Debbi Minkoff Miller moved to D.C. after college to work in politics. Since then, she’s done everything from running political campaigns, to working in an art gallery, to selling real-estate, and raising money for non-profits. She’s now living out her teenage dream as the owner of Banana Love Muffins, DC’s premier company for vegan banana muffins. And they’re getting ready to launch in Whole Foods!
Check out her life in DC from parenting to cooking and everything in between:
What’s a typical day for you?
Stretch, pray, and meditate before getting out of bed. I start the day with a glass of warm lemon water, take my daughter to school, grab a trenta Iced green tea and mentally review my gratitude list while I walk the dog. I get a second trenta green tea (yes…I have little tea issue), make a green smoothie or old fashion oatmeal with fruit/nuts for breakfast, and then some or all of the following for business: head to Union Kitchen to bake, pack and prepare orders, research new business opportunities, make sales calls, outreach to current accounts, billing and accounting, order ingredients/supplies, social media, and deliveries.
At some point I pick up my daughter, walk the dog again, figure out what quick, healthy-ish thing I can make for dinner (thank you Trader Joe’s), look at the stack of stuff I still should do, do a face-palm when I remember something I should have done yesterday, do maybe one more thing, try to chill for a bit, and go to sleep. On most days I try to squeeze in a shower, some exercise, a personal phone call/text or two, and more interesting, healthy vegan food. My life is super glamorous.
What or who is your biggest influence?
Family! My parents and maternal grandparents; all of whom have passed away, and my kids and my aunt. Combined, I’ve learned a lot about hard work, doing what you love, doing what you have to do sometimes, doing something meaningful, compassion, selflessness, humor, laughter, making a difference, endurance, letting things go, making hard choices, optimism, grace, beauty, which fork to use, when to hit and stay at blackjack, listening, talking, and love.
An influential factor at the core of my business is trying to create something delicious people enjoy eating that is a little healthier for them and the planet, is kinder to animals, and gives back to the community in some way.
What neighborhood do you live in?
I live in Kent/Palisades in Northwest, DC
What is your biggest DC pet peeve?
I think my biggest pet peeve is people who complain about the city. We are a world capital city with city issues. There are businesses, residents, universities, federal and local governments, foreign nationals, tourists, traffic, taxis, crime, interesting things to do and see and eat in a small footprint. Just breathe people…and if you really, really can’t accept it, there’s a lovely river or circle you can cross.
Also, dear cars, if there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk or about to cross, you need to stop.
What is the #1 most played song on your iPod?
At the kitchen sometimes it’s classic Boston, Kansas, Chicago, that sort of thing. I do love me some Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, and the PitchPerfect sound track. Songs I like a lot right now are Mr. Probz, Waves and Clean Bandit, Rather Be. I guess I’m all over the place with music. Above all, I adore quiet when I can get it.
Favorite DC haunt?
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?
If I’m not doing demos, markets, etc., I like to hang out with family, play tennis at one of the local parks, take an extra long walk with my dog through Battery Kemble Park, Rock Creek, or along the canal. Lately I’ve started doing yoga again on Sundays which is nice.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I really do love living in DC. My kids were born here. My business is here. Of course, just coming off of winter, palm desert or a nice tropical beach sound good. Or, Italy…I love Italy.
If you couldn’t be a…, what would you be?
If I couldn’t be a human, I’d be a sea otter or my dog.
Professionally…this is it. Starting Banana Love Muffins has been my “someday” plan since I was a teenager.
Top three favorite movies?
Princess Bride, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Holiday.
Name five people, alive or dead, you’d love to invite to a dinner party
It’s more than five, but my parents, grandparents, and my kids so they could all meet and get to know each other.
Most embarrassing moment?
I was a DJ in college. One night while I was working and a song was playing, I was arguing with a girlfriend over the phone (about a guy), and the microphone was still live. Cringe!! Thankfully, I don’t think too many people listened to the college radio station.
What was your major in college, and do you use it today?
My major was criminal justice with minors in political science and Italian studies. I don’t really use them unless you count the fact that I just had jury duty in the most political city in the world and ran over to the National Gallery on one of our lunch breaks to see the Piero di Cosimo exhibit.
My grandmother, followed by my daughter. Oh yeah…and Rafael Nadal.
Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
I originally moved to DC because I eventually wanted to be Senator of California. I think the entire state of California thanks me for not doing that.