Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Baked Beans and Blueberries -- by Donna Schlachter (with giveaway)

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

For me, summer brings to mind baked beans and blueberries. Perhaps it’s because no barbecue seems complete without the quintessential beans served either hot or cold, and because blueberries and whipped cream are a cool and satisfying dessert to finish a meal begun on a grill.

Beans are indigenous to North America, and were grown by the natives because they were nutritious, easy to store, and easy to transport. So, too, were blueberries. Maybe that’s why they make such a delicious pairing.

For baked beans, Natives mixed beans, maple syrup, and bear fat in an earthenware pot, then baked the dish over the coals, sometimes overnight. Imagine waking to the smells of a hot meal on a chilly morning.

British colonists adopted the dish, perhaps because it reminded them of peas pudding. They, in turn, used ingredients they had on hand, using sugar cane or raw sugar, or perhaps molasses, along with lard. Depending on the region, white, navy, or soldier beans were used, Since then, the recipes are as varied as the cooks themselves, with other local ingredients finding their way into the pot, including leeks, onions, bacon, tomatoes, and corn. Earliest-known recipes date back to the 1600s.

Just as we do today, I suspect our ancestors suffered from that embarrassing condition we call flatulence after eating beans. This is caused by the tough skins and a specific sugar in the beans not digesting well. My grandmother swore that mashing her beans (this was before I knew anything about refried beans) prevented this. Perhaps our friends south of the border had the right idea all along.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

For aficionados of blueberries, wild are the only kind worth eating. Sure, the cultivated are larger, but the sweetness of a wild blueberry picked warm off the vine can’t be beat. Then again, when included in pancakes, muffins, or jam, any kind of blueberry is a winner. 
Native Americans often combined berries with other ingredients to make a dish called pemmican which they could store for months and eat throughout the winter when other food might be scarce. It's interesting that the berry's acidity is what keeps it from spoiling.

Read on for a recipe for baked beans and one for blueberry muffins, and to find out how to enter a random drawing from all comments for an ebook copy of A Pink Lady Thanksgiving.

Easy Baked Beans Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Easy Baked Beans
My family enjoys this easy baked beans recipe with cornbread, but it also rounds out any cookout. Canned pork and beans make meal prep quick. —Phyllis Schmalz, Kansas City, Kansas
Total Time Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours
Makes 12 servings
2 cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup cola
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons ground mustard
· Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until bubbly.

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Healthy Blueberry Muffins
Katie Sharp December 29, 2014  By Eating Made Easy

· 1 cup all-purpose flour 
· 1 cup white whole wheat flour
· 2 tsp baking soda
· 1 tsp kosher salt
· ¼ cup canola oil
· ½ cup orange juice
· 1 cup blueberry, fresh or frozen
· ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt
· 2 large eggs
· 2 tsp vanilla extract
· ½ cup sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray or a little oil and set aside.

2. Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and orange juice. Stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time until everything is incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries (if using frozen, toss the blueberries in 1 Tbsp flour before adding).

4. Using an ice scream scoop or measuring cup, place an even amount of batter in each greased muffin cup. Sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar on top of each muffin, then place in oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove muffins to a cooling rack. Enjoy warm!

For the full post, visit Eating Made Easy.

About A Pink Lady Thanksgiving

Kate embarks on another mystery, this time as a duly-sworn Pinkerton detective.

Question: What was the first “dish” you remember making from start to finish by yourself?

About Donna:
Donna writes historical mystery and romance from Colorado. She loves to travel for research and for pleasure, and looks for ways to incorporate both into every trip. You can find her at and on social media.



  1. Thanks for posting! I took a 4-H cooking class and I think one of the first things I made myself was an apple bread. I haven't had breakfast yet this morning, and now I'm hungry!!

  2. Hi Connie, thanks for stopping by. Yes, funny how even seeing pictures or hearing about food can get us salivating :) Good luck in the drawing!

    1. Donna, I've read Pink Lady Thanksgiving, so please don't include me in the drawing! Thank you for being so generous!

  3. Fudge. I checked a cookbook out of the school library in the third grade.It was a bit hard and dry but my family ate it. By fifth grade I was doing most of the cooking when my mom was working. Baked Beans were a main stay at our home for cookouts and holiday meals. We started with canned pork and beans and added ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and onions. As an adult I learned to make them from scratch and found them excellent. I've already read A Pink Lady's Thanksgiving so don't add me to your drawing. I enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I like fudge, too. I use the whipped marshmallow recipe on the jar, and it always turns out well. I've substituted all kinds of flavors of chips for the main bit, including peanut butter, peppermint, butterscotch, and even Godiva chocolate.

  4. Donna, thank you for sharing the recipes. An informative post about baked beans and blueberries. I have a wide variety of baked beans recipes along with many uses for blueberries in recipes. A couple favorites are Blueberry Lemon Muffins and Peach and Blueberry pie.

    One of the first dishes I made was a meat loaf following the directions in my 4-H cookbook. Blessings.

    1. Hi Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Ah, yes, blueberry and lemon go nicely together! Good luck in the drawing.

    2. Hi Marilyn, your name was chosen to win the free e-copy of "A Pink Lady Thanksgiving". I'll need your email or reading device address to send that to you.

  5. Cornflake chicken! I was 8 years old.

  6. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by. I still use corn flakes as a coating for chicken and pork chops because it's gluten free and I can control the spices. Good luck in the drawing.

  7. Hello Donna my first dish I ever tried to make by myself was chili and it turned out pretty good Thank you for the amazing recipes!

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by, and you're welcome for the recipes.