Johnny’s Coconut Banana Muffins

Coconut Banana Crunch Muffins
There’s something about hurricane season in Maine that has me craving tropical fruit. I noticed this when Hurricane Irene came through.

Maybe it’s the dampness in the air when a storm’s a-brewing. It reminds me of those lush and languid days in Hawaii, Central America and the Caribbean — where one can easily make a habit of exotic fruit for breakfast, lunch and happy hour.

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A Maine Scenic Gem: Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown

Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown, Maine
Don’t you just love summer and fall in Maine? I rarely leave the pine tree state from June through October, because I really don’t want to miss even one beautiful day: Early morning bike rides, scootering to the beach, cool ocean breezes, fresh farm produce, dining al fresco and magical sunsets. This is the time of year that friends and family, near and far, descend upon us — Can you blame them?

Recently, high school friends Michele (who now lives in Connecticut) and Deb (who lives in California) took a little trip to Maine for a long weekend in Boothbay Harbor, to visit with me and another friend Margie who lives in Vassalboro. As I was heading north on Route 1 to meet them for lunch in Boothbay, Michele (who used to work at Bowdoin College) called with a change of plans: Could I meet them at one of her favorite spots — Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown?

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August is Wild Blueberry Month in Maine!

Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries

I love August in Maine – such a wonderful time of year for food and adventure!  Farmers’ markets and farm stands are at their peak with fresh, colorful produce . . . red, ripe tomatoes, green herbs and cucumbers, orange carrots, yellow string beans, white baby potatoes, and tiny Wild Blueberries from the Wild Blueberry barrens Downeast!

I’ve been a huge fan of Wild Blueberries for a number of years. As a producer and social media consultant, I’ve worked on many Wild Blueberry projects and have come to understand the importance of including “blue” in your diet — daily. I keep a 3 lb. bag of Wyman’s Wild Blueberries in my freezer year-round, and throw half a cup of Wild Blueberries in a smoothie, cereal or oatmeal, almost every morning. If you’re curious about Wild Blueberries’ role in disease prevention, heart and brain health — be sure to check out the Wild Blueberries web site, and the Wild About Health! blog for the latest tips on nutrition and wellness.

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Mars Hill Farm Stand: New Potatoes and String Beans!

String Beans
If there’s one chore I look forward to each week, it’s grocery shopping. Some people consider it drudgery, but I love perusing every aisle and looking for things I’ve never tried before. I always read the labels to see if this new-to-me food is healthful or junky: nine times out of ten, it doesn’t pass muster and goes back on the shelf.

Even better than grocery shopping, though, is cruising through the local farmers’ market on Wednesdays or Saturdays, and discovering what’s newly harvested. Pretty much everything there is healthy — so when I pick something up, I never put it back.


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Pesto Presto!

Spinach Basil and Nuts for Pesto
I have a little herb garden! Yes, I do! Basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary and thyme. For six weeks, they have resided in variously-sized terra cotta pots on my new deck — and by some miracle, they are still ALIVE!

This is no small feat for someone like me, whose thoughts leap to grand visions of of growing fresh herbs, the minute our long Maine winter begins to melt into spring. My enthusiasm carries me all the way from careful planning, purchasing and re-potting, to feeding and watering . . . for the first couple of weeks. Then something inevitably happens — a heat wave, too many late nights at work, an impromptu 3-day mini-vacation — and the next thing I know, my herbs are crunchy, yellow, sad— and unrevivable. Money, effort and herb dreams, down the proverbial drain.

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Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberries at Maxwell's
Mmmm . . . Strawberries and summer! What do you think of? I can remember picking tiny wild strawberries in the fields of Aroostook County with my grandparents when I was young. These were not cultivated on any farm land, but growing wild in a field — likely a secret location that someone would have stumbled upon and remembered from years past. My grandfather — Pépère Franck — loved to pick strawberries. He was known to be of the “pick one, eat two” persuasion. His all-time favorite dessert (other than Russell Stover chocolates) was strawberry shortcake.

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The Lobster Shack: Seaside Flavor of Maine

Lobster  Shack Clam Cakes
Every year around Memorial Day, I get a craving for something I eat only once a year: Clam cakes! I don’t know why I love them so — I don’t normally eat fried clams and I’m not a huge fan of fried food in general — but I find myself needing an annual fix of those golden delicious seafood patties, before I can really feel that summer has arrived.

While it’s true you can get clam cakes at any number of Maine establishments, a special few offer the bonus of a spectacular ocean view. I was in the mood for a quintessential seaside dining experience, complete with lighthouses, picnic tables, crashing surf and fog horns, so I decided to take a scooter ride out to The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

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