Good morning!

And it is a good morning, too.  The temperature is in the high 50’s and the sun is out, and there’s a mild breeze circulating clean air through the open window.

You want to know why else it’s a good morning?

There’s warm porridge in my belly, and I’m currently sighing with contentment at another satisfying meal done well. (I had originally typed that as “well done,” but then I pictured a maitre d’ hovering over me, asking me how I want my porridge, and me replying, “Slightly seared on the outside, but keep it gooey in the middle.”  Right.  And, I used the word gooey.  Plus one for the win!)

Sometimes, the simplest meals are the best.  Before I discovered that I couldn’t eat oats, I ate them every single day for over two years.  I loved oats.  I loved the versatility of them, I loved adding all sorts of weird toppings and mix-ins, and I loved how warm they made my tummy and how they kept me full for hours.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  When I eliminated gluten, I failed to eliminate oats, and I couldn’t figure out why I was dizzy and weak after breakfast.  My hands would be shaking as I prepared my lunch, and for a while there I willfully submitted my finger to be stabbed so my blood sugar could be checked.  I was indignant when the results were normal, because why else was I suffering from edema, low blood sugar, and dizziness?

Turns out my oats, somehow, have been cross-contaminated with gluten.  I’m not very eager to rush out and try to find gluten-free oats, just because I like to keep things simple.

Enter quinoa.

See? Told you. Tadpoles.

Versatile, quick (take about as long as steel-cut oats to prepare) and tastes great.  Mild flavor, actually, so whatever you add to it, the quinoa picks up the flavor.  Sort of like tofu, really, but we all know what tofu does to me. (No, you don’t, actually, and be grateful for my discretion.)

My favorite breakfast before giving up oats was something that I had liked to call “Peanut Butter Banana Bread Porridge.”  Right, I know that’s a mouthful, but that’s the best way to describe it.  This quinoa porridge?  Exactly the same, if not better.

I mean, you can’t go wrong with a curly-tailed pseudo-grain, ne?

Banana bread, hot and fresh from the oven, has a mild, sweet palate.  This porridge is sweetened with one very ripe banana, so the only added sweetener I used was one generous half-teaspoon of blackstrap molasses.  The molasses is a bit bitter on its own, but the burnt smokiness complements the natural sweetness of the banana nicely.

Mmm, moist, fluffy banana porridge.

Oh, and honey crashed the party later, but I forgave it.  You’ll see why.

The recipe is simple, really.  Pay attention, because I’m only going to tell you once.  Or twice, since I’m nice like that.

In a small sauce pan, I added 1/2 cup water, then added 2 generous tablespoons of quinoa.  I brought that to a boil, then put a lid on the pot and and reduced the heat to low.  It simmered for thirteen minutes (hey, thirteen is a good number!  it just gets an unfair bad rap from twelve and fourteen).

You can tell it’s done by the tails.  When you bite into a quinoa kernel (is it kernels? pods? and how does one fish one single quinoa from a huge pot of them?) it’ll have a slight ‘pop’, but give easily and have a tender texture.  That’s how you know your quinoa is perfect.

While my quinoa cooked, I sliced up a medium-large banana in a bowl, and when the quinoa was ready, I poured it atop the banana slices.  Then I snapped a picture, because c’mon, tadpoles.

What's banana bread without a generous dollop of peanut butter?

I placed the banana/quinoa ensemble in the microwave and cooked it on high for a minute, to soften the bananas.  Then I stirred the heck out of it, and the bananas sort of melted in with the quinoa.  It was awesome.

From there, I added 1/4 cup almond milk.  A note on that, if you will.  Yesterday, when I cooked my porridge in almond milk, when it came to a simmer, the almond milk did this weird rise-and-try-to-leap-over-the-top-of-my-saucepan thing.  Don’t know how else to describe it, other than the little quinoas were floating on the almond milk foam and not cooking correctly.

So, instead, I cooked it in water and added the almond milk afterward.  It worked beautifully, so I’m content.

Do not forget the cinnamon!  I learned from yesterday’s mistake.  Oh yes, I learned.  Banana bread without cinnamon?  Blasphemy.  I threw in 1/2 tsp and cackled wildly at my genius.

Mmm, can't get enough of the peanut butter.

At that point, my porridge was a runny mess, so I included 1 tbs milled flaxseed.  Remember, flaxseed gels. (What did you learn in class today, Junior? Flaxseed gels!)  Makes a great egg substitute in vegan baking, actually.  If you’re curious, I don’t mind delving further into that.

For now, I’m all about the peanut butter and bananas, though, so bear with me.

I also included 1/4 cup egg whites.  If you are a vegan and avoid eggs, I’d suggest throwing in another tablespoon of milled flaxseed at this point, instead of the egg whites.  It’ll thicken the mess wonderfully and slam you with a hearty wallop of Omega fatty acids.  I like eggs, though, so I added them.

This went into the microwave for 2 minutes on half-power, then stirred, then another minute and a half, then stirred, then another minute, then stirred.  You’ll be stirring quite a bit, but it’s worth the wait.  You might also be stirring with impatience, because the amazing aroma of banana bread and cinnamon will be waging an assault on your nostrils.

Yum.

It melts, oh how it melts! I smeared it to get full peanut butter coverage in every bite.

Once your porridge is sort of soft-set and creamy, you’ll want to cook it for just one more minute at full power.  That gives it the final cook without drying it out.  That way, when you start shoveling the porridge into your mouth, the texture will mildly resemble spoon-bread and you can heartily agree, yes!  This is just like banana bread!

Wanna know a secret?

My beloved blue ceramic bowl was looking mighty ganky at this point, and I would have been embarrassed to snap a picture of it.  Without preamble or grace, I artlessly dumped the cooked porridge into a clean bowl with an almost inaudible plop.

Eager to dig in. Mm, honey...

I then scooped out the last of the peanut butter from my empty jar and slathered it onto my porridge.

The smell was amazing, but it was missing something.

Oh yeah.  Honey.

Without my permission, my hand reached for my jar of honey and before I knew it, my porridge was glistening with delicious bee vomit.

Even though I used maybe a half a tablespoon or so, it was perfect.  Just the right amount of sweetness.

I ate every bite.  Nom.

Recap.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Quinoa Porridge

2 tbs quinoa (use 1/4 cup and increase the water to 1 cup, if preferred)

1 large banana, spotty with ripeness

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses

1 tablespoon milled flaxseed

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tbs peanut butter

1/2 tbs honey

Enjoy!

Oh my. Looks so naughty, but it's actually quite good for you.

I only the vaguest idea what I’m making for lunch, but I do have a handful of leftovers that need eaten.  I just may have something up my sleeve…

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

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