beanies too. Oh and I need to start adding blueberries to my oats- I forgot how much I love that!

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