This week has been especially rainy, so I’ve been fighting the seasonal melancholy that I get when the grey days stretch on forever. My joints have been swollen from the high humidity, but I have been trying not to let these things get me down. To stay present by breathing through the pain and resting in bed on the days it’s difficult to move. Since I’m on the injured list again, biking and swimming has been therapeutic – and, of course, seeing friends. The combination of rest and laugher is what I need right now. I’ve checked out a dozen books from the library in the past couple of weeks and Kevin and I have spent the last few weekend mornings reading next to one another, drinking tea, and just being together.
Last night we laughed with friends over the dinner table about how everyone is talking about winter. We debated the accuracy of the Farmer’s Almanac and the existence or non-existence of El Niño. The Northeast makes you fickle about the weather, but none of us were ready to admit that this is an entertaining topic of conversation – it’s on it’s way no matter what we do. Still, you can feel the pressure to eek out the last moments of sun – travel up to the mountains, bike around as much as possible, and generally enjoy walking outside.
It seems like the warm months fly by in a blur of work and sun. There is a kind of frenzy in the city going on right now where everyone is packing their last six weekends of warm weather. Between Red Sox games and community events, the city is reaching its peak of activity. The students are all returning to the city in the next week or so, which is roughly 500,000 people. Boston is a city where so much of the population is transient. I always get excited when the school year is starting (even though I’m long past graduation at this point) because I like to drop in on the university lectures around town. It’s one of the few places where you have access to libraries, lectures, art, and music from a bunch of different universities.
During these last few warm months, I’m hoarding summer fruits in our apartment – eating berries whole and baking them into cakes and muffins. Summer is so sweet, both in terms of food and enjoyment. Blueberries are one of the summer fruits that I love. Back in California, where I grew up, there is a blueberry farm down the road from my house. I remember going there as a kid and picking blueberries, eating them by the handfuls. The blackberry bushes behind our house were always raided by the neighborhood kids and I remember sinking my teeth into my first fig that grew behind the house of a family friend. When I found there were raspberries behind our apartment, I was pretty excited to pick them off the vine. I combined all of these berries and memories together into these vegan muffins and chowed down on them all week.
Most people get into work so early that it’s difficult to have a proper breakfast – whatever that looks like for your diet. It felt like a treat all week to unwrap these at my desk. It was funny to see something handmade amongst everything, but in a way, these remind me of home – that place in my memory that is fixed in eternal summer.
Summer Berry & Fig Vegan Muffins
Prep Time: 15 min | Bake Time: 25-30 min | Yields: 1 dozen
Since I’ve been a kid, muffins are one of my favorite weekend treats. I love to bake berries into bread because it brings out their sweet, and in some cases sour, flavors. The mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in these muffins brings out all my favorite flavors of summer. The coconut oil is a nice alternative to butter and provides a little bit of extra nutrition along with the oats.
1 ¼ cup almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oat flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 cup mixed summer berries
½ cup figs
½ cup coconut oil
1 flax egg
2 lemons, juiced
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a dozen muffin pan with muffin tins or apply a thin coat of oil to prevent muffins from sticking to the side.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- While the milk is thickening, mix flour, oats, baking powder and sugar together in a food processor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Whisk oil, flax egg, and lemon juice together with almond milk and apple cider vinegar.
- Make a well in your flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients. Thoroughly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients before gently mixing in your mixed berries and figs.
- Fill each muffin tin 2/3 of the way full, topping with slices of figs or berries, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.
Cos’ the very thing you’re afraid, afraid of
It keeps you clean but unclear
Clean but unclear
Is the dirt that you’re made, you’re made of
And that’s nothing to fear
No, it’s nothing my dear