Country Blueberry Coffeecake

This weekend, my lovely mother came up to Chicago for girls weekend. It was absolutely lovely! We really could not have asked for a better weekend. We went shopping downtown, celebrated Cinco de Mayo and headed out to Lombard for the Lilac Time Art & Craft Fair. We also got to enjoy all the essential Chicago eats: Portillo’s Italian beef, Giordano’s pizza, crusty Italian bread (you just CAN’T get that in Rochester), Garrett’s Chicago mix popcorn and Country Blueberry Coffeecake. Oh, wait, no. That last thing on that list owes no part of its glory to any sort of Chicago roots (other than my own), but it has definitely earned its place in the ranks of delicious eats.

I found this recipe on Pillsbury Baking back in August and have been meaning to make it ever since. I never actually got around to it until this weekend, when I decided my mom was totally worth trying this recipe for. It was a great decision. This coffeecake is a perfect fusion of traditional Monkey Bread and Blueberry Buckle. It is just amazing fresh out of the oven but great at room temperature, too. The other great thing is that it was a snap to make and if blueberries were in season, it would be super cheap, too. Thanks Mom for helping out in the kitchen and being an excellent photo assistant!

Country Blueberry Coffeecake

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can refrigerator biscuits
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup quick-cooking oats (or 2 packages instant original oatmeal — that’s what I used)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces (I accidentally forgot this part and it turned out fine.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon with fork.

Separate dough into 10 biscuits and cut each into quarters. Dip each quarter in melted butter; coat with brown sugar mixture.

Arrange in single layer in baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the oats.

In medium bowl, toss blueberries and granulated sugar to coat.

Spoon blueberries over oats and biscuits.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup oats. If you remember, how is also the time to top with butter pieces.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until coffee cake is golden brown and center is done. Serve warm.


Like Mother, Like Daughter

It’s really crazy how quickly you start to feel like an adult. If you told me six months ago that two of my best friends were going to be staying with me for a couple nights, I would have done little more than be sure I had a few extra clean towels. But for some reason, when those same two friends no longer live two blocks away, actually plan a visit, pack their things and then travel several hours to visit (regardless of the fact that they didn’t travel only to see me), it makes the whole thing feel like a new experience.

It’s like when I was a little kid and my grandparents came over for Christmas. My brothers and I would have to clean the whole house from top to bottom, and I never really understood why. To me, we had no one to impress! I knew my grandparents loved us regardless of the fact that we had Nerf amo all over the playroom floor. But now I feel like I am my mother, cleaning to try to impress people that there is no need to impress. I am my mother’s daughter.

However, I must say, that even though I did attempt to clean my house, I was very proud of the fact that it only took me about five minutes to do it. My apartment was just clean on its own today! I was very proud of this fact, because it’s the first time in my whole life that I’ve been really good about things perfectly in order.

So today, my friends will be arriving in the great city of Chicago, and I will be their lovely host. I love being a host. I learn from the best, actually: my mother. My mom is the definition of cute host. Every time I go home, my mom still vacuums my room for me, which I love! She decorates our house beautifully for every holiday and hosts a lovely family Christmas with made-up games and themed presents. She cooks the most incredible breakfasts (omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, you name it!) every morning I’m there.

Between my mom and my dad, there is always a delicious dinner to be had.

My mom even keeps an overnight basket in the guest bedroom, every time we have visitors!

Straight down to the table settings, my mom always keeps our house adorably cute.

So I plan on taking a little bit of my mom’s magic and making a lovely stay for my friends … straight down to the table settings.

Pardon to Skull — it’s halloween this weekend!

The Battle Royale of Pumpkin Milkshakes

Despite our differences, at the end of the day my mom and I can always come together over plaid, decorating for the seasons and crusty bread and butter. Actually, we have very similar taste on a lot of things when it comes to decorating, activities and desserts. 

This weekend, I went home to spend some time with my friends and family in sweet home, Rochester, Illinois. My mom and I spent half the day on Sunday running a few errands, including getting the materials for yesterday’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins. So while we were out and about on a beautiful fall day, we passed a Culver’s sign boasting it’s new Pumpkin Spice Shake. The sight of it reminded my mom that her friend had said that Sonic had the “best” Pumpkin Pie Shake she’d ever had. Given our similar taste in fall and dessert, it took us less than a minute to decide that a challenge was in store. 

So we stopped by Culver’s and then scurried over to Sonic. We sat down at a bench outside, both contenders sitting side by side with two straws in each and looking all official.

We started with Culver’s Pumpkin Spice Shake, and at the same time, we each took one big sip. With a powerful pumpkin taste, it was unanimous that what we tasted was straight-up pumpkin pie. Everything from the richness of the custard to the spice combination screamed “Thanksgiving.”

We then reached for the Sonic Pumpkin Pie Shake in its shiny silver cup, took our perspective straws and took equally large sips. This sip crunched — it was chock-full of bits of cinnamon-y graham cracker pieces. This one really hit the consistency nail on the head. The pie shake was just like a pie from the crust to the whipped cream. 

But once we stopped chewing the pie shake, we realized that we couldn’t actually taste the pumpkin in it. It was so weak in pumpkin flavor in fact that we almost took it back up to the cashier to be sure that we got the right order. Even just looking at the color of each shake, you could tell that the Culver’s one had significantly more pumpkin in it. As disappointing as that was, we kept drinking it because the texture was so appealing. 

It wasn’t long until we realized that if we took a sip of one, then another quick sip of the other and swished it around our mouth, it was the perfect combination of pumpkin flavor and crunchy crust. 

Looking back, we realized that we probably should have tried the Sonic one first. Since it followed the Culver’s shake that had such a strong flavor, it probably got robbed on a completely fair evaluation.

But what was done was done and we were serious about our taste test, so there had to be one official winner. This time, it went to Culver’s Pumpkin Spice Shake! [Que Applause] There was just no getting past the superior taste, even if Sonic had the better texture. So next time you’re out on a beautiful fall day and are in the market for a twist on an autumn classic, we have to recommend Culver’s Pumpkin Spice Shake.