Thursday, March 25, 2010

Date, Banana and Walnut Oatmeal: How to eat dessert for breakfast -- without a teaspoon of sugar

“I can’t believe you gave up desserts!” People say when I tell them about my Lenten sacrifice to go without sweets for six and a half weeks.

I don’t blame them for finding it so shocking – I’m shocked I’ve been able to stick to my commitment as well. I’m known for many things (ie. my adoration of the Mozzas/Nancy Silverton, and my bad habit of buying skirts I can’t afford at Anthropologie), but not for my ability to turn down food – especially food that involves sugar and/or chocolate.

Especially chocolate.

Yet somehow I’ve made it five weeks and two days now without a single bite of ice cream, sip of a mocha or nibble of a muffin. Though in the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that the miraculous happening cannot be completely attributed to my sudden acquisition of an iron will or direct intervention from God. There have been a few pinch hitters that have helped me get through the dark moments when I’m craving something sweet – specifically Chobani Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries, dates (ie. nature’s candy), cuties, rooibos tea, and oatmeal.

Yes, oatmeal.

And, no, my version does not contain even a teaspoon of brown sugar – that would be cheating and God doesn’t like cheaters! (But I think He’d probably be okay with pumpkin eaters...)

While I’ve been savagely smitten with stirring a tablespoon of peanut butter into my oats for the past seven years, lately I’ve been mixing things up with some other tricks to make my morning oatmeal even more of a tasty treat. Instead of buttering it up with my favorite nut butter, I’ve been cooking it with bananas, dates, nutmeg and cinnamon, and then topping it off with toasted walnuts.

The natural sugars from the dates and bananas and addition of spices helps satisfy my sweet tooth, and the crunchy nuts on top add further dimension and texture to my breakfast. It’s definitely not the type of affair that would appeal to savory breakfast-eaters who get their thrills from eggs and sausage, but it’s been a saving grace for me – one that I am sure to keep enjoying long after the Lenten season ends.

Date, Banana and Walnut Oatmeal
Serves 1

½ cup 100% Quaker Oats
2 dates, chopped
1 small banana, sliced into small chunks
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon wheat germ
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup water
3 tablespoons – ¼ cup skim milk
Pinch of salt

Bring water to a boil in small saucepan. Add oats and salt, reduce heat, and simmer on low until water is almost completely absorbed (3-5 minutes). Stir in banana, dates, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and continue cooking together until stiff and oats are cooked through – approximately 5 more minutes. Add the wheat germ and more milk if needed. Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla and serve immediately. Top with walnuts.


Anna A. said...

You're becoming a hippie, TALF. I love it.

Esi said...

Have you tried Oikos yogurt? It's even better than Chobani (in my opinion) It's thicker, organic, and still nonfat...but I digress. Your lack of sugar consumption of the last month plus is quite impressive Miss Diana!!

The Duo Dishes said...

Agreed that no sugar eating is something to be commended. Will this mean less sweet eating post-Lent???

Sippity Sup said...

I don't really have a sweet tooth so like you and vegetarianism... I flirt with give up sweets full-time. I doubt I'll do it full force though. Why bother... GREG

Jenn said...

This is a breakfast I can surely sink my teeth into. Forget the plain bland oatmeals. I'd take this any day of the week.

lynn @ the actors diet said...

how about coconut? stevia? i have such a sweet tooth, my mind is reeling.

Diana said...

Anna - I may be loving the wheat germ, but don't for a second think I'm going to throw my razor and deodorant out!

Esi - I haven't yet! Saw it at Whole Foods tonight, but Chobani was on sale and the pom flavor was calling my name. I responded. By buying 2. :)

Chrystal & Amir - I think it will mean less sweet eating! At least in the beginning. It's kind of a slippery slope - once you start, it's hard to stop!

Greg - No reason at all! Everyone needs a little chocolate from time to time. :)

Jenn - It's one of my favorite ways to have oatmeal now! Though I will still always have a special place in my heart for the pb version.

Lynn - I'm not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, but if you like 'em, I say go for it! I bet toasting the coconut first would add great texture.

Bianca said...

I've been eating *sigh* instant oatmeal for years, after seeing this I'll try to kick it up a notch! :)
Only one more week of Lent!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i'm not a fan of oatmeal but you may have just sold me on it! looks good!

Diana said...

Bianca - No! Not instant! oh the horror - the horror!! ;) You must try old fashioned oats -- they make such a difference!

Nastassia - If you close your eyes, it almost tastes like a doughnut!