This past holiday weekend was mild and breezy…the perfect opportunity to head up the road to a local farm to purchase some plump, ripe blueberries. The trip was inspired by my niece who had been “baking up a storm” to celebrate her mother’s (my sister’s) birthday. My sister celebrates her birthday on Independence Day so her daughter prepared a few festive goodies for the occasion. After seeing a few pictures of the table setting for the party, I was inspired to uncover our vintage Mustang convertible and take a drive down the country road to pick up a five-pound box of freshly picked berries. This is one of my favorite pie recipes as it is super simple, made with fresh, bright flavors and ingredients. There is nothing like sharing a piece of blueberry pie after dinner on a Sunday evening with the family before starting another busy work week.
Blueberry Pie with Oat Crumble Topping
1 pre-made pie crust
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently stir in the blueberries. Carefully, pour blueberry mixture into the pie crust.In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in butter using a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until browned on top. Cover with foil if crust starts to get too dark before baking is complete. Cool before slicing.
This time of year, there are plenty of local blueberry farms lining the county roads throughout the Midwest. In early July, rustic hand painted signs announce the arrival of a new blueberry crop at many of these farms. Last Sunday, I stopped at one such farm to gather a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. To my surprise, there were “slim pickings” available for sale. The unprecedented soggy, Midwest rains and cooler summer temperatures have made a bit of a mesh of things. When I asked if they had any blueberries for sale, the owner expressed her disappointment as she said the crop was a bit overripe and the berries seemed uncharacteristically soft. I usually bring home a 25 pounds box, but instead, I purchased only two pints. Hopefully, I can visit another stand with a bit more success.
For a quick summer treat, I assembled this incredibly easy recipe that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. It’s much like a traditional upside down cake that usually includes pineapple. Instead, a few cups of berries are used to top the tender butter cake. I hope you’ll give this simple recipe a try. It seems the flavor grows as the cake sits for a bit.
Easy Blueberry Upside Down Cake
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 package yellow or butter cake mix + recipe eggs, oil, and water
1 teaspoon almond extract
Coat the bottom of a 13×9″ baking dish with butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and blueberries. Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Add almond extract, mix well. Evenly spread the batter over the blueberries.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate. If desired, serve warm with ice cream.
Pancakes are a breakfast favorite in my house. The problem is, I don’t always have time in the early morning hours to make fresh pancakes for my crew. As the new school year will be starting up again next week, I have been making and freezing batches of pancakes to be thawed and reheated for busy school mornings. This recipe is hearty and filling because of the added oatmeal and berries. I try to use old fashioned oats instead of the quick oats for a heartier, whole grain flavor and texture. I first made this recipe when my children were very young. Every time I try to cut corners and make the pre-mixed, boxed pancake recipe, my kids complain about the bland, rubbery taste and texture. I have learned that my Blueberry Oatmeal Flapjacks are definitely worth the extra time and effort.
Blueberry Oatmeal Flapjacks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh blueberries
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Carefully fold in blueberries.
Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
As some of you might know, I am a coupon girl! I never leave the house without a fist full of carefully selected coupons when I am headed to the grocery store. I have the “SnipSnap” App on my phone so I can get a deal nearly everywhere I go. Well, last week there was a sale on graham crackers and I had coupons to reduce the price to 75 cents per box. I bought 6 boxes. We were headed out of town for a week and I thought they would be a great car snack to pack for the trip. When I arrived home with my groceries, M spied a cool recipe on the back of one of the graham cracker boxes and she asked if she could make the recipe for dessert. She said that it was a no-bake recipe. I was delighted because it was too hot to turn on the oven to compete with the air conditioner.
The next day, I headed to work and M made the frozen graham cracker recipe. We have an agreement that while Dad and I aren’t home, no ovens or blenders are to be used without permission. The original recipe called for pulsing the fruit in the blender. Instead, M chopped the fruit and added it to the yogurt mixture. When I arrived home from work, I was thrilled to see her creation and ohhhh, they were so yummy and refreshing. They were gone in no time at all!
Below, I have listed our adapted recipe but have included the website for the original recipe as well.
Bananas and Berries Frozen Graham Bars
10-1/2 cinnamon topped graham crackers, broken into quarters to make 42 rectangles
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup bananas, mashed
1/4 cup blueberries, sliced
1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Line a 9-inch square pan with waxed paper, placed so paper extends over the sides of the pan . Arrange half the graham cracker pieces, in 3 rows on bottom of pan.
In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. Add the yogurt and whipped topping; mix well. Spread fruit and yogurt mixture over graham cracker pieces. Top with remaining graham crackers aligning to match the graham cracker pieces on bottom layer.
Place in the freezer for 4 hours. Use waxed paper handles to remove dessert from pan; cut between graham crackers to form bars.
I have been complaining for weeks about the price of blueberries. This week, I was thrilled to see that the price has dropped to $1.49 a pint. Wow, that’s a great price!
Naturally, I bought 6 pints with the hopes of going back to the store again today to stock up on several more. I was going to stick with basic blueberry muffins until I realized that I had a few overly-ripe bananas on the counter. This recipe for Bountiful Blueberry-Banana Loaf is moist and delicious. I’m glad I was able to snap a picture of the bread after slicing it because it didn’t last very long. The addition of wheat germ really adds flavor, texture, and a nutritious boost to the recipe.
Bountiful Blueberry-Banana Loaf
1 cup flour
½ cup whole oats
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup margarine or butter, melted
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cup very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ loaf pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
In a large bowl mix the sugar, margarine or butter, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix in the bananas. Pour dry mixture into the wet mixture and combine. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries and nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and continue cooling on wire rack.