Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thank Goodness For Baking Mixes!

I am not a good baker when it comes to making baked goods from scratch. About the only thing that comes out okay from a scratch recipe are cookies, and even those sometimes miss the mark of perfection!
So I am happy anytime I find good baking mixes and this weekend I had two to try.

My friend Barbara gave me a wonderful mix from Harry & David:

It was easy to make, and it baked to perfection, and it tastes delicious!

Here's another easy mix I made over the weekend:

This mix called for butter to be added so I made sure to use this:

This mix too was easy to make, and baked to perfection!

We enjoyed eating both! Lucky for this not-very-good baker that there are some very good baking mixes!

And I found this to be so sweet!

This is Katie Reilly (written by one of her sons):

Katie Reilly was a piece of work, a feisty character. Each of her six children relished in secret conversations, special caring, and the wonderful knowledge that Mom loved them best!

Katie's kitchen was an arena for argument and arbitration, a laboratory for laughter where we kids tried out jokes, it was a haven from rejection, a warm place to gossip. It was a palace of nourishment and giving. It was Mom's realm and without pomp or ceremony, she ruled over it with such ease and benevolence that we never knew she was in complete control. This little kitchen of hers was many things, a cathedral of care for the family, a chapel of concern for neighbors and friends, the library of memories of her long life with all of its triumphs and tears, its delights and difficulties. So many memories.

We all knew two things. Mom was one smart apple and she loved us without question even when we were holy or unholy terrors. She could always lift your spirits with a nice hot cup of tea, an open heart of love, a smile and a large slab of her Irish soda bread with butter on top. That was our special reward.

Maybe the reason her Irish soda bread rose so high and was so delicious was because in addition to flour, buttermilk, baking powder, and raisins, there was something else. Katie Reilly baked her bread for others. Like love, you have to give it away to realize how precious it is to those who require it.

Give someone you love a nice cup of tea, a piece of Irish soda bread, and a hug. They need all three.


  1. Hi- great post. I yelped out loud when I saw that bag of Irish soda bread. I have two bags in my cabinet. I give my sister one every year for the anniversary of her husband's death. I give that exact brand you have pictured!! :-) cool huh?
    I am not a baker either - all of your creations from mixes looked so yummy. :-)
    Love to you

  2. Was thinking of you yesterday, did you get much snow? It is a good weekend for baking, I am still snowed in, waiting to have my car dug out and it has turned bitterly cold. Our parking lot is still a horrible mess, oh well it will work itself out.....:-)Hugs

  3. Eileen, hat is such a sweet story and tribute to Katie! Loved reading this, my friend. What I wouldn't give for a nice piece of soda bread right now or one of my grandmother's cupcakes... always baked with love!

    Hope you are doing well and that the snow plows are able to get the traffic moving and the garbage picked up. I've been thinking of you ever since I read your last post. I'm sending warm hugs to you and yours...


    Sheila :-)

  4. Your house must smell wonderful with all the baking you have been doing. I also love the way it warms the house.

  5. Lovely to know you are the box mix kind of girl. Me too. Today I made a box mix of lemon bars. They are so yummy. Next time I make them I will take a picture. I really like your crumb cake.
    It is snowing a lot today. So the lemon bars with some decaf coffee this afternoon are perfect. We are watching out the window to the back yard. The birds and squirrels are doing just like they always look, playing, eating, not letting the weather get to them.

  6. Ah that was so sweet, I feel like Katie Reilly today as my Katie is sick and I've been cooking soup and making tea! I love those mixes Eileen, Katie made a loaf of beer bread from a mix and it was delicious! That was a thoughtful gift that you received and good to have something to do during this Looong month! Love You, Di ♥