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Recipe: Oatmeal Expresso

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have wondered why I was conducting top secret oatmeal experiments last month. Wonder no more! As a part of the Quaker Oats Living Proof weekend I attended, Quaker challenged the attendees to come up with a new oatmeal recipe that met certain nutritional guidelines. The prize was an all-expense paid trip to Lafayette, Colorado for the 12th Annual Quaker Oatmeal Festival. That was great, but the part about free ski passes sounded more enticing. I love me some oatmeal, but the idea of the world’s largest topping bar isn’t quite enough motivation for me to conduct oatmeal experiments in my kitchen top secret lab. I decided 1 in 16 odds were pretty damn good for winning anything, so I started doing unholy things to instant oats.

I remembered that Quaker Oats is owned by the same company that makes Diet Pepsi as well as other products like Tropicana and Lays Potato Chips, as illustrated in this photo of the lobby above. (This photo also makes me think “I need to lose 10 pounds” which is why I didn’t post it before. Oh, body image, how you toy with me!) I decided to suck up real good by cooking a bowl of quick oats in Diet Pepsi.

Please don’t try this at home. (No, really, don’t. You have been warned.)

After spitting out that hideous concoction into the trash, I remembered a commenter who told me mangoes and hot sauce tasted good together. Entries were going to be judged on creativity as well as convenience and taste. Intrigued, I bought some mangoes with the idea of naming my creation Tropical Spicy Delight. Then I actually ate mangoes and hot sauce together and decided that was a worse idea than Lays Potato Chip Oatmeal.

Out of inspiration, I looked in my cupboards and saw that I stored my oatmeal right next to the instant coffee. (Uh, yes, that’s Kroger brand oatmeal. Don’t tell the Quaker Oats people!)

Having recently become a coffee addict, I said, “What the hell! Let’s just mix a cup of coffee in with the oatmeal! It’ll save me time in the morning.” So I did and it didn’t taste half bad, at least after I added the sweetener and milk. It didn’t have many ingredients, though we could add up to 10, but I decided it was convenient and fairly tasty. My brother, who just graduated from business school, said coffee flavorings were hot. Thus, I named it Oatmeal Expresso and sent it in.

The deadline passed and I hadn’t heard anything, so I thought one of the food bloggers had kicked my ass by using real ingredients like fruit.

Then I got a voice mail saying Quaker had very exciting news for me and to call them back please. Unfortunately I got the message after office hours and had to wait a day to find out what they wanted. The optimistic part of me hoped I had won, but the pessimistic part made me think I was one of two finalists who would have to fly to New York for a sudden death round of oatmeal wrestling. The really pessimistic part of me imagined the other finalist would be Miz Fit, whose eyeballs are more in shape than my entire body.

I finally called them back the next day and guess what? Oh no, you already guessed? Well, you’re right! I won! And I didn’t have to force another blogger into a hammer lock to do so. It made me so happy I got off my ass and ran for 30 minutes, which is something I have not been doing enough of lately.

In many ways this has been both the best and worst year of my life. It’s been like eating an ice cream cake covered in fecal flavored frosting. There’s been a lot of creamy, vanilla, chocolate goodness, but there’s been a lot of shit too. It’s nice to know that good things can still happen.

So, I shall go to the oatmeal festival and I shall visit the world’s largest topping bar and I shall report back to you, assuming I do not go splat into a tree on the bunny slopes.

Here is my winning recipe, Oatmeal Expresso, which I also considered naming these titles, many of them inspired by Mo’s oat puns:

Capp-oat-ccino Delight

Morning Moch-oat Delight

Mocha Cup-of-oats Delight

Mocha Oats in the morning

Morning Moch-oat Surprise

Morning Mocha Express-oats

Cappuccino Express-oats

Cappuccin-oat Delight

Oatmeal Expresso

3/4 cup Quaker Quick Oats

2 teaspoons instant coffee

3 teaspoons Splenda

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 cup water

Save time in the morning by combining your cup of coffee with a heart healthy breakfast. Quick and easy, this recipe will give you a shot of energy in the morning that also keeps you full until lunch time.

Combine the Quaker Quick Oats, instant coffee and Splenda. Mix in the skim milk and water. Microwave the mixture for one minute and 45 seconds. Enjoy!

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barbara • December 14, 2008 at 9:20 am

Wow, PQ, you ROCK!! I have to admit I would never eat what you invented because I wouldn’t eat most of the ingredients themselves, but congrats on winning — it really IS a good idea and I can see why they chose it. So does this mean you’re coming back to New York??


PastaQueen • December 14, 2008 at 9:44 am

@barbara – Alas, no. No trips to New York, just Colorado.


G.G. • December 14, 2008 at 10:10 am

Hey, congrats, PQ! That’s fantastic!

I hear you about this year being a mix of best/worst times. Thank goodness there’s a new one coming up all fresh and shiny.

(Have you been to Colorado before? Maybe going someplace new (and so beautiful) can soften the blow of it not being to NY)


Lyn • December 14, 2008 at 10:44 am

Holy crap, thats so simple it’s genius! WTG, PQ. I didn’t enter because I really wanted YOU to win. Or because I can’t run off and go skiing with a toddler. Take your pick :)


Deb • December 14, 2008 at 11:21 am

Congrats! I still wish I liked oatmeal (mine was the haiku that compared its smell to that of wet cardboard, and I’m standing by it). Nonetheless, I’m proud of and happy for you. I also loved your cake analogy. I had a friend in college who used to say “Life is a shit sandwich. Eat it or starve.” Your image is a little more optimistic, or at least balanced. Anyway, way to go. Enjoy your free trip. Winning anything is awesome, isn’t it? Good to see a post, too. It felt like a while since we’d heard from you. Good luck with the running (again) and the skiing (I hate/fear slippery things)! Love you.


Kimberly • December 14, 2008 at 11:26 am


I’m a coffee freak too and this sounds heavenly. I’m going to have this for breakfast sometime this week.


rachael • December 14, 2008 at 11:28 am

Congrats!!! Have fun!

50 or so years ago Quaker had a contest asking people to send in a recipe. My Grandma sent in an oatmeal cake recipe. She won! They sent her five bucks and the recipe appeared on the oats container. (I think it still does from time to time.)

She actually cheated. She found the recipe she submitted in a magazine. I tease her that Quaker is going to find out and come collect the five dollars.


Erin • December 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

That’s fantastic. Congratulations!


Yet Another Jenny • December 14, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Wooooot! Go PQ! That is so cool!


s • December 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm


now i know for sure i can count on you for wacky oatmeal recipes.

i also thought this post was funny.


Kristen • December 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Wow. Ice cream cake with fecal covered frosting. In that metaphor you have summed up my feelings on 2008 as well. Just wow.

I’m excited you’ll get to go skiing! I haven’t been in forever, and we used to go every year when I was a kid, but my husband will NEVEREVEREVER put on skis and swoosh down a mountain with me. After Sonny Bono and that one Kennedy, I’d probably wear a helmet.

Congrats chica! Although I’m surprised by the instant coffee. Ugh.


ginna • December 14, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Super COOL! When I was growing up, the lady that babysat us always used coffee on her cornflakes instead of milk. My brother and I were mystified, but she explained that when her kids were little during the Depression, there was only enough milk for the kids.


still reading • December 14, 2008 at 3:50 pm

congrats on the win and all that, but out of that whole posting, you got me at the “coffee”. You have recently become a coffee addict and you’re drinking instant? dude, thats not coffee you’re drinking. It might be “coffee-like flavored” hot water, sort of like real chocolate flavor syrup is not chocolate, instant coffee is not coffee. had to be said. (and yes…I know they claim that it really IS dehydrated coffee…I just choose not to believe them, coffee is made from the best smelling thing on the planet, newly ground beans…ahhhhh) Oh, and really, congrats on the win. Your brother is right, coffee flavoring IS hot right now. See? how bad can the year be when you win a great trip from a random idea?


jane • December 14, 2008 at 3:56 pm


It’s espresso, but your spelling is to highlight the quick nature of the recipe, right?


Inny • December 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Frankly, the recipe sounded gross at first, but then I told myself I shouldn’t judge before I’ve tried it. I made the oatmeal and I was surprised that it tasted pretty good. Thanks for the idea and have fun in Colorado!


Susan • December 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm

CONGRATULATIONS, PQ!!! It takes someone with your endless creativity to come up with such a novel – and efficient! – oatmeal recipe. You rock!!!


dg • December 14, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Oh PQ your summary of this year is just so bang on… the best of times, the worst of times… and just when i think your metaphors couldn’t soar to new heights of brilliance, there you go :)

Congrats on winning the prize!


Sarah • December 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Congratulations! You’re an author and a recipe inventor, all in one year! This is seriously cool.

I hope you feel better soon, so 2008 will be just the ice cream cake sans the nasty frosting. (I cracked up when I read that.)


Kelly • December 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Awesome that you won but I’m not much of a coffee fan so I’ll skip the recipe for now. If I get desperate (since my every day breakfast is weight control instant oatmeal which comes only in 3 lovely flavors) then maybe I’ll try it out. I tried some chocolate protein powder in my oatmeal this morn and can we say, B to the ARF? Tasted like chalk. Berries, on the other hand…yummmm. I’m re-reading your book because I love your style and again, congrats on the win! Great things are happening for you!



s • December 14, 2008 at 8:38 pm

also, omg, based on the resurging popularity of oatmeal as a topic among various bloggers, i feel like i i must be the only person in the world who doesn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast. although i’m pretty close – granola and yogurt, every day without fail.


PastaQueen • December 14, 2008 at 9:02 pm

@still reading – I have dropped several hints to my family that I would like a coffee maker for Christmas. If it does happen, I’m hitting the after Xmas sales because, yes, instant coffee is like dehydrated crap.


Laura • December 14, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Congratulations, hon! What great news!

I’ve been eating cinnamon roll flavored oatmeal every day since I started dieting (21 lbs and counting, w00t!), and I just don’t ever get tired of it. If I’ve got some room in the calorie intake for the day, I sometimes have some before bed as a warm, cinnamony indulgence.

Pictures of skiing and topping bars, please! :D


Crystal • December 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm

That is so great!!! It is good that good things still happen. I must say my year has been more like tofu or popcorn with nothing on it. Not good, not bad, just bland. But a new year is coming soon.

:-) I am so happy you won.


Mary • December 14, 2008 at 10:13 pm

This photo also makes me think “I need to lose 10 pounds” which is why I didn’t post it before.

You look WONDERFUL. Just think how far you have come!!!

Congrats, recipe sounds great!!!


skaakiko • December 15, 2008 at 2:03 am

I wonder what oatmeal with Captain Crunch would taste like…Hmmm I may have to try that.


Kira • December 15, 2008 at 2:06 am

I’m sorry, I just HAVE to point out what was CLEARLY an oversight.

Chocolate? Even just a dusting of cocoa powder? For that perfect coffee/chocolate marriage of flavors?

I mean, for the love of all that is good and right – CHOCOLATE????

Have fun skiing…and topping.


kathy • December 15, 2008 at 2:52 am

You guys must have thriftstores in Indiana, no? I’m pretty sure they will have a very inexpensive and large variety of espresso and coffee machines available there. You might even find a grinder. Then it is just on to the search for the perfect bean.


shar • December 15, 2008 at 8:06 am

I am in awe that you could top the yummy Oatmeal Pancake recipe that is now one of my favs! You rock PQ. Have a fun, fun time on the trip!


Helen • December 15, 2008 at 9:03 am

While I can drink an entire pot of coffee all by myself, I do not like coffee flavored things… so I won’t be trying that oatmeal, but BIG UPS to you PQ!


Jen • December 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

Congratulations! How wonderful!



Shelley • December 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm

What a good idea to combine two breakfast items! I wouldn’t eat it myself (see my recent post involving oatmeal here: http://aforty-somethingsweightlossjourn.blogspot.com/2008/11/breakfast.html), but I’m happy that you won a trip to Colorado – have a great time!


Mehaul • December 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm

I tried it tastes fantastic


Becky • December 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Wow! CONGRATS! I was wondering if they had picked a winner for this. I’m impressed: you beat out some people who are seriously borderline psychotic about their oatmeal! Your recipe sounds easy enough, maybe I’ll give it a try! I like it because it only has a few ingredients in it. ‘Cuse lets be honest, who has jars of coconut butter/containers of wheatberries/handfuls of pom seeds just laying around???


Gina • December 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Congrats on the win, but I feel a bit cheated. I’ve been doing this for about a year. Quick oats and free company coffee for lunch. Why use hot water when hot coffee is right there and delicious.


nolafwug • December 15, 2008 at 6:12 pm

@s – Me too! Fruit, yogurt and granola with nuts and sometimes chocolate. Is that so wrong? I’ve never even tried oatmeal.


Melodee • December 16, 2008 at 3:16 am

I am SO happy for you! But the thought of coffee and oatmeal together makes me want to retch. And I say that in the nicest way possible. I loathe coffee.

But congratulations! You totally rock!


Kath • December 16, 2008 at 8:22 am

OMG! Congrats PastaQueen! Have fun on those ski slopes ;)


Stephanie Quilao • December 17, 2008 at 6:05 am

I remember in Chicago that you said something to the effect that you probably wouldn’t win because you’d just throw in 2-3 ingredients and water. And look, you pretty much did that and won..LOL!

Congrats! Will we be seeing you at the Top Chef tryouts next season??


Angie All The Way • December 18, 2008 at 11:11 am

Congratulations!!! That’s frikkin genius! Tomorrow morning, I’m going to try coffee in my oats :-) Great job…although a sudden death round of oatmeal wrestling would have been something to see! lol


Amy • December 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

You have probably gotten this a bunch, but I don’t know because I don’t read other people’s comments. But I for one think you look adorable in that picture.


Dave Grotto, RD • March 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm

By the way, it will appear as “Capp-oat-ccino Delight” in my book iwth the yummy agave syrup swap-out – thanks for the contribution!!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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