About Ireland, Part 1

We flew into Dublin and spent three days in the city. The highlight of Dublin was not Temple Bar. Yes, it would be awesome if you are 19 and want to drink your face off all day, but I’m old and feeble and cannot keep up with that crew.  Nonetheless, if you are in the city, you would be remiss not to at least stop by that area of the city and have a pint of Guinness.

By far, the highlight of Dublin was the Notre Dame v. Navy football game at Aviva Stadium. Aviva was an awesome stadium, very comfortable and we had amazing seats.

See how close we are to the field?

2000 Midshipmen flew in for the game

I was doubly impressed with the fact that each concession stand in Aviva was staffed with about 7 people whose sole job was to pour pints of Guinness and have them ready for customers. High marks for the Irish in this area.

Even though I am a diehard Michigan State fan and relish every time Notre Dame loses at anything, I still had fun at the game. It was a beautiful day, Navy played the Top Gun theme song while walking into the stadium, and it was the officially the start of college football season- what’s not to like?!

Totally awesome stadium

After Dublin, we drove north to the Glens of Antrim and stayed at a cute bed and breakfast in Cushendall. This was by far the most beautiful area in all of Ireland. We walked to the beach and the water was bright blue and crystal clear, almost like the Caribbean. I had not expected that so far north.

The Riverside Bed and Breakfast

Nighttime at the beach

A note for future travelers, the Glens of Antrim is in Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain. If you are self driving, there is no sign that notes you have crossed into new territory! Embarrassingly, we found this out when trying to pay for snacks at a fuel station with Euro- the clerk (clearly annoyed) informed us we needed Pounds for that. Oops…

After leaving Cushendall, we took a scenic route along Torr Head drive. This follows the coast and it is just breathtaking. The cliffs, the greenery, the sheer narrowness of the road- all breathtaking.

Yes, this is a two-way ‘road’, hugging the Antrim coast

Following this scenic route will lead you to Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Bushmills Distillery- all of which we visited.

The Causeway is a natural rock formation that looks like cobblestones were perfectly laid down to form of bridge leading into the ocean. There is a matching set of stones across the water coming up in Scotland.

Basalt rock columns, formed by volcanic activity

Windy, but on top of the world!

Carrick-a-Rede was a lot of fun, it is a swinging rope bridge connecting the mainland to some little islands. Fisherman used to use it for catching salmon. Don’t let this picture fool you, it is very high up!

Keep your eyes on the final destination

Made it across and enjoying the view!

Last stop of the day was the Bushmills whiskey distillery. We had a guided tour of the factory and got a free glass of the reserve of our choice at the end. I had the 10 year reserve, I’m not a whiskey fan so really, I have nothing intelligent to say about the taste! My husband is a total whiskey snob and was starry-eyed the whole time we were having the tour. He bought a personalized bottle of the 12 year distillery reserve, which is only available at the factory. Bliss!

Drinks with friends 🙂

Overall, Northern Ireland was absolutely lovely and there was a lot to do in the great outdoors. We headed out from here to north west Ireland, our eyes set on Donegal.  Stay tuned for part 2.


– Erin

Dough Boys, or, the dessert to end all desserts

Hello friends.

I’ve saved the best for last 🙂 This is my last classic cottage recipe, we’ve done Jam CookiesMonkey BreadFresh Corn Bake and now the ultimate- campfire baked Dough Boys.

Remember when I said s’mores where the second greatest food item to be cooked on a campfire? Well, this is the first.

This is the dessert to end all desserts because #1 the nostalgia factor for me if off the charts and #2 you cook it with sticks over a campfire. The primal, early human instinct buried inside you will love this, trust me. Along with your inner child 🙂 And of course the taste.

#3  Dough Boys are a simple dough  baked until the outside of the dough becomes puffy and GBD (golden brown delicious) leaving the inside warm, soft,  and sometimes a little gooey. Plus it picks up a hint of smokiness from the campfire. Think of a seriously awesome, campfire cooked biscuit that can be stuffed with a variety of compliments. You cannot replicate this in any other way, so don’t even think about it.

Build a campfire and let’s get started.

Start with around 2 cups of Bisquick dough in a large bowl. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of milk; fluff and stir with a fork. Repeat until the dough is thoroughly moistened but not overly wet. The dough will be somewhat sticky.

Then grab your cleaned and prepared cooking sticks.

These have been in our family being used for dough boys for forever. If you need to make them from scratch, find a stick at least 3 feet long and 1 inch in width. Peel the wood off the uppermost part of the stick, this is where you will put your dough.

Using your hands, grab about 1/3 cup dough and start molding the dough around the end of the stick. Don’t make it too think because remember, it will puff up while cooking. Pay attention to not make it to thin on the tip of the stick where it is more likely to burn.

It should look like this when done, now it’s ready to be baked.

Dough Boy, ready to start cooking

Find some nice, red hot coals. Stay away from direct flame.

Keep your eye out for the tell-tale GBD, it means it’s almost done. You can also test for doneness by gently trying to slide the dough  boy off the stick, if you feel a lot of resistance it is still gooey inside and needs more cooking.

Rotate the stick (think rotisserie chicken-style) to achieve even cooking and maximum GBD

Perfect Doneness!

Gently pull it off the end of the stick.

Then you stuff it. Yup, with jam, fresh fruit, butter, heck I’d say even try some chocolate and bananas.

I prepared a ‘stuffings bar’ for these dough boys.

Butter cubes, fresh peaches, homemade blueberry jam, raspberry jam, and rhubarb compote (cooked in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until soft)

The cottage traditionalist in me always goes with a strawberry or blueberry jam for fillings. This time I layered it, butter cube on the bottom, fresh peaches, butter (again I know) then blueberry jam.  The kids were big fans of the rhubarb plus butter.

And now for the finished product, a warm, self-contained edible dessert that was fun to make. Tasty, smokey and sweet. YUM 🙂

Wrap in a paper towel and enjoy sitting around the campfire, where you can give unsolicited advice to others about how to cook their dough boys. Or just provide some color commentary on how your dough boy was the most epicly GBD you’ve ever made in you whole life. Or just be quiet and eat.

Dough Boys

  • Milk
  • Bisquick 
  • Campfire cooking sticks
  • Campfire
  • Fillings, such as fresh fruit or jam

Note: This whole recipe is guesstimated based off experience and how the dough looks and feels. In a large bowl add two cups of Bisquick. Drizzle several tablespoons on milk over the mix and stir with a fork. Repeat until the dough is moistened throughout but not soggy. The dough should be somewhat sticky.

Start with a large 1/3 cup dough and form it around the end of the cooking sticks. Mold the dough evenly and don’t make it too thick. Cook over hot coals for 10-15 minutes, rotating evenly until the dough boy is golden brown and can easily slide off the cooking stick.  Stuff with your favorite fillings.  Will make about 4 dough boys, but really depends on how much Bisquick you started with and how thick you pile it onto the cooking sticks.


– Erin

Daily Question: Do you have any plans to do some campfire cooking this summer?