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That’s right. It’s National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day. In honor of the day, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite breakfasts as of late. But wait, you’re not getting off that easy. Sidenote first.

A little backstory that you need to know about me and peanut butter. When I was growing up, I was one of the pickiest eaters around. I would never eat anything mixed, on the plate or other-wise, no pizza, no onions, no ketchup, no sauces, no creams, no NOTHING that actually has complicated flavors, mostly…well, nothing. The list of things I would eat, I could count on one hand. Literally. Ask my Mom. And when I would go over to someone else’s house to eat – forget about it. I would literally only eat, I swear this is true, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I think there is something to my anxiety as a little girl. Lots of things made me nervous and I just couldn’t handle pressure. Test-taking, sleepovers, dinners at friend’s houses. I was such a little wimp when I was a kid! I was all about comfort and may or may not have slept with a teddy bear until I was…26. This may or may not be a picture of him:

Fred the teddy bear sitting on a shelf
Anyway, I swear my bones and skin must have been made out of apple jelly and Jif peanut butter. I was obsessed. And to this day, it’s still probably my favorite food, but just doesn’t make it into the repertoire as often.

Because, for an unexplained but welcome reason, with age came an easing of my tensions and palate. I feel really blessed to have such easy-going tastebuds as I got older, because I think of all the things I hated when I was a kid, and if I hated them now, I would be such a poor, pitiful soul! All of the pleasure-filled moments that I’ve experienced since then on account of food, at dinner parties from California to New York to Europe, in the homes of friends. Where would I be if I had to keep saying, “Uhh, sorry. No thanks.”

But don’t get me wrong, I still manage to work peanut butter into meals whenever possible. I eat Jif Natural now, just because I try to go as healthy as possible, within reason. I switched to completely natural for a while, you know, the machine at Whole Foods that grinds fresh peanut butter for you on the spot…but my tastebuds just missed the Jif!

So what I’ve been having lately for breakfast is a half-way healthy take on oatmeal. It gets in some of the healthy fibers, whole grain and protein, but then adds in the sugar that I never get bored of. Sometimes I go for the nuts, brown sugar, dried fruit and oatmeal, but lately when given the choice, it comes down to this recipe:

Cheri’s Breakfast Oatmeal

1 cup steel-cut oats, prepared
1/2 handful semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 T. Jif Natural peanut butter

I make a bunch of steel-cut oats the night before. You can use regular instant, too, if you’re so inclined, but I like the tapioca feeling of steel cut oats. And if you make ’em ahead, they can keep for almost a week without getting weird. That way I can just use them as needed without having to cook them every time for like 30 minutes. Follow the directions on the package for preparation. Usually 4 parts water, 1 part oats, bring to boil then simmer on low for 30 minutes. Then, either by using them fresh off the stove or microwaving, I add the chocolate chips and peanut butter and stir until it’s a delicious oatmeal-pudding consistency. It looks kinda weird, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Last step, die of happiness before you’ve even brushed your teeth in the morning.

ingredients for Cheri's oatmeal breakfast