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Celebrate Mother’s Day with Love & Food

Lilacs

I’ve been quiet the past few days, I know. It’s been a busy week/weekend/month/life. More than anything I’ve enjoyed some time cooking and not having to think about how the dish comes out, how well it will photograph, or well I can optimize a post and tags. Because that’s what we do as bloggers. We’ve subconsciously learned to think of anything that could possibly relate to a potential blog post in just that sense. But sometimes you need a break. I’ve been preparing for Mother’s Day, and while I’ll probably still share a few recipes, they may not be as step-by-step detailed as they could be. Sometimes you just need time to focus on cooking. Especially for such a special holiday. To make sure your energy is not spent on perfect photos (or in my case the effort to achieve semi-passable photos) but on forcing every ounce of love into the dish you can.

Do you ever notice that? How food is practically centric to any event? We use it as a celebration—birthday cakes, wedding cakes. We use it as apologies—a batch of homemade cookies to say “I’m sorry.” We use it as an agent of health—chicken soup heals anything—and as a thank you for a small deed like helping to paint a room, or a big deed, like helping to grow up.

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Menu Ideas

The Holiday Shuffle

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I always knew getting married would mean compromises, especially when it came to family.Ever since I was a little kid, missing Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter was a big no-no. Birthdays could be shifted around a bit, and long periods of non visiting were acceptable (particularly when I lived in Philly) but nothing was more important than celebrating with family on these three days. When I got married to, not my high school sweetheart, but still a friend from my hometown, I thought how great life was. Both sets of parents lived within 10 minutes of each other. There was no need to travel halfway across the country, decide whose parents were “more important” to visit for each holiday, then switch it up the next year. It was all well and good in theory, but not so much in practice. Instead of splitting and alternating like many couples, we double celebrate each holiday. That means two Christmases, two Easters and yes, two very filling Thanksgivings. Two food centric events on the same day.

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Breads, Breakfast & Breads, Recipes

The Original Irish Baked Good: Brown Bread

Homemade Brown Bread with Local Butter & Cherry Preserves
Homemade Brown Bread with Local Ronnybrook Butter & Homemade Cherry Preserves

St. Patrick’s Day causes a frenzy of leprechauns, shamrocks, green beer and everything Irish people can get their hands on. I’ve lived in the same building for almost 7 years and while I don’t know everyone, I don’t think we have any Irish, yet I can the scent of corned beef and cabbage is already permeating the halls, and wafting its way into my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no exception. I already have some brisket brining and the strong scent of cabbage will take over in a few hours.

Any holiday or reason to cook, I’m all over it. And St. Patrick’s Day is no different…with maybe one exception, the Soda Bread. People get so excited about Soda Bread, with its crunchy caraway seeds and plump raisins, it’s almost like a dessert. The first time I visited Ireland, I was astonished to see our version of soda bread is really nothing like theirs. It’s still yeast free, using baking soda instead as a levener, but it wasn’t sweet at all. No raisins, no caraway seeds, just a simple bread, toasted with plenty of butter. I’m not going to pretend I know why the recipe changed to more of a dessert like bread moving across the Atlantic pond, but it did. Soda bread in both forms is good, but it’s not the bread I fell in love with. There was something about a hearty, ridiculously dense slice of brown bread that just made me swoon.

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Cakes, Dessert, Recipes

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas Recipes: The Perfect Dessert

RedWineVelvet (1)

I’ve noted may times throughout this Twelve Recipes of Christmas series that Christmas is all about sweets and booze. So why not combine the two into a perfect holiday dessert?

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Menu Ideas

On the Ninth Day of Christmas Recipes: Christmas Menu Planning

xmasmenu

Originally I planned to post Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, well on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then I realized, for those of you frantically searching for what to serve your family and friends on those days, the day of is too late. Well, I actually think even now is a bit too late–I like to plan my menu out at least a couple of weeks in advance and try to start prepping what I can around now, if possible. But that’s me. As much as I love hosting guests, it stresses the hell out of me. Early planning is essential to prevent a nervous breakdown.

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