BLUEBERRY SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE and the secret to baking with frozen blueberries


We are surrounded by fields of blueberries.   In season  they are delicious eaten out of hand, sprinkled over home made ice cream  and  baked into muffins, pies and crumbles.  Our blueberry growing neighbors generously  share their bounty with us.  The season is short so I fill my freezer with bags of frozen blueberries.   Frozen blueberries juice turns cake and muffin batters an extremely unpleasant purplish green.    To avoid this simply rinse your frozen blueberries several times until the water runs almost clear.  Then dry them well – top and bottom – between several layers of paper towels.  Use immediately in your recipe.  I baked this sour cream coffee cake with frozen blueberries.  They are true blue.

Most recipes using frozen  or fresh blue berries suggest dusting them with flour to  keep them suspended in the batter.  In this recipe  you simply scatter them over the struesel topping.     The flour used in the sour cream coffee cake is cake flour.  If you don’t have it in your pantry  remove two tablespoons of flour from one cup and replace it with two tablespoons of corn starch.  Mix and sift well several times.   The cornstarch lowers the protein in the  flour and gives you a tender, lighter crumb.

This is a generous sized recipe.  It keeps well covered with a cake dome and  I serve it with an extravagant scoop of home-made vanilla ice cream.  Bon appetit dear friends.  The recipe awaits you in MRS BUTTERFINGERS’S  kitchen  –         BLUEBERRY SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE



THE SECRET T0 NOT LOOKING YOUR AGE . . when you are a senior.



Yesterday I posted  blog about looking younger, slimmer no matter what your age.   I received some interesting comments e-mailed from a few friends and  acquaintances .     They felt the suggestions in the books were not realistic.     The general consensus  was –  why bother to do this when you’re older.  It’s too much of an effort.     Or even sadder – I’m too old to concern myself with appearances.  Nobody looks at me anyways.

This growing old is non-negotiable.    However, your attitude towards aging is your choice.    It’s a mind-set, and not just about appearances.   One  hears men and women say  they are old on the outside, but in their head they are still young.

I have many wonderful friends of various ages.  The youngest is nine years old.  She is an old soul.  We discuss the future (hers), do art projects  and watch movies together.  The next youngest friend  is 20 years old,  occasionally raids my closet and is planning to open her own business.

This is the secret to not looking old .  Don’t act your age. Don’t say you are too old to do something new.   Don’t dress your age.    Approach this time of your life with joy and confidence.

Be happy.

Smile.  Smile.  Smile.

Enjoy your  younger life.

(photograph June 2016)










These are two books that every women, of any age, should read.  I PROMISE YOU .  These books are worth their weight in gold.  They will change the way you look (for the better) for ever.


How Not To Look Old by Charla Krupp.   Fast and effortless ways to look 10 years younger, 10 pounds lighter, and 10 times better.

How To Never Look Fat Again:  over 1,000 ways to dress thinner without dieting by Charla Krupp


Aging isn’t great.   Age-spots,  crows-feet,  gray hair,  chin hair,  saggy boobs and other things I’m not even going to go into.    I would love to give these books to every woman I know.   Here’s some excerpts from How Not To Look Old:


l. Up is better than down (brows  glasses,  bust,  bum).

2. Soft is better than hard (makeup).

3. Illumination is better than darkness (face, hair).

4. Warm is better than cool (hair colour,  makeup).

6. Moist is better than dry (skin,  lips,  eyes).

7. Smooth is better than dry (eyelids, lips, shape-wear).

8. Casual is better than fussy (hair, makeup, clothes).

9. Less is better than more (nails, jeans, legs).

10. And anything is better than nude hose!


l. Pick pink for your pout.

2. Arch your brows upward.

3. Cover gray brow hairs with pencil and powder.

4. Slim down your eyeliner.

5. Falsify a few lashes.

6. Don’t outline your lips with dark liner.

7. Lighten up on the foundation and powder

8. Unchain your reading glasses.

9. Lose the suit.  Switch up the pieces instead.

10. Slip on heels or high-heeled boots.


1. Slim down with shapewear bike shorts.

2. Boost your bust with the right bra.

3. Slough off old skin with a microdermabrasion kit.

4. Switch from powder to cream blush.

5. Cut some bangs.

6. Polish your toes – black, burgundy,  whatever.

7. Pick up a hip accessory.

8. Spring for “body bling”.

9. Whiten your teeth.

10 Have a tailor shorten (and narrow) your skirts.

Here’s the deal my darlings.    Why shouldn’t you look good no matter how old you are.   If you don’t like your hair – find a new hair stylist.    Update you make up with help from a professional (most department stores offer this service).  Buy a perfect fitting pair of jeans.  Never wear sneakers with them.    Treat yourself like you are worth a million dollars.  You are!


This is a simple, quick, easy, clean way to turn orphan furniture into grand, French looking creations.

This same method works on ANY other furniture.  You can do country or the Swedish look using this easy method.    Furniture can be in dodgy shape, or have a shiny, cheap looking finish.  Just find pieces with interesting lines.  You will be so delighted with the results.

This is the piece I started with.

All you need is a medium sized paint brush.  Some coarse and fine sand paper.  Water based top quality primer paint,  latex paint (yes wall will work), and furniture wax.  You don’t have to sand the piece first (unless it is Arborite).  Yes, you can get this effect painting over Arborite.  Just give it a really good sanding and cleaning.  The primer will adhere to it.

To achieve this old chateau look I used Gullwing Gray Primer (Aqua Lock plus) from Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Aura matte finish  Snow White

Minwax paste finishing wax natural (found this at Home Depot)


Give your piece a good cleaning with a little detergent and vinegar, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Turn your piece upside down and paint all visible(but generally hidden)  parts with the primer.

Now turn your piece right side up and continue painting.  Use long strokes  and paint in various directions.  Put the paint on thick.  The visible brush strokes will give that “old” look.  When the  paint is dry,  brush on the lighter coloured matte paint a section at a time.  This will allow you to wipe off some of the paint to show the primer underneath.  You can wipe off as much or as little  as you like.  You need to be quick off the mark as the primer will grab the matte paint.  If you feel you’ve taken too much off, just repaint.  You simply can’t make a mistake.  It’s just paint and you can always start over again.If your piece has drawers ( like this one) be careful to put paint on the edges of the drawers.  This could cause them to stick.  Allow to dry according the paint instructions.

Apply a second coat  again wiping away some of the paint to allow the primer coat to show through.

Let piece dry over night.    Now using first the coarse, and then the fine sandpaper, sand the edges to show a little of the dark wood underneath, and give the appearance of wear.  Sand in areas that would normally show wear over the years.   Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Using the furniture wax apply the wax in small sections.  Let dry ten minutes that buff.  The matte paint will grab the wax and you’ll be able to buff it to a lovely shine.  Let the piece stand overnight, then give it another waxing and buffing.  Voila!!  You’re finished.  Look what you have created you clever dears.

This piece had unattractive cheap looking metal pulls.  I removed them  and replaced them with these glamorous crystal pulls.    Hardware is the jewelery of furniture.  I gave my finished table a deluxe touch by lining the drawers with a remnant of silk toile.  Tres chic!

It’s details like beautiful drawer linings that takes you DIY project to a new level.  As the French say, “it’s all in the details”.



Sometimes when one is bombarded daily with food recipes one forgets the one that transcends all others.    I published this recipe just over a year ago and here I am making caramel sauce after neglecting this golden wonder for far too many months.

It is the attention to detail.  The little extra that pushes something over the top.  That take it from very good to extraordinary.    And when that extraordinary itself is truly magnificent you have pure gold.

During our restaurant years every evening I made a gorgeous caramel sauce.   We would pour it liberally  over our house-made ice cream.  The recipe was time consuming and demanding.  So I started  the hunt for a caramel sauce that one could whip up quickly and without too much stress.

Making caramel sauce is rather like the fairy tale Brothers Grim Rumpelstiltskin.  You turn water and sugar into a deep burnished rich golden colour.  And you do not have to give up your first-born child to do it.

This caramel recipe has just the right balance of caramelized sugar to butter and cream.  The recipe is easy.  You put water and sugar into a pan.  Watch it turn a deep golden brown.  Whisk in butter.  The aroma smells like McIntosh Toffee.    Add a little cream.  Cool.  Taste.  Sprinkle in  flakes of  fleur de sel  and faster than you can say Rumpelstiltskin you have the most decadent salted caramel sauce.

Pour it over ice cream or a slice of cake.  Add a generous dollop of whipped cream and you have a dessert worthy of a four star restaurant.  The very best part of this recipe for caramel sauce.  It refrigerates beautifully.  I must admit I occasionally remove the chilled sauce, dip a spoon into its silky goodness and swoon over this stealthy treat.  The sauce will keep two weeks refrigerated.  Unbelievable but this has kept more than the specified two weeks when I hid it behind the mustard  and totally forgot about it.  It was still good almost a month later.

SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE  – is pure gold!


When I was growing up I watched the ritual of tea being made in this blue teapot.     Every day tea was made in a large brown Betty,  a teapot as plain as  its name.  Tea made in the blue teapot was reserved for special occasions; brides and baby showers , afternoon whist drives and most important of all, bridge.

To me this was the most beautiful teapot in my world.

Everything had to be perfect.  The tablecloth  freshly laundered and carefully ironed.  My Mother had bought this cross stitch  tablecloth with matching napkins during the hard days of the depression.    An  enterprising  woman was  going door-to-door selling her exquisite  handiwork.   I remember my Mother saying  it had been priced rather “dear” , but well worth the price.

Weeks in advance cookbooks would be poured over  and consulted.    It was a given the sandwiches would be cut from white and brown bread in the shapes of hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds.  The fillings,   egg salad, deviled ham, creamed chicken, cucumber.

This  1924 edition of  a Fannie Farmer Cookbook, was considered the most up-to-date cookbook on the shelf.

The pages provided inspiration for sandwich fillings .  It was World War Two.  Many  ingredients were impossible to come by.  Sugar was rationed.  Creative cooks improvised.   Not even War could stop the rituals of bridge.

While my Mother read the  The Boston School Cook Book, I poured over this Blue Ribbon Cook Book.  This cook book  was printed in 1905,  “for everyday use in Western Homes”.

Would I make a  Minnehaha cake, a simple yellow cake with a delicious filling of  boiled icing with raisins and almonds.

No, I had made that cake the last bridge club tea.  This time  a selection of cookies; lemon snaps, horns of plenty and coconut jumbles.  Perhaps this was the occasion to make brandy snaps, rolling the crisp wafer thin cookies around a wooden spoon, then filling them with whipped cream.

Heady decisions for a ten year old baker.

It’s been more than sixty years since  those days of  food rationing, whist drives and bridge tournaments.   I was never into bridge.  My sisters, however,   still play bridge several times a a week.     I am still baking, and  pouring over cookbooks.

This recipe for lemon snaps was one of my favorites.  I have copied out the recipe EXACTLY the way it is given in my Blue Ribbon Cookbook.  You will notice there are few instructions.  You must judge how much flour to add, and  know how to judge a “quick oven” by putting your hand into the oven.  By the way, a quick oven would be 375-400 F.  It meant having a lot of kindling on hand to keep a very hot fire going in the stove.  Another job for the cook.

Recipe for LEMON SNAPS:

2/3 cup butter, l cup sugar, 4 tablespoons hot water, 2 eggs, flour to roll soft, 1/2  teaspoon soda, 2 teaspoons Blue Ribbon lemon extract.  Bake in a quick oven. That’s it.  No other instructions.    You’re on your own.

The beautiful blue tea pot – now over 90 years old,  sits on a shelf in my kitchen, a reminder of those elegant days of   afternoon tea.