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Author Archives: Julie
The loss of the loved one is always difficult and people grieve in different ways. Some travel, some bury themselves in work, and some make hundreds of paper butterflies. Artist Maria A. Aristidou lost her grandmother earlier this year, and she found herself printing and cutting paper butterflies, for no other reason that she liked butterflies. During the process, she felt free to indulge in the kaleidoscope of emotions she was sorting through. She’d cry if she felt like crying, smile if she wanted, and replay the precious memories of their time together. When she was done, she realized that she’d created more than 800 butterflies. Aristidou then decided to use them as part of the New Concept window display in her studio located in Larnaka, Cyprus.
To check out more of her incredible work, you can visit her Facebook page. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on one of her incredible bell jars. They’d be perfect in my living room or office or work office or bedroom….. 🙂
Sadly, one of my long time taste testers has taking advantage of a wonderful job offer and is leaving the sultry humidity of Florida in favor of North Carolina. Since he was one of my first testers and without a doubt one of my most appreciative, I did what any baker would do. I offered to make him any farewell cupcakes he wanted. The prompt response was “anything with peanut butter or booze”, and me being me, I said “let’s do both!”
Once I made that decision, I took to Pinterest for some fresh inspiration. I already have a kick-ass chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting recipe so I wanted to find something that would elevate the two. Within fifteen minutes, I found “Manly Cupcakes” by The Baker in the Rye and had the perfect accompaniment to my peanut butter and chocolate profile, bourbon and bacon. With a few minor tweaks, I was in business and ready to go.
Ingredients for the Maple Candied Bacon
- 4 slices of Bacon
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- dash nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degreed Fahrenheit.
- Place a silicone baking mat or foil on a cookie sheet and top with a baking rack.
- Pour maple syrup in one bowl and in another bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.
- Dip the bacon in the syrup so it is fully coated. Then rub the brown sugar mixture into the bacon until it is completely coated in the sugar. Do this for all 4 pieces of bacon. Place each piece on baking rack, making sure it isn’t touching the mat underneath.
- Then, bake for 20-25 minutes until it is dark brown in color. *If it is undercooked, it will not candy and become a hard salty treat.
Ingredients for the Bourbon Syrup
- 1 cup Bourbon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- In a small pan, bring bourbon to a rolling boil.
- Turn to low and add in maple syrup, butter, and dark brown sugar.
- Then cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens up and reduces to about 1/3 cup. Let cool before using toppings.
- Even before I stopped drinking, I wasn’t a huge fan of bourbon, so I knew this was something I’d need a little help with. My first helper was the cashier at the liquor store. We talked about what I needed and what I needed it for and he showed me a few different options that would work best for what I had in mind. He also helped me find the best sized bottle since I wouldn’t be drinking the left overs. Andy stepped up for the tasting portion of this adventure since, to me, the syrup tasted only like sweet bourbon. We did several tastings during the process, and he helped me determine when the alcohol had burned off and when the subtle maple and molasses had fully blended. Did I like it when I was done? Nope. Did everyone else? Yep.
- I’ve tried to make candied bacon once before and hadn’t really had good luck with it, but I wanted to give it another shot. This recipe was pretty different from the first one, and it is hands down my winner. You do have to keep a close eye on your bacon since the difference between candy and charcoal is maybe a minute / minute and a half, but if you pull it off I guarantee it’ll be a crowd pleaser.
My recipes are adaptation of this recipe found on The Baker in the Rye.
Guys….imma keep it real, this week kind of sucked. I mean, good things happened -my mom made it safely to Tallahassee, and I made it through our work deadline without killing anyone-, but it’s been hard. Things didn’t go so well at the office; we got everything done, but everyone was bickering and crabby by the time we were finished. After months of feeling like “normal” health-wise, I am so tired I can barely do what needs to get done. I had to take a quick power nap on Wednesday and Thursday just so I could be “up for” dinner with Andy and my mom. I’m even mixing up my words again speaking and writing, which is something I haven’t had happen in over a year. Honestly, I am not even close to my best self right now. That being said, I am listing the things I have pending that should help get me back on track: more rest this weekend, dinner with friends, an intuitive painting class, and last but certainly not least, our impending Orlando vacation. Not a bad list, so keep your fingers crossed and send some positive vibes my way if you think about it, and hopefully things will be business as usual in no time.
After this incredibly stressful tax season, I am considering investing in one of these “creative” flask options before our next deadline.
This t-shirt appeals to me as a feminist and as a crazy cat lady.
Here are some beautiful free floral coloring pages to help you unwind for the weekend.
I know this is slated as a “kids” party, but these moody florals and muted pastels are perfect decor for parties for any age.
And if you need a little more floral inspiration, here are 25 gorgeous Instagram pages to follow.
This Lavender Earl Gray Blackberry Float seems like the perfect “special occasion” spring beverage. Hey, and it’s even vegan.
Am I the only one who loves a good burn? Obviously not, because someone at Buzzfeed wrote this article.
Image from here.
I’ve built a fair amount of pillow/blanket forts in my day, some more recently than you’d think. Not to long ago, I built a fort for Andy and I using our dining room table, and we had dinner in it. Next time I’ll probably put the cats in another room, but all in all, it was a lot of fun. Forts are one of those great things about childhood that seems to fall away as we inevitably “grow up”, but I don’t think we ever really lose that joy. I mean, I know a lot of women who have canopy beds, which isn’t really that different. I was absolutely delighted when I saw that the blog A Pair & A Spare created a whole beautiful brunch concept around a decorative “canopy” (which is just another word for fort). Here are some of my favorite images:
It gets even better; if you check out the original post here, there is a DIY on how to create your own gorgeous canopy. Brunch is amazing enough on its own, but fort brunch? Does it get any cooler?
All images from A Pair & A Spare.