Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Bars

As shocking as this may sound, I'm kind of getting sick of really heavy and rich desserts. I've always been one to gravitate toward baking heavy chocolate brownies, or heavily frosted cakes and rich dessert bars, but I guess I'm getting old or something, because they just don't hit the spot like they used to. Perhaps it has to do with it being the middle of summer, but recently I've been craving anything and everything fruity. Earlier this week a few of my friends were talking about blueberries, and what you could make with them (did you know there are blueberry enchiladas?? I'm not so sure about that one...). I'd never really thought about baking with blueberries until I ran across this recipe. I'm not exactly sure why I decided I just had to try it, but it just sounded really good. Plus, blueberries are in season, so I thought what the heck!

Blueberry Crumb Bars
(from various sources)

Blueberry Crumb Bars
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cold Butter (2 sticks)
1 Egg
1/4 Tsp Salt
Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
4 Cups Fresh Blueberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Tsp Cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease 9x13 inch pan.

In medium bowl stir together; 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salut and lemon zest (I quickly realized I don't have a zester, so I just threw in a few drops of lemon juice). Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be very crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the pan.

In another bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in blueberries. Sprinkle blueberry mixture over dough in pan. Crumble the remaining dough over the top and gently pat down.

Bake approximately 45 minutes or until top is slightly brown.

This is by far one of the easiest desserts I've made! They almost taste like blueberry muffin bars. You could totally eat these bad boys for breakfast! De-Lish-Ous! I will definitely be adding these bars to my summertime staple list. They were a huge hit over at my parents this afternoon. Yum, Yum, Yum!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wasn't Meant to Be...

Have you ever had one of those days where it just seems like you were not cosmically meant to do something you wanted? I had one today.

Traditionally Tuesdays are my big long workout days. They have been for a while now. There's not usually anything too terribly good on TV that can't be DVR'd and watched later. It's the second day in the week so my motivation is still pretty high and well, I just like to have big long workouts on Tuesday.

All day at work I was fighting a horrible headache. I don't get headaches very often, and even when I do, they aren't TOO bad, but they are annoying because I'm not at all used to it. Plus work was getting to me and I was just having a really blah day. The weather outside was pretty gloomy too, so that didn't help either. On the way home I decided I'd rather not drive all the way back out to the gym after letting the dogs out, so I thought I'd go for a run. Well the headache didn't really go away and running makes my brain bounce around (that's what it feels like anyway!)so I knew that wasn't a good idea.

I settled on a bike ride. Nice and smooth! I have about a 6-7 mile path that I take and it usually ends up being a fairly decent workout since there are quite a few hills involved. Today when I got on my bike I noticed it felt a little bit shaky, but kept on a going. About 3 minutes into my ride I realize it's the handlebars coming loose. There's a clampy thing that holds them in place and it looked like the screw was coming loose. Eh, I didn't let it stop me, so I kept peddling. Fast forward two minutes, and the handlebar is now completely sliding around. It pretty much felt like I was riding with no hands and trying to balance. Since I'm not 10 years old any more, this was quite the task. So I cursed a little bit, threw a total temper tantrum in my head because all I wanted to do was work out!!!! Then turned around to head home.

Of course the first portion of my ride is a downhill thing. Not a huge downhill, but downhill just enough that turning around and going home meant that I had to go up hill the whole way. Normally I would love this for the ol' quads, but trying to balance with wobbly handlebars wasn't the easiest. Since I'm stubborn, I wasn't about to get off and walk home. No way! I probably looked completely ridiculous, wobbling around like I've never ridden a bike before. I made it almost completely home when all was lost. I had to get off the bike and walk home. Plus it was starting to sprinkle a little bit. The Gods just did not want me to exercise today. I thought about trying to fix it, but I couldn't find the appropriate tool in the man cave, so I will have to wait until Zach can locate said tool and put it back together. *sigh*

So I guess tomorrow I'll have to DVR the best show on earth (So You Think You Can Dance) and go to the gym instead. I'll have to do triple duty to make up for the enchilada casserole, mexi rice, cupcake and chocolate truffles I ate while sitting on my ass, watching House Hunters. Dang you work out Gods, dang you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You wanna go to the dog park!?!

That's all we have to say to send Missy into a complete tizzy! It's hilarious! We have to be really careful that we don't mention the "dog park" in normal everyday conversation or we will have a very upset and confused little fireball on our hands. Usually we call it "The place where the dogs play". I'm surprised she hasn't caught on.

Monday was Ted's first trip to the dog park and both of their first trips in the new Escape. That thing is huge once you put the back seats down! We will have no problem fitting them both in there once Ted is full grown. It's great! They just need to get their "car legs" established and realize that laying down is probably the best way to go, so that they don't fly all over the place if we so much as turn around a corner or heaven forbid - break.

I'm not going to lie, we were pretty nervous about taking Ted to the dog park for the first time. He's been really shy and timid around other dogs and people in puppy school, but we were hoping that taking big sis along would help him. Luckily we got there a little on the early side and there weren't many dogs there. He could ease into it. He did amazingly well! He and Missy ran around together for a while and it was the cutest thing ever! Ted surprised us and actually sniffed some butts! (trust me, this is huge stuff in dog land) AND he went up to a few random women! He's still not so sure about those guys though.

On his last day of puppy school they brought out the big agility tube for the puppies to try out. Ted was his usual stubborn/nervous self and refused to go through at first, but after a bit of prompting and a few treats, he went through and loved it!! They have two big tubes at the dog park, so I wondered if he'd go through and he did!! Numerous times, with no treats! It was like he couldn't get enough of it. He probably just liked all the praise and head scratches after he got out, but still it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. He better enjoy it now though, soon enough he'll be way too big for those tubes.

They had a great time playing and I can't wait for our next trip! I might try to take them myself this evening, but it could be a challenge trying to get them in and out of the Escape by myself as neither one of them can jump up in it. We'll see! I'm just glad they love the park so much, because I love it too! It's a park full of happy dogs and puppies...that's pretty much the best place on earth as far as I'm concerned!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Strawberry Pie

I often forget how much I like strawberries. They are a staple on every fruit tray. Sometimes I pick them up, other times I ignore them. However, they are pretty darn hard to resist in the summer when they are in season. The sweet, yet tart taste is like a guilt free candy. Once I start eating them, it's pretty hard to stop.

I make a few different strawberry desserts, but this year I wanted to try to make a pie. I'd never made a pie before. I'm not sure why, they just looked like they'd be hard, and honestly, slicing fruit is not one of my favorite things. Basically anything that involves a lot of slicing or chopping, I tend to avoid. However, this was pretty darn easy!! I won't lie though, I used a frozen Pilsbury pie crust. They taste good and are easy. Win/Win!

I got this recipe from the since retired from food blogging Emily of Cast Sugar. She's still keeping her website alive for all us fans, so check her out!

Strawberry Pie

1 9in deep dish pie shell - baked and cooked
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 cups cold water
1 (3 oz) pack of strawberry gelatin
1 quart of strawberries

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water in medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil while stirring. Boil off until mixture is clear and thick.
Add jello and stir to dissolve.
Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes
Add sliced strawberries to jello mixture.
Pour in pie shell and cool at least 4 hours in fridge.

Slice and serve with a big ol' dollop of whipped cream.

I used slightly less cornstarch this time. I made this earlier in the summer too and my cornstarch lumped up, so I cut it back to about 4 Tbsp and it turned out perfect this time. Zach says it's really good, so it must be a winner! Oh, I also used sugar free jello and it tasted just fine!

Happy Summertime!

Sorry my pictures aren't the best. I'm not so good at the food photography thing just yet. I think I need a much better camera and lighting situation. I'll work on that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Well, summer appears to just be moving right along, doesn't it. It's been a busy one for us so far. It seems as though we've had something going on every weekend, which is a good thing, but it sure makes time fly. Zach goes back to school in about a month and his schedule is going to be pretty insane next semester. It's going to be trying on us, I can already tell. I guess if we know it's going to be hard going into it, then we can deal with it better. Let's hope anyway.

So, what's been going on?

Mostly dog stuff really. Ted is growing like a dang weed and Missy is becoming quite the good big sister. Ted has pretty much established that he runs this joint so Missy has calmed down quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of crazy time.

Ted is going on 4 months old now. We've had him just 2 months and Zach and I were just talking this morning that we can't even remember life without him. He's a great little guy!
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And quite the looker
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And just so we don't leave Missy out, here she is too.
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What else?

It seems as though everyone I know is having a baby! Two of them were just recently born. My cousin Angela (who lives next door to my parents) had a baby boy in early June named Reece and my oldest friend from Kindergarten, Kristin, just had a baby girl yesterday, although she hasn't told me the name yet. I'm dying to know!! Of course I have a major case of the "baby rabies" but alas, we want to wait until there is some sort of end in sight with Zach's school. Plus we wouldn't mind saving up a bit before as well. Although I'm not going to lie...waiting is hard.

I got a new car over the 4th! It's pretty nice if I do say so myself. For the past few weeks we've been out test driving some smaller SUV's. It was a close race between the Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda CR-V. After lots of thought, pro/con lists, research and serious number crunching we decided on the Ford Escape. I got the "XLT" which I'm not sure what that means, but it's pretty nice. It's black and has everything on it that I could ever want! Zach likes to call it "the truck" but I think he just does that to make me mad.

We've gone to one Royal's game so far. We met up with Zach's friends Matt and Brienne who were doing a mini baseball tour following the Twins. I quite enjoyed the new "K". We are going back next weekend with my friends, so that should be a good time. Let's hope the weather is as perfect as it was when we went last week!

As far as my working out goes. Well... I'm getting there. The past couple weeks I have been back to the old gym routine. I finally sucked it up and canceled my 24 hour gym membership but they are kind of slimy and we actually aren't out of our contract until September. So for at least the rest of July and part of August I'll still have to drive a half hour out of my way to work out, but I'm making it a priority. I don't know. I'm kind of over talking about this stuff on here. I feel like I keep jinxing myself or something. I'll let you know when I've lost those 10 lbs! I am giving up pop during the week though!!! I haven't had one since Monday. I know that's only 2 days, but I really can't remember the last time I went 2 days without my beloved Diet Coke!! I'll let myself have one or two during the weekend, and one during the week if it's some sort of lunch out, but other than that. Water and Green Tea it is!

That's about all I can think of. I've been busy, but it hasn't been too exciting.

Till next time....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pictures from my cell phone

A while back, my husband got a new job and therefore we got new phones! Fancy phones! My phone pretty much never leaves my side (as he will definitely attest to) so I seem to have quite the collection of random pictures stored on it. I thought it might be fun to share some on here. Why not, right?!

Here goes.... These all uploaded in a totally random order and since pictures are really hard to move around on blogger, I'm leaving them be. So sorry.

My manager gave me this calendar page one day after a particularly aggravating meeting. It is so, so true.
I took this one just two days ago. Ted is getting very big and loves, loves, loves his pillow. Too bad he decided to tear it apart shortly after this picture was taken. He might look cute, but turn your back for one second and things happen. Bad things.

Here he is one week after bringing him home. This was Mother's day and it was storming outside. He snuggled up right next to me and stayed that way for hours. Cuteness indeed!

Zach took this one and sent it via picture mail! Fancy! Check out those paws! I think he was probably only about 9-10 weeks old here.

We went to the Royals game on Monday. I'm pretty sure this is my first ever beer at a Royals game. I'm cheap.

I spent my birthday money yesterday and bought a new purse! It's super cool and I lurve it! I had to take a picture! Oh and that's my cube at work in the background. I like to try to keep it as cheerful as possible, hence the card decor.

This is Ted's first day of puppy school. They do this thing called "Pass the Puppy". It's super annoying and takes forever, but it's a good opportunity to cuddle up with lots of cute (most of the time) puppies. Ted "settles" like a champ!

This is Missy and George spying on the neighbors. They possibly may have learned that from their mom :)

Every year in May Zach and I go to the Liberty Memorial and take pictures. This was our 4th year and Missy got to come along this time! She loved it! Next year Ted can come too!

Before we adopted Missy she was busy filming a movie. Seriously! Here it is! It's super horrible, but we still watch it because dang it, she was a cute puppy. All she does in the movie is chew on shoes, cry and lick people. It actually explained a lot....

This was last night. Ted got pissed that I was watering the lawn and not playing with him, so he revolted by chewing up his other dog bed. Nice work!

Last weekend I finally found some pictures I really loved, so I hung them along the stairs. I guess I was proud of myself so I took a picture.

This one just cracked me up. It was one of the first hot days of the year and Missy was quite enjoying the cool air coming from the ceiling fan.

To Missy, the dog park is the happiest place on earth. I can't say I blame her.

So there you have it! A look through my cell phone! Fun times indeed!

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Greenwood, Missouri, United States