From Florida with Love...and Blueberry Crumble

We just got home from our annual trip down to Tampa to see my family. Geez, time flies when you are on vacay doesn't it?
One minute you are changing your work voice mail and out of office message for your trip. The next are back at home in your mirror admiring your new beach tan and feeling a bit melancholy that it all went by so fast.

So, a few highlights from our visit....

These handsome chickens in Chuck's back yard. First time I've literally gathered fresh, warm eggs from a hen house and cooked them up the next day for breakfast. Wonderful.

Lettuce Lake Park
Jay caught this guy as he was making his way around the swampy parts of Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa {perfectly happy to have missed him.....gators give me the creeps!}. 
Great park to visit on the Hillsborough River.... with lovely big oak trees, a boardwalk for walking and observing wildlife, and a 40 foot high observation tower.
You can even rent canoes.

North Redington Beach
This is the place. Our second year staying at the Hotel Isis in Redington Shores and we love it here. My brother John got married here in 2005 and it feels so lovely to stay here and remember that day.
Charming, boutique hotel. Quiet and pretty beach. Heavenly, heated pool. And the most awesome shrimp salad and crab cakes at the Shubee Shack right down the street {the first place we hit when we get to the area!}

This is Mazzaro's Italian Market. We hit it on our way back from the beach driving through St. Petersburg. My friend Tim in Atlanta advised that we just had to go and it was so worth it! It was a mad house and I loved every minute of the Italian foodie craziness {my grandmother, Olga, was Italian - so it's in the blood}. 
Fresh produce, meats, huge cheese selection, wine, coffee bar, bakery, and large outdoor seating. The deli was THE place to people watch while they rocked out the orders like a well-oiled machine.
My vote for best panini ever - pepperoni, fresh mozz, banana peppers, marinara. Super impressed.

Oxford Exchange
We spent an afternoon in downtown Tampa, walking through University of Tampa and down by the water {yep, we saw a family of manatees too!}. My sister-in-law took us to the Oxford Exchange for lunch. Hip lil' place with a restaurant {digging their Matcha Lemonade}, spots to hang and drink Buddy Brew coffee or Tebella Tea, a bookstore, and a gift shop. Beautiful people ya'll.

Steel Magnolia's Restaurant
Jay and I always like to find some unique place to stop and eat on our drive back to Atlanta. Skipping fast food is one goal and exploring a new town is another. Plus, we kill time and miss rush hour traffic. Yay. 
This time we discovered Steel Magnolia's in Valdosta, Ga.
Cute little place {I fell for it when I spied all the little vintage dishes lined up in the window}. Loved the truffle fries a little bit too much. 

Of course, we are always grateful to spend time with my family. Talking about food and planning our next meal seems to spontaneously happen....a lot. We're just foodies I guess. 
My mom cooked up my favorite cornmeal waffle and I made a blueberry crumble for everyone one night. Love. 

Blueberry Crumble
Serves 8

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


6 cups blueberries {I used frozen}
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 F. 
Make the filling: Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish.
Make the topping: Stir together flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sugar. Break the softened butter into small pieces with your hands and drop into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, rub the butter pieces until blended into dry ingredients and you have clumps.
Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until bubbling in center and brown on top, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes before serving. 
*We served it with vanilla ice cream...cinnamon ice cream would be nice too.


  1. Great post, I love the photos and that panini sounds so yummy!

    1. Thanks Janet! Sure miss seeing you....hope to soon.


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