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.
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 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.
This is serious oatmeal business. For someone who has always hated (as in refused to eat in any form) oatmeal for as long as I can remember it feels like there is an unusual amount of oatmeal-related recipes on this relatively young blog. Well, what can I say? I’ve been converted. The other oatmeal recipe posted here was more of a revelation to me. It was cool that you could soak your oats overnight and wake up with a nice, filling breakfast, with some delicious toppings (if I may say so myself). In fact, for me, that one was all about the toppings, not the oats. This is quite the opposite.