My Gratitude Journal, Sewing

Confessions of a baby clothes hoarder: A quilting story

Adventures of Sweet Monday

I have a confession. I’m a hoarder. A baby clothes hoarder. Because for 21 years I kept a bag of my daughter’s baby clothes. For twenty one years. I lugged that garbage bag full of clothes from residence to residence. I have been a faithful hoarder to that bag of clothes. Now, they weren’t all of my daughter’s baby clothes, just my favorite outfits and hats. I just couldn’t part with them. They reminded me of her special baby memories.

From the day I put those baby clothes in that garbage bag with every intention of hoarding them, my goal was to make a quilt out of them. I didn’t even know how to sew back then, let alone sew a quilt. But I figured that one day I would teach myself. I knew it would be a long time before I would teach myself how to sew. So I…

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baking

A Perfect Dessert for Fall: The Caramel Apple Poke Cake

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We have less than one more month of the Fall season left. Try making this Caramel Apple Poke Cake  from Delish.com (a recipe by Lindsay Funston). I tried it and it was definitely delish!

The ingredients that this recipe requires for the cake is butter, flour, Granny Smith apples, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, lemon juice, jarred caramel and one box of spice cake mix. For the frosting, you will need cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract

My dilemma? I couldn’t find spice cake. So I bought a yellow cake mix and added some spices to make it a spice cake. Also, instead of making the cream cheese frosting, I bought ready-made cream cheese frosting.

Here is my adapted recipe for the caramel apple poke cake that I made:

CARAMEL APPLE POKE CAKE- Sweet Monday style

1 box of yellow cake mix, plus ingredients needed for batter (which in my case was 3 eggs, water and vegetable oil)
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
1/4 tsp. of ground cloves
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
one jar of Smucker’s caramel flavored topping (12.25 oz.)

-Butter a 9-x-13″ baking pan or dish.
-Mix the yellow cake mix, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg together.
-Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions (i.e. add eggs, water and oil) and pour into the prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Let cool, about 20 minutes.
-Prepare the apple layer: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and stir until combined. Add the corn starch and lemon juice and stir until combined. Remove from heat.
-When cake is cooled, poke holes using a thick straw or the end of a wooden spoon, all over the cake.
-Pour the caramel all over the cake, especially over the poked holes.
-Spread the apple mixture on top.
-Spread the cream cheese frosting over apple layer.
-Dust the top of the cake with cinnamon.

I have a great idea on how to adapt this recipe into cupcakes. After the cupcake has cooled,  poke one big hole in each cupcake and fill it with caramel. Instead of spreading a layer of apples and then spreading the cream cheese frosting on top of that, mix the apple mixture and cream cheese frosting together to make it an apple pie cream cheese frosting. Sounds pretty good, right?!

I must admit that I was a little hesitant about this recipe. It sounded like it would be too sweet with all the spices, the caramel, the cream cheese frosting and the sweet apples. But actually, it was the perfect combination together. The spices blended well together with all of the other ingredients and it was the perfect amount of sweetness. It reminded me of an apple pie with caramel on top.

Happy Fall baking!

Favorite Things, My Gratitude Journal

Flashback Friday: A trip to Shoreditch, London, 2018

It’s flashback Friday! Since we can’t really travel right now, I thought I would reminisce about the time my son and I went to Shoreditch, London in 2018. My daughter was living there at the time and we took 10 days off to visit her. She had just completed her Master’s Degree from King’s College and was working full time remotely for a small company. She was quite busy but we still had some time to galavant around town.

My daughter and son in Shoreditch

We visited my daughter in Shoreditch during the last few days of October, including Halloween through the first week of November. We saw a few little children dressed up for Halloween while walking around with their parents around town. My daughter bought my son a bucket of Halloween candy similar to the kinds we have in America but different because of the names, packaging and brands. I think the only candy I recognized was Milky Way. They were good and before we left London, we stopped at the store to buy more to bring home.

Yummy candy…

Our first few days in Shoreditch were spent walking around (a lot of walking around) and checking out the boutiques and street art. Here are a few samples of the street art that we saw:

We also ate at my daughter’s favorite restaurants, one of them being Nando’s, a South African restaurant. The chicken and sides are so good! We also made a lot of stops to Pret A Manger for coffee, hot chai tea lattes, toasties and crisps. We didn’t want to pay extra to eat in, so we always took it for takeaway and ate and sipped while we walked.

I wanted to do the Big Bus Tour of London. I didn’t get to do it the last time I was in London. My kids weren’t interested in doing it, but they indulged me and we finally went! I got a chance to see the Buckingham Palace again, the London Eye and a few other landmarks. I didn’t get to do the full bus tour around. My daughter saw her favorite clothing store and wanted to stop. We ended up shopping for clothes and didn’t hop back on the Big Bus when we were done because it would take forever to get back to her apartment. We walked it (I told you, lots of walking) instead. I definitely got my 10,000 steps in everyday, if not more.

Another thing we did in London was get a daith piercing. My daughter and I suffer from migraines. We went to the London Migraine clinic to get it done. A daith piercing is a piercing through the smallest fold of cartilage in your ear. Basically, it is done for vagus nerve stimulation. The piercing stimulates the vagus nerve in the ear and helps reduce migraines. The clinician used a special device to locate the vagus nerve. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it was pretty. No, I don’t have it anymore. Unfortunately, the earring fell out of my ear and it was very difficult to put back in. It happened just recently and maybe after the pandemic, if the hole it still there, I will go to the tattoo and piercing shop to get it put back in. Interestingly, the week after it fell out, I had the worst migraine which lasted for the usual three days. It’s been awhile since I had one and I’m not sure if it was coincidental.

We visited Kew Gardens to look at the flowers and while we were there, we had afternoon tea. We also went to Notting Hill to sightsee and had the best charcuterie and pizza. We also visited a spot where farm animals lived, a flower mart and parks… a lot of different parks. They had the best parks in London with really awesome play and climbing equipment. My kids and I had the greatest time playing in the park.

Some art we saw while in the park

This flashback to Shoreditch, London was fun! It’s one of my favorite memories. I hope someday to go back to London. Until then, cheerio!

Today, I am grateful for 2018 trips to London, walking 10,000 steps a day, frequent stops to Pret a Manger, calling chips “crisps”, fries “chips” and hot sandwiches “toasties”, big bus tours cut short but done, eating British candy for Halloween, daith ear piercings that fall out 2 years later, street art, eclectic boutiques, afternoon tea, charcuterie and pizza, and playing in the park with my children.