It’s amazing how quickly cravings and habits form. I remember when we went to Asia and I started eating curry, fish and rice for breakfast. At first, my stomach would turn. I was used to milk and sugary cereal. It was so strange. After just a few days though, I started looking forward to my roti canai, and later to my miso soup, rice and pickled vegetables. These days I am pretty much on an oatmeal kick. Oddly enough I love to add some granola to my oatmeal. I know it is an oat-on-oat situation but I love the contrast between the crunchy texture and toasty flavour of granola along with the other seeds and nuts that I also add to my bowl. So, having granola in the house is always a good thing in my book. I try to change up the spices, nuts and fruit that I put in my granola (got to keep breakfast exciting!) and this time I decided to make a second batch of granola based on Local Milk’s recipe. Her granola is the clumpiest that I have ever made. While I love muesli-esque granola, there is something special about the texture of granola clumps (does anyone know what I mean? Maybe because they are usually pretty hard to achieve?). Using her recipe as a base, I decided to make gingerbread granola: deeply spiced, molasses-y, filled with pecans, and dried blueberries and cranberries. It’s the perfect accompaniment to my oatmeal on snowy winter mornings.
A couple of weeks ago I went back to Montreal to attend a conference. Of course, on top of all of the work, I was busy seeing my friends and family. It’s always a whirlwind when I go back. Part of me feels like Montreal is still home but at the same time, I don’t feel connected to the city. I don’t have places that I always go visit or restaurants that I love. I never really feel like I know what’s going on, the landscape of the city changes so much, so quickly. So, when I go out with my friends, I rely on them to choose where we will eat, drink and relax. One night, my friend pulled together some suggestions for dinner, I chose one that sounded good, and we headed off to have a nice meal. We had both never been to this particular restaurant before. The food looked great but when we sat down and saw the prices we walked straight out. After a couple more interesting choices, which involved hastily drinking a margherita and walking out of a second restaurant, we finally landed on a winner.
I have been on quite the breakfast food journey over the past couple of years. Until about three years ago, I never ate anything but cold, sugary cereal for breakfast. Everything changed when I tried this oatmeal for the first time and the joy of eating something warm and a little more wholesome and filling in the morning was introduced to me. Even though I still love oatmeal, trying my first acai bowl in Hawaii last March put me on a whole new path. This past summer, eating a cold, refreshing smoothie bowl was almost all that I wanted to eat every morning. Recently though, when I wake up, our apartment is pretty cold and I am craving warm food again. One of the things I love about smoothie bowls is the contrast between super smooth blended fruit and the various crunchy things I sprinkle generously over the top. I am always mixing various seeds, nuts and other bits that I have in my cupboard over the bowl (I also do this with my oatmeal, but the contrast in texture isn’t so obvious). While I find myself firmly back in the oatmeal wagon, I thought that having a smoothie-esque wintery breakfast bowl would also be great to have in my arsenal: this warm applesauce breakfast bowl is it.
It really feels like autumn here now. The trees are golden, the apples and pears have taken over the markets, and there is a clean, crisp feeling to the air. Today we went to see the larches. They look like coniferous trees but turn yellow at the end of September. I’ve heard a lot about how beautiful they are, which made me vaguely skeptical as to whether they would live up to all of the hype, but they were truly spectacular. A bright blue sky against the golden larches is a new autumn memory for me. In retrospect, these muffins would have been the perfect snack to bring along on the hike. They are everything I want this time of the year: warm spices, tart apples, and a sweet treat. On top of everything, these healthy breakfast apple muffins are golden too, coloured by my apparent new obsession, turmeric.