A cold house; low morning light fills the East-facing rooms with a glow. Others remain dark. The teapot kettle is refilled and hungry for fire. The blue gas hums. Quiet. Another burner is lit and warm milk simmers to a boil. A morning ritual that has claimed the colder weeks, and a breakfast porridge that warms and settles just right in the belly (it begs to be eaten patiently and mindfully!). This is my Banana + Hemp Milk Porridge.
A few months ago, I made the decision to cut out sugar, but not completely in a way that would inhibit or prohibit me from enjoying food. Just in a way that made me rethink my dishes and change my palate. Sure, sugar is in practically everything: sauces, dressings, drinks, bars, fruit (if you’re counting fructose)…but what I wanted to see was how I could live without sugar and in doing so, realized it is in practically everything. What I also was keen on and have always believed is that restriction is not the way I want to live my life nor is it sustainable for me. And while it sounds “sugar-free” is a restriction, it is actually a liberation from sugar! In fact nothing about this lifestyle feels prohibitory. I am free to eat whatever I want, because what I want and what I crave is savory things. I am most of the time unaware that I am not eating sugar because the basis of eating sugar for me was a need for a sugar high. The changes in the physiology of my body are massive. Hunger is a different feeling. I eat when I’m hungry not when I want sugar and that difference has allowed me to think less about food as a way to satisfy sugar cravings but to nourish and replenish.
So when it came time to making breakfast, I took my favorite meals, like classic oatmeal, and tried to find ways to make them sugar free without sacrificing the flavor or taste! The result is my Banana + Hemp Milk Porridge. It’s the best oatmeal I’ve ever made -- sugary or sugar free -- and it’s thick, rich, creamy, and naturally sweetened.
It starts with a smashed banana. The riper the better, the sweeter, the easier to mash. In fact, fruit is the only natural sweetener in this dish. No sugar is added. When I had my family try this recipe, they asked me if really there was no sugar and why it tasted so rich and sweet. The proof is in the porridge!
I cook the mashed banana, along with a good healthy heaping of cinnamon and hemp milk. Unsweetened vanilla is my favorite, but if you can’t find it, any milk is good in this recipe; hemp milk just adds an undeniable creaminess and thickness to the porridge. If you’ve ever tried hemp milk, you’ll know it has a distinct taste. Creamy, nutty, almost slightly bitter and un-apologetically, un-sweet, but in the best way possible. It is my favorite milk to cook oats with and having the vanilla in the milk helps add a delightful aroma and brings out the sweetness of the banana. Cooking the banana, milk and spices together will not only infuse the flavors but also thicken the mixture. I use quick cooking oats most of the time because they absorb better into the mixture and they save a few extra minutes in the morning, which we all know are precious. No measurements..never measurements with oats, but if it looks like I’ve added too much liquid, I just crank up the heat, if too little, and almost every morning I underestimate how quickly the oats absorb liquid, add more milk or water from the kettle. From this point, the oats only need a few minutes to cook. When ready, I top the porridge with fresh blueberries, pomegranates seeds, which are in currently season and add a bright citrus burst, some hemp seeds for extra protein and omega 3’s, and a little extra hemp milk on top.
This porridge is filled with all things good for you.
Oats: fiber, protein, iron
Hemp Milk: Omega-3 + 6's, protein, calcium, folic acid
Banana: potassium, fiber, helps maintain blood sugar levels
Blueberries: antioxidants, fiber, vitamin k
Pomegranates: antioxidants, potassium, vitamin c, reduces plaque formation
Cinnamon: anti inflammatory properties, reduces LDL cholesterol, helps regulate blood sugar levels
There is something comforting and secure in a routine. The morning speaks in sounds, colors and light. It fills me with nostalgia and eagerness for what’s to come of the day. So when mornings are met with a delicious and healthy breakfast, I can take a moment to be mindful and present. This porridge is warm, comforting, nutritious and filling and just the right pick-me-up I need to start the day. Between the fresh cold berries and the warm creamy, thick oats, this recipe is a must try for these cold winter months ahead. And if you'd like to learn more about my sugar less lifestyle, stay tuned for more recipes and updates ahead. Enjoy!
What you’ll need:
1 cup hemp milk (preferably unsweetened vanilla)
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup oats (I used whole grain, quick cooking)
1/4 cup pomegranates
1/4 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon any nuts or seeds (I like hemp and chia seeds + pepitas)
Begin by mashing the banana with a fork until it’s slightly lumpy. Place in a sauce pan alone with the hemp milk and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, add the oats and reduce to low and stir until the oats are cooked through, about a few minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add some a few spoonfuls of water or milk. Once cooked, pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. I love fresh berries here: blueberries, pomegranates, and hemp seeds. Any fruit, nuts, or seeds would be good. Enjoy!
Yields: 1 serving
Total time: 10 minutes