Picky Porridge Eater’s Happy Monkey Overnight Oats
Isn't it funny how sometimes habitually ingrained routines suddenly just stop? Like, you gravitate to the very same seat, at class, at work, wherever, until then one day you don't? It happens with flavor preferences all the time, though that's typically seasonal shift. Pumpkin cravings in fall, gingerbread winters, minty springs...I craved minty spinach smoothies that made my day, day after day, as healthy shamrock shakes, for months. Then one day I just didn't want one; I wanted chocolate. And since then, that chocolate cherry kale smoothie has been a staple I actually dream about, going on months upon months more.
There isn't really much point in sharing this, except to say that Chef F used to love porridge, until he didn't. Warm, creamy oatmeal with blueberries was one of his very first foods. We have the most adorable picture of his round, rosy-cheeked baby face hidden by his porridge bowl as he did his best to lick it clean. He ate it with gusto for years... until, at four, he didn't, and breakfast become unpredictable.
It's only fair that adventurous eater Chef F should enjoy more adventurous variety at breakfast. But we couldn't help but feel perplexed at the sudden aversion. But then it became clear that there was not so much aversion as the desire for some change; he still liked the same or similar ingredients in other forms. The occasional bowl of cold porridge, ok. Baked as granola and mixed in with fruit, yum. And oats mixed with some peanut butter, applesauce and mashed bananas, yumtastic. We called it "banana batter", which we bake (with some chocolate chips) into cookies all the time. Not baked, you might otherwise call them overnight oats.
Given the success of banana batter, how to resist overnight oats experiments? First up, this one, which had guaranteed success with Chef F because bananas establish a monkey connection and Big Monk is still a solid best friend (so sweet, for as long as it lasts). Bonus, it had guaranteed success for me, because the cocoa, banana and peanut butter give healthy but chocolately richness.
Like most of my favorites, this is quick, simple, and easy to play with and tailor to taste. Maybe your monkeys will like them too. :)
Skinny Monkey Overnight Oats
1/2 cup oats
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon natural peanut or almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 large banana, half mashed, half sliced
In a bowl, mix oats, cocoa powder, almond milk, nut butter, chia seeds, and mashed portion of banana until well combined. Layer oat mixture and banana slices in a jar. Secure lid and refrigerate overnight. Top in the morning with garnish of choices--extra banana slices and unsweetened shredded coconut are our picks.