Apple pie…mmmm. Muffins…double mmmm.
I’ve been sharing tid bits here & there on facebook about our #projectdownsize efforts. If you haven’t heard, here’s the gist of it. Our lease is up at the end of the year. Our rent will be going up slightly. Joseph & I realized, wait a sec….we’ve been paying WAY too much for rent!
So, off we go. We’ve secured a cozy little duplex, & as preparation to fit our family of seven & all our belongings into a home just shy of 1500 ft2 (less than half the size of our current location), we’ve got to downsize. Get rid of junk. Get rid of pretty much everything that is not 1) a necessity & 2) well-loved, & well-used.
In the process, I’ve realized so many things.
Here are just a few.
1) We are SO rich!
Further, pretty much anyone living in the United States with an income above the poverty line, is living it up. Microwave ovens, A/C, running clean water, TV’s/laptops/computers/iPhones, the list goes on. In grand scheme of the history of the world, we are living luxurious, cushy lives. And I’m grateful for that.
The fact that I can easily donate bags & bags full of clothing & household items, including furniture, is just one indication of how we’re not scraping by. The fact that you’re reading this blog on your PC, tablet, or phone means you’re probably in the same boat.
2) Stuff takes energy, time, & money away from me.
Sure, there are some necessities (bed, fridge, washer) & a few nice things (that don’t quite make it to the level of necessities) that I think I’m going to always want/need around & that mostly add to our quality of life.
But 5 years of the Yoga Journal, house decor that were gifts from our wedding, an odd assortment of vases (you never know when you might want to give one of those away, right??), all sorts of wannabe-Tupperware containers & all of the lids that don’t actually match, random puzzle pieces & baskets & baskets of toys that are worn out/broken &/or my kids don’t play with anymore. A mountain of fabric & craft items that I thought were a good idea at the time.
All of these things take time & energy to care for & store. And I’ve now begun to see everything, I mean EVERYTHING, down to the measuring cups in my cupboards, to the number of toys my kids have, as a liability–something that carries a cost, both in time, money, & energy.
3) I don’t want to spend the next few decades of my life, largely organizing, cleaning, & maintaining “stuff.”
I guess when you are in a lifestyle that causes you to move around a lot (remember, we’re currently military folks), you are confronted with this on a somewhat frequent basis as you move from place to place. It’s become clear to me, that fewer things, a smaller living space means less time spent maintaining & cleaning these things.
Which, if this were a mathematical equation, would look like this:
less stuff = smaller living space = more money saved = more time to NOT spend cleaning/organizing = more freedom
or summed up:
less stuff = more freedom (& more money in the bank!)
I don’t know about you, but I want more of that!
And, the fourth & final point,
4) I’m not as “minimalist” as I thought I was.
I hold onto way more things than I should (though, admittedly not as bad as my Grandma Bagley, bless her, who saved every plastic container from anything from margarine tubs, to plastic bread sacks & the green ties that came with them). My frugal mind is like–but what IF I will need this someday?? (Like my hiking boots from a study abroad I did 12 years ago & have since laid dusty in a dark corner of my ridiculously huge closet.)
Bottom line: I can do, much, much better in the “I am a minimalist” department. At this point, I think I’m pretty much still a poser, but the last few weeks have been pushing us in that direction, for sure.
What are your thoughts on “stuff”? Have you ever downsized before?
If you have had to move around a lot, I’d especially love to hear from you & get tips & tricks on how to keep things simple & streamlined. Please share in the comments below!
Now, on to today’s recipe: vegan apple pie muffins
I love muffins. Especially for my kids. They are a great after school snack, or supplement to a smoothie breakfast. And, need I mention they are quite inexpensive (maybe $.15-$.30 per serving?).
Apple pie in muffin form -- vegan with gluten-free & low-fat options
- 1 1/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 c. white flour OR 3/4 c. whole wheat flour OR 1 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (like Bob's Red Mill)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of allspice (optional)
- few pinches salt
- 3/4 c. dry sweetener (sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanat) OR 1 c. coconut sugar
- 2 TBS. ground flaxseed
- 1/3 c. water
- 1/2 c. melted coconut or canola oil
- 3/4 c. non-dairy milk (soy or almond, not lite)
- 2 sweet apples (gala or cameo, I think work best for this)
- First, I should say what this is not. It's NOT an applesauce muffin recipe. I've made many of those before, & while those are great, this recipe doesn't use applesauce, & that is intentional. I wanted to bite into a muffin & actually taste pieces of apple, like when you bite into a slice of apple pie. If you want to lower the fat content of the muffins, feel free to sub half the oil with applesauce. Note that if you want to go completely oil-free & use replace all the oil with applesauce, the muffins will most likely be gummy (not a bad thing, necessarily, just be aware of what certain substitutions will do). Also, if you use GF all-purpose flour, you'll want to use all of the oil. I've found that gluten-free recipes generally do better with more fat in them. Also, if you use whole wheat, it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway--the muffins will be a bit more dense, not as light. Okay, I think I've covered the disclosures, now onto how to actually make the things (which is quite easy).
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Using a food processor with the S-blade, grind oatmeal into a fine ground (still has texture, not quite flour).
- Sift ground oats & flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt. I generally use a wire whisk to do this, rather than a "sifter." Add dry sweetener & sift again.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flaxseed & water until thick.
- Add oil & non-dairy milk to the flaxseed mixture. Whisk & set aside.
- Peel & core apples. Cut into small cubes. I cheat by using a veggie chopper.
- Add apples to wet mixture & stir.
- Add wet mixture to dry & stir until just incorporated.
- Grease muffin tin with coconut or canola oil (or use a non-stick tin), or non-stick spray, especially if you're doing oil-free.
- Using a large cookie scoop, scoop batter into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of the way (or slightly more, depending on the size of your muffin tin).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Using a butter knife, gently go around each muffin in the tin to make sure the muffin will come out easily & turn the muffins on their sides (or remove & put on a cookie sheet) & cool for 10-15 minutes (at least). Eat immediately, & once completely cooled, store the remaining muffins in the freezer (keeps for about 2 months, if stored properly). When you want a muffin, just take one out of the freezer --let it defrost (about 1 hour at room temp), or pop into oven (if you're doing several) for 5-10 minutes at 350 F (microwave also works).
Additional Nutrition Info: 2 g fiber, 30 g carbs, 3 g protein, 15 g sugar; 6 WWP points per serving
Looking for more inspiration in the kitchen?
→ Check out my 28 day meal plan!
Other bring joy posts you might want to check out:
- 10 tips for frugal baking + buckwheat & oats muffins
- vegan + gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffins
- vegan + gluten-free pumpkin filled gingerbread bundt cake w/ warm vanilla syrup