I’ve been looking for breakfast or brunch ideas for the weekend that isn’t quite as bad as a typical Full Irish Breakfast. I found a lot of the muffin tin type recipes but I was hoping for something I could just put in the middle of the table & dish up.

So I decided to go with some of the ingredients from many of the muffin tin/ramekin recipes, with a few extras, and put it all in 1 big dish & pop it in the oven. The following recipe is enough for 3-4 people.

First I chopped 8 bacon medallions and put them on the pan with some spray oil (6 would be fine but they needed to be cooked before tomorrow so I decided to throw them all in)

Then I chopped up 6 mushrooms & added them to the pan. I had 3 baby potatoes left over from yesterday’s dinner so I chopped them up and added them in. (They are definitely optional but a great addition if it’s a brunch meal that you want to keep you going until dinner)

I used my spray oil again to spray the bottom of the oven dish and added the bacon, mushrooms & potatoes.

Next, I added a tin of baked beans. I removed a tbsp of the sauce because I thought there might be a little too much but I can’t see that it would make a huge difference.

After the beans, I added a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese (if you’re trying to be good, you could leave this out) but the amount I added wouldn’t even be a tbsp per person.

Last but not least, crack a few eggs on top & season with salt & pepper before putting it into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

It’s a relatively quick and easy brunch idea with a limited amount of cleaning up. Add a pot of tea and everyone is happy.

The only thing I would do differently next time is possibly add some scallion or red onion to the mix.

ribbon wreath 1

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I love simple, easy craft ideas that take only a few minutes to make. This wreath was made using a Styrofoam ring, some double sided tape and some ribbon. Simples.

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I want to start off by saying I do not have green fingers. Or at least I wouldn’t know if I did because the closest I’ve come to any type of gardening is watering the plants when someone is away for a week. I love a cactus as much as the next person so I decided I wanted to plant some terrariums. I had a quick look on Pinterest and it looked pretty simple to me so I went to the garden centre to buy the materials.

I already had the glass vases and  had been using them for candles but decided to change it up. I bought the cacti and succulents  (between IKEA and my local garden centre. IKEA was considerable cheaper), soil and stones.

The process was pretty easy and enjoyable. I covered the table in plastic sheets (it was raining outside!!) and got to work. I put some white and some black stones in the bottom of the vases for the water to have somewhere to drain to. Next I added the soil almost to the top. The most difficult part was planting the cacti because there wasn’t a lot of room but I wanted to fit three in each vase. Once they were in, I put a few more stones on top to cover the soil and make it look better. 

I enjoyed it so much I decided to plant a larger succulent in a plant pot and some more in a wooden box that was supposed to be used for an indoor herb garden. I waited a while to write this post because I wanted to see if they’d survive…and they have! 

I love that cacti and succulents don’t require a lot of looking after. Any tips for easy to care for plants?

Hamper Lorenzo & I

1) The hamper,  2) Lorenzo & I on his christening day

My beautiful godson Lorenzo was christened last month and I put together this hamper as part of his christening gift. I think it’s a nice idea and you can put it together at a reasonable price depending on where you buy the items to put into it. I added some things he can use now and some things my friend Steph will need for him soon such as socket covers. I bought the L for Lorenzo in a craft shop, sanded it down and painted it so she can frame it, hang it on his door or put it in his bedroom.

I think it would be a great gift idea for parents of a new baby. Can I suggest putting things that a baby will need down the line such as corner covers and sippy cups. Any new mother will tell you they receive plenty of 0-3 month clothes.

Memory Jar 2

I, like many people I’m sure, often lose entire evenings to Pinterest. It is absolutely addictive. I’m pretty much a Pinterest creep because I never actually pin anything, I just look at other people’s boards. I’m now vowing to pin my own projects as well ideas belonging to other people  that I’d like to try out.

One of those Pinterest dedicated nights I noticed lots of memory jar pins and my brother and friend mentioned them too. I think it’s a really good idea to write down all of the good things that happen in a year and keep them in a jar to be opened on New Years Eve. It’s really easy to forget the small things that make you smile throughout the year. I had a lot of fun preparing my memory jar. I sprayed the lid gold because it’s gold, duh! Do you need a reason to spray things gold? I used a project life card which I believe is from the Sunshine Edition by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman over at A Beautiful Mess but I could be wrong. I liked the idea of using this card because I felt it looks at all of the little moments individually . I then used number stamps to add ‘2014’ to the card and some washi tape to stick it onto the jar to finish it off. 

This year has started off well so I’ve already added some memories to it. I hope to see a lot more memories in it by the end of 2014.

Cheesecake Cheesecake jarsAm I the only one who is completely obsessed with jars? Yes? Okay then.

I bought these really cute Jars and thought they would be great for desserts so I had to work out what kind of dessert to put into them. I decided on cheesecake for 2 reasons. The first was that there is layers to cheesecake so it would show through the glass and the second is because cheesecake is so easy. It’s about the only dessert I can get right. This is probably a good thing because I’d make a lot of desserts otherwise.  I’m really happy with how they turned out so I thought I’d share the recipe here. It was just a standard cheesecake recipe, but if there are any newcomers to the world of cheese cake making then it might be helpful. The caramel turned out perfectly which I’m really happy about because apparently it can go wrong very easily. 

Ingredients:

Base –

  • 200g Digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter

Filling –

  • 300g cream cheese
  • 200g cream

Topping –

  • 100g golden syrup
  • 100g butter
  • 100g brown sugar

 

Method:

  1. crush the biscuits
  2. melt 100g of butter
  3. mix the butter and biscuit together
  4. flatten the biscuit mix into the bottom of each jar and put them into the fridge
  5. mix the cream cheese and the cream together in a bowl until it’s fully blended
  6. Add cream cheese mix on top of the biscuit base and put it back in the fridge
  7. Add the brown sugar,  remaining butter and golden syrup (it must be equal quantities of each) to a pot and boil on a medium heat, mixing continuously, for about 2 minutes.
  8. Finally, add it to the top of the cheesecake filling and refrigerate for at lease 2 hours.

Before Craft knife and pins Before the paint Yellow ceramic paint Finished product

I bought a notice board so that I could try to make plans for each month for craft projects and blog posts. I don’t know about anyone else but this girl could always do with being a bit more organised. I put it on the wall and straight away I felt like it was a bit boring. So I got to work straight away with my plans to make it a bit more interesting, after all, a boring old notice board isn’t going to inspire you to come up with wonderful craft and blog ideas.

I got some material from IKEA in black and off-white. I’m kind of obsessed with black at white at the minute. I covered the noticed board with the material and pinned it into place. I then used a craft knife to cut the material around the inside of the frame of notice board. I wasn’t too worried about it turning out perfect, but it worked pretty well. Next I used superglue to stick the material to the board. It didn’t really matter if the glue showed through because of the design on the material but if you were using a block colour you might need to test the glue out first.

I liked it at that point but I still felt there was something missing so I decided to paint the wood my other favourite colour right now – yellow. I used a sponge and yellow ceramic paint. I had lots of it left over, but that’s a different story for another day. I’m delighted with how it turned out. It’s yellow but you can still see the wood grain through the paint.

I definitely think it’s going to help to inspire me to come up with great craft ideas. It also brightens up my craft room which is an added bonus. How do you keep track of lists and plans? 

Bathroom rack (before)

Craft rack detailsCompleted craft rack

1) The rust on the rack before I cleaned it up,  2) Craft rack sprayed gold,  3) Finished craft rack in between albums and books

Re-purposing is the new brand new, am I right? At the end of the Summer when we were filling the skip with stuff from the boxroom (more about that here) I told my Dad to throw any bits he wanted to get rid of onto the skip. He put a steel bathroom rack on as it was getting rusty and he was planning to replace it with something else. Straight away I noticed it and thought it would be perfect for crafting materials. I took it off the skip and spent a bit of time cleaning off the rust. I used tin foil (aluminum foil) and vinegar to clean it and if you can stand the feeling of the foil on the steel it works a treat. Next to decide what colour I wanted to change it to. I found cheap spray paint in black, white, silver and gold. I decided to go with the gold. It turned out perfect and I’m delighted with the finished product. I’ve sprayed a couple of things since and I’m kind of addicted. Keep an eye out for more resprays popping up.

Some of the ingredients Mixing the batter

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

There’s something about this time of year but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who craves baked goods as the weather starts to get colder and the days shorter. Well the past few weeks I’ve been in the mood for two things – banana bread and peanut butter cupcakes. One problem, I am not a natural when it comes to baking. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be one of those people who can whip up a cake for dessert while they cook a big Sunday dinner for 6 people….but I’m not. If it needs to go in the oven, you can be sure it will come out either flat or burnt. I didn’t let that discourage me though. Oh no! So the weekend before last I purchased the ingredients for banana bread and set about following a recipe down to the last tiny detail. Did it rise in the oven? Oh it did alright but it also burnt on the outside and yet was still raw on the inside. Wasted ingredients, wasted time. Big fat fail! But as they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. So the next day I started over. And I must say it was better…edible even. Not perfect but hey, what do you want from a baking novice?

Of course at this stage I’m thinking sure I’m brilliant at this and last weekend I went out and bought all of the ingredients for peanut butter cupcakes. Sunday afternoon I gathered all my ingredients, followed a few hints and tips, put them in the oven and held my breath while I watched them rise. And guess what? They were delicious. Or at least I thought so.

So the moral of the story is…if at banana bread, you don’t succeed, try peanut butter cupcakes….they’re much easier.

I looked through loads of different recipes and I took bits and pieces from different ones and added a few bits of my own. This is what worked for me –

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Quantity: Makes 20 normal sized cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 75 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 190 grams of soft light brown sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 120 grams of all purpose, plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 40 Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Cupcake  Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 180 c/gas mark 4
  2. Add baking cases to the cupcake tin
  3. using a hand mixer, mix the butter, peanut butter and sugar until they are well mixed and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition until they are well mixed.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whisk for an additional minute
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. Add a third of the flour mix to the butter mix and gently fold
  8. Add the milk and fold in
  9. Add another third of the flour mix and fold it in and do the same with the final third.
  10. Add a tsp of the mix to the cupcake tins and add a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup
  11. Add more of the mix until each case is 2 thirds full
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes
  13. Leave them to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before icing.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Ingredients:

  • 115 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 3 cups of icing sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Peanut Butter Cream Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter until fluffy
  2. Beat in peanut butter, 1/2 a cup of icing sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Gradually at remaining 2.5 cups of sugar, beating after each 1/2 cup until smooth
  4. Fill the piping bag and swirl on top
  5. Finally cut a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup in quarters and add to the top