St. Paddy’s Day

Did you know it’s ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ or ‘St. Paddy’s Day,’ but not ‘St. Patty’s Day?’  

I didn’t, until yesterday.  Good thing I’ve always gone with the full name out of ignorance.  For a moment there, I felt like I did as a kid when I found out that my ‘ValenTIME’ was really ‘ValenTINE.’  

I have no idea why I like March 17 so much, since I’m not Irish nor did my family ever do anything special growing up, but nonetheless, I love it.  I wear my green and make Irish Soda Bread without fail.

(Andrew always comments when I wear this shirt on St. Patrick’s Day… I get to wear it ONE out of 365 days a year!  What, does he think I’ll forget and not wear it?!)


We started our day with shamrock shakes.



(Points for green apples and a green mixer in the photo, too!)  

My soda bread was cooling on the counter by 7 a.m.

Before leaving for school, I prepped and loaded the crockpot with the goods for corned beef, cabbage and veggies.  I think the addition of potatoes and carrots technically makes it a ‘New England Boiled Dinner,’ (according to Betty Crocker) but I’m going with Corned Beef and Cabbage.’  It’s more Irish.



The corned beef turned out wonderfully, which was an added bonus since it was my first time attempting it.



The soda bread was perhaps my best.  I’ve been using King Arthur Flour’s Irish-American Soda Bread recipe the past couple years, but I started out using Martha Stewart’s.  Both are great.  



On the side, we had the boiled veggies and cabbage.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the cabbage wasn’t very good.  Perhaps it was a bit overdone?  It was mushy, as opposed to just slightly crunchy.  



Mr. Nye joined us, as Mrs. Nye is currently out of town.  Mr. Nye even came sporting a green clover-leaf necklace.  Way to get into the spirit!  Hadrian’s ears are back there, too.



For dessert, I SO wanted to make some sort of green-mint-chocolate concoction, but Andrew would never go for it (which would just leave me with a ton of leftover dessert) so I opted for another ‘Irish’ favorite: apple crisp.  Not exactly sure why so many apple crisps came up when I googled ‘Irish desserts,’ but it’s got to be the oats.  I went with Ellie Krieger’s Apple Crisp from one of my cookbooks, and I’ll be honest–it wasn’t that great.  Don’t get me wrong–it was sweet and warm and tasty–but if you’re looking for an amazing apple crisp, it’s just not it.  (For amazing, try Barefoot Contessa’s Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp.)  It’s just too darn healthy.  I did like that it used three different kinds of apples WITH their skins (more fiber!) and I ended up using hazelnuts in the topping instead of almonds.  



So what does one do with a too-healthy dessert??  

They top it with ice cream and GREEN whipped cream!


And tonight, we’re having REUBENS with the leftovers!

to Africa and back

Awhile ago (as in, I don’t even remember how long ago), my friend Regina (at least I think that’s who it was) recommended a recipe for a sweet potato stew to me.  I don’t even remember why she thought to tell me about it.  I’m just all sorts of forgetful these days, aren’t I?!

Anyway, the recipe for African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans has been in my to-make pile for awhile, and I thought it would be perfect for Meatless Monday this week.  (Except that we ate it tonight, which is indeed Tuesday, but whatever.  It’s the thought that counts.)

I’ll admit, I didn’t have super high hopes that Andrew would like this dish.  It has beans in it, after all.

So you can imagine my surprise when he announced that, in fact, he did like it.  According to him, the red beans “didn’t ruin in by making it too dry.”

In fact, “You can’t even taste them,” he said.  Whatever works, right?


To go with it, I made Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day’s ‘Msemmen,’ which is an Algerian flatbread.  I thought it would go nicely.  It was super easy and absolutely amazing.  Basically, you make their basic dough recipe, roll it out, spread a spice mixture on it as if it were pizza, then you roll the dough into a log and swirl it into a cinnamon roll shape before letting it rest for 20 minutes.  After that, you simply roll it out again, which causes the spice mixture to create layers in the dough.  Then, pan-fry in a skillet.





The stew is slightly sweet with just a bit of a kick.  Serve with lime wedges and chopped peanuts!



how do I top thee?

I made bread today. Well, my bread maker did while I was viewing online lectures for my summer class.

I chose whole wheat cinnamon bread with apples and raisins, a combo I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. To heck with the fact that it’s not ideal meat-and-cheese sandwich bread! Or is it? (I’m betting it’s fantastic, but then, I’m an adventurous eater surrounded by wimps. Humph.)

Andrew’s out biking in the sunshine, so I was in my own for dinner tonight. This is what happened:

My textbook (I couldn’t run the risk of cracking the third Hunger Games book open; I’m too close to the end to stop!), two slices of bread (I couldn’t bear to waste the heel after I cut myself a piece, so I decided I’d just eat it, too), and fruit and veggies with homemade ranch dip. I use ‘homemade’ loosely, since it’s just the last of the cream cheese and the last of the ranch dressing mixing together, but whatever.

My quandary? What do I put atop my bread? Will plain butter allow the bread’s own taste to shine best? What about the classic strawberry jam? Or my usual, a nut butter? And what about this craving for honey, I’m having…?

Here they are people, in order or appearance:

Strawberry jam, blueberry nut-flavored honey, crunchy almond butter, and plain butter.

The verdict? On toasted bread, I’m going to go with plain butter, and a pb&j sandwich would be excellent as well. The flavored honey was way too sweet, but the jam was nice.

Can’t wait for toast tomorrow!