Latvian Piragi. Bacon Rolls


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Growing up I ate these and we all loved them and knew they were something special from the old country, Latvia. Not until I first came to Latvia did I taste a real Latvian pirag with spekis. Spekis is a  smoked pork fat, something like bacon, and gives such a wonderful taste and aroma. These are an essential at any holiday occasion here in Latvia. You can buy them at the bakeries, or if traditions are strong make yourself at home, like we did for Easter!

Try these and make sure to eat them warm!


Prepared Yeast dough

At least 600 g. spekis or ham, or bacon. (When I make these in the USA, I use 1 pkg. bacon finely chopped and ham as well as ham. Do no throw the bacon fat away!)

1 chopped onion


1 egg- beaten and mixed with a little water.



1. Choose meet. This is what the meat I used looked like. It is thoroughly cooked and read to chop. If you use bacon  you will need to cook it. Do no over cook it. It does not need to be crispy. Add chopped ham and onion.

2. Mix all meat together, and add onion. Cook just until onion is tender.

3. Roll a section of the dough very thin, and put a teaspoon of meat mixture near edge.

4. Fold over and seal.


5. Cut with a cup. By using a cup and folding you save time and it helps make them all uniform in size. If you don’t like using this method  you can of course make little balls and roll or pat them out as we used to as kids. I much prefer the method Aunt Baiba taught me of rolling them out like this as it is much easier and faster.

6. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash

7. Let rise and bake until golden. YUMMY

NOTE: My grandma always would brush them with water and sugar mixture when they came out o the oven to make them shiny. Aunt Baiba didn’t mention this so I skip it. It does make them sweeter if you desire that.

If you have left over dough you can make it into cinnamon rolls, or poppy seeds rolls.

Warm left over ones before serving- they are always tastier warm.


Chocolate Sausage aka Sweet Brunette


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20151006_181232So this sweet treat is something I had never encountered until I moved to Latvia. But man, do we all love it and it disappears like crazy! Plus it is a no bake thing, and as long as you plan ahead it is super easy.


400 g. digestive cookies, or Selga.

200 g. butter

2 eggs

1/2 c. sugar

6 T. cocoa

200 g. marmalade (a jelly candy, softer than gumdrops)

Optional: nuts, raisins, etc.




  • Roughly break the cookies. Put in large bowl. Set aside and lay out a large piece of baking paper, at least 20-24 inches long.
  • Chop the marmalade into small pieces. Add to the big bowl, set aside.
  • Melt the butter, sugar, and eggs while stirring. I melt these together so the eggs get cooked. Then stir in the cocoa., pour this mixture over the cookies and marmalade. Stir to coat.


  • Distribute mixture onto prepared baking paper, keeping it in a long pile/log in the middle. Begin slowly rolling into a log, wrapping the paper and pressing, wrap, press, roll until you have a firm log, rolling the ends in to somewhat seal the roll. Transfer to a large tray and put in in the fridge to firm up for at least 8 hours.

Before I started rolling it.

  • Unroll, slice in 1/4-1/2 in. slices, and serve.


  • Enjoy!






On birthday’s. . . do it like Grandma


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Yesterday was my birthday.

Every year I use my birthday as an excuse to meet up with my girlfriends who though we are always happy to see one another, don’t get that chance as often these days due to location, work, etc.


This year I decided I wanted to spoil my girlfriends and I wanted to eat things my husband and kids don’t like, like shrimp 🙂

I decided to go crazy with macarons because they are my latest baking obsession and I can have no peace of mind until I can make them perfectly 99% of the time and they have been being very finicky lately. They used to be easy, but either my oven is getting old or some other nuisence is occuring. I had these flavors


German chocolate, lemon poppyseed, coconut, maple bacon, lavender earl gray, cinnamon, carrot cake and red velvet. 


I wanted to have less cake, and more options, besides wanting a reason to experiment 🙂 I made dark chocolate cherry mousse bombs, no idea what the proper name of those might be but that is what I call them.


And I tried a new pumpkin cake recipe for my cake with a lot of yummy chocolate. One benefit of participating in cake contests is meeting other cake bakers and then finding their recipes in blogs and magazines. Thanks to Ginta for this recipe, we enjoyed it. And I tried my tree design that I have been painting on ties for months in chocolate for another new decorating experiment.


It was so much fun to chat with friends and catch-up, and one of our old friends who I hadn’t invited due to distance (but one friend had shared about the time and date) decided to surprise us by showing up, that made for a wonderful gift since I hadn’t seen her in 2 years.


We also had a lovely workshop with each lady getting to mix her own spice/salt mix with some of the wonderful Manas Garšas collection and everyone went home late, happy and eager for our next chance to meet again.

I am so thankful for the friends that God has blessed me with over the last 12 years in Latvia. Each of them is a treasure and encouragement!



I can’t help but be a bit sad too as one year ago my Grandma passed away on my name’s day. As my birthday approached I remembered how she used to say birthday’s need to be celebrated a week, and so I started early with some girlfriends to make her memory live on with me.

My Grandma knew how to celebrate, she was full of life, spunky and energetic even at 86! I wonder if in heaven they are celebrating today, remembering the day she entered those pearly gates? We know there are no tears there and even now I can hear her voice, “Oh baby” as she gave me a nice big Grandma hug. And I can hear her beautiful voice with her delicate Latvian accent as she sang me Happy Birthday. I miss you Grandma, and always will. Happy 1st anniversary in heaven! I love you!



Monday’s Survival Marshmallow Cookies


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I don’t know how you feel about Monday, but for me, it is a day in survival mode.

Getting 2 school kids (grades 1 and 3) back into the groove. Taking my kindergartner to his lessons. Taking the baby to his physiotherapist. Music school for the girlie.  And making sure my oldest goes back to see the teacher at the school for his extra lessons in Latvian requires a lot of time management. But the WORST part of the day is when I get my kids back grumpy and my son still has to finish his homework so he can make it to his Lego robot club. The past 2 weeks since he had to start seeing his teacher after school we have had to skip this club because there is just isn’t enough time to both conquer his attitude, do his homework and make it in time.

I know it is a crazy schedule. Thankfully the baby will be done with his exercising once he learns to crawl. And I would rather have one crazy busy day then spread out the madness a little bit all week.  I like to have some down days in the week too 🙂

Today the kids had a Martiņdiena Market at school and all the grades 2 and up had to bring something baked or homemade to sell for charity.

This year I made sugar cookies for bases, and a fluffy marshmallow for the topping, with lots of sprinkles.


So if you are in need of a little survival mode Monday or a quick bake sale cookie, or school treat you can whip some of these up.


There are so many sugar cookie recipes out there on the internet that you can just google one of those. Here are a couple I found that look good.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookie 

Chocolate Sugar Cookies. Try them with a chocolate sugar cookie base. Haven’t tried this recipe, but I have her book 🙂

For the marshmallow toppin, I used my all time TOP favorite baking blog Sweetapolita’s recipe. And of course, I have her book too because I just adore her blog.


So good luck and hope you survived your Monday!

Have a great week!


An Eclair Thing



Ever since I saw a Instagram post of Anna Panna’s adorbable eclairs I have been a little bit crazy about the idea of a new do on eclairs.

My Dad absolutely loves eclairs and last time he was here I took him to a lot of the local bakeries so he could have them. He loved them fresh and stuffed to the gills with whipped cream.

For me, I love something new, tantalizing, unusual, and pretty. So one day while in Riga I made a special trip to that area of town, just so I could try Anna Panna’s eclairs. It was expensive but creative and I liked it!

This summer I have made some eclairs, nothing as fancy as I”d like to try because I am always short on time when I need them and don’t have time to make the cream fillings I want to experiment with- but I will keep this idea burning and when I get that perfect reason I will play with my ideas till I get them perfect.

Until then here are my summer eclairs for various occasions 🙂

And these were made in honor of my sister coming to visit after 6 years. Yeah, I live across the ocean.



Hump Day Banana Cake


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Since my kids started school Sept 1 I have been in an attitude battle with myself. I know you’d think this would be the kids, but no, it’s me.

The reason is I hate the running, the waiting and the new schedule of school, music school and all the little club things we are going to spend our lives on the next 9 mos. I don’t hate the actual things, just the process of waiting and running. And until I get used to this new schedule after a peaceful summer I am just so tired. I feel like hitting the sack at 9 p.m. and usually, I am a night owl. This just goes to show how tiring this is 🙂

I have been stuck in a cake rut recently too and had been baking other things as much as possible to avoid them. But then today bananas were on sale, you know the ones that are perfectly ripe and ready for use. My mind quickly realized that I had all the other ingredients at home, forgetting that I didn’t have much butter because butter prices have flown through the roof here lately- but I managed with a bit of oil for a substitute.

I decided this would be our hump day cake, because you know if you are gonna have a cake you should have a reason, right? 🙂 Mondays are crazy for us, with all 3 of the older kids having the most running. So by the time we reach Wednesday I am definitely feeling a reason to celebrate.

This cake consists of a sand crust base, a caramel filling, lots of bananas and a whipped cream top, something similar to Banoffee I’d say. One thing to remember is to splash a squirt of lemon juice on them and toss before putting in the cake- I think I forgot to do do that this time. I was baking bread, making supper and trying to can salsa all while doing this and am really not sure- but the brown banana on the side seems to tell the real story.


My favorite part of baking cakes is the decorating and when you are in a pinch and don’t have any fresh berries or fruit on hand it is an exciting challenge to come up with some new things to decorate with.

I realized as I decorated this cake and used 4 things that don’t normally go on cakes that my excitement for cakes had returned. And it wasn’t because this cake was so exhilarating, rather that the creative process of coming up with original ideas for decoration challenged me and got those creative juices flowing that I so need and love to use in my cakes.

So stop on over, and grab a few of the last crumbs of this cake- because the kids loved it and it is nearly gone.

Ratings :

K-boy age 5- One million stars



Polka Dot Cake Theme


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This order was so much fun to make with the polka dots- macarons and bright colors.


Bottom layer:

  • Lemon sponge with lemon mousse and lemon curd filling + strawberry slices.

Top layer:

  • Lemon sponge with rhubarb jam and mascarpone cream filling.

Macaron cookies in 3 colors

  • Blue- with blueberry buttercream filling.
  • Yellow- with lemon curd filling.
  • Pink- with raspberry mascarpone filling.

Lapsas Maja


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I first noticed this cafe a long time before I had the time to go in as I would pass it every time I had to visit my midwife.

I finally had the time parking wise to stop in and I was SO glad I did. I had salad with chicken, and a mushroom pastry which was out of  this world. I loved that they had options that other bakeries do not have- like the mushroom filled pastry. Yum! I also had a lovely Illy coffee latte and some of the best biezpien (quark) cake that I have ever had. It still lives on in my memory – moist, delicate, fresh!

So if you are in Aganskalna, on Marupe street be sure to stop in to this cute cafe bakery for a light lunch, or some tasty pastries!


Mom’s Buttermilk Waffles


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From the time I was a kid I remember loving waffles. Perhaps it’s because a family with 4 kids rarely makes them due to the time it takes to cook enough for everyone to eat and the wait time involved.

When I was in England visiting my cousin I loved their family tradition of having the waffle iron on the table and cooking and eating them together thus avoiding the work of one person cooking for the hungry tribe and never getting to sit down. Also waffles are best right off the iron and having everyone at the table together makes a nice family meal with time to talk while waiting.

I am lucky enough to have a waffle iron which cooks two waffles at the same time, which moves things along.

When I first moved to Latvia I could not find a Belgium waffle iron anywhere. I wanted at best something with deep squares- but no such luck for me as at that time they  were hard to find and expensive.

With 4 kids of my own, I seldom make waffles. Especially because our pancake cook in the house is usually my husband on Saturday mornings, and he doesn’t like making waffles. Therefore I use this  morning tradition of ours as a chance to sleep in a few extra minutes with the baby.

So here is a good waffle recipe, tried and true from my Mom.These will be soft unless you cook them longer and browner until crispy (which is the only way to eat a waffle in my mind). However, if you want it crispy then you must eat it immediately as when it cools it will be soft again. I love to eat them with a dab of butter and maple syrup like my Mom used to. As a kid the whole butter on pancakes and waffles was weird- but now it reminds me of my childhood in the USA and my Mom.



2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk (I used kefirs, or a mix of kefirs and milk)

1 t. baking soda

2 cups flour

2 t. baking powder

6 T.oil

Dash of salt



Whisk eggs, then whisk in milk and oil.Add baking powder and soda and whisk to avoid clumps. Gently stir in flour- being careful not to over stir. Ladel onto hot waffle iron and cook according to your liking and as required by your waffle iron.





Princess Cakes

My latest orders have included a couple of princess cakes, which have been a fun change.

These were both honey cakes. Honey cake is my ALL time favorite cake and yesterdays had a7 layers to it with the delicious sweet yet sour filling.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it and the little girl’s were delighted.

Here is to lots more princess cakes in the months to follow!