While cooking, listen to this: Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder


So I think my 27th birthday was one of the best days of my life.

Last Friday marked my 27th turn around the sun, and I got to spend the day with some of the loveliest humans I know. I walked from Morningside Heights to Midtown East through Central Park and saw a man walking 10 dogs at once. I walked from Midtown East to Chelsea and saw so many tourists. Punctuating all of this walking was coffee with new coworkers, brunch with best friends and drinks with my partner. It was already pretty damn lovely.


My partner is a musician and got a last-minute gig, so I took myself to see The Band's Visit. I had seen the movie years ago in a Hebrew class in high school so I thought I would know what I was getting myself into, but I was NOT prepared for the emotional onslaught. I am a true, 100% musical theater sap (Alyssa is, too) and I tend to cry my way through every musical I see. Once the curtain goes up, the tears flow. This time, however, I started tearing up just upon reaching my seat, and for a pretty effing embarrassing reason:

The screen on the stage said "Please silence your cell phones" in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

Friends, I cried over the words "Please silence your cell phones" in Hebrew.

Great way to start off 27.

I think I know why, though. It was surreal - SURREAL - to be at a Broadway show and hear Hebrew. To hear my second language, a language I have known and lived within for 27 years, being spoken in a mainstream musical in America? Unreal. It was so fucking cool. I laughed at the Hebrew asides, and then cried at the Hebrew asides, and then laughed at myself for, again, being such a total sap. But god it felt good. Coupled with a backstage tour from Alyssa's friend, it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After the show I went across the street to my partner's gig, which was jazzy and high energy and included a surprise rendition of "Happy Birthday."

Obviously I cried again.


"Rina, so glad you had such a lovely birthday, really great to hear. But this is a post about eating a sweet potato for breakfast - what does this have to do with anything?"

It doesn't! But it's what I wanted to write about, and I can't find a connection between birthdays and sweet potatoes, so here we are.

A few weeks ago I baked a bunch of sweet potatoes I had lying around at home, made some quinoa granola from Minimalist Baker, and smothered everything in peanut butter. Topped with some blackberries, it was FIRE. They're vegan, gluten-free, sweet, crunchy and super filling. Perfect for mornings when you have extra time to make something different and can't look at another bowl of oatmeal without dying of boredom. You can also make the granola and sweet potatoes ahead of time and load it all up before work or class. So many options!

Why would you want to eat a sweet potato for breakfast? Because it is an AWESOME way to start the day, and will give you lots of energy if you plan on walking ten miles and crying at everything. Highly recommend.

Love and meows, Rina



Yield: 3 ½ cups granola, as many sweet potatoes as you want

Active Cook Time: 5m | Inactive Cook Time: 1h 45m

Category: Breakfast, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Source: granola from Minimalist Baker


quinoa granola:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon sugar of choice

Pinch sea salt

3 ½ Tablespoons coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

sweet potatoes:

However many sweet potatoes you want

Almond butter or peanut butter

Blackberries or other berry of choice

Salt, for sprinkling


Roast the sweet potatoes: preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking pan with foil. Prick each sweet potato with a sharp knife a few times. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size, until the potatoes can be easily pierced all the way through with a knife.

Make the granola: lower the oven temperature to 340F. Add the oats, quinoa, raw almonds, sugar and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Heat the maple syrup and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium for 2-3 minutes - whisk constantly so that the oil and syrup aren't separated. Immediately pour over the mixture in the large bowl and stir until thoroughly coated. Place on a large baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stir, then bake for 5-10 more minutes, or until the granola is a deep golden brown and smells amazing. Watch for burning.

Assemble: cut the sweet potato in half and drizzle some almond or peanut butter (or both!). Sprinkle with a bit of salt, then add a layer of granola, then some berries. Add more nut butter if desired, then go to town.

To keep: leftover granola can be kept in a tightly sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks at room temp or 1 month in the freezer.