Why I Write [Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal Recipe]

by Maris Callahan on September 11, 2011

Two weeks ago I wrote two posts in in which I mentioned that I recently lost a job and felt uninspired to blog. After a few days, my mother, an avid reader here, suggested I remove the “depressing posts” in case prospective employers or clients were reading my blog.

Though I certainly don’t want to represent myself here as a pessimist or a constant “glass half empty” type of person, I also don’t want to pretend that my life is all rainbows, cupcakes and unicorns. If anyone says that about their life, that doesn’t make them an optimist. It makes them a liar.

When I started blogging in 2008, I had no idea that this would become a place where I would write about food. I started this blog days after I sat at the bar at Stout on 33rd Street in New York City with my coworker Joey, having a beer before a Kanye West concert that I’d had to attend with clients for work and Joey happened to be attending with friends. We’d already exchanged typical colleague banter when he asked me: “what do you like to do with your free time?”

I told him I’d always liked to write, but didn’t do it much anymore.

“Why haven’t you started a blog?” he asked.

I didn’t have a good answer for that one, so within a few days I signed up for a free URL on WordPress and before long, realized that writing came easiest and was most enjoyable when my topic was the food I had cooked, the recipes I invented when I was bored at home on a Saturday night and the dinners I made for the occasional date night (that were never as good as the random one-off dinners I made for myself on uneventful Tuesdays).

I want this site to be a place that inspires people like me to cook more because it’s healthy, it can be fun and in a generation raised on take-out and packaged food, it’s becoming a lost skill. For me, cooking is what I’ve done to cope during the difficult times that inevitably crop up when you’re in your twenties and figuring out the ups and downs of life on your own terms.

The reason I wrote about losing a job and being upset a few weeks back was not to evoke sympathy, undeserved praise or pity from anyone. I write a lot about life’s “ups” like wine and cheese parties, dinner parties and the excitement of leaving my last job to work for myself and start my own business, I haven’t been very fair to my readers. I haven’t written about the downs: break-ups, moving to Chicago because I truly wasn’t happy in New York, the insecurity of being self-employed with no one else to rely on for financial support.

These might not be the realities of life for other people but they’ve been the realities for me over the past eight years as a twenty-something. Throughout the experiences I have had since I graduated college: the good and bad, the ups and downs, being in the kitchen has grounded me. Food has been both a celebratory mechanism and a coping device for me, (but not in “my boyfriend broke up with me, so where’s the Ben & Jerry’s” kind of way…seriously). It’s cooking that gives me the most satisfaction, taking raw ingredients and creating with them. The fact that you get to eat something delicious when you’re done? Just a bonus.

When I was 23 and I clashed with my binge-drinking Craig’s List roommates, I would make big pots of vegetable soup to keep myself occupied on lonely Saturday afternoons and bake pumpkin bread to bring into the office as an icebreaker to get to know new coworkers. When I moved to Chicago, the first thing I did was invite blog friends over for baked brie and wine. When I cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family, I can feel like I am taking care of them even though I moved 800 miles away.

I write because I want to share my experiences with as many people as possible. I want to inspire you to cook. I want cooking to give other people the same pleasure, the same sense of pride and the same satisfaction as it has given me. I want people to learn new things here and I want it to be a place where you come when you’re looking for a recipe that you know you’ll be able to make.

I know that there is no shortage of recipes on the internet and that there are hundreds of thousands of places that you can go to find apple pie or pulled pork, probably accompanied by a prettier picture than the ones you’ll find here. What you won’t find anywhere else are my experiences: my ups, my downs and the things that have made my life my own to share. I want to share the good and the bad…and when it’s the bad, I want you to know that it will all be good again too.

Now that you know why I blog and what motivates me to continue writing this website, it’s only right that I thank you for reading on this far with a recipe:  a creamy, indulgent fall breakfast that tastes comforting, decadent and good for you in equal measure.

If you have a blog, why do you write what you write?

Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal for One

Inspired by Peanut Butter Fingers

What You Need:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup low-fat or reduced-fat milk (I like 1%)
1/3 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

How-To:

On the Stove: Place milk in a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Add oats and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about three minutes, or until oats begin to soften. Add pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until oats have thickened, about three to five minutes. Pour oats into a bowl and top with banana slices. Garnish with additional brown sugar, if desired.

In the Microwave: Combine milk, oats, pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high heat for 90 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir to make sure ingredients are evenly combined. Cook for an additional minute on high. Stir and let sit for about a minute to cool. Top with sliced bananas and additional brown sugar, if desired.

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Gabi Moskowitz September 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm
Junia @ Mis Pensamientos September 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm

i love this oats recipe! fall inspired and love the pumpkin banana combo! mmm i blog to relieve stress and do something i love :) . and i love meeting new ppl! hugs*

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Biren @ Roti n Rice September 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm

A wonderful post Maris! Like you, I write a blog because it is an outlet for me. The blog is a place I can share the joys and “frustrations” of cooking with like minded people. Often times life experiences are included. Some may prefer to go straight to the recipe and that is okay, but many do read through. :)

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will visit again soon.

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Biren @ Roti n Rice September 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm

BTW, that pumpkin banana oatmeal looks like a very tasty and healthy breakfast. I’ve never thought of stirring in some pureed pumpkin into a breakfast dish. Thanks for the idea!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I write my blog b/c I love it. It has it’s ups and downs, not every day is perfect or easy…in life or with blogging, but overall, I couldnt imagine my life without it! I am not a “recipe blogger”. I could never keep that pace up…a new/original recipe daily or nearly daily. So the rest of my blog is filled with my life events, musings, lifestyle/shopping finds, whatever it is that’s on my mind that day, or 2x a day!…is what i write about.

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Elle September 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Yes, it’s your personality that makes it YOURS… unique and wonderful.

This breakfast looks pretty darn wonderful too!

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Nelly Rodriguez September 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I think this post is perfect, in it’s inperfect way of sharing bad news. Because seriously, unicorns and rainbows and cupcakes aren’t the only things in life. Because we all make cookies that taste horrible (or are as hard as a rock), and we might even confuse baking soda with baking powder in a recipe and ruin hundreds of biscuits at work. Things happen and as horribly cliche as it sounds…”this too shall pass/it happened for a reason/nutella will solve your problems” (last one might just be me!). Love reading you Maris…why do I write? Because it’s directly connected to the one and only thing I want to do for the rest of my life: live, breathe, and cook food. If I had to write about dog breeds (which at times I have, please don’t google it) more than once, I’d really be unhappy. Writing about food and everything about it makes me happy and that’s one thing I’ve learned about being a 20-something…make yourself happy first and then deal with making others happy. Happy people attract happy people. Mmhm, I think I’ve rambled enough.. :)

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Elaine September 12, 2011 at 12:19 am

What a great post. I have never thought to add pumpkin to oatmeal, bananas yes, but pumpkin no. It looks like the perfect breakfast. I feel about cooking and baking as you do – it keeps me focused especially when everything around me is falling apart and it is a way to show my family how much I love them. I write what I write on my blog to share what I am interested in and hopefully they are things that others are interested in as well and I also enjoy the personal connections that I have made through my blog.

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Sawsan@chef in disguise September 12, 2011 at 1:26 am

I totally agree.. life is not perfect..attempting to paint a picture of a life that is all rainbows and cup cakes is a lie..
I started writing my blog because I had a passion for cooking that I wanted to share with people who have the same interest. I also wanted to write about my life too…my view of things.The events that touch me, the things that make me smile along with the ones that make me cry.
I know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there but the ones that draw me in and make me eager to read their next post are the ones that share something more than a recipe and a picture. What makes a blog unique in my openion is the voice of the person writing it.. There is a saying I love “a young man sat silently in Aristoto’s presence, Aristotle said: speak so that I can see you “..

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Ruth September 12, 2011 at 3:05 am

What a great post! I write for a couple of different reasons: (1) to keep a record of recipes that really turned out well so I can find them again, (2) because I started reading blogs for recipes and inspiration a long time ago, and eventually thought, why don’t I join in, and (3) because it is satisfying to commit your thoughts to the written word (4) I am beginning to really enjoy taking photos and want to become better at it. :-)

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Kathryn September 12, 2011 at 3:29 am

What a great post! There are times when I wonder why I’m bothering to blog and when it all seems like too much hassle but then there are times when I can’t imagine life without it and I have to hold on to those moments to get me through the moments when I feel like giving up. I love your blog though and I hope you will continue to feel inspired to blog.

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Three-Cookies September 12, 2011 at 4:23 am

Good to know – its reality as you say. Never thought of putting pumpkin in my morning oats, rarely see a pumpkin here, never seen a can of pumpkin around. I may need a microscope to locate one.

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Liz September 12, 2011 at 5:28 am

I LOVE your blog…and sharing your ups and downs makes you REAL. Keep on doing what you do so well. xoxo

PS…You’ve given me a craving for oatmeal with this delicious post:)

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Heather @girlichef September 12, 2011 at 5:37 am

So true, we all have our ups and downs in life…and I definitely don’t think there’s anything off-putting about you sharing both. It’s a great way, through writing, to “work things out”, ya know? Very well written and inspired post…and I know I’ll be trying some of that oatmeal soon- love the thought of pumpkin in my oatmeal, never tried that before. :)

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Simply Life September 12, 2011 at 6:19 am

what a great post- thanks for sharing! And I love hearing about all the ups and downs- makes you so much more “real!”

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Wendy September 12, 2011 at 6:21 am

It’s the downs that are harder to write about so congrats for being able to share. As a way past 20 something also writing to inspire people to cook at home, I say brava. You figured out what makes you tick! Cooking is a creative pursuit and a restorative, caring act. I’m always amazed at how many people I know only see it as a chore. If you can help others reframe how they see cooking by sharing how it helps cheer you up as well as have fun when you’re already up, all the better.

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lisa keys September 12, 2011 at 6:22 am

Keeping it real is a good thing. Thanks for sharing another fine healthy recipe. It is time for both pumpkin and oatmeal-love that you cook seasonal.

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A Plum By Any Other Name September 12, 2011 at 6:45 am

Great post! I write, well, because I have to. It keeps me sane. And it’s a way for me to make sense of the world around me. It’s a way to process. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Rachel W. September 12, 2011 at 6:56 am

You inspired me to start cooking! And blogging!

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Kitchen Belleicious September 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

And this is why I love your blog, why i enjoy reading each and every one of your posts is because you are honest and pure! You make me want to be a better blogger and writer. You inspire me and for that I am always thankful. Why I write? Simple- cooking makes me so happy, brings me so much joy watching people eat my food that I can’t stop telling others about my favorite new recipe or baking tip I have learned. I started my blog to share my passion, my passion for cooking. That is why I write, if I have made one person each day excited to make a new recipe and share it with her family and friends then my job is done!

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Chutneyandspice September 12, 2011 at 7:58 am

What an inspiring post, and as you say, reality is reality, we can’t sugar coat it. My husband is a glass half fuller, I am a bit more of a glass is emptier – at least I am at the moment when my gorgeous little girl is starting school and spending her day smiling for her teachers and not filling our little home with her warmth and fun. I feel utterly blue and I can’t seem to drag myself off my pity pot. I know it will get better, and so will your difficult times, my husband always says that the tough times are when we do the work – when we grow, we learn, we become strong. This too shall pass. I love your posts, really look forward to some more.

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Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking September 12, 2011 at 8:00 am

Girl, you’re keeping it real and that’s what keeps me coming back! I love your writing – that’s what got me hooked the very first time I visited – you had me at your writing. If we didn’t write the bad stuff (or REAL stuff) in addition to the “rainbows, cupcakes and unicorns” (LOVED that line btw!) people wouldn’t have a true feeling of who we are. I LOVE getting to know other bloggers online who (I think it’s whom, actually) I may never meet in person and the only way this can truly be done is through their writing.
This blog, no wait, my blog haha started out as a way for me to be creative with my writing. Some days I’ve got something to say, others not so much, but there’s also food involved so that’s a plus. Since I’ve started this, we’ve tried new foods, we’re eating healthier because we don’t eat out as much and the food is not processed, and I’ve made some wonderful new friends which has been such a bonus I never expected! I’m enjoying it immensely!! Since I’m more than halfway done with my 365, people are asking me what I’ll do next. I can’t imagine NOT doing this anymore since it’s become such a part of me. My greatest thrill – having friends, and readers tell me they made one of my recipes and loved it. That in itself is so odd to me because never in a million years, majoring in theater stage management in college, is this where I thought I would be my happiest – making delicious food for my family and sharing it with others.
Thanks for your post, Maris. Keep up the great work!

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Emma September 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

I’m glad you’re still writing. Seeing how much it means to you to write, I’m glad you’re feeling okay about continuing to post on here.

I started blogging for a few reasons. To have something to show my family, 1600 miles away, what I do with my life…. to work on my photography…. to allow myself to write creatively, as my day job writing is scientific and technical.

Now, as I try to finish my thesis, I write to try and keep the words flowing, hoping that it will help me with chapters 1, 2 and 3:) I’m not sure that it’s working, but the words do tend to pour out of me.

Lastly, I like making the social connections through blogging that are near-impossible for me in real life. Either I’m not a social go-getter, or I just haven’t met the right people yet. To be fair, I’ve met two or three right people, but that doesn’t always feel like enough, you know?

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Sommer@ASpicyPerspective September 12, 2011 at 8:40 am

Thanks for sharing this.

I write (and Cook) because it’s cheaper than therapy. How’s that for sunshine an roses! ;)

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Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet September 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

Life is real and more interesting when it is not unicorns and cupcakes. Whenever someone is too up beat and perfect, I always wonder what is behind their curtain of perfection. Keep it real! Why do I blog when it really is soooo time consuming? That is a good question with many answers and it is not as simple as “I love food and cooking” and “I love photography”! One day I will figure it out but for now I am just driven.

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Marci September 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

I write because I enjoy sharing stories and recipes. I have changed what I write about, but really enjoy what I’m writing about now. I’m sure it will keep evolving, but I hope I keep writing!

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Greg September 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

Your pictures always make me drool. This was a really nice post. I hope you’re feeling better, we all have our funks. Like I said before you have a great site.

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Courtney September 12, 2011 at 9:02 am

Thanks for sharing, Maris! I actually have been struggling with my motivation the last couple weeks and your post had got me thinking about why I write, too. I guess for me, I want others to know that we’re not all perfect cooks out there and that mistakes can be fun. And that it’s good for the soul to try things you aren’t good at – and you might amazingly find something you love to do – whether your perfect at it or not. Thanks for making me think!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. September 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

This looks fabulous! This is my kind of breakfast

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Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray September 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

This was a wonderful post. :) One of the reasons I love your blog so much is because I feel like you give us readers insights into your life, too, not just the food you make and the recipes you invent or try. I think we all feel like we’re sitting at the table with you, rather than just peeking in the window (in a non-creepy way, of course). And that goes for the “up” or “down” posts.

I write because it’s always been my favorite thing to do–in school, for fun, whatever. And I don’t get to do it in my job anymore. So when I started reading all of these wonderful blogs, I realized…this could be my outlet. Not only do I get to write (and chronicle all of the mishaps and occasional successes I have culinarily), but I’ve also “met” a ton of fantastic fellow bloggers–I never thought it’d be this much fun. :)

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Kelly @ That's So Martha! September 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thank you for your transparency. I tend to disappear from my blog rather than write about what is going on… doesn’t mean I disappear from my kitchen, though! :)

This looks really yummy, although I envision it might be too sweet for me (?). I may try it out on the family soon. I think it’s finally supposed to drop in temps at the end of this week.

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lisa {smart food and fit} September 12, 2011 at 10:12 am

This is a wonderful post and thanks for sharing! I started my blog to share my simple clean eating recipes with family and friends. Now I look at it as a portfolio to show potential clients that want to hire me a their nutrition consultant. I don’t get paid for my time sitting and posting my recipes or calculating the calories and vitamin/mineral for each recipe. I do it b/c I want to share my love of nutriton and eating healthy foods. Maybe one day something good will come out of it but for now I am just having fun meeting new blog friends online and sharing recipes. Have a great day Maris! :)

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Brianne September 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

I actually stopped blogging recently because I’ve lost the energy to do it as I try to finish my Master’s thesis this semester. I started my blog to distract myself from my thesis research, but now it’s really just taken over my life. I’m hoping that by continuing to cook, bake, and read other blogs, I’ll be inspired enough to get back to writing for my blog. Thanks for this post!

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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes September 12, 2011 at 11:01 am

It’s nice to have a yummy oatmeal recipe for one. Mornings are often busy and I end up eating breakfast a little later by myself. I think it’s great when people open up and share a little of their lives on their blog, the good and the bad. When my mom died last year I shared that and everyone was so supportive.

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yummychunklet September 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

I appreciate your insights on what motivates you to write your blog. We all came to this medium for different reasons, but we rarely know why other than our own inclinations. I hope that everything is going better in your life. Because this oatmeal looks so tasty!

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Alana D September 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

Maris,a gal after my own heart we should get a drink soon.I hate to say this but I originally started my blog to draw more business to my business.Now it has kinda changed…now I just like showing ppl that you can eat delicious food that is actually good for you.

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Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 September 12, 2011 at 11:49 am

I love this, Maris. We all write for different reasons, so it’s fun to hear yours. I write because it gives me a creative outlet. I love connecting with people over food and pushing myself to try new things. I also love that it’s made experiment and become a better cook. I also have discovered that I love taking pictures of food, so I enjoy pretty much all aspects of food blogging.

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Rachel September 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

Great, great post. I really admire your honesty and clarity about your blog and life.
I write and cook for many of the reasons you do: to distract myself and cope with the sometimes tortuous path of twentysomethinghood. I started blogging when I was voluntarily leaving a job and finishing graduate school a couple years back. Cooking and writing about cooking and my life became my job and I tried to treat it as such, without all the seriousness and responsibility. Writing, even though it was mostly just for me, made me feel like I had a purpose in the world when I didn’t have a job.
I still don’t have a job, but hey, I have two active blogs!

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Kelly September 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

This is a fantastic quote “What you won’t find anywhere else are my experiences: my ups, my downs and the things that have made my life my own to share. I want to share the good and the bad…and when it’s the bad, I want you to know that it will all be good again too.” I think this is absolutely true. I think as a blogger it can be tough, at times I know I have felt that I had to be like a magazine, showing some perfect dream life that people want to emulate. But I realize the blogs I gravitate toward have a greater degree of realism and humanity to them, like I know the blogger.

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Erin @ A Nesting Experience September 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

That pumpkin oatmeal looks delicious, especially as the weather turns cooler and fall approaches.

I write to commemorate. I write to keep track of all of the good things that happen in life. The bigger moments like trips and engagements. And the smaller moments like a good bowl of soup or my love of cupcakes.

As a blogger, I tend to stay away from the bad moments. Not because my life is full of rainbows and sunshine because to be sure, it just isn’t. But maybe because I wish it was. I have a hard time letting the things that make me feel bad go. By blogging about the good stuff, I try to over power any bad moments that may slip in from day to day.

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Gina September 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

My favorite people to read are the ones with ups and downs! Life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, you will get a giggle out of my next post. I just enjoy the people I’ve connected with all over the world, or I wouldn’t bother. Hope you have a better week, there is nothing wrong with your photos or recipes.
-Gina-

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Melissa@IWasBornToCook September 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I blog because I love writing and sharing. And cooking and baking :) I blogged when I was going through my infertility struggle too…I just love talking and as we know, this is another form of speech.

You are so talented – you can tell you really love it, too :)

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Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook September 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Maris, this was a great post. Lovely to hear a real person writing, not just seeing a recipe and a pretty picture. That’s how we feel.

We blog because we enjoy cooking and spending time together. We cook together, Rachel takes the photographs, and I do the writing; we do what we enjoy.

Just keep doing what you enjoy. And thanks for sharing your experiences with us :)

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Caroline September 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this Maris, you really are an inspiration. I blog primarily because I love to cook and bake, and want to share that passion with others, but also because it provides an outlet where I can write and express myself. I was a journalism major in college (work in PR now), so blogging gives me another outlet to practice my writing. :)

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Erica September 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

That bowl of oats looks so comforting! Great post. It is hard to address “difficult” issues on the blog. Sometimes I avoid them all together and sometimes I just touch upon them (aka ….when I noted that I’m disappointed in my post pregnancy appearance). BUT I think I need to address them a little more head on and I’m glad you did!

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amy @ fearless homemaker September 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

awesome post, maris. i’m with you 100% – life isn’t always perfect, + by acknowledging that, i think you connect even better with your readers. why do i write? because it brings me closer to so many people, which i love, + it brings me happiness. i find so much joy in cooking, writing about it + connecting with others through it.

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Marsha - redhotcookinmama September 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The oatmeal looks awesome! I need to get get me some pumpkin! I loved your post. I am new to blogging and really starting to enjoy it and sharing food. You are so right, cooking at home is a lost art to our generation. I love cooking and passing it to my daughter! My blog has become a family adventure!

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sarah September 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Wonderful post!
Why do I write? To give an outlet to the internal narration in my head. I write so I don’t talk one single person’s ear off. I write to get out what I’ve lived and see it somewhere else. I write about food because it comforts me, keeps me busy and food links me to my past, what I have now and who I want to be.
I will always love reading about food and be inspired by how others write about food. I hope you continue with the ups and the downs. Balance is good!

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Kay September 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

What a great meaningful post! I think we can all share and enjoy each other’s love of food through our blogs, which is part of the reason I love it so much. Also, it beats having to send out a ton of emails to friends with the same information, haha.

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Megan's Cookin' September 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I guess I write because I like to share. Recipes, ideas, a little slice of my life. And I hope I can inspire someone along the way!

Your breakfast looks like my kind of breakfast. I have some left over pumpkin just sitting in my fridge, waiting to meet some oatmeal in the morning!

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Lisa from Lisas Yarns September 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I think it is admirable when a person lets down their walls and talks about what they are going through, as you did in that post a couple of weeks back. It makes you more vulnerable, but it makes you more real. Not that I didn’t think you were real before I read that post… It’s a fine balance that we have to walk between being true to our circumstances/situations, but trying to stay upbeat because I sort of believe that to some extent, you are what you write… or your writing can sort of contribute to a mood, if that makes any sense? So when I am going through tough things, I blog about it, but I try very hard not to dwell on it in too many posts, otherwise it becomes this sort of hamster wheel of depressing thoughts/feelings/etc.

I write to capture my life in the written form. I write to connect with others. To share the joys and sorrows of life. And I write for so many reasons more!

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camille September 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

What a thought-provoking post (and drool-provoking; that oatmeal looks awesome and I’ve saved the recipe).

I used to blog because a bunch of internet friends and I started a journal ring. For something like 7 years I posted about my life every day. Sometimes I’d have deep thoughts, sometimes not. Eventually I stopped because it was supposed to be a journal, but people were telling me what I should and shouldn’t say and attacking me for personal stuff. I chucked it right around the time I was discovering food blogs. I switched to doing that instead – I love food and eating, and I wanted to get better at cooking and have a stockpile of recipes in case I ever have a kid or something and can’t just have a piece of toast for dinner. Now I’m pretty sure I would rock the bake sale table at their school.
But I never used to cook stuff that was any kind of complicated because it was just me, and there was no point dirtying a bunch of pots and pans or buying stuff that the excess of would go bad on me. When I shacked up with my now-husband, that problem was solved.
I had also spent the better part of the year being mysteriously and digestively ill; I lost a bunch of weight and spent that year and a good while afterwards terrified of food and very strict about what I could and couldn’t eat. As I came off that and realized it was ok, eating food wasn’t going to make my body explode, I wanted to eat all the delicious stuff I would miss if I had to give it all up again. You never know when the LAST time you’ll have something good is.

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katelin September 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm

simply love this. i love hearing what started peoples’ blogging adventures and why they continue, so fascinating and inspiring.

also the recipe, my goodness i can’t wait to try this, yum!

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Blond Duck September 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Oh, I understand all too well. I had to quit my reporter job when they wanted to move me to the midnight crime beat, and the past year has been hard. It’s grueling to write and write and get told, “Oh we love it, but it’s a terrible economy! Sell e-books!” To be a writer with things to say and no one to listen is hard, esp. when the bills keep coming.

But your words are as comforting as your recipes. And that’s why we love you.

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Alexis @ There She Goes September 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

beautiful and honest post

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Nami | Just One Cookbook September 13, 2011 at 1:40 am

Maris, as a reader here, I’m glad to see you choose to be honest and it shows how truthful you are (but I do understand your mom’s concern for you too). Since we can’t meet you in person, we tend to create imaginary you. And I’m glad you are so honest about who you are and help us think that we really know you and feel somewhat close to you through blogging experience. It’s your talent to write and bring so many readership on your blog. I really hope “up” time will come and we’ll get to read lots of happy posts. Why do I write: initially it was recipe reference just for me, my kids, and my friends. But now I write for people who are interested in Japanese cuisine and I enjoy sharing home cooked meal because it’s really not too many websites out there yet and I’m happy to help introducing some easy meals.

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Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) September 13, 2011 at 6:33 am

This is such a wonderful post!! It makes so excited that you have decided to remain honest with your life, and that you show life as a whole – not just the good. That’s truly awesome!! :) And I think it’s also great that your mom was trying to help you out – moms are the best! :)

Oh and that oatmeal looks so yum! I can’t wait to break out the pumpkin! Like you said, I could have found a pumpkin recipe (though it still probably wouldn’t have been as good as yours ;) ) anywhere, but I wouldn’t have been able to read this wonderful story that comes with the recipe anywhere (and I really don’t think that oatmeal picture can get much better!)

<3 <3

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Vivienne September 13, 2011 at 6:45 am

thanks for sharing all these personal experiences with us :) not many people do that on food blogs so its been good getting to know you through your writing! i really do think you have a way with words (talented!) and i hope you’ll continue to blog all the ups and downs of life :) and i also hope that this career crossroad you’re at…you’ll come out of it stronger and more certain of the direction. i am also currently in a similar situation but just taking it slowly before i rush into anything else.

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Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray September 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

Great post, Maris. I’m happy you write, and happy you cook! I think it is important for us all to remember why we do what we do!

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natalie (the sweets life) September 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm

LOVED this post and love your blog–the ups and the downs!

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Tasha September 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Very few things make me as happy as spending time in my kitchen, and blogging about it is a much needed creative outlet. I loved this post, and your honesty. And great simple recipe too. For all the times I’ve made myself pumpkin oatmeal, I never thought to add banana, one of my favorite oatmeal add-ins.

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Courtney September 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I love that about your blog. It’s nice to let people in a little bit! I hope you’re doing well!! I started my blog as a way to remember my recipes. Now I can just refer to it when I’m making stuff :-)

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Shari @ The Daily Dish September 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

This post was fantastic. Thank you for being real, I know I appreciate it. :) It’s great to hear your story, I mean this is YOUR blog after all. :)

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Bee September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I get worried about being too personal on the internet too… Mostly, because I was cyber bullied a few months ago when I used my real name for things (I’m still too scared to Google myself). Now I’m stuck under a pseudonym until I’m sure I’ve hidden long enough. I, too, love writing (obviously?). It’s my good-for-the-soul thing. Some day I’ll let my blogging and personal identities become one, but it’s still too soon yet. Keep writing girl, I love what you have to say!

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Sarah September 14, 2011 at 12:02 am

Great post, Maris. I love what you said about wanting to inspire others to get into the kitchen and recapture the lost art of cooking. I feel the same way.

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Catharine J September 15, 2011 at 1:59 am

I really really really wanted to make this but where I live (Naples Italy) they don’t have pumpkins available in the commissary (I live on a military base) until the end of October/November. What they do have year round is canned yams. When you’re military you learn to make do with what you are given. I pureed the canned yams in my food processor with a little liquid from the can and just used them in place of the pumpkin. I also used agave nectar in place of the brown sugar because I’m trying to remove almost all refined sugars from my families diet, but I think this would be good with either organic honey or organic maple syrup too. GREAT RECIPE!!! I can’t wait to get back stateside to try it with pumpkin =)

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Maris Callahan September 15, 2011 at 2:04 am

Thanks Catharine! I love your adaptations and am so glad you were able to make it work.

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Martyna@WholesomeCook September 19, 2011 at 5:19 am

Hi Maris, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post today. And the recipe that came with it – pumpkin is a bit of an obsession of mine at the moment, although we can’t get the canned variety here.

I write my blog to share some of my stories, and many of the recipes I have come up with but also share those which I found on other blogs (with acknowledgement of course). Doing what we do also proves that there is such thing as a global village community – I love it!

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Lisa September 19, 2011 at 8:17 am

I was going to comment on th 75 foorball recipes (Used to go to many a Giant game with my Giants fanatic ex – Sundays were football ‘sacred’), but when I saw this, had to comment here. I started my blog as a creative outlet for my cookig and baking, and before I knew it..I couldn’t stop writing every time I had a new dish to put up. I’m not a food writer, I just like to ‘talk’ . As someone mentioned above, it’s therapy for me..an escape into my past, the reality of my present, and hopes for the future – good AND bad. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of things I don’t and can’t say at this time, due to some circumstances ‘sort of’ beyond my control at this juncture, but I still find subtle ways. It won’t be like that much longer, though. I prefer bloggers who show their bumps, bruises and scars. Like you alluded to, life isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows – all.the.time.

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claire @ the realistic nutritionist September 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

An amazing recipe and even better post. Writing is my outlet, it’s what I do when I can’t seem to find control of comfort anywhere else. I love it.

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Megan Gordon September 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Oh boy, this post resonated with me. My mom always says the same thing to me: you make everything seem so sunny! In truth, at this very moment, things are pretty good. But in the past, I’ve never seen the point of droning on and on about mundane worries and concerns. Or even bigger worries or concerns. But you’re right in that I guess we’re not painting a true picture of ourselves all the time.

I write because I feel tugged towards it. I can’t get away from it even when I try. Happy (almost) weekend, Maris.

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing September 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I really, really love this post Maris. I just left my steady desk job as an editor to pursue my food and wine dreams and a little over a week ago I broke up with my boyfriend. Everything is so crazy right now and I’m so glad I have cooking and my blog to keep me grounded. (Oatmeal helps too :) ). I appreciate your honesty here and think that being true to yourself is what makes good bloggers great :) .

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The Teacher Cooks September 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading this post. Very honest!

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Emily October 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I don’t blog, but I am a twentysomething and I do write and use your blog as an inspiration for my own culinary adventures. My favorite so far is the avocado pasta – so good!! Thanks so much for putting yourself AND your recipes out there – it’s very much appreciated. I wrote this essay in 2009 when I was going through a particularly tough time. Thanks again for the awesome food and the honesty.
http://skirt.com/essays/one-girls-struggle-end

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JulyDream October 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I love this post. It reminds me why I write and blog. While I sometimes think about the fact that a future employer may read my posts, I think remember that they are me. If an employer doesn’t like that I share myself, I don’t want to be their employee.

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