Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blackberry Cobber

Summer is the best time to make desserts using fruit. When my local grocery store had blackberries on special, I had to buy some. I found this cobbler recipe on AllRecipes.com. It's very similar to my peach cobbler.

Blackberry Cobbler

1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray. 

 Whisk 1/2 cup sugar together with the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

 Stir in the milk and melted butter until a batter forms.

 Pour into the prepared pan. 

 Add the blackberries and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. 

 Pour the water over the top.

 Bake until the batter has risen and the top is brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

 Serve with vanilla ice cream.
This would be great made with other berries, like dewberries or  blueberries. Hope you have a chance to make this and enjoy!

Linked to Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods on Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. 

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays
Linked to Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Linked to These Chicks Cooked Party at This Chick Cooks.

Linked to Sweet Tooth Friday on Alli-N-Son.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the federal holiday on which we honor the men and women who died while in military service to the United States.

   It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Back then, it was known as Decoration Day.

 In 1967, the name of the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day. Now the holiday  is observed on the last Monday in May.

The Ultimate Sacrifice:
A Memorial Day Poem
We set aside Memorial Day
Each and every year
To honor those who gave their lives
Defending what we hold dear.
In all the dark and deadly wars,
Their graves prove and remind us,
Our brave Americans gave their all
To put danger far behind us.
They made the ultimate sacrifice
Fighting for the American way;
We admire them and respect them
On every Memorial Day.
By Joanna Fuchs
Take the time today to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

After mowing the yard Sunday, I decided to put out a few flags for Memorial Day. I thought it looked rather nice, so I took a few photos.

Iris is enjoying the Memorial Day decorations!

I think Iris is a camera hog.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Patriotic decorations

I've been surfing the web looking for ideas for Memorial Day.  I came up with a few patriotic ideas from the following.

I found this place setting at Crossroads Cottage. I love the sparklers tied together with the napkin!

This red, white, and blue table was decorated by Country Glamour Home
Love the use of the different china sets.

HGTV has several photos of patriotic tables. I like the woven grapevine stars on this one.

This cute centerpiece is from Between Naps on the Porch
The yellow daisies in the pitcher add a pop of  color to the usual red, white, and blue.

How do you celebrate Memorial Day? My post Monday will be about the history and the meaning of the day. Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying to grow vegetables

My garden is doing poorly. When I had my hubby build four raised beds back in March, I envisioned them overflowing with vegetables by now. I'm not quite sure what the problem is. It may be due to the lack of :
1. rainfall (not the lack of water, but lack of natural rain)
2. too much shade (I already had my hubby trim one tree)
3. poor soil (that we did order from a reputable company).

I am not going to show you a picture of the entire garden (I'm  too embarrassed), but only of the individual plants that are doing well.

One puny, misshapened bell pepper.

Mustard greens that I don't even like, but hubby does.

Basil, which anyone can grow.

Teeny, tiny cucumbers ( I don't like them either.)

Some rather large tomatoes (I do love homegrown 'maters!)

Quite a few cherry tomatoes.

If any other vegetables miraculously begin to flourish, I will let you know when they do. I think I will replant the squash, which for some unknown reason died. Well, off to fertilize again. 
Any suggestions, besides cutting down some trees? Hubby won't let me do that.

Do you have a vegetable garden this summer? How is it doing?

Linked to the Weekend Warrior Party at Ask Anna.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slammin' Salmon

This is the best recipe for grilled salmon I have come across. I found it last summer on AllRecipes.com and have made it several times since then. I made some changes to the original recipe to fit my family's tastes. When I am making this for two people, I use four fillets. (I don't liked leftover seafood.)  I bet this marinade  would  be great on grilled chicken.

Slammin' Salmon

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup peanut oil
8 (4 oz) skinless, boneless salmon fillets

Stir balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce with salt, brown sugar, ground ginger, paprika, black pepper, and red pepper flakes until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Stir in garlic, green onions, and oil until well combined.

 Pour marinade into a resealable plastic bag or glass bowl. Add salmon to marinade and gently toss to coat. Place into refrigerator and marinate 2 to 24 hours.

 Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Before lighting, spray the grill with Pam Grilling spray. Drain excess marinade from salmon fillets. 

Grill until firm and opaque, about 6 minutes per side. Makes 4 servings. I usually serve this with a brown rice pilaf and either fresh broccoli or green beans.
What is your favorite food to grill during the summer?

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Linked to Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now.

Somewhat Simple
Linked to the Strut Your Stuff Link Party at Somewhat Simple.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Favorite picture books to read aloud

I love picture books, and reading aloud to children. As many of you know, I taught elementary school for ten years. During those years, I taught 4th and 5th grade reading, writing, and social studies. I also taught all the subjects in 2nd grade.

My favorite subject to teach is reading. I enjoy getting kids interested in reading, and I am thrilled when a student who "hates" to read becomes engrossed in a book. The trick is to find out what interests the children and find books they like. 

With all the required testing in schools these days, children are not learning to enjoy reading. I know in Texas the kids are always reading practice passages to prepare for the tests. Many schools are even eliminating the librarian and the library because of the expense. Children who don't have access to books at home can't even check out books in the library.

As a teacher, I had an extensive classroom library, most of which I purchased. My students were encouraged to check out books and could even take them home to read. I always set aside time during  class when everyone read, and I read aloud at least once everyday. I thought I would share some of the picture books that were the favorites of my former students and myself.

All of Henkes' books are wonderful. Another favorite is Chrysanthemum.

Numeroff has an entire series of similar books. They are great for teaching cause and effect.

The kids think this book is hysterical. Willems has written several pigeon books.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
A very simple book, but the kids love the story. There are now two more Knuffle Bunny books.

No, David! by David Shannon
Another simple story the kids love. David Gets in Trouble is another favorite.

When I find a particular author that the children like, I will read all their books to them. The same goes for encouraging your children to read. Help them find an author they enjoy, and take them to the library or book store to find all the books written by this author. This even works with adults. It's how I got my husband to start reading for enjoyment.

Read to your kids this summer! Join your local library's reading program. Send your children back to school  better readers than when they were the past year. I know the teacher will thank you!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

My project house (actually it's not mine)

My husband and I spent a busy weekend at our oldest son's home. After graduating from college, he found a job in another town three hours from our home. Not too close for a young, single guy, but close enough to see him once in a while. He bought a house that had been built in the 1950's and never updated.  Since his dad is a super handyman, we try to visit him every couple of months or so, in order to help him remodel his house. This weekend, we decided to tackle some landscaping.

Our plan was to clear out the flower bed on the right and replant it this weekend. Later, our son will demolish the planter box on the left, and we will landscape that side of the yard another weekend. These are my plans for the house, not necessarily my son's.

The previous owners were obsessed with rocks. This bed along with others around the house are filled with lava rocks, river rocks, limestone, flagstone, bricks, and just plain old rocks.

After removing a ton of rocks, cleaning out the dead leaves and loosening the soil, we're ready to plant.

Now landscaped with a few shade-loving plants and some impatiens for color. I think this is a good start.
We'll go back in June to see if these plants have survived and to work on another project.
I'd love to hear your ideas for increasing the curb appeal of this house.

This is linked to the Weekend Warrior Link Party at Ask Anna.

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Friday, May 20, 2011


Who knew armoires could be so functional and pretty?  I first came across these armoires on Pinterest.  I received my invitation to join Pinterest from Becky at Organizing Made Fun. Thanks, Becky! The blog,  Junk Garden, has a post showing these armoires and several more. The original source is a Better Homes and Gardens website, DIY  Ideas.
Pottery Barn has some great armoires that I could use, but they are kind of pricey. I guess I will be shopping thrift stores and Craigslist. I really want to make one of these, so I'll add it to my ever expanding project list.

This armoire efficiently organizes supplies for sewing and craft projects in a small space.

I love the pull-out shelves and the hooks on the door.

The metal panels keep reminders and notes in one spot.

I want a screened-in porch just so I could make this armoire. The colors are so fresh and pretty.

The galvanized metal counter is easy to clean.

Check out the pegboard and the shoe storage bags for tools.

When closed the wire mesh gives just a peek of what is inside.

How can I find space in my laundry room for this armoire?

Hope you find some inspiration this weekend. Check out Pinterest, a virtual pinboard to organize collections of the things you love. You create your own boards and add to them while on the internet. Instead of bookmarking websites, one photo, a link, and your comment are saved on your board of choice. Start as many collections or boards as you want. Pinterest is by invitation only. You can log onto their website and ask for an invitation, or send me your e-mail address and I will send you an invite. Contact me at texascottage@gmail.com.

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