Initially, my biggest food-related goal was to find peanut butter, the kind that’s just made out of peanuts, pure and simple. No added oils, sugars, or salt. I yearned for a spoonful of peanut butter on a cracker – just a hint of salt from the cracker, the feeling that you’re doing something good for yourself, and the satisfying smack of licking it from the roof of your mouth for the next 5 minutes. I think I might have even started dreaming about it. I wouldn’t let myself buy the obvious substitute – Nutella. I know I said that all the walking helps with a few extra calories, but me with a jar of Nutella and not much else to do is just too dangerous. And then I found it, at the organic foods store. It’s called Erdnussmus, like apple sauce (Apfelmus), but with peanuts instead of apples. No wonder! In any case, I finally have my favorite protein-packed power snack back.
You know what else I miss, besides consistent sunshine and the freedom to wear tank tops? Trader Joe’s granola in the blue box, with just the right balance of dried fruits and nuts and oh so versatile – yummy with milk and even better sprinkled (heavily) over Breyers natural vanilla ice cream.
It’s funny how we can get used to things – the same noodles, salsa, toilet paper. I didn’t know you could get into a granola rut, but I definitely was in one. In those first few weeks after moving, I often found myself standing in the cereal aisle of the grocery store trying to commit to a new combination of grains with nuts or grains with dried fruit, preferably in a crunchy version (there’s nothing like a good crunch to get your brain going in the morning!). Because I couldn’t find a crunchy granola offering both nuts and dried fruit, I just didn’t eat granola. Breakfast sucked for a while – remember, I also didn’t have peanut butter – but I’ve slowly been opening my horizons and taking risks. My newest breakfast concoction has me feeling slightly witch-y. It’s basically yogurt with some not-so-crunchy granola in it, but it requires the careful mixing of several key ingredients to get it to the right consistency, flavor, and added health benefits. Now it’s my new power breakfast!
I guess that’s what a change of scenery does – it has ripple effects all the way down to your first meal of the day. So now I’m on the lookout for the perfect stand-ins (or upgrades?) in other areas, and I’m certain that with a little sleuthing and exploring I’ll find them!