Lemon-Lavender Blueberry Muffins


Even though blueberry season doesn’t officially kick off here in Michigan for a month or so, it’s a great time to buy the ultimate superfruit in our local markets. Michigan produces more blueberries than any other state, with 21,000 acres dedicated to just that. We grow 30 different varieties, and about 40% are sold fresh. So no matter where you live, if you’re eating fresh blueberries, there is a very good chance they came from the ol’ Mitten!

My husband has a preeminent sweet tooth, and baked goods are his weakness. Add chocolate and RUN. As much as I enjoy whipping up yummy vegan desserts for him, I do have to watch our sugar consumption. These muffins are the perfect treat for that, because most of their sweetness comes from the berries themselves. This means less sugar. You won’t miss it, I promise!

I think I was around 10 when I baked my first batch of blueberry muffins. My grandma taught me, and that was the first time I’d ever seen a lemon zested. I can still remember how those sweet berries would just burst in my mouth, and that little zing of the lemon after… Gunk! I have been making them the same way she taught me since, except in recent years, I’ve discovered that adding just a tablespoon of lavender takes these mamas to a whole new level of deliciosity.

These muffins are so light and airy!  Read this now and believe it later, these will become a new favorite. They are really simple to make and go with absolutely anything. We like them best in the morning with a cup of black coffee or some cinnamon tea.

Sorry I went all Hans and Franz on you. I’m just pumped (clap) up about these muffins.

"Yah, you will eat these yummy muffins and they will not cause a flab-alanche!"


1 cup non-dairy milk

1 ½ teaspoons vinegar

2 cups flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

6 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

Zest of one lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

1 Tbsp dried lavender

1 pint fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray (or line with paper cups).
  2. Combine non-dairy milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside, allowing time to curdle. Any non-dairy milk will do, but soy seems to curdle the best.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, sugar, lemon zest and juice, lavender and vanilla. Add curdled milk and stir until well combined. Carefully fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  5. Fill tins with batter about ¾ full. Bake for 23 minutes (Yep, this is the tried and tested amount of time). The toothpick test is always a good gauge.
  6. Remove from the heat and let muffins cool right in the pan before taking them out.

Makes one dozen.

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Garlic Knots



I was at the Goodwill (go figure) when I spied w/ my little eye the pear pepper grinder. When I turned it over to check the price, it said "$1.99 set". Set? Upon further investigation, I found its mate, the apple salt shaker. Two bucks?!? Come on, so cute!! 

There are so many corny bread (cornbread?) jokes out there that I’ll try to refrain from incorporating them, like so much yeast, into this writing. Might sound half-baked, but I will try to rise to the occasion.

Must…refrain… Don’t say “on a roll” …

Skipping over the story of the plight of the Pillsbury Doughboy and what that conniving Sara Lee (allegedly) did to him, let’s talk bread.

Bread, like that Doughboy joke, is both ancient and nothing to laugh about. Universally, bread is seen as a sign of peace.  It is a crucial element in hundreds of different religious ceremonies around the world. At one time, it was even used as currency. Maybe that’s why we equate bread with money; the more you earn, the more bread you can provide for your family. I distinctly remember as a kid in the 70s when our spotty-faced teenage neighbor refused to shovel the driveway unless Pops “coughed up some bread”. I was probably seven, so I hadn’t quite mastered the art of hyperbolic banter* (that wouldn’t come until I turned 9 – ha!), and was quite literally waiting for the guy to cough up some actual bread.  Instead, what Pops coughed up from his perch on the porch, through his thick, icy Marlboro breath was “NO BREAD! NO DOUGH! Just a CRUSTY old man who wants a ding dang footpath to the ding dang mailbox!”

 Sorry, Michiganders.  It’s coming.

*Hyperbolic Banter. Good band name.

Enough of this flakiness. Ain’t nobody be kneading that. I’m super stoked to share this simple recipe for vegan garlic knots, which are the perfect accompaniment to my lasagna roll-ups, soups and stews, or just all by their lonesome(s), fresh out of the oven. And that smell… I mean it’s just the best thing since, well, you know.  

In the words of the great Cervantes, “All sorrows are less with bread”. And in the equally wise words of the also great Smokey Robinson, I second that emotion, Miguel de.



  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup water

For Garlic Butter:

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb spice blend (or one tsp. each dried basil and dried oregano)


  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix the yeast and sugar together in a bowl. Add the warm water (between 95-115 degrees F) and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly.
  3. Put the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or, you can go old-school and do it by hand). Mix dry ingredients well.
  4. Pour yeast mixture over, add oil and mix well.
  5. Allow to rise in a warmish place. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. When dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.
  7. When a smooth dough is formed, take about 2 tablespoons and roll out like a snaky thing.
  8. Tie the snake into a loose knot, fold ends in and flip over.

Bake in the preheated oven 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the garlic butter:

Melt the vegan butter in a small saucepan.  Add the oil and seasonings and keep warm.

When the knots are finished and out of the oven, brush each one with a generous amount of garlic butter.

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Vegan Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins



After lots of thinks, I decided my first recipe should be simple, versatile, and yummy (obvs).  These muffins are perfect for a quick breakfast, portable snack, or alongside any of the soups/stews I will be posting in the very near future.

No one would ever (nor does ever) guess these are vegan muffins!! They are light and airy, and at the same time, the apples give them a heartiness that is so satisfying. Here in Michigan, apples are a big deal.  We are the nation’s third largest producer, with more varieties than you can shake a stick at, whatever that means. I should look that up.

Okay, I just looked it up. There were stories of the saying’s origin taking place in various English pubs, tales of Native Americans in battle, and even a yarn about a shepherd and his flock. It’s all conjecture, really. My money’s on the pub story. Picturing Brits drunkenly shaking sticks for unknown reasons is the most fun scenario, by far.

So in actuality, at last count, Michigan has roughly 18 different varieties of apples. I use them in savory dishes as well as for desserts, and I almost always lean toward the more tart. In this recipe, I usually use Fuji.  I know it’s a Japanese apple (and city, and camera), but we actually grow it here now and it’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet, not to mention its harmony with all those spices… Fall personified. Except muffins aren’t people, so … Fall muffinified.

All right. I just ate one.  My description was just too much.

These muffins come together so quickly, and are sure be a new favorite! I promise, you’ll be making more batches of these than any Cockney Carouser could shake a stick at.

Note: When I say flour, I am referring to all-purpose. When I say sugar, I am referring to granulated. If you would like to substitute in gluten-free, whole wheat, etc., or cane sugar in place of granulated (which I often do), that’s great!  Different flours do produce  different textures, so just a heads-up on that.

Also, how cute is that elephant mug?  Scored that at a local thrift shop for $2.99!


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 large, tart apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine first eight ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, milk and oil. Fold in apples.
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  4. Makes one dozen muffins
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