Baked Mixed Berry Pancake

This recipe is a great twist on a pancake and being topped with berries makes it a perfect taste for summer.  The recipe could even be adapted to use fresh berries.  What better way to start off your morning that will this delicious pancake and a cup of coffee?

Baked Mixed Berry Pancake
Printable Recipe

2 cups of frozen mixed berries, unthawed
4 teaspoons sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter

Combine your berries with the sugar and set aside.  They will get nice and juicy.

In a mixing bowl, beat the three eggs until they are fluffy.

Then add in the flour, milk, and salt and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.

Place the 2 Tablespoons of butter into a 10 inch cast-iron skillet.  Put the pan into an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees so that the butter melts.  This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

When the butter is melted, immediately pour the batter into the hot skillet and place it back into the oven.

The batter will form a pool surrounded by the melted butter.

Bake the pancake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pancake has risen and is puffed all over.  It will deflate a little after removing it from the oven.

Fill the center of the pancake with your berries and sprinkle on a little cinnamon if you'd like.  This pancake can serve one hungry person or it can be cut into slices for two.  I like to serve it with a side of bacon or sausage.

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Paint it White

On Friday, I showed you how I turned an old beat up toolbox into a great decorative piece (which has since been sold on Etsy, yea!!!!)  Today I'm going to show you a quick refinishing job that I did on the teapot I had purchased at the same estate sale.

When I purchased it, the teapot was missing a lid and the factory printed picture was chipped in a few places.  I thought it had such a cute shape, though, and white pitchers are very popular in decorating right now.

I sanded the places where the picture was printed so that the outline wouldn't show through the paint.  Then I sponged on two coats of white chalk paint using Martha Stewart's Foam Pouncers (this gave the paint a textured finish) and a couple brushed coats of satin varnish to make it slightly shiny.  I brushed antiquing medium over it and wiped almost all of it off with a damp rag, leaving a little more around the edges of the opening and raised edges on the sides. (Sorry, I was a bad blogger and didn't take any pictures!)

This process can be done to just about anything that you like the shape of but not the paint finish.....knicknacks, lighting fixtures, furniture. You can make the process even easier by using white spray paint.  The chalk paint does seem to adhere nicely to a smooth surface, however.

I found a few other ideas on the internet:

via Scissors and Spatulas

via An Oregon Cottage

via 4 Men 1 Lady

via Tremendously Thrifty

A Repurposed Toolbox

A few weeks ago, I showed you a metal toolbox that I had purchased at an estate sale....In case you don't remember, here it is again.

And here it is now:

I thought that it would be different to make it a real decorative statement, rather than just a plain, ordinary toolbox.

Since the metal was chipped and potentially rusty, I coated the entire piece inside and out with a satin varnish.

I wanted to leave the metal hardware as it was and also wanted to maintain some of the places where the paint had chipped away exposing the metal.  To do this, I coated anywhere that I wanted unpainted with a coating of Vaseline.  When you paint over the Vaseline, it doesn't stick and when you are finished with the project, the paint will sand or wipe right off.  And believe it or not, it does not get brushed onto areas that you didn't want it to while you are painting!  You should know, though, that it can be a little messy and the paint will come off onto your hands while you're trying to paint, but it is a whole lot easier than trying to NOT get paint on an area or sanding it off afterwards.

After coating the toolbox in places with the Vaseline, I followed up the coat of varnish with a coat of KILZ paint to protect it from staining.

Over the KILZ, I painted two coats of yellow chalk paint.  After the first, I realized that the yellow I showed you the other day (in my post about making chalk paint) was way too light.  I don't know whether it was because I was painting over the white coat of paint or if it is just a light yellow color, but it was no where near the color I wanted.  So, I played around with adding three extra colors (Burnt Umber, Golden Brown, and Empire Gold - All from Ceramcoat) that I had in acrylic to it.  Instead of adding the acrylics to the bottle of paint  and risk messing up the entire jar, I squeezed some of each color onto a paper plate and brushed it directly onto the toolbox after coating a section with the chalk paint.  It took a little work to get a matching color on the entire piece, but in the end I love how it turned out.

After the toolbox was finally the golden yellow I was looking for, I added a decorative painted detail around the box with white paint and a liner brush.  Then I wiped away the paint on the metal hardware and made the edges look chipped.  

The entire piece was sealed with another coat of satin varnish.  Then I brushed burnt umber paint on it and wiped it off with a damp rag to give the toolbox an antiqued look.

The job was not done, though, because I decided I wanted to decoupage the inside with pages from an old Reader's Digest book using Mod Podge.  

I painted the tray that was inside the toolbox with an antique white chalk paint following all the same steps as above.

Now I think the toolbox can serve as a great storage piece or to display treasures.

I'm selling both items separately in my Etsy shop.   (Sorry, both pieces are sold.)

 I think the tray has so many uses on it's own.  
Two ideas I had were that it can simply be a display piece....

Or it could be used on a desk to hold office supplies.

You could also use it in the kitchen to hold spices or utensils.

I hope this project inspires you to repurpose an item that you have lying around!  Monday I will have another item to show you from that Estate Sale Trip.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Let me begin by saying that I hate broccoli.  Whether it is raw or cooked or covered in Ranch dressing, I don't like it.  I do, however, love this Broccoli and Cheese Soup.  My mom has been making this soup for as long as I remember.  It is incredibly easy and takes very little time to prepare. (It could be a great way to get your kids to eat their broccoli!!!)

Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Printable Recipe

Here's what you need:

1 Large head of broccoli
1 medium onion
1/2 cup of butter (the whole stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup
2 cups of milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken bouillon cubes that have been dissolved in 2 cups of hot water

Before beginning the recipe the broccoli need to be cooked.  Break the broccoli florets off of the stem into pieces.  Cover the broccoli with water, bring the water to a boil, and boil it for about 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.  Then drain the broccoli and let it cool.  I like to do all this ahead of time, even the day before.  Then the broccoli can cool and be torn into tiny pieces easily without trying to do it when the it is hot.

Chop your onion into small pieces.  I also like to chop my butter into small cubes so that it melts faster.

Put the butter and onions together in a pan and cook until the onions  become transparent and tender over medium heat.  You may notice they give off a nice sweet smell.

Add the flour gradually to the pan and mix into the onions and butter.  Stir quickly so that nothing sticks to your pan.

Add the can of cheese and stir until the mixture becomes smooth.  It will be very thick.

Add the milk and salt and pepper to your liking.  Cook the soup until it comes to a boil.

Add the broccoli and stir.

Then add the water the bouillon cubes were dissolved in slowly to the soup. (You could also use two cups of chicken broth.).  Mix well to incorporate the broth into the cream.

Turn the heat to low and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes.

The soup can be reheated if you have any left...You may need to add a little more milk if it is too thick.


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Creating a Summer Flower Display

I wanted to create a tall flower display in a urn as you walk up onto the porch.  The pot is in the sun all day long so I needed plants that could handle those conditions.  Adding a variety of types of plants in different heights and textures makes for a pretty planting arrangement, whether in a pot or in the ground.

I bought four types of flowers:
  • a hanging geranium pot with three geraniums in it
  • one Spike plant
  • two vinca vines
  • a plant labeled Strawberry Shortcake that had three plants mixed in it:  bacopa, calibrachoa, (both of which I had never heard of) and is a mixture of light pink, dark burgundy,  and white flowers

Let's start with my new gardening gloves...Aren't they great?  They are from Target's Threshold line, which I absolutely love.  They were no more expensive than other gardening gloves and I think having special "tools" makes the job a little more enjoyable.

Now onto designing my flower arrangement:

To add height, I wanted the spike to stick up high in the display.  I began by putting a clay pot in the center of my urn and pushed a stick down through the pot and into the soil so that the pot doesn't tip over.

Then I planted the spike plant.

Next, I added the Strawberry Shortcake plant in the front of the pot.  I want it to grow and trail down the front of the urn a bit.

I added the vinca vines on both sides of the Strawbery Shortcake plant because I want them to also fall over the side of the urn.

Finally, I added the three geraniums around the sides and back of the urn.  The plants will fill in as they grow and hide the clay pot I added.

And my design was complete....The arrangement doesn't really photograph well here after I first planted the flowers, but it should look great once the geraniums start growing together.

And here is the pot a few days later:

Ignore the wooden pallet in the background, please!  It is for an upcoming project.
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