Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler for the 4th!

Fresh blackberries have always been a favorite fruit in our house. So last year, when my husband added an orchard and a garden to his hunting camp, he made sure to plant lots of blackberry vines.

Starting in early June, my daughters and I began joining him to "pick the crop" off the trellises. (Although at times, there was more eating than picking!) The vines, thick with our crop, reminded me of the verse from John 15: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing". This was Jesus' acknowledgement that his living energy as well as his spiritual reality, would continue to nourish and sustain us. What an incredible gift from God! Read more at:

We also gathered peppers, okra, kale, cabbage, tomatoes...enough produce to fill our fridge and to give to family and friends. Although we shared some of the blackberries, the majority have made their way into our "can't-believe-this-stuff-is-kinda-good-for-me" blackberry cobbler.

My oldest daughter found a great recipe that she altered to make it even healthier. We'll definitely add it to our 4th of July menu!

Blackberry Cobbler

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed & drained


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter and coconut oil until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup boiling water until mixture is evenly moist.
3. In another bowl, dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and blackberries. Transfer to a cast iron skillet and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Drop spoonfuls of dough into the skillet over the blackberry mixture. Place skillet on foil lined baking sheet.
Bake 25 minutes, until dough is golden brown. (Optional: top with a scoop of ice cream.)

Enjoy a fresh dessert for the Fourth of July - or anytime!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hot Yoga

After developing "runner's knee" from two decades of running way too many miles, I decided to try "Hot Yoga" with a friend. Having grown up in the South, I didn't mind sweating for an hour and a half. And despite some knee pain in certain poses, I really loved the stretching and peace found in learning the yoga positions.
Also I learned the meaning of "namaste" which is thrown around a lot these days. Done at the beginning and the end of class, it means "the divine in me honors the divine in you". To perform it, you say "namaste" as you place your hands together at the heart, close your eyes and bow your head.

So for a few weeks, it was all happy namaste, until I received the email about "the contest." A sweat flinging contest! The winner flings his or her sweat the farthest to the mirror. Gag. I couldn't stomach going back with the vision of beads of sweat flying all over the room. (Someone hand me the Lysol.)

So, I began doing yoga routines early in the morning.  For a beginner, like me, there are several good sites and uTube videos available. The best one I've found so far is at

Among their tips for beginners:
1. Don't worry about being perfect.
2. Don't force it. Feel comfortable in every pose.
3. Connect to the pose. Don't think too much about it. Just feel it and breathe it.
4. Be open. Keep an open mind and tune into the possibilities within you.
5. Drink lots of water.

For me, with a lot of self-induced stress and anxiety, I've enjoyed a morning of "Six Mood-Boosting Yoga Poses". Created by consultant Kelly Larson, this 20-30 minute routine is based on postures shown to help stabilize mood. Larson points to a UCLA study that shows three types of yoga poses - standing, forward bends and back bends - positively affect moods.

So rather than be a "hot mess" every day, try this routine to make yourself fitter as well as more relaxed. Namaste!