We made it! Although a pretty big part of me is sad as well. I’m happy to move on from herbs (no offence intended to any Herbs out there. I’m sure you’re great). I do feel like I learned a fair bit doing it though, so definitely not a loss, but the end of herb month also coincides with the end of August, which basically means summer is over/almost over. Now I know that there are crazy people out there (I’m looking at you Kevin) for whom winter is their favourite month (*head shaken in amazement*). To those people (aka person. I know it’s not true, but I find it hard to believe that there is more than Kevin who likes winter the best) I say “If I had known this when you asked me to marry you, our lives might be very different right now” 😉 . I do however really love the fall. The leaves changing, the weather getting just crisp enough to start wearing sweaters and light jackets. I can start looking forward to cracking out the slow cooker for stews and soups and other hearty fare. The only thing that I don’t like about fall is that it represents the imminent arrival of winter 🙁 . Fall is like your good-time vacation relaxing party friend and winter is like the bill collector arriving after it’s all over. “You’ll be paying for that fun for a long long time” I can hear him say. “6 months of winter is now upon you…with interest!!! Bwahahahahah!!!!!”
Let’s leave that for the future though. If I think about winter too much, I’ll just end up sitting rocking back and forth in the corner and crying and then where would we be? (sitting in the corner and crying obviously, didn’t I just say that? Can’t you pay attention for even 5 seconds? 😉 ). Instead, let’s focus on the present and our still summer celebrating attitudes, for which I am happy to carry on the tradition by bringing you this week’s offering of Oregano Blueberry Oatmeal muffins. Muffins I can usually take or leave. I mean, I’ve definitely had good muffins in my day, but it’s a food item I’ve always found a little strange if you think about it. It’s not quite cake and it’s not quite healthy breakfast. It’s like the worst of both worlds. “Well, I feel like cake, but I don’t want it to taste that good. What to do, what to do? I know, muffins!”? It’s weird right? (although I’m obviously in the minority with this viewpoint if coffee shop offerings are any indication. Unless everyone’s just feeling really badly for the poor massive conglomerates that provide them with their daily dose of caffeine and they’re just afraid these places will just go out of business unless people order muffins with their coffee. You’re right, that does seem like crazy-talk. People who have not yet been caffeinated for the day are not generally known for their generous and kindly demeanours 😉 ).
I knew I wanted to do something with blueberries and oregano, and while I was contemplating my various options, Kevin suggested muffins. At first I flat out refused and balked at his insane proposal. But the more I thought about it, the more I warmed to the idea. First of all, I haven’t made muffins in years (see reason of muffin weirdness above), I’m actually not sure if I’ve even made them since I’ve become vegan (over 10 years ago now) and I definitely haven’t done them for this blog, so it would be something new. Also, I realized if I’m in control of them, who says they have to be bland “healthy” muffins? With that thought in mind, I definitely knew I’d be adding a decidedly unhealthy option to this via an Oregano streusel topping. We all know the muffin tops are the best part of any muffin anyway (Seinfeld episode anyone? (from http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheMuffinTops.htm:
Rebecca: Are you the ones leaving the muffin pieces behind our shelter?
Elaine: You been enjoying them?
Rebecca: They’re just stumps.
Elaine: Well they’re perfectly edible.
Rebecca: Oh, so you just assume that the homeless will eat them, they’ll eat anything?
Mr. Lippman: No no, we just thought…
Rebecca: I know what you thought. They don’t have homes, they don’t have jobs, what do they need the top of a muffin for? They’re lucky to get the stumps.
Elaine: If the homeless don’t like them the homeless don’t have to eat them.
Rebecca: The homeless don’t like them.
Rebecca: We’ve never gotten so many complaints. Every two minutes, “Where is the top of this muffin? Who ate the rest of this?”)
So true, so true. It’s like a metaphor for life really, where is the top of this muffin? (ummm…I don’t know what I’m saying here, I leave any elaboration on this ridiculous philosophical pondering to you).
It’s amazing how many small decisions end up leading me down a rabbit hole of wasting endless time on the internet researching something that I really don’t need an answer to. For instance, the second I thought “hmmm…topping these with oregano streusel sounds amazing! Let’s do it!”. This thought was almost immediately followed by “What’s the difference between a streusel topping and a crumble topping? IS there a difference?”. I’m proud (and embarrassed) to say that I have vetted this information for you and…. can still provide you with almost no information. They essentially seem to be considered the same thing since I’ve seen them used interchangeably and recipes that are virtually identical calling them by different names. Here’s my definition – Do you want to sound snobby/fancy and/or international? Call it streusel. Are you looking for a more rustic home-grown feel to your dessert? Call it crumble. My work here is done (*dusting off hands triumphantly*) 😉 .
As the last days of summer are upon us, get out there and soak up the sun (in a non-skin cancer inducing way of course). Don’t waste time creating elaborate breakfasts, just make yourself some “dessert” muffins that celebrate the season. Then just grab a couple as you run out the door to go spin in a circle in a field of wildflowers, or run through a sprinkler (although maybe don’t consume muffins while embarking on these adventures. In my humble experience, these are terrible combinations 😉 ).
Yield: 12 muffins
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or coconut oil, melted
- 2 egg replacer
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ – 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- 1.5 cups pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup blueberries
- ¼ cup blueberry jam (or whatever jam you have on hand)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp oatmeal
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (optional)
- Sanding sugar (optional, just gives it a nice look and a bit of extra crunch on top)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a standard size muffin.
2. With an electric mixer, beat together brown sugar and melted butter.
3. Add egg replacer, vanilla and lemon zest (if using) and blend until combined.
4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats.
5. In a small bowl, put the blueberries in a small bowl and toss them with 1 tablespoon of flour mixture to coat them.
6. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir with a spoon until just combined (lumps are fine, you don’t want to over mix). Mix in blueberry jam.
7. Using a spoon, fold in the other half cup of blueberries and oregano.
8. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.
9. Mix all Streusel ingredients together in a small bowl until coarsely combined.
10. Generously top muffins with streusel mixture.
11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, remove from muffin tin and serve warm. Once completely cooled, store in a covered container at room temp for several days. Freeze for longer term storage.