Humble, hearty, and nourishing, these Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins are more than just a sweet way to start your day–they’re an offering of love.
2017 hasn’t started out quite like I imagined. I like to think of the start of a new year as a clean slate, a chance to start fresh, a bright and hopeful beginning. But sometimes life doesn’t deal us a fresh start. This year, a fellow blogger delivered her baby prematurely and had to say goodbye to him just a few short hours later. Another friend experienced a miscarriage. Other friends suffered personal tragedies—the loss of a grandparent, a frightening diagnosis. And while we didn’t suffer the brunt of any great tragedy this new year, our little family was taken down by a vicious cold, and we spent the better part of two weeks housebound, feverish, and generally rather miserable. The new year brought with it frozen temperatures, and while we didn’t exactly want to leave the house in our snotty states, the bitter cold also made me feel claustrophobic and trapped.
While a new year often brings with it excitement and opportunity, sometimes it also brings endings and sorrow, sickness and difficulty. I’m feeling the tension of this season more than any other year I can remember. I hold it all in my heart, the sadness and celebration, the loss and the blessing, the beauty in all of the mess.
I try to hold onto the hope of a new year, not because of the turn of a calendar, but because of a Jesus who offers hope in every season. I cling to the promise of a Kingdom that is here and not yet here, a God who came, and One who continues to visit us in our sorrow and in our joy.
When I don’t know what else to do, I light a candle for the ones who are brokenhearted, and then I make muffins. Baking is my prayer. My pouring out. A tangible way to work out my sorrow and my questions, my doubt and my fears. I keep my hands busy, whisking and stirring, so my heart can wander and be still. I always thought the phrase “baked with love” was a little trite, but I get it now. Sometimes baking is much more than flour and sugar, measuring and scooping. It is a working out of all our helplessness, all of our need to show the ones around us we care and we’re here. In a simple muffin, we pour out our love and hope those who need it will taste it in every bite.
I generally believe any kind of baked good can be a messenger of love, but I find these Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins work particularly well for this purpose. These are simple, hearty muffins, and they’re easily adaptable based on your mood or what you have on hand. Sometimes the need to bake happens at 10 PM at night, and when it does, I need a muffin recipe I can make with pantry staples. This is the one.
These muffins fall somewhere between extra healthy and extra decadent. I make them with oats and Greek yogurt, coconut oil and maple syrup, but you can always substitute with milk and butter and brown sugar if you like. The same goes for the flour. Use all purpose, or replace half with white whole wheat flour. I’ve had both, and they’re both delicious. I like my muffins to be positively bursting with blueberries, but if you don’t have any on hand feel free to use chocolate chips or dried cranberries or nuts or whatever else your heart desires.
The muffins themselves are simple, moist, and subtly sweet. They’re satisfying in a coming home kind of way. They feel familiar and cozy, like your favorite sweatshirt. They might not dazzle like giant bakery blueberry muffins, but they’re true and good and honest–a muffin you can count on when the going gets tough. Make these for the ones in your life who need to know they’re not alone. They’ll appreciate the muffin, but they’ll appreciate the love you poured into it even more.