Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Servings: Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Baking is an act of generosity. It is love and kindness and sorrow and hope baked into a loaf of generosity. Sunday Servings is an attempt to spread the generosity a little further by sharing stories and recipes. If you would like to share your own story or recipe, please do so in the comments section or tweet ideas to @AmandaEPeterson.


Everything feels a bit surreal.

To be in a place again where I have more than two options of where to sit. To be in a place where I can move from room to room. Choose which bathroom to use. Decide which is the best cupboard for glasses and which for plates. Set things where I want them set and move them where I want them moved. And generally have the freedom to indulge in the bigness of life.

I haven't accurately measured, but I'm pretty sure you could fit four of my old room "the box" in my living/dining area alone and probably two and a half of my little house in Mmametlhake.

Not to say my new place is huge, but it feels the right size. A Goldilocks perfection--not too big, not too small, just right.


A few days into the unpacking, I took a break to enjoy my new kitchen.

Still in a summery strawberry mode, I decided to whip up a few batches of strawberry lemon muffins and take them to the neighbors.

I've never paid much attention to my neighbors before. I've always whipped in and out and tried to avoid having to say hi.

I'd excuse myself saying hospitality was not part of my gifting and I had this thing to do and that thing to get to and I didn't want to slow down and have to take time to chat.

But truthfully, I think I was afraid to engage. I was afraid to let these strangers into my life.

If you opened the door a crack, could you slam it closed again?

What if these people who live in such proximity see? What if they find out how incredibly messy and ugly the reality of my life is? That I'm messy and ugly and totally imperfect? What if I see their lives and the messy, ugly reality? What if I get sucked into their messy, ugly, imperfect.

No, better to rush from car door to front door and avoid it all together.

But South Africa changed that for me. I slowed down and I took time and I discovered I needed and rather enjoyed hospitality. I needed and rather enjoyed knowing my neighbors and being a part of their lives. Even the messy, ugly parts. Even the allowing them to see my messy, ugly parts.

Now, opening my doors to my new home, airing out old ways and replacing them with new creation ways, I want my home to be a place of peace and rest and hospitality for my neighbors. I want them to know they can come and sit on my couch and find a place to stop and be for however long they need it.

I want my home to be a place of rest for weary travelers no matter where they might be traveling from, traveling to, escaping from, escaping to and no matter what load they may be bearing.

I want it to be that for Hannah and for her friends and for every person who trespasses on our doorstep.

What I think I've maybe learned and what I'm maybe learning is that hospitality is not a hard and scary thing when the invading love of Jesus consumes your heart. When you start to love a little more radically and a little less selflessly. When you choose to live a little more simply and shut down the slightly more complex for a little while.

Hospitality is the overflow of all of that. And it's an overflow that just might sweep you up and bring you to a fuller, richer life.

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Check out the original recipe on


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped ripe to over-ripe strawberries*
  • 1 tablespoon flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. Mix chopped strawberries with tablespoon of flour and set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly beat together oil, milk, egg and lemon juice. In a separate large bowl, mix lemon zest, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, white sugar and brown sugar. Slowly stir in oil mixture until just moist. Stir in strawberries being careful not to over mix. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full with batter.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin. Best served warm and fresh from the oven.


* You can use fresh berries, but over-ripe or handpicked berries will melt and create tastier muffins.
**Lemon combines well with most berries. Had too many strawberries this summer? Substitute berries of your choice.

If you like today's Sunday Serving, you might also like Strawberries & Cream Scones and Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins.

No comments: