This week I was walking my dog Izzy, when we came across an injured baby crow in the parking lot. The little guy was struggling to hop to safety, so I decided to try and scoop him up to get him some help. I found a wildlife rescue here in Bellevue and gathered up some towels and a crate to carry him in. He didn’t seem to be afraid of me at all, so it wasn’t hard to pick him up. I sat there in the parking lot, petting his little head while his eyes slowly opened and closed. All I could think about was the fact I have recently spotted several raccoons, bigger than Izzy, roaming around the parking lot. This little crow would have had no chance. I’m so glad I found him and got him to a safe place where he can recover, be well cared for, and set free back in the wild. Of course, we had to name him. I came up with Mr. Peepers. Stephen dubbed him Kirk Cameron Crow. Stephen wins. It’s moments like this that reaffirm my decision to be a vegan. I love that quote from Ghandi (and I’m paraphrasing here) that you can tell a lot about a society by the way its treats its animals. I hope one day we can all learn to love and respect animals. I hope we’ll come to realize that many of them suffer and feel pain, just as we do. I also have to say that Izzy, my dog, actually discovered the bird before I did. She seemed very interested and seemingly concerned. Normally, she would jump at the chance to chase after a bird, but this reaction was new for her. It’s amazing what animals are capable of. We underestimate their capacity for empathy. Check out this fascinating TED Talk about moral behavior in animals. Amazing.
Onto the recipe! Every year I get super excited for cherry season, and every year, I seem to miss it. Now I live in Washington and there is no excuse! I don’t think there’s anything quite like freshly picked cherries. I also found some tasty cherry lemonade and thought, hey….this would make for an awesome muffin! And it did. I’m not a huge muffin fan, but oh man…these are good! The crumb topping kind of puts it over the top. I think I’ll be making these often.
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup soy yogurt (I used lemon flavor, but you could use cherry or vanilla as well)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup cherry lemonade (or plain lemonade or cherry juice)
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
Crumb Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp soy butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the crumb topping. Place the oats, nuts sugar salt and flour into a food processor and pulse until combined. Add in the soy butter and continue pulsing until the mixture starts to come together a bit and look like large crumbs. Put the topping into a bowl and place, covered, in the fridge until ready to use.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk and flax seed. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then whisk in the sugar, canola oil and almond extract. Add in the cherries, lemon zest and cherry lemonade.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt. Using a spatula, stir to combine, but do not over mix. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray and evenly distribute the batter in the tins. You should have enough to fill each to the top.
Spoon about 1 tbsp of the crumb topping onto each muffin. Bake in the oven for about 26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the crumb topping begins to brown. Be sure to turn the pan around halfway through the baking process. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before gently removing and placing onto a cooling rack to cool completely.