Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins for an Angry Asian Rant

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Is the world becoming an angrier place or is it just Vancouver? Damn, people are angry here (myself included. I’m one of the worst culprits of rage-ism sometimes!). Remember how the Husband and I went to Maui in April? Everyone there was so incredibly chill. Relaxed. Straight up happy. They even made it a point to tell us how happy they were. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian economy’s not doing so well and the locals all told us that they had to work two or more jobs, seven days a week. Despite their financial situations, we had so many people tell us that they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. That they work hard and play hard. That they were incredibly happy. Maui is paradise. You can’t be there and NOT be happy.

I hadn’t been that relaxed in a long time. The stress just melted away. I mean, there was glorious sunshine and blue skies every day, the air smelled sweet, the food was amazing, and the people were just so gosh darn friendly.

As soon as I boarded the plane to return home, I could feel it. That nervousness in my fingertips. That nagging in the back of my brain. That darkness that crept into my chest and threatened to overwhelm me. All the stress and anger and bitterness from my normal day-to-day life was filling my body, even before my plane touched down.

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with friends about the state of this city. The consensus is this: Vancouver is a swirling vortex of negativity and rage. Everyone’s in a bad mood, all the time. No one is courteous or friendly. There’s no such thing as human decency, politeness or kindness. It honestly shocks me when someone raises a hand to thank me when I’ve let them change into my lane or when someone says “thanks” for holding open a door. You could knock me over with a feather and it really makes my day when I smile at someone in the elevator, say hi and they actually respond. It’s rare these days.
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Case in point – I was walking Abby around the block the other night and was standing on a street corner, waiting for the light to change. I saw pedestrians crossing on their right of way, with drivers doing their typical thing of driving right up to the human being in the cross walk because they can’t wait an extra second to turn left. The jerk-off in the car at the front of the line started yelling at the pedestrians to walk faster so that he could turn.

Yeah, dude, because I’m sure you were racing to a burning building to help rescue babies, kittens and old ladies. Chill the frack out, dbag.

Oh, I should also mention that the aforementioned pedestrians included an old lady pushing a baby in a stroller. Just run them over while you’re at it, buddy. Society will understand. You’re an important person with important places to go.

Seeing that kind of BS really grinds my gears (random reference for any of you fellow Family Guy fans out there).

So to combat the feelings of depression and indignation that overwhelm me on a daily basis, I drink I bake cheerful things like these lemon poppyseed blueberry muffins.
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Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Joy of Baking)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
Zest of one lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat the oven to 370 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or grease.

In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, zest, poppy seeds, vanilla and almond extracts.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Don’t over mix the batter or else your muffins will be tough.

Fill each muffin cup about halfway and sprinkle in a layer of blueberries. I do this because I find that mixing frozen blueberries into the batter always colours the batter, regardless if I cover the berries with flour.

Muffin cups filled halfway with a layer of blueberries.

Muffin cups filled halfway with a layer of blueberries.


Top with more batter and dot the top with a few more blueberries. If you’re using fresh berries, you can probably fold the berries directly into the batter before scooping into the muffin cups.
Cover with more batter and add a few berries to the top.

Cover with more batter and add a few berries to the top.


Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 5 to 10 minutes then move the muffins to a wire rack.
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These muffins were just what I needed to sweeten my sour mood. The muffin is incredibly tender and moist, thanks to the buttermilk. You can’t beat the flavour combo of lemon and blueberry and the poppy seeds pop delightfully against your teeth with every bite.
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So instead of getting mad at the world like I do on the regular, get thee to the kitchen and bake sunshiney muffins!

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33 thoughts on “Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins for an Angry Asian Rant

  1. Nancy, I totally agree with you about the people of Vancouver and the wonderful land I Maui! What the hell is wrong with Vancouverites?! Very frustrating and irritating to say the least. The sad thing it won’t seem to improve. ( I’m sounding negative too!)

    If my hubby had it his way, we’d have move to Maui! You and The Husband should consider annual pilgrimage to Maui – we go every November for 3 weeks.

    Hope your week is better! Now go hug Abby! Hugs!!

  2. First – the recipe (The happy stuff) – this muffin looks so heavenly. Moist and two of my favorite flavors put together makes for the perfect comforting muffin. Just beautiful. Wishing I was closer right about now so I could come indulge in one or two with you.
    Last – the state of your city (ie. our country). Its not just your city to be honest. By nature, I am an incredibly friendly person but nothing “grinds my gears” more than saying sorry and getting no response, waving someone out into traffic in front of me and getting no response, holding a door open and having them walk through without a word, smiling at someone and having them glare back in return. It’s terrible and when you’re trying to teach your teenagers to be friendly, courteous and polite … having that kind of a response does not help. Of course, we won’t talk about the fact that when I apologize and they don’t say “its okay” or at least SMILE back I say “okay I’m not sorry.” dependent on the situation, sometimes I make sure they hear it 😉

  3. I couldn’t help but laugh at your description of the guy in the crosswalk rushing to save kittens from a burning building.

    I agree that there is too much anger in this world. It’d be a better place if there was more decency and love.

  4. Oh man! That does sound an incredibly rude bunch of people you share Vancouver with 😦 Shame! Come live in Houston–everyone’s friendly here, if you can stand the aggressive driving 🙂 I love all your lemon poppy seed recipes–I don’t make nearly enough lemon poppy seed things and every time I see another delicious muffin or cake from you, I vow to do some lemon poppy seed SOMETHING. I just need to stock up on some darn lemons!

    I love your rants btw. You are so funny! I just hope you find some nice people to chill out with soon 🙂

  5. Oh Nancy, don’t come to my office then we “throw a lot of shade” around but that’s mostly because we deal with dumb people. Granted, I always try to say thank you or hold a door when I’m about and about, but yes I see the rage and hurry here too on the street and sometimes I’m the culprit too but umm. . yes I work in Times Square so generally it goes to the mindless tourists standing in the middle of the sidewalk when I need to get somewhere. And so on to the muffins. Lemon poppy I love and adding blueberries just sounds like a fabulous combination.

  6. After reading this, I can tell you a big part of the world is in a state of nervousness, on the verge of a breakdown. A sad situation.
    Can we cook our way into peacefulness? I wonder. For now girl, your muffins will have to do. They´re amazing! All the right flavors and whole wheat flour too.

  7. Yeah people are ruuude, it’s true (I’m sure even I’m sometimes guilty of it…I’m positive I’ve shoved some tourists in my day). Baking makes all things better

  8. Baking does make things better. It’s not just Vancouver, even in sunny Southern California I can’t a smile out of my neighbors when I walk my doggie down the street. Maybe if I gave them muffins they’d smile. worth a try!

  9. Great tip about layering the blueberries. Your muffins look terrific and would bring a smile to most anyone’s face. The Midwest is still pretty friendly, but there are rude people everywhere. Just keep being your sweet self…and maybe it will rub off on those negative folks. xo

  10. I definitely agree that Hawaii is the most relaxed place on earth. I felt amazingly calm and happy when I was there. I’ve been dying to go back ever since. And yes… sadly, I also agree that people are getting angrier, less patient and more aggressive. It’s the same here in Australia as over in Canada, I think. I’ve seem people almost run over pedestrians on a number of occasions, as well as road rage in petrol stations because some people are ‘taking too long’ to fill their cars with gas. There must be a shitload of babies and kittens that need rescuing, as everyone seems to be rushing. I actually want to move to Hawaii right now!

  11. First, it’s not just Vancouver. It’s happening everywhere. It’s awful. It’s pathetic. What happened to treating others the way you want to be treated? I suppose that went out the window along with Mr. Thank You and Mrs. Please. It kills me. It takes more effort to be rude and frown than it does to be nice and smile. Second, I love the new digs! Your site is so purdy. Third, let’s all go live in Hawaii. The economy is bound to perk up if we’re all there, right?

  12. hm now all this sounds very familiar… You see when I had to fly back form the sunny goa to the cold alpine austria I was in tears. They told me I d be fine after a while but I wasn’t. Cold climate = cold people. Mountains = narrow minded people. So I said fuck it and I went back to Goa with barely any money, survived somehow lived on cookies for some time, took a few freelance jobs, went back to europe switzerland to make me some good money (worked for green cross ngo to get people to donate, crappy job but good pay in swiss), came back to goa, married my husband, worked hard together and now we have at least a sweet home, a few running business and a happy life. I understand how you feel! I wanted more so I changed what had to change. When I lived in Europe I d love blueberry muffins. I never had a lemon, poppy seed and blueberry muffins but all 3 ingredients work perfectly well and I d be addicted for sure!

  13. Nancy,
    OMG, did you say something to that SOB? I totally don’t get people like that. . that’s so upsetting. . do you think the weather has anything to do with the mood in Vancouver? I feel the same way here. . I think the weather puts people in horrible moods and no one is smiling etc. . but on a sunny day, everyone loves each other and is so happy. . thank God everyone has coffee and caffeine or things would get messy.
    Dude, love your writing. . “Vancouver is a swirling vortex of negativity and rage. Everyone’s in a bad mood, all the time. No one is courteous or friendly. There’s no such thing as human decency, politeness or kindness.” We can FEEL how strongly you feel about this through your writing. . and now, no one will ever want to come and visit. 😛
    I feel for you on the stress and bitterness that comes with everyday life. . but I am with YOU and Paula: Can we cook our way into peacefulness??? Word up yo.
    I’m getting thee into the kitchen and baking these. . blueberry and lemon? great minds think alike. love you homegirl. Keep your chin up.

  14. I’ve never been to Hawaii but my boyfriend has described it in much the same way, I want to go so bad! I’ve never thought of Vancouver as an unfriendly place though; I haven’t actually been there in a very long time and that was only for a short visit so I don’t know much about it, but I always picture it as being full of healthy and friendly people! I know what you mean about what a difference being around friendly people can make … Even this morning our bus driver yelled out “thank you, have a wonderful day” when we got off the bus and it just started my day off in such a great mood!

  15. I think that is society as a whole, although my small cow town isn’t as bad. You’re right though about that guy – he probably was rushing to go to McDonalds or something. I admit I can be a bit impatient sometimes when I’m stuck behind someone (that is going at least 10 mph under the speed limit), but then I have to remind myself that where I’m going can wait a few minutes. I remember one time driving home from work, there was probably 5 cars following an 18 wheeler. Not kidding – the person behind me tried to pass me in the passing zone to squeeze between me and the car in front of me (I sped up to close the gap – it was only one lane). Oh wow, you would have gotten sooooo much further being one car ahead! Yahoo! But seriously, I was so baffled. You could clearly see the train of cars in front of me. I just so happened to not be riding the bumper in front of me. Better pass me some muffins so I dont hurt anyone 😀

  16. Your lemon poppy seed blueberry muffins are cheery pick-me-uppers, Nancy…I can almost taste that soft muffin with the burst of blueberry. Yum!

    As for your feelings about Vancouver, I’ve got to smile. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was on a chat show saying how nice everyone is in Canada…Never mind that she’s a major TV star, right?

    Anyway, I think you are a rock star…I admire your dedication to justice, your compassion and the love you shower on friends and family. Maybe you don’t see it mirrored back to you on the street all the time. But all these great people in the blogosphere flock to you because you are a wonderful, light, witty and loving Nancy Seto ❤

  17. Ugh. Stuff like that drives me CRAZY, but I have to admit I am occasionally the one perpetuating the grumpfest. Although never to the point of yelling at old ladies and/or running toddlers in strollers over. You know what? I bet that guy just needed some blueberry muffins and a hug. Probably didn’t get enough baked goods as a child…

  18. At 6pm while running, I was hit by a car IN the crosswalk. She didn’t really seem to care that much. And then…the guy behind her in a pickup screamed profanities at me to get out of the intersection so he could turn.

    “The jerk-off in the car at the front of the line started yelling at the pedestrians to walk faster so that he could turn.” — so yeah, I can relate.

    I need a muffin, a stiff drink, and normally San Diego is pretty chill by not on Friday at rush hour apparently!

    • Oh my God, Averie – you were freaking hit by a car?! And no one gave a damn about your physical well-being? Gah! Hearing crap like that pisses me off so much. I hope you’re ok! You definitely deserve that stuff drink. One of my best friends was hit in a crosswalk by a guy turning right about a year ago. She actually flipped into his hood and he just kept driving. Thankfully she was ok. I got rear ended yesterday on a very busy bridge during rush hour. The other driver was very nice and while we were exchanging info, other drivers were yelling at us to get out of the way as they sped around us. We need to get rid of the dbags and start a colony with only nice people in it. I hope your weekend turns out a lot better than the beginning of it! Rest up, girl.

      • One of my best friends was hit in a crosswalk by a guy turning right about a year ago. <– that's exactly what happened to me. And I am what I'd call a high mileage runner. I run every day, and I run quite a bit. So over the months and years I do log alot of miles and in the land of odds, the odds are stacked in my favor that things will happen. And every 2-3 years, I do get hit! Yes, it happens quite a bit. Usually drivers are VERY worried that they hit/tapped/bumped me, but then sometimes I have ones like this..who truly just don't really fully comprehend they hit a pedestrian. Thank you for your concern and thankfully I am totally 100% fine and my bruises are fading 🙂

  19. Hmmmm…maybe I DON’T want to come to Vancouver now 🙂 Nah, just kidding, my plane ticket is already booked. Plus, I think people’s attitudes are like this A LOT of places. People are just so….rude. A lot. I hate being looked at like you’re a freak just for saying “hi” to someone. I hate that nobody ever holds doors anymore, and just lets them slam right in your face. GAHHHH. People.

    I’m a happier note, I love blueberry muffins spiked with lemon, and I love lemon-poppyseed muffins, and I’ve been meaning to combine them for ages now. You beat me to it, but I’m not mad at all. I’m jealous that you got to eat these and I haven’t yet!

  20. Its awful when people don’t have the basic courtesy of sorry and thankyou or just being nice.Your yummy and healthy muffins seem like the perfect thing to indulge in after encountering these situations 🙂 I love the buttermilk in there and it looks so moist and delicious!!!

  21. oh man – i agree!!! People are in such bad moods, what happened to “nice canadians who always say sorry?” lol, apparently not! I hate seeing people be rude. There is no excuse!! I hear its from the weather, and if the weather were hot and sunny all the time maybe our attitudes would be better?? but still, lets be happy even if it is raining in june, or july!

    Ps. I also like to bake when I’m angry! lol, saves me from a drinking problem 😉

  22. I love, love, love, love this post!!! You crack me up Nancy! I didn’t know Vancouver was so hostile though. D.C. can be like that as well, especially when it comes to impatient drivers having the urge to run over children and senior citizen pedestrians because you know…they’re basically the shit and have such important places to go to and important things to attend to…NOT!

    I love getting away from the city from time to time and can completely understand the heavy and tense feeling you get when you’re on your way back to Vancouver, because I get the same way when I’m on my way back to D.C. from a trip. That tense feeling is mainly caused by my unpreparedness and unwillingness to go back to the same old routine. More vacation time please!!! It always flies by so quickly! I’m not quite ready yet!

    So how do I cope? I do exactly the same thing you do to relieve stress. I bake! Yay!!

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