Baking Fashion

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

Made-Me-Happy-This-Week

We finally have a new backdoor, and the difference it makes is unbelievable! The previous door was old, and just a little bit rubbish. It let in a lot of cold air so the extension wasn't used much in the colder months, but now it's so much warmer, and a lot brighter. Paul's dad will be back this weekend to finish around the inside of the door frame, and then I can repaint the wall, just in time for Halloween. And now we have french doors, and can see a lot more of the garden, it's given me a reason to finally buy fairy lights for our apple trees.

1. Having my mum come to my rescue when the worlds biggest spider was in our living room. There's always one when I'm home alone!

2. We've been snacking on Reeses pumpkins this week, well, it is October. Sadly they're all gone now, but thinking about it that's probably a good thing.

3. Our new Halloween place mats. We have pumpkins and skulls so even our table looks festive.

4. Stocking up on some crackers, biscuits and chocolates for Christmas while they seem to be on offer everywhere.

5. After looking everywhere I finally have a Halloween t-shirt I love, and even some sparkly bat covered tights now too.

6. Speaking of bats, we picked up an outfit for Sookie this week. Completely ridiculous I know, but she looks absolutely adorable with her little bat wings.

7. My mums doing an Elf on the Shelf competition with her friend this December, so she's stockpiling photos just now. While we were out on Wednesday, he was scanning shopping in Matalan, sitting in the dentist chair, and even in a police van. Everyone she's asked has been very good about it so far, I can't wait to see the rest.

8. Recipe testing this week for some tasty things that should be up here soon.
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Tea Light Ghosts - Halloween DIY

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

Halloween will be here in just under two weeks time, and while I'm struggling a little to accept that fact, I am still very excited! Our collection of Halloween decorations is something we like to add to each year. Just as we do with Christmas, we like to pick up a couple of really nice bits each time the seasons roll around and we've built up a pretty good selection so far, but there's always room for more.

A couple of years ago now, I made these Christmas gift tags with air drying clay. They were really simple to do, and I had planned to make more but as things got tidied away and moved around over time, I forgot all about the left over clay. I came across it again a couple of weeks ago, and after being shocked that it hadn't dried out, I started to think of what I could use it for. Paul and I talked about it for a while, we considered making more gift tags (which I might still do), but then Paul thought ghosts! Ghosts are white, they clay is white -perfect!

These are honestly the easiest decoration you can make, but they are so effective and look as good as any you've bought when they're lit up at night. Also a fantastic one for you to make with kids, the longest and most boring part is having to wait days for them to dry. I haven't tried using these with normal tea lights, but to be honest I wouldn't risk it. If you are going to make them, please be safe and use the battery operated ones.

You will need:
Air drying clay
Rolling pin
Cling film
Non stick mat
Piping nozzle/straw -anything to make eye holes
Things to shape you ghosts over

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

- Choose the items you want to shape your ghosts over. Eggs in egg cups, novelty salt and pepper shakers, glasses, ornaments, small bottles or condiments -anything you like. Once you have them, wrap them in cling film, this protects what your using and makes the ghosts easier to remove when they're dry.

- Take some of the clay, around a golf ball sized amount or more and knead it in your hands a little to warm it up. Place it on your mat and roll out into a circular shape, but you don't have to be perfect with this.

- Take the circle of clay and place it over your chosen item, moving it around until your happy with the shape. When you are, all you need to do it give it little face. I used a piping nozzle for the larger ghosts, and simply made holes with a knife on the smaller ones.

- When you have made, shaped and given features to as many little ghosts as you like, you just have to leave them to dry. It will depend on the clay you're using -mine was 4-5 days, but I'd add an extra day to be safe.

And that's all you have to do, your little ghosts will be ready to light up any room on Halloween. You could of course paint them, add glitter or give them any extra features but I think there is something lovely about them just the way they are, marks, lines and all.

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

We're just under two weeks into October, and while I feel we've been quite reserved with our Halloween buying so far, it's getting harder to be. We've picked up a few bits from Homesence and Tkmaxx, but now the supermarkets are stepping things up and I'm having to not look in the seasonal isle because I want everything! Especially in Sainsburys. How we left with only milk and onions is beyond me. One thing we still don't have however are pumpkins. Our new french doors got delivered this week and they aren't being fitted until Sunday, meaning the extension is kind of out of use -so no pumpkin carving quite yet. Oh...and how could I forget, it's Friday the 13th! Have you had anything spooky happen to you yet?

1. Woodland walks on late Autumn afternoons, the light is honestly one of my favourites things.

2. Constant photo updates of what my mum is planning for her Christmas decorations this year. She's forgoing the standard green tree and going for one of those bare twiggy ones. I think I'll look lovely.

3. A new cushion I found in TKmaxx that is all things I love. It's teal, velvet and has pom poms!

4. Plum and oat cake, a new favourite of mine that I might give a try at home. It tastes sort of like flapjacks.

5. Balloons arriving for Paul's birthday. I've been buying little bits and hiding them for the last few weeks. His birthday isn't until December, but I like to be organised.

6. Cookie Butter Oreos! Yes. I haven't opened them yet so I can't comment on how they taste but I'm bloody excited to try them.

7. Getting the heavy Winter quilt out. I feel like we're doing it a little earlier than usual but we've had a few cold nights lately.

8. Pumpkin vanilla hand cream, a gift from Paul's mum. It's leaving my hands smelling gorgeous and feeling nice and soft.
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Individual Caramel Apple Pies

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Pumpkin is everywhere at this time of year, it's the flavour that first comes to mind when you think of Autumn or Halloween. And not just flavours, it's everywhere from home fragrance to decorations (not that I mind at all). But another flavour I always associate with this time of year is apple. It goes so well with cinnamon, and makes lots of very tasty puddings and desserts that are perfect for the colder weather. And, who doesn't love toffee/chocolate apples or apple bobbing towards the end of the month?!

A few weeks ago I made my apple crumble cupcakes, and I promised another recipe using the left over apple sauce from them, so here we are. These sorts of recipes are the reason I like to keep this tasty apple sauce or jam, if you prefer in the freezer. These are very quick, very easy and go so well with the ridiculously easy vanilla ice-cream I'll tell you about later.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Ingredients:
Apple sauce -(recipe here)
Carnation tinned caramel
Puff pastry sheet x2
1 egg -beaten
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

- Pre-heat your oven to 190°C, and line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Roll out you sheets of ready rolled puff pastry and cut your shapes of choice.

(I used large 4 inch circle cutters and got 3 pies per sheet of puff pastry. The size and shape you want to use will determine how many little pies you end up with.)

-Lay half of the shapes on the baking tray, add a teaspoon of caramel to the centre and spread out but leave at least a 1cm gap around the edge. If you are making mini pies, maybe use half a teaspoon instead.

- After that, add a teaspoon of your apple sauce and again, spread it out until it covers the caramel. With the beaten egg, give the uncovered edges of the pasty egg wash to help seal them.

- With the other half of your shapes, lay them on top carefully and press the edges with a fork so they are sealed all the way round.

- Egg wash the tops, add a sprinkle of brown sugar, and make two small slits in the top -being careful not the cut the base. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

I like to serve these with my "cheats" ice-cream. I always prefer cream over ice cream with warm puddings, something which everyone around me finds odd. But this stuff is the perfect compromise! It's basically sweetened frozen cream, but please try it, it tastes so much better than that description sounds.

Whip 600ml of double cream until it starts to thicken, but is still far too runny to hold any shape. Add in a 397g tin of condensed milk, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and mix until everything is well combined. Freeze overnight, and that's it!

It's become something we always have to have in the freezer, so much so that our friend now asks what flavours we have, instead of is we have any.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

Well we're almost in October, and while I usually wait until the 1st to put our decorations up, two new things have already found a place in the house. First is a giant silver pumpkin that we found in Homesense. It's so unusual, looks perfect on our trunk and I blame my mum completely for making me buy it. But I'm glad she did, it was the last one in the store and I've never seen anything like it. The other is my tiny Lego Pumpkin. It was a surprise from Paul this week, and I actually squealed when I opened it. I had no idea Lego sold pumpkin kits, but he's found a home here now and I love him. Also, to make him glow like a pumpkin should, Paul took apart one of those battery operated tea lights so it fit inside.

1. Making pasta with fresh herbs from our little window garden. Paul's becoming quite the pro with his plants, and I'm loving having fresh herbs on hand.

2. The ridiculous (and growing) number of Chocolate Oranges we already have.

3. One of the best days out for my grandmas 80th birthday. The whole day from start to finish was lovely, and most importantly, she had a wonderful time.

4. Christmas presents that now take up a whole drawer, I love it when life feels organised.

5. Watching Sookie fall alseep. She finds herself in the most hilarious positions some times.

6. Having our first Pumpkin Spiced Latte of the year, and some pumpkin bread to go with it. The bread was a little disappointing, but the latte more than made up for it.

7. The Autumn sunshine, it's so beautiful.

8. Homemade chai lattes, one of the the best drinks on a cold night.


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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Autumn, I Love You.


I've spend most of this year waiting for Autumn to arrive, so now that my favourite season is finally here I couldn't be happier. It's always such an exciting time of year, and sadly these last few months always seem to go by the quickest. With all the usual wonderful things we look forward to, this year is also a little extra exciting!

This autumn marks one year until our wedding, on the 25th of October to be exact. We were sad when we chose to postpone it last year, however it turned out to be the best decision all round, and we're so happy we did it. I also can't believe that if we hadn't, our wedding would have been in a few weeks time! Crazy. We've been watching the trees slowly change from green to all the beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange, and trying to get an idea of how it'll look on our wedding day. The light that I always enjoy is now even more exciting because we are imagining how it will be in a years time.

And of course there are all the usual reasons to why this really is the best time of year. The weather for one. The light as I mentioned is just beautiful. The sun sits lower in the sky and everything is warmed by it, in a way that you just don't get any other time. It's still warm enough to spend time outside, but it's cooled down enough to enjoy those layers that I have missed so much over summer. I do miss cosy knitwear, and I've already picked up a few things that I can't wait to wear.

The food gets better too! The light chilled desserts of summer turn into warming puddings that are served hot and with plenty of custard. I start baking more too, the kitchen is usually full of crumbles, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, it's just such a perfect thing to do around this time of year. Oh, and we can't forget the savoury things. As soon as it starts getting colder, Paul and I start making pies, stews, and anything with mash. There is nothing better than a hot stew in late Autumn, followed by something like sticky toffee pudding.

And then there are the event's to look forward to, like Bonfires night. I love fireworks, but for the last couple of years we haven't had the chance to go to any shows. This year we are, and I can't wait. The smell on Bonfires night is one of my favourite, it's up there with the smell of Autumn and the smell of the cold when Winters on the way. And of course Halloween! I've mentioned before how I'm not a lover of anything scary...at all! I don't like it. So our Halloweens are a lot more tame and include films like Hocus Pocus. This year Halloween falls on a Tuesday, so the Bake Off will be on too. I'm already planning some sort of cake for the night, and I'm sure there will be lots of other treats too.

This is also the time of year when the house gets a little dressed up. Yes, of course there will soon be Christmas decorations, but I love to decorate for autumn! I usually do it around the first of October, there are fairy lights, fall foliage garlands and as we get closer to the end of the month, a whole lot of Halloween thrown in too.

Those are some of the reasons why I just absolutely love this time of year. It holds so much excitement for me, and I hope it always will. Do you love this time of year, or are you still holding on to summer?
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Friday, 22 September 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

It's Autumn! It's finally Autumn, and to say I'm happy about this is an understatement. It feels as if it's taken an age to get here this year but now it is. I'm sure I'll ramble on more about this in the next few days, but for now I'll just say that I'm a very happy bunny. This weekend is also my grandma's 80th birthday! I still can't believe it, but then neither can she...she tells who ever will listen that someone, somewhere has made a mistake with the years. We're taking her to Glasgow for the day, she wants to go to one of the museums there so we're all looking forward to it.

1. The new cake tin I ordered to make Paul's birthday cake. It's not even here yet and it's already making me both anxious and excited. I have concerns that I've been a little too ambitious, but I'm still excited to give it a try.

2. The way Paul hugs me when he knows I need one. He gives the best hugs and they always make me feel better.

3. How some night's recently have been much colder, meaning that we've had the bed all cosy with fluffy blankets...much to Sookies delight.

4. Buying a ridiculous amount of Terry's Chocolate Oranges. But in my defence, they were on offer -buy 1 get 2 free! Also, we are not fully stocked for Christmas which after all is the best time to eat one.

5. Those little chocolates at the till in Costa, far too good to leave.

6. Smelling all the new Christmas candles. They were nice, but not a patch on Red Apple Wreath from Yankee Candle. That for us will always be the smell of Christmas.

7. Seeing the most amazing rainbow last weekend. Never have I seen one so bright, and full from end to end.

8. Homemade garlic bread, with so much more garlic than you get when you buy one.
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