Sweet Melissa Sunday: Should be called Moist Almond Bread Drizzled in Brandy

Golden Almond Fruitcake picked by Karin of Sugar and Spice & Everything Nice shocked the stuffings out of me! I have only tried fruitcake once in my life and this beautiful, moist bread was not anything like the small boulder of hard, dry cake with candied whatever in it. I wanted to support Karin, albeit I am late once again, and what a treat! Karin picked this recipe because of the memories associated, which always brings a tear to my eye and warms my heart during this holiday season. My grandpa was my best friend in life and I miss him so much right now, which makes me think who doesn't have loved ones to whom warm, loving feelings sneak up on during the holidays (even from our childhood)?The ingredients took a little bit of time to assemble before starting. I love the idea of using marzipan in the recipe and freezing until time to mix the ingredient in batter.

My choice of dried fruit: Apples and Cherries.
Brandy: Yes; I used apple brandy.

Sifting onto a small piece of wax paper makes easy work out of adding the dry ingredients slowly and one less dish to clean. I am a huge fan of dirtying as few dishes as possible.

The batter came together nicely, loaded with delicious chunks of dried, moist fruit, frozen marzipan and chopped almonds.
Golden loaf of bread dotted throughout with wonderful, homey flavors. I ground fresh nutmeg and using cardamon is always a great choice.
Melissa was so right about calling this recipe something, anything other then fruitcake. So many people, including myself, are pre-set as to what all fruitcake tastes like . . . something we wouldn't wish on anyone (especially friends and family). I would happily share this recipe with anyone willing to be pleasantly surprised.
Karin, thank you for choosing this recipe. I absolutely LOVE the almond cake/bread/fruitcake. Delicious! For the recipe, please go to Karin's blog or, better yet, buy Sweet Melissa's baking book and enjoy pleasant surprises throughout all her recipes.


Last year, Matt got showshoes for me for Christmas and we finally got to go out yesterday. It was so lovely outside in the middle of the forest and surrounded by snow. Indy had such a wonderful time too. I think she felt right at home and we let her run around on her own for a little while. She is of course, much faster than we are in the snow. We were only holding her back:





Indy was very distracted and only wanted to go play.


Indy hears something...


"Must bury my face!"





"Must bury my face, again!"


"I see something!"


"I'm a happy dog!"


Whew! Tiring but so much fun... until next weekend!

Thanksgiving 2009

Just a few photos from Thanksgiving...


My sis got a gingerbread house kit and this is what is was supposed to look like.


Ours looked like this because we were impatient and didn't wait for the frosting to dry.


So sad...



Making faces...





Until next year!

Bitten By The Bug blog hop - phone challenge

Happy Monday and welcome to our monthly Bitten By The Bug Blog Hop! Now if you have made it here from the blog of the awesomely talented Krista, then you are on the right track! This week our challenge was issued by the fabulously talented Regina, and she asked us to use this cute phone cut from the From My Kitchen cartridge. As soon as I heard the challenge was this phone, the Christmas song "Santa Baby" came into my head, so that's what I decided on. I took the line "Santa Baby...forgot to mention one little thing...a ring....I don't mean on the phone. Santa Baby, hurry down the chimney tonight!" LOVE that song! LOL! I just used scrap paper for the card along with Bazzil cardstock. All the pieces were cut out with my Gypsy that I got from Hallmark Scrapbook. I'm telling you, it is sooooo awesome not to have to dig through cartridges and change them out! Talk about a time saver! And anything that saves me time is a HUGE friend of mine! The frame the phone is sitting on is cut from the Gypsy Wanderings cart that comes loaded on the Gypsy. The word bubble is from George. I also used a Martha Stewart border punch and some faux stitching.

Now for the fun stuff, the blog candy! I am giving away an assortment of stamped images, including some images from Magnolia-licious , Wags N Whiskers, High Hopes, Belles and Whistles, and even some from the highly sought after Hanglar and Stanglar! You will also receive an assortment of charms, and that's STILL not all! You will also receive a set of cut outs (your choice) from Peggy Loves Vintage! Talk about being able to knock out some fast Christmas cards! Just use the awesome Christmas images from Peggy Loves Vintage, and you'll be done before you know it! All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post before Midnight Friday night, Dec 3rd. That should allow you to receive it in plenty time to make some Christmas cards with your goodies.

Ok, so that's it for me today. Now you're going to head to the most infamous Donna's blog, and check out her fabulous creation for today's hop! I'm telling you, I sure wish I could make my Design Studio and Cricut sing the way this girl can. She makes the most awesome creations ever!!! Don't forget, if you get lost along the way during the hop, just pop back over to Bitten By the Bug to get back on track. Thanks so much for stopping by to see me today, and hope to see you back again soon! HUGS!

Flavor-of-the-Month . . . Goin' Retro

For our "traditions" theme, I wanted to share with you guys this very retro Jell-O salad that my mom had on the table at Thanksgiving when we were growing up. Every year, my plate was filled with my dad's smoked turkey, mom's cornbread dressing and this salad.

It's really pretty and a kid-pleaser, too.

I tried to scan my mom's recipe card, but our scanner (despite much yelling and bad language on my part) is not cooperating. So...here is mom's recipe...

Strawberry Creme Squares

2 (3 oz) pkgs. strawberry-banana Jell-O
2 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz) pkgs sliced frozen strawberries (I could only find sliced in syrup, that's ok)
1 (13 oz) can crushed pineapple (only able to find 8 oz, so I guesstimated w/ 2 cans)
1 (8 oz) container sour cream

Dissolve jello in boiling water.

{Don't you love that RED?!?}
Add the frozen strawberries and stir occasionally until thawed. Stir in the pineapple.

Pour half of the mixture into an 8 or 9" square pan. Chill until firm.

Gently, spread with sour cream. (I used an offset spatula....I don't know how mom did it without!)

Spoon on remaining strawberry mixture instead of pouring so that it won't mix with the sour cream. Chill until firm.

{Pls ignore those floury fingerprints on the pan...I guess I was multi-tasking while taking pictures!}

I took a poll on Twitter and December's Flavor-of-the-Month will be...
Share any cookie: decorated, drop, bars, filled...you name it!

{As always, anyone is welcome to link to Flavor-of-the-Month; you don't have to ask. Click here to read through all of the previous posts for instructions.}

Ready to link up? I'll keep the linky open through December 2nd, then close it to avoid spammers.

Thanks for participating...wow...November was so much fun! I loved reading EACH and EVERY one of those pumpkin recipes!!!

New Bits at Black & Spiro

We've finally received our delivery of Megan Park cushions in at Black & Spiro along with some of our other lovely cushions {top image}. I thought I would take a couple of photos of some other bits which we just received in last week. The little Antique brass mirror is one of my favourite things in the shop at the moment and the colourful ginger jar lamp bases are divine!!

For all enquiries, please email us info@blackandspiro.com.au

Sweet Potato Pancakes

At our house, we eat these a lot as breakfast for dinner. For years, I told my son they were "fall pancakes" because I knew "sweet potato pancakes" wasn't going to go over so well. (He's 10 now, so he can handle the truth!)

Call them what you will...they are yummy!

These are made with canned sweet potatoes. They could certainly be made with fresh cooked & mashed sweet potatoes, but it makes me smile buying that can of Sugary Sam's. :)

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
¼ c. chopped pecans, toasted
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
¼ tsp coarse salt
1 c. buttermilk (or regular milk)
¼ c. packed dark brown sugar
1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (16 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained & mashed

Whisk together flour, 2 TBSP pecans, baking powder, spices and salt.

Combine milk through vanilla; add to the flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Stir in the mashed sweet potatoes.

Ladle about 1/4th cup batter for each pancake onto a non-stick griddle. Turn when edges are cooked and top is covered with bubbles.

Top with maple syrup....

...and maybe a little more syrup...

and sprinkle with remainder of pecans.

Related posts:

Flavor-of-the-Month link up is tomorrow, November 30th!

Magnolia Christmas frame card with Waiting Tilda and Martha Stewart border

Happy Saturday everyone! Hope all my friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And for those of you that ventured out yesterday in seach of the perfect bargain, I hope it worked out for you! Me? Nope, I don't even touch Black Friday. I have to get up for work every week day at 4:30, there's no way I'm getting up that early on a day off. LOL! My sleep is worth more to me than the bargain I might find out there. Now onto my card, this was so much fun and easier than I thought it would be, and I totally love the effect. So I will be making more of these frame cards, that's for sure! I first saw it over on Dawny's blog for our Papertake Weekly challenge and fell in love with hers, and I was lucky enough to have the day off, so I could immediately start on one of these frame cards. You can find the pictorial on how to make one yourelf right HERE. It was put together by our very own talented Claudia for a previous Patertake Weekly Challenge.

I tried so hard to show you the dimension of this with the camera, but I really couldn't capture it very well. The Magnolia house is in a frame that is recessed a full 1/2" from the front of the card. The effect in real life is awesome! I used three different Magnolia stamps which came from Magnolia-licious. I used Waiting Tilda, Large Sled, and #9 house. They're colored with Copic markers and then cut out. The DP is Basic Grey and cardstock is Bazzil. On the house, I added some liquid applicque and some beads for some sparkle. Around the edge of the frame, I added a border made with a Martha Stewart punch, and in the corners, I hid the meeting points with a MS snowflake punch adorned with a Kaiser pearl.

I hope you enjoy this card as much as I enjoyed making it, and I'd love it if you would try one for yourself. Thanks so much for stopping by to see me today and hope to see you back again soon! Big hugs!

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