Michigan Vacation and the Summer Checklist

We recently took a trip to the Harbor Country area of Michigan. It was a great trip and we were able to get a couple big things checked off of the summer list.

We had a beach day. And a couple beach nights in which we went back down to the beach to check out the sunset. (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen these. Click here to follow me on Instagram.)

We also had a morning of blueberry picking. It was a lot of fun and the girls picked (and ate) a lot of blueberries. When we got home, we made muffins after big girl helped me to sort out all that we had picked.


So many blueberries!

I used a new recipe that you can find here. Not gonna lie, they are really good and when they are baking they smell amazing (!!!!!!!!).

(After making the muffins, we sorted out two sandwich baggies full of blueberries to eat right away and a gallon sized freezer bag full in the freezer to use throughout the coming months.)

The list thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Blueberry, blueberry muffins

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.

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.

Zucchini Muffins

After making the zucchini bread and having great success, I started to look for a good recipe for zucchini muffins. I found this one on the same site that had the bread recipe. It looks promising. Then, I realized that it was exactly the same recipe as the one for bread – just in muffin form. Oh well. The bread was yummy so I figured it would be good as a muffin as well.

The only thing that I changed up this time was that I used golden raisins instead of the cranberries. I wanted to add more raisins than I did but these are special raisins so I couldn’t use too many. We are working on potty training in our house and golden raisins are the “potty treat” so they are a hot commodity in our household.

Zucchini Muffin

Zucchini Muffin

I am a big fan of this recipe.  I already knew that it made a good bread and now I know that it also makes a good muffin.  Next time, the only thing that I would change is trying to make sure that each muffin is close to the same size.  Some of them came out really, really big.  So, I had to bake them a little longer than I would have liked to.  But, other than that, this is definitely one that I’ll make again.

Baking My Way Through Baked – The Eighth Recipe

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.