Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coffeehouse Scones

Whenever I eat a scone I think of my Aunt Deb's coffee shop back in our small, home town. There is something comforting in their simple warmth. This isn't my aunt's recipe (I could NEVER make mine taste as good as hers in a million years, even if I copied it exactly), but it tastes pretty damned good!!!


Coffeehouse Scones

2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold & cut into pieces
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Blend butter pieces into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. It should look like course crumbs. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead gently. Form into a round loaf that is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick. Cut it into quarters and then cut each quarter in half. You should have 8 triangle shaped pieces. Transfer to the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little milk. You can also sprinkle them with sugar before baking. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Ta da! Homemade scones. These taste great with a cup of hot tea or coffee and just butter on them. But I am in love with "Sticky Fingers" lemon curd too. You can get it at World Market. Yum!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Music Monday 3/22/2010 'New Young Pony Club'

Make fun of me all that you want to, but I have always liked disco. My theory is that most other people do too, they just don't want to admit it. Disco inspired music is making a big comeback. There are some bands doing it well and one of those bands is 'New Young Pony Club.'


Their debut album 'Fantastic Playroom' came out almost three years ago and in my opinion, disco never sounded so good!


NYPC is an edgey, electro-disco group out of London. Who knew disco could be this cool?? Well, I did but that's beside the point. This whole album makes you want to dance!! The rhythym is just right and the synthesizer gives it that 80s feel. All the songs are super catchy. Definately one of my new favorite albums. They've got a second one coming out this year, so I will be anxious to hear if it's just as good as their first!!

'The Bomb'

'Tight Fit'

'Ice Cream'

'Get Lucky'

'The Get Go'

Now more than ever, I think music needs to be fun. There is a lot of heavy stuff going on around us and I think it's important to balance that out - with fun, lighthearted, make you wanna shake yer booty 'n dance music! Call me shallow, but that's what I think. So anyways, if you're not sure where to start when looking for those disco inspired tunes, look no further than 'New Young Pony Club.' Long live disco!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Up, Spring? Backyard Inspiration Hits!!

Tomorrow is the first offical day of spring on the calendar - but guess what?? It's gonna snow. Boo!! Hiss!!!!! Hopefully it's a short lived little slip up on mother nature's part. We sure have been spoiled the past few days with all of these warm temps and abundant sunshine.

This weather has me motivated to make some changes outside. Even though it isn't quite time to do any planting, I am already dreaming of what kinds of veggies to put in the square foot garden this year: bush beans, wax beans, beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, salad mix, sweet green & red peppers and maybe some peas and zucchini this year. I am planning on doing the herbs in the window boxes under the kitchen window again - mint for mojitos, dill, basil and oregano for sure.

I need to paint that darn blue door on the back of the garage again because it all peeled. I will probably tone it down and do more of a wedgewood blue this time - also thinking of painting the adirondack chairs by the fire pit. Maybe one red and one blue?? We're also going to relay the patio bricks and walkway as lots of them have heaved up the past few winters. I'm also wanting to redo the patio table and chairs instead of spending money on a new set. I love the look of bright furniture and flowers in a backyard. So I'm thinking maybe a creamy yellow for the table and maybe a different color on each of the four chairs?? Blue, red, green and ????? Here are a few of my inspiration photos!!

Pretty painted table...this is the yellow I was envisioning for my table which is similar to this one

Love how all the chairs are different colors! Looks like candy... I love candy...

This is the blue I am loving right now. It looks so great against all the greenery!

I wish I could get the plantings around my patio to look like this! It's messy but it makes sense....

Blue and red.... so happy together!!!

I'd love to do something like this against the back of the house to break up the expanse of beige siding....

Just a cute little shed!!

I can't wait to get to work!! Wut up, spring!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Emerald Isle Martini

Everyone loves green beer on St. Patrick's Day, but sometimes it's good to have another option as far as the green drinks go. Too many of these and you'll be hurling on the blarney stone instead of kissing it, so be careful.


Emerald Isle Martini

1.5 oz Vodka
1.5 oz Midori or other melon flavored liqueur
splash of orange curacao
juice of 2 limes

Fill cocktail shaker with ice and ingredients. Shake well and pour into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry or lime! Slainte!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ugliest Cookie You'll Ever Eat

One of the things the irish are best known for (besides being notorious drunks) is that they can make a little go a long way. They made the most of what they had, however little it was. They made up recipes out of whatever was in their bare cupboards - like the irish lace cookie. There's not a lot going on in this cookie and they aren't very pretty either, but they sure do taste good. And since they're a drop cookie, kids can help make them!!!

My cookie helper, Abby

Lulu getting in on the cookie action!

Irish Lace Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

In a bowl cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy and beat in the flour, milk and vanilla. Stir in the oats, drop rounded teaspoons of the dough about 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets, and bake the cookies in batches in the middle of a preheated 350ºF oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are golden. Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 1 minute, or until they are just firm enough to be moved with a metal spatula. If you take them up too soon they'll fall apart - like really bad. Transfer the cookies to a rack and let them cool completely.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Ethan didn't want any part of the baking, but of course he wanted a cookie!

Ugly, irish cookies!!!

New Music Monday 3/15/2010 'Capercaillie'

Capercaillie is one of my favorite bands to listen to around St. Patrick's Day or just any time I'm feeling particularly irish-y. We saw them play live quite a few years ago at Celtic Fest in the city and I have been a fan ever since.


Capercaillie are originally from Scotland and got their start in the 80s. The cool thing about them is that they take the traditional songs and sing them in Gaelic, but use modern production techniques and electronic instruments. Karen Matheson's voice is amazing even if you can't understand what she's saying half of the time! Here are a few of my favorite songs from several different albums......

'Beautiful Wasteland'

'The Tree'


'Four Stone Walls'

If you're looking for some celtic music to play on St Patrick's Day that's a little more low key than Flogging Molly or The Pogues, Capercaillie is it. We're busy gearing up for our family's St. Patrick's Day dinner here. I have all of the groceries and the kids and I hung some shamrocks from the ceiling and put up the shamrock window clings too. Tomorrow we'll be making irish lace cookies, so I'll be sure to post the recipe and pictures of my kids making a mess in the kitchen!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Oh, yes. It's that time of year again! Corned beef and cabbage time!!! It smells so bad, but it tastes so good. And it looks good too!!!


Now, corned beef and cabbage aren't traditionally eaten in Ireland (although in the early 1800s County Cork was the biggest exporter of canned corned beef). It's about as irish as spaghetti and meatballs. You see, back in poor times the cows were used for their milk and not their meat. Beef was a delicacy and meat was as well.... reserved for holidays and special occasions. On those occasions, the irish would eat ham/bacon joint with their potatoes and cabbage. But when irish immigrants came over here in the mid 1800s they weren't able to find bacon like they'd had in Ireland. They found that Jewish corned beef was similar in texture and used that for their St. Patrick's Day celebrations. So corned beef and cabbage isn't really all that irish, but it is St. Patrick's Day. Ish.

So, here is the link to the recipe I've been using for the past few years that has never failed me once!!!
It's a good one and it also has a lot of important info on how to select the best corned beef, how to know if the cabbage is ripe, etc. Be sure to serve it with some nice soda bread, a green salad and bottle of Harp's. I also like to make a sauce for the corned beef (not that it needs any, it just tastes good with it!!).... Here's the recipe for that:

1 Tbsp horseradish
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
2 Tbsp dijon mustard

Don't be intimidated by corned beef and cabbage. It's a little involved, but if I can keep my focus enough to make it I think anyone can!! And it tastes so good it's worth it. Happy eating!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

I always had trouble making a decent soda bread on St. Patty's Day. That is until I found this simple recipe!!! Soda bread dates all the way back to the 1840s. This simple quick bread is a staple of the irish diet and compliments many traditional irish dishes.


Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all purpose flour (I like to use 1 cup each of white & wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
2. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Combine 1 beaten egg, raisins and buttermilk.
4. Add to mixture above and stir until just moistened.
5. On a lightly floured surface, knead gently for 12 strokes.
6. On a greased baking sheet, shape the mixture into a 6 inch round loaf and cut a cross (4 inches wide and 1/4 inch deep) in the top. Some irish folk say that a cross is cut into the top of the bread to ward of evil or to let fairies out. I'd sooner think it's to let the steam escape, but what the hell do I know?
7. Brush with the other beaten egg.
8. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until golden and knife comes out clean.

Stay tuned for more irish recipes!!!

New Music Monday 3/8/2010 - Lunasa

This week (and next week as well) I will be blogging about irish music in honor of St. Patrick's Day. It's getting so close I can almost taste the corned beef!! I guess I could have went with a more well known irish group like Flogging Molly or Clannad or The Pogues, but I wanted to post about someone you may not hear of unless you read this blog. If you love celtic music, you will love Lunasa.


Their album 'The Story So Far' is a collection of previously recorded tracks from their six other records. Sort of a "best of" if you will. This would certainly be a good place to start if you don't own any of those other albums.


Lunasa is an instrumental group and probably one of the best to come around as far as traditional Irish music goes. They were founded in 1996 when musicians Seán Smyth, Trevor Hutchinson, and Donogh Hennessy briefly toured through Scandinavia. This is the kind of music you'd hear in the small town pubs across Ireland. Here is a little sample of 'The Story So Far.'

'Morning Nightcap'

'Black River'

'Cregg's Pipes'


'Eanair' - gorgeous!

'The Last Pint' - this is live - LOVE the part where someone yells 'bastard' in a thick Irish accent before they start playing!!! Ha ha!!!

If Lunasa doesn't get you in the irish spirit, nothing will!! They still go on tour each year and I am hoping someday I will be able to see them live at Celticfest in the city. Happy listening!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Green Velvet Cupcakes with Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

My love for cupcakes and all things irish have come together!! Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting not one, not two but THREE fabulous cupcake recipes in honor of St. Patrick's Day. We start celebrating as soon as it's March, people. It's St. Patrick's Day all month!!!

The first recipe is just a twist on my classic recipe for red velvet cupcakes, using green food coloring in place of red. Would you?? Could you?? Eat a green cupcake??? Kinda weird, but hey it's St. Patrick's Day!! For the frosting, I tweaked my cream cheese frosting recipe by adding some irish cream to it in place of milk. Hello, amazing!!!!! By the way, I love me some Bailey's but did you know you can make your own irish cream?? It's beyond anything you've ever tasted, trust me. One sip and you'll be kissing the Blarney Stone!!!

My favorite helper!! Chef Lulu!

Green Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbsp (YES, Tablespoons!) green food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2.With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
3.Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
4.Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

It's not easy being a green cupcake!

Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz block of cream cheese, room temp
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp Irish Cream (you can use Bailey's or make your own!!)

1. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2. Add the irish cream and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.
3. Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cupcakes.

Extreme frosting close up....

Homemade Irish Cream Recipe

1 cup heavy cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a blender, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Irish whiskey, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving.


That's all there is to it! Happy baking!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

See Ya Later, February!!

Oh, my gosh I am so relieved that February is over!! I never want to wish the time away, but honestly I always look forward to March - St. Patrick's Day, irish cooking, irish music, daylight savings, signs that spring really is on it's way..... It's all just such a relief to me!!

You'll notice that my playlist is all irish music right now. Give it a listen! It starts out slower and builds into some really good drinking music. ;) No one can drink like the irish! So stay tuned over the next couple of weeks because I'll be posting some fabulous St. Patty's Day recipes and great irish music. Bring it on, March!!!

About Blogging Molly

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I am a mom to three great kids - Ethan is 12, Abby is 9 and Lulu (Olivia) is 5. I've been married to my highschool sweetheart for almost fourteen years. I love to paint, renovate and live for anything DIY. I love music and I love to bake. I also teach dance at a local studio. Thanks for stopping by my blog!!!

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