I spent the last week fitting my one bedroom apartment into boxes. Sealed with packing tape and stacked into tall, quivering towers, they fill a small 10" by 10" storage unit, awaiting next month's big move. I am displaced until then, spending time with family and traveling in the interim. With a job offer to teach in another location, it is time to leave the small town life for a bustling city. This change, however, is more bittersweet than expected. Though I resisted it madly in the beginning, this small town of mine—population 3,000—grew on me.
We put down roots whether or not we mean to; we find a way to feel like we belong.
I will miss many things about this place. The two minute commute to work each morning. The two minute commute to anywhere in town. The honor system farmer's market (a table of fresh vegetables sits alone in a vacant parking lot, with a box to collect payment. If only everywhere could be so honest). The smells emanating from the food factory in the center of town (some days, the pervasive scent of dog food—blech—but on the rare days it smells like chocolate or gumdrops, it feels as if Willy Wonka's factory is just down the street). The realization that living in a small town does not mean you live a small life.
But, most of all, I will miss the people. The welcoming, caring, animated souls who made this place home for the last two years.
When I first arrived to this town, I nervously baked up a batch of granola bars, wondering if I had made the right decision in moving here. Oats were (and are) a comfort food to me, familiarity in a world that was both strange and new. It seemed fitting that the last pan to come out of my small apartment kitchen were these oat-filled muffins. They are a means to say goodbye and turn the page on a new chapter in my life.
Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins are bursting with blueberries and a bright aroma. Oats, which are grounded down to a flour, give a hearty flavor to the final product. Topped with a cinnamon crumble, the muffins are complete. Serve with a spread of butter or simply eat them plain, both methods will do just fine.
One Year Ago: Mango Margarita, Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread, and Chocolate Espresso Custard
Two Years Ago: Rhubarb Vanilla Pound Cake, Boozy Margarita Lime Cake, Double Chocolate Muffins, and Rhubarb Ginger Bars
Three Years Ago: Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Nutmeg Pudding, Lavender Lemonade, Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, and Cherry Almond Granola
Four Years Ago: Honey Peach Boba Tea, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread, and Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
Five Years Ago: Bittersweet Chocolate Sherbet, Rhubarb Jam, and Tapioca Pudding
Blueberry Oat Crumble Muffins
Yields 1 dozen muffins
Blueberry Oat Muffins
1/4 cup (50 grams) coconut oil, liquid state
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (68 grams) oat flour *
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (177 ml) milk
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the coconut oil and sugars until uniform. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients (cinnamon, baking powder, salt, oat flour, all-purpose flour) alternatively with the milk until smooth. Stir in the fresh blueberries. Set aside.
Oat Crumble Topping
2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquid state
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, mix together all crumble ingredients until uniform.
Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full of batter. Sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of crumble topping on each and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
* To make oat flour, place old fashioned oats in a food processor and process until oats are a fine powder.