Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day

Image courtesy of serenebeautyphotos.com

We’re getting ready for St. Paddy’s Day festivities and I can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends. To get in the spirit, we’ll light our Garden Mint candle and the whole family will help bake some delicious Irish Soda Bread. This year, I think we’ll try a new recipe found over on Rachel Ray:

Cranberry Irish Soda Bread with Lime Glaze

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 cups milk and the lemon juice; let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries.
  3. Beat the egg into the milk mixture; stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it just comes together; form into an 8-inch round and place on the prepared baking sheet. Using a knife, score a 1/2-inch-deep “X” in the round. Bake until dark golden and crusty, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lime peel, lime juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon milk. Drizzle the cooled soda bread with the lime glaze.

(6 servings)

How yummy does that sound?

Tell me, what St. Paddy’s Day traditions do you usually look forward to?

Fat Tuesday ~ Mardi Gras Madness

Many of us associate Mardi Gras with little more than drunkenness, debauchery and indecent exposure rewarded by cheap, plastic beads—but is that all there is to this festive and famous yearly celebration? Whether you simply wish to impress coworkers with some useless, but fascinating Fat Tuesday tidbits or need some ideas for a nudity-free fete, or are visiting the Big Easy this Mardi Gras, we’re your gals….

Traditions~

Let’s start with the beads….Started by the Rex Krewe in the 1920′s, beads were thrown to excite the crowds. Traditionally, simply repeating the famous phrase “throw me something mister” was enough to get you a strand of beads. No one quite knows how the other tradition started, but let’s pretend it never did.

One of the oldest traditions of Mardi Gras, King Cakes are essential for any authentic Mardi Gras shindig. Braided, decorated with purple, green and gold frosting, and filled with pecans, cinnamon and raisins, this cake holds a surprise inside: a plastic baby. As tradition dictates, the recipient of the plastic baby must throw the next King Cake party. Party Tip: Order an authentic cake straight from The Big Easy or, if you’re feeling audacious, bake one yourself with our favorite recipe.

Each Krewe spends months working on elaborate floats for their decided theme. During the parade Krewes throw beads and dubloon stamped with their crest to patrons below. These floats became so outrageous that the city of New Orleans has restrictions on the size of the floats. No float can be higher than 18ft and longer than 50ft.

Party Tip ~ Keep the kids busy by throwing your own float contest! Grab some shoe boxes, green, gold, and purple glitter, some Mardi Gras Stickers and beads and get the creative juices flowing! Award the winner of the contest the title of King or Queen of Mardi Gras

Travel Tips ~There is more to New Orleans than just Bourbon Street. Be sure to check out the shopping! Check out Magazine Street for the best shopping this town has to offer. Be sure to visit Spruce Nola for one-of-a-kind eco-friendly home furnishings, and unleash your inner pen pal at the Stationer of Nola. Their astonishing collection of high quality stationary from the likes of Crane, Kate Spade and Vera Wang cannot be missed.