Welcome to the continuation of this 2-part series! I’m sharing some of my favorite memories related to the fruits included in the tutti-frutti banana oat muffin recipe that follows. This strawberry blackberry recipe was inspired by a simple salad dressing and came to fruition because of an insatiable sweet tooth. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series for my orange blueberry tutti-frutti recipe and more fun stories!
Fruits of the Day
Strawberries in Massachusetts
Engagement stories are always one for the books. Mike first asked me to be his girlfriend while we watched the Fourth of July Boston fireworks from the Charles River Esplanade the year we met. Then he proposed to me exactly 4 years later.
The Big Day
We were staying in Boston for the weekend to celebrate the holiday and our dating anniversary. Lunch reservations were set at my favorite steak restaurant, Del Frisco’s. Then we planned to meet-up with Mike’s family at CBI for the annual SAILabration Fundraiser. And our hotel reservation was at the W Boston. Now we don’t do this every Fourth of July, but we do usually celebrate with something special, so this was by any account fairly normal holiday plans for us.
We always dress-up when we eat at Del Frisco’s, so there was nothing special about the fact that Mike wore a sport coat (or so I thought). We had the restaurant to ourselves when we arrived (save an older couple sitting at the bar, which [very small world] happened to be my mother’s friends from Texas!). Then we ordered our food and a bottle of wine, same as we always do.
Our waiter brought us our wine, and we started to make a toast to another great year together. Then, Mike got up from his chair, went down on one knee, and pulled the ring out of his pocket. The waiter snapped pictures from the side with the camera Mike snuck in under his coat. It was such a simple yet powerful moment when he asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes! The manager served champagne (with this special red fruit), and it was all perfect timing to get pictures outside with the ring on my finger and the tall ships in the background.
The Sweet Fruity Ending
We proceeded to finish our lunch, enjoyed an afternoon walking around town, and met-up with his family for the fireworks as we had planned. When the night was over, we went to our hotel room and were met with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note of congratulations from the hotel staff. (Strawberries are one of my favorite fruit!) It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!
Blackberries in Tennessee
Last year, I traveled to Nashville for a work conference and ended up at a little shop in the mills called Nashville Olive Oil Company. They have so many varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Two of my favorites are the blackberry ginger and strawberry balsamic vinegars (we came home with a few bottles). I frequently mix them with olive oil for an easy summer salad dressing, and when I noticed we had both fresh strawberries and blackberries in the fridge recently, it was an easy decision to turn them into that week’s banana oat muffins.
The tutti-frutti recipe below was a first-take success. I love how the berries blend together with the banana for an all-over smooth and even flavor!