I am way (!!!!) behind on updating our summer list….so be on the lookout for several posts coming your way in the next several days!
Blueberry picking was on our summer list and, honestly, I wasn’t sure how we were going to accomplish that one. I had hoped that there would be a blueberry u-pick farm near Milwaukee so that we would be able to combine that with our yearly trip to visit Granny and Pa (post about that trip coming up soon)….but I learned something…..there are no u-pick farms anywhere near Milwaukee. (At least for blueberries.) And, there are no u-pick farms anywhere near Chicago (again…for blueberries.)
When I write that I was looking for something near those locations, I was looking for something within an hour. There are many spots that are 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours away.
So, we did something kind of crazy. The day after we returned from Wisconsin, we set off for a day trip to the Indiana/Michigan border!
Now, if you are in Harbor Country, you will be able to find many different u-pick options! Blueberry farms are everywhere! You will need to plan your trip accordingly, though.
Be sure to check up on the following items before you head out:
- Some farms accept only cash. Some are cash and credit.
- Bring sunscreen! You will be in the direct sun for at least an hour depending on how many blueberries you want to take home.
- Bring snacks. Some of the farms might also have a stand with other fruits, veggies, baked goods. Some may even have more options like sandwiches or other snacks. However, chances are good, you’ll only have blueberries surrounding you for awhile so be ready.
We went to Stateline Blueberries and had great success. We went home with over six pounds of blueberries!
Once you get your blueberries home, get ready to prepare them. I wash them lightly, then spread out over a towel so that they can dry. Carefully roll the blueberries around to catch any leaves or stems that are stuck to the blueberries.
Blueberries freeze incredibly well. I actually just poured the blueberries into gallon size freezer bags and stuck them in the freezer. You can take them out anytime and add to muffins, pancakes, or just to snack on! However, let them thaw before you add them to batters.
Our list thus far:
- Go to Disney World.
- Go bowling.
- Bake some treats.
See outdoor movies.
- Go to the museums.
- Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
Visit Brookfield Zoo.
Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
- Visit the Art Institute.
- Eat ice cream.
- Play on the playground.
Go on a hike.
- Go to the library.
- Go to a festival.
- Have a slumber party.
- Have a pajama day.
- Watch movies at home.
- Visit Granny and Pa.
- Visit Mimi and Pa.
Have a beach day.
- Pick dandelions out of the yard.
- Go to the splash pads.
- Visit Chinatown.
- Play outside.
- Have tea at American Girl.
- Play in our house.
I love summer. I love summer temperatures. I love summer vacation. I love summer food. Sometimes, however, in my joyful summer food purchasing, we end up with way (!!!!!!!!) too much of something. Right now, that something is blueberries. We have so many blueberries! So tonight, I made cobbler.
I did a quick search for a cobbler that 1) looked easy and 2) did not need any ingredients that differed from what we already had. This one came up at the time of my search and I decided to give it a try.
It came together really easily and quickly. There’s hardly any mixing involved!
It’s a good thing that there is a new container of ice cream that’s just waiting to sit on some cobbler……
We bought a huge container of blueberries from Costco. Yay! But, they quickly got to the point of use-them-or-throw-them-away. So, the search for a muffin recipe began.
I wanted to find a super easy recipe. Super, super easy recipe.
I found this one. I don’t often make Paula Deen’s recipes. But, this sounded so yummy. 1 stick of butter? Oh yea. A pile of sugar on top? Yep. Good idea.
I got ready to make the muffins and realized that we were out of baking powder. Ok. The next day, with a brand new package of baking powder, I got ready to make the muffins…..and we don’t have any eggs. Ok. Finally, day three, I made the muffins. Finally.
They came together fairly quickly. Since we had so many blueberries that needed to be used, I added an extra half of a cup of blueberries to the recipe. Would that throw everything off? Only one way to find out….
Finished muffins. And my in-need-of-a-manicure nails.
They taste pretty good and are full (!!!!!!!) of blueberries. I don’t quite understand the sugar on top. I kept them in the oven a bit longer than needed to bake the muffins but the sugar didn’t do anything. It just sort of sat on top. I thought that the sugar would caramelize a little or something but that didn’t happen. The texture is a bit off. The muffins fall apart very easily. Perhaps that is because I added so many blueberries? Maybe the added blueberries made the muffins structurally unsound.
But, the important thing is that the finished muffins do taste good and very blueberry-y. And bonus: baby girl loves them! She loves picking out the blueberries and then eating the rest of the muffin.
Blueberry dumplings. Yum. So easy. And so yummy. And such a great way to use up a lot of blueberries.
We had some blueberries that were dangerously close to be too old and that meant – dumplings! I’ve made this recipe before but it really is a solid recipe. It’s very easy to put together, requires very few ingredients, and you basically mix it together and set your timer.
Be sure that you have some vanilla ice cream on hand. The ice cream melts almost instantly and adds a creamy texture and some extra flavor.
So, just like last summer, we have managed to have an abundance of blueberries in our house. We still have a several bags of frozen blueberries in our freezer that I’ve been slowly trying to get rid of. But now, we also have several pints of blueberries in the fridge.
I decided it was time for some blueberry cobbler. I found this recipe on Food Network and decided to give it try.
It was super easy and quick to put together (which is always a plus if you are planning on turning on the oven when Weather.com says that it is 100 degrees outside). I changed the recipe up a bit by adding more blueberries than were called for and I also added a splash of orange juice. Why? I want to use up as many berries as possible and orange juice is yummy with blueberries.
Usually, I don’t fiddle around with baking recipes too much because baking is based on chemistry that I don’t actually understand and I am usually pretty worried that whatever I add will actually alter the chemical reactions somehow. This time, however, I figured that even if it didn’t look good it would still taste ok.
The look is a little different from other cobblers because it is so full of blueberries. Since there isn’t as much space for the dough, it didn’t have the chance to get very golden on top.
But the taste?
I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for the addition of orange juice. The cobbler is nice and sweet from the blueberries and the sugar but it also has a nice bit of tartness from the orange juice. This actually turned out quite nicely.
What do you do when you have an abundance of summer berries?
In addition to making the Lemon Lemon Loaf for breakfast, I decided to make some muffins as well. I love blueberry muffins and we have a lot (!!!!) of frozen blueberries in the freezer that need to be used in something. It worked out nicely then that Baked has a recipe for muffins that has blueberries as an ingredient. So, Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins were my eighth recipe as I bake my way through Baked.
They seemed pretty complicated when I read the recipe. However, they actually didn’t take that much time. With that said, I don’t really like getting out extra pieces of equipment for just one step. Using the food processor to grind the almonds? It did make a nice almond powder and it did make the entire kitchen smell like almonds but for the actual amount of almond powder in the recipe, I’m just not sure that it was worth it.
The almonds were the biggest taste in these muffins. I actually didn’t taste the orange at all and the blueberries were a bit lost. Next time, I might add even more orange and blueberries than called for in the recipe.
I tried to make these look very pretty.
And most of them still looked pretty after baking.
The results? The texture is a perfect muffin texture. They were soft but kind of chewy on the top. Perfect.
These were a big hit. Not nearly as big a hit as the lemon loaves were, but the bowl of muffins was empty pretty quickly.
Although I do love pie, tarts always seem a bit fancier and a bit more summery. Perhaps because you can see the filling and the berries that you used and it has that lovely glaze on top. And tarts can elegantly stand on their own instead of being stuck in a pie plate.
We have a ton of fruits and berries in the house from Green City Market and from our CSA. I knew it was time for a tart. Luckily, the June issue of Martha Stewart Living had an entire section of tart recipes. Although they all look very tasty, it seems as though most tart recipes are just variations on the standard: buttery crust, pudding-like filling, fruit.
So, even though the temperature was going to go into the 90s again, I got everything together and prepped myself for a really really hot kitchen. (It would be awesome if the next place that we lived in had central air. That would be awesome. Really really awesome.)
The finished tart really is one of the prettiest things that I’ve ever baked: