Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Ever since my bridal shower I’ve been on a major bundt cake kick. Bundts are pretty, quick, and require no frosting after they come out of the oven. A step to cake making that I find cumbersome and most times annoying, although delicious.

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I found this recipe from Lick the Bowl for a Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake. My husband has a mild obsession with snickerdoodle cookies so I figured I would try my hand at a cake version of the treat.

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This cake is AMAZING. Hands down scrumptious. The best part is the caramelized cinnamon sugar crust around the entire exterior of the cake. The only part of the recipe I’ve altered is adding a bit more cinnamon (3tsp rather than 2tsp).

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If you love cake, and love snickerdoodles run don’t walk to your kitchen and bake this little number up.

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Irish Soda Bread Pudding (booze not optional)

I was raised in a house that takes Saint Patrick’s Day very seriously. VERY seriously. Come March 17th every surface is covered with green paraphernalia, the bag pipe music is blasting through the rooms, the BIG stock pot gets dusted off and filled with corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, the cabbage leaves are proudly adorned on our heads, and, most recently, the oven is consistently churning out my mother’s (award winning) Irish Soda Bread.

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oh, and lots of Guinness

She gave me a loaf to take home a day or 2 before the whole fam got together to celebrate the holiday (a few days early). This got me thinking,  a whole loaf of bread for 2 little people is a lot of bread, could there be anything else I could do with this fabulous carb fest? A quick internet search confirmed: Irish Soda Bread Pudding. (lightning bolt to the brain guys, seriously)

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I would describe this recipe as easy as making corned beef and cabbage is (hint you can successfully do both while drinking). A little advanced planning is required as the bread needs a few hours to soak up the custard deliciousness. I would say the advanced planning is well worth it. This dessert was amazing, texture, taste, undertones of Jameson. Perfection.

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Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Jameson Caramel Sauce

Irish Soda Bread Pudding

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ Tsp. ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. melted butter (slightly cooled)
  • 3 Tbsp. Jameson’s Irish whiskey (as I always say, generous tablespoons)
  • Drizzle of Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • A generous 6 cups of 3/4-inch cubed Irish Soda Bread

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, spices and salt. Whisk in the milk, continuing until all the ingredients are well-combined and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk the Jameson and melted butter until just combined. Add the cubed bread, pressing down to submerge it into the milk mixture, and set aside to soak for around 30-40 minutes (minimum). By that point, most of the liquid should be absorbed.

2.  Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C).

3.  Grease a 9″x9″ baking pan.

4.  Pour the bread cube/custard mixture into the prepared pan.

5.  Drizzle Bailey’s Irish cream over bread mixture right before entering the oven.

6.  Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Best served warm with Jameson caramel sauce and an Irish coffee.

Jameson Caramel Sauce

  • 1 ½ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. Irish whiskey
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk, divided

1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved.

2. Turn heat up and allow the sugar to boil. DO NOT stir if you can help it – swirl the pot around a bit. Boil for about 5-7 minutes until caramel turns a deep bronze. This happens very quickly and goes from caramel to burnt in a matter of seconds.

3. Shut off the heat and carefully add the vanilla, 1/3 cup milk, and whiskey. It will bubble up violently, so stand back!

4. Turn heat back on to medium and let boil, stirring occasionally until the caramel is smooth. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

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Sochi Inspired Doodle Stich

It’s that time of year again folks! That magical time every 2 years when all standard programming stops and the Olympics take over my life. This year was no exception complete with opening ceremony party and some down time crafting.

Although I’m technically classified as a mutt…aka American… (basically name the country and it turns up somewhere in my heritage) My father’s side is straight forward Polish and Russian. With the games being in Russia the little Russian babushka in me got excited. My absolute favorite part of these games was the matryoshka doll set up on the slope style course. I ignored every jump every athlete completed near that babushka and would simply giggle with glee at the sight of her ready to hit the slopes, ski goggles and all.

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Seriously though, how great is she? Photo courtesy of Sergei Grits / AP

While watching the games, and admiring the Russian heritage I know little about, I became inspired to complete an embroidery of my own matryoshka doll.

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I am very happy on how well she turned out. Looking forward to creating a mini series of sorts of a couple of dolls with varying patterns and styles. At the minimum my two sisters are already asking when they get one. So expect a 3 doll series, minimum.

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Did you all watch the Olympics? Get inspired to do anything crafty thanks to Russia? Let me know!

A Hand Made Valentine

There’s a tradition in my house. Every Valentine’s Day, since the first year I was born I believe, my mother has made my father a home-made Valentine. Always out of construction paper, sometimes with paper doilies, almost always featuring a picture (or 12) from the last year, and progressively more witty/corny as the years pass. We’re talking almost 30 years of hand made cards.

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Valentine Circa 1989 (I’m the shorty on the right)

It’s one tradition my sisters and I always look forward to. Usually pictures of “all of Daddy’s girls” make it into the card. The crowning jewel in the collection is the year we moved into the new house, Mom worked the lyrics of our family theme-song “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads into the card:

“and you may find yourself in a beautiful house”

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“with a beautiful wife”

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“and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

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Ever since my hubs (what?!? Still so weird to say) and I moved into our apartment I’ve carried on the tradition of making hand-made Valentines. I always look forward to breaking out the construction paper, glitter, scissors, and glue and rifling through the last year of pictures for a theme/idea. Lets just say this year’s is going to be epic (and easily 100 pages long). I can’t post this years just yet (need to keep it a surprise for my Valentine).

One of my favorites from years passed is our 5th Valentine together.

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They aren’t super fancy and polished, but they don’t need to be. Getting down and dirty with old craft skills and slapping something together is sometimes the best way to express your love. It’s also something to cherish forever. These Valentine’s are also great for a last minute “oh no I forgot to get a present!”

I’m a girl who’s in love with the world…

…and Brendan can’t help but follow. I’ve been slightly obsessed with Amo’s Lee especially his song “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight”. I couldn’t figure out why I was totally head over heels for the line “I’m in love with a girl who’s in love with the world thought I can’t help but follow” until I realized it totally syncs with our relationship. See I tend to find joys in the simple subtle parts of life. Which then leads to crazy ideas like camping on a small island in the Bay of Fundy (roughly a 10 hour drive and 45 min. ferry ride from home). And poor Brendan can’t help but smile and go along with my crazy plans. Thankfully most of the time my daydream ideas manage to turn into awesome experiences.

Our vacation to Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada was one of the most amazing trips either of us had ever taken. We camped on the edge of a cliff face with the ocean lapping below us. We watched whales and seals swim by from our tent. And although when we arrived the entire island was encased in fog (and the camp owner said it wasn’t expected to clear until August and this was mid July) It all worked out and turned into a dream vacation.

The Bay of Fundy is known for having the biggest tide changes in the world. Thanks to this they also get amazing amounts of sea glass. We took a nice walk along the shoreline and collected some beautiful pieces. We also found what is possibly the most perfect heart shaped rock.

I kept our finds sitting for months trying to come up with the most perfect project for them. Finally the creative brain started turning and decided a shadow box was the best way to enjoy our little collection. With some sweet lyrics to round it off.

This project was seriously SO simple anyone can do it. Find a background for the frame. It can be fabric, scrap book paper, or a water color washed piece of paper (which mine was). Then add words or whatever you would like to the paper. I obviously used the Amos Lee lyrics and glued the heart rock to the paper. Then fill the frame with the sea glass and done. Hang that sucker on a wall or sit it on a shelf and remember that amazing vacation for years to come.