My New Secret Ingredient


Good morning!

I’m heading to work a wee bit late today because I’m attending the Iowa Tourism Conference a couple hours away, for the next couple days, and won’t be leaving ’til late morning – whee!

I still got up at 5:15am to walk with my Mom (holy 42 degrees!) but have been enjoying a luxurious, leisurely morning filled with The Today Show and a cup of hot coffee ever since. I could get used to this… ;)

I thought and thought about what to make for breakfast, and finally decided on a warm bowl of Maple Pumpkin Vanilla Oats. MMMM!!


Topped with my new, favorite secret ingredient French Vanilla Coffee Creamer. I usually use 1/2 & 1/2 + a spoonful of sugar in my morning coffee, but this guy was on sale at the store last week and I couldn’t resist.


It’s got a few ingredients that I don’t especially love, but a spoonful in my java is just fine. And tasty!


Plus it’s make an EXCELLENT, sweet drizzle over my irresistible oats. :)


In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • dash of maple extract & cinnamon
  • sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon French Vanilla coffee creamer


Seriously, SERIOUSLY amazing!!


Tip: whenever I have leftover pumpkin, or tomato paste, I put it in a plastic bag and freeze it flat. Whenever I need some, I just break off a hunk and pop it back in the freezer! :D


In other news, I watched the cutest movie this weekend – Letters to Juliet.


Usually I’m not a chick-flick kind of gal, but I HEART Amanda Seyfried, plus the movie was set in Italy, so I gave in and watched. It was soooo adorable! A bit long for the average Jane, but super cute nonetheless and a movie I’d probably watch over and over again if I owned it. ps I kind of think Amanda Seyfried should have played Bella in Twilight. I’m just saying…

Tell me, what movies could you watch over and over again?

Mine include Elf, Little Women (the ultimate chick flick movie, I guess!) and The Hangover.


With that, I’m off! I’ll be gone ’til Friday afternoon, but I’ve got a great guest post from my big bro coming up tonight, some awesome tailgating recipes that you’ve got to whip up this weekend coming Wednesday evening, and a Dummies Guide to Digital Photography on Thursday. I think you’ll really like these!

See you!

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  1. I do that same thing :) I love pouring a little hazelnut coffeemate on top of my oats :)

  2. Oo I’m looking forward to the photography post!

  3. Have a fun trip girl! I freeze my tomato pasta like that too… so much more manageable since I never use the entire can.
    And favorite movies? Ahhh that is like asking for my favorite song! Not quite sure, but When Harry Met Sally would be one of them. :)

  4. what a GREAT idea for leftover tomato sauce + pumpkin!! I’m going to do this!! :D

    I can totally watch the Hangover over and over… also The Blindside, Devil Wears Prada, Caddyshack. :D

  5. Mimi 10.19.2010

    Oh my gosh, she would have been so much better in Twilight! I know the Bella character is supposed to behave a certain way, but Kristen Stewart is just too moody.

  6. so jealous! have fun on your trip!! i loveee business trips haha! i could (and do) watch my best friend’s wedding, elf, and the break up. i went through a phase where i popped in the break up every single night for a few weeks. now that the holidays are approaching, elf will be playing on repeat!

  7. Julie 10.19.2010

    I’ve been away from reading my favorite blogs lately, and I just happened to check into yours this morning. It looks like you’re coming to my town for the Tourism Conference, so I hope Burlington doesn’t disappoint!

    I do some design work for a store downtown called Original Cyns, and I know you guys will be touring the store Thursday. It’s definitely a place worth checking out, so bring your checkbook!

  8. Stephanie 10.19.2010

    You definitely have to check out Dear John – I loved that movie!!!!

  9. Emily 10.19.2010

    I think Wedding Crashers is hilarious!!!
    And I totally forget that things like tomato paste will freeze well…just threw some away yesterday.

  10. Sarah 10.19.2010

    I could watch You’ve Got Mail and the Sandlot over and over again! I watched Letters to Juliet a couple weekends ago and thought it was really cute as well :) Enjoy your work trip!

  11. Becca V 10.19.2010

    What a great idea for saving the left over pumpkin and tomato paste! Thanks! And have fun at the convention.

  12. I love Little Women and the BBC Pride and Prejudice (but that one is definitely a time investment)!

    I freeze my leftover pumpkin too! And, I love creamer in my oats. My new favorite is Dulce de leche.

  13. Marg 10.19.2010

    I do want to see that movie if anything for the cinematography.

    I love Elf too, watch it every year during the holidays. I also love Old School and Dirty Dancing are two I’ll watch over and over.

  14. i loved letters to juliet. i usually enjoy chick flicks but lately hadn’t been feeling them til i saw that. my alltime fave movie is “my best friend’s wedding!”

  15. Randi 10.19.2010

    Thanks for the tip about freezing leftover pumpkin! I just had to throw out about 2/3 of a can’s worth last night because I made pumpkin cheesecake cookies and couldn’t think of anything else to use it up! Little Women, Braveheart, and An Officer and a Gentleman are definitely movies I can watch over and over and over again. :) Oh, and pretty much anything with Adam Sandler!

  16. Adding coffee creamer to oats is such a great idea! And OMG – I never thought to freeze leftover pumpkin puree..I always feel so bad throwing it out after it sits in the fridge for over a week. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the amazing tip! :)

  17. Lauren 10.19.2010

    I can’t wait to see this movie. I thought it also looked just adorable!

    Have a great trip hun!

  18. jen 10.19.2010

    have a great trip!
    I am so doing that with my leftover pumpkin…why didn’t I think of that!?

    I can, and do watch Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every year.

  19. Sara 10.19.2010

    I can watch any Disney movie over and over (well, not ANY, but a good bit of them), Pirate of the Caribbean, Howl’s Moving Castle (which you should totally try out, esp. since you’ve been to Japan :D ), Across the Universe and ANCHORMAN!!

  20. I thought Letters to Juliet was good until the very end..gotta a little to cliche and sappy for me!

    I could watch MaryKate and Ashley’s Holiday in the Sun over and over ( I KNOW ) and also Anchor Man, P.S. I love you, and the Holiday!

  21. Aw I loved Letters to Juliet!!! So sweet! And I could watch The Holiday and The Wedding Planner over and over.. and I do!

  22. oh my gosh, YES!!! Amanda Seyfried would have made an AWESOME Bella. Way better than Kristen Stewart! You should have done casting! I’ve never thought of anyone else playing Bella, but K.S. is part of the reason I don’t really like the movies.

    Anyway, I can watch Runaway Bride and Stepmom over and over. And, I’ve never seen Little Women. Is that blasphemous??

  23. Exercise and Eat 10.19.2010

    Afternoon snack: oats with a drizzle of coffee creamer! Yum

  24. stacy 10.19.2010

    movies that i can watch over and over are Superbad, Braveheart, and The Big Lebowski. oh, and Little Miss Sunshine :)

  25. Have a fab trip! Don’t worry too much about a few dodgy ingredients in the creamer, nobody is perfect all of the time. :)

  26. Kristen 10.19.2010

    I liked Letters to Juliet but it didn’t go down in my “watch 100 times and never tire of it” category. Just recently put Life As We Know It in that category though, which already consists of The Devil Wears Prada, Sweet Home Alabama, and Elf, among many others!

  27. Lesley 10.19.2010

    Pouring creamer over oatmeal sounds really good, dodgy ingredients or not.

    I feel like this is a quirky list, but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, and Clue.

    I actually like Kristen Stewart as Bella, but with her looks, I think Amanda Seyfried would have made a great Rosalie.

  28. As Good As It Gets with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson is my go to. I love every second of that movie :-)

  29. Liz @ Blog is the New Black 10.19.2010

    Elf, Wedding Crashers, for sure!!! I love Coffee Mate- I use the sugarfree non-dairy… it takes coffee up a notch@

  30. Imwaytoobusy 10.19.2010

    I love your creamer idea! I have seen When Harry Met Sally hundreds of times. It is one of my favorite “going to bed” or “play it while cleaning” movies. I can’t get enough of The Proposal, The Women, Breakfast at Tiffanys or Definitely, Maybe either. Those would have to be my all-time favorites!

  31. Ms.S 10.19.2010

    I LOVE Little Women!!! And Love Actually, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella (well, ok, any of the animated ones), and Bridget Jone’s Diary. I’m a total chick-flick girl. :) But, I do thoroughly enjoy other genres, too. Blow and Gladiator are two of my favs – just wouldn’t choose to watch on repeat.

  32. Daisy 10.19.2010

    Hey thanks for the pumpkin tip! I made pumpkin bread tonight and I didn’t use all the can. I shoved it in the fridge but now I’m gonna freeze it up!

    Weekend @ Bernie’s. non stop laughs. i know the entire movie line by line.

  33. SallyGirl 10.20.2010

    Oh how I loved Letters to Juliet!! And thanks for the freezing tip, I usually use a fake tupperware-type container, but freezer bag takes up MUCH less space and then you don’t have to thaw the whole thing!

  34. JennyV 10.20.2010

    I always wondered about the left-over pumpkin… now I know! :) Thanks for the helpful hint!

  35. Maranda 10.21.2010

    That’s a great idea about the pumpkin and tomato! And the creamer! I never would have thought to drizzle over oats. I love Amanda Seyfried as well. She would have made an awesome Bella. I got to watch 30 minutes of this movie and have been dying to see the rest. I think I need to just go buy it! I love to watch Elf every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Love it!!! I also really love Pride & Prejudice (the new one with Kiera Knightly). Once upon a time I could watch Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde numerous times a day but I don’t know about that anymore. Hmmm…I’ll have to think about this some more.

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