Easy, Hearty Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day

Easy, Hearty Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day

This is the second year in a row that I’ve organized a St. Patrick’s Day theme hop, and I’m delighted to have 13 other talented blogger buddies join me!

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For the When Irish Eyes are Smiling party, I’ve expanded from just holiday tablescapes to include vignettes, crafts, and foods. You’re sure to find plenty of inspiration for celebrating —whether you’re Irish or not! Links to each feature are listed at the end of the rainbow post.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite St. Patrick’s Day dish, a stout-infused Irish stew with herbed dumplings. It’s the ultimate comfort food! And, perfect for the season here in Pittsburgh. On March 17th, we’re usually still experiencing cold, if not winter weather. Rather than seeing the green, it’s not uncommon for a blanket of white snow to cover the ground!

Mr. Buzz loves this flavorful, filling dish, with it’s fork tender meat and rich, deep brown gravy. He wishes I’d make it more than once a year. Happily, there’s usually enough leftovers to enjoy another day.

My approach to making Irish stew offers numerous options, so you can pick and choose the ingredients and cooking method that is sure to please family and friends.

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Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Homemade pasta making around the kitchen island bar, smoking a ham outside on the porch, and being treated to Asian specialties. These were just several of the fun and tasty food-based activities and meals we enjoyed together, while our sons were home over the holidays.

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Eldest son’s girl was also here for two weeks, and R was determined to show off every aspect of our family’s traditions here in Pittsburgh! On the first day everyone was home, we attended a frigid Steelers game, followed by gourmet pizzas while decorating the live Christmas tree.

Another evening, we visited Phipps Conservatory’s annual Magical Flower & Light Show. Afterwards was barbeque and craft beers at a favorite local brewery. Because of the pandemic — and with three of us coming down with bad colds (omicron?) — that was the only night we ate dinner out.

Instead, everyone helped out making snacks and meals together. Many times, that included sipping on special cocktails, craft brews or wines. We all worked together in the kitchen to prepare both Christmas Eve and Day dinners. Hubby made his mini crab cakes to accompany beef fondue on New Year’s Eve, and then apple cinnamon waffles for brunch the next day. And V prepared not one, but three Asian meals!

But, special dishes and family meal making activities shouldn’t be limited to just the holidays. These days, anytime we can gather with family and friends is an occasion to celebrate, right? Hoping you find inspiration here to eat, drink and make merry all year long!

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Using a Smoker Grill Enhances BBQ Meals & More

Using a Smoker Grill Enhances BBQ Meals & More

This past Christmas, the family bought and received appliances as gifts that offer new or different ways to prepare and enhance foods. These cooking appliances and methods included a smoker grill, air fryer, pasta maker, and sous vide precision cooker.

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Apparently, hubby and I were on the same wave length as our two grown sons — give gifts that could be enjoyed while still being mostly homebound during the then peak of the pandemic. Those gifts extended to indoor entertainment too, including; board and card games, books, puzzles, craft supplies, and subscriptions for coffee, the NY Times, and streaming services.

One of those gift subscriptions was the ability to take MasterClass courses on our big screen TV, computer or mobile phone. There is a wide variety of topics. While Preparing for a Puppy, and before bringing Whiskey home, I took a great course on dog training. Hubby particularly enjoyed a series on what it was like to be an astronaut.

Since we are all foodies, ways to either prepare new dishes, or make foods faster, healthier and tastier, are particularly appealing. And no one was traveling or eating out then. Living in center city Philly and Manhattan, both our sons really missed dining at restaurants. Take out just wasn’t the same.

So, we all were experimenting either in the kitchen, or outside barbequing on the new smoker grill. With Labor Day Weekend barbecues around the corner, I thought it was time to share our experiences with a smoker.

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Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

For my birthday, my son’s girlfriend gave me the most wonderful cultural food adventure. It took place during their extended July 4th holiday visit, when we enjoyed a Return of Traditional Summer Activities. We prepared two classic Vietnamese dishes; crepes and spring rolls with fish and peanut dipping sauces.

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Meanwhile, my eldest son and husband combined a chemistry experiment with bar tending to create a unique clarified version of a classic cocktail to accompany the meal.

Prior to their arrival, V emailed me links to several different Vietnamese dishes she had in mind. Everything looked delicious, although I was unfamiliar with some of the ingredients. She explained what they were, assuring me what wasn’t found in an Asian food market or grocery store could be substituted with other options.

I looked forward to the experience and and some girl-only time for weeks!

On the last full day of their visit, V and I went together on a cultural shopping excursion, had a hands-on cooking lesson, and then served a wonderful meal. I was her enthusiastic assistant, taster, and table setter for dinner.

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Wonderland Tea Party Menu: Scones & Desserts

Wonderland Tea Party Menu: Scones & Desserts

Recently I detailed the second course of an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party Menu: Finger Sandwiches & Savories

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In Part 2, I’m outlining the beverages, scones and desserts served as the first and third courses.

I had so much fun researching and selecting all the food and drinks for the Wonderland tea party. There were so many tempting recipes to choose from! For more ideas and inspiration, bee sure to check out my Pinterest board, Party: Alice in Wonderland.

Because the Unbirthday Party was held in the summertime, it was actually an iced tea party. And, rather than being held at English tea time from 3-5 PM, the luncheon began at 1 PM.

In addition to the Wonderland tea party, there were mad games (including flamingo croquet), and a My Favorite Things gift exchange. With the party going until very late in the afternoon, I spaced the three courses of food between all the various activities.

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Tea Party Menu: Finger Sandwiches & Savories

Tea Party Menu: Finger Sandwiches & Savories

Last June, in Alice in Wonderland, Unbirthday Party Reveal, I provided an overview of the mad event, with glimpses of decorations, tables, favors, and games. Also included was the iced tea party menu, but without much in the way of descriptions and pictures. 

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Since then, I’ve received many inquiries asking for more details and photos of the beverages and food, recipes, and how I pulled off such an ambitious tea party menu.

In the meantime, I have shared other particulars and tutorials from the My Favorite Things Party. It was the fourth time for the annual event; each with a different theme.

You may have viewed several of these DIY posts as part of the monthly Pinterest Challenge; a blog hop hosted by Erlene of My Pinterventures. As always, bee sure to check out all the Pinterest-inspired projects at the end.

Today, I’m going to outline the second course of the tea party menu, which includes finger foods and a fabulous sandwich cake.

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