Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vegan Pistachio Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins + A Rant

A few years ago, I had a small, marginally profitable hobby of making bags, purses and quilts out of reclaimed fabric. It was a fun way to use my spare time, a great outlet for my creativity and it was inspiring to be a part of the supportive and friendly community on Etsy.

After a few months, when my bags were beginning to catch on and people began requesting custom bags, the pressure started to get to me. I would stress myself out about getting everything done in time, about not wanting to overcharge, but still make some money. Then business would slow down every once in awhile, as all businesses do, and I would stress about not having any customers. I would look around at other shops and compare my dozens of sales to their hundreds or thousands. It didn't matter that they had been doing this for years and I had only been at it a couple months, in my mind they were better and I might as well quit now.

This is how I have been for as long as I can remember. This strange perfectionism that is the perfect blend of drive and handicap; I will try my hardest if I know I will succeed, but if it's a draw I might as well back out gracefully rather than admit defeat, or worse failure. I recognize that this line of thinking is ridiculous and that I sound like a spoiled brat wanting to be successful at whatever I attempt straight away.  However, knowing all this didn't stop me from starting to feel those same familiar feelings all over again, but this time instead of my Etsy shop, it was blogging that received the full brunt of it. Much like the many Etsy shops out there intimidating me, there are oh so many food blogs reminding me of how far I have to go. Which is ridiculous in and of itself, because I set out to have this blog be a hobby, you can't fail at a hobby, unless you altogether stop doing it.

But before I knew it, I found myself looking at A Beautiful Mess and seeing how they post multiple times a day, not taking into account that they have been working hard for six years and now have a hired team helping them post so frequently. I'd stare in awe of the beautiful pictures on the Sprouted Kitchen, forgetting the fact that Sara's professional photographer husband takes the pictures. I love reading posts by Oh Lady Cakes, even if I don't care about the recipe because she's such a brilliant writer, whereas I suffer from writer's block constantly.  I drool over Emily's raw creations on This Rawsome Vegan Life and envy the fact that she's quite a few years younger than me and already has a book out (which I can't to order by the way!). Anyway, you get the idea. I don't want you to think I'm some kind of horrible green eyed monster of a person because most days I'm not. Even the days I get down on myself I'm never resentful to the people who have succeeded, I truly am happy for them and am grateful they do what they do because they inspire me everyday.

But sometimes no matter how happy you are for another person, no matter what the context it's so easy for those feelings of inadequacy to slowly creep back in. And those feelings are tricky little buggers, you never see them coming or you shove them off thinking they'll amount to nothing until one day you find yourself staring at the blinking cursor on your computer monitor completely paralyzed because you've gone and compared yourself one too many times. I know this all sounds highly over dramatic, but sometimes that's just the way life is and that's the honest truth of why things have slowed down around here. I promised myself when I started this blog almost a year ago that I would not allow it to become a source of stress in my life. Its a hobby, a way for me to catalog various recipes I come up with and that's a great thing. Because that's what I can handle in my life right now. I may look at other blogs and think oh man, they got a book deal?! When in reality , if I was given the task of writing a book right now I'd freak out. That's not where I am right now and that's okay. We are each on our own journey, it makes no sense to compare ourselves. All we can do is keep our heads down, work hard and cheer others on as they accomplish new things.

So this is me not giving up. This is me fighting for myself for once instead of against. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe in a few years this will still be a small blog and a fun hobby for me, maybe it will become a source of income, maybe I will decide it's not for me and leave it in the past, or maybe it will lead to new opportunities and ideas that I have yet to think of. One thing is for sure, I will never know the outcome until I keep taking steps forward instead of constantly looking to the side.

Thanks for bearing with me and allowing me to share a bit of myself today. Hopefully it wasn't too much of a downer. Now's let's get to the muffins, shall we?

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 2/3 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free  dark chocolate chips, chopped
Makes 12 muffins or 6 large muffins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line muffin tin with liners or grease lightly with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil, flax seed mixture, vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, stir. Mix in the almond milk, then the pistachios and chocolate chunks (save some nuts and chunks to sprinkle on top of the muffins if desired). Fill muffin liners 3/4 of the way full and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly. Allow to cool for at least five minutes before removing from pan. Serve and enjoy.


  1. These look fabulous! And don't get down... comparison is the thief of joy. I get like this too. About my blog, about my books, about everything. Then I remember, at the end of the day, I LIKE writing. And if I'm the only one who enjoys it...that's enough. But I LOVE your blog, Joy! And I love you as a person! And as a cook! So.. triple threat! Sending positive vibes your way. xx

    1. Awww thanks friend! So sweet! And you're right, if i enjoy it then that's all that matters. Sometimes we just need that little reminder.

  2. I'm exactly the same with everything I do! Especially blogging. Sometimes I look at the very first post of my favourite bloggers to comfort myself that they once took awful photos and had recipe failures too haha! I personally love your blog, I think the recipes are similar to the kind of food I love eating, and you write about relevant day to day things :) We'll both just have to keep going regardless of how amazing some food blogs are!

    1. I do the same thing! Haha it's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. And yes, we need to just push on!

  3. I love when bloggers share a bit of themselves as you did in this post. And you write so good! I really wish I was that good at writing. I really agree in every little thing you wrote in this post. Lovely post!
    And these muffins look fabulous. Yum!

    1. Aww thanks Josefine! I really appreciate authenticity and transparency, I'm glad to see someone else does too! You have some delicious looking recipes on your blog! I'm gonna head back over there now to check more out! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I am now and will always be your #1 fan, love. Every blog you write, every muffin or cookie or scone or soup or smoothie or stir fry or dip or spread or experiment you make, every last detail you stress yourself out over, my day begins and ends with you, and I love seeing you grow and learn and become the amazing woman I see every single day. (:

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