Saturday, September 3, 2016

summer in the south - blueberry buckle coffee cake

I have to admit that I'm really never sad to see summer on its way out.  I know.  I'm completely and totally in the minority.  I'm OK with it.

I do enjoy all the seasons, and I look forward to summer.  Work slows a bit, and June and July allow me to be with my family a little more.  But I've always been - and always will be - a sucker for cooler temperatures and a need to pull a great cozy blanket over my toes to start perusing cookbooks for caramel apple somethings or pumpkin spice whatevers.

Of course, since we're only leaning into Labor Day weekend, and the autumn season is not yet here, I thought I should feature a brand new recipe to use up the last of any berries you might have from your summer picking.  Actually, the recipe is for blueberries.  Hence, the title.  But as I have thought about it, there's really no reason you couldn't replace with another favorite.  I think blackberries would be heavenly.

We had a birthday breakfast at school earlier this week, and I decided to give this recipe a whirl.  I also made one for my family, because unfortunately, thankfully, they give me honest feedback and help me decide what's worth keeping and posting.  When Daniel asked me every morning this week, "Mom, do you have any more of that cake?", I knew we had a keeper.

The original recipe called for a drizzle, but I'm here to say, "Not needed."  The cake and crumble topping is divine and absolutely sweet enough.  In fact, I really like how the tart aspect of the berries breaks through much of the richness.  It has a good, balanced flavor.

I am really looking forward to an extra day this weekend and enjoying the drop in humidity.  Some football, good eats and time with my three guys is definitely calling my name.

Come to the feast,

Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake

For the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries
For the crumb topping
(mix all ingredients together until crumbly)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening and milk.  Beat for 30 seconds; carefully fold in berries.

2. Spread batter into greased 9-inch cake pan; sprinkle with crumb topping.  

3. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.

Tips and Tricks:

Cut a round piece of parchment paper the size of the cake pan. Spray both the paper and the pan. Once cake finishes cooking, let cool for five minutes and turn over to easily remove from pan. Peel off the parchment and place on cooling rack.

Monday, August 29, 2016

game day spuds

We are counting the days for the official start of college and NFL football.  We love the beginnings of fall and everything it brings.  The weather is less than desirable right now, with it's high temps and humidity, but I am holding out hope crisp air is around the corner, and I am committed to trying some "fun foods" for those Saturdays and Sundays when we're watching our teams play.

Enter the cutest things I've ever seen.

I have been buying Honey Gold potatoes from Walmart for the last few months.  They are wonderful, quick-cooking, silky smooth and full of flavor.  Usually, I quarter and roast them and douse them in an herb, olive oil, salt and pepper concoction.  They are just delicious!  But yesterday, I took a look at my small golden potatoes in my basket and thought they'd make adorable mini-baked potatoes and a great appetizer idea!  My friend had mentioned doing something similar recently, so I thought, why not give it a try?  They were ready in no time and seriously loved by my family.  And such a perfect finger food!

One bite of creamy, bacon-y, cheesy fun, my friends, is no small potatoes.

Game Day Spuds

  • 12 small golden potatoes
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 3 T sour cream
  • 1 pieces bacon, cooked crisp
  • 3 T finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 400 and cook potatoes on baking sheet for 30 minutes.

2. Let cool five minutes, and make 1/2-inch slit in each.  Press together to "open" potato.

3. Drizzle melted butter inside potatoes.

4. Fill small baggie with sour cream and snip off corner.  Make sure the hole is small.

5. Pipe sour cream into potato openings.

6. Top each potato with cheese and bacon.

7. Finish off potatoes with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Recipe from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

the lazy daisy creates - rope word signs

There are a few words that are favorites of mine.  Hope...  Blessed...  Joy.


It was a word I first remember hearing when I was very young.  The theme of a children's Sunday school song, my compadres and I would sing it 'til we were blue in the face (at the top of our lungs, I might add).

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!"  

You know it, right?  Maybe you sang it, too.  It was such a fun song to sing, and, still, to this day, it gets any children's group I might be leading just as fired up.

It's timeless.

This word has been a pretty regular one within our world lately, as John has led our youth group, and as a result his family, in thinking about the importance of joy.  Why it's better than "happy."  Why it's a constant state of being and not just a consequence of life's events or moments.  Why, as Christians, we're called to produce it, a natural fruit of the Spirit Who lives within us.

So, when church camp came along this summer, and the craft cabin was opened, I was very excited to find all the necessary supplies were available to get busy coming up with a way to feature this word. You can easily see how any word could be used.  Just make sure to attach as many boards as needed to provide ample room for the length of the word.  Such a simple, effective way to feature what matters and a wonderful gift idea!


Line up number of desired wood slats needed for the length of the word, and attach with nails to a base scrap piece of "1 by", as seen here.  I used 1-inch nails with small heads... about two for each slat.

Next, lay out your word with the rope to get a general idea of how much you'll need, making sure to cut it a bit longer than needed, just in case.

Finally, attach the rope with 1-inch nails, beginning with the first letter.  It doesn't take many nails to hold it down, as the nail heads really work well to keep the rope in place.  You can see how it works here.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

country living magazine gives this butter a nod

When you have a blog, as many probably know, stats are usually made available by the blog provider.  In my case, I use Blogger, and it's really nice to see which posts get how many views, links that drive my readers, etc.  I have a pretty good idea of how many views, on average, I receive a day, and typically the view number increases over a weekend, because readers have a) more time to sit and peruse websites and b) a desire to find a recipe to use when they actually have time to cook.  

Well, a little over a week ago, I logged in to begin typing a post, as usual, and I noticed my view stats had skyrocketed.  After a little research, I found that Country Living's online magazine listed this recipe as one to try in an article, "30 of the Most Delicious Things You Can Do With Blackberries."  I could not believe it.  I had no idea it had been included, and while itsy-bitsy in the whole scheme of life, I was as excited as a kid in a candy shop.  No joke.  I still look at it, and my stomach flip-flops with joy.   

So... I'm doing a little TBT for you today, and throwing it back to a post I did three years ago that has just caught the eye of one of my favorite mags I began subscribing to shortly after we married.  Thank you, Country Living, for many years of great design and recipes right up The Lazy Daisy's alley.  You never disappoint!

Originally posted on December 27, 2012

It is crazy to me how fast time flies.  Wasn't I just blogging yesterday about the blackberry discovery we made on our summer trip to Gatlinburg?  Now, it's nearly six months later, and we're far from summer vacationing.

I had about a half gallon of blackberries left from our trip, hanging out in the deep freezer. While trying to think about options for Christmas goodie bags, I ran all kinds of ideas through my head of how to use up the berries.  The Amish White Bread was already a definite for the bags, so it didn't take me too long to determine that a good butter would make a great companion.

Blackberry Butter was born.

For the bags, I packaged them in logs, wrapped in parchment paper, twisted and twined on the ends.  I also gave them to others in canning jars.  Either way, I was pleased with the presentation and equally satisfied with the flavor.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with some other butter ideas.  I already love the stuff in its truest form...  why not consider other ways to make it interesting and fun?

Happy whipping!

Blackberry Butter - makes one pound of butter

  • 1 pound salted butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
1. Whip together butter and honey until fluffy.

2. Add in berries and mix in short bursts until desired look is achieved.  I did not want mine
to be completely emulsified, so I "broke" up the berries slightly with just a few turns of the paddle attachment.

3. If storing in jars, scoop into jar and wipe mouth clean.  Cap and refrigerate.

4. If storing in logs, place a piece of plastic wrap over a piece of aluminum foil the same size.  
5. Scoop out butter along length of wrap/foil, folding wrap over butter and rolling into consistent-sized cylinder.  Roll up foil around log and twist ends.  Refrigerate or freeze.

Recipe from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

tuesday tip - collecting fresh corn kernels

This last Saturday, we had our neighbors dear friends over for the fish tacos featured in my last post.  As an appetizer, we had fresh corn chowder, which required many ears of corn to be shucked, cut from the cob, and the cobs "milked."  Man, it was so good.  Cobs and all were slow cooked in the crock pot for nearly eight hours, then pureed and topped with a buttered shrimp garnish.  We really enjoyed it, but I was unable to get a picture, so I can't post it yet.  (Bummer.  I guess I'll have to make it again.)  

I was really glad I caught this tip in one of my editions of Cooks Country Magazine a couple of years back.  It is such a good one and helped me get the kernels off the cobs and contained in no time, flat.  

As pictured here, stand the cob up on the center of an inverted bundt cake pan placed inside a larger bowl. Cut and scrape kernels and cobs for little mess and tons of flavor!   

Monday, July 25, 2016

cooking light cooking right ~ fish tacos with cabbage slaw

I love Sundays, because we adore our church family.  But sometimes we adore them for so long after church is over, we're rushing like crazy to get home and eat.  On top of that, yesterday, we had to run to the grocery store.  Why we do that to ourselves, I'll never know.  It truly tries every ounce of patience I have and is a really wonderful way to self-reflect on that which the preacher's message has challenged me earlier in the morning.  

Love others.  Do not be easily angered.  Practice patience.  

You know, those things that are oh-so-easy to do at Wal-Mart when the crowd could fill twenty check-out lines but only three are open (insert sarcastic expression here).  

At any rate, after collecting a handful of groceries, getting stuck in the mega-church's dismissal traffic one mile from our house, unloading our car and putting away everything, I was so seriously excited to eat this meal, I only snapped about two pictures and called the family to the table.  It was ~ no joke ~ one of the best meals at home we've had.  Not because it was fancy or difficult, gourmet or laborious.  This meal was fresh and clean and just plain good.  Exactly what I have come to expect from Cooking Light's recipes.  

If you want a quick meal with even quicker clean-up, put a big ol' platter of the fish and fixin's out on the table, distribute the paper plates, and completely and totally chow down.   Oh, and do a side of black beans with a little salt and cumin, because that, my friends, is what you call Sunday lunch.

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

serves 4-6

For the tacos
  • 6-8 tilapia frozen fillets, thawed
  • chili powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
For the slaw
  • 12-oz bag shredded cabbage (or slaw mixture)
  • 1/2 cup diced roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • malt vinegar to taste
To garnish
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 limes, quartered
1. Combine all slaw ingredients and mix.  Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large skillet.  Meanwhile, sprinkle fillets evenly with chili powder and salt.  

3. In hot skillet, cook fillets until they flake easily, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Heat second skillet (I love my cast iron for this) and slightly blister the tortillas on each side.  Place with fish to keep warm until all are heated.

5. Fill platter with cooked fillets, slaw, avocado and lime quarters.  Build tacos to your liking and enjoy!

Recipes for slaw and fish inspired by Cooking Light.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

pan seared scallops with sesame sauce

It has been quite a minute since I've been on here, has it not?  It's actually a little scary to think it's been nearly four months since my last post but feels like yesterday.  I remember being a young adult and having older adults warn me how fast life will go, the older I get.  They were not joking one. single. tiny. bit.  

I have been in my kitchen some this summer, but not much at all.  We have traveled pretty regularly, leaving out on our first trip the day after school got out (you can read about our mission trip here) and getting back from our fourth this past weekend.  In the middle of those was a jaunt up north to Indiana.  

When we visit family, you can bet we'll have a cooler, along with a bag or two, of groceries sent home with us.  It's just how family is, and this last trip was no different.  Within the load of groceries were a bag of bay scallops and box of Asian noodles (Shan Dong, to be exact).  So I set out on a search for an easy recipe to combine those two ingredients, imagining something a little sweet, savory and spicy would work nicely.  

We really, really enjoyed this dish and I LOVED the short prep time.  I believe it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish.  Super-big flavor in minutes flat?  Ladies and gentleman, we have ourselves a winner.

Pan Seared Scallops with Sesame Sauce

makes four servings
printable recipe

  • 8 oz Asian noodles
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds scallops (I used small bay scallops)
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1.  Cook noodles according to package directions.

2.  While noodles cook, in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add scallops and cook until golden.  Turn with spatula and continue to cook until second side is golden.  Add soy sauce mixture to pan and bring to simmer, about two minutes, until sauce thickens and scallops are cooked through and have an opaque color.

4.  Serve scallops over noodles, toss, and top with scallions.

Recipe from Robin Miller, by way of