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brian has written 3 posts for Mia's Playground

Brian’s Essential Winter Oatmeal Recipe

I’ve written previously about my essential smoothie recipe, which is a great heathy staple for the the warmer months. And while winter is a bit relative down here in New Orleans, I always like to start my day with a wholesome meal that sustains me throughout the morning and gets me going on the right foot.

The thought of a cold smoothie is tough to stomach this time of year, so Mia and I turn to this trusted oatmeal recipe. There are many variations on oatmeal and I encourage you to explore and find what works for you. You’ll find like my smoothie recipe that you can toss in quite a few ingredients and it won’t compromise the taste. As we love to say, this recipe will stick to your bones and keep you satisfied for much of the morning.

We prefer steel cut oats because they’re a great source of whole grains and packs more nutritional benefits than regular rolled or quick oats. If time is an issue for you, rolled oats will decrease on prep time but you’ll lose out on many of the great nutritional benefits of steel cut oats. At first you’ll be surprised by the texture, but I’ve grown to love the crunchiness.

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (available in bulk aisle at local grocery)
  • 6 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried fruits (cranberries, raisins)
  • 4 tablespoons of wheat germ
  • 4 teaspoons of flax seed oil (I prefer unfiltered)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Chopped nuts (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Place water and oats in pot and set on medium heat for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent overflow. When there is a little liquid left in the pot, turn heat down to prevent overcooking and begin placing dry ingredients in. Stir together and add chopped nuts, sliced banana, and milk to taste.

As you can see, it’s rather simple. I encourage you to have fun with the ingredients and customize to your taste. I will often soak the steel cut oats overnight to cut down on cook time in the morning. Rolled oats will not take as long as are a nice alternative if time is an issue in the morning.

I’d love to hear your variations on this recipe and learn what some of your favorite morning staples are, so hit up the comments and let us know!

Baby’s First Movements & Dad’s First Connection

Guest Post from my gorgeous, brilliant husband, Brian J. Elizardi


Lately at home I’ll be sitting on the couch, laying in bed, or doing some otherwise normal activity and hear a “Oooh!” from my wife.

When these first started, my reaction was to freak out and either call 911 or go warm up the car to head to the hospital. After we developed a code for distinguishing between the seemingly normal grunts and groans of her pregnancy versus an all freak out situation, I was able to relax and take in this unique occasion to see and feel our baby growing.

These events are now accompanied by a quick grab of my hand by my wife so that I can feel what’s she’s feeling. The first few occasions when I felt the baby moving with my hand placed on her belly were breathtaking and amazing. Every day I get to witness her growing more beautiful as the baby marches towards full term, but to feel and almost interact with the baby is something to behold.

Despite all the outward signs that this is really happening and we indeed starting our family, it can be tough to identify with what Mia is going through and experience the same intense and surreal experience she goes through minute by minute. These small movements serve to connect me with a process that is literally foreign to my body and mind. Since we haven’t discovered the sex of the baby it also gives me something to focus my mind’s eye on and visualize. It’s a powerful activity that has me excited for what’s to come.

After writing this early this morning I went in to say hi to sleeping mom-to-be and baby. Right after I placed my hand on her belly I felt a kick, or what I pretended was a high-five from the baby. Loving this special stage in our lives.

Brian’s Essential Pregnancy Smoothie Recipe

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”

Starting the morning off on the right foot is important for anyone, including moms to be. For our family this means a high protein breakfast featuring lots of fresh fruits and whole grains. One essential staple of our mornings is a fruit smoothie. This recipe is adapted from a few that I’ve read and is one that we’ve been doing on and off for years. As always, please consult your healthcare practitioner before adding anything new to your diet.


  • 3 tablespoons whey protein powder (we use the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Whey Protein; make sure to avoid ones with artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic psyllium husk powder (high in fiber)
  • 1 teaspoon of wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons of flax seed oil (I prefer unfiltered and organic)
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 2 fish oil pills (cut and empty oil into blender)
  • 3 cups of fresh frozen fruit (this is where you can have fun; I regularly keep peaches, blueberries, bananas, mangos, blackberries, and strawberries on hand)
  • 1 cup of juice

Place dry ingredients in blender first so they blend more smoothly. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Pour into 16 oz. glasses and enjoy!

A Few Last Recommendations

  • Make sure mix your fruits to keep it fresh. Having the same smoothie every day gets kind of boring after a while. Some of my favorite combinations are mango, strawberry, and banana; peach and banana; and blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry.
  • You can vary the recipe all sorts of ways. Sometimes I’ll substitute apple juice for orange juice. Pineapple juice can also add some great flavor.
  • If you’re looking to save on calories you can omit the yogurt since they whey gives you the same dairy creaminess.
  • Milk can be substituted for orange juice if you’re looking to get extra dairy into your diet.
  • Ice can be added to increase the thickness of the blend or can help if your fruits aren’t frozen.