Blackberry and Blueberry Jam

Only the ridiculous go blackberry or blueberry picking during 102ºF heat index weather. Right. So, what to do with buckets of plump, sweet berries? Share with family and friends, freeze for future recipes and . . . jam making! Here are two similar and easy recipes for blackberry and blueberry jam. Hope you enjoy!


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Healthy Low-Cal Fruit Smoothie

Early mornings under the pergola, after a hard workout or as a quick on-the-go substitute meal; my family and I frequently drink variations of this smoothie recipe. Sometimes I leave off the flax seed oil or the mango (not my favorite). I use a “Ninja” blender; my daughter likes her “Bullet.” Any blender, as long as the frozen ingredients are finely crushed will work. Anyway, not a pretty colored smoothie, LOL, but tasty and refreshing. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!



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Pallet + Plywood Workspace Table

I absolutely love my new counter-height workspace table.


This workspace table is made of pallets, better grade plywood and 4×4 posts. We found the pallets on an earlier expedition (see Pallet Pickin’ Fun) and purchased the rest at our friendly Lowe’s.


The plywood top edges were routed and then stained medium oak. Three layers of clear acrylic went on, sanding between each coat.

wtable_stain sand


My husband cut the table apron from the left over plywood.

I went over the legs and apron with my own chalk paint wash recipe; and then with a dark wax. Two layers of clear acrylic went on the pallet under shelf.

wtable_pallet shelf close 

The table top measures 3′ wide × 5′ long – plenty of room for my daughters, niece, sisters or mom to join in on the creating fun.


wtable_done chairs 

I’m so excited! My Dream Art Workspace is taking shape. I didn’t realize how much junk I have to unpack and to organize.  I’ll post photos soon.

Have a great week! — Joanne

Last Minute Gift Idea: Doggie Biscuits in a Jar

My Phoebe Darling

We are a large dog-loving family. Between my daughters, sisters, mother and myself; we always have a pup or two under foot. Our family pups include Boston terriers, labs, Lhasa apsos and rescue beagles. Each holiday season I bake a lot of Chick-Beef Doggie Biscuits. This year I decided to batch the ingredients in a gift jar.  The recipe is pretty simple and the pups LOVE these biscuits.


2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup steel cut rolled oats, 3/4 cup of canned beef consommé soup, 1/2 cup powdered low-fat dried milk, 1 egg, 3/4 stick margarine, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 chicken bullion cube.



Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add the egg, margarine and crumpled chicken bullion cube to the dry ingredients until creamy. Slowly add the consommé soup (don’t want the dough to become too watery). Roll out dough 1/8″-1/4″ thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool for two hours. These biscuits last up to 3 weeks. Or, they may be frozen. Our pups like them right out of the freezer!



Layer dry ingredients in a quart size canning jar in this order: flour, oats, powdered milk, garlic powder, chicken bouillon cube. It’ll fit, you just have to tap it down a little. If there is too much room left over at the top of the jar, add a little more oats.



Quart size canning jar, doggie bone cookie cutter, holiday ribbon, gift wrap scrap, scissors, hole punch, computer generated gift/recipe tags and a candy cane (optional).



I created computer-generated recipe gift tags on the computer (which included the rest of the needed ingredients) and printed them out.  I traced the flat seal of the canning jar lid onto a scrap of gift wrap. This I cut out and inserted into the lid, then set the flat seal inside to secure it.  After using a small hole punch on the corners of the tags, I tied the tags, a doggie bone cookie cutter and a candy cane to the jar with colorful holiday ribbon. Thanks to The 36th Avenue for Desireé’s free printable gift tags found here!



Click on image to enlarge and print.

Dog Biscuit Recipe Tag