Grocery shopping on Saturday is never fun but as I worked my way through a local super store this past weekend, I was stopped in my tracks when I came to the craft aisle and spied a load of beautifully crafted yarns and fabrics. I had just received a call from M asking if I could send some warmer clothes to campus as the early morning walk to class had become quite chilly. She asked for her scarves and gloves along with long sleeved fleece jackets. The selection of yarn inspired me to rummage through the colors to find a combination that would match M’s fair complexion and silver/gray winter jacket. I quickly snapped a few pictures of the skeins that I had selected and sent the pics on the M so that she could make the final selection. She decided on the soft blue/green combination and I quickly scooped up her favorite and threw it in the cart.
When I returned home, I made my way to the IPad where I watched a beginner crochet video to refresh my limited crochet skills. I watched the video several times and began my project. The basic rectangular shape took about 1 1/2 hours to craft. I can’t wait for M to open her care package to find this stylish infinity scarf, that I hope will keep her warm as she makes her way across campus this winter.
Lately, I have been sending quite a few care packages to the Purdue University campus as my three children have all decided to become Boilermakers while they work to complete their undergraduate degrees. I have been dehydrating fresh fruit and baking up a storm to send cookies, muffins, and snacks by way of UPS.
Last week, I sent these muffins to my daughters (my son is not a fan). I received rave reviews from both.
The muffins are filled with triple berry goodness. The oat topping makes for a moist and tasty center with a sweet and crunchy finish. …Absolutely delicious!
Triple Berry and Oat Muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 pounds fresh berries, sliced (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line with paper liners, two muffin pans. Mix flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and extract; stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Carefully fold in berries. Scoop into prepared muffin pans. Mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle over the muffins.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
I grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago. When I was young, there was a bus that would travel from the center of my small town to a local shopping mall that housed the famous Marshall Field’s & Company. During the summer months, my best friend and I would board the bus and head to the mall. The bus was never crowded and the air conditioned environment was a welcome sensation as we had to ride our bikes to the bus stop in the summer heat. The first stop at this enormous shopping mall was the Marshall Field’s entrance. We would hop off the bus and head to our favorite restaurant destinations housed within the centrally located food court. After lunch, we made our way through all of the “young girl” stores that displayed an array of cheap jewelry, poorly constructed clothing, and inexpensive footwear.
As we grew older, we found the bus trip to the mall to be a great way to save on gas money, forget about the hassle of finding a parking spot, and catch up with friends while the bus driver brought us to our desired destination.
Marshall Field’s had a cafe style lunch area that became our new, more mature, lunch hangout. I would always order the Chicken Salad. Their recipe included sweet grapes, crunchy nuts, and moist chicken bits, in a smooth creamy dressing.
Over the years, I’ve tried to mimic the recipe to the best of my recollection. I’ve seen other copycat recipes that include sour cream and Dijon mustard, but this is the way I like to remember the salad. I often substitute the grapes with pineapple for a more tropical twist… And I sometimes serve the chicken salad in a pineapple boat for a dramatic summer presentation. Every time I assemble this recipe, I think about my carefree summer days riding the bus and enjoying the wonderful memories of Marshall Field’s & Company.
Copy Cat Marshall Field’s Chicken Salad
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts, fully cooked and chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup thompson seedless grapes, halved (optional)
lettuce leaf or plum tomatoes, for serving (optional)
Mix first 4 ingredients together in large bowl.
Add chicken, onion, celery, pecans, and optional grapes. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Well, it seems the last of the blueberries have made their way to the farmer’s market as the fall season begins and apples, peaches, and pears showcase their beauty and flavor in the weeks to come.
As I peered into the fridge this morning, I noticed a pint of blueberries and a few containers of key lime Greek yogurt on the shelf. I remembered using this combination of flavors some years ago in a blueberry yogurt muffin recipe that I had in my kitchen file. I rummaged through the worn folder to find what I was looking for and was delighted to see I hadn’t misplaced it. The combination of key lime and blueberry is quite similar to that of lemon and blueberry except for the added punch that key lime lends to the recipe. Give this one a try, I think you’ll like it.
Key Lime and Blueberry Muffins
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup key lime flavored Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Note: This recipe makes 6 regular-sized muffins.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, yogurt, vanilla, oil and milk. Stir in the dry ingredients just until moistened; fold in the blueberries.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Lightly sprinkle with crumble topping, optional. (See recipe below)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. butter
Combine flour, sugar. Cut in butter. Sprinkle over muffins before baking. Store any leftovers in the fridge for future baking.
Bake muffins at 350° for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the
center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Continue cooling on a wired rack.