Category Archives: Travel


Hi Y’all –

Before you watch that halrious video (above) on how to make Irish Soda Bread in a Crock Pot (Slow Cooker), grab a spot of tea and get comfy.

Tea for two

A year ago about this time my best friend Mary and I were planning a trip to Ireland (for a month!).  Neither of us had been overseas before and we were both apprehensive, excited and ready to go!

We stayed at a lovely beautiful stone cottage located in Brackwansha near Knockmore, County Mayo, Ireland.  If you look it up on a map it is between Ballina and Foxford to the west.  You could just about draw a line straight from Dublin to almost the other side of the country.  

Knockmore, County Mayo, Ireland
Ray & Rose

Our charming hosts Ray and Rose and their family made us feel like family.  They took us under their wings and guided us through life in Ireland.  There are a hundred stories I could tell you, but for now, let’s just say the area residents still remembers us as the crazy American ladies and their escapades. To see what Ray and Rose had to say click here and scroll down to the comments.

Missing my late husband, Bill in Ireland

Amazingly, Ray and Rose took their property that was inherited and over the years  and turned buildings that used to be for farm animals into some  true Irish cottages.  They actually did most of the work themselves.  To learn more about their seriously, reasonably priced accommodations click here and here for websites they are listed with.

Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic coastline

At first you notice that Knockmore is not the most touristy place to stay in by tourism standards, but we got to learn and see some Irish living real life.  We were close enough (the island isn’t that big),to get to Dublin by bus and England

Monastery close to Knockmore, County Mayo, Ireland
Monastery close to Knockmore, County Mayo, Ireland

by plane (Knock airport). We saw some castles, cliffs, ocean, ruins, monasteries and abbeys.  There is so much history in Ireland from their lifestyles to their churches.
St. Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn





Saint Patrick Monument
Saint Patrick Monument

In celebration of the upcoming Saint Patrick or better known as St. Paddy’s day here in the United States, we have an amazing Crock Pot Irish Soda Bread recipe that we adapted from We made it healthier for us by changing out an ingredient or two.

Irish Soda Bread made in a crock pot

Just so you know, this bread is a much denser bread (sort of like cornbread)  than our American white bread and if your interested in learning the history behind this bread visit  We found the bread to be great with chili, soups, or to snack on.  

One of the traditions they have in Ireland that I really have tried to adopt is that when they take long road trips (they – being the natives of Ireland), the Irish take actual restorative breaks by pulling the car off to the side of the road, putting out a couple of chairs or blanket and pouring out a hot beverage (mostly tea) and some sort of sweet bread, cookie or biscuit.  This bread would have fit in perfectly.

Irish Soda Bread sampling time
Irish Soda Bread sampling time

 I personally like some butter or jam on it with my coffee.  Make sure to give it a try (the bread and the rest stop) and let us know how it turned out for you.

Slow Cooker Irish Soda Bread

(Makes one 8-inch round loaf)


1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (to make your own dark brown sugar check out If you brown sugar becomes hard you can put it in a container with either 1/2 an apple or a slice of bread.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons *Olive Oil (*I changed this from unsalted butter to olive oil)
1 large egg


  1. In 2-cup glass bowl, mix together milk and vinegar; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly spray the sides and the bottom of your slow cooker. Wiebke used a round 4 qt slow cooker.

    Denine's old slow cooker
    Denine’s 5 quart old keeps on kicking, slow cooker
  3. In large mixing bowl, mix together flours, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Rub olive oil into flour mixture with fingers. However, I preferred a whisk and Wiebke likes a mixer.

    Antique Whisk Bill got for me
    Antique whisk/egg yolk separater Bill got for me
  4. Whisk egg into the soured milk.
  5. Make a depression in center of flour mixture and pour in all but about 1/4 cup of the milk mixture. Slowly mix the flour mixture and the liquid. Stir gently to combine into a slightly sticky dough that can be formed into a very pliable soft ball, adding more liquid if needed.
  6. Lightly knead the dough in the bowl, 5 or 6 times, forming it into a ball.
  7. Place the dough ball into the center of the slow cooker. The dough will flatten a little to a diameter of roughly 6 inches and a height of about 2 1/2 inches.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4-inch deep cross in the top of the dough. (This will help the bread to be baked through and to not have an underdone texture).
  9. Set the slow cooker to the “high” setting and bake for about 3-3 ½ hours. You can test if the bread is done by seeing if a toothpick stuck into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  10. Remove the loaf from the slow cooker and place it on a wire rack and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Cool the loaf off for about 2 hours. If you slice it before it as cooled off completely, it may fall apart.
  11. Disclaimer/Disclosure

Our trip to Ireland was declared a success, however I will leave you with a tidbit – Our adventures included getting lost the first day, almost running over our host, huge spiders, driving on the wrong side of the road, trading out our rental vehicle three times,  asking for directions from an Irishman with a very BROAD (I so didna understan a wood) accent and cows……..oh, and talking to sheep.

To watch more of our crazy videos check out our YouTube channel “TheHard Hat Belles” or click  The Hard Hat Belles to go directly there.  Once there like and subscribe to receive notifications of the latest video releases.

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If you have any comments about how your Crock Pot Irish Soda Bread  turned out or other ideas for us to try, please let us know below in the comments.  And as Ray says, “its always lovely to hear from ye, spreading cheer and stories.”

2 Corinthians 9:10

Love & Hugs,

Denine & Wiebke

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