fresh blueberries

Sometimes I have mornings when the world feels so daunting it takes courage just to swing one leg out of bed. These are the days when my to-do list starts unfurling, like some unwanted tickertape parade, before I even open my eyes. They’re after nights spent dreaming about work projects gone awry. Or friends I didn’t call back in time. Or laundry.

I usually go through a mental checklist. Am I sick? No. Could I pretend to be sick? Hmm… No. Am I late for work? Yes.

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on a foggy morning

I’ve learned to take these high and lows in stride. For better or worse, my emotions are often like weather patterns. I can almost picture a meteorologist standing in front of the blue screen and speaking to the camera: “Well folks, looks like we have a low front moving through.”

Usually the clouds will pass within a couple days. But when a funk persists, I have to get proactive. I’ll run—hoping for a swift kick of endorphins to elevate my mood. I’ll listen to sad music in hopes that, like the Greeks with their tragic plays, a few tears shed to a melancholy tune will bring on catharsis. I’ll listen to happy music as an antidote.

Most often what I need is perspective. At the recent suggestion of our pastor, I’ve started jotting down what I’m grateful for each day. You can pick one thing, or four things, but the point is you write them down, no matter how silly they are. Blessings are hidden in plain sight when you start to pay attention.

springtime blossoms

early morning up Windy Hill

I recently asked a friend for a blueberry muffin recipe she was raving about. She works with elite athletes and discovered this recipe through a conversation with marathoner Ryan Hall—apparently he couldn’t stop raving about these “protein power-packed” morsels.

This friend not only printed out the recipe for me, she measured out the precise dimensions of flour, eggs, and honey, all bundled into a goody bag with cute muffin papers.

I like to think of them as “count your blessings” blueberry muffins. I figure if they can help Ryan Hall run Olympic marathons, surely they can help get me to work.

blueberry banana quinoa muffins

Quinoa Blueberry Banana Muffins

Recipe adapted from LiveStrong

½ cup quinoa flakes (like these; check the bulk section of your grocery store)

½ cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons sugar (preferably raw turbinado)

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons honey

4 cups bananas, mashed (preferably overripe bananas)

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen also work)

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine dry ingredients and stir to combine. Cream together butter and sugar. Then stir in the bananas, honey, vanilla, and eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined—do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

** Can substitute 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips instead of blueberries for a sweet treat if desired.

** Makes roughly 18 muffins; more if you fill the tins less full and stop eating the batter.

blueberry banana quinoa muffins