Browsing all posts in March, 2010.
Let’s face it, food is a huge part of every holiday celebration. Hard-boiled eggs, Hot Cross Buns, and ham…what do they all really have to do with Easter? So glad that you asked!
For one, eggs symbolize fertility and immortality. In medieval times, eggs were given to all the servants at Easter. It is said that King Edward I of England, distributed over 450 boiled Easter eggs dyed or covered with gold leaf to the members of the royal household.
Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, butter them up and eat them. Hot cross buns. Sorry, I got distracted there! This one started way, way, way¬†back with those Anglo-Saxon pagans. They baked small wheat cakes to honor the springtime goddess Eostre. Then, after they converted to Christianity, the church substituted the cakes with sweet breads blessed by the church.
Well those crazy early settlers didn’t have any means of refrigeration, so the pork they didn’t¬†eat during the winter months was then¬†cured. This curing process took along time, so the cured hams were usually ready by spring — just in time for Easter.
Here are just a few fun facts behind our most popular Easter traditions.
Let’s face it. There is a bit of a Bridezilla lurking in all of us. It’s a big day. It’s your big day and you want it to be perfect. You have thought over every detail in your mind over and over and over.¬† If you want to know if you are a Bridezilla, they check out Blushing Bridezilla.com. The site features their Are You a Bridezilla Quiz, where you can answer questions like:
Your Maid of Honor gets pregnant 8 months before your wedding. You…
- Relieve her of her Duties. You need a Maid of Honor who can actually party at the bachelorette party and the bridesmaid dress won‚Äôt fit her now anyway.
- Change your entire color scheme to match her most comfortable maternity moo moo.
- Schedule her a dress fitting for 2 days before the wedding and call your caterer to order a supply of sparkling cider.
The Bride-0-Spherefeatures pics and stories from other brides.¬† These ladies look like perfectly sweet brides, they must just have a touch of zilla in ‘em. And you can even submit your own Bridezilla Tale.¬† This one is priceless:
My husband and I own a Bed & Breakfast overlooking a lake and we often host weddings on site. Last summer we had this Bride who was furious because there were no sailboats out on the lake that day. She complained that ‚Äď all of the photos on our brochures and website had sailboats in the background, so why wouldn‚Äôt there be any out there on this, most important of days? She accused us of deceiving her and told us we ruined her wedding photos now that she didn‚Äôt have her picture perfect setting. Worst of all was the fact that, after explaining to her that we don‚Äôt actually own any sailboats and therefore have no control when they‚Äôre on the lake, she replied by saying: ‚ÄúBetter start calling your neighbors!‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ¬†Gloria
Lot’s of fun stuff like all the info on bridal gowns, wedding favors, bridal registry, wedding cakes, flower decorations, engagement rings ¬†to check out, whether your the bride or in the bridal party. Today’s post is about Pastel Wedding Gowns. Who knew white weddings were a thing of the past? So have fun embrace your inner Blushing Bridezilla.
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Planning a wedding can be a bit stressful, can’t it? But it doesn’t have to be, really it doesn’t! We swear! We are here to make sure you have the perfect day…the day you have always dreamed of ever since you were a little girl.
Here are some little ways you can make your big day super special:
Share a Secret
Have a little secret between the 2 of you that day whether it be wearing matching underwear or having something “just between you” in your hand, bouquet, pocket or even a special look and when ever you get nervous you look at your partner with “the look” and you’ll both know what each other are thinking about. Some people may catch it and wonder what it’s all about but it’ll be “your little wedding day secret” that helped you get through the day together… depending on each other at the beginning of your life as a family.
Best Man 101
The duties of a best man include being an assistant to the groom and the head of the groomsmen; he also is in charge of the bachelor party, getting the groom to the church, paying the officiant, signing the marriage license, holding the rings and giving a toast at the reception. He has a lot of responsibility and its also traditional to give him a nice gift at the rehearsal dinner to say thank you for all of his hard work!
Choosing Wedding Favors & Decorations
When deciding what wedding favors and decorations to use, there are some questions you can ask to help you choose:
Do you want something that will feature your names and wedding date?
Do you want something that will be fun to play with at the reception?
Do you want to give something that¬īs useful?
Do you want something that will last for a long time?
Do you want something that will be part of the table decorations?
Do you want a favor that will express both of your interests or personalities?
You’ll also want to find the BEST Wedding Favor company to work with, like Moments of Elegance.
Congrats from The President
Things to ask your wedding planner
How long they have been in business?
How many weddings they have organised.
Can they provide references?
How do they charge, hourly, fixed fee or % of your wedding budget? Do you feel comfortable with this?¬†
Do they accept commission from suppliers is it passed on to the client?
Do they operate on a full time basis or do they have another job?
Ensure they have public liability insurance.
Do they have a portfolio for you to look at?
First things first, here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Newspaper to protect your table
- Small cups or bowls
- A Slotted spoon
- Food Coloring
- Hot Water
The best way to boil your eggs:
- To boil eggs, place eggs in a saucepan filled with COLD water. Make sure the water is at least one inch over the eggs.
- Using high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Reduce the heat to a medium boil and cook for ten minutes.
- Remove from heat and put the eggs into a bowl of iced water until the eggs are completely cool. (This will prevent the greenish ring from forming around the yolk and it keeps the yolk a nice bright yellow color.)
Now if you want to get super fancy and hollow out your eggs, you’ll need to:
- To hollow out the egg, use a pin to put a small hole in one end of the egg and a slightly larger hole in the other end.
- Stick the needle far enough into the egg to break up the yolk inside.
- Once the yolk is broken, you can blow into the smaller hole and the egg will come out of the bigger one.
- Rinse the eggshell out and let it dry before decorating.
- And of course, you should always wash your hands after handling raw egg.
So you have your supplies, your eggs are ready to go, now what? You can either buy your food dye or you can make your own. If you want to make your own, here’s how:
- Use at least two cups of water and one teaspoon of vinegar plus the organic dye ingredients (fruits, veggies, coffee, or grass).
- Use 3 to 4 teaspoons of the spice ingredients and 3 to 4 cups of the whole fruit or vegetable ingredients.
- Boil the dye for at least five minutes, but remember that the longer you boil, the deeper the hue of the dye.
- Crush the ingredients in the pan to release the pigments, and strain.
Now that your eggs and dyes are ready it’s time to decorate them. You can¬†go as simple or as fancy as you want too! If you go with natural dyes, you’ll want to pour 1/2 cup water in each sauce pan. Add cut-up fruit, vegetables or plants (carrots, blueberries, grass, coffee all work well). Bring to a boil and simmer until water turns color you like. Remove from heat and strain reserving water. When water is cool add boiled or blown eggs. Let sit until they turn the desired color. Remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry. Polish with small amount of cooking oil and soft cloth.
If you use food coloring dye you’ll need to¬† measure 1/4 tsp. food coloring in small bowl for each color. Add 3/4 cup hot water and 1 tbsp. white vinegar to each color. Add eggs and allow to sit until they are the desired color. Remove with slotted spoon. Polish dry eggs with small amount of cooking oil and soft cloth.
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Whether you are Irish or just Irish for today, here are a few Irish Toasts to help you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.¬† And remember to say ‘Sl√°inte!’(pronounced ‘slawn-cha’, meaning Health)¬†after your toast. ¬†
May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go,
and guide you in whatever you do–
and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks,
May your heart be as light as a song,
May each day bring you bright, happy hours,
That stay with you all the year long.
Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here‚Äôs a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.
‘Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!’
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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There’s a lot of info out there on curing hangovers. Now, St. Paddy’s Day can bring out the inner¬†par-tay girl or boy that lurks¬†within all of us. It’s just so easy to get carried away. Isn’t it?¬†¬†Really the best cure for a hangover is sleep, but if¬†calling into work with the ¬†“Irish Flu”¬†just isn’t an option for you, we got ya covered. Here are some hangover cures that can help take the sting out of your hangover:
- Eat a hearty breakfast — be sure to include: eggs (they help the liver break down toxins), as well as bananas and/or kiwis can replenish lost potassium.
- Get plenty to drink – but ¬†not¬† more green beer, try water, orange juice, or a sports drink. Drink water before you go to bed and¬†through the day¬†to flush the alcohol from your system.
- Don’t take an aspirin– yes, that’s right, do NOT take aspirin or ibuprofen the effects can be magnified when you mix with alcohol. Try taking¬† Alka Seltzer Morning Relief instead.
- Avoid coffee – maybe a weak cup, but only one, because the caffeine will only de-hydrate your body and you want to re-hydrate it.
- Take your vitamins –¬†try¬†take a multi-vitamin B (it will help your brain function better) and¬† a vitamin¬†C (drinking depletes your body of it).
- Take a¬† hot shower –¬† it will sweat out the toxins.
Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!
Recently, I discovered my slow cooker, as known as crock pot, and I love, love, love it! It makes making dinner so easy and for some reason whatever I cook in the slow cooker becomes an instant family favorite.
Irish Beef Stew from Simply Recipes.com:
Serves: 4 to 6
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1/4 cup olive oil
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 6 large garlic cloves, minced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I cup of Guinness beer
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 cup of fine red wine
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 tablespoons tomato paste
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 tablespoon sugar
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 tablespoon dried thyme
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 bay leaves
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 large onion, chopped
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Salt and Pepper
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saut√© 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Saut√© vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)
Irish Lamb Stewfrom cdkitchen.com
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 pound diced lamb
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 4 carrots sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 3 stalks celery, sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 parsnips, sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 onions, chopped
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 8 small potatoes, quartered
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 4 cups vegetable stock
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 tablespoon chopped herbs, such as rosemary and oregano
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 tablespoons olive oil
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Heat oil in saut√© pan. Add lamb and herbs and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Saut√© carrots, celery, parsnips, and onions in olive oil and saut√© for 10 minutes. Add to lamb in slow cooker with vegetable stock. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In last half hour of cooking, add potatoes to slow cooker. Ten minutes before serving, mix cornstarch with 1/2 cup water and stir into stew. Stir and cover. Cook on high for 10 minutes and serve.
O’Irish Stew¬†from cdkitchen.com
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 3 carrots, scraped and thinly sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 onions, thinly sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 pound potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 pounds lamb neck pieces, trimmed
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Salt and pepper to taste
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Place the chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Put all the vegetables in the crockpot; arrange the lamb on top.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Add boiling stock and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours on HIGH or 7 to 9 hours on LOW.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sprinkle parsley over the stew and serve hot with thick, crusty bread.
So this St. Patrick’s Day ditch the boiled cabbage and pull out your slow cooker instead!
What’s the best beer for Saint Patrick’s Day? We know that’s the question on your mind with Saint Patrick’s Day 7 days and counting!
Let’s start with a St. Paddy’s Day fav Green Beer. You might think that making green beer is easy. Well, it is for the most part.¬† But first,¬†you’ll ¬†have to choose the right beer, for example, you can’t add¬† food coloring to say a Guinness. You’ll want to stick with a light lager,¬†such as¬†¬†Miller, Coors or Budweiser. If the beer has a strong yellow color, then you’ll want to use two to three drops of blue food coloring. Yes, blue (¬†remember yellow plus blue =green). Unless the beer is very light in color, then you can add green food coloring.¬† Enjoy! But be sure to watch your teeth, depending on how much you imbibe you can turn ‘em green too!
If you like a thick, creamy, dark dry Stout, you’ll like Guinness Draught Stout,¬†Murphy’s Stout, ¬†or Beamish Stout. These beers boast a thick head with the aroma of roasted coffee, barley and chocolate.
Or maybe a sweet stout is more to your liking? Think dry stout with a touch of sweetness, they add sugar to the beer. Yum! Right? You have that bitterness of the hops and barley is balanced against the sweetness.¬† If you like a sweet stout, then try Watney’s Cream Stout, Martson’s Oyster Stout or Mackeson’s XXX Stout.
Another stout favorite is the Oatmeal Stout. Oatmeal is added during the brewing process which gives the beer not only a long lasting head, but smooth texture too. If you like a¬† nice balance between a dry and sweet stout, try Goose Island Oatmeal Stout, Young’s Oatmeal Stout, or Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.
For a complete Layman’s Guide to Stout, check out About.com’s Introduction to Stout Styles. Be sure to enjoy your Saint Patrick’s Day Stout, but¬† don’t drink and drive.
How Many Baby Items Can You Name ? – Set the timer for five minutes. Then have each guest write down as many baby products as they can name ( i.e. bottle, blanket, pacifier, etc). Give the prize to the guest who names the most baby products! (Materials: pad of paper and pen for each guest).
Onesies by Design - ¬†Hand out a white onesie to each guest and ask them to draw a design on the onesie. Then have the mom-to-be vote on her favorite. ¬†The guest she picks wins a prize, and the mom-to-be gets to keep all the onesies. (Materials: white onesies for each guest, glitter glue, and fabric paint).
Advice for Years Ahead – Have a bowl with a number for as many guests starting with number 1. The number represents the age of the baby. Each guests gets a piece of pretty stationary and a matching envelope. ¬†The guests then write a letter to the baby and/or advice for the mom to receive on his/her birthday correlating to the number picked. The letters are sealed and given to the mom to open on future birthdays. (Materials: a bowl, paper, and matching envelope for each guest.)
What’s In the Baby Bag? – Take a baby bag with a bunch of baby accessories pacifier, bottles, diapers, wipes, etc. (anything you can think of that you need for a baby bag). Put the baby bag on a table or floor and take out all the things from the bag. Have the guests look at it for three minutes and put all the items back in the bag. Then ask each guest to write down what’s in the bag. The guest with the most items wins. (Materials: Diaper bag with baby supplies, pad of paper and pen for each guest).
Measure Mommy’s Baby Belly- ¬†Hand each guest ribbon and ask them to¬† guest how big mommy’s baby belly looks. The guest cuts the ribbon and they then place it around the mommy’s stomach. The guest who is closest to the actual size wins. (Materials: Toilet paper, ribbon or yarn enough for each guest).
Never say “Baby” – Each guest places the necklace with the baby safety pins or ribbons ¬†around her neck when she arrives. ¬†Whenever a guest says the word “baby” during the shower, any guest who calls it out gets a pin from the other guest who said the word. At the end of the baby shower, the woman with the most pins wins a prize. (Materials: a necklace of baby safety pins or another type of baby object you can place on a string for each guest).
If you are looking for baby shower favors or baby shower door prizes, be sure to check out Moments of Elegance Baby Shower Favors for ideas.
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17 ¬†days and counting to St. Patrick’s Day!!! ¬†Although it may seem the only reason we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to wear green and drink copious amounts of green beer, St. Patrick is actually the patron saint of Ireland. Why March 17th? ¬†It’s believed that was the day he died.
Here’s a St. Patrick’s Day joke for you:
The local District Judge had given the defendant a lecture on the evils of drink. But in view of the fact that this was the first time the man had been drunk and incapable, the case was dismissed on payment of ten shillings costs.
“Now don’t let me ever see your face again,” said the Justice sternly as the defendant turned to go.
“I’m afraid I can’t promise that, sir,” said the released man.
“And why not?”
Because I’m the barman at your regular pub!
Need some help planning your St. Paddy’s Day Celebration?¬†¬†We have the “links” for you:
- For a complete list of all The World Wide St. Patrick’s Day Events & Parades.
- To find the closest¬†Irish Pub near you.
- Is Guinness The Best Beer for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out Drink Craft Beer for the low down on the perfect pint.
- Learn how to make Irish Soda Bread,¬†the perfect pot of Irish Stew¬†or check out this video of Slow Cooker Corned Beef at All Recipe.com Top 20 Best St. Patrick’s Day Recipes.
Want more St. Paddy’s Day info? Then be sure to visit St-Patrick’s-Day.com. And may the luck of the Irish be with you!