Blueberry and Almond crumb bars-recipe with a lemon zest


Last Friday, our downstairs upright freezer decided to defrost itself.

We have had a long hot BUSY summer.

And we have neglected to do some things- so the ice in the freezer was

becoming like a living monster-growing and Growing and GROWING!

Until it pushed the door open of it own volition.

Sometime in the wee hours of Friday morning it started to defrost the

freezer, so by the time we got there it was well on its way!

Thankfully- the meat was still rock hard frozen.

The ice cream was a loss.

The bread we could use for toast that morning.

But the bags of blueberries were totally defrosted and I had to

find something to make with them fast.

The good news here is that Frank loves desserts.

He thinks every meal should end in dessert.

But he’s not that fond of fruit pies.

So- I decided to make blueberry bars.

Of course, I started making them without looking for a recipe.

Because I’m that stupid, really.

So I put them into a pan with a cup of sugar, the juice of a lemon,

and  teaspoons of cornstarch and started to cook them down.

Then I started making a crust and after I had mixed up sugar (1 cup)

and flour (3 cups) and a pinch of salt, I grated a cup of butter into a

measuring cup and thought- I should go see how much baking powder

 I should add- and I went to look up a recipe.

The recipe said 1 teaspoon of powder would be sufficient.

But it was really different for the blueberry addition.

It said to use fresh blueberries and mix them with sugar and cornstarch

and lemon juice and then just spread it over the bottom layer of crust.

RATS!  I had already been cooking my thawed berries for about 20 minutes,

and they were bubbly and fragrant and done.  There would be no going back.

So- I adapted my recipe, and added some almonds and lemon zest to the top

layer and baked them up.


Recipe ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups  blueberries ( frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. Put frozen/thawed berries in pan – add 1 cup sugar and lemon juice and

cornstarch and cook until bubbly and thick.

(2. Alternative:015

mix blue berries, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in bowl- set aside.)

3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Grate butter into mixture-

and mix together until it resembles oatmeal in texture.


4.  Add egg and lemon zest- and mix together with hands.  Dough will be very


  Now put half of mixture into bottom of 9×13 pan and

press down.  Spoon blueberry mixture over the entire pan.


Add almonds  to mixture in bowl and stir.  Sprinkle over top

of blueberries and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (keeping an eye on

it- you want the top to be beautifully browned.)





Cut into bars when completely cool and separate carefully.

I wrapped mine up in wax paper and plastic for lunches.

I ate one first and decided to freeze the rest- these can be

easily eat by the handful!

Such good food (with recipes!)


Meatloaf with wild rice and bacon- unbaked view.



And baked- really yummy!


Tri colored slaw with white balsamic vinegar.



Gluten free almond and chocolate cakes.

Recipe for meatloaf:


1 lb. ground chicken

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice

1 onion, diced and sauteed in 2 TBS olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper diced fine

3 TBSP tomato paste

3 TBSP chopped fresh basil

1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme

2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup pesto- I used a mushroom pesto- but any kind you like will be grand

3 slices thick bacon


First let me confess- this looks very high end- but I really just used up the

wild rice I had made for dinner the night before, forgetting that my husband

really isn’t a wild rice fan.

The rest of the ingredients were also either growing outside or opened and

almost moldering in the fridge.

So- first sautee the onion- or sweat the onions- however much time you have.

I sauteed them for about 10 minutes. Then add to the ground meat in a largish bowl

and mix in the herbs,egg, milk, tomato paste, rice and pepper (jalapeno).  Mix well

with hands- or spoon- I use my hands.

Shape into loaf shape, and

Place on grill pan ( with holes to drain off the fat).

and slather pesto on top thinly, then cover with bacon slices

and bake in preheated oven-375F – for about an hour and a half.

Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

And the chocolate gluten free cupcakes?

Here is where I found the recipe!  Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

found it on yet another Australian food blog.  If you haven’t made the

trip to Celia’s blog yet- you should- she always has the best recipes and

some of the sweetest chickens I’ve ever seen!  Her bread is fantastic, as well!


The slaw is just cabbages – red and green- sliced thin- and carrots, chopped.

Add 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a couple tsps of

olive oil- and you have a colorful and delicious slaw.

In my kitchen…


… is this happy little onion!


I saw this big smile when I cut into the onion and it made me smile right back!

In my kitchen…


are these salty almond bars- packaged and ready for lunches!

In my kitchen…


is this loaf of peasant bread – raised in the banneton Celia sent me

(Thanks again, Celia!) and fresh out of the oven.

In my kitchen…


is this wonderful tea infuser pot!  Jordan bought it for my birthday- he doesn’t know yet

that he bought it- but he did all the same!

In my kitchen…


is this can of Tasmanian honey!  I love the tin- and the honey is delish-

Thanks to Meredith for this beauty of a treat!

In my kitchen…


are my favorite rolling pins.  Most of them were gifts and I love them

and use them all throughout the year.

In my kitchen…


is dinner!

Grilled Ahi (yellow fin tuna) with a swirl of basalmic vinegar on a bed of

vegetable couscous, baked sweet potato, and a garden salad!


Slovaks are Hobbits!


This has long been my opinion.

I have been reading Tolkien since I was

15.  Rereading the trilogy every year since

my thirties- it is like an autumn journey

I take every year. 

And the more I read about Hobbits, the more

familiar they seem.  My mother was definitely

from Hobbitish stock.  She certainly had the feet

for it.  And the earthy sense of humor- in fact-her

reasoning was rather more or less hobbitish as


But I got a couple of pictures from my cousins that

have me totally convinced!

Slovaks ARE Hobbits! 1

This is my aunt Anna in 1956.

Slovaks ARE Hobbits! 2

Hobbits for sure!

Phone calls that take you back-

 Adam Jr (3) Pauline 1920

Ha –ha!  Not this far back!  My Uncle Adam and my mother in 1920.

Yesterday I got a call asking about my mother’s married status in

1994.  It was for an improperly filled out land deed transaction and

the clerk just wanted to fill in the missing information.

I gave her what she needed and the call was over in just a couple of

minutes.  But I have been skimming around in those years now-

looking at the past.  Rethinking and remembering.

Pauline and Ruthie 1935

Here she is again in 1935- about 17 years old.

My parents anniversary is coming up on May 6th.  When he died,

they had been married for 32 years.   She lived another 34 years as

a widow- not interested in marrying again- she said there was no

one else she could love like she did my father.


Mommy and Daddy.jpeg

And here they are- she is about 32 here- so around-  I don’t know-

my brain isn’t up to math today.

But there they are- in love- facing life and death together.

I miss my parents.

They were brave and beautiful.

They lived through tumultuous times and survived.

They loved and lost and won and gave their children

a firm base to grow upon.

And now I’M Grandma.

Funny- I still feel like a little girl.

Tuesday Afternoon.

Think grey.

Imagine gloomy.

Visualize mist and sluggish winds.

Then shiver.

That is my picture gallery for today.

Taking a picture is too depressing.


I’m depressed because this little guy is going

to his parents at the end of the week.

Fostering children is a good and noble job for

loving parents.  It helps give children a strong

start in this world.  I’m all for loving children

who need a soft place to land when their parents

run into trouble.

But it sure hurts to have to give them back.

Handmade pay it forward


Got this from my nephew’s blog– he got it from a friend.

I’m not sure if it is against the rules, but I’m going to try to

enter on both of theirs and see what the “pay” looks like!

Here are the rules:


I promise to send something handmade to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this post saying that they will also participate in Pay It Forward – 2011.

Those 3 commenters must fulfill the following requirements:

1. You must also participate in Pay It Forward on your blog, making this same offer to 3 other people.

2. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 3 people *sometime* in 2011.

I did this on Facebook and ended up with a wonderful chocolate ganache cake.

It is a lot of fun and I love the promotion of people making stuff for each other.

So- what do you think? 

What should I make?

What would you like?

And comment please , even if you don’t want to sign up.

I haven’t posted lately and I miss hearing from you.  Smile

In My Kitchen…

I borrowed this idea from Celia, at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

She has the most interestingly delectable things in her kitchen.

Today, I’m still in my test kitchen in Chincoteague, so I decided

to show some of the things I have here.


…I have basalmic vinegars that have been the base to marinades, dressings,

sauces, soups, and dips.  A can of chai tea that I’ve enjoyed hot and iced and

plundered for a source of cardamom.  And a small tin of Mediterranean spices

that I’ve used for pizza and focaccia toppings.  Plus a bottle of Virginian white

wine that we served with grilled shrimp and flounder over the weekend.



…there is a nice mix of cookies and flowers at the breakfast nook.

Jeanette Jha painted the butterflies on the pot and brought the primrose

when they visited! 


(the cookies are great for nibbling with tea!)


…there are shiny pots and pans hung over the 6 burner stovetop.


…two new ovens- convection and regular-

brand spanking new!!!


…A LARGE container of cashews- we’re eating them by the handful- and I

chopped some up for Chicken Salad with cashews and grapes.


…Four tea pots of graduated sizes- and a tea cozy Willow made me for



…sugared orange peel I made to use in Irish soda bread tomorrow.


…and a cupboard full of dishes and bowls and cups-


…where I have these cups displayed!  It makes me so happy to see them-

happier still to use them.


What’s in your kitchen, today?

Dancing with the roomba.

I didn’t say the rumba.  Room-ba.

It’s a little robotic floor sweeper that scurries about a little

like a crab and moves about by lightly bumping into walls and

cabinets and people.

I turn it on when I’m busy in the kitchen and it goes about its

merry way- bumping  around the house.


Sometimes it comes up right behind me and bumps into my heels.

I can usually hear it, so I’m kind of prepared-


except it is much quieter when going over a rug, so it can really

surprise you sometimes. 

Yesterday, I would step to the right and it seemed to follow my steps,

right step, left step, glide, glide. 

I’m so glad no one was taking a video.

“What cha doin’, Heidi?”

“Nothing.  Just a little dance with my roomba!”


here he is, hooked up to his momma!


close up of my new dance partner

All in a day-

Time is relative.

Or so they say.

All I know is that it takes me more time to accomplish less-

so maybe I’m not closely related.

I used to tell my mother that she needed to get up,

shower and dress if she wanted to be included in my

outings.  She would always say she was still in her

nightgown at the unlikely hour of 10 AM.

And now, here I sit, in my jammies, without any

interest in hurrying up to shower and dress.

So maybe the relativity is more to my mom than

to time?

Anyway- I’ve been busy- but there isn’t a whole

lot to show for it. 

I’ve finished another pair of socks.001

002Happy Birthday, Cynthia!

And I made some Chocolate Sable` cookies-


(and have a lot to be made in a roll in the fridge,Mmm!)



And I made my husband happy with roast beef, potatoes and gravy.

I’m slowly getting ready to go down to Chincoteague, but my husband

is involved in a job that has been extended and we’re not sure WHEN

we will be leaving.  So I’m not packing anything yet.  Just preparing.

And in this circumstance time is d r a g g I n g along.

So, really what does it matter what I get done in a day?

There is always tomorrow.