After two wonderful weeks spent mostly out of town, including celebrating a dear friend’s wedding, frolicking on the beach, and watching 4th of July fireworks from a boat, vacation is now behind me. Back in the city, the first order of business was to at least somewhat replenish the empty refrigerator coffers. I took stock and it was definitely slim pickings.
I’m typically pretty good about going grocery shopping with a list, so for a few meal plan ideas I sat down with Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I mostly default to either googling recipes or looking at a handful of blogs’ recipe pages, but Everything is not only comprehensive but its recipes are so darn simple that lately I’ve taken to pulling it out more frequently.
Armed with a relatively short shopping list, I headed to Trader Joe’s… along with every other Manhattan resident that had also just returned from the holiday weekend. Oops. I was eager to make my escape before my stress level escalated off the charts, so I grabbed a few things, waited behind approximately 3587238 other people in the check out line, and got out only $11.68 poorer, thanks to using a $10 TJ’s gift card I had gotten as part of a promo event a few months earlier.
Back at home, feeling both relieved that shopping was over and inspired by Mark Bittman, I glanced at his granola recipe in the cookbook and decided to give it a whirl. Six ingredients (oats, pecans, a dash of cinnamon, a sprinkle of salt, a handful of peanuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup) and 20 minutes later, voila!
I bought that maple syrup months ago with the express purpose of using it to make granola and am so glad I finally bit the bullet — there’s no question that it single-handedly lifts the quality of my first batch of homemade granola.