There must be a lot of people who really love baked beans and blueberries that the whole month of July is dedicated to them both!

According to the National Day Calendar website, the Michigan Bean Commission founded National Baked Bean Month in 1981 to promote all the benefits of the beans and to share the best ways to prepare baked beans.

The North American Blueberry Council founded National Blueberry Month and it is officially recognized by the USDA since 2003.

Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at [email protected], or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.” I’m now requesting recipes for your favorite chili and fair food recipes!


Baked Beans with Molasses


1-1/2C dry yellow or navy beans

3-1/2C water

1 TBSP tomato paste

1 onion, sliced

1 TBSP cider vinegar

2 TBSP molasses

1 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt


Soak the beans according to package instructions. Drain the beans, and combine with water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer until tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain beans, and add remaining ingredients. Combine in a baking dish., stirring well. Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 30 minutes more.

***Recipe courtesy of the Michigan Bean Commission Website.***


Slow Cooker Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Casserole


2 TBSP butter, at room temperature, divided

3/4C milk

1/4C heavy cream

2 eggs

1/3C brown sugar, packed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

4C day-old brioche bread, torn

1C fresh blueberries

1/4C powdered sugar

1 TBSP plain or vanilla Greek yogurt


Grease bowl of small (2 to 4qt) slow cooker with 1 TBSP butter.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, cream, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until blended. Toss brioche into egg mixture and mix until evenly coated. Stir in blueberries. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until bread absorbs all of the egg mixture.

Pour into prepared bowl of slow cooker and press lightly to even top. Dot with remaining butter. Cover and cook on low setting for about 4 hours, or until set. Remove from slow cooker.

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and yogurt and drizzle over casserole. Serve warm with fresh blueberries.

***Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website.***


The Best Baked Beans Ever


8 slices bacon, halved

1 medium onion, small-diced

1/2 medium green pepper, small-diced

3, 28-oz. cans pork and beans

3/4C barbecue sauce

1/2C brown sugar

1/4C white or cider vinegar

2 tsp dry mustard or 2 TNSP prepared mustard (Dijon called for in recipe)


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Fry bacon in a large, deep sauce pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4C drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. Add onion and pepper to drippings and sauce until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer (if skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients).

Pour beans into a greased 9x13 ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

***Recipe courtesy of the Pioneer Woman website.***


Wild Blueberry Jam Crostini


100oz. frozen wild blueberries

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2-3 springs fresh thyme, leaves removed, divided


4-oz. goat cheese

2 TBSP honey


In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, lemon juice and thyme leaves from 2 sprigs. Cook 10-15 minutes, until mixture reduces and thickens while stirring on occasion.

Meanwhile, cur baguette on a diagonal into 1/2-in. slices. Lightly toast. Spread each slice with goat cheese and drizzle with honey. Top each slice with wild blueberry jam and sprinkle on fresh thyme.

Note: Feel free to use cream cheese, brie, or any other soft cheese. This would even work with shredded or thinly sliced havarti or gouda.

***Recipe courtesy of Raquel Redmond of “Sincerely Nourished” blog, via the “Wild Blueberries” website.***


Pure and Simple Slow-Cooked Boston Baked Beans


1-lb. (about 2C) dried small white beans (navy beans were used in this recipe)

Kosher salt

1 yellow onion, peeled and halved, optional

1 carrot, peeled and halved, optional

2 cloves garlic, peeled, optional

2 sprigs woodsy herb such as rosemary, sage, and/or thyme, optional

1 bay leaf

1/2C dark molasses (not blackstrap)

2 tsp Dijon or prepared brown mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2-lb. salt pork or slab bacon, rinsed of excess salt if necessary, cut into 1/2-in. chunks

1 large yellow onion, diced

Apple cider vinegar, to taste


In a medium bowl, cover beans with cold water by several inches and stir in 1 TBSP salt. Let beans soak at least 12 hours, and up to 1 day. Drain and rinse.

If using aromatics (onion, carrot, garlic) and woodsy herbs, place into a cheesecloth, add bay leaf and tie off. Otherwise, just add bay leaf to beans in a large pot and cover with water by several inches. Add generous pinch of salt. Add aromatics, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, topping up with with as/if necessary, until beans are fully tender, about 45 minutes. Using tongs, discard aromatics.

Meanwhile, pour molasses into a 2C liquid measuring cup. Add mustard, a very generous dose of freshly ground black pepper (let it rain!) and a pinch of salt. 

Drain beans, reserving cooked liquid. Add enough bean-cooking liquid to molasses mixture to bring volume up to 2C, and stir until molasses is completely dissolved. Reserved remaining bean-cooking liquid.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven, cook salt pork/bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pork is beginning to lightly brown, about 4 minutes. Add diced onion and cook, stirring, until onion is very tender and just beginning to turn golden, about 6 minutes. Add beans to Dutch oven.

Add molasses mixture and stir well to combine. Add enough bean-cooking liquid to just barely cover beans, then stir once more, leveling out beans so that none are sticking up above the liquid level. Bring to a simmer.

Transfer beans to oven and bake, uncovered, until beans are extremely tender but still mostly whole, with only a small fraction beginning to burst, about 4 hours. Check beans once to twice per hour during baking, adding remaining bean-cooking liquid (switching to boiling water in the event you run out) as needed to preventive beans on the surface from drying out. Stir beans twice during the baking process to submerge the top ones, leveling them out each time. Over time, a dark, browned crust will form on the surface of the beans (this is good). The goal throughout is to keep the liquid level just high enough that the upper beans don’t desiccate, but not so high that the surface doesn’t brown. Stop adding liquid during the last hour of baking unless the level becomes perilously low.

Remove beans from oven and stir well them very well. The sauce should form into a thickened, starchy glaze. If it’s too dry, add boiling water sparingly until a glaze is achieved; if it’s too wet, simmer briefly on the stovetop until reduced to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If beans are too sweet for your taste, a small splash of cider vinegar can help balance the flavor (though I never thought my beans needed it).

Keep warm until ready to serve. Beans can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat in a saucepan, adding water gradually as needed to loosen them back up.

***Recipe courtesy of Daniel Grittier, of Serious Eats” blog.***


Frozen Blueberries with Cream


1/3 to 1/2C fresh blueberries, frozen

1-3 TBSP heavy whipping cream


Wash blueberries. Freeze until ready to use.

Add blueberries to a bowl, pour heavy whipping cream over until frozen film is created over blueberries. Add more to taste. Use a spoon and dig in.

Note: I freeze copious amounts of blueberries to have on hand just for this treat!