Friday, November 30, 2012

Almond Banana Oatmeal...

How many of you eat oatmeal everyday? Or even a few times a week? I know I don’t, and it’s not because I don’t like oatmeal, it’s just that... well I’ve never really been a breakfast eater. That’s not to say I don’t like a good breakfast now and again but typically when I wake up early I don’t eat much for an hour or two and then I end up grabbing an apple and making a smoothie. It’s quick, it’s easy, and by that time I’m ravenous so it works. Some fruit and a smoothie for breakfast certainly isn’t a bad way to start the day but there are some days where you just want more, and I feel that oatmeal is one of those unutilized breakfast foods. It definitely is in my house anyway. It also comes with the unfortunate stigma of being bland, flavorless and boring.

But oatmeal Is so good for us. It’s filling, it provides sustainable energy throughout the morning, it gives us beneficial nutrients, and best of all it helps to stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol which keeps our hearts and arteries happy. As for the taste, well, the oatmeal I made this morning knocks the socks off of any other oatmeal I’ve ever eaten. It’s super flavorful, extremely delicious and pretty quick.

I guess because the weather is getting colder now, I’ve started to crave more hearty winter fare, oatmeal definitely falls into that category and since I was still a bit hungry after my morning apple bu not quite ravenous I decided to take the time and make myself a bowl. For lack of ingredient variety and for the comfort of having something familiar I chose to incorporate ingredients into my oatmeal that I generally through into my morning smoothie. Such as banana, almond butter, flax, and hemp. What’s really great about this oatmeal is rather then add sliced bananas on top after it’s cooked, I cook the bananas right in the oatmeal itself. When bananas cook down they develop a truly amazing sweet, full bodied flavor that’s addictive. It made for a super satisfying morning meal that’s kept me full all day. You have to try it, even if you think you don’t like oatmeal!

Almond Banana Oatmeal 

½ C Steel Cut Oats
2 C Water
1 Large Banana
1 ½ - 2 heaping TBSP Almond Butter
½ - 3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Hemp Seeds
1 tsp Ground Flax Seeds
2 Dried Apricots Sliced
2 Dried Plums Sliced
Splash of your Favorite Almond Milk (Optional - I used Vanilla)

- In a medium sized saucepan combine the steel cut oats and the water. Bring to a boil, boil for ten minutes then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes until the water has been absorbed to your liking and the oats are soft and creamy.

- During the last 8 minutes of cooking slice the banana into the pot and stir to combine. Also add in the almond butter and stir to combine. By the time the oats are done cooking the banana slices should have cooked down into the oatmeal leaving no chunks. Though a few bits are okay.

- Once oats are done remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

- Scrape oatmeal into a large bowl if you’re very hungry or divide into two bowls for two smaller portions.

- Top with hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chopped fruit - though you may need more of each of these if your making two portions. Then add your favorite almond milk if you like a wet oatmeal and enjoy!

PS: If you prefer a dry oatmeal this taste amazing just as is, the milk isn’t really necessary. I mostly used it for consistency and for a bit of extra vanilla flavor. Also feel free to experiment with different types of dried fruits. I used Apricots and Plums because that’s what I had, plus I’m quite partial to dried plums in things. Though you could use any dried fruit you like.

PPS: Oatmeal can be made Gluten-Free if you are using Gluten-Free Oats

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