Somehow, though I’m not always sure how, my days are jam packed, crazy busy. From the time I get up to somewhere between eight and nine at night, I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. There’s email and Twitter to check on the computer and my phone, which is almost always by my side. There are blog posts to write, and hopefully a little time to work on my other writing projects. Reading other blog posts and leaving comments is a time consuming, yet very enjoyable part of my day. I spend a fair deal of time exercising, which is why I can eat all of these desserts and still fit into my favorite fancy party dresses, not to mention its almost instant ability to clear my mind.
I run around the kitchen, baking, cooking, and cleaning up. I edit photos and videos, and try to read the ever growing pile of magazines I seem to be unable to make time for. By the magical time eight or nine at night rolls around, the dishwasher is loaded, my nails are touched up, and my tweets are sent, my eyes are bleary and ready to focus their attention on a different screen: the television.
I love TV and all kinds of TV shows. There are so many good ones I no longer encounter a summer drought. But no matter how busy I am, no matter how many TV shows TiVo is begging me to watch and delete, when it comes time for Friday and Saturday nights, Mom, Dad, and I watch a movie OnDemand. I haven’t been to the movies in probably about 8 years, and I don’t see a reason to. They’re crowded, expensive, require me to be there at a certain time, don’t have a pause button, and sometimes the viewing experience isn’t super enjoyable due to some of the other patrons.
I love movies, though, and the three or so months a movie typically takes to make it to DVD and OnDemand fly by most of the time. It’s one of the high points of my week when Dad asks if I’m ready to look at movies. We look and choose one to watch with Mom in mind, who’s usually also trying to wrap up her day. Sometimes they’re amazing. We can’t wait to watch them again and are engrossed from beginning to end, like Moneyball. Sometimes we aren’t quite sure what to think, though we enjoyed our viewing time, like The Hunger Games. And sometimes we even turn off the movie, unable to so much as think about wasting another moment of our time on what fills our screen, like Bridesmaids (sorry to those of you who liked it; I will never understand that movie).
Whether the movie was good or bad, I love my time sitting there watching, no phone in my hand, hopefully no blog stresses or book ideas scrolling through my mind. Upon seeing the credits roll, the only thing I am thinking is I can’t wait for the next movie night to come around.
Though I don’t eat while we watch movies, no snacks are another way I keep fit, this Blackberry Crumb Cake would make an excellent movie watching snack. The process of making the cake is very interesting, as it used a food processor. I was a bit leery, but the result was a perfectly moist, quite light cake, leaving me wanting to use this super easy method again. The blackberries, more picked by my wonderful Dad, as the berry farm has two harvests each year, were superb and take on an almost jam like flavor and texture. The crumb topping stays soft through the baking process, and together the three layers and flavors are magic. Though I was uncertain about this recipe, I fell in love with it after only a bite or two. Hopefully I fall in love with the next movie I watch too!
- ½ cup pecans
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed, plus more for pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- About 2 ½ cups blackberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
- Make the topping. In a food processor, place pecans, sugar, flour, and butter. Pulse until crumbly and mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour into a bowl, and wipe out the food processor, but it’s okay if there are some crumbs left.
- Make the cake. In the food processor, place butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until crumbly and mixture resembles coarse meal. There should be very few large lumps. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add the flour and stir together until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. Place the blackberries in a single layer on top of the batter. They should be placed as close together as possible, but should remain in only one layer. Cover the entire surface of the batter. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over blackberries. It should cover them entirely.
- Bake 65-75 minutes (possibly longer, mine could have used a few more minutes, but I have no complaints about the cake), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, rotating halfway through if necessary (I found it wasn’t). Cool completely in pan. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven wrapped in parchment placed on foil for about 15 minutes.