Dear Mom,

Being back home is weird. My friends from high school are doctors and lawyers and married. I am none of those things. Around town, there are new sidewalks, a new airport structure and even a new chandelier in our living room. I’m disoriented like I just returned from a time warp. Why do things progress without me?

My temporary job as a cook is my saving grace. I’m cooking for a family friend who has recently transformed her diet because of illness. She does not eat dairy, processed foods, soy, various legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and on and on.

So I spend my days putting together creative menus and exploring new ingredients that yield foods both tasty and healthy. I’m thankful I have something to do while I’m home other than agonize over my next steps and how I’ll get to them.

I know my presence in your kitchen has totally rocked your boat. It seems you take every opportunity to complain about me completely trashing your house and destroying your kitchen. Plates and jars are out of place. There is crusted yogurt on the fridge door-handle and drops of almond butter in hard to reach places. The salt is in the wrong cubby!

You say you feel sorry for my old housemates because they had to share a kitchen with me. You’re right, I can be messy, but I think you forget about how messy messy can be. I can’t imagine my housemates in the kitchen under your reign. Oy vey.

At least good things come each time I ransack the kitchen—you’ve got to give me that. Last time I wrecked it, these Roasted Cherry Almond Millet Muffins were born. I was in search of something sweet and healthy that I could make for my new “client,” so I combined several recipes from various vegan, gluten-free, health-oriented blogs and cookbooks, resulting in this hearty muffin recipe. And they’re pareve, too, so they made a great addition to the Shabbat breakfast table with the whole family reunited.

Back to the kitchen! I’ll try to minimize the havoc as much as possible.