Cooking food

Irish Soda Bread

Skip the bloggy part and SHOW ME THE RECIPE!

OK so this is, by far, the easiest recipe ever. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t involve a million ingredients. And it’s not at all gluten free, but let’s not hold that against it. Just because I can’t eat it anymore, doesn’t mean everyone else can’t eat it anymore. 

I make this yearly around St. Patrick’s Day. Usually several batches at a time. I take it to parties. I hand it out at my own party. I send people home from parties with it. I usually spend the day after the party emailing the recipe to curious people who spent the evening wondering how I made the bread from just 4 ingredients and 30 minutes of my evening. 

It’s the first thing I learned how to bake in Home Economics class when I was in secondary school in Dublin and one year I taught a group of youth from a community centre in Calgary how to bake it. I actually couldn’t remember how to make it as an adult and had to call upon my friend, who’s a primary school teacher back home, to explain it to me. I’m also not entirely sure if it was the first thing I learned how to bake or if it’s just the only thing I remember baking…except those milk drops…which we don’t speak of….because I dropped them all taking them out of the oven. 

I was so sad. 

Anyway, this is a simple, no fuss recipe that’s really hard to get wrong and I won’t bore you with more paragraphs to scroll past about the history of Irish Soda Bread. However if you are interested in the history of Irish Soda Bread, The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread has got a website for you! 

And yes, you can add raisins to the bread if you’re feeling extra fancy but then you’re veering into Tea Cake / Scone territory. 


#funfact: this recipe fits neatly on a Post-It note

3.5 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 cups buttermilk (plus more if needed)

3/4tsp baking soda

1tsp salt

Mix flour, salt and baking soda together. Form well in middle. Add buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until juuuuust combined and still lumpy.

Turn out onto floured surface. Kneed for a few seconds, add a little buttermilk if needed.

Shape into a round and cut an X on it.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

To test of it’s done, knock on the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, it is done. I recommend holding it upside down in an oven mitten cos it sounds easy tapping on the bottom of a loaf of bread fresh from the oven…but it is not. 

food recipes

Quickie Morning Smoothies


I drink a smoothie everyday at work. I blend it all up in the morning, pour it into a Mason Jar and throw it into my handbag. I keep straws at work so when I get there I just pop the lid and enjoy the still icy cold breakfast.

While other folks at work like to make fun of me for my ‘healthy nature’ and one of my co-workers noted that I eat a lot of fruit, there’s nothing I love more in the mornings than fruit. Once, when I was particularly stressed, one of them told me I should ‘go home and eat fruit’, which I guess is polite. I’m allergic to chocolate (I KNOW!!!…but we’ll come back to that another time) and thus when I am sad I actually eat family-sized bags of Doritos not fruit.

Moving on.

People always ask ‘How do you have time to make a smoothie each morning?’ and the answer is simple, it takes no time at all.

On Sundays, I wash, cut and prep all the fruit and prepare small sandwich baggies for freezing. In the mornings, all I do is pull out a baggie, add it to the blender with some juice and yogurt and pour it into the Mason Jar. Done. I sometimes do it while brushing my teeth.

Here are six of my favourite morning smoothie recipes for grab and go to get you started on a new morning routine:

Berry Banana Smoothiebanana

1/2 cup of Berries, (i.e. Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries)

1 Banana

1 cup of Orange Juice

1 tbs of Plain Yogurt

Blend everything together

Monkey Milk Smoothie

This one I can’t take to work as peanuts are banned from the office, along with raw onions and, rather specifically, kiwis, so this is an ‘at home’ smoothie.

Peanut butter

1 Banana

2 tbs of Peanut Butter

1 tsp of Honey

1 cup of Milk

Blend. Blend. Blend.

Green Smoothie

Handful of Spinach or Frozen Spinach

1 Banana

1 Apple, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tbs of Plain Yogurt

1 cup of Orange Juice OR Apple Juice


 blueberryBlueberry Apple Smoothie

1 1/2 cups of Apple Juice

1 Apple, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 cup of Blueberries

1 Banana

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice


Blueberry Smoothie Take Two

1 Banana

1 cup of Milk

1/2 cup of Blueberries

1 tsp of Honey

1 tbs of Plain Yogurt


Pineapple Smoothiepineapple

1/2 cup of Pineapple

1 Banana

1 cup of Orange Juice or Pineapple Juice


Feel free to add more fruit, change up the juice, don’t be afraid to experiment. For freezing, add all fruit minus yogurt and juice, to a baggie and pop in the freezer. In the mornings, just toss the frozen fruit into the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t have frozen fruit on hand, add some ice cubes to the blender if you want to keep things cold. What’s your favourite smoothie?

entertainment kids random

Teaching Thursday: Halloween Crafts

This week my school has been all abuzz about Halloween. The kids love it. LOVE IT.

They dress up. We play games and eat candy. We watch movies. They’re all hyper and crazy-like. It’s…well, it’s a nightmare but…anyway.

Much of this week has been spent decorating my classroom with all manner of crafts by the kids. I posted some pictures this week on Facebook and people were asking about them so I figured I’d write about them as they are suuuuuper easy and require no templates.

I’ve worked at schools where there’s been a limit on paper, on printing, on using the computer, where we’ve not had a printer or photocopier and were banned from using paper other than what we bought ourselves. I, in turn, became really good at  last-minute crafts that require nothing more than a sheet of paper, a scissor and some glue.


The bats are very very easy. All you need is a sheet of paper, crayons, scissors and a pencil.

Step 1: Draw a circle.

Step 2: Draw two triangles.

Step 3: Draw an oval…ish.

Step 4: Trace your hands to make wings.

Step 5: Color and cut out. Decorate classroom, home or hang from ceiling to make flying bats!

Be careful the kids know they’re making bats and not butterflies…and also keep an eye on them as you’d be surprised how creative they can get when left alone for two minutes!



The instructions are simple but I changed it slightly from the site I found it on. You will need an A4 sheet of paper, crayons, scissors, tape and glue.

Here’s the diagram:


1. Cut sheet of A4 paper in half.

2. Color one half of A4 paper on both sides either orange or red or yellow.

3. Fold sheet vertically once. Then fold vertically again so you have a thin strip of paper.

4. Open up paper and cut along folded lines. You should have four strips of paper.

5. Lay strips on top of each other in a * formation as above in the diagram, gluing each strip to each other with a dot of glue in the center. It’ll make it easier for the kids to form a sphere.

6. Starting with the bottom strip, bring the two ends together and secure with tape. Do this with all four strips, securing them both to each other AND to the other strips to form a sphere.

7. For the stem: cut a small piece of paper off the other half of the A4 sheet. Color green on both sides. Form a cylinder with it and secure with tape. Cut slits in cylinder halfway and fray the end. Glue to the top of the pumpkin.

You can either create your own pumpkin patch or tie a string through the top and hang from the ceiling or in a window.