Cinnamon-anything makes me swoon with delight; it is my favorite spice and will forever keep me warm with memories of fall cider, apple pie, and the familiarity of back-to-school breakfast: oatmeal. This year marks a significant change in my school routine, however–I’m the one at the front of the classroom! Every week I visit a different local middle school, working alongside the resident Japanese Teachers of English to inspire generations of future world-achievers. Well, perhaps it isn’t quite that glamorous, but for the most part the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year middle schoolers are bright and curious students, with only the occasional overly-rambunctious class. Considering how early my day starts, the commute to each school, and the energy it takes to control 35 antsy 14 year olds at any given moment, I’ve been making the most of my breakfasts these days.
Even the lingering heat from the hot, humid summer here couldn’t dissuade me from the comforting aroma of piping hot oatmeal and a cup of tea every morning. As I confessed in a prior post, a good breakfast can be the reason I get out of bed, and if it’s been a less-than-stellar day, at least I have a reason to persist until tomorrow’s breakfast and new beginning. Somewhat stock, I know, but since I’m on my way to acting three times my actual age, I might as well embrace the conventions of the honored senior citizens of this world. At least I have all my teeth to crunch on homemade granola if I felt like it :P
My own foibles aside, I love making this homemade oatmeal for its straightforward, hearty goodness. It’s quick, easy, and with the exception of using whole, unpasteurized milk (It’s all they sell here, I swear!) it’s a healthy choice to start the day with. The smell of cooked bananas and cinnamon wafting through the air is positively inspiring. I’ll admit, though, that I have a sweet tooth even in the morning, and this oatmeal is no exception, with a generous helping of brown sugar and the natural sweetness and richness of whole milk. For a milder version, you could leave out the sugar entirely and throw in a dash of nutmeg, or chopped walnuts to add a nutty flavor.
Banana-cinnamon oatmeal (one serving)
1/2 Cup rolled oats (or a combination of quick-cooking and whole)
2 heaping tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 whole banana, sliced into rounds
1/2 Cup milk
1 TB ground wheat germ, optional
In a microwaveable bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, wheat germ if using, and cinnamon. Top with sliced banana, and pour milk over mixture. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, pausing after 2 to check. Remove with oven mits–bowl gets very, very hot! Serve immediately, with a cup of tea or coffee or whatever suits your morning’s needs :)