February 2015 Bakin’ Friends

Love getting packages in the mail? Join Bakin’ Friends, a group that is similar to having a pen pal but with baked treats!


After over a year I have finally jumped back in with Bakin’ Friends, which is a group where you are paired up with someone different each month for whom to bake! Each month also comes with its very own secret ingredient which must be used in your creation. It should come as no surprise that February’s secret ingredient was chocolate. I actually got to send my goodies to Leah (MacKenzie Memories) who took over after Stephanie (Steph’s Bite by Bite) stepped down. I sent her my double dark chocolate cherry cookies which she said she’s been able to hoard them all to herself since her husband and daughter are not huge chocolate fans. And I quote “I had one before dinner…they were fabulous!!”. You should probably go get the recipe HERE.

February 2015 Bakin' Friends

As for me, I was lucky enough to have Dora send me some of her homemade Snickers! Her uncle (who unfortunately passed away recently) was a chocolate maker for over 40 years where she lives. When his health took a turn for the worse she began trying her hand at some of the things he used to make and found a renewed respect for all the effort it takes. She warned me that I may want to go to the gym in preparation for their arrival and she was right! Definitely a good thing I am a regular gym goer. Thank you so much Dora for a literal slice of your family’s history. I hope you made another batch for your husband ;-).
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DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shade

Get fancy looking Roman shades without the cost or the need for a sewing machine with this easy tutorial to make your own faux Roman shade!

DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shade 1

Originally I had planned on sharing a fun DIY Valentine’s Day craft today, but evidently things did not go as planned. This whole having a full time job thing really takes up time I could be baking and crafting haha. But anywho, instead I am sharing another DIY home decor project that I tackled – no sew roman shades. Because the window in the stairwell looked naked.

DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shade 3

This tutorial is for those of you who do not own a sewing machine but still want to play with fabric. Instead of stitching you will use iron on hem tape which binds the fabric together as if it were stitched. Of course you can use a sewing machine instead if you own one. I do not and therefore opted for this no-sew version. All you need is 3 inexpensive tension rods (found at places like Home Depot or Walmart), iron on hem tape (and an iron), and one yard of fabric.

Side note: If you are buying fabric from JoAnn’s during a big sale (and consequently there is a huge line in the fabric dept), grab a ticket from the cutting counter first and then peruse the store for the items on your list. Lesson learned.

DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shade 2

If your window gets a lot of light you may want to consider getting thick fabric, a backer, or just double up on your fabric depending on your preference. I went with a semi-thick fabric and didn’t bother with a backer or doubling up. Even when the light shines through I think it looks fine and dandy. (Except for the fact that I took the picture below before I realized it was draped backwards, but fixed it for the photos above.)

DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shade 4

One year ago: Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup

Two years ago: Lip Balms

Three years ago: Whole Wheat Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Four years ago: Velveeta Chicken & Veggie Mac
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DIY Painter’s Tape Accent Wall

Easily create geometric wall art or accent wall using painter’s tape and your choice of paint colors. Just tape, paint, peel, and admire!

DIY Painters Tape Accent Wall 5

When I first started looking at places to live in Columbus, I proclaimed that I was going to paint the walls for once. Every place I have rented I have resisted painting because I rationalized that I wouldn’t be living there long enough to bother with it. But after over a decade of boring white and/or tan walls in every room I needed to paint some walls!
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December Bakin’ Friends

Starting this month, Bakin’ Friends is now organized by Leah. And for her first round she chose cardamom as the secret ingredient this month! Want to join us next month? Shoot Leah a message leahmarie.mackenzie@gmail.com.

I was super excited when I found out that Steph of Steph’s Bite by Bite had me again this month. This time she sent me these delicious Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles and some packets of Chocolate Chai tea to either enjoy a cup or make more cookies! I had never heard of chocolate tea before and was impressed by the idea of using it to flavor these cookies. I loved how the spices and chocolate blended together and enjoyed a few with a mug of hot chocolate!

Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles


November Bakin’ Friends

It’s November Bakin’ Friends time! Matches were sent out the 5th with the secret ingredient notification of NUTMEG. Pretty valid ingredient for this time of year, don’t you think? We had until November 16th to ship out the goodies to our bakin’ friend and then the last day of the month (or last Friday in this case) we share what we got!


I was really excited to be receiving a baked treat from Alex of Yums and Loves this month, and she definitely fulfilled my excitement. She sent me snickerdoodle blondies and let me tell you, if you thought snickerdoodle cookies were good just wait until you try one of these. I scarfed down two in a row upon first arriving at my door and even had one for breakfast another day. I enjoy snickerdoodles but I wouldn’t consider them one of my favorite cookies. But in bar form they rock my world! So chewy, soft and bursting with flavor. I could eat them all day long and it took serious will-power to not do just that. And once they were gone I went through withdrawl.

November Bakin Friend

P.S. The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker.

One year ago: Onion Ring Topped BBQ Bacon Burger

Two years ago: Red Velvet Crème Brulee Cupcakes


October Bakin’ Friends

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! After months of not participating in Bakin’ Friends I was excited to jump back into it this month! The dissertation madness is starting to wear down so I finally had time to bake and ship off goodies this month. The secret ingredient this month was candy corn, in honor of Halloween.


Unfortunately I am not a fan of candy corn AT ALL. So I talked it over with Steph and she told me to go ahead and bake something with candy corn for my match, and then ask the person sending me treats to refrain from using candy corn and use another Halloween candy instead. Thankfully Deborah admitted that she doesn’t like candy corn all the much either so she was more than happy to oblige me in my anti-candy corn request – with Reeses pieces and a caramel swirl!


I am so very glad I spoke up and got something without candy corn because the brownies she sent me were insanely good. When she shipped them to me, she mentioned that she had to make two batches because they were so good. When they arrived I immediately dug into one and I have to agree with her statement. After snapping a couple photos, I had a second helping because I just could not resist! Dangerous little guys I’m telling you.


Thank you Deborah for the awesome brownies!


Name change

I’ve got three letters after my name, and they are…


July Bakin’ Friends

Guess what? Bakin’ Friends is one year old! I cannot believe we have already been sharing goodies for a year. To celebrate, Steph declared this month’s secret ingredient to be sprinkles!! Because what’s a celebration without sprinkles?


This month I had the pleasure of receiving cookies from Miranda. Unfortunately the first batch she sent was returned to her for unknown reasons, but she was nice enough to whip up a new batch and try again. The second batch arrived and I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of cookies!

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

It had been far too long since I have had a sugar cookie. Back in the day, sugar cookies covered in sprinkles were my #1 favorite cookie. But somehow I only think of making them now when the holidays roll around. For shame. Especially with cookies like these which were nice and chewy. I enjoyed that she used non-traditional sprinkle colors too – lavender (or maybe silver?) and gold. Thank you Miranda for reminding me how good sugar cookies are!

One year ago: Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese, Corn, and Bacon Waffles


June Bakin’ Friends

Welcome to June’s Bakin’ Friends! Every month we ship a goodie to a different Bakin’ Friend using the ingredient of the month. This month was caramel and I was completely spoiled by my Bakin’  Friend, Valerie of Keep Calm and Bake.


I was so completely surprised by what I saw when I opened my box this month, it was packed full of so many things! And it was so cutely presented that it made me feel guilty for not putting more effort into the packages I send to my Bakin’ Friends (my apologies I will try harder from now on!). On top of this adorably cute spring/summer theme to my package, there were not one, not two, but FOUR baked goodies in there all made with caramel. Valerie included a note saying she made them all hoping I would like at least one of them, but they were all favorites of hers. I immediately had not doubt that I too would love it all.

June Bakin Friend 1

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May Bakin’ Friends

The end of May already?? I’m not entirely sure I am okay with this fact. Especially since I still have a bunch of unused birthday month coupons which will expire at the end of today. Thankfully it’s Bakin’ Friends time, complete with delicious baked goods to help us get through this difficult time.

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