Do you have a favourite drive?
If there is one drive in the whole world that I love driving more than any other, it is in Los Angeles.
I have only been to LA three times in my life, once when I was a teen and remember nothing except the ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier, and the other two times have been the past two Mays, where I was sent down for “work”. I say “work” very loosely, as I hardly worked on the trip, but all my expenses were paid, and I had quite a bit of free time to roam around. I rented a car both times, and drove myself through the maze of highways and multi-lane roads that cut through the city – alone except for the voice from the GPS.
I wouldn’t say I fell in love with the city sprawl and the dusty landscape, but I did fall in love with the lifestyle and the way LA made me feel. Ocean breezes and sun kissed cheeks and floaty dresses and the best coffee and that feeling of exploring a city, alone alone alone. That freedom.
On the last day of that first “work” trip, I took my rented Toyota with the windows rolled down and headed north – Google had told me of some amazing beaches north of the city, with powdery white sand dipping into blue-green ocean. A surfer’s paradise. Less crowded than the beaches in Los Angeles. The map told me to head toward Malibu, and I giggled because the only thing I knew of Malibu was from the Sweet Valley High books I read as a kid.
So I set the GPS for Malibu and turned onto Highway 1: the Pacific Coast Highway. It was early morning when I set off, eager to make the most of this last day before my plane departed that evening. The sun was predictably high in the sky, and I absently munched on a muffin from my hotel’s cafe. The road wound along the ocean, up and out of the city, past a few shopping plazas, and up a hill. The shopping plazas gave way to houses, mansions, beautiful homes set on cliffs with million dollar views.
The radio was turned up, the wind in my hair, and then, my Toyota peaked over a hill, and all I could see was blue ocean meeting blue sky everywhere. Waves crashing on beaches for miles ahead and behind. Birds dancing in the breeze. The salty-sweet smell of the sea. I sped down the hill, with dusty bluffs on one side, and the whole wide world on the other.
The sense of freedom was enormous. My heart surged with wonder, my eyes wide with glee. In that moment, I felt alive, inspired, free, and like I could keep driving down that road forever.
These Morning Glory muffins remind me of the muffin I ate in the car that day, and with an apt name too. Maybe they’ll inspire you?
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup craisens (dried cranberries)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and grated
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, craisens, coconut, and pecans and stir well. Add in the grated carrots, and apples and again stir well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and oils.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the centre. Mix until just combined.
- Divide batter into a muffin tray lined with paper liners.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- This recipe yeilds a healthy dozen - I like to make these muffins BIG!
- The original recipe calls for 1 and 3/4 cups sugar, and I have reduced that by a full cup. I still find these muffins quite sweet, but if you like sweeter muffins, try increasing the sugar to 1 and 1/4 cups.