These muffins have a zillion healthy-ish things crammed into them, and they’re also gluten-free. Yum. Recipe at the bottom.
Recently I’ve hosted both my sister and my mom in Copenhagen and nothing makes you appreciate the city you live in more than serving as a semi-tour guide. I guess it helps that for most members of my family, my existence in Copenhagen has been a bit of a mystery. What does she do? Where does she live? Who is this extended Danish family she keeps talking about? (Yep, me and the ol’ host family are still really close, and it’s extended to both sets of host-grandparents, who cheer on my slow progress in Danish lessons). I’ve now spent a total of 1 year (working) plus 4 months & 2 weeks (student) in Denmark, so providing my family with some context is really nice. Seeing and participating in the bike culture in Copenhagen. Checking out my work, where I grocery shop, my favorite cafes. And nothing opens your mind to a place you sometimes take for granted than having visitors – their joy and curiosity leads you to discover new places and new phenomenon.
An example being: there is a large park in Copenhagen that hosts free dance lessons and open dancing with music many nights during the summer. It began in June and I’m sad to say I only checked it out for the first time last night, where I learned some salsa moves and spent two hours dancing with abandon with my sister, a friend from work, and various random Danish men – some of whom were awkward, strict, nerdy, friendly, focused, etc. It was just a good time. The event draws individuals of all walks of life: ages, sizes, couples, passer-by, etc. Everyone danced with everyone and at some points they would stop for a random non-salsa song or two and then the Danes went wild and broke it down in the love-able way that only Danes do while dancing.
Living abroad has so many ups and downs. And you really have to learn to take each day as it comes and not freak out, sometimes. My friend Charlotte who lives in Beijing told me that there expats talk about having ‘a bad China day’ where everything will just go wrong and the system will get you down and life seems miserable, and I like that concept because at least it means that you can label it, expect it, and process it as just ‘a bad COUNTRY HERE’ day and not a complete breakdown of your entire existence. So while having my family visit was wonderful, I can’t say I didn’t also get pretty homesick. I gave myself a few days of self-pity and then picked myself up and went out into the world again and let Copenhagen court me until I remembered why I love it so much, and how much it makes me smile. Although I still wish D.C. and Copenhagen were located right next to each other, just for ease of obtaining almond butter and, of course, seeing my family.
When my mom was here one of the best moments we had together after exploring was just being in the kitchen together like I was home again – her at the stove stirring up a spicy daal, me making some strange gluten-free healthy muffin concoction like always. It was perfect. No matter where you are in the world, no matter which kitchen, being with familiar people and creating is always home.
Cacao Buckwheat Zucchini Breakfast Muffins
slightly adapted from Clean Food Dirty City
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder, or cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla powder
2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, heated so it is liquid
1/4 cup coconut cream (the solidified top part of a can of coconut milk)
2 tablespoons coconut milk or coconut water
1 banana, peeled, mashed
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
coconut flakes, to top
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Use an immersion blender to completely blend the bowl of wet ingredients until the batter is uniform and there are no lumps. Combine with the dry ingredients. Batter should resemble the texture of thick pancake batter and not be either too doughy or too runny – adjust with more buckwheat flour or coconut water/milk as needed.
Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Centers should be set but don’t over-bake, nobody wants dry muffins!