I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m really focused on food this year, although admittedly getting back to the gym is a big piece of what I’m doing, too. The more I cook food at home, the better I eat because I know what’s in the food I make. That said, if your peruse my site, you can see that I don’t always make the most healthy choices all the time. Changing little things can really make a difference, and that’s more likely to be a habit that sticks than making huge changes.
When the wee ones ask me to make pancakes for breakfast on days when we don’t have to run out the door, I’m likely to agree. They always want “special” pancakes, since they’re a treat. To them, that means they get chocolate chip pancakes. And then they put syrup on top of the pancakes. This weekend, I made an unannounced change. Instead of adding chocolate chips to the pancakes as they cooked, I dropped in blueberries from the supply I keep in my fridge.
The naturally sweet blueberries were so tasty that no one asked for syrup, and I didn’t offer it. Fruit instead of chocolate and syrup? Yes, please! And when Little Miss saw me making blueberries, she couldn’t help but steal some. I wasn’t about to stop her – and this is why I always buy the big containers (more than one, of course) – since I knew I had plenty.
“Stealing” blueberries is a perfect snack, too. When I lived in the city, I used to frequent the farmer’s market near me every week. They was a guy who had the best blueberries, and I would buy three pints every time. The first pint would be gone before I got home. Every time. The second pint I would finish before the day was out, then I’d have to ration that third pint for the rest of the week, generally unsuccessfully. Plain blueberries as a snack? I’m still all over it.
Blueberries are a perfect dessert, too. Over the holidays, I did (more than) my share of baking, and I enjoyed most of those treats, too. The wee ones have gotten into the habit of asking if they can have dessert every night, and with baked goods that would go stale if no one ate them, I generally said yes. We all need to cut back right now, and having blueberries for dessert is perfect.
I’ve been enjoying them plain, of course, but on the days when I want to have something that feels more like a “true” dessert in the American style, I’ll pull out a little of my pineapple curd and dip blueberries in the curd. I’ll eat maybe a tablespoon of the curd with a bowl of blueberries, as the pineapple curd’s flavor is strong enough that you just need a little.
And then of course, there’s my own breakfast. As much as I try to do the healthy thing and make myself a smoothie every morning (yes, oftn with blueberries), too often I’ve been busy or running or just plain lazy. That’s when I grab whatever’s at hand. Thursday, I’ll admit to eating the last four Christmas cookies in the house for breakfast. That’s just not good. Instead, I’m going back to one of my favorites – overnight oatmeal.
Overnight oatmeal is so easy to make and it’s a perfect grab and go breakfast. I just add a half cup of oats to a jar then cover with three quarters of a cup of milk. I’ll toss in some of my fresh blueberries, then put it in the fridge after I’ve cleaned up from dinner. I’m just not a morning person, so anything I can do to streamline my morning is huge help.
The oatmeal absorbs the milk overnight (thus… overnight oatmeal!) and by the time I wake up and am ready to eat, the oats are soft with just a little milk and then the blueberries for some added texture and flavor. Sometimes, I’ll add a little (like a quarter teaspoon little) bit of brown sugar in the morning, but it’s yummy to me just as is. And yes, I eat it cold most of the time – you did get that part about me not being a morning person, right? Sometimes I’ll heat it up, but it really doesn’t even need that to make overnight oatmeal with blueberries a perfect breakfast.
So why am I all about blueberries right now?
Blueberries are so packed full of nutrients. They’re easy to eat and taste so good just by themselves. There are just 80 calories in a cup, which makes them a perfect substitute for more high calorie options. There are also 3.6 grams of fiber per cup size serving, and I’m always looking to get more fiber. Though right now isn’t the blueberry season for blueberries grown in the States, it’s the perfect time for blueberries from Chile, Argentina, and Peru. Or buy frozen or dried blueberries, both of which I have at my house, too.
Even more fun, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is hosting a sweepstakes through which you can enter to win a trip for two to LA for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge alongside actress, author and TV host Alison Sweeney. This is where I admit that I’m a closet Days of Our Lives fan and that Sami is one of my favorite characters, right? How much fun would that be?
Runners up may win one of four $500 Whole Foods or Lululemon gift cards for a refreshed pantry or workout wardrobe! Choose little, win BIG. The sweepstakes run through February 16, 2015, and I am just picturing how many blueberries I could buy with a $500 Whole Foods gift card. What would you buy?
All you need to do to enter the US Highbush Blueberry Council sweepstakes is to visit the sweepstakes website and enter your name and email address before the entry period closes, and you are automatically entered. If you share the sweepstakes link on Facebook or Twitter, you can get an additional entry (one for Facebook and one for Twitter).