Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Montana Vacation

My husband and I enjoyed our week out west a few weeks ago.  We saw the beautiful mountains, rivers and wildlife of western Montana (Glacier National Park, Kalispell, White Fish, Hungry Horse, Coram).  We discovered huckleberry everything (pie, jam, syrup, etc.).  We truly fell in love with this part of the country! 


As we were pulled over on a frontage road next to a river, scanning the mountains for wildlife with our binoculars, we witnessed several times how they walk their dogs around here........

The dog was barking the whole time!  It was hilarious!  Dog walking Montana-style!  No leash, either!  And, if you are wondering where the "walker" is.....he's following the dog in the pick-up truck!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

REVIEW - Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

I made the Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe last Friday and I have to say it is one of the best Corned Beef and Cabbage I have ever tasted. I'm actually not the biggest fan of corned beef, but I will eat it once a year for St. Patrick's Day. I used a bottle of my husband's dark beer that we had in the fridge (from a local micro-brewery). The house had an odd "smell" all day from the beer but when we sat down to eat, it was awesome! My husband and brother love corned beef normally, but they REALLY liked this version of it! I made a pot of corned beef and cabbage without the beer, too, and everyone, including the teenagers, preferred the beer version.  YOU DO NOT TASTE THE BEER! I won't even bother making the "regular" stuff next time.  I would highly recommend this recipe!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green Beer Recipe

Green Beer

One 12oz. Beer - any beer will do although lighter colored beers will display the green better
Green food coloring - one drop

Add one drop of green food coloring to a clear glass. Pour the beer into the glass. That's it! This works for any beer. Darker beers like stout will have a nice green head atop their normally dark bodies. Serves 1.

Can also be done by the pitcherful.........adjust green food coloring accordingly!

Courtesy of:  http://beer.about.com/od/drinksmadewithbeer/r/GreenBeerRecipe.htm

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Here's a simple recipe that you can start in the morning before work and with minimal preparation after work, have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day dinner!  Don't forget a fresh-baked loaf of rye bread from your local bakery and a cold glass of your favorite beer to go with it!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

2 stalks celery, halved
4 carrots
1 medium onion, cut in 4 wedges
4 to 6 red potatoes, quartered
1 4-pound corned beef brisket
12-ounce bottle stout or dark ale
1 tablespoon corned beef spices or pickling spices (or spices that come with the brisket)
1 medium head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

Place celery, carrots, onion and potatoes in the bottom of a large slow-cooker or crock pot. Rinse the corned beef brisket and place over vegetables. Add the bottle of stout, spices and enough water to just cover the meat. Cover and cook on LOW for eight to nine hours.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot and cover with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to high and cook cabbage until softened but still crispy, 20 to 30 minutes.

Slice brisket across the grain, serve with vegetables, mustard and horseradish sauce. Pass extra cooking liquid at the table.  Serves 4.
For serving: grainy mustard and horseradish sauce, recipe below.....
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Whip cream to soft peaks and then fold in sour cream and horseradish, to taste. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of hot sauce.
Recipes courtesy of::   http://search.foodnetwork.com/recipes/slow-cooker-corned-beef-and-cabbage-recipe/index.html

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St. Patrick's Day in America.......Who, What, Where, When and Why continued.....

St. Patrick's Day Symbols and Traditions

There are many Irish traditions people follow to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and other Irish occasions, although not all of them are historically accurate. Some of the Irish customs people are more familiar with include wearing green, eating Irish food and drinking beer. Actually wearing green is strictly a U.S. custom, as the color green is considered unlucky in Ireland. Green is connected to the old green flag and a time when Ireland was not free. Americans have embraced their own St. Patrick's Day tradition of drinking large amounts of Irish beer or green beer, which has no real historical Irish references at all. Another new St. Patrick's Day tradition started by school children is pinching classmates who don't wear green on St. Patrick's Day. This tradition has grown with the times, and even if you aren't a school child, beware on St. Patrick's Day if you aren't wearing green!
Courtesy of:   http://www.americangreetings.com/events/st-patricks-day.pd

The Shamrock
The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.

The Snake
It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.  In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The "banishing of the snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

Corned Beef
Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage.  Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century.  Irish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

The Leprechaun
The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow."  Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.  Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.
Above courtesy of:  http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day-symbols-and-traditions