Wildflower Season

“If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnette

It’s here! That time each year when the high country is covered in wildflowers. Time to grab your hiking boots and sun hat and get out among all the wonderful wildflower frenzy.

These photos were all taken in an area south of Highway 88 at Hope Valley called Blue Lakes. This cluster of lakes provides a perfect day trip destination just right for fishing, swimming, playing on the beach or hiking. And while you’re out there having all that summer fun, just open your eyes and take in the stunning beauty of all the wildflowers. You won’t be disappointed!Colorful, eye-catching and lush, Lupine, Meadow Penstemon, Phlox, Indian Paintbrush, Mule’s Ear, and more vibrant lovelies cover hillsides and meadows along the lakes. Knowing that these brilliant jewels have withstood storms without any tender loving care, and that they’re able to not only persevere through harsh weather but to actually flourish, is quite a lesson in resilience and an inspiration from nature.

Don’t forget your camera!

Celebrating the Red, White and Blue with Blueberry Pie

We recently took our nearly two year old grand daughter and drove to the nearby U-Pick Blueberries Farm at Rainbow Orchards for some delicious mountain grown fruit.  The early July morning was still cool and the farm was clean and well organized with rows of Chandler blueberries growing on one side  and rows of Duke blueberries lining the other half of the farm. What a treat we were in for! Ker-plink, Ker-plank, Ker-plunk, a sample here and there, and before we knew it our buckets were full of the most flavorful blueberries to share, snack on, and bake with.

Once back home we baked blueberry banana bread right away and then a couple days later, I made Ina Garten’s Fresh Blueberry Pie recipe for the fourth of July. I’m positive you’ll love the recipe as much as we did.

Fresh Blueberry Pie


4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cassis liqueur (I substituted vanilla extract)

2 Perfect Pie crusts, recipe follows (best pie crust recipe ever!)

1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or cream, for egg wash)

Perfect Pie Crust:

12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening such as Crisco

1/2 cup ice water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Mix the blueberries, the 1/2 cup of sugar, the flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cassis in a large bowl. Carefully ease one pie crust into a 9 inch pie plate, making sure not to stretch the dough at all, or it will shrink as the pie bakes. With a sharp knife, cut the excess dough off at the edge of the pie plate. Spoon the blueberry mixture into the pie shell, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula to be sure you have all the juices.

Brush the edge of the crust with the egg wash. Carefully lay the second crust on top, again easing it on to the pie. I chose to do a lattice top on mine. Cut the excess dough off at the edge of the pie plate. Press the two edges together with a fork. Brush the top crust with the egg wash, cut three slits for steam to escape, and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes, until the filling is very bubbly and the crust is nicely browned. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Perfect Pie Crust:

Cut the butter in 1/2 inch dice and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 – 12 times until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out onto a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well floured board into a circle at least one inch larger than the pie pan, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the board so it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, ease it into the pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Cut the dough one inch larger than the pan. Fold the edge over and crimp the edging.

So delicious!