Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Celebration AM~Erica is Recovering From

So anyway...

I. Am. Ex. Hausted.

I have quite a St. Paddy's Day hangover, and not for the reason you probably think! I had nothing hard to drink. I'm recovering for a much different reason: the Irish dinner preparation.

I'm serious.

This was another one of those days when I spent all day preparing for 1 big part...and then I crashed...hard.

Yesterday...my blog post (HERE ...which includes dancing Irishmen if you haven't read it yet) talked of what was ahead for the day, gave food for thought, and hoped to get you thinking about your St. Patrick's Day celebration(s)...if not yesterday, then maybe from here on out!

Now then...as I try to do...I want to try to get a fairly authentic meal to enjoy for whatever holiday we are partaking in. Of course, yesterday was no different.

We did have Lucky Charms for breakfast. Just a fun way to kick off the day...
And I did enjoy my morning coffee as several cups of Tingling Leprechaun:

Green coffee cup waiting to be filled with coffee, milk, Bailey's Irish Cream creamer
& Coffee-mate peppermint mocha creamer

Then I made some Irish Porridge for lunch. It was only OK. I know how I would adapt it for doing it again in the future.

However...as all of that was being done & put together...I had quite the dinner menu planned! The plan was this:

Irish Pub-Style Orange Glazed Beef with Carrots & Onion
Cole Slaw (sweet KFC copycat)
Mustard, Dill & Vinegar Slaw
Irish Soda Bread

Apple Irish Cream Cake
Irish Cream Erin's Lush Pie
Irish Oatmeal Cookies

As I got the cooking & preparing going, a dessert & side dish had to be scrapped due to an "incident" that took time away from making the other. We had to do without the oatmeal cookies & the soda bread. I was SO disappointed!! I was trying the oatmeal cookies to get them baked & out of the way...but something in the recipe just wasn't right. Not sure what it was. And I followed it to the tee! Even though the batter was good & thick, something didn't adhere just right...and...there were cookies melting all over the cookie sheet & dripping to the bottom of the oven. GRRRR!!!

I had to stop all cooking/baking operations to turn off the oven, wait for it to cool, and then clean it the best I could so I could start the cooking/baking back up. We had some family coming over, so we were on a schedule to get this food going! Since the beef was to take a VERY long time in the oven, something had to be scrapped. Sadly...it was the soda bread. And I was SO looking forward to finally making it again this year! Bummer.

However, through an exhausting timing process, and a little help from Teen Girl & Hubby, the menu went more like this:

Irish Pub-Style Orange Glazed Beef with Carrots & Onion
Cole Slaw (sweet KFC copycat)
Mustard, Dill & Vinegar Slaw

Apple Irish Cream Cake
Irish Cream Erin's Lush Pie

Trust me...there was still plenty of food for 8 of us!

In my efforts to stay as authentic as possible, it is difficult to do much of the authentic Irish fare in our house. See, we have a non-pork eater. It goes back to a slight traumatic experience caused by a science teacher. That's a story for another time. However, it does effect how we approach dinners much of the time. For the most part, meat is usually of pork or lamb in Ireland. Beef is a rare commodity in the Emerald Isle... We still went the direction of beef this time. We will get to eat pork again, eventually. There are plenty of Irish pork recipes out there. But I was so glad I came across this  beef one! And it is NOT corned beef. Just to keep that out there...

I got to use my grandmother's roasting pan during the 3 & a half hours worth of making this dish. But it was WORTH IT!! Hubby sliced it up for me. I'm a weenie when it comes to electric knives. After it getting it cooked, sliced & arranged...it was so, so tasty! And there was not even enough meat to consider leftovers...so the dog got celebrate St. Paddy's Day, too!

Then there was the slaws. These should have been done up even earlier (like, maybe, the day before)...but that's how it goes.

The slaw in the green bowl is a sweet cole slaw. It's actually a KFC copycat recipe that we have used several times. I have handed the reins of this recipe over to Teen Girl, and she is usually the one to make it now. She does a great job!

In the casserole pottery dish (this dish has a family story attached to it...which is a story for another time) is a more authentic-like mustard, dill & vinegar slaw. It is not sweet, but instead, has a good bite to it. So, there were cabbage slaws to appease the whole crowd!

Then, we had to have potatoes! No good Irish meal is complete without potatoes. Amm-i-rite? And I finally got around to making colcannon!

Due to timing of things, I boiled the potatoes & then put the boiled potatoes pieces and the rest of the ingredients into the lazy cooker to finish the deed. The cabbage I used was from a slaw mix, so there was some carrot in there, too. I also added some kale. This was a HIT! So good. I was so happy with how it turned out!

Of course we needed dessert! I wanted to have a little variety. So, since the cookies didn't work out, I made my apple Irish cream cake along with an adapted & speedy-quick version of Erin's Lush.

The cake was put in the oven right after I pulled the beef out of it. Since our family members were already here, so it baked while we were eating. And then we enjoyed the cake while it was still very warm. It's a perfect way to enjoy a cake like this!

On the contrary, I served a cold pie. It's also known as Pistachio Pudding Dessert, but my mom always called it Erin's Lush & made it for St. Patrick's Day. There would be NO time for me to make the crust for this dessert, so I cheated by getting a pre-made graham pie crust. I then made the pistachio pudding with Irish cream creamer & used crushed pistachios & sliced almonds. It turned out so well, too!

Plated meal...I already devoured the mustard, dill & vinegar slaw
before thinking to take a pic of everything plated

Mmmmm...cake AND pie for dessert!

Most of the big kids (the ones 21 & over) also enjoyed some ale.

I did not partake in this since I am not a beer drinker. But the packing is really awesome...

Now then...part of St. Paddy's Day is about how you dress! Typically, the only real "rule" is that you need to have something green on or get pinched. Not sure how much the pinching actually happens except thru juvenile behavior (take that as you will). But there tends to be a process into what people wear. Here's what we did:

The boys all had green & blue on. Hubby did have orange under his green pullover, too!
Teen Boy is in a green t-shirt...hard to see in this pic.
Lil Guy is sporting neon green...his shoes (not shown, of course) are the same color.
Here I am at the end of the evening. See how tired I look?
I was exhausted!
But I still wore my Irish-like green & blue wrap,
a blue waffle top with butterfly print,
a headscarf I inherited from my grandmother with green & orange Irish-like pattern,
gray tights, deep red mod Mary Jane shoes, and a blue & green tartan wool mini skirt
The up-close tartan print on the skirt
On top of all of this, I discovered a fantastic Irish Aran Crafts fisherman's sweater at a thrift store! Someone overlooked it when they set out their St. Patrick's display. All it took was some extra looking...and I found this for $6.98! When I did research into these sweaters later, I found them for anywhere from $75 to almost $300! Crazy!

Isn't it beautiful? But I was so sad that it wouldn't fit me, so I had Teen Girl wear it.

She wore it SO well! She has a great faded olive button-up shirt to wear under the sweater, a skirt she made from one of hubby's old button-up olive shirts (which she won 2nd place for recycled styling for it), leggings, Ropers & a very trendy braided hair style with a bow. So perfectly Irish! She worked it!

OK...along with the amazing sweater find, I also found these amazing decorations, plates & cups for a killer price, too!

The sign, each stone, a package of 16 cups, package of 18 wedding/anniversary plates, and a package of 24 napkins were all $1 each at the Dollar Tree! SCORE!!

I went to the Kansas City Irish Museum this weekend. Not a very big place...but full of really cool stuff! However, their gift area has these same signs for $4. Just putting that out there. However...they do have some pretty incredible pricing for several of their gifts! Just FYI if you get the chance to stop by there...

I have also been feeling a bit sentimental lately. There is a draw to butterflies that I have anyway...but I discovered that the Irish see butterflies as souls of loved ones passed. And they have a butterfly blessing for it, too:

Beautiful, right? I'm getting choked up thinking about it...

But it's also a day of fun toasts, too! You can find all kinds of other Irish blessings, prayers, toasts, proverbs, limericks & even curses. Pleasant, right? And if you search...you can find them in a lot of places. But I thought I'd come up with a couple of Irish toasts of my own:

This was all I could come up with in the little extra time I could sort of find thru the day...

Anyhoo...I got to hear some Irish music, I watched part of the KC St. Patrick's Day parade on TV (I did record it so I could sit & enjoy it), but after this day & several days full of celebrating...I'm WIPED!

My hubby even asked if I was going to try to rest today. Apparently I looked like I was "floating" last night. (refer to the pic of me further up...).

So...now some downtime. Cuz this girl NEEDS it!

I hope our family's celebrating has inspired you to try some authentic stuff in the future. It's all about researching & celebrating.

And, by the way, save the Rubens & the corned beef & cabbage for Oktoberfest.

OK...I'm sure there's more celebrating coming...but not today. I need a break now...


Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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