Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats (Vegan and Gluten-Free!)
I know this may come as a shock to some of you because I run such a fancy weblog, but it’s the truth. I shamelessly rocked a Motorola Razr until 2010, and in college I wrote all of my papers in my dorm’s computer lab because I never downloaded Microsoft Word on my laptop (which I affectionately referred to as my “TV-Radio” for four years).
Since entering the blogosphere, I’ve tried to become more tech-savvy/aware, and I feel like I’ve made some decent headway. (I have an iPhone! I make the tweets!) However, I still tend to be fashionably late to every tech party, and it usually takes me a while to hit my stride. For this reason, I find it very stressful that new social media outlets seem to pop up on the reg. As soon as I think I’ve got a handle on one, a different new-fangled “social networking service” has become trendy. It’s like virtual whack-a-mole, and I’m exhausted. I mean, WHAT IS REDDIT?
This is why I need an intern.
In order to maintain my sanity, I try not to obsess over too many social media platforms at once. I’ve picked a few that make sense to me, and I try to calmly focus on those, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Facebook is self-explanatory, and Twitter is doable, but it took me a while to get on board with Pinterest. This is probably because it was first explained to me by a friend who used it to collect “style inspiration.” “You can create whole virtual bulletin boards of handbags that you like,” she said. “Or shoes! And makeup looks!” Frankly, I thought this sounded terrible. Why would I want to waste time making a collage of bags and shoes that I loved but couldn’t have?! And who exactly would be recreating these elaborate makeup looks on me? The whole exercise seemed depressing.
So, when I begrudgingly signed up for Pinterest over two years ago, I rarely used it. That was until people kept telling me that I needed to leverage the platform to promote my blog. This was anxiety-inducing because my photos back in the day weren’t exactly the most appetizing. (Please see this picture of Osso Buco, which sends me into a fit of giggles every time I look at it. Shockingly, it has never been repinned.) As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed when I started perusing the endless supply of beautiful food on Pinterest. Everything was so perfect! How???
After getting over my initial Pinterest panic, I began to use it as a resource. Instead of pinning pictures of bags and shoes, I began collecting food. I pinned food photos that were beautifully styled, used light and color in interesting ways, and recipes that piqued my curiosity. I felt motivated to better my own photography, which led to appropriating my roommate’s DSLR and working on my food styling. Then I started pinning my fancy photos, and people actually repinned them. It was a social media miracle!
As Logan likes to tell everyone these days, “Serena looooooves Pine-tryst.” I do. I’m a total convert. What I love most about Pinterest is that it inspires so many fabulous edible creations. I’ll see something a few times (cauliflower pizza crust, chia seed pudding, etc.), and eventually, Ill feel compelled to riff off it. Overnight oats are the most recent example of this. After pinning a ridiculous number of recipes for “refrigerator oatmeal,” I finally decided to whip up one of my own, which is how magical Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats came to be.
I’m pretty high on these oats, people. Honestly, I didn’t anticipate liking them that much, but they surprised me. I’m not sure whether it’s the comforting flavor combo of peanut butter and bananas or the incredible creaminess of the oats, but this oatmeal rocks my world. Plus, I like the fact that it’s cold, which makes it strangely refreshing and almost dessert-like. Actually, I ate these oats for dessert yesterday (in addition to breakfast), and I felt excellent about it.
From a foolproof standpoint, it really doesn’t get much better than these bad boys, and there’s a fighting chance that you already have most of the ingredients for overnight oats in your pantry/cupboard. All you have to do is mash a banana, stir in some oats, almond milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds, put the mixture in the fridge while you get your beauty sleep, and BOOM. You’re done. (I like to refrigerate the oats in mason jars because they’re cute and portable, but they’re obviously not essential.) Personally, I’m partial to dressing up my oatmeal with sliced banana and a little bit of honey and cinnamon or dark chocolate shavings, but the topping possibilities are endless. You do you.
In addition to their deliciousness and convenience factor, these overnight oats are literally packed with health benefits. First and foremost, oats are an excellent whole grain source of antioxidants and fiber, and they help reduce your risk of practically every disease in the book (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.). Peanut butter adds protein and healthy fat, and banana gives you a nutritious dose of potassium, mood-boosting tryptophan, and even more fiber. I won’t bore you again with the superfood qualities of chia seeds, but there are many, and they are glorious. In short, eating a serving of this oatmeal will keep you full, energized and freakishly happy for hours. Chest bump.
Now, if you’re thinking that the concept of eating cold oatmeal sounds weird and gross, I totally get it. I was obviously equally wary of eating refrigerated mush. However, I’m pretty confident that once you try this overnight awesomeness, you’ll be just as hooked as I am. For the record, some of my favorite things on this blog are items that I initially thought I would hate (see: chia seed pudding and Gwyneth’s falafel). So be brave, friends! Make the oats. Eat the oats. Love the oats.
Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats: (Serves 2)
1 large ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats (Do not use quick cooking oats!)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon light agave or honey (You may use more if you like sweeter oatmeal. Duh.)
Drizzle of Agave, Maple Syrup or Honey
Dark chocolate shavings or chips
Preparing your Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats:
-In a medium bowl, mash your banana with a fork.
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