Run Oregon Test Kitchen – Racing Weight Test Kitchen: Pumpkin and Maple-Nut Oatmeal

Beginning in March, Run Oregon bloggers were provided the Racing Weight Cookbook: Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald. This series showcases our attempts at making some of the healthy and delicious recipes within the book’s pages.


Oatmeal and coffee are my morning staples.

Recipe: Pumpkin and Maple-Nut Oatmeal

How it went: I have to admit that my wife gave me a look of trepidation when I told her I was one of the bloggers doing a cooking post. “You?!” she said, with her forehead scrunched, “Make sure you pick something you can handle”. That was actually probably a good suggestion and I changed from one of the recipes in Section 3 of the cookbook (The Athlete who loves to Cook) to a more manageable Section 2: The Athlete with some Cooking Experience.

Oatmeal is my breakfast staple, so I thought it wise to stick with something I knew something about. The ingredients were limited, the directions were simple to follow, and it even allowed for a little “creativity”- a word that gives my wife nightmares when discussing my cooking. Surprisingly, it all came out edible and actually looked like something normal people ate!

Some personal touches on the recipe included:

  • I left out one spice, as we did not have any in the pantry and when I went to the store, a small jar was $9! I didn’t necessarily want to pick it up (especially since a relatively small amount was needed) if I didn’t like the food to begin with. Since, I ended up really enjoying the oatmeal, I will be going back to pick it up to add in the future. I can really see how it would give it a more solid taste.
  • I am a big fan of steel-cut oats. I used them instead of the oats called for.
  • I added raisins to my finished product.

As the smell of pumpkin permeated my kitchen, I expected the finished product to be overly pumpkin-y, but was pleasantly surprised by the subdued flavor that came out of it. It still tasted like oatmeal with a pumpkin kick, which I happily accepted. It offered a unique, yet not super-crazy, taste to my morning routine. I made WAY too much in my first batch, but will take note and make an adjustment to fit this into my weekly morning meal routine.

racing-weight-cookbook-oatmeal-2Cooking Expertise: If there is one thing in my life I wish I could be better at, it is cooking. I mean, I feel that tossing together a simple 8-10 ingredient shouldn’t be that hard but, for me, it is a supreme challenge that typically ends in disaster. I am pretty sure I have only made a handful of meals that my wife has felt comfortable with trying, and most of those come from the barbecue. I continue to try, but my mistakes typically come from 1) not reading the recipe beforehand and 2) continually overestimating my skills as a chef. As a result, my end results typically border between “something is not quite right about this” and inedible.

Running & Athletic Expertise: I have been “a runner” for about the past 2.5 years. I am not a standard size for a runner (6’2 with a frame of between 175-185 pounds). I can fluctuate in my weight, both losses and gains, when I am not watching what I eat.  In 2011, I had ballooned up to nearly 230 pounds. Over the first quarter of 2012, by exercising and watching what I ate, I lost 50 pounds. This is the cycle of my life.

Prior to running, I was a collegiate athlete who relied on cafeteria food and late night snacks to stay fueled.

racing-weight-cookbookRacing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes that will help athletes hit their ideal weight without compromising performance. The book is the third in the best-selling Racing Weight Series™ and is now available in bookstores; bike, tri, and running shops; and online. Preview the book and try recipes at

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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