I was a Kick-Butt Girl Scout: Melissa@Market

| May 24, 2011

I was a kick-butt Girl Scout. Slap that hefty badge book down in front of me, and I would crack that baby open and go to town. I loved how each badge ticked off the tasks to complete until, TA-DA!, you earned one of those knobby round disks. To earn a “Camp Together” badge: plan a campsite with a list of necessary equipment; learn about possible poisonous plants and biting insects; prepare a safety kit; create a day’s worth of nutritious, camp-appropriate recipes; teach yourself a new outdoor skill; explain “leave no trace” camping to your troop. Check, check, check, check, check, check, BADGE!

The X+Y=Z of badge-earning thrilled me. So clear-cut, so systematic. I tore through page after page in the Girl Scout handbook, knocking off badges that my mom could wobbly attach to my green polyester sash. (Honestly, I’m not sure how I earned that sewing badge. No one in my family sewed and to this day, I will take a popped button to the dry cleaners and happily pay $3 for reattachment. Then again, there appears to be a cat perched on the sewing materials in the badge, so maybe it was in taxidermy, not stitching?!) I still remember that swelling of accomplishment when the troop leader would distribute my latest milestone. Job well done.

Alas, I quickly learned that real life was not like Girl Scout badges. For years, in many areas, I searched for the “tasks” I could complete to emerge as a successful caterer/government worker/lawyer/teacher/girlfriend/daughter. Where was that big endpoint?! What was the formula for success?! I bobbled along trying to fill others’ expectations and rarely feeling any real fulfillment. Nothing seemed to fit.

I needed to throw away my (mental, fabricated, metaphorical) Girl Scout handbook. You see, the problem with earning those badges is that they weren’t unique. Other girls pinned those very same icons on their sashes. (Holler!, Jenny H., who I’m pretty sure needed a second sash by our 3rd year of scouts.) They also didn’t bring much joy, or even functionality, into my life. (Besides that taxidermy/sewing badge, the camping badge and horse-lover riding badge are all things I would avoid like the plague today.) As I tried to fulfill my own “adult” handbook, based on others’ rules and expectations, I found myself more and more bewildered by life.

The day I decided to ditch the handbook and live my own life was like the moment just before a kite breaks loose. The strings tying it down go very taut. There is resistance. Then, SNAP, it’s free. Floating through the air, drifting on it own currents, carving its own path. Two years ago, that’s what I did. I stopped trying to follow someone else’s instructions and started listening to me. And my current career in food education creates that sensation of flying, a lightness in my belly and an openness in my brain where creativity grows. The best part- I know every turn I take is mine. No one else is following the same instructions.

I was a kick-butt Girl Scout. Now, I’m a kick-butt MJ. And there isn’t a duplicate anywhere.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins
Adapted from a recipe in “Simply in Season” by Mary Beth Lind & Cathleen Hockman-Wert
Makes 12

Let’s give it up for rhubarb and strawberries! A delicious seasonal combination of tart and sweet. I’m going to lay out a recipe, but I want you to feel free to follow your own rules! Recipes shouldn’t be a handbook, but more a starting place. Cut the strings and float on your own intuition to create a final product.

2 1/2 cups flour (I used all whole wheat, but you could do almost any ratio of white flour to wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher because I like that nice salty taste; you can use table salt if you don’t!)
(You could also experiment with adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of a favorite spice here.)
2 cups diced rhubarb and strawberry, total (You could use chopped fruit of any kind or a combo of 1 1/2 cups chopped fruit and 1/2 cup chopped nuts)
1 cup buttermilk (substituting plain yogurt is fine, too)
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil (or coconut oil or melted butter or any other favorite fat or even applesauce)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup sugar (you could use brown sugar, as well)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour (whole wheat or white, you choose)

1. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter or cooking oil or line with papers. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda and salt. (And your spice, if you use one.)
3. Toss fruit (or fruit/nut) mixture lightly with flour mixture.
4. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, brown sugar, oil (or substitute), egg and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
5. Gently blend flour/fruit into wet ingredients with a spatula.
6. Combine topping ingredients in another bowl with a spoon.
7. Fill 12 muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle topping over the top.
8. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely in the pan to make them easier to remove.

Check us out on Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, Fat Camp Friday, These Chicks Cooked, and Fresh, Clean, and Pure Friday!

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Category: Breakfast/Brunch, Melissa@Market, Recipe Vault

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  1. Lyndsey says:

    When you mentioned Girl Scout badges I was thinking back on the check lists you had to go through…funny that you’d mention that. I don’t think I still have the hand book, but I believe my sash is tucked away somewhere. 😀

    I have been through many jobs/career choices that you wouldn’t believe. First doing what I thought parents or others thought I should do, then what I wanted to do, to what I needed to do having a young child, to what I ended up doing and now on the side to what I enjoy doing. Whew!

    I started to enjoy cooking when I could do what I liked and added what I want. I never followed any recipe, just took several and combined it the way I wanted it. The most difficult thing is remembering what I did and writing it all down.

    Thanks for sharing! Sorry if I went on and on, but that’s what happens when you do what you enjoy…:D

  2. Lena says:

    whoa! I definitely wasn’t as competitive with my girl-scouting. I mostly liked the group cooking and the girl scout cookies 🙂 nice pictures Melissa.

  3. What do you mean “competitive”? Me?! Competitive?! Those badges were snazzy…I just wanted one of each.

  4. Marie says:

    That’s really funny and, judging by the badges on your sash, we must’ve been in “the Scouts” at around the same time. Do Girl Scouts still do the badge thing, I wonder?

    It’s bit of torture looking at those steaming yummy muffins since I can’t make them for another 6 months or so (winter here in New Zealand) but I’ll be back!

  5. Katie says:

    Good for you doing your own thing 🙂 It is kinda boring to see the same thing over and over so individuality is refreshing. These muffins look delicious too. I hope you get a chance to come over and show them off at These Chicks Cooked Recipe Spotlight. Have a blessed day 🙂

  6. Roz says:

    I agree: rhubarb and strawberries are an awesome sweet-sour combo that is so delectable! I’m printing this muffin recipe to make soon! I hope that you will consider sharing this very fresh and seasonal recipe over on my blog hop for foodies and gardeners that is going on right now! Thanks again, Roz

  7. Miranda says:

    I never was a girl scout, but I could imagine myself doing the same thing! Those muffins look great. Would love for you to share this at Fat Camp Friday this weekend. One recipe is picked every Monday and featured on my front page all week! http://tiny.cc/FatCampFriday29

  8. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Melissa
    I love that each of us with our Brownie Girl and Girl Scout Handbooks and Badges, at some point begin to develop that Adult Handbook. Your post is a joy to me, the muffins of course are great and I wish I had one while I read your post just one more time. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you soon!

  9. amy says:

    Wow, your muffins look absolute delicious and healthful. I would love to try them soon. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, I’m hosting a Giveaway on my blog and here’s the link: http://utry.it/2011/05/hong-kong-macau-and-australia-trippart.html

    Please stop by to enter for a chance to win. Have a wonderful day.


  10. Alea Milham says:

    I remember when I was first a girl scout and the badges seemed so difficult to obtain. Then one summer, I opened up the book and started reading the checklist and all of a sudden they seemed within reach. I still remind myself of that when something seems hard – that with a little more growth, education, or effort, something that seems hard can become very easy.

    Absolutely love your recipe title! Thanks for sharing your kick butt strawberry raspberry muffins with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  11. Miranda says:

    I am sooo late visiting this week! Thanks for linking this up to Fat Camp Friday, see you tomorrow!

  12. roz says:

    I featured your yummy muffins today on my Friday linkups and hope u can stop by again…..thanks so much again!