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Monday, April 30, 2018


I made these muffins this past weekend and they received a "thumbs up" from the entire family.  You'll be drooling over the aroma while they're cooking and I promise they won't dissapoint when they finally cool off enough to enjoy one!
They come together really quickly since the foundation is Bisquick mix.  The streusel topping is heavenly and the extra drizzle of frosting is perfect.


2 cups original bisquick mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 egg

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup bisquick mix
4 Tbsp. softened butter
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with parchment liners.   In a medium size bowl, stir together all of the muffin ingredients.  In a separate bowl, crumble together the streusel ingredients. 

*Add 1 Tbsp. of muffin mix to the bottom of each liner, followed by 1 Tbsp. of streusel. Top cups with the remaining batter, followed by the remaining streusel.   Bake 18-20 minutes until the top is set.  

Remove from oven and make the icing.  Drizzle over  the top of the warm muffins.


*It is important to only use 1 Tbsp. of batter on the bottom of the cup, otherwise you won't have enough batter for the second layer. 

recipe c/o: 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


My daughter and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Ireland, so I'm taking this opportunity to share some pictures, insights, and impressions from our adventure.  When I put together a trip for the two of us, I do A LOT of research.  Some of what I use is from travel I thought I would share in the event anyone might benefit from our experience. 
We flew into Dublin, but instead of starting our trip there I chose to pick-up a rental car and drive approximately 2 hours to Kilkenny.  I'm happy to report the rental experience went well!  I had my concerns about driving on the opposite side of the road, but I had an awesome navigator in my daughter.  I will tell you that I thought I was going to be able to manage the trip with the National Geographic map that I had purchased, especially since the GPS could not be reserved in advance....but there's no way!  Thank Goodness for google daughter saved us with that on a number of occasions!    Try as much as you can to use M or N roads, but know that you will find yourself on the R roads, which are generally very narrow, filled with sharp turns and at times downright frightening.                                                                                         

Without a doubt, Kilkenny was my favorite city! It's very quaint and loaded with history galore.  After our 1.5 day visit, we were on our way to Cork.   Along the way I traveled through Tipperary to see the Rock of Cashel and Cahir castle....both worth the stops.  In addition to seeing Cork, I also planned a day trip to Cobh.  Loved Cobh.  Lots of history with the Titanic experience (the last 123 passengers boarded in Cobh) and the Heritage Center which is all about Irish immigration to the states; Irish immigrant Annie Moore was the first person to pass through Ellis Island.   We also visited Blarney Castle that day.  I totally enjoyed that day, not just the castle, but the grounds were absolutely amazing.  
Frankly, Cork (other than a wonderful hotel that I booked) didn't trip my trigger.  Larger city centre, and certainly not as much character as the other cities we visited. 

From Cork, we had our longest driving day to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren (approximately 3 hours).  So much beauty to see.  I had also booked a midieval banquet for that night at a castle (Bunratty).  It was fun! We had a 4 course meal, and the staff was dressed in costume; lots of singing and entertainment.  
We stayed at a lovely B&B lodge (Wild Atlantic Lodge) in Ballyvaughn and explored the burren the next morning on our way to Clifden.  I planned a visit along the way to Galway....that was a fun little city.  Spent the day there exploring their historic city centre and enjoyed a great charcuterie board with wine at The Cheesemongers (highly recommend) in town. 
We stayed two nights at the Ballynahinch Castle in Clifden.  It was a lovely stay, the facility is beautiful.  Library, sitting rooms, fireplaces to enjoy.  One of our day trips was to the Kylemore Abbey (a must see) and the other day we went out to the Ashford Castle for tea!  Great day.  The tea was impressive to say the least and the Castle was beyond impressive.                                                        
To break up our final leg of the trip a bit, I opted to not drive all the way back to Dublin from Clifden, instead I overnighted at the same hotel in Kilkenny....we took a different route so that we could see some additional sights and went to Offay and saw the ruins of the Clonmacnoise Monastery.  It was amazing and totally worth the revised route to see it.  

While I much prefer the smaller towns, we HAD to see Dublin.  I strategically chose to drop the car off, there's no reason for it in Dublin, and you'd go crazy trying to get around in it, there's just so much vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  I took the bus into the city, which was reasonably convenient.  I would suggest the Hop On/Hop Off bus to get your bearings and truly take in the city from one corner to the other....without the bus, you'd be hard pressed to do this.   I bought a 24 hour pass and it worked great.  We headed out the first day mid-afternoon which gave us until that time the following day.  Consult the "must see" sights about times/tours, etc.  We really had to revise our thinking to take it all in in the amount of time we had there.                                                                                                                                                        Some additional thoughts....take advantage of the breakfasts that most hotels offer (some for an additional $10 when booking online).  We started our day with a full breakfast which would last us until late in the day.  In some cases we could go all the way until the "early bird" dinner offerings from 5p-7p at discounted prices.
....which is another way to save costs.  Some of my favorite dinners were soup and an appetizer, or a charcuterie board.  We obviously had to try the fish and chips which were awesome and I couldn't go home without tasting some Irish stew, which was also delicious!  Hope this inspires, or helps in some way if you're thinking of traveling to the Emerald Isle.   Since we didn't take in Northern Ireland this trip, I'm thinking I'll have to combine that with a trip to Scotland in the future.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


This wasn't a terribly complicated project, but I really like the way that a new coat of paint totally changed the entire look of this vase.  I had been wanting to do something for a long time and finally found the time to get it done!

I had put the clear vase together best I can figure, about 6-8 years ago.  You can see at the bottom of the vase the acrylic water solution (found at your local Michael's or Hobby Lobby) that is designed to make it look like the arrangement could actually be real, since the stems were submerged in water.   What I didn't realize was how dust collects (despite your best housecleaning efforts) on the acrylic and you just can't remove it.  So much for looking real!
So, I decided since I still like the arrangement, I would just re-paint the vase and update it a bit.   I covered the stems with a kitchen bag and went to town in the garage.  Have I told you how much I love Frog Tape?  It is awesome....totally held the line for me when moving between the stone and gold paints. 

Love how this turned out!  Guess I can keep it awhile longer and not have to cover my eyes when I walk past it!

Monday, April 2, 2018


This Easter I was looking for a light dessert recipe with a spring like flair....and this recipe turned out to be just right.  The family raved about it, so I'm sharing it with you!  But, don't wait until next Easter, this dessert would work well when you're looking for a nice light dessert with plenty of lemony cream flavor.


4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
2/3 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
powdered sugar

Lemon Filling
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
5 drop yellow, liquid food coloring
1 ½ cups whipped topping (I used the Cool Whip lite version)
*1 jar lemon curd 

¼ cup coconut
2 drops food coloring


Line a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.  In a large bowl. beat egg yolks until lemon-colored.  Gradually beat in ¼ cup sugar.  Stir in oil and lemon extract; set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 2 Tbsp at a time until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.  Fold into egg yolk mixture.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; fold into egg mixture.  

Transfer to prepared pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar.  Gently peel off waxed paper.  Roll up cake in towel, starting with one of the short sides.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  

For filling, in a small bowl, combine the milk, lemon juice, lemon peel and food coloring.  Fold in whipped topping.  Unroll cake; First spread the jar of lemon curd over the cake to within 1 inch of edges.  Spread a light layer of the whipped topping mixture over the curd, again to within 1 inch of the edges.  Roll up and place seam side down on a platter.  Spread the remaining whipped filling over the cake.  

In a ziploc bag, add coconut and whatever color of food coloring you choose; shake to tint.  Sprinkle the coconut over the cake.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Refrigerate leftovers.

*Adding the base layer of lemon curd was my modification to the recipe. I thought the added burst of lemon flavor would be fun and the different texture would also provide some added interest to the finished product.  

adapted from: