Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blackberry Lemon-Lime Bars, finally.

These are tough economic times. Tough, indeed. Many of us are trying to make lemonade out of the lemons we're being dealt. But I say, when life gives you lemons, make
Or, if your culinary Jane is rather plain,
make old-fashioned
As serious as these two are about
what they do, they are both
Since I posted these pictures on Facebook last month, I have had SO many requests for the recipes. And you know me... what's mine is yours.

This is a Trish Original, so if you make them, you may very well be the 2nd person in the world to make these. If you try them, please tell me what you think, and if you blog it, please credit me and leave a link.

Trish's Blackberry Lemon Lime Bars

For Shortbread Crust:
1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Combine flour and salt and add to the butter mixture just until blended.
4. Dump dough onto well floured board and gather into a ball. Knead a few times.
5. Flatten dough into well greased 9x13 pan.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

For Blackberry Lemon Lime Filling:
4 extra large eggs (5 large)
1+1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
12 extra large blackberries, gently cut in small pieces
lemon zest, if desired or available

1. While shortbread dough is baking, begin the filling.
2. Whisk together eggs and sugar well.
3. Add lemon and lime juices, mixing well.
4. Add flour, and zest (if desired).
5. Gently cut berries, but do not add to liquid.

6. When crust is finished browning, remove from oven and immediately pour over lemon filling.
7. Drop berry pieces over the surface of the lemon filling.
8. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 25-35 minutes, or until set when touched with the pad of your finger.

Let cool completely before cutting. Keep refrigerated.

9. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with an additional berry and mint leaves.
Lemon & Lime & Blackberry:

I don't make plain lemon bars the same way, but you could. I like this filling for plain lemon bars:

Trish's Plain Jane Lemon Bars

6 XL eggs
3 cups sugar
2 T lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all purpose flour

Prepare the same as my Blackberry Lemon Lime Bars EXCEPT do not reduce temperature to 300, keep it at 350, and bake for 35-50 minutes or until set when touched with the pad of your finger.
Enjoy all that
It's nice to have a little dessert with your

*HINTS* Do not dust entire pan with powdered sugar unless you are prepared to eat them all at that time (like for church or something). Just dust them individually, they stay pretty that way. Otherwise the moisture in the bars wets the sugar and makes it ugly over time. ;) Also, if using a glass dish, reduce temps by 25 degrees.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here there be Dragons and a Graveyard Dog

*Day 11*

Day 11 did not contain any fairs, tornadoes, parades, or historic sites. It was mostly a day with Grandma, watching Lucy, playing more checkers and chess.

It was one of my favorite days of the trip.

We did manage to get out of the house for about an hour and do nothing.

Nothing is one of my favorite things to do in Neoga. Nothing is like it's own little exploratory adventure. While the kids played at the park, I tried to capture dragon flies in my camera.
They would sit very still, then fly out suddenly for two or three seconds and return to the very same spot to sit still again.
I wondered what the purpose was of this. It reminded me of our hummingbirds at home and how they can't stay still for long because their itty bitty legs can't support their bodies. It wasn't until I got home and put the pictures on the computer that I discovered the answer:
They were on the hunt.
Can you see the little white fly he's holding?

Now I know that they are aptly named,
When taking pictures of quickly flying creatures, many pictures come out, er, uh, empty. This one did, but it turned out to be one of my favorite pictures of the day.
The kids kept busy playing volleyball in the wet sand.
Beach balls are much lighter and more flighty than real volleyballs. Someone didn't know their own strength and kicked the ball so hard that it flew up and out away from the court and into the rain-filled ditch.
11 Days away from home was having it's effects; we were
I was just happy to be beneath the ancient canopy.
When Nevan was in a Kindergarten, I had the opportunity to help in his classroom a lot. I remember the teacher frequently saying, "Hands aren't for hitting!" She was right;
Meeka had this worm

After the park, we hopped into the van to return to Grandma's, but as I pulled around the corner to cross Trowbridge Road, I felt drawn to the country. We took a vote. We turned toward the bucolically beautiful right.

It's a tradition of sorts to take a drive through the countryside when we're back there. There is a little spot near Trowbridge that I consider
It has no sentimental significance to me other than the fact that it was always my favorite part of that area to drive through, even when I was a little girl. It used to be a pastoral plot, too steep to grow corn, where cows could be seen grazing with the occasional horse or scattering of woolly sheep. There were no meandering livestock this trip, and the land that had once been a grassy teeth-mown dinnerplate, was now 3 foot tall saplings and brush. No animal had grazed there this season, and the forest was taking back it's inheritance.

We decided to stop to see if they still leave the doors unlocked at
Gaskill Church is where my Mom grew up attending Sunday services. It's just a little brick chapel in the middle of the country, bordered on the cemetery side by a creek, and on the yard side by soy bean fields. Remarkably, it has never been kept locked.
The register by the front door, if you turn back the pages, contains evidence of my family from years past. On this page from August 28, 1960, you see my Grandma's handwriting, "Mr. and Mrs. Leo Carruthers, Bobby, + Connie."
I think next time I see my that particular Uncle Bob (I have three Uncle Bobs), I should call him Bobby. Tradition dictates that we must sign the register. We did.

I plinked out a few lines from the hymn book on the out-of-tune piano, while the kids found a few toy cars between the pews. We left them there to be found by their owners the following Sunday, looked for familiar faces in the black and white photographs by the front door, and exited the single-room building with it's huge Bible at the front and coat tree at the back to see what could be found outside.

Walking into the cemetery to find our progenitors, we found someone already there.
Do you remember Happy Mutt? Well, this dog was so sweet and gentle, brimming from ear to ear, that we called him
Happy Mutt II wasn't the only friend we found there, we found many a bug and amphibian pleased to make our acquaintance.
Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were a little too pleased. Those darn buggers were downright enthusiastic! We needed to leave. Meeka, especially, was being eaten alive. But, there was truly a bond between
The kids were worried that Happy Mutt didn't have a family, but he had a collar and I figured he probably belonged to the pastor or to a nearby farm. The idea of a roaming dog was new to them, but it's just a way of life in Rural America. We sat down to say goodbye.
We drove past the farmhouse where my Mom was born, and then past this old barn that I always loved,
but instead of heading back into Neoga, I wanted to drive the kids past the spot where their Grandma Carruthers lived as a child. We drove around Lake Mattoon and through this little hollow.
Like everything else, it was wet.
We finally arrived. Of course, the house is no longer there, but you can see where the ditch crossing had once been. I snapped a shot of the new resident, who was so frightened by our unannounced arrival that she was frozen
Down the road a little further I found another token of times past, this beautiful
The light on the barn told me that it was time get back. As we pulled into Grandma's driveway, I couldn't help but remember the way Grandma's yard had always been a matter of pride to her. Not only was she renowned as a marvelous cook and baker, she had once held quite the reputation as a flower gardener as well. The beds were always bursting with blooms, the lawn kept tame by diligent edging and mowing. It is amazing to me how time can grow your talents, and time can take them away. Saplings are coming up in all the flower beds now, and these (below) litter the ground.
Each is a
Her once tidy and lush lawn, is now so shaded by the massive trees that grass barely grows there. In it's place is a
It's a miracle, really, that anything could grow there, with only the slightest amount of sun filtering through. It was fitting. As beautiful as Grandma's yard once was, I loved that moss carpet. As active, and fast, as talented and beautiful, as kind and generous as my Grandma had always been, she is like that moss carpet. Beneath that green rug is fertile soil, enriched with years and years of fall's mulch, winter's rest, and spring's renewal. The soil beneath has all the potential for goodness that it ever had when in it the roots of sweet smelling grass did drink and reach and grow. It has a new beauty now, fitting of it's time and age. So does Grandma. She's not so dependent on the sun, relying on her inner soil, enriched by years of experience to grow. She no longer needs clipped and cut to be kept tame. Her limbs are brittle, her spirit is bright. Her memory is failing, her love is undiminished. She is a testament to the years of service she's given, growing moss when she can no longer support grass. She is a miracle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You are cordially invited to my Tupperware Online Party! I am hosting this Online Party to tell you about all of the great products Tupperware has to offer to simplify your kitchen, home, and life! Please click any of the shopping links to begin browsing through products and special offers available through my Online Party.

Summer excitementSummer at its best!
Learn how you can get an $85 Surprise Pack FREE!

Be sure to click on any shopping link to ensure that you're participating in my Tupperware Online Party. My Tupperware Online Party will last until Aug. 27, 2009 (EST). If you have any questions, please let me know. Or you may visit my Tupperware Consultant's Web site, Karen Christner.

Thanks for participating in my Tupperware Online Party,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lincoln Log Cabin

Day 10*Part 2
Less words, more pictures.

It was Saturday, and so I knew my Aunt Connie would be around to help Grandma, and there was one place we wanted to go that we couldn't really take her. Sooooo, after the parade and lunch we headed to
I was really proud of my kids. We'd been gone 10 days from home with neither internet access, nor video games of any kind, and yet they hadn't seemed bored ever, not even for a moment. We had played more chess and checkers over the last couple of days than you can imagine. However, even here on our outing, I found them, again,

Of course, that wasn't all there was to do. No, no! Lincoln Log has a lot of fun activities to do in the museum, such as dressing in period clothing,
but my favorite parts were what could only be done outside the museum.

All of the help at Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site are volunteers who dress and speak in 1845 style, and go by the names of those who lived on the site at that time. The greeter told us that if we asked Mrs. Lincoln, she would tell us where to find the new baby lamb born that morning. We found her weaving a rag rug on a great loom, and inquired. She told us which barn to look in, and just as she had reported, we found the

I guess my kids are a little more "city folk" than I am; They couldn't stand the smell of the barn, and so we headed out.

It was Meeka's first time ever seeing a

We found these period-style mugs on the picnic table. The lids were to keep the mosquitoes out.

I was thinking of trading in Vanbi for one of these sleek vehicles.

I think Mayzie would have made a great farm girl.

We walked the path between the Lincoln Home and Sargent Farm.

Even though we nearly melted from the muggy heat, it was still beautiful in summer's splendor.

The walk wore Nevan's legs out until his knees could no longer bend, and he was stuck walking like this:

Meeka's face said it all: We were hot, tired, and uncomfortable.

Having not been separated in ten days, I expected the kids to begin to grate on one another's nerves. But they didn't, and they remained as close as ever.

Meeka stayed close to her primary mode of transportation: me. I carried her through most all of the park. She was just so tired.

We made one last stop at the visitor's center for a drink from their fountain,

and we were ready to go.

But not before Nevan got a picture of this water strider.

On the way home, I just had to stop and get a photo of this old tractor. I just love it, don't you?

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