Healthy Breakfast Banana Pudding, Oat Bran Crumble, Berries

Spring, Sweet Recipes • 4 Jun 2014

I really miss the smell of lilacs.

My childhood yard housed four fluffy lilac bushes, prolific with a passel of dusty purple flowers, stately guarding the top of a small hill on our property. I would snatch every free moment in the thick of the lilac bushes, abscond to my solitary nook to unwind among the little purple stars that smelled of honey and perfume and vanilla.

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My retreat was a bit deceiving, the virtuously puffy plumes shielding tangled layers of prickly bark. I always sustained a few scratches among the lilacs. No matter, it was heaven; my treasured refuge for silent thought and deeply bewitching breaths.

Growing up I always ate breakfast in the same chair at our kitchen table, the chair that peered northwest, giving me a hazy view of my mom’s lustrous lilac bushes. In the winter, they sat barren and waiting, silent and frost-encrusted, as I sat cold and wool-encompassed, waiting for spring.

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When spring arrived my sister and I would fling open the windows with youthful excitement, like opening a present, to reveal the thick purple perfume that wafting down our green grassy hill. Outside the window screens fat bees buzzes clumsily, drunk with the pollen of wildflowers and lilacs.

From my breakfast seat I could smell the lilac bushes, which made it hard to concentrate on eating. As a grownup in the city I have to settle for vased flowers to do the trick, as we have no yard to plant lilac bushes. Right now we sit among peonies, eating large bowls of banana breakfast pudding and oat crumble. The perfume wafting from the peonies is distracting to say the least, but I’m an adult now and can control my impulses. Velvety pink petals and hauntingly fragrant perfumes do not as easily distract me.

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We liberate ourselves from diversion and instead, concentrate on happy spoonfuls of barely-sweetened roasted banana pudding, touched by the lightness of silken tofu and whipped with protein-packed peanut butter. Smooth pudding requires a diametric opposite, a bit of crunch, a bit of crackle, and the soft texture of poignantly sweet caramel-flavored dates. I make a healthier version of granola- oat bran, chia seeds and flax add crunch, the texture flaky and crumbly, the taste hovering between an oatmeal cookie and the sweet topping of a fruit crisp. There’s some sugar, of course, but just a touch. Each bowl is topped with snowy coconut flakes and sticky-sweet dates, iron-blue blueberries, blackberries the color of the night sky and blood-red raspberries.

Empty bowls and spoons, only a smattering of crumbs remain, evidence of our morning hunger. We’re now free to enjoy the peonies. Though I still miss lilacs.

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Healthy Breakfast Banana Pudding, Oat Bran Crumble, Berries

Banana pudding:
3 medium just-ripe bananas, about 1 pound
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces silken tofu
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup peanut unsalted butter

Oat bran crumble:
1 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch ground cardamom
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons unrefined brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Shredded coconut
Dates, about 1-2 per serving, roughly chopped
1 cup mixed berries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bananas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack, until the skins blacken. Cool slightly and add to food processor along with tofu, vanilla, maple syrup (or brown rice syrup) and peanut butter. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Can be made a day ahead.

2. Combine ingredients for oat bran crumble on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and mix well, making sure the dry ingredients are well-coated with the wet ingredients. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until the oats are crunchy and browned. Cool completely.

3. Layer half-pint mason jars (or bowls) with a layer of pudding, then a layer of oats. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and chopped dates. Add one more layer of pudding, oats, coconut and dates and top with berries.

Yield: Serves 4.

2 Responses

  1. cdb

    Kate this sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it! And that blue jar looks familiar…makes me so happy to see you using it. I have a sweet william bouquet in one of them on my kitchen table at the moment!

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