My Most Popular Post: Grand Marnier Bundt Cake

January 3, 2014

When I looked at my 2013 annual report from WordPress, I was not surpised to see that my Grand Marnier Bundt Cake post was the most viewed post this year. The post is actually from 2009, and a lot of people seem to be searching for a Grand Marnier bundt cake recipe. Search no more, because this is an awesome cake.

Grand Marnier Bundt Cake

I’ve made this cake countless times, including just the other day, and it never disappoints. The original post shows mini-bundts. The slice in the photo above is from a cake baked in a 6-cup bundt pan. It’s great as-is, but you can make it prettier by garnishing with some whipped cream, or drizzling some chocolate sauce on the plate and putting the cake on top.

Give the Grand Marnier Bundt Cake recipe a try!


Crochet Bath Mitt

December 17, 2013

This is a quick and easy crochet project that would be a nice gift along with some shower gel or a bar of soap. Or do like I did and make it as a gift for yourself!

Crochet bath mitt

At first, I wasn’t too sure about using crocheted items in the shower, but I’m really enjoying the crochet soap saver I made a while back, so I thought I’d give this a try to use with shower gel instead of a nylon “pouf.” I added a hanging loop to the corner of the mitt. Without a loop, what are you going to do with that wet mitt?!

The pattern is included in the set of Crocheted Bath Accessories on Lion Brand’s website (pattern # ckc-bathAccessories). The pattern is free, but you may need to create an account and log in to see the pattern.

Crochet Notes:

  • I used Lily Sugar’n Cream yarn in Ecru. It’s a cotton yarn and is easy to work with.
  • To make the hanging loop: sc 20; in 2nd chain from hook, hdc in each chain across. Sew to corner of mitt.
  • My mitt came out larger than it needed to be. My gauge was off, because it turned out to be 10 inches long instead of 8.5 inches. The next time I make one of these, I’ll hold up my hand as I go along. The thumb hole is at row 14, so if it’s long enough to fit the top part of your hand before you get to row 14, just skip crocheting some of the rows in the row 4-13 series and jump ahead to row 14 to make the thumb hole.

Crochet bath mitt


Applesauce Baked in the Oven from the Barefoot Contessa

December 12, 2013

I saw this applesauce on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and it went on my “make it soon” list. I did make it soon, and I’m glad I did. This recipe is a keeper!


There’s some peeling and coring to be done, but this is easy to make. Lemon and orange zest and juice add a citrus zip to the apples, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice. Some red apple peel is included to add some color during baking. All the ingredients go into an oven-proof, covered pot and it bakes for 1 1/2 hours. And oh, the aroma while it’s baking – it put me in the holiday mood!

My friend Michele from Veggie Num Nums has been baking some recipes with me; be sure to stop by her blog – she added rum to her applesauce!

Recipe notes:

  • You can find the recipe here on the Food Network website.
  • I made half a batch, and used both Granny Smith and Macintosh apples.
  • I put in long pieces of peel, but after cooking, they broke down and were difficult to remove. Not a big deal, though, it was very soft and I don’t mind a little peel.

Pretzel Rolls

December 5, 2013

This year, I was asked to bring pretzel rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve never made pretzel rolls before, but I was up for the challenge, and I knew that King Arthur Flour would come through with a good recipe.

I made a trial-run batch and was happy that they weren’t as much of a hassle as I expected: the dough rises for an hour, then it’s formed into rolls that rise for 15 minutes. After that they get a quick boil in a water-baking soda-salt bath, then a couple of slashes on top and a sprinkle of salt before heading into the oven.

Pretzel rolls

Voilá! Rolls with a golden, chewy, pretzel crust. These are best served warm, so pop them in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 325-350º to warm them up and crisp the crust before serving.

The recipe is for “sandwich bun” size, so when I made them on Thanksgiving Day, I divided the dough into 15 rolls instead of the 10 that the recipe specifies. The smaller size was perfect for a dinner roll.

I’m so happy that Michele made these with me and is posting them on her blog today. Hers look fantastic, and she even provides information for making a vegan version.

If you’re ready to expand your roll-making horizons, give King Arthur Flour’s Pretzel Sandwich Buns a try.


Nixie Tube Clock: Guest Blog Post

November 30, 2013

To wrap up my month of posting every day, I’m happy to present a guest post from my husband!


Jill asked me to contribute to her blog with a post today.   I’m more of a maker than an art/craft or baker-person, so I’ll share one of my geeky projects with you:

I designed and made a Nixie tube clock.   Nixie tubes are from the bygone era of vacuum tubes, but there’s been a resurgence of interest in them over the past decade-how retro!  Many of us have never seen one of these tubes actually functioning.  Each tube can display a digit from 0-9 based on which combination of connections on the bottom of the tube are connected to a high-voltage supply.      So, I found some tubes and decided I’d turn them into a clock.    I designed a small 8-bit computer to run the clock and put it all together in a half-open assembly (guys like to see the guts of things).

Here’s a picture of the finished clock:

Ryan's nixie clock

Ryan’s nixie clock

I designed and debugged the circuit boards, built them, programmed the computer and put it all together.     I have many more details here, including the circuit board designs, and the source code for the software that runs the clock. Enjoy!  How’s that for something different?


Hazelnut-Fig Quick Bread

November 29, 2013

I clipped this recipe out of a Cooking Light magazine in March 1999 and finally made it in November 2013. I don’t know why this one took so long to get to, but I’m glad I held on to the recipe. The combination of figs and orange (orange juice + zest) make this especially delicious for breakfast.

hazlenut quick bread

Unlike a lot of quick breads, the nuts are on top rather than mixed in. It’s nice to get a few really nutty bites along with some no-nut bites.

hazlenut quick bread

It took a while to get to this recipe, but I won’t wait 14 years to make it again!

I baked this in two mini loaf pans (5.75 x 3″) rather than in one pan. You can find the recipe here on My Recipes.


Crochet Tom Turkey

November 28, 2013

Crochet Turkey

Crochet Turkey

I made Tom Turkey a few years ago, and it’s always fun to put him on display in November.

The pattern is Tom Turkey (#80744AD) from Lion Brand. It’s a free pattern, but you may need to log in to view it. Be sure to look at the reviews – there are photos of other cute turkeys that people have made using the pattern.

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