Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blackberry Yummy Yummness

In certain parts of the world, ok, in West Des Moines Iowa I used to be famous for this coffee cake.  Now I'm just a SAHM and  famous in my own house for it. It is the coffee cake my boys are going to request for the rest of my life and that makes me happy.  So, I'm going to my grave making this cake and it is about time I share the recipe.   

Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake:

1/2 cup(1 stick) unsalted butter
1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1. tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blackberries


1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10 inch round baking pan.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar at high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.Add the sour cream, beating until smooth.  Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the egg mixture.  Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.  Carefully fold in the blackberries.

For the Topping: Combine ingredients in a small bowl

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half of the topping mixture.  Add the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remainder of the topping mixture.  Bake approximately 48 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 30-45 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: I make this cake year round using frozen blackberries.
I never sift the flour and other ingredients together-way too much work .
I usually put a cookie sheet or some foil under the pan because it tends to bake up over the pan and makes a big mess at the bottom of the oven.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

cyber- arranging

Disclaimer(if you are new to this blog): This post's soul purpose is so my mother can weigh in on the re-arrangement of the sun room . It is not to inspire(although maybe you'll read this and start making your husband lift heavy things), and it is not meant to showcase any sort of perfection in the world of decorating. Although, your opinion does count and I need help.  I have already shown you my kitchen so how much more embarrassed could I get ;)

The picture that inspired a new arrangement

The room- minus my original arrangement(I never plan ahead, a little like my recipe posts). Previously I had the love seat and two chairs around a coffee table in the main portion of the room with the couch facing the windows and the chair backs to the windows.  It worked ok, but  no one sat out there but me, not such a bad thing, but I am aiming for a cozy family feel when the boys are bigger and not so annoying-did I just say that out loud-oops.  This room is the best part of this house, so I want it to be a place where guests as well as family choose to gather. 

 Big problems of this room
1.All the windows leave no walls to anchor from. 
2. A very poorly placed gas heater
3. some might say unattractive flooring.

You can sorta see the black heater behind this table. I am mad at it. 
This table is my desk.  The heater makes the placement totally off because I can't center it from the corner and I am clearly trying to hide it.  My concern here is that it looks way strange, cluttered and whatever else lingo a decorator would use.

Like the inspiration picture I am trying to use a dining table as a side/console table.  Is this working?  Pay no mind to my dogs behind.
The hot mess is not staying.  The blue table just doesn't wanna be friends with my red floor. Nope-it all has to go.
So now I am back to this picture and the question

What do you think about me bringing the brown leather couch in here along the windows facing the love seat?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

a little country touch

There is nothing like a long car ride that makes me buy every magazine on the news stand.  My dad can hardly understand why I don't read the newspaper.  Pleeeease, I get all the news I need form US Weekly and the Today show and the only thing I need to be "up to date" on is the latest decorating fad. That's what is so beautiful about my particular life style, I can tune the rest of everything out as I like.  

Country Living had this adorable idea.  Who doesn't have a Mason Jar, well actually I didn't, but I ran right out to get one.  They ordered the dispenser from onedreamdesign.com for 3.75$, but there is a good chance you already have one or could find one at the Dollar Store.  Drill a 1/2 inch hole in the lid, trim dispenser end as needed, and starting washing. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

summer reading

I am finally back to reading.  Between having a baby and moving, I just hadn't been able to cram it in.  This summer I have read a couple of books and wanted to recommend "The Help" to anyone is looking for a good story to get engrossed in.
We bought a new rug for our bedroom and it has "forced" me to change my bedding.  I know, a tragic problem. Have you ever bought a big rug?  It kinda stinks.  I just never seem to see what I am looking for, color, pattern or otherwise.  They are very expensive and like I just experienced, it will likely change the whole feel of the room.  I'm not into starting over in all the rooms that I need rugs for(decided I'm not all that crazy about hard wood floors after all).  My bedding was in need of a change so I was ok with purchasing some new things, but I am hoping that the rug I buy for the family room doesn't leave me with this issue.  Anyways, I did splurge on a Pottery Barn pillow cover and shams, but bought everything else from Target.  I am hoping Santa can find the quilt that matches the shams on sale in December :) 
Here is the project I am working on this week.  The boy's craft room.  I have given myself two weeks to get paint on the walls and the cabinets painted white.  It has already taken me three days to prep it, at this rate I may not make my deadline.  I have considered painting one wall with chalkboard paint, but feel a little over that trend-I'll let you know how it all turns out. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

tomato-ricotta tart

I am running out of time! I meant to post this recipe early in the summer, but Labor day is just around the corner.  This is one of my all time favorite Martha recipes.  This is a great side to dish to make with simple grilled meat and a big salad or cut it into small pieces and take to a pot luck.  It is also a great dish for all your home grown tomatoes and basil. 

Tomato Ricotta Tart:

1.Reheat oven to 450.  In a 9-inch springform pan, toss 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs with 1/4 cup olive oil; press evenly into bottom. 2. In a bowl, whisk 1 cup whole-milk ricotta with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 2 large eggs, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil; season generously with salt and pepper. Spread over crust; arrange 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced beefsteak tomatoes on top. Brush with olive oil. 3. Bake until tomatoes are mostly dry, 35to45 minutes;let cool. unmold. Serve warm or room temperature.


notes: when I make fresh bread crumbs I sometimes use a rosemary bread loaf to add a little flavor to the crust.  I also salt the crumbs generously. I also add a lot more basil than she suggests.  

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Monday, August 23, 2010

A Before and After

I seriously can't believe that I have lived with this light fixture nearly 90 days.  In most circumstances this fixture would have had me itchin' in 90 hours, but I am clearly overwhelmed with my life, and for that matter other ugliness(scroll down just a little more and you'll see what I'm talking about).

Words cannot describe what is going on in here...

Ahhh, I feel much better. This fixture is from Lowe's outside lighting department.  I think it looks very Martha myself.

I am leaving you with a super cutie pic of soapy little Sloan.  I hope his cuteness helps erase the image of my kitchen from your mind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grunt If You Like John Deere

One more post from our trip to DSM.  We were able to spend some time at the lake with Todd's parents.  You can imagine how much fun the boys have.  Sloan was not that into playing in the sand, but he was smitten with Papa's tractor.  This child's little wave melts my heart.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the return...

OMG! We are back from Des Moines and let me tell you, it is going to take a while for me to organize myself, my house, my kids, my thoughts.  We had a great couple of weeks in Iowa doing all of our favorite things with a lot of our favorite people.  We can't wait to do it again next year(it will take that long for my dad to offer to drive us back!).

So, yesterday was meet the teacher for Holden and this morning he headed off to school.  He has been apprehensive to say the least all summer about a new school, but after checking out Rocky Hill and seeing his classroom he was excited to start.  This morning I could not have been more proud of him as he walked into the building with his head held high, his Rocky Hill Rams shirt on, and a serious 1st grader face.  I think it will be a great year for him.

Here are a few pictures of our trip.  I am spending the rest of the week trying to unfrazzle my brain.  Hopefully I will back to blogging some projects soon...

It was sooo nice to be back in our old neighborhood.  Asher looks pretty darn ecstatic to see Michael doesn't he. 

Holden and his old neighborhood BFF Drake.

Oh my...little(chubbers) Eden

A trip to a Cubbies game always a must.

I had a chance to search for junk in the microscopic town of Perry

 Water park fun with Drake and Kate.

Holden and I went to the Iowa State Fair

Not that I was ever thinking of having a forth, but looking at several sows in labor sealed the deal big time.  Way to reminiscent of Sloan's epidural free birth-ugg

the famous butter cow

We went to the fair on the hottest day of the summer-Holden didn't notice and I almost burst into flames.  For the record I am never getting on a Ferris wheel or roller coaster-this "ride" almost induced an anxiety attack.

A morning of fun with Becca, Eden and the boys.  So much fun!

Headed back to Tn.  This was after 11 hours.  They still look pretty fresh don't they.  Everyone did a great job keeping themselves together on a 14.5 hour trip.

The man who made it all possible