Healthy Apple-Carrot-Oat Muffins, or, Not a Food Blog

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Handwriting courtesy of my mother. I mean, it’s mine, but it’s inherited.

Y’all.

There are few things I love in this world more than food.

God, people, food.

On my not great days, it’s God, some people, food, other people. or even…God, food, forget people.

I really, really love food. I love to make it, buy it, eat it, think about it, prepare it. I want it all the time. The more the better. The better the better. But for all that, I am not a food blogger. Even though this is a post about a recipe I adapted and made. I don’t have a camera or nutrition facts. I make food when I want to and not on a schedule. I have a habit of making a meal on a Monday and just recreating it for dinner til the end of time. Because it keeps being good! and generally it involves a frying pan, a chopping board, and a bowl to make and eat. Low maintenance, bebe.

As always, too much ado. So without further of it, the food blogging:

I wanted to make something for breakfast on weekends when we’re running out to Bible studies and church, or weekdays when I’ve gotta be catching a bus. I also wanted something that wouldn’t COMPLETELY negate all the running (let’s be real…wheeze-jogging) I’ve been up to. I had a list of ingredients I wanted to use, so I turned to the Internet…

and found nothing.

Okay, not nothing, but nothing perfect. Maybe it’s age and maybe it’s living where finding the right ingredients for things is a creative struggle, but it’s become more important to me to create what I imagined, rather than settling for what’s available. SO I adapted from a couple of recipes: Deb’s from Smitten Kitchen (is it creepy that I’ve read every single post on her site?) and this one from Minimalist Baker (which is new to me but I am about to begin happily stalking). So I got to work. 218

The inclusion of the banana may have happened after everything was mixed, but looked a little dry, and I saw these and thought, sure. And it may have found its way into the batter by being hand-squleched, because I may not have felt like dirtying more dished for a lone banana. But I divulge nothing.

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SO appealing, no?

I also may have fashioned liners out of something labeled ‘paper baking foil’ because I may not have wanted to grease all the tins all the dang time.

This is a really simple recipe, and the results were fully satisfying. Because there’s such a small amount of sweetener, most of the flavor comes from the fruit, and those flavors intensify over time. That means that these are much better after you let them cool, or sit overnight.  These are dense and super-textured, with the banana smoothness, the bits of carrot and apple, the burst of cranberry tang, the nutty pumpkin seeds, and the crunchy lil chia seeds that sneak into your molars. There’s a lot going on here, but this is the Little Muffin That Could.

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I mean…look at that lil beauty.

Healthy Apple-Carrot-Oat Muffins

(Makes 16 muffins)

Preheat oven to 400F/ 204C. Grease muffin tin or line with cupcake holders.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. flour (any kind will do, if you’re gf or vegan, you can easily substitute meal or gf flour)
  • 1 c. oats (I used rolled…do as your heart/pantry contents dictate)
  • 1 tsp. EACH baking soda and baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (omit-able)
  • 1/2 c. oil (I used coconut, barely melted down)
  • 1/4 c. honey (or agave, or sugar, or whatever)
  • 1 egg (or substitutionary equivalent)
  • 1 c. EACH shredded apple (1 med. green apple) and shredded carrot (I shredded 2/3 of a super huge carrot, so…1 normal carrot)
  • 1 banana (you could also use yogurt or milk instead…probably 1/2 c)
  • optional generous fistfuls of nuts and dried fruit (cranberry and pumpkin seeds made it into mine)

Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Toss the Dries together, then vigorously mix the Wets. Then pour the Wets in with the Dries. Let madness ensue until ingredients are all moistened and comfortable about it. This is where the Optionals get to come play. Let ’em. Mix again.

Fill greased muffin tins about half way up. These are dense lil dudes, so they don’t rise much. Bake at 400F (205C) for about 15 minutes (my oven bakes way too fast, so yours might take longer) or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool overnight and then gorge yo’self. But beware of…ahem…fiber overload.

may have encountered that after eating five in a row.

Tea for Two

On my first date with The Boy I ordered tea.

I love tea. I loved it when I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (it’s all Pa will drink in cold weather and now that I’m thinking about it I think he might have been my first crush? awkward live-blogged realization :/ ). I loved it when I discovered all kinds of weird teas shoved haphazard in our old pantry because Mom was Coffee or Die, and Dad was a teacher, and teachers get weird gifts all the time. Like tea samplers. And the Eternal Christmas Tri-part Popcorn Bucket of Doom.

Drinking tea made me feel fancy. Adult. Different. Like I could any second blink and be 150 years ago with cooler clothes and speech patterns and EVERYTHING. (minus, you know, plumbing indoors, and a bunch of political and social right, but WHATEVZ).

Also, I was allowed to drink it. So.

On my first date with The Boy I drank tea (Earl Gray), and it was discovered that The Boy DID NOT LIKE TEA. He drank coffee on the daily and had no interest at all in the wonderful world of spice and allure waiting for him in a teacup. NONE AT ALL.

And I quote: ‘It’s like hot juice. No thank you.’

This was the closest thing to a red flag I encountered in our budding relationship.

To change his mind, I laughed at him. It was super effective! HA no. No it wasn’t. Wasn’t at all. I tried to explain, to reason with him. Nothing. So we broke up.

HA no. Boy y’all are gullible. We agreed to disagree, and I waited. Bided my time. (Bid my time? Bit? Bidden? Bought? BODE my time? help) and kept ordering tea. (and sometimes mochas.) Eventually I got him some Earl Grey of his own, and he admitted (grudgingly) that it was okay.

OKAY. psh. Had he so blasphemed my beloved Irish Breakfast…well. Let’s be thankful he didn’t.

This summer, the Summer of All the Problems, Nate had to make some dietary changes that included eliminating caffeine, and also, we got sick A LOT. And while caffeine-free coffee just isn’t even worth thinking about, caffeine-free tea is a different story.

Time, consider yourself boden.

BOOM.

fear the spice dragon
allll da flavors

ALL of these (except for a not-pictured classy ziploc full of Throat Coat, which I brought back from the good ol’ USA in January) we got through the wonder of iHerb, my current favorite non-blog place on the Webz. Imported goods in Korea are a wee bit expensive, and they do make Korean tea, but most of it is grain based? It’s like hot barley water. “So watery…and yet there’s a smack of barley to it.”

(I just chortled for a full minute)

I wondered over to iHerb to check out what they had and ended up with a cart full of teas. And some organic rolled oats (Korea doesn’t do oats). And some apple cider vinegar. And peppermint extract (winter baking is coming). They do foodstuffs and cosmetics and a whole lot of ‘health supplements’ that I do not understand and consequently, fear.

(annnnd for first time orderers, use this code: RSG968 You’ll get a discount, and I’ll get rewards when I reorder!)

After waiting for the package to clear customs and getting lots of texts from the Korean post office, Nate came home with a backpack of wonder. His current favorites are peppermint and lemon ginger, with just a touch of honey. We’ll ease into the chai and ‘spice’ territories but if he hates those…more for me. He’s officially converted, you guys. Bless the Lord.

Mobile Word Ministry

I learned from my mother, who always told us the same story: ‘I said I’d never marry a pastor.’ ‘The last thing I wanted was to be making babies and oatmeal.’ ‘I swore I’d never be in the same room with anyone under 12 if I could help it.’

Thus saith Sally, 35-years married to a pastor, mother of 10, sometime 4th-grade teacher, and purveyor of millions of bowls of oatmeal.

Lesson being: never say never. (courtesy of my mother, and also, the Biebs.)

So I didn’t. I never said never.

I just thought it.

But then came The Boy. And I retroactively realized that the never (verb) never rule applies to thinking as well. And I couldn’t be happier that I got it wrong.

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From our first post-engagement Bible study, lo these many moons ago.

Because this guy’s got a calling from Jesus. He’s the most pastor-y person I know. He can’t help it. I married a pastor-in-training, a pastor in heart and head and all but employ.

We believe that God has a place intended for him to minister…for us to minister, as much as those italics make me squirm.

And the first step–scratch that. The millionth step already, in two lives full of steps, is here. “The ministry blog” we called it to ourselves, during the 2014 Spring of Planning that became the 2014 Summer of Inevitable Delays. The labor of love from the girl who spent years blogging sporadically about things that didn’t matter at all, and The Boy with a gift for saying things that matter very much but to whom ‘blog’ was a sound you made about food you disliked. But it’s real, and it’s up, and the words God gives The Boy every week are for everyone to read. Now it’s called Mobile Word. Because the Gospel isn’t static but dynamic. Made to move. Just like we are.

Devotionals every Tuesday, reflections on the Word and the Walk every Thursday.

Go and read. And may it bless you the very most.

Late Summer Pick-me-up

Late summer, you charmer. You knew I’d be running again and you put on a show for me. Don’t deny it.

You want me to notice everything and you’re not afraid to show off. In fact…you’re a bit of a hussy.

That sun, just barely still sizzly on my shoulders? I see you.

Roadside flowers, lavender and golden-yellow and bright white, nodding on tall, slender stems? Oh please. You know exactly what you’re up to.  And don’t get me started, morning glories.

True-blue sky, shot through with sunbeam-strewn, mile-high clouds? Keep it coming.

And all you green things. Vines on trees on shrubs on vines. Honeysuckle on red berry clusters. All imaginable shades of green tangling over each other in a frantic heap of last-minute growth spurts. Blooming your hearts out before fall lights you up. You might be my favorite. You leaves and branches know how to work your good side, backlit by those opportune sunbursts. Transformed. You reach out and then fall back, but I know you. You’re not shy at all. You’re flirting. You want me to want you, and oh baby, I do. So even if it makes me look a little crazy to the no one who observes me on that long stretch of road–I give in. I’ll stop and take you in and try to catch that essence of woodsy summer that makes it even here amidst high-rise construction and the occasional fertilizer plant. It’s your swan song and you’re making the most of it. You make me crave plums and ice in glasses and no-makeup days. I’d wear sundresses forever if it meant you stuck around. (I wish I could wear sundresses forever anyway.)

We both know this isn’t gonna last and that you might not even be around tomorrow. But wouldn’t you agree we had it good while it lasted? I know I would.

 

Space to Praise

Yesterday I started running. (Again.) The last time I ran was probably in June, before a summer of crummy sicknesses knocked me out and drained me of resolve. And also laziness, and hating it. But let’s be gracious to me, a sinner, and say it was the sicknesses. In the morning I skyped with two of my sisters. Our skypes are legendary bouts of face-making and laughter and all-too-accurate insults seasoned with love. we shared and cried and talked the hard things and the hilarious, and prayed together before signing off. One of the things they prayed for me was for space to praise in.

Sounds…unnecessary? or obvious. That’s why we go to church, right? That’s why we play music, full-blast when home alone or in crowds through earbuds. That’s why we read devotionals or have Bible studies. That’s why we read our daily morning Scripture and daily evening Scripture and pray our before-we-go-to-work prayers. But no. It’s the most necessary prayer I’ve heard in a while.

The truth is this: It’s hard to praise when you lead worship every Sunday. It’s hard to praise when your mind is occupied elsewhere. It’s hard to praise when you are in charge. It’s hard to praise when your focus is anywhere else but how glorious Jesus is. At home, at work, at church, in transit. Where is that space made? Where are we free for it?

I believe firmly in finding opportune moments in the small things, the little bits of life that aren’t meant to be documented or even commented on, but which are communications of joy or grace or conviction or peace or humility. Yet there should be more than small bits of time, because praise– as much as it is found in the habits of the routine– is deliberate. It’s chosen. But it’s also a miracle.

I thought about her words all day, and that evening, as I pounded away at my self-imposed regimen, I found it. Space to praise, on a little-trafficked country road in Korea. Space to praise, sweaty, sore, out of breath and out of practice with this: running and seeking the deliberate glorification of God. Panting hallelujahs between my steps. Sunset on high clouds, songs of praise on my breathless lips. And it was life.

Today I ran again, and it was harder, like the second day always is, but the sense of accomplishment bore me up. Then before lunch I got horribly obnoxious news about money (paying bills in a second language is sometimes hard. Who knew?) and freaked out. Just. Legit. As in buried my face in (I think it was) a towel and howled at the injustice of it. I DID THE THING I was supposed to do and have been doing for months and now the thing is wrong? And I have to deal with it? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. I howled. Ask Nate. He’ll tell you. (poor boy.)

After a bit things calmed down, what with helpful friends and longsuffering husband and, you know, lunch. But now I’m facing down an afternoon full of things-to-be-done, with eyes still slightly sore from The Meltdown and legs still crazy sore from The Exercise, and both reminds me– where is the space to praise today? Where is the deliberate choice to seek and glorify my Savior without distraction? It’s here. It’s now, as I write this. Whispering hallelujahs between keystrokes. Street sounds (including saxophone records. someone in this Korean country suburb is playing saxophone records) echoing though the windows and work to be done, here, now. Space to praise in my heart, if not in my schedule.

Thank God that He comes for us. Right? I can’t be in a cathedral right now, and I can’t repeat yesterday’s sidewalk miracle. My apartment gets zero natural light right now/ever and there’s no cloudscape or sea view to get lost in. I have a glowing laptop screen and a bed to make and laundry to do and syllabi to finalize and emails to send and and and and. I have a thirst to praise God. And that is how the space comes, not through assuming it will show up uninvited, but through taking a beat and asking for it.