Posted at 9:52 am , on July 12, 2020
Both of my parents were born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the majority of my family lives in the United Kingdom. I am first-generation American and proud of my Orange-Irish heritage and can’t wait to one day sail “home” into Belfast Harbor.
Many who know me well have been schooled on St. Patrick’s Day on the difference between being Orange and Green Irish. I DO NOT wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as I am absolutely sure my father would look down with disapproval. The Orange Irish celebrate Orangemen’s Day with bonfires kicking off the festivities on July 11th and parades on July 12th. Homes and buildings are adorned with bunting and people crowd the streets waving the British flag. Read on for a wee bit of history about the holiday.
Ireland has a tumultuous past, to say the least. The picture above shows the flags of Scotland and Great Britain, represented by the Union flag, the Red Hand of Ulster, representing Northern Ireland, and the flag of the Republic of Ireland (Southern Ireland), the Irish tricolour. Much blood has been shed in religious wars for territory and power between these countries over the centuries.
Posted at 3:30 am , on June 30, 2020
Kugel is a well-loved staple of Jewish family meals and can be made sweet or savory, with noodles or potatoes. Although I’ve seen some fancy schmancy recipes, traditionally it’s a baked pudding or casserole with simple ingredients, served as a starch side or dessert. It can be made in a regular casserole pan but I like the presentation of a round pie dish.
Potato kugel is made with grated potatoes, but when I’m making a special holiday dinner with many components such as Passover, the use of frozen hashbrowns makes for an easy side that can be prepped in the morning and popped in the oven an hour before serving. It can also be baked, cooled, frozen and reheated if you want to pre-make it.
Posted at 3:16 am , on June 16, 2020
Hubby is most definitely a meat and potatoes kind of guy but we have been trying to limit our carbohydrate intake so often dinner just features a protein and large portion of a veggie side. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, look similar to potatoes when diced or sliced and have a similar texture, but feature a sweet, nutty flavor similar to an artichoke, that only needs a few herbs and olive oil. I served these with Easter dinner (turkey ham basted in mustard, honey and brown sugar and roasted asparagus).
Sunchokes are also good raw; crunchy and a great addition to a green salad when sliced thinly. Some people prefer to peel them, but with their odd shape it can be quite a task. I prefer to wash off any dirt and give them a good scrub with a textured sponge or veggie brush and leave the skin on.
They are rich in iron, potassium and vitamin B1. And the really good news for diabetics is that they have have a lower glycemic index score than potatoes as they store their carbohydrate as inulin (not to be confused with insulin) rather than starch. And for all of us, they aren’t fattening (one cup of raw sunchokes has approximately 110 calories and zero fat)!
Posted at 2:46 am , on June 14, 2020
It was New Year’s Eve and I was cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway in my Dodge Colt. On a whim, I’d decided that morning to ring in 1987 back home in the Bay Area instead of San Diego, where I had been stationed in the Coast Guard and still lived. My SoCal girlfriends would be whooping it up at the Country Bumpkin, our dive bar of choice, two-stepping and shooting tequila and kissing every cowboy within reach at midnight. A year ago I was matching them shot for shot and kiss for kiss, but not this year.
I was pregnant.
This wasn’t part of my plan. I was 22, carefree and looking forward to a long military career as a Radioman. Children weren’t anywhere on my radar. I’d just started dating a Navy Gunnersmate after ending a relationship with a fly-boy. It seems I had a thing for sailors even back then.
Posted at 3:44 am , on June 10, 2020
My husband’s family hails from Portugal and they observe an annual Christmas Eve tradition of gathering for breakfast at midnight. I wanted to contribute to the table and found a recipe that I tweaked for Pasteis de Nata, Portuguese Custard Tarts. They were declared “the real deal” by those in the know and hubby’s dad had a few more than his fair share. 🙂 I’m posting this on “Portugal Day,” an official national day of celebration, commemorating Luis de Camoes, a poet and national literary icon. (Click here
for more info from Wikipedia.)
Posted at 6:02 am , on June 2, 2020
Caprese salad is always a favorite … thick slices of juicy tomatoes, hunks of creamy mozzarella and fresh basil leaves drizzled with olive oil on a platter or in stacks. I thought this would make a colorful addition to a family diner in lieu of the usual green salad so scaled down the ingredients to miniature size and added some fresh herbs planted by the Grands. Next time, I’ll double the recipe for leftovers as it was quickly gobbled up!
Variations: You could skip the added herbs and keep it classic with just the basil, and also try different flavored olive oils. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar across the top would make for a nice presentation and burst of flavor (my daughter is not a fan, so we didn’t add to ours).
Posted at 5:13 am , on May 28, 2020
Mariah set the radar alarm for a 20 mile radius, stretched out in the cockpit and closed her eyes. She had trained herself to take cat naps instead of sleeping multiple hours at a stretch. Solo-sailing required a skipper to be on constant alert.
A soft bump woke her with a start. She sprang to her feet and scanned around the boat. Only inky darkness and the soft lapping of water against the hull. A low cloud cover had descended, blotting out most of the stars and the navigational instruments showed no objects in her vicinity.
Wondering if she’d hit a piece of driftwood, Mariah flicked on her headlamp and glanced over both sides. Nothing there. Clipping onto the lifeline, she made her way to the bow.
Posted at 5:05 am , on May 19, 2020
There is something soothing about sitting down to comfort food during these tough times, plus they are also inexpensive and easy to make. Turkey is a healthy alternative to beef, but tends to be drier so the pasta sauce gives needed moisture without being greasy.
I used to stuff my peppers by cutting off the top with the stem but have found that by slicing them lengthwise the meat mixture heats quicker which allows the peppers to remain firm instead of getting mushy. (Plus they don’t tip over in the pan and are also easier to cut and eat.)
These make a nice, low-carb meal with added hidden veggies and a side salad rounds it out nicely. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, with a single one providing over 150% of the recommended daily intake. They also provide vitamin K1, E and A, and folate and potassium.
Variations: You can use whatever color bell peppers you like or be really creative and mix it up with red, orange, yellow and green for a pretty presentation! You can also use red tomatoes instead of the yellow that I used (it’s what I had on hand), kale instead of spinach (which I absolutely detest!), different types of shredded cheese and different flavors of pasta sauce. You could also use straight up tomato sauce but would need to add some herbs to make it more flavorful.