Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate-Banana Oatmeal

Breakfast in our house is usually a grab-and-go affair. The two older boys get breakfast at school, and the baby gets breakfast at daycare. That leaves me to fend for my breakfast self. Mornings are crazy anyway, what with getting three kids around and out the door on time. I rarely have time to sit down and eat a leisurely breakfast. Most of the time, I end up taking it with me. It would be easy to subsist on Pop-Tarts and granola bars, but those don't actually fill me up, not to mention the fact that they're nutrition nightmares. The most common alternative for me is oatmeal.

Now, I don't go for those little bitty packets. Again, not enough there, loaded with sugar, and, well, not a wide variety of flavors. Homemade oatmeal, on the other hand, is only limited by what is in the pantry. Usually I go for some sort of dried fruit, maybe some nuts for protein, and a little brown sugar for sweetening.

Recently I came across an article in one of my magazines with brief recipes from their latest diet plan, including several breakfast recipes. One of them was for Pear-Ginger-Chocolate Smoothie (which was yummy, BTW). That got me thinking. If I could have chocolate in a breakfast smoothie, why not chocolate in my oatmeal?

Chocolate for breakfast? Sure, why not! By using dark chocolate, it actually gives you a dose of anti-oxidants. Add in banana, and it's like a banana split in oatmeal form!

A note on oats: oats are not necessarily gluten-free. Some gluten-sensitive people react to oats, some do not. If you are gluten-free due to celiac, you might want to steer clear of oatmeal, especially regular grocery-store oatmeal. If you are gluten-free due to a wheat allergy, you might want to take into account that regular grocery-store oatmeal may be cross-contaminated with wheat. I feel comfortable using regular oats, as I am the one eating them, rather than my wheat-allergic son. Bob's Red Mill does make gluten-free oats, but I have heard of people reacting to that as well.

Chocolate-Banana Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 very ripe banana, broken into chunks
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (this could be made vegan if you use dairy-free chocolate chips)

Put all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Allow plenty of room for the water to boil up during cooking. I use a 1-quart Corel casserole, one of the deep, square ones. Otherwise, you might end up cleaning your microwave. Microwave on High for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy. No need for extra sugar or sweetener. Makes 1 serving.

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