No-Bake Blackberry Cheese Pie

Yesterday, I gave you some tips on how to pick fresh, ripe blackberries.
Today, I’m going to give you a sweet summer recipe that uses up those fresh berries.
This cheese cake recipe could be used with any berry, really. In fact, the original recipe called for gooseberries. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a gooseberry. I don’t know what they look like.
So, we’ll use blackberries today. You could use raspberries or blueberries or even that canned cherry pie filling if you wanted.
The possibilities are endless.
No-Bake Blackberry Cheese Pie
Source: Out Here magazine, Spring 2010 issue
 1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup blackberries 
1 1/2 sticks margarine
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip
 Mix cornstarch, water, blackberries and 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan.
 Cook on medium heat until thickened. Cool.
 Meanwhile, crush the graham crackers to make crumbs.
Add in butter and mix well.
Press into a pie dish or 9×13 baking dish.
Mix cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla.
Fold in Cool Whip for a light, fluffy mixture.
Take your crust…
…and spread half the cream cheese mixture over it.
Next, layer all the cooled berry mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.
Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Garnish with fresh berries or graham cracker crumbs.

Waiting on Wednesday: Nightshade

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
¬†Last week, I highlighted a werewolf novel. This week, I’ve got another one for you!
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
From Amazon:
“Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything — including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?”
I’m a fan of forbidden love, if you haven’t noticed.
I am intrigued by this werewolf lore and so excited for this book!
Plus, I love the cover…
Nightshade will be released Oct. 19, 2010.
Nightshade is available for pre-order from Amazon here.

How to Pick Summer Blackberries

Nothing says summertime in Texas like fresh, ripe blackberries.
This yummy fruit grows wild in many parts of the Texas country, and I have fond memories of growing up picking the blackberries that grew outside our home.
So, when I heard about a pick-your-own blackberry farm in north DFW, I knew it would be a fun place to take my niece, River.
And maybe I could share a few tips on picking this summertime fruit along the way.
So, early one Saturday morning, we headed to Duck Creek Blackberry Farm in Sanger, Texas.
Tip #1 – Arrive early to beat the crowds (and the Texas heat!)
If you get there too late, the bushes will already be picked over and you won’t get the best fruit.
Look at those berries, just ripe for pickin’!
Tip #2 – Know your pickin’ container. 
Many places, like Duck Creek Farm, will provide buckets for you to use as you pick your berries.
At Duck Creek Farm, we paid by the gallon.
Cash only.
Tip #3 – Prepare for the summer heat.
Wear a hat, sunglasses and apply *lots* of sunblock.
Even if you hit the fields early, you’ll probably still have to reckon with the sun.
Tip #4 – Know your colors.
You want the *black* berries (hence the name), not the *red* berries.
 You definitely don’t want the blackish red berries.
…not red.
Tip #5 – Give the berry a little tug.
If it separates from the stem easily, you know you have a ripe one.
If it’s a bit tougher to release, you need to give it a bit more time.
Tip #6 – Give it a once over.
If it’s plump and black and seems to be juicy, you’ve got a good one.
Plump, black and juicy is the way to go.
Tip #7 – Use a smaller container to keep the berries you just picked.
When it gets full, dump it into your bigger bucket.
Tip #8 – Don’t forget the bottom of the bushes! 
Lots of times, people don’t want to bend down to pick those lower berries. They’re just waiting for you.
Tip #9 – Look in the middle of the bushes for plump, ripe berries.
Sometimes, they hide.
Tip #10 – Enjoy yourself.
Spend the time picking berries with your family, and chasing your silly little niece.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
Happy summer!

Post It Note Tuesday

For the past several days, I’ve been holed up at my parents’ house with my niece, River.
Since The Nerd and I do not have kiddos of our own, she’s the closest thing we’ve got (other than the Minions).
There are many life lessons to be learned from almost-two-year-olds.
Here are just a few, Post It Note style.
Don’t forget to check out Supah Mommy’s blog to see what everyone else has to say, Post It Note style!
Thanks for looking!


This girl
is going
to be
a cheerleader.
But for now,
she’s content with
annoying the dogs.

Rolo Cookies

Last week, I posted the technique I used to edit this food photo.
But I left you wondering what exactly these cookies were.

Well, now here’s the answer!

If you can’t tell, I really like Rolo candies.
These chocolate cookies taste like brownies with the chewy caramel flavor in the center.
Can you say yummy?
My sister shared this recipe with me on our trip to New Mexico
And I’m so glad she did!
Rolo Cookies
 2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 pkg rolos
A bit of sugar for garnish 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat sugars and butter until fluffy. 
Add vanilla and eggs to mixture. 
Beat until combined.
Combine flour, coca, and soda. 
Add flour mixture to fluffy mixture. 
Unwrap the Rolo candies and get them ready for action!
Shape about a teaspoon of dough around each Rolo. 
Be sure to cover it completely.  
You want it to be about the size of a golf ball.
About this time, The Minions started to get interested in what I was doing.
I guess they were hoping for me to drop a few scraps…
They were sorely disappointed.
Look at all those future cookies!
Press one side of the dough ball into the leftover sugar. 
Place sugar-side up on a baking sheet, about two inches apart.
You’ll end up with about three dozen cookies. If you don’t want to make that many right away, just put the dough balls in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. 
 Bake for eight minutes until the edges start to crisp.
Doesn’t the caramel inside look good enough to eat?
Serve these bad boys just out of the oven with a glass of cold milk.

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
As for me, last week, I did *not* put off every single little thing I was supposed to do for work. Not me! I would *never* procrastinate just because it’s summer and I don’t want to have to work. And that means that I will now have to work this week just to take care of it all. Woohoo.
On Thursday, I packed up and headed to my parents’ house to hang out with them for the weekend. I did *not* check the UPS tracking for a very important package I was awaiting shortly after driving the hour trip to their house, only to find it was delivered just after I left.
So, what did I *not* do? I did *not* leave the package sitting outside our house for a night. Then, I did *not* drive back home to pick up the box and then head back to their house (a two-hour trip total) the very next day. Not me! I am way more organized than that.
And, I did *not* spend the whole day cooking yesterday to make a Father’s Day meal for my dad. Not me! I would *never* go overboard and insist on making everything from scratch. At least there will be good posts on the cooking section this week, right?
Oh, I did *not* forget to post an In My Mailbox post yesterday. Not me! I am *totally* on top of this blog thing and never miss a single post! hahahaha.
And, finally, I am *not* going to shamelessly plug my guest post on Screwed Up Texan today. Not me! I would *never* as my readers to head over there right now to check it out! :)
Happy Monday! 

Screwed Up For a Day

A few weeks ago, I got to meet Allie from Screwed Up Texan.
I love her blog — she’s witty, funny and oh-so-honest.
Next week, Allie is headed to Utah for a camping vacation with her family, and she’s asked several bloggers to write guest posts for her blog while she’s gone.
And guess what? She picked *me*!
Then, I had to put my thinking cap on and come up with something that would be worthy of her blog.
I think I’ve got something good, and I hope you agree!
My post will go up on her site at 9 a.m. CST Monday.
That’s right, I’m first up!
So, be sure to check it out.
Thanks for looking!

Flower Power

I have a confession to make: I am not trendy or cool.
You will never see me sporting skinny jeans (my hips just can’t handle that!).
In fact, the only jewelry I wore for the longest time was my Aggie Ring.
Next month, I’m hosting a bridal shower for my cousin, Courtney. In the next few weeks, you’ll get to see lots of posts about invitations and centerpieces and appetizers.
‘Cause I know you *all* want to hear about that.
Hey, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want!
Yesterday, I went out hunting for shower things. When I take on a project, I take in O-N!
We’re doing a luau theme, tropical flowers and the whole nine yards.
So, when I stumbled upon these babies at Pier 1 Imports, I put my non-jewelry-wearingness aside. I *had* to have them!
Cute little rings in the shape of tropical flowers!
What could be more perfect for shower prizes?
There’s this cute black one you could wear with anything.
Or so I’m told.
And the green one! It’s my favorite!
White…so pure…so dainty…so…BRIDAL!
This photo does not do justice to the awesome coral pink of this flower. It’s gorgeous!
And, finally, the blue. So bright! So beautiful!
Each ring has an adjustable back, so it could fit anyone!
Ok, ok… jewelry binge over.I’m going to link this post up on Tidy Mom’s I’m Loving It Fridays!

Thanks for looking! Protection Status