Cows in blankets. You mean that’s a thing?


Summer means swimming, and boat rides, and grilling. Around here, it also means  drive-in movies! We are fortunate to live about 20 minutes from one of the 10 drive-ins left in Alabama. Last Saturday night, a whole group of us loaded up after a day on the lake and headed down for a cheap double feature. (Six bucks for adults. Total. Even if the movie isn’t very good, you can’t complain too much about three bucks a movie.) There’s still a full-service concession stand with burgers on site, but I was trying to be budget conscious and took my own food. (Yeah, they don’t care if you do that. We took a watermelon to cut, too.)

I decided it was a great time to make Cows in Blankets.

A cow in a blanket. Not what you were expecting, huh?

A cow in a blanket. Not what you were expecting, huh?

What? You don’t know what that is?  Continue reading

All things blackberry — Next, Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifle

Cool and pretty..a great addition to a summer gathering!

Cool and pretty..a great addition to a summer gathering!

On birthdays in our family, the birthday girl/boy gets to pick their meal and a dessert. Picking a dessert at our house often just means throwing out ingredient suggestions and letting me be creative. A couple of years ago, my daughter said she wanted something with blackberries, but not a cobbler. Something cool.

It needed to be doubly impressive since her birthday is on July 3, so her “party” is the huge 4th of July celebration we have. I headed to the internet looking for ideas. There were all sorts of yummy things, but I knew I hit the jackpot when I found a Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifle. I would give credit for where I found it, but I have lost the link. :( I do still have the recipe, however!

It was so good, that’s what she asked for again this year. It was GONE in less than 15 minutes. Bowl clean…

Continue reading

All things blackberry — First, jam.

Just one part of one day's effort! Big, juicy, and wonderful mouthfuls of summer...

Just one part of one day’s effort! Big, juicy, and wonderful mouthfuls of summer…

In the lot beside the office where I work, there is a lovely bunch of blackberry vines. There’s also a thicket of them on the other corner of the property, and some in the trees on the back. (No, we aren’t out in the country — we are four blocks from the main street downtown.) No one seems to know where the blackberries came from, but everyone agrees that they just grew. No one planted them on purpose.

I am just about  the only one anymore who is willing to go out in the heat and pick them. My mom was worried about it being “snakey” (a truly wonderful Southern descriptor), but when I explained that the lawn was mowed right up to the vines on one side, and on the other, the vines are growing on a concrete pad, she settled down a bit. I have also made it quite clear that the day I see a snake is the last day I will ever pick blackberries out there.

Last week when I came in from picking, soaking wet and dying for water, I checked the temperature. It was 92, with a heat index of 108. See why I’m the only one who will pick them?

Anyway, I have picked this year. And picked. And picked again. Then I made my daughter and her friend go out to finish picking.

She didn't mind TOO much, even though it was her birthday!

She didn’t mind TOO much, even though it was her birthday!

So far we have about 3 1/2 gallons. So right now, cooking is all things blackberry, while we have them.

And what is the first thing you make when you have lots of fresh-picked blackberries? JAM!  Continue reading

Old Fashioned Tea Cakes — Turns out they aren’t just for tea!

Store bought sugar cookies just don't measure up after you've had these!

Store bought sugar cookies just don’t measure up after you’ve had these!

Yesterday’s post about the Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes promised the recipe for the cookies, so here it is!

As long as I can remember, my mother has made tea cakes. I’m not sure how old I was when I finally figured out that other people called them sugar cookies. lol

I can claim no input on this recipe. It has been unchanged for at least 60 years. My mom got the recipe from her aunt and I have no idea how long she had had the recipe before passing it to my mother.

These are quite possibly the best sugar cookies around. No lie. They are a little bit of trouble, just because you have to roll them out, but it is totally worth it! Continue reading

Getting back in the saddle with Sara’s Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

So how do you start blogging again after being away for so long?

Even more important, how do you turn your attention to something as trivial as being a foodie and cook when your life was turned upside down in an instant?

I suppose I should back track just a bit. As I said in my last post, on March 18, my grandson had a cardiac arrest at after school care. At 3:30 that afternoon, my world turned upside down and it still isn’t completely upright. Before that instant, Todd was a normal, active 6-year-old boy who loved playing kickball and soccer to  fighting for his life.

After 3 months in the hospital with various complications, he finally went to rehab. (He suffered a traumatic brain injury due to lack of oxygen during the cardiac arrest.) He is now home and doing out-patient rehab to try to relearn how to control his motor functions. He is doing well and we are hopeful that he will regain a lot of what he lost.

Needless to say, cooking hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. Mostly, I have tried to stay busy enough not to think about what was going on 10 hours away from me.  As he has improved, though, I have been able to turn my attention back to some of the things I was doing before.

Last Saturday, I made not one, but TWO, kinds of birthday cupcakes for my friends. Continue reading

There’s a reason I haven’t been posting…

This post has very little to do with food.

I haven’t posted much lately, mostly because there have been some changes in my life that I’ve been working on getting balanced with everything else. 

But even those changes were thrown out the window earlier this week. On Tuesday afternoon, I got a phone call that I had hoped to never get. My 6-year-old grandson went into cardiac arrest and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. 

Our family has been through this with my son (his father), beginning about 11 years ago. He received a heart transplant 4 years ago and is doing great. They have always watched the little man closely for signs of his inheriting the same condition, but it hasn’t shown up until now. 

My son and I live 10 hours away from him, so it was a LONG couple of days with lots of driving and crying, and very little sleep.  He is stable now and doing better, but we won’t truly know his condition for another day or two. We are spending all of our time at the hospital or trying to get some rest at a nearby motel. 

Needless to say, I won’t be doing much cooking anytime soon. For now, I’m happy if I don’t have to open a cellophane wrapper before eating. :) 

I’ll be back when I can.