Morning Glory Muffins

These muffins are not hallucinogenic.  When I told my dad I made these, he thought I was referring to morning glory seeds, which apparently kids used to smoke back in the day.

Rather than get you high, these muffins fill you up in a hearty way.  The recipe is from my Aunt SuAnn, who, if she were 30 years younger, would be the ultimate hipster because the only food she buys from the store is milk, because they have beef cows now.  Everything else is homemade, from her garden, and organic.  So you know that this recipe, coming from her, rocks.  And even though it’s healthy and significantly less-sweet than today’s muffin cakes, it doesn’t taste like you’re trying to behave.  It tastes like breakfast should be: real, hearty, healthy, and deliciously tasty to kick-start your day.

The ingredient list is kind of long, but you’ll feel good walking out of the grocery store as you look down and see how healthy your purchases are.

Morning Glory Muffins

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup shredded apple (I used one red, one green)

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup flaked coconut (they only sell unsweetened here and it totally worked)

1/2 cup raisins (I used dried cranberries because raisins in muffins is yucky)

1/4 cup chopped nuts (I just used sunflower seeds, I like it because they aren’t chunky and you don’t notice them)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Combine eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla; mix well.  Add flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, apple, carrot, coconut, raisin and nuts; mix until blended.  Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin pan, filling cups half full.

Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.  Makes about 16.

Love

I’d almost forgotten about love.

I’m trying a new church, and today they talked about love.  That’s to be expected at church.  But somehow, it felt new again, because I had almost forgotten it.

Since moving here I’ve learned a different kind of love, one that is more action-based and practical, and that is good.  Very good.

But what I miss is community love.  Saginaw, Michigan, the town where I’m from, was once again named one of the top ten most dangerous cities in the United States.  While the city itself doesn’t have a lot going for it, I know that if I am ever in need, I can return to Saginaw and be enveloped in love.  Between my high school friends, family, friends of the family, and teachers, I always feel a community of caring around me.  Even strangers are friendly, because the Midwest is wonderful like that.

It’s likely that I’m seeing things through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, but one love I know is real, that I miss, is the love of my family, both immediate and extended.  We do the best we can with Skype, but I do look forward to the day when they’re a phone call or a quick plane ride away.  But for now I’m thankful I at least have my niece Layla putting her mouth on the screen to give me kisses.  That’s the best.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful or unhappy, because I’m not at all.  I have love in my life; and it is beautiful and rich.  It’s just not all nearby, or in one community.  So I guess at this point I’m just being greedy, because I want it all.  I want to live in a global society where I travel and move, but I also want the benefits of a life-long, loving community.  Is it possible to have both?

Candles at Home

When I Skype with my parents I mostly talk to the inside of their noses.  This is a vast improvement on our family home videos where my dad would film the ground while he was walking.

Usually, though, my parents eventually manage to set the iPad down or hold it stable long enough for me to see them.  And it makes me homesick.

I hadn’t realized it before, but I’m not homesick for the house or place, which I’ve never lived in, I’m sick for a nostalgic sense of home.  Home isn’t my parents’ house in the States, home is wherever they are.  Particularly my mom.

She’s an over-packer, but not the typical kind.  She doesn’t over-pack because she’s scared of being unprepared for a situation, she over-packs because she brings gifts with her wherever she goes.  In her suitcase 50% of the items belong to a category called “I brought this because I thought you might like it.”  These items are sometimes new, but often they’re from her closet or own personal things.  No matter the length or distance of the trip, if she’s seeing friends or strangers, my mom fills her suitcase to the limit with “things you might like.”

Because her suitcase is filled with “things you might like”, my mom creates home wherever she goes.  When I visited my parents in Shanghai last year, my mom managed to bake for me a ham she brought with her.  When she visited me in Jerusalem I was left with an entire table full of goodies that I had missed, mostly things I had missed subconsciously.  And when I saw her for just one day in Las Vegas at Easter, she brought local newspaper clippings, clothes, and knick knacks from around the house, which she held up one at a time saying, “Do you want this?  I thought you might like it.”

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My parents making me feel at home in their hotel apartment in Shanghai

My favorite, however, is how she brings candles with her wherever she goes.  The first thing she does when staying in a hotel room is fill it with burning candles that bring the smell and aroma of home.

After being relatively nomadic for several years, one of the things I most look forward to in the future is creating my own home.  I haven’t learned how to do it yet.  For my next move, I’m going to give everything away, then start fresh and try to create a home for myself.  I’m sure I’ll bring my mom in to help me.  In the meantime, I’ll burn my candles, the ones my mom brought me.