Since our big move, we’ve been waiting for “normal” to come back. With starting a new job, living in a new state, and Doug looking for work we had a lot of adjusting to do. Then the holidays, the flu and historic winter storm Nemo happened. Most recently, I (almost) simultaneously found out that one of my new colleagues has accepted a new position and another was selected for jury duty for a month or more. We’re down from six to four people for the foreseeable future, which means the workload is going to be a challenge. These days, I say bring it on.
Stress management has been at the top of my mind since embarking on this move. Working as a counselor in a hospital my day job stresses the importance of “self-care,” which has usually meant simply indulging in a venting session with colleagues or an extra afternoon cookie. Lately I’ve found I need to break out the big guns, and it’s making all the difference.
I’m challenging myself not to dwell on the issues we’re facing. I’m challenging myself to “dance in the rain,” as they say, rather than waiting for the storm to pass. I’ve started meditating, which has been critical in keeping my cool lately. Doug will tell you I’m generally bad at relaxing, so I’ve also been devouring books, one of the few things I’ll sit still for to unwind. We’ve made an effort to hang out with friends and get out of the house at least once a week. The rest of the equation, despite my cravings (and occasional caving in) for chocolate and gummy candy, is nutrition.
Make-ahead foods are critical to staying well nourished when time, energy, and/or patience may be running low. I baked an enormous batch of these tasty little muffins, which have ensured a healthy start to each day without any fuss.
These little powerhouses are packed with good stuff and taste like sunshine on a cold morning! Adapted from http://livelearnloveeat.com/tag/vegan-carrot-muffins/
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 large ripe banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups shredded carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two muffin pans with baking cups.
- In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the chopped walnuts.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, sunflower oil, banana, milk and vanilla. Add the shredded carrot and stir to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (don't over-mix).
- Fill the baking cups 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
It’s rare that I get complicated with flour, but in this case I wanted to make sure these had extra protein from the almond flour, but only had a cup left at the time! You can grind oat flour from oats in a food processor or magic bullet, it just takes a moment. Feel free to use half and half oat and wheat flour, or all wheat flour if you like.
I was momentarily concerned about the amount of maple syrup in these guys, which I reduced slightly from the original recipe. However, if you measure it out there’s just a teaspoon of syrup per muffin, which we found perfectly acceptable for breakfast. I may even try making these with less syrup next time since the carrot itself is sweet.
Perfectly spiced, moist, nourishing muffins. These make a big batch so freeze half, they’re just as moist after defrosting.
With yet another snow storm coming through Boston today, I’m happy to snuggle up with some tea and a muffin for some mandatory relaxation!