Do you have those moments in life that you go back to over and over again? Those seemingly insignificant and random memories that suddenly pop into your mind and you wonder why? I have a few like that. Memories that are so random that I can barely understand why I conjure them. They invoke feelings of longing and nostalgia.
Strawberry baby food in a glass jar. I remember playing one of those silly baby shower games a few years ago where you are supposed to try baby food and guess the ingredients. I tried the strawberry kind and for a moment I went back to my childhood. I am sure I didn't have that food as a baby back in Russia. The flavour reminded me of something well forgotten from when I was already older. But what? And every time I eat that strawberry purée (it's delicious, I buy it as a treat for myself) I go back to that sense of safety and belonging and innocence.
Last November we went to the Azores islands. It was an amazing trip. Almost a year later and we still talk about it. I have one memory, one moment from the Azores that keeps popping up in my head over and over again. It's not one of the beautiful ocean views nor gnarly trees; not numerous cows and cats; not succulent fresh clams or strong fragrant coffee. It's one small stretch of the road between our hotel and the downtown. We walked on that road a few times a day for a week. That particular piece of about three hundred meters wasn't exciting. Only a few minutes later there would be brightly coloured shop windows and cheery music and aromatic wafts of frying sausages. Yet I remember that road - bleak and devoid of tourists with one or two cafes where locals sat and watched sports on old battered television sets. I don't know why I keep thinking of that road. Maybe it's because I felt safe waking there with my husband even if it was dark and empty and a little bit scary. I felt safe knowing that with him nothing could and would happen to me?
I have a few memories like that. Small and strange. Memories that shouldn't be popping into my head as they aren't even memories and more feelings - random and unexpected.
There's also one from three years ago. It was the end of December, holiday season. I was sitting in the living room in my big cozy chair. My husband was upstairs. I remember the fireplace blazing and our Christmas tree standing all sparkly and festive. I sat on the chair with my laptop and browsed the internet. I don't know why I remember that moment so vividly. I sat on that chair with a notebook on my lap hundreds of times before and after but I keep going back to that memory. There was nothing particular special - no Christmas music playing, no funny movie on tv. Maybe it was complete satisfaction that I experienced then. I didn't have to go to work the next day and there were no chores needed to be done. I felt content that day. I go back to that moment in time over and over again and feel cozy and warm and happy.
That day during holidays, that moment was when I discovered subscription boxes. I spent hours looking for them online and reading reviews. A few days later I ordered my first. I got a little bit addicted to those boxes and at some point I had 5 or 6 boxes delivered to me monthly. What not to like? It's like Christmas every month and you get a present in the mail never knowing what will be inside. Most of the boxes that I subscribed to were makeup and lifestyle. But I had a few food boxes as well filled with delicious goodness.
After trying the granola on its own I knew I wanted to elevate it a bit further and highlight the banana flavour. Do you remember my story about the impossible bananas? Well, as you know I adore caramelized bananas, so I quickly made some and added to yogurt with the granola. The result was scrumptious! Cold creamy and tangy yogurt, hot and sticky bananas, and crunchy granola. Mixed together they provide the most satisfying breakfast or dessert. Caramelizing bananas is really simple and takes about three, maybe five minutes. Melt some coconut oil and add cinnamon to it. While the pan is heating slice the bananas. Cook on medium heat flipping once. Don't worry about banana slices losing their shape - they will, they are not as firm as plantains. While bananas are cooking spoon some yogurt into a bowl and generously sprinkle with banana granola. Add cooked and sticky bananas right from the pan scraping all the delicious coconut-cinnamon syrup. Enjoy! It really is a perfect mom-recipe. I made it a few times already - for breakfast, snack and even dessert once.
Caramelized Bananas and Granola Yogurt Parfait
Banana - 1 large or two small cupCoconut oil - 2-3 teaspoonsCinnamon - 1 teaspoonYogurt - about 1 cupGranola - to taste, about 1/2 cup
- Heat coconut oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat, add cinnamon to it.
- While oil is melting, slice bananas into 1/4 inch circles, add bananas to the pan and cook on medium or medium/high for about 2-3 minutes, flipping once. Don't worry if the bananas lose shape as they cook.
- Meanwhile spoon some yogurt into small bowls and sprinkle with granola. I recommend OatBox as described earlier in the post.
- Add sticky warm caramelized bananas and enjoy,
Note: I used regular plain yogurt and I strained it a little bit to achieve the layered look that you see in the photos. However, when I ate this parfait as a dessert I just used yogurt without straining. You can also use greek yogurt as well. I wouldn't recommend using flavoured yogurt as there's enough natural sugars in banana and some in granola as well.