The Water Lily Way

A school counselor's story of how to live, work and play…the water lily way


Pb & Apple Baked Oatmeal (And Let’s Go Wisconsin!!)

Hi Friends!

I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks, but I am back and ready to share more with you! School, work, spring break and some much needed family/friend time kept me busy over the past few weeks…Oh, and a 24 hour bug that had me in bed for 24 hours straight! I have not been sick for a long time, and it made me realize how much I appreciate my health and feeling good! I slept for almost an entire day, which is exactly what my body needed. So not only did it remind me about the importance of my health, but also of the importance of sleep (which in grad school, and I think life in general, often times gets neglected…). And for the last six weeks of the semester, a focus of mine is going to be just that!

With that being said, I have a new breakfast recipe for you to try (maybe tomorrow morning after you get a good nights sleep, right 😉 ). This is the second baked oatmeal recipe that I will be sharing with you, but it is the FIRST recipe that I’ve made up by myself! Well, that turned out I should say… 🙂 The very first time I ever made baked oatmeal from scratch, I WAY over did it with the butter (using both regular butter & apple butter, aka a bad idea). Ironically, I didn’t use any butter this time. Although I came up with this recipe by myself, I still have to thank all the recipes that I’ve tried (and have been delicious!) that inspired me to finally come up with one on my own. Oh, and one more thing, this is one of those recipes that is just NOT photogenic! Don’t let the picture scare you, I promise the taste is similar to a PB cookie… 🙂

I hope you can enjoy this one morning when you are well rested, with a loved one, your family, friends, and of course, a cup of coffee or tea. 🙂

Happy Saturday, and GO BADGERS!!!!!!!!!!

Pb & Apple Baked Oatmeal

pb baked oamteal


2 c rolled oats

1 1/2 c milk (I used almond, but any kind will work just fine)

2 eggs

1/2 c Peanut Butter

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 medium sized apple (chopped)

Craisins or Raisins (optional)

Cinnamon (I never measure cinnamon in anything I make because I LOVE it. I just shake away…)

Brown sugar (Also optional)


1.) Pre-heat oven to 400.

2) Mix together oats, milk, and eggs.

3) Stir in Pb, vanilla, and baking soda.

4) Finally, add your apple and craisins (if desired).

5) Pour into a greased pan (9×9). Sprinkle brown sugar on top (you decide how much).

6) Bake for about 30 minutes.

           Enjoy!!! For a sweeter taste, try drizzling honey or syrup over the top before serving. If you really want to splurge (like my momma and papa Pagel, there’s usually a little whip cream in the house for baked oatmeal mornings… 🙂 ).






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Balsamic Salad

Yay for the weekend! This is one of my favorite salads from I think the original name for this recipe is “Balsamic Autumn Salad,” however I think it’s a great one for anytime of the year! It may not be the prettiest dish ever, but don’t let that fool you!!!! Give it a try!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. -Jessica 🙂

Balsamic Salad


– 1 lb. green beans

– 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks

-1 large apple, cut into chunks -1T olive oil

-1/4C sunflower seeds

-1/4C balsamic vinegar

-2T honey

– 1t salt

-1/2T rosemary

Option: 1/4-1/2 C Raisins


1. In a medium/large pot, submergegreen beans in water and bring it to a rolling boil. Boil for 10-12 minutes or until your beans soften. Strain. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, saute sweet potato and apple in 1T olive oil.

3. In a medium sized bowl, create your dressing. Mix together honey, salt, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.

4. Next, in a large bowl, mix together cooked green beans, apple, and sweet potato. Then poor on dressing and toss.

5. Finally, mix in sunflower seeds (and raisins) and chill in the refrigerator. Eat cold.


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Oats, oats, oats! PB Avocado Cookies & Baked Oatmeal

Happpppy Wednesday! I had a request to keep posting recipes –my kind of request! The first recipe is one of my favs from a blog called The Lean Green Bean. Lindsay (blogger) is a registered dietician and has an array of healthy recipes on her website. Something I particularly like about her recipes are that the ingredients are typically pretty common and her recipes do not call for a ton of ingredients. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy cooking nutritious meals/snacks, but I like using ingredients that I know I will use again, and won’t just sit in my cupboard. I find that from time to time some of the more “healthier” recipes that are out there can require a lot of ingredients, and I believe this can sometimes shy people away from cooking healthy. The truth is though, cooking healthy does not have to be like that at all! I will share some of my favorite entrée’s from her blog in the future, but I am going to by giving you a recipe for a tasty little treat. I have to add, these cookies are “dad, boyfriend, sister and mom” approved. These four people are my guinea pigs, and get to taste everything I make & bake. I promise you, I’ve made “healthy treats” before and they’ve told me never again, never again. They are VERY honest if something tastes like it’s just “too good for you” –if that makes sense? But with these PB avocado cookies, they came back asking for more! Don’t let the avocado part make you nervous, it makes the cookies SO moist.

The second recipe I’m sharing with you today is now a staple for me, my family, and is also a popular breakfast when I’m with my partner and friends. BAKED OATMEAL! The ABSOLUTE best way to eat oatmeal. It’s not your typical, warm oatmeal. The texture is different, the taste is different…trust me, you have to try it! There are millions of baked oatmeal recipes out there, and I am always trying new ones. The one I listed uses apples as one of the main ingredients, but I have also made berry (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries) baked oatmeal’s and pumpkin ones in the fall. When I’m with my family a pan of this goes like nothing! When I’m away at school, I can make one pan and I’ll have my breakfast (or I like cutting them into squares & having them for snacks) ready to go for a full week. You can google “baked oatmeal” or search for recipes on pinterest and get hundreds of results. I did list the Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal recipe below, but you can also find the recipe  by clicking here.

Now get baking! 🙂

Peanut Butter Avocado Cookies

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook time: 14 minutes



1/3 c smashed avocado

2/3 c peanut butter

1 egg

3 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar)

3/4 c oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 c dark chocolate chips


1.)    Combine wet ingredients until well mixed.

2.)    Add dry ingredients.

3.)    Stir in chocolate chips.

4.)    Scoop onto baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.

5.)    Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.


Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal



2 c rolled oats

1 ½ tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup raisins

2 c diced apples

3 eggs

2 c milk (I love using almond milk, but any kind will work just fine)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 c light brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp chopped pecans/walnuts (optional)


1.)    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8x8inch baking dish.

2.)    In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder and salt. Stir in apples, pecans and raisins, then set aside.

3.)    In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour over dry mixture and stir all ingredients together.

4.)    Pour everything into a greased dish and bake for about an hour, or until golden brown.

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Pasta in a Pan: Make it YOUR own

Pasta in a Pan: Make it Your Own

This recipe is SO quick & easy. I’m all about inexpensive, healthy, quick meals!  My mom made this for us lots while we were growing up, and it’s a recipe I now turn to quite often. I think there is something about cooking the noodles right in with the vegetables that gives the pasta extra flavor. You’ll notice I don’t have measurements for the ingredients, and probably think what kind of recipe is THIS? It really depends upon how many people you are serving. I will often times just make enough of this to have for one or two meals, and I never really watch the amount of ingredients I put in (except I always load it up with TONS of veggies 🙂 ). Have fun with it, hence the “make it your own.”

Pasta in a pan


-Pepper(s) (red, green, orange -any color will taste delicious)


(Broccoli and zucchini are other delicious add-ins, you choose!)


-Spaghetti noodles

-Parmesan cheese (to top)

-Salt & Pepper



-Olive oil

-Get creative and add some of your favorite seasonings


1.) Begin by sautéing your veggies in olive oil on low to medium heat for about 6-8  minutes.

2.) Add your spaghetti pasta right to the pan with about 1/4 cup of water to start (staying with low to medium heat). Continue to stir pasta and veggies. Add salt, pepper, garlic and any other seasonings. Continue adding small amounts of water as the pasta begins to cook and soak up the water. Ease off on the water as your noodles begin to expand. This usually takes around 6-10 minutes.

3.) Once water is absorbed and noodles appear to be cooked, top off with your favorite cheese (I love parmesan 🙂 ).

~Serve & enjoy!



Delicious, nutritious, best friend granola

Did I mention yet that I love to cook and bake?! It tends to get put on the back burner, although this semester I have made a goal for myself to cook just one NEW meal a week. I know one meal does not sound like a lot at all, but when you’re cooking for one, most meals will last a couple of days. I am a lover of leftovers though, so eating something for two or three days does not bother me one bit (well, assuming it turned out right & is tasty…) And by one new meal, I’m not counting the nights of my quick and easy, go-to meals (egg sammies, omelets, roasted veggies, soup, etc.). I know, fine cuisine. What can I say, it’s the life of a student… 😉 🙂

Together with cooking, I enjoy making my own little treats. I find that eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day really helps me stay energized, and keeps me focused during my classes! I always have granola bars in my backpack, and I usually have some type of granola or trail mix on me as well. While I wish I could always bake my own granola and granola bars, I definitely fall back on buying these snacks at the grocery store for convenience. However, many of these snacks that we often times think are healthy, are full of preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. I totally understand how much easier it can be to just pick up a box of granola at the store and call it good. But before you go to the store next, and get your usual granola, check out this recipe and consider making your own. It really is SUPER quick (maybe 5 minutes to prep) and very tasty! Best part is, you know EXACTLY what it going into your granola and EXACTLY what you will be putting into your body. I’ve made this recipe for my parents, sister and boyfriend, and let me tell you, it does NOT last long. That’s always a good thing, right?

granola r

So what’s with the “best friend” granola? You  may have guessed, I received this recipe from one of my best friends. Talk about an amazing, person, friend and an unreal cook… That’s Brooke! I remember the first time she made this granola for me, I couldn’t keep my hands out of the bag! I hope you find yourself doing the same thing…Here it is!

Delicious, nutritious, best friend granola


2/3 c. Rolled oats
2/3 c. Barley flakes (or use all rolled oats, which is what I use)
1/3 c. Unsweetened coconut
¼ c. Sunflower seeds
¼ c. EACH: walnuts, pecans, slivered or sliced almonds
¼ c. Butter or coconut oil (I use butter)
¼ c. Honey
¼ tsp. Vanilla

Optional add-ins: cocoa nibs, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cinnamon, peanut butter, etc. -My favorite add-ins are chocolate chips, cinnamon and craisins. Although next batch I make I’m trying out peanut butter, yummm!


1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Lightly oil 10 x 13 jelly roll pan
3. Warm coconut oil (or butter) and honey.
4. Combine all other ingredients, and then add the heated oil and honey.
5. Spread in an even layer and bake about 15 minutes. (Stirring up once in the middle of baking.) Bake until the edges are browning a bit.

I HIGHLY recommend making a double batch. Like I said, it goes QUICK! 

Enjoy. 🙂