Whether celebrating your heritage or just enjoying St. Patrick’s Day festivities, get in the spirit with some Irish baking. Soda bread has been an Irish tradition since the 1800’s when the only ingredients were flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. It became a daily part of Irish diet, as the bread was quick and inexpensive to make.
Over the years, we’ve added some additional ingredients to the recipe, although conventional soda bread still remains popular in Ireland. You will find that the warm bread makes a great side alone or with stews and meat dishes. Surprise your family and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by making a modern form of the classic Irish soda bread.
Irish Soda Bread
recipe from Simply Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
My family has always been an avid promoter of ‘going green.’ All year long we recycle and compost instead of throwing items in the trash. We continue this trend during the holiday season. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how eco-friendly my family was during the holiday season.
The three major green actions we take include reusing wrapping paper, buying a real tree and reusing decorations. Whether you live a green lifestyle or are just looking to save money and the environment this holiday season, these tips are easy to follow.
Reusing Wrapping Paper
The December holidays represent time for food, fun, family, and gift giving. Both adults and kids alike eagerly await celebrating long-held family traditions, decking out the house with festive decorations, and gathering with relatives and friends to exchange gifts and feast on holiday creations.
But beneath the lights, stars, candles, and greenery lay all the makings for a huge holiday … mess. The needle-dropping Christmas tree, the wax-dripping Menorah or Kinara, tinsel that sticks everywhere, the holiday dinner dish pile up, and your five-year-old who blows her nose – then grabs the lid of the holiday cookie jar. But since no Mom wants to draw attention to the dark side of the holidays or gain recognition as Mrs. Scrooge, these dirty little holiday secrets continue to be swept under the proverbial household rug, only to re-emerge next December.
But since messes remain an inevitable part of family life, this holiday season I’ve pulled together some of my best tips to help Moms navigate December, without spending every waking minute scrubbing, wiping, washing, scouring, sorting, vacuuming, and polishing.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions centers on deep fried turkey. Each year, my family purchases an extra bird and travels to our friend Kevin’s home. Thanks to his elaborate outdoor turkey fryer, Kevin expertly fries turkeys for his family and friends. His intricately designed fryer takes up the majority of his driveway and calls for heavy protective gear including big mitts and apron. While the incredible taste of a deep fried turkey makes me eager to try my own hand at the process, watching Kevin battle hot, splashing oil on his driveway each year reminds me why I leave the dirty work to him.
Just in time for this holiday season, Masterbuilt offers a convenient alternative to bulky, outdoor deep fryers. With the capacity to fit a 14lb turkey, the Digital Electric Turkey Fryer provides an efficient way to cook a delicious feast for eight in just under an hour.
If the early department store signs and proactive shopper have yet to clue you in, the holiday season has begun! Every year the same process sets in, Black Friday shopping, radio stations transforming into holiday music providers, bright lights lining front yards, and the aroma of fresh baked goods inviting each visitor that enters your home. While many eagerly anticipate such annual traditions, providing small variations adds excitement and shakes up the average holiday joy.
The key to spicing up the season- add a little inspiration. Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest preserves add a level of flavor that transforms your average holiday thumbprint cookies into tiny works of art. From jam bars to cakes and cookies, swapping a few of your average ingredients for high quality items makes all the difference.
Every summer, my family ventures down to Cape Cod to celebrate the Fourth of July on the beach with friends and loved ones. I’m lucky enough to have a timeshare in Mashpee that includes a grill that I share with family, and some friends. However, Fourth of July anywhere can be a blast. Here are some ideas to make your celebration worthwhile wherever you are this year.
Make a running splash: Slip and Slides can be fun for children and adults alike! Traditional slip and slides you can find cheap to purchase, usually running around $18 average at Toys ‘R’ Us, Walmart, or Target. If you’re like my family, we went a little more original. My dad would lay down a tarp (making sure to choose a soft area of sand if near the beach or to test the land for any possible bumps that could be dangerous), add a hose, and for some more fun add soap to make a bubbly splash! Take turns on a slippery, fun ride that encourages exercise while incorporating a lot of fun and laughter.
For me, some of most fun that I’ve had around Easter has come from decorating the eggs and searching for them early Easter morning. What made it even better was getting to eat my pre-made breakfast after my brother and I found them all. However, while I’m a big fan of eggs, others in my family are not and there were always a bunch of leftovers that just sat in the fridge until we eventually threw them out. What a waste.
For all of those egg-loving families out there, why don’t you put your colorful Easter eggs to more use and recycle them into a yummy egg salad. Below are a couple recipes from AllRecipes.com to get you started:
Egg salad - recipe 1
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 red onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Green is absolutely my favorite color. Naturally, I love St. Patrick’s Day! Everyone sports some type of green apparel. Violators beware: the general rule is if you don’t wear some kind of green, you’re vulnerable to pinching! (Don’t forget to dress your child appropriately to avoid this!)
In addition to wearing green, many towns usually have St. Patrick’s Day parades filled with music and family friendly activities. Parades are a great opportunity for friends and families to get together and enjoy a fun time outdoors. Here are a few noteworthy events to check out if you’re in the area!
Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade starts at 1 pm on Sunday, March 20. The parade begins at the Broadway Train Station and ends at Andrew Square in South Boston. Extravagant floats, music, and cheer fill the streets to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston’s most Irish neighborhood!
Since many of us are having Valentine’s Day at home this year, why not make something special for you and your significant other? This recipe from Fresh Home magazine will make for a casual but intimate evening. It also contains naturally libido-boosting ingredients like carrots, cinnamon, and pineapple.
Coconut Shrimp & Veggie Wraps
Prep: 30 min. Cook: 20 min.
Yield: 2 servings