Saturday, July 2, 2011


49th Post!  Weirrrd.  I didn't think I had been on here that much, but I guess I have.  I have loved blogging!  I guess #50 needs to be extra special.  =)

Thursday I went Blueberry picking (in the 100+ heat.  Uck!) with my mother- and sisters-in-law and we had a great time!  There weren't a ton of people there (which is bittersweet for me.  Sweet= more berries for us, bitter= I like to be around lots of people that I don't necessarily know... like when I shop!  I do not want to talk to them- just be around them) and it was hot (didn't know if you understood that the first time I told you), but we got lots of berries and they were yummy!

The girls!
Blueberry Fields =)
Some of them weren't ready =(  We picked less than we thought but I'm glad I didn't get $20 worth of Blueberries!
Workin' hard in the heat!  Made me appreciate farmers and harvesters big time.
Monster Berries!  Look at those suckers!  Also, it was so sunny out that I couldn't see my camera.. and took this really awful picture of my bucket.  There weren't a ton of berries in the first row we went through and I was sad. But we did hit the jackpot later!
I probably picked about 2 pints full.  It was so fun!  Here is my highlight recipe for the day using... fresh blueberries of course!

Sorry for the lame picture- we haven't even eaten them yet!

Fresh Berry Bars
You can use any combination of berries in this recipe- Raspberry, Blackberry, or Blue!  It's a shortbread crust cheesecake-y thing.  YUMMM and so easy!
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Softened butter (for brushing sides of foil)
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves (I used my grandma's homemade Blackberry Jam.  Yes, mixing berries won't hurt!)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) fresh raspberries (I obviously used blueberries)
  • 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp. finely shredded lemon peel (zest)
  • 2Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
  • Powdered sugar 


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with a 24-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra foil extending over ends (use these later to lift bars from pan); set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until it just begins to blend and soften slightly, about 30 seconds.  
2. Add brown sugar and salt, beat on low speed until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. You're not trying to cream it, you're just mixing it in, Scott says. With mixer off, add the 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed until flour is incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix until ingredients form an even, cohesive dough. 
3. Break dough into small chunks and distribute in prepared pan; with your fingers press dough into an even layer. Bake 20 minutes (I baked for 17)or until dough has begun to puff and is just set. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes.

  • 4. Lightly brush exposed sides of foil with softened butter to keep filling from sticking. Spread jam evenly over crust.
    5. Sprinkle evenly with berries.
    6. With a lemon zester, remove peel from lemon, making sure to avoid bitter white pith.
    7. In a large bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Mix in granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon flour until blended. With mixer running, add egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
    8. Pour custard batter evenly over berries. Tilt pan back and forth to distribute evenly.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until barely set. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool, about 1 hour; cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill 2 hours. Top will crack slightly as it cools.
    Voila!  Don't mind my thumbprint in the bottom left corner.  Woops!

    9. Use foil to lift the bars from pan. With a knife or metal spatula, support the sides of the bars while you gently peel the foil downward and away from sides of the bars.
    10. Cut into long bars, peel foil from bottom, and transfer to cutting boars using side of a long knife or spatula.  Cut into 24 squares
    Sprinkle very lightly with powdered sugar.
    See, easy!  I am trying out a new recipe tonight for my in-laws (well, combining 2 new ones!), so I will post that recipe stat!

    On a side note, we found an umbrella for the patio set!  Target- $39.99.  Granted, it's not the heaviest one in the world and it's 6.5 foot tall, but we aren't in the market for something spectacular.  It's fulfills it's purpose (+), was within the budget (++) and it Taupe (+++++).  I love it!  I had to find a stand for it, though, and was upset to learn that apparently June is the end of patio season in the retail biz.  Everyone is out of stuff, clearancing it out, and have only the expensive stuff left.  That "E" word is not in my vocab.
    Every umbrella stand I could find was $40.  I was not about to spend as much on the stand as on the umbrella.  I finally landed at Walmart and they only had 3 left and they were brown, made of faux wood.  No thanks!  I asked someone if they had more and possibly in black and explained our umbrella didn't even really need something huge anchoring it.  The kind sale associate directed me to this:
    Tiki torch stand!  Made of metal.  Why does a torch need this?  Hello overkill.
     She said people have been buying these instead since they have been out of umbrella stands.  It was only 7 BUCKS and it works better than I could have ever asked for and fits better under the table than a big {read:  expensive} one would have.  We hosted the youth last night for dinner and fireworks, so here are some pictures of my cheap July 4th decor, our umbrella, and other sorts!
    Red, White, and Blue balloons!  Haha, cheap and people could find the house easy.  It was so hot they started MELTING and popping.  =(

    I filled 100+ water balloons for the youth, too.  Glad we had them.  My fingers are not so glad.
    Fireworks at the park.  So fun!

    We are so thankful for our church family.  They are so supportive and fun to be with!
    Summer has been so great so far!  It needs to slow down, though!
    Happy 4th!



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