Since we moved, Whole Foods is the biggest, closest grocery store to us. There was a Whole Foods where we lived in Vancouver but we never shopped there because of the plethora of convenient, high-quality, cheap, small grocery stores. Even though I had been in a number of Whole Foods, walking into the one in New York was a totally different experience. I felt overwhelmed for the first time since moving to the city. There was so much stuff and so many people buying that stuff. However, once I was able to repress how overwhelmed I felt, I was definitely intrigued by the varieties of peppers, apples, pears (etc, etc) that I had never heard of. There were also a lot of fruits and vegetables that were less commonly available in grocery stores back home (I tried sunchokes for the first time!).
During my most recent trip to the store, a small punnet of fresh black figs caught my eye. Even though I have seen fresh figs, this was my first time buying them. The main reason for buying them was to make this fig and granola yogurt bowl. It has taken some time for our blender (smoothies!) and pots (oatmeal!) to arrive so my breakfast routine has changed. Other than cold cereal, I have been eating yogurt bowls. I load up the yogurt with the same delicious seeds, nuts and fruit as I tend to do with my oatmeal or smoothie bowls: figs were a perfect addition.
As always, I bought a couple of giant sweet potatoes and waited a whole week for creativity to strike. Most of the time, I end up baking my sweet potatoes as wedges and while they are delicious, that’s not a complete meal (far from it). I wondered whether I could still get the gorgeously soft, charred, sweet potato without turning on the stove and, on top of that, get a whole meal out of it. It doesn’t hurt to dream big. I ended up thinking of a sweet potato hash. I figured that I could dice up some sweet potato and red onion, cover them in spices, cook them covered, in a super hot pan and that they would steam and brown at the same time. From there, it could become whatever I wanted. That was where this one pan sweet potato hash and eggs was born.
Smoothie bowls have only been in my life since I had my first acai bowl in Hawaii last year. What a breakfast-changing discovery that was! Since then, my freezer has been consistently stocked with a variety of fruit and my pantry is always full of potential crunchy toppings. You don’t need a recipe to make a smoothie bowl. They are endlessly cusotomizable both in terms of the base and the toppings. However, ever since I started making smoothie bowls, I have discovered that some are superior to others. There are even sometimes smoothie bowl flops. That being said, a couple of weeks ago I discovered a combination that I thought was especially delicious. It had the perfect proportions of equal parts strawberries and banana and a little extra mango for a super refreshing, delicious breakfast bowl.
I finally got to go skiing last weekend. There is no other activity that I can think of that gets me outside in the fresh air, for a whole day, during the winter time. I can’t tell you how good I feel to be outside, in the sun and the snow, in the mountains where everything smells good, and moving. It’s such a luxury over these winter months. With skiing comes the need for snacks. Mostly the snacks are needed on the long car ride home when you finally sit down and suddenly realize that you are deeply tired, hungry and thirsty from all of that moving and fresh air. My go-to snack is granola bars. They are easy to keep in my ski jacket pocket, nutritious, filling, and have just the right balance of sweet and savory that I crave at times like those. I have been making versions of these granola bars ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook came out. There is a date and almond version in her book but I decided to make some apricot sunflower granola bars this time instead. I have tons of sunflower butter in my fridge and I thought it would be a nice change.