The Banana Bread Oats Recipe You Never Knew You Needed
Here’s a surefire way to inject a little mindfulness, and a belly full of sweet, creamy, banana goodness, into your morning.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with oatmeal. If you’ve read the rest of my articles here on Medium, you’ll see that I have mentioned this more than once.
This is one addiction, however, that I refuse to quit.
Recently, I made a drastic change and moved back across the Atlantic to pursue writing and editing more seriously at home in Canada. That drastic change meant that lots of things had to change, and I felt overwhelmed.
So what does any of this have to do with oatmeal? Well, oatmeal is but one way I’ve learned to cope with the overwhelm life sometimes sends our way.
It gave me something to focus on, something to work towards that was just for fun: making the perfect bowl of oatmeal.
This is sort of scientific, too.
Cooking is creative, and getting creative makes us happier.
Research has shown that people tend to feel happier and more fulfilled when they can engage their creativity in an activity like painting, dancing, potter, and, you guessed it, cooking.
A study conducted at Harvard even found that creative activities with repetitive motions get you into a state of ‘flow.’ When people achieved flow, the study found that their brains were flooded with dopamine, which makes us feel happy and energized. So, chopping vegetables and dance-stirring that tomato sauce might actually make you a happier person.
So when the overwhelm got to be a bit too much, I made time to make myself a nice breakfast. I used my creativity to tweak, experiment, and fiddle with my standard oatmeal recipe. I slowed things down when my mind was ramping things up. I started to romanticize the act of making my breakfast like I was the protagonist in a Studio Ghibli movie.
And let me tell you, it felt good.
I’ve developed a couple of oatmeal recipes since then, but this is by far my favourite. And I wanted to share it with you!
So without any further ado, here it is:
The Best Ever Banana Bread Oatmeal
This oatmeal is creamy, sweet, and packed with that baked banana flavour.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 2 semi-ripe bananas, 1 mashed and one sliced in thick slices
- 1 tbsp of butter or margarine (I used a vegan one)
- 1 cup of instant or quick oats (you could use rolled or steel-cut oats, just increase the cooking time according to package directions
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups liquid (I like 1 cup water and 1 cup unsweetened plant milk)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- Your favourite banana bread compatible toppings (I like peanut butter and some mini-chocolate chips!)
Instructions (20 minutes):
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. When the butter is completely melted, and the pan is hot, carefully place the slices of banana on the bottom of the pan. Fry for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden brown, then set aside.
- Add the oats, mashed banana, sugar, liquid, cinnamon, and salt to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 minutes, or until thickened to your desired consistency.
- Once the oats are thickened as desired, turn off the heat and add the vanilla and some banana slices (save a few to garnish) and stir everything together.
- Serve the oatmeal in bowls and arrange the leftover caramelized banana slices on top, along with your favourite toppings.
- Enjoy the banana-y goodness!
This recipe takes a little longer than most of us give ourselves for breakfast, but taking this time to myself has been beneficial for my anxiety and mental health.
It is so lovely to get into a flow — slicing, stirring, tasting. And then enjoy the end result, which tastes so indulgent.
Cooking can make us happier by engaging our creative thinking and getting us into a state of flow. Since eating is something most of us do multiple times a day, we have at least three opportunities to get happier and give it a try.
So what are you waiting for?