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All roads lead to Foragers Market….

Or so the story goes, at least in my world where a humble little grocery store went into an abandoned art space on the corner of 8th Avenue and 22nd street in Chelsea and changed my world forever.

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but really, this place….my love for it runs deep.

Although it’s only been in the neighborhood for a few years, I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t shop there once (if not twice) a day.

It’s my primary destination for produce, bread, yogurt, heritage pork shops and all manner of fancy cheese. Dram Apothecary bitters, Jacobsen salt, Mina harissa, they’ve got it all. Name the latest chef obsession, and you’re just about guaranteed to find it there. They even sell kombucha on tap. (can you sense my silent tear of gratitude?)

The icing on the cake is that the back seating area morphs into one of the best and most affordably-priced restaurants in the city for weeknight dinners and weekend brunches. Chef Nickolas Martinez trained under Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon and sources his ingredients from Foragers’ own farm in Upstate New York. That single tear of gratitude occasionally turns into a stream.

A benefit of having a store like Foragers in the neighborhood is that I’ve gotten to build relationships with some of the food makers themselves. Like microgreen grower Good Water Farms in Long Island, who I’ll talk more about in tomorrow’s post. And Siggi’s, one of the fastest growing yogurt brands in the US. One bite of their skyr (Icelandic strained yogurt) and you’ll never want to eat any other yogurt again.

At least according to yours truly. And my Dad, who ate a spoonful and promptly grabbed the container to inspect every inch of the packaging.

I was visiting Foragers Market in late November when I bumped into Yasaman Vojdani, co-founder of Oat My Goodness Craft Granola.

Yasaman was providing samples for her three lines of granola, and it was pure chance that I stopped to give them a try. I’ve always shied away from buying pre-packaged granola because previous versions have tasted dusty and old. Chewy when they should be crunchy. The flavors, meh. If I want crunchy flavorful granola packed with interesting ingredients, I’ll make it at home.

I politely declined her offer, and was about to move on when Yasaman urged me to try the Sunrise variety – “it has orange, coffee, mango and macadamia nuts”.

Hmmm. That does sound good. And odd flavor combinations are my Achilles heel; I squinted at the packaging, agreed to try it, and the rest is history. I’ve become the unlikeliest of granola promoters but it’s hard for me not to start my day with this kind of food.

It was my passion for their product that led to an organic relationship between the two of us: me, in the role of chief consumer (and photographer), and them as an upstart brand, building a business and taking the artisanal food market by storm. I signed on to develop a portfolio of Oat My Goodness product photography, and have been playing with granola ever since. I’ve baked with it, I’ve layered parfaits, I’ve even roasted fruit to accompany it. The best part? There is more to come. It’s the kind of work that breakfast dreams are made of.

I wanted to share some images from the past few months. I’ve never known the versatility of granola until this year, and it’s my hope that you’ll likewise be encouraged to play around with it as well.

You can find Oat My Goodness craft granola in several states or through their website. They sell it, of course, at Foragers Market, where you’re likely to spot me lurking by the refrigerated case, investigating the latest shipment of farm-fresh eggs.

And if you can’t get your hands on this particular brand of granola, I’ve got a recipe for butter pecan granola that you can use in a pinch.

If you’re interested in finding the recipes for the dishes below, check them out on the Oat My Goodness website. I’ve also copied the recipe for the granola chocolate chunk cookies below. They’re truly the best cookies I’ve ever made. Enjoy!

Sunrise:

Orange, coffee, mango and macadamia nuts

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Can a weekend start poorly when you’re baking Almond Joy brownie bites?

I have scientifically proven that it can.

First my brownies gave me the middle finger when they came out of the oven and broke in half during the pan extraction process. I had to dig out some Hello Kitty polka dot mini cupcake wrappers to save them from the compost heap. Fortunately they were edible.

Lauren, who is nut allergic, wanted to know why on Earth I’d made brownies with nuts in them. After explaining that they were for a dinner party that night, she broke into tears, begging that I make a second nut-free batch of brownies.

So now, instead of enjoying the first 50 degree day of the winter, we were trapped inside like brownie lab rats, testing our dedication to the sport of baking.

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And of course, when we make food, I must photograph. Because that’s what this food blog has done to me.

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Yes, those would be my feet. I’m either perched on a chair, lying on the ground, or climbing onto my countertops to get my food shots. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. If so, please tell me because I’m spending a lot of time cleaning my countertops.

After baking all morning the kids started to pace like a pack of anxious wolves; they were ready to enjoy some sunshine. Our sunny day didn’t disappoint.

And I was eager to enjoy a little of the great outdoors myself. Forgetting that everyone swarms to the park as soon as we get a glimpse of warm weather, I suited up for our visit in a pair of stretch iridescent snakeskin pants, a yellow sweatshirt, and a wool vest that I bought in 2001. Witnesses will corroborate. Upon seeing friends and acquaintances in their skinny jeans and leather boots, the obvious choice was to run for the hills, which I did under the guise of a dog walk, leaving my husband to look after the kids.

With a quick fist bump to my girl, Jack and I took off.

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Goodbye

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