Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protien Oats + #Giveaway for Hot Cereal / Rice Cooker

This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, however all opinions, comments, content and enthusiasm are my own.

One morning this summer I made a family favorite recipe for Pumpkin Protein Muffins. When the kids woke up to the amazingly “autumn” smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin baking, they were disoriented. . .. but excited, nonetheless.! “Is it already Thanksgiving, mom? Did we sleep through the first day of school and Halloween and wake up in the middle of the fall holidays?” 

By the way, I’m giving away a really awesome Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker from Hamilton Beach this week – this counter top appliance will Change. Your. Life.  Hop to the bottom of the post to enter.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oats in Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker

That got me to thinking. Why DO we primarily limit cooking and baking with pumpkin to the months of September through December?  While fresh pumpkins may be seasonal, the canned puree is equally as nutritious and a heck of a lot more convenient. Pumpkin ( a fab source of fiber, vitamins Vitamin A, and healthy complex carbs) is a veggie I’d like to see more of in my life for the entire year!  And, so here I am in September, as cliché as it may be, sharing a pumpkin recipe – but, good gourd, this one is workable into anyone’s busy schedule, 365.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Protein Oats -- 288 calories, 26g protein, fiber and healthy carbs to fuel your day or workout. Plus, this recipe is made in a rice cooker in just 5 to 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal – why, hello creamy pie-and-coffee-shop inspired morning concoction that is actually as nourishing as delish. I’ve used a blend of old-fashioned oats mixed with my favorite seeds (hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin – you can tweak as you like) along with pumpkin puree, creamy almond milk, and vanilla protein powder to bring each serving into the approximate 25g protein range which is what I strive for at my morning meal

Now Foods Products used in Pumpkin Protein Oats from thefitfork.com

***Please note, the recipe nutrition will vary based on the protein powder you use (I used Vanilla Whey Isolate from Now Foods) and mix ins (I used the Triple Omega Seed Blend from Now Foods) . With just 288 calories per hearty serving, I’ve kept this sugar-free recipes under 300 calories buy using my preferred cup-for-cup measure sugarless sweetener (Sugarless Sugar Baking Blend from Now Foods).

In a rush? This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. If you’re in a super morning rush, set everything out in the rice cooker (except the perishables) the night before and finish off in the morning. Oh, and did I mention that there is caffeine built right into this recipe thanks to steeping chai into the liquid used to make oatmeal. It’s genius.  Of course, please use caffeine-free tea if you are sensitive.

hamilton-beach-rice-cooker-2Did you notice how I alluded to a Rice Cooker? The convenience factor here is that I’ve made this pumpkin oatmeal recipe in a Rice Cooker!  You heard me right – rice cookers aren’t just for cooking rice anymore, you can make some amazing recipes in a rice cooker like cheesy grits, steamed salmon with rice and veggies, chocolate cakes and more!  I’ve made my recipe in the 4-20 Cup Rice and Hot Cereal Maker from Hamilton Beach, it’s the best small kitchen appliance evahhhhh!  I’m giving one away, jump to bottom of post to enter!


I resisted getting a rice cooker for a really long time, thinking it would just hog up space in my cabinets and rarely get used – not the case! It’s more of a “multi” cooker than a “rice” cooker and I it at least once a week to prepare a meal for the family – even my teens know how to make simple recipes for dinner in it. Plus, with a 20-cup capacity, it’s perfect for meal planning – I often double or triple my batches of rice, quinoa, oats or whatever I have going in in the cooker and then freeze portions for later in the month.  It’s a busy mom’s best friend!

Have you cooked anything unusual in a rice cooker? What is your favorite fall flavor? Should pumpkin be a year-round thing? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Enter Giveaway Here:


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Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal (Rice Cooker)
Print Recipe
Enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin in a warm and nourishing bowl of oatmeal that has been pumped up with protein powder and seeds. Whips up in 10 minutes in rice cooker!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal (Rice Cooker)
Print Recipe
Enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin in a warm and nourishing bowl of oatmeal that has been pumped up with protein powder and seeds. Whips up in 10 minutes in rice cooker!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Servings: servings
  1. Add almond milk, water and tea bags to large glass measuring cup and microwave until hot, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and let steep another 3 minutes. Discard tea bags and set liquid aside.
  2. In bowl of rice cooker, add oats, nutrition boosters (seeds, etc), protein powder, sugar substitute, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together until combined.
  3. Add pumpkin to bowl and pour in milk/tea mixture. Mix together until everything combined.
  4. Put lid down on rice cooker. Set timer for “heat/simmer” for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened to desired consistency. I prefer mine thicker!
  5. Serve warm in bowls with Greek yogurt and pecans or other garnishes. May store leftovers in refrigerator for days or in freezer for 6 months.
  6. To make in microwave, place all ingredients in 2 quart lidded casserole and microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring halfway.
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Honey-Sweet Pecan Apple & Hemp Granola Recipe

hemp protein granola apples and pecans

I have more granola for you! You just need to run over and grab a handful before it’s long gone. Sprinkling a couple of crunchy tablespoons on my Greek yogurt in the morning is a must; however, my husband prefers to munch it straight out of the bag. To create a more satiating snack, I almost always add a couple scoops of whey power and some raw, shelled hemp seed to my granola recipes for an extra protein boost. By the way, check out my granola recipe round up post for some other healthy breakfast, dessert and snack ideas.

pecan apple hemp granola with honey

Honey-Sweet Pecan Apple Hemp Protein Granola Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (2 scoops) vanilla or plain protein powder
  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (Gluten-Free, if needed)
  • 1/3 cup shelled hemp seed
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup honey pecans, chopped*
  • 3/4 cup dehydrated apples, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Place the coconut oil, honey, applesauce, water and protein powder in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium-low and whisk until mixture is smooth, thick and creamy and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
  3. Pour oat, hemp and cinnamon into pot, stirring to combine and coat. Pour mixture out evenly on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. If granola still seems moist, keep baking in 5 minute increments until dry. Remove from oven and let cool completely on sheet. Crumble up in bowl and stir in chopped pecans and apples.
  5. Store cooled granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

*Sugared and honey-coated nuts tend to burn easily, so I add them after baking. However, if you substitute raw nuts, they may be added with the oats before cooking.

healthy ingredients coconut oil and honey

I love trying out new ingredients and brands in my recipes; it makes me feel like an experimenter of epicurean proportions! I was recently sent some new products to try out, and give a thumbs up to both. First, I was surprised to find that the LouAna brand made a coconut oil. This great southern company, in business since 1894, has been making nearly every type of cooking and salad oil imaginable.  LouAna Coconut Oil is ideal for baking, sautéing, stir-frying and more – the scent is enticing and there are no trans fats or cholesterol. You also get all the benefits of this heart-healthy “super fat” at a budget-friendly price – I’ve seen it at my local market for $6.00 per huge 30-oz. container.

I’ve used all types of sweeteners in my granola before including maple syrup, stevia and (gasp) real brown sugar. We have a couple honey-lovers in the house, so I decided to try Wholesome Sweetener’s Organic Honey. Here in Austin, Texas, it’s not hard to get my hands on some pretty delicious local honey – but, I must say, I did love my bottle from Wholesome Sweetener. It was a beautiful amber color and really did have the “butterscotch essence” as advertised! Aside from the superior taste, I feel confident using this product in recipes and letting my kids squirt it all over their biscuits, bacon and yogurt – that’s because this honey is fair trade-certified, non-GMO and organic.  One thing I did notice is that it’s important to reduce the baking temperature by 25 F degrees; honey tends to caramelize (and burn) fairly quickly.

I’ve been practicing these one-armed pull-ups so I can get my workout in AND much granola at the same time. Well, just kidding – it was a dare and I figured out a way to make it happen. Sorry the video is sideways, oops.