Thursday, August 29, 2013

lemon blueberry drizzle cake recipe


Hello friends. Today I’m stopping by for a quick Hello and to share my latest recipe with you.


Are you eating lots of blueberries this summer? I sure hope so because blueberries are so good for you.

Did you know that blueberries help us fight aging, lower blood pressure, protect the heart and even boost our memories? I’ve been adding them to my morning protein drink, but I also love to bake with them.

Since everyone loved this cake so much I thought I’d share it with you.










Adding the lemon syrup made this cake even more moist.


For the glaze I needed to add a dash of milk. I found it too dry using only the lemon juice. 


It’s perfect with your morning coffee…

If you make it I’d love to know what you think.


Happy Thursday!



Lemon-Blueberry Drizzle Bread from Portuguese Girl
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz/235g) all purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or slightly less table salt)
1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (6oz/ 185g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (4fl oz/125ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4oz/125g) fresh blueberries

For the Syrup:
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I used meyer lemons)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup (2oz/60g) confectioners sugar
about 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and adjust rack to the middle position. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and lemon zest on     medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, until each one is incorporated. Add in the milk and vanilla extract, and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated.

4. In a small bowl, toss clean blueberries with the 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

5. Bake until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. (this will depend on the size of your loaf pan). Allow bread to cool in pan for a few minutes then turn onto cooling rack.

6. While the bread is baking, make the lemon syrup. In a small saucepan, measure lemon juice and sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

7. Using a skewer, poke the top of the bread all over. Don’t be shy, you want all the syrup to go into the cake so it will be nice and moist. Brush the bread generously with the lemon syrup. Allow the bread to cool completely, about 2 to 3 hours.

8. To make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the confectioners sugar and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. When bread is completely cool, drizzle the top with the glaze.


I’m linking this post at this lovely party:


Sunday, August 25, 2013

how a thrift store table became a college dude’s desk

Hello everyone.

Yes, I’m back from my whirlwind week of moving. And after driving a grand total of 1500 miles up and down the state, I’m happy to report that both boys are in their new places and settled in for the school year. In the meantime I’ve been catching up on Life and still feeling a bit tired from the crazy pace of it all.

Today I thought I’d share the thrift store project I finished for Michael’s new college room..


He needed a desk for school work and while I was in the thrift store a few weeks ago I saw these two pieces that caught my attention. As you can see, with the Queen Anne legs and the shiny, gold hardware this table wasn’t exactly screaming out ‘masculine college desk’ but I bought it anyway.

Along with this tall, dirty file cabinet…hey, for $15.00 how could I pass it up?


The first step was picking a paint color for these pieces. Michael had gone shopping with me at IKEA (once) and had picked out a giant picture of a wave for his room that we spent most of his decorating budget on. But it helped set the color and theme for his room…


Here’s my cell phone photo of him in IKEA. I referred to this shopping trip as “quality time together,” and I think he called it torture.



And here’s the paint color I selected for the desk. After I turned this quart into chalk paint, I painted the entire body of the table.




I decided to sand the top of the desk and write Michael’s soccer number on it.

After I printed out some different style fonts, I let him pick out his favorite. I wish I had a picture of him staring at the paper…it was so cute


I’ll be honest. This project reminded me of how much I hate sanding old varnish off furniture. Even using a hand sander, it still took me over three hours. I kept thinking about Sharon and Suzan and all their wonderful furniture projects and I seriously wondered, “how do they do it?”

But afterwards I was happy with the results.



When I spray painted the hardware black I started to feel even better. It was looking more like a guy’s desk.




After it dried I sanded some of the paint off .


Here’s a photo after the first coat of clear polyurethane. If  I’d known how much darker it would get with the polyurethane I would’ve sanded more paint off the letters.



I think my favorite thing about the desk is the black hardware.



Here’s a few photos taken with my cell phone…

(let’s pretend all those wires are hidden)



A shot of the room on a sunny day….


After we said good-bye, Michael went to the beach to watch the sunset and texted us this picture while we were on the freeway. He’s only four miles from the beach and he loves his new home.

And I can’t think of anything that makes me happier (and yes, you can feel happy and achy at the same time).




Flowers for you.





I’m linking this post up here:


Monday, August 19, 2013

can you feel it too?


Hmm…not quite Summer, not quite Fall.

Do you feel it too?

The winding down of summer?  The fluttering of change in the air?


Or are you still on vacation in some faraway place, languishing in the sun with the sound of splashing water in the background? If you are, I sure hope you’re reading a fantastic book. And that you’re surrounded by the smell of coconut tanning lotion and that you don’t have to worry about cooking. Those are my requirements for a perfect summer getaway.

Although right now the pace of my life is miles away from vacation mode. No lying on the beach these days because in our house we’re full-speed ahead in ‘moving’ mode. Making lists and counting towels and shopping for school supplies and packing boxes for both boys.

Saturday we packed a U-haul filled with hand-me-down furniture for Patrick’s new apartment in San Luis Obispo. His semester started on Monday so it was a one-day whirlwind trip. Eleven hours on the road.

While I drove with Patrick in his car, Jim drove separately with the U-haul trailer filled to the top.


Along the way Patrick and I pulled off the freeway and discovered a charming little café where we had a salad and cold drinks. The weather was hot and muggy and we didn’t even know where we were.



While we waited for our food he told me funny stories and shared some Instagram photos. And I was aware of feeling so happy to be hanging out in some nameless city with him. Eating great food and laughing.

It’s not everyday you get to spend five hours in a car with your twenty-one year old son, listening to his favorite music and hearing him talk excitedly about his goals.


American Pie


At one point he played this oldie.

It was Don McLean’s American Pie (“I can’t believe you know this song!”)  and we sang it out loud in the car. Have you ever had this song blasting from your radio while traveling down a California freeway on a summer afternoon? It’s an exhilarating feeling.

Later he played an old Earth, Wind and Fire song (“here Mama, this one’s for you”) and with a continual stream of music in the background we reminisced about old times, we discussed books he’s currently reading and we talked about Life.

His and mine.


Jim and I finally made it back home after midnight and we fell into bed exhausted.

What a day.

But we’re relieved, Patrick’s all moved in and minus a messy kitchen, some unwanted flies and a runaway mattress the day went pretty well.

Next on our family schedule is Michael. We leave early Wednesday morning to move him into his new place because he begins his first semester at college in a week.

Whew… it’s all happening right now.




Tell me. What are your last days of summer like?

Can you feel it too?

Can you sense something new and different emerging in your life?

(any letting go?)

I would love to hear.






Thursday, August 15, 2013

decorating the college dorm…




Good luck to all the college freshmen and their parents who are in the midst of packing and heading off to their new schools at this very moment. As you probably know decorating a dorm is a unique experience. The space is tiny, the room-mate is a question mark, the budget is tight and the emotions are right on the surface. (Kleenex anyone?)

This post is for all those Moms and college kids who might need some ideas. (Thanks Kim for this suggestion). I hope these links are helpful.


read the entire post HERE


How to organize your dorm room around a color scheme


ideas from Apartment Therapy


More cheapness and creativity HERE



A Pinterest Board on Dorm Room Trends


And if you want to see how I transformed this


drab looking thrift store table…


into this masculine looking college desk…


don’t forget to check back for the whole post.

 Right now I’m off to buy a few of those 12 essential items.

In the meantime I’m sending special hugs to Marcy, Michele, Kim G. and Mare…my fellow freshmen college Moms. Hang in there girls… we’re almost there!






I’m linking this post up at these lovely places:


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the last one


Just breathe.

Be in the moment.

Lower expectations.


This morning when I woke up and tossed my legs over the side of the bed the first thought I had was, “This is our last week together. As a family.”  My eyes were barely open and this is the first thought that came to mind.

I do this a lot lately. I talk to myself. I give myself little pep talks. I grab at Buddhist concepts that represent something comforting to me about accepting change. And simply being. And not trying to hang on to every little sentimental moment with clutching fingernails.

Because I’m really trying. I’m trying to grow into the kind of person that welcomes monstrous, clunky changes that involve reorganizing my entire world.  I’m trying to be a sturdy Yoda when inside I feel like a fluttering Anne Hall.

I’m trying to inhale without the shaky breath in my chest and the wetness in my eyes whenever it hits me that in only a matter of days my youngest child will no longer live under our roof. And life will be forever different. Period.

Because that’s the truth and I can’t sugar-coat it. In a week Michael will live 422 miles away from me. And that fact makes this mother’s heart of mine ache.

Yes, of course I’m overflowing with excitement for him. I’m thrilled for him, he needs to go. But at the same time I’m gathering my emotional soldiers in place and preparing for the final realities. The first morning when I walk by his empty bedroom and see a neatly made bed. The-end-of-the-night when there is no more whisper of “Night Mom,” with a kiss planted on my head. No more loud door slams accompanied by  “Mooooom I’m starving… what’s to eat…?” bellowing through the house.


This is change. This is life. And you know what? It’s hard.

So this is the way I pace myself; this is the way I get ready for the hugs and the good-byes and the approaching sound of quietness that will be the new guest in our home because both boys will now be gone. I allow these millions of random thoughts to drift through my mind while I shop for towels and kitchen supplies and smile and plan and busily work on transforming the thrift store table into a college desk.

I acknowledge the truth to myself. I realize that this time around the college-drop off feels very, very different.


Because this is my last one. This is my baby.




p.s  anyone else getting ready for the college drop-off?




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