Sunday, June 10, 2012

Berry delicious

Thursday the kids and I, along with a friend, headed to "Mary's Berries" in Momence, IL. Mary's is a u-pick strawberry patch. Mmmm...strawberries. Freshly picked. Sweet. Juicy. Yummy.

Well, the haul of berries wasn't as good as we had anticipated. The strawberries had been perfect about a week prior, meaning the u-picks were pretty well picked over. But we did get about a gallon worth of fresh berries, picked with love. They were small but mighty.

Getting ready for some baking
Of course we enjoyed some as nature intended. But particularly because they were small, it wasn't so easy to eat them. And with the relatively small amount we picked, I didn't end up freezing any. So I cut the berries and made two yummy recipes. The first was a strawberry pie...Mary's own recipe. I gave it a was good (I mean, how can strawberry pie not be good?) but the crust (a non-roll homemade recipe) was a bit thick and didn't stay together. Because it was a B, I won't share the recipe. I did also successfully make homemade whipped topping.
The kids enjoying the strawberry can see it didn't hold together
Berry recipe #2...whole wheat strawberry muffins. I give this one an A! I adapted the recipe from the "ChangeOne Diet" book. I doubled the recipe to make sure we had plenty for breakfasts. The great thing about the recipe is you can change the add ins* to make all different kinds of muffins. One thing I appreciated about picking the berries and making the recipes is just how much work goes into creating from scratch recipes, and in some ways how disconnected we've become from how our meals become these lovely creations. When I sit down to a Little Debbie muffin, I don't think about much at all. When I sit down to my muffin I think "man, these are good. And oh the memories of picking berries."

Berry Muffins (makes 24 muffins)
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter (I may try using half applesauce next time)
2/3 cup yogurt (I used plain fat free greek yogurt, but any kind will do)
4 tsp vanilla extract
Blend and set aside

2 cups white flour
2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar (or equivalent other sweetener if so desired, I used sugar)
Mix together-make well in center of mixture, then add milk mixture

Stir in milk mixture with fork until just blended. Do not overmix. Fold in two cups berries (any kind, I've also used raspberries). Spoon batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle muffins with another 1 cup berries. (I also sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar). Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Cool & enjoy.

*Add in ideas (beyond berries)
Instead of 3 cups of berries try:
Banana nut: 2 cups banana slices, 1 cup walnuts
Apple nut: 2 cups diced apples, 1 cup pecans (I'd probably throw in some cinnamon as well)
Pumpkin: 2 cups pumpkin, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

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