18 years old!!!

18 years ago, today i woke up and got ready to go to the hospital to have my first baby, asya. 

asya, as is still her habit, took her sweet time making her entrance 🙂

asya’s birth story, mercifully, was unremarkable as birth stories go.  being the older and wiser woman that i am now, i am so grateful for the relative ease with which she arrived in this world.  asya emerged into a world of love; surrounded by tons of extended family from both my and erim’s family.  even derin happened to be in istanbul for her spring break and was able to meet her niece within minutes of her birth.  

it would be impossible to fit all the adventures and learning that asya and i did together into just one essay; but believe me when i tell you that i have learned at least as much from being her parents as she has from being my child. 

as a small child asya had a constant refrain of “why mommy?” s. she asked question after question after question.  her curiosity and need for knowledge and clarity was insatiable.  and now, while the style of questioning may have changed, the need for answers and search for the “why” has not.  asya’s wondering has pushed me to question so many of my beliefs down to the basic core; and has even given me the courage to throw out things that don’t serve us as a family; we’ve all grown stronger for it.

keep asking the hard questions, kiddo. they will take you far. 

anyone who has spent time with asya knows she brings a sense of ease and lightness to a room.  her laugh is infectious and since her bedroom is right next to the kitchen, i often find myself laughing out loud right along with her as she reads or hears something funny.  i don’t actually know what’s funny, but her laugh is enough to bring joy to my soul.

her sweet nature also makes it impossible to say no to her! even when she asks for something difficult, i frequently find myself trying to figure out a way to say “yes” when “no” is really the only option 🙂

and so, this is 18.  how did it happen, i will never quite understand. time went by slowly and too fast all at once.  all the cliches about time flying apply.  and all the ones about how i’d go back and do it all again are also true.  

i wouldn’t trade a single sleepless night (and there were many); a fever induced trip to the emergency room; a teenage curfew battle or eyeroll for all the tea in china.  i have adored being asya’s mother and i can’t wait to witness the next chapter as young adult asya emerges.

i would be remiss to not mention the global pandemic and the hardships that have come with it this year.  asya has weathered the storm as patiently and gracefully as possible. i am proud and impressed with the strength and continued ease that she was able to display despite the many frustrations and disappointments she was forced to deal with. 

i am praying that his year will be better, and we will be able to send her off safely to georgetown in the fall. i hope for her to be able to arrive on campus to enjoy college life and thrive in the way i know she will. 

asiko, i love you so much and i am so proud of the beautiful, intelligent, sometimes silly, always kindhearted, animal loving, mega bts fan and loyal friend that you have become.  happy birthday, my sweet girl. 

sunday muffins…. gluten free and vegan lemon poppyseed…

sunday muffins…. gluten free and vegan lemon poppyseed…

i am happy to report that with the exception of not having any muffin tin liners left at home this recipe went off without a hitch! and, as an added bonus- just as i was contemplating prepping for the muffins one of my best buddies here in istanbul sent me a giant bag of lemons! it was fate.

i woke up early to bake these for our breakfast and it was so worth it.  nearly sugar free, the lemony taste with the poppyseeds was just perfect and i savored my muffin with a fantastic cup of morning coffee.

it was early enough that i was moving a bit slowly, but i would say these muffins could be ready in one-hour tops. have your ingredients ready and a hot oven waiting, and you will be set.

ingredients

  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed with 6 tbsp water- mix and set aside)
  • ½ cup nut mylk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil-softened
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

instructions

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. (400f)
  • line muffin tin with muffin liners or grease with coconut oil and sprinkle with almond flour
  • mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, poppy seeds and lemon zest
  • in a separate bowl mix flax eggs, lemon juice, coconut oil and nut mylk
  • combine wet and dry ingredients and spoon into muffin tin
  • cook for 20-25 minutes (mine were perfect at 22 minutes) and cool on baking rack
  • serve warm with a good cup of coffee… enjoy!!!

not finished grieving yet…

exactly one year ago today the girls went to school with empty bags to empty out their lockers.  at the time, like most of the world, we assumed this would be a 2–3-week hiatus; all we needed was a good break from close personal contact, a proper disinfection of the school building, and some time for authorities to get a handle on this novel coronavirus and get things under control.  then everything would quickly go back to “normal”. 

my family had already made so many plans for the upcoming months that a part of me was thrilled to have a little downtime before we all started flying all over the place. if all had gone as expected, i would have flown back and forth from istanbul to the u.s. at least three times in spring of 2020.  one trip we had planned was a college visit tour with asya and alara that would have taken us from coast to coast with a stop in chicago too! 

it was also the summer of erim and my 20th wedding anniversary. although we hadn’t planned anything for that yet, i had high hopes of spending a long weekend in the south of france; celebrating with leisurely lunches, walks on the beach and beautiful wines.  

and of course, we had planned on spending a huge chunk of time in asheville.  my nephew teddy would turn two- and he was walking and talking and perfect for cuddling. alegra was all signed up for sleepaway camp in the mountains, asya and alara were going to intern for the democratic presidential campaign, and i would finally have time to complete my yoga teacher training.  all this was already on the books.

instead, like almost everyone i know, we’ve been mainly at home.  although the arrival of warm summer weather, and the availability of our boat in the south of turkey, allowed us to move around much more freely than before, we were still so nervous and careful. we drove back and forth to the coast- 8 hours each way- only ate in outdoor settings; and really debated whether or not it was safe to have my parents join us for a week on the boat.  knowing what i know now, i am so grateful that we took advantage of the lull in the virus and only wish that we had recognized just how good we had it then! 

unlike some of our peers, erim and i have tended to err on the side of caution throughout this period.  my refrain has become something along the lines of, “everybody has to take on their own burden of risk”.  despite sometimes facing criticism, we have made a point of only socializing in open air spaces.  istanbul’s traditionally damp winter weather is not really conducive to this- although we have remained valiant in our efforts to connect with people we care about- we’ve purchased multiple outdoor heaters, become proficient fire pit tenders and frequently invoke alfred wainright’s well-known quote that, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

and thus, as we hit this one-year anniversary of our lockdown and a complete upheaval of life as we knew it, i sat down this morning to make a list of all the things we’ve learned and gained. 

however, all i can think about is all that we’ve lost.

while i am keenly aware that my family has felt the repercussions of the pandemic much less acutely than so many others, the state in which the world finds itself brings me unimaginable sorrow. i am sad not just for the things that my family has had to give up, but for humanity as a whole.  

so many lives have been lost over the past 12 months; and so often unnecessarily. 

thousands of people have lost their jobs; and so many women have been forced to leave their careers unexpectedly to care for their now homebound children.  this is a terrible setback for womens’ rights around the globe. 

millions of people struggling to keep their families afloat have now fallen below the poverty line; and they are scared, hungry and hopeless. 

millions of children have lost access to school, setting a whole generation back educationally.  tragically, for many of these children this loss also means a simultaneous loss of access to nutritious food.  how can millions of children living in new york be dependent on school lunches for their main meal- still, in the twenty-first century?

on a more personal level, i don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered some sort of covid related loss.  either the death or severe illness of a loved one, a change in economic situation, a change in life plans, or a sudden need to readjust hopes and dreams.

recognizing all the pain and suffering in the world leaves me ever more appreciative and aware of all that i still have; healthy children, economic stability, a loving partner, a kind and caring community, strength of body and mind.  

but as we mark one year of this global pandemic, i cannot yet sit to list the things for which i am grateful. 

i am just not finished grieving yet.

as an eternal optimist, i can’t help but believe that this terrible time must lead to something better. 

everyone says the next decade will be our roaring twenties. but the historian in me knows that the roaring twenties were followed by the rise of extreme nationalism and fascism and the devastation of world war two. 

i don’t want the roaring twenties; i want a roaring change.  

i want people to truly care about one another, regardless of race or class, and to try to raise each other up. to work not just for their own sakes, but for the good of all humanity.  

i want education to take precedence over production and consumption so we all learn to love and cherish was what already have.  

i want us all to recognize that without a healthy environment life as we know it is not possible.  we must work together to repair the damage we’ve already done and avoid future damage so that we can all live here on earth more peacefully.  

i want simple things, like home-cooked meals and handwritten cards, to be important again so we can all remember to slow down and just care about each other.  

i know it’s a lot to want, but the only way i can mitigate the immense grief of this past year is with unbounded hope.

maybe next week i’ll look back on all the wonderful things we gained this year.  but this week i feel sad; i am just not finished grieving yet.

sunday muffins…. gluten free very berry

another lockdown weekend; another funny muffin story! 

yesterday i was absolutely exhausted. i had bitten off too many weekend projects, had too many meals to cook and way too many things to tidy and by the time our muffin baking rolled around i had really had it with the idea of being in the kitchen.  

my beautiful children came to the rescue! alegra loves all things cooking related anyway so she was ready to help and alara has been studying like a crazy person for her upcoming in-person exams.  we still don’t know if these exams will actually happen but, rightfully so, she really wants to be prepared.  give or take a few days, when she goes back mid-week, she will have not hand any in person learning for exactly 12 months. (the other two did have the opportunity to go to “real” school in the fall so alara holds our family record for number of days of online school.) 

i had planned to make some very berry muffins- one of my favorites- but i had not planned well enough to actually make sure we had all the ingredients we might need. oops.

we did seem to have an inordinate amount of coconut flour, so that is what we used. the end result was good, although very coconutty! if you do decide to recreate our coconutty berry muffins just be prepared to use a bit more almond milk as coconut flour tends to soak up liquid more than other gluten free flours.

ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour (in hindsight i recommend using an almond flour and oat combo)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¾ cup nut mylk (or more if using coconut flour)
  • 1 flax egg (or regular if not vegan)
  • 8 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • ¾ cup brown sugar 

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (375 f)
  • prepare muffin tin with liners
  • combine berries and sugar and mix gently- set aside
  • mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger together.
  • in a separate bowl combine nut mylk, flax egg and melted coconut oil
  • make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in
  • mix until just combined; adding more nut mylk if necessary- batter should be moist and may have some small lumps
  • add berry mixture and mix gently
  • spoon batter into muffin tins – cook for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and tops are browned
  • cool slightly on cooling rack and serve warm for a perfect breakfast treat!  

**recipe loosely adapted from ina garten’s barefoot contessa cookbook**

some much-needed nature therapy….

it’s been a very difficult week for us. on sunday night, just as we were settling in for a nice glass of wine and some delicious comfort food, we received a call from the stables informing us that asya’s beloved horse, donovan, was ill.

a gentle giant, donovan had eaten his nightly meal just an hour earlier and was in great spirits in the stable videos only 30 minutes before they called us.  then, for some unknown reason, he laid down and wouldn’t- or couldn’t- get back up. asya and i dropped everything and rushed to the stable.

anyone who knows me knows that while i am a true animal lover; my respect for and love of all animals figures strongly into my vegetarianism; i am actually terrified of horses. i don’t know exactly when or why this fear started- i have vague memories of a large horse walking toward a very small me- but it is ironic that i have two daughters who are horse obsessed.

funny side story. when asya was about 6 erim and i decided that her love of riding was getting too intense and could only lead to dangerous moments requiring her to be on a horse unaccompanied in the near future. so, we cancelled her horseback riding lessons and signed her up for every other sport under the sun- tennis, volleyball, swimming, scuba diving- anything she wanted that wasn’t riding. less than two seasons later asya came to me with a form to sign for her afterschool activity. then a new mother of three i went ahead and signed it without much scrutiny and sent her on her way. off she went to the afterschool riding lessons that she had sneakily signed up for! needless to say, that was the last time erim and i meddled with anyone’s riding. 

a horse lover is a horse lover. sorry to be the one to break it to you if you have one in your house; but that child will love horses no matter what you do. best to just lean in and let things run their course.

so, with my two riders i have done my best to get used to being around horses. i am lucky because every pony and horse that we have owned has been lovely. i have been able to look into their eyes and see their beautiful souls and kind hearts shining through. 

and donovan, well he was the best of the bunch. despite being the biggest horse in the stable he always had a truly gentle aura surrounding him.  when he cantered, the whole riding rink would shake, but never once did i see him take advantage of his size or use his presence to frighten or intimidate.  

in fact, he seemed almost uncertain of his own beauty at times.  when we would come to give pat him or give him treats, he would act nonchalant; as if we couldn’t possibly be there for him. but then as soon as we turned to walk off, he would kick his door and remind us that a little more love never hurt anyone- big baby, he loved the attention.

sunday night was awful. he was hurting and frustrated and uncomfortable. a tremendous team of grooms, veterinarians and friends helped us to keep him as calm and as comfortable as possible, but after a whole night of waiting and hoping his condition did not improve. in the end we had to make the decision to let him go- a heart-wrenching decision that i do not wish upon anyone. 

since then, asya particularly, but i too, have received so much support and kindness from so many people.  i think it is hard for someone who does not have horses in their lives to understand the depth of this loss. i know that i could not have done so before donovan came into our lives. he was special and his loss has left an ache that will take a long time to heal. 

one message spoke specifically to the pain of losing a horse and i would like to share it here. for all the horse lovers- it is poignant and apt.  for all the others- may it help you to empathize with the loss of a horse and remind you that horse-people will need a little extra love to offset this loss. 

an asheville friend, shelly pew brown- a horsewoman through and through- writes-

            “a horse is so much more than a companion or a pet. a horse is your partner. you go through tough courses or tough situations together. you rely on one another. this big 2000-pound animal trusts you in scary situations or when you have to give them medicine or whatever.  but the horse also takes care of you – he navigates the course or rough terrain or whatever, even if you’re giving him wrong signals or no signals – he will take care of you   and much of your dreams for the future are based on him.  when you lose a dog, your dreams aren’t threatened. but when you lose a horse, your dreams of future accomplishments are very much threatened.  so, it is a very significant loss. loss of a beloved companion; loss of a protector; loss of the vehicle of your dreams; and loss of a partner.”

so dear donovan- asya’s beloved companion, her champion, and her partner in crime- i hope you are cantering through heaven with all the hay you could ask for. we love you and will miss you. rest peacefully our gentle giant with a huge heart. 

asya and donovan circa 2019…. ❤️

welcome lenten season

lent has been an important season for me since my childhood. although i was not raised in one particular religion, the notion of spirituality, especially in terms of the idea of a shared humanity and mutual love and respect for all beings, has always resonated with me.  

and, as such, the lenten tradition of sacrifice as a way towards greater understanding of the needs and challenges of other humans has always appealed to the highly sensitive person in me. 

in our household lent was a time (as was ramazan actually), in which we were encouraged to recognize and celebrate our basic comforts and privileges.  the sacrifices that came along with these seasons were meant to encourage us to be grateful for our own lives and empathetic towards those of others. 

over the years, i have given up many things for lent- candy, chocolate, junk food, fizzy drinks, hard liquor, wine, negative thoughts… each abstention has had its own challenges and benefits but none as important as the way in which each season has reminded me of the role that habit, and habitual thoughts and actions, play in our lives. 

how often have i popped a piece of candy in my mouth without thinking twice, munched on chocolate without really even tasting it, poured another glass of wine without considering if i had already had enough? 

we live so much of our lives without really noticing what’s actually happening. mindfulness takes practice and the pace of our days can sometimes border on ridiculous; there have even been days when i find myself running from one task to another in my own home! 

in this way, the lenten season asks us to take a moment to pause and consider our comforts and to appreciate them more fully.

normally i start talking about lent and what we are going to give up two or three weeks before the season begins.  we often have a small mardi gras celebration amongst ourselves and i always enjoy pancakes on ash wednesday. 

this year alegra made us traditional italian carnival cookies as part of our mardi gras fun!

but this year the whole season snuck up on me. it wasn’t until we pulled out alegra’s academic planner to start scheduling things for her second semester that i realized lent was just days away.

my first reaction was to rack my brain frantically to see what i should give up this year- last year was coffee- should this year be wine? sweets? booze? 

but as my mind raced through the options i suddenly stopped and realized that this year I AM NOT GIVING UP ANTHING.

this year, this pandemic year, we have given up enough.

we have given up hugs.  we have given up social interaction.  we have given up in-person school.  we have given up countless plans and dozens of dreams.  we have given up travel. we have given up seeing relatives who live abroad. we have already given up so much.

so, this year instead of giving something up, i am taking something up.

rather than mindfully abstain, i am going to mindfully make an addition. i am going to add something to my life; something meaningful and important for me; something that makes me feel good.  it is unlikely that any one thing can possibly make up for all that we, as humans, have had to give up this year.  but one nice thing for myself will certainly bring me joy, and a little bit of hope, and that is something that we all need right now.

therefore, in this lenten season of 2021 i am adding to my life one hour of creativity.  for one hour every day i will allow myself to create; to move away from all the daily necessities and practical concerns and just spend time creating.  there is no goal in this.  i don’t need to have a specific purpose to do what i do, i just need to like doing it and enjoy that time.  mindfully and with great appreciation of my ability to do this for myself.

what about you? do you traditionally give something up for lent? if so, what will you give up this year? or would you too, rather add something this season? 

let me know, i would love to hear! 

fun. now.

“having fun” has always been a tricky concept for me.

my mom tells me that even as a very young child i was pretty quiet and happy to sit and listen or observe my surroundings for hours; rather than joining in the excitement.

once i learned to read that was my ultimate definition of fun; i am infamous for asking friends who had come for sleepovers if they wanted to get in bed and read- at 6:30pm!!! (my wise mother encouraged me to play a game with my friend first; at least).

as a teenager i was WAY too self-conscious to let loose and really have fun. i did thoroughly enjoy hard work though and poured myself into academics, tennis, and art projects with gusto.

college was a little better. being surrounded by like-minded serious folks helped. as did a glass or two of wine. and fun was had, silliness occurred- not always but plenty for me.

not too long after that i got married and had two beautiful babies back to back (and a third a bit later on too). marriage and motherhood are serious things but the stability and routine that came along with it probably helped to relax me and, oh boy, have i had fun with my girls!

i have played in kiddie pools; danced with gymbo at gymboree; belted out disney princess songs in the living room; discovered “secret beaches” and set up “camps” so that we could munch on oreos; jumped off cliffs in greek islands; swam with dolphins; ridden on elephants; zoomed through vietnamese streets on vespas; watched lions up close; and spent endless hours chatting and laughing. no complaints here.

but this year fun has been a little harder to come by. the stress of the pandemic is overwhelming and i often feel a creeping guilt about how lucky we have been while so many people have suffered so much.

with a senior and a junior mired deep in school work and college prep the past months would have been hard and serious in any case. but covid has compounded it.

i’m probably not the only one feeling this way. but we need to remember that it is ok, and necessary , for us all to have a little fun. and to do it now. not to wait for the post-pandemic world to enjoy ourselves when possible.

i first started thinking about this after reading a beautiful post called “now” on a blog i follow- enough– the author, shauna ahern, reminds us to go ahead and do what we have been waiting for. do it now. enjoy today- read, learn, start projects, make things whatever. stop waiting and get going now.

i tested the waters on our trip to dubai. i have to admit it wasn’t very easy. but i closed my eyes, took a breath and just acted silly! it felt so good- and while i am not the all time silliest of people- it reminded me that i need to seek out fun.

my fun may not be the same as someone else’s but i need to recognize what is fun for me and DO IT!!!

since then i have resumed my nightly kitchen dance parties while washing the dishes; worked on small art projects at least two nights a week; and joked with my girls even when i felt crabby and snappy.

now i’m off to play catan and enjoy a snowy afternoon…

what’s fun for you these days? games, music, the outdoors? share your fun and we’ll keep sharing ours too!

sunday muffins- gluten-free double chocolate mini muffins!

nothing beats a little bit of chocolate and these mini muffins really just hit the spot!

last weekend we were away and fortunate enough to get to spend sunday morning on the beach.  our short vacation was much needed and we all returned feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. the thought of travelling internationally during the pandemic had us all on edge but everything went better than we anticipated and being able to spend most of our time outdoors helped to assuage our fears of being around strangers for the first time in months.

we visited a hotel in dubai where we had stayed before; but quite some time ago- our last visit there was in 2013-and we found many pleasant changes upon our arrival… more restaurants to visit, a whole new wing of the hotel, and tons of gluten-free options. full gluten-free menus are now easily available in all the dining areas and asking for gluten-free bread was not met with looks of uncertainty! at breakfast i was even offered a whole basket of gluten-free pastries- first time that has ever happened!

the mini muffins were my favorite and they are the inspiration behind this week’s sunday muffins. i’m not sure which recipe the hotel used but here is one with shredded zucchini that we love in our house- not vegan but thoroughly gluten-free and delicious too!

ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini- shredded 
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 large handful dark and milk chocolate- roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut oil- melted

instructions: 

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • line mini muffin pan with muffin liners
  • combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • combine eggs, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract in another bowl- mixing well
  • pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined
  • add in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips
  • use a small spoon to fill muffin cups
  • bake for 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean

*** if making regular sized muffins please increase cook time to 20-25 minutes***

traveling in a covid world

today we took our first international flight in a world with covid.

last year on this day we were in south africa, blissfully basking in the beauty of babylonstoren unaware that the odd virus we were hearing about in china would soon come to dominate the news; and all our lives. (yes, in hindsight we should have worn masks on our capetown-istanbul flight- an idea i literally mocked and belittled at the time!)

a couple of thoughts-

1. this pandemic has taught me that we all must make our own risk calculations as necessary and based on individual circumstances.

2. the istanbul airport was much more crowded than i expected.

3. masks have become a pretty normal thing here in turkey and 90% of people were wearing them properly. that made me feel better.

4. thank you richard quest and cnn traveler for teaching my family to wipe down and disinfect our seating areas on aircraft years ago. we are pros.

5. covid is inescapable. as we entered the airport i had one surreal moment when it felt as though we would fly off and leave and magically land in a land with no covid. sort of like when we flew out of vietnam two years ago; exiting a communist country and finding ourselves in a safer feeling, calmer environment upon landing. instead we landed in dubai and are still wearing masks; washing our hands; and social distancing. we were required to present proof of a negative pcr test upon arrival and despite the advantage of increased outdoor space and warm weather we still feel a little wary of other people.

international travel during this period is a calculated risk we needed to take. and one we were fortunate enough to be able to take as safely as possible.

i am grateful.

a new routine- sunday muffins!

join us as we embark on a new routine- sunday muffins!

as a virgo through and through i am a very big fan of routines.  

knowing what is coming up centers me. it helps me to keep some of the more anxious thoughts and “what ifs” at bay. not only do i love living the routine, but i also adore planning the routine.  i have all sorts of notebooks- one for daily to-dos; one for our weekly meals; one for recipes; one for bigger, long term plans- and tons of lists! books to be read; articles to check out; yoga classes to take; things to buy; things to give away… all listed nicely and neatly.

as much as i love a routine life, over the years i have learned (sometimes the hard way) to let go and go with the flow (sort of).  juggling the needs, wants and schedules of three kids; living in the beautiful chaos of istanbul; being connected to other people socially and professionally- all these have been known to cause glitches from time to time! 

and of course, this year we are living through the biggest glitch of all! not in a million years would i have ever thought we would be on month 10 of staying home, at home learning, curfew and weekend lockdowns.  i really somehow thought this would be a couple months long blip in an otherwise normal year.

the first couple of months were better; alegra and i had a really great whiteboard, and we had a schedule for every day- it was great! i knew what was coming, everyone at home knew the plan.  it was as “normal” as one could have hoped for.

but these days, as covid wears on and on, i am finding it hard to even consider creating a routine.  i had hoped new years would inspire me but here i am halfway into the month and still a bit lost.

so, as i baked these muffins for sunday morning breakfast, i realized these might just be the perfect way to start a new routine! 

i’ve had food projects before; you can find a whole year of vegetable fritters (mucver, in turkish) here … and a year of gluten free kid-friendly treats here 

and so, it seems 2021 will be the year of muffins! the muffins will always be gluten-free; though not always vegan nor sugar free (sometimes we need a little treat too, guys!) i hope that you enjoy this new routine as much as i do 🙂

gluten-free vegan blueberry muffins

ingredients:

  • 2 vegan flax eggs (mix 2 tablespoons ground flax seed with 6 tablespoons water and set aside to thicken)
  • 2/3 cup vegan buttermilk (mix nut mylk with 2 teaspoons vinegar and set aside)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour mix **
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup blueberries (can be fresh or frozen)

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • line muffin pan with liner cups
  • combine flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix well
  • add flax egg, buttermilk, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract and mix until just combined
  • fold in blueberries carefully – 
    • batter should be thick at this point, if not add 1-2 tablespoons almond flour
  • spoon batter into prepared muffin pan 
  • bake for about 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean
  • cool on rack for at least 10 minutes
  • serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee! 

** recently, i have been using organik bahce’s gluten free flour mix here in turkey**