Sunshine Blueberry Muffins

Baby Robins Fledge the Nest!

Adult birds calling out in alarm.
fledgling robin in the bushes near the house

Blueberries ripe for the Picking - Time to make some Blueberry Muffins!!
Sunshine Blueberry Muffins

Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free!

From the looks of the last few entries on this blog, you might think that we only prepare baked goods here at The Leafy Cafe. I've been busy cooking the recipes from The Cancer's Survivor Guide so I have not prepared any main meals from my own collection of healthy Whole Foods recipes or anywhere else for that matter. The Cancer Survivor's Guide is the book that accompanies the curriculum I teach for prevention and survival of cancer and other disease. For a FREE PDF download of the CSG, click here.

Well, one last muffin recipe and then we will start to post some recipes for all of the nutrient dense Powerhouse veggies coming out of the garden every day!

You're looking at some fresh, potent medicine here!
Maine Wild Blueberry Farmer gives these the thumbs up!! I was so excited when I tasted these muffins that I ran out looking for one of my blueberry-farming neighbors here on the Ridge to try one. I found John Boyington, owner of Ridgeberry Farm.
"These muffins are really good!"

Farmer John Boyington with a mouthful of sunshine!

 John was taking a short break from picking when I cornered him with a muffin. I did not tell him they were basically fat free AND Gluten-Free until he smiled and said “these are really good”! At Ridgeberry Farm the entire family participates in the blueberry harvest operating the Fresh Pack Line. 
Boyington Family processing Wild Maine Blueberries

Ladies hard at work on the Fresh Pack Line

Looking at all of those Anti-oxidants

You might ask: what does a blueberry farmer do during the long Maine winters? John does amazing work helping the needy in countries such as Malawi. Please check out the Boyington's website here and the info and slide show to their work in Malawi here.

Sunshine Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins Gluten-Free or not
1c. Gluten Free flour  (I used Bob’s Red Mills) OR use 1 c. WW Pastry Flour
1c. Gluten Free Cornmeal (or regular)
¼ c. Ground GF Oats or Oat Bran (I just had this on hand left from a batch of zucchini muffins)
1 t Xanthan Gum
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ c brown sugar
½ t ground ginger
¼ t salt
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
zest & juice of one lemon
¼ c. non-dairy milk (I used Oat Milk)
¼ c. pure maple syrup
1c. wild blueberries
1 T sm. Diced Crystal Ginger (optional) 
Method:  Preheat oven 350 F.

1.       Grease or spray a muffin tin or paper liners if using.
2.       In a large bowl, whisk flour, corn meal, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ginger together until well combined.
3.       In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, non-dairy milk, lemon juice and maple then stir in sugar.
4.       Mix wet ingredients with dry until almost combined.*
5.       Add blueberries and crystal ginger if using, stirring until just combined. Spoon into muffin cups 3/4 full.
6.       Bake 15 to 20 minutes in convection oven, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 * If you use a more coarse cornmeal, you could let the batter sit in the fridge for a while before adding the blueberries and crystal ginger. Let come back to room temp before baking.


The Blueberry Hillbillies!

When we first moved to Appleton from our home in Vermont, David insisted on doing most of the move ourselves with the idea that we would save money if we just left the big items for the movers. He purchased a box trailer and we started making the trek across the White Mountains with our belongings. We made about 7 round trips before everything was moved. I did NOT enjoy this process one bit. Along the way on one of the trips I started hear the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies playing in my head. I then started to sing it aloud but with different lyrics which included the loading up the truck and moving to Appleton. It was funny at the time, you had to be there I suppose. Ever since then, I think of us as The Blueberry Hillbillies. We love our surrounding blueberry barrens. They make up a very scenic part of Maine and provide space for lots of wildlife viewing not to mention the benefits of eating Wild Maine Blueberries from your own backyard! Click here for more info on Maine's Native Berry.

Great place to watch a thunderstorm and resulting rainbow!

Little and Feather-less!
We have continued to watch the Robin pair dutifully look after their nest despite our comings and goings. We of course try to use the back door as much as possible but its not always so easy. Finally one day, after much concern that the eggs would never hatch because the birds left the nest every time we were anywhere nearby, David climbed up and took this photo. We actually never could see in to the nest, David would get on a step ladder, hold his hand up and over the edge and snap the photo. One of the many great things about digital images is that we could see right away if there was anything going on in the nest.

Eventually all three do hatch!

This Summer we fostered a black lab puppy called Daisy. We, especially Rosie, had so much fun with the puppy. Here are some photos:
Daisy's first hike!

After a play session, Rosie is tuckered out but Daisy still ready to go!
Early Summer Garden

parsnips and carrots and kale, oh my!
We've enjoyed the warm weather this Summer, Maine Summers can be chilly and raining but this year temps have even been up in to the 90s on a few days. This means lots of watering duty, especially for the container gardens and raised beds. We have purchased a half share in a local CSA. Community Supported Agriculture is a great concept which allows local people to support their nearby farms, buying a "share" before planting which enables the farmer to purchase what he needs to plant and harvest, then the "shareholders" visit the farm weekly to pick up their portion of the harvest. We have our share at Hope's Edge Farm which is a beautiful property. Each week I look forward to picking up our 1/2 share and when we combine this with what we are harvesting from our own gardens, I find we have way too much food! I have been using the surplus in my cooking classes, making Cancer Preventing food from colorful, fresh, local, seasonal produce. Eating from the Rainbow is a sure way to have an abundance of Cancer-Fighting antioxidants. For a free PDF of the Nutrition Rainbow click here.
We have moved on from Strawberries to Blueberries. The Robin babies are growing fast, and the Gardens at Blueberry Cottage (combined with our CSA) are starting to produce enough food to sustain us and share with others. Life is definitely a thrill on Blueberry Hill! Until Later.....


Summer in the Blueberry Hills

As you can see from the date on the last entry, I am way off schedule on posting any news from the Leafy Cafe. I apologize and could make all sorts of excuses. Instead, for the next few entries I plan to share some photos of what we've been up to here in the Blueberry Hills.

Robin's Nest above our front
We ventured far away from out little slice of heaven quite a bit this Spring and early Summer. We arrived home from our trip to Norway to find a Robin had built a nest right over the front door to our home! Here is a photo journal of the special little guests who "checked in" to the Blueberry Cottage while we were away. I'm going to use this as a sort of timeline to show how quickly things move here in the Maine Summer, everything scrambling to get all of the reproducing done in a few short weeks. I have included photos of the other glorious growing that has been going on all around our home. All up these journal entries will take us through about a month with the garden planted before we left for Norway and the nest being built while we were gone. The eggs laid the week after we returned, incubation for the next two weeks and then hatching, feeding, fledgling all in about four weeks between June 27 and July 30! And the garden grows and grows uncontrollably at times!

A Robin lays an egg a day so here is three days worth of effort!
If you would like to learn more about Robins and their nesting habits, click HERE.

Meanwhile Strawberries and Rhubarb are ready for harvest

We had a terrible time with our gardens last year. Many people told us that first year gardens often do not produce much. That was the darn truth here and we tried not to be discouraged and our patience paid off. This year is a different story. Our lasagna gardens and buckets of veggies are going crazy with very little effort from us!
A blurry photo of our Rhubarb

Sliced Strawbs, its lucky for D that they made it to the crumble at all!

We love fruit crumbles and after being in Scandinavia, the land of great Summer berries, we were very happy to come home to enough ingredients to make our own Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble!  
Lower Fat Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
2 cups rhubarb, sliced
3 cups strawberries, sliced
1/3 cups sugar
3 – 4 T Cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice w/ some lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 400 F.
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients for the topping. Drizzle in the oil and use your fingers or a fork to combine the mixture until crumbs form.
3. Pour the fruit mixture into an appropriate sized Pyrex baking dish. Spread the crumble topping over the fruit mixture evenly and cover with foil.
4. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 F. Lower heat to 350 F, and remove the foil. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and the crumb topping should be golden. Place on a cooling rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

More Later!!! 


SR Crumble with a bit of Rice Whip topping