You might already know that for many years between college and staying at home to raise the kids I held various positions as a baker and/or pastry chef in a handful of commercial kitchens. You might also know that somewhere in the middle of my kitchen jobs, I graduated from culinary school and at some point earlier I grabbed a bachelors in photography. What you don’t know – because I have never talked about it here and very rarely in my real life – is that my first job out of college was neither in photography or food. My first position in the working world was as a receptionist at a downtown Chicago law firm.

What do you do when you graduate college with an art degree and a professor telling you that you “probably don’t have a career in photography“, which is very unlucky for you because you have little (to no) practical training in, well, anything? Oh, and did I mention this was 2006 right before everything came crashing down?

You become a receptionist.


It was going to be great, though. In the short summer between graduating college and moving to Chicago I had come to the very certain decision that my future was in law (you know, to do the good stuff) and it was only logical to start working at a law firm while studying for the LSATs.

Was I worried that my ten hours days (including commute) might be a rough transition from the college life?

No. I was going to be a lawyer. 

Was I worried that I would be uncomfortable in this new business professional attire after 6 years of hippie skirts and Goodwill sweaters?

No. I was going to be a lawyer. 

Was I worried that I was taking a job as a receptionist despite my irrational fear of answering phones?

No. I was going to be a lawyer.

I should have been worried.  


I can say with a fair amount of certainty that those were some of the worst months of my life.  

I hated everything about the job – the office environment, the “professionalism”, the way that time moved slower than I thought humanly possible, the horribly rude clients that I dealt with on a daily basis. Countless hours of minesweeper and solitaire later (this was also before wifi and smart phones) I left declaring, “I want nothing to do with law, an office, or a nine to five job. Ever again.”

And so I became a bread baker. 


My first baking job was the best job I’ve had to this day. Perhaps I remember it so fondly because of the stark difference from the life I had left behind – but regardless of why I fell absolutely in love with the process, the environment, and the practice of baking and patisserie. 

When I return to the basics – those things I learned how to make in my first year of baking – like a classic blueberry muffin, I feel immediately transported back into that time of life – back into that wonderful job as a bread baker where I had the honor of working for some of the greatest people, including the women who taught me so much of what I know now

And so these deliciously soft and sweet muffins represent so much more than just a simple pastry – they represent the lifestyle that I chose and wholeheartedly love. 


4.9 from 32 reviews
Vegan Blueberry Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes: a dozen
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1½ - 2 cups fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with baking cups and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to allow milk to curdle.
  3. In a larger bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Mix together sugar, canola oil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Add soymilk/vinegar mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Be careful not to overmix - a few lumps are okay. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from heat and allow muffins to cool before removing from pan.



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