And the Winner is…

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t shared a recipe with you in a long while. To make up for it, I’m giving you my recipe for prize-winning blueberry muffins. More on that later.

For now, I want to tell you about my recent experience, not with winning, but with awarding prizes.

balloonsWe have a very active parent group on campus who sometimes host brunches for staff and gives away prizes. Recently they added a monthly drawing where teachers can win a rather large gift basket filled with discount cards, food, and other doo-dads.

The first winner was selected a few days ago. I was given the task of delivering it.

This is not unusual. About three or four times a year, the parent group will drop off at my desk eight or so gift cards with balloons attached, and ask me to email the teachers who won. The first time it happened, being a rookie, I did just that.

You know what happens if you sport eight to ten colorful balloons at your desk?

People talk to you. All sorts of people. People who normally never talk to you will now stop by your desk and make comments.

“What’s the occasion?”
“Is it your birthday?”
“My, aren’t we festive!”

Or some, knowing what the balloons signify, will ask if they won anything.

Jump to Recipe

So now I skip the emails and deliver the prizes myself. I don’t care if a class is on the other side of the campus, there I’ll be walking through the quad with a bunch of balloons, on a mission to get them off my desk as soon as possible.

I’ve learned something doing this. Delivering prizes to people makes them very happy. They smile. Everyone around them smiles. Even math students taking tests smile. Then you smile. All the world is smiles.

There’s something else, too. Almost without exception, the person will say something along the lines of, “I’ve never won anything in my life!”

It happened with the gift basket I delivered a few days ago. I walked into the classroom, explained how he won a raffle, and he smiled. Then he said, “But I never win anything!”

I told him the same thing I tell the others: “Now you can’t say that anymore.”

Because I have a theory. I think whether you view yourself as someone who wins or loses is really just that. It’s your point of view.

After all, it’s very likely you’re forgetting the time you won the taffy pulling contest in the fifth grade, or when you really trounced your opponents in Duck, Duck, Goose. Most of our ‘wins’ aren’t really that memorable, when all is said and done. So whether we’re a winner or a loser has little to do with it.

That being said, there’s one woman I work with who is an exception to this rule. If I leave her a prize, she says, “I always win!”

And while it’s true she’s won maybe three times, she hasn’t won every time. But I never point it out because: 1) she’s so darn happy, and 2) I doubt it would make any difference. Because if you’re the type who views yourself as a winner, you’re not going to let a little thing like logic get in the way.

As for me… well, truth is I do tend to win things. Next week I’ll tell you about a couple of wins of mine that swore me off ever entering a contest again.

Yellow Ribbon Award isolated on white backgroundBut even so, I made an exception when we lived in a little town in Colorado. Entering baked goods in the county fair was a hoot, and the best thing about it was the lack of fanfare or public spectacle. You just walked into the exhibit building and checked. You might have a ribbon, you might not.

And guess what? My blueberry muffins got Reserve Champion in baked goods!

Which I think meant if for some reason the Grand Champion baked good couldn’t fulfill their duties, my muffins would serve in their place.

Plus, I got $60! (I didn’t even know you got money from fair entries.) No wonder those other women were looking at me so jealously. Or maybe it was my muffins.

Yeah, I bet it was the muffins.

Prize Winning Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: about 24 muffins
  • Print


  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, see notes below)

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients alternately with milk. When well blended, add the blueberries.

For a topping: stir together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until crumbly.

Bake in greased muffin tins at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes.

*You’ll notice this batter isn’t as fussy as most muffin batters. Also…
**This mixture will keep in the fridge up to three weeks! Just stir a little before using.
***If using frozen berries, do not thaw. Stir the berries just into the amount you plan on baking; the rest of the batter should be refrigerated without berries.
*****Other berries, peaches, or apples make great substitutions. Consider adding cinnamon and nuts to the topping if using peaches or apples.
******Asterisks are fun, aren’t they?

5 thoughts on “And the Winner is…

  1. That’s what happens when you put your muffins out on display, people will look and some may even become jealous that your muffins have received such an accolade.
    Haters always gonna hate.

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