Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Festive Food and Drinks

Corned Beef and Cabbage

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Tuesday, it’s time to start planning how you and you’re friends will celebrate the big day. Depending on where you live, there will be parades and activities everywhere. If you don’t live in one of the major U.S. cities that goes all out on March 17th, you can still throw your own amazing party at home. Of course the decorations have to be green, but what about food and drinks? Fear not! Here’s some recipes you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef and cabbage

Turns out corned beef and cabbage isn’t part of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in Ireland. According to Ireland for Visitors, the Irish serve “succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken” on March 17th. Here in America, however, we celebrate St. Patrick with corned beef and cabbage.

There are several different ways to prepare corned beef and cabbage, so do a quick Google search to find a recipe that works for you. If you don’t have time to cook, see if any restaurants in your area are having a special on the traditional dish order a few carry out orders.

Irish Beer

I know I said there’s more to St. Patrick’s Day than beer, but let’s be honest, most people plan to have at least one beer on this day. Several bars and restaurants will be serving green beer for the day, but if you want something more authentic try an Irish beer. Everyone knows about Guinness, but Harp Lager, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, and Smithwick’s Irish Ale are also pretty common across America.

Shamrock Floats

If your St. Patrick’s Day includes children, you’re going to need something besides beer for them to drink. I haven’t tried this recipe for Shamrock Floats from Simply Kierstie yet, but I like how it’s simple and quick to make. Plus it apparently tastes like a Shamrock Shake with chocolate so how bad can it be?

Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

At this point it’s obvious I like making things in muffin tins. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mini versions are always easier to make than the real thing. Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish, but these Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies from Tablespoon only take an hour and look so much prettier to serve. Just like corned beef and cabbage, there’s plenty of different recipes for Shepherd’s Pie so search online for one that fits your cooking time and skills better.

Find a restaurant

Don’t want to bother cooking? Don’t worry about it! There will be plenty of bars and restaurants having St. Patrick’s Day specials and celebrations. If you want a more traditional Irish experience I would give Irish pubs a try, but since everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day even your favorite Mexican restaurant might have a St. Patrick’s Day event.

Be prepared, the more activities they have, like traditional Irish music or green beer (I’ve already heard one bar in my area brag about it on the radio), the more likely you’ll be to pay a cover charge.


jeffreyw. Mmm… corned beef and cabbage. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 13 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nN1gcH

St. Patrick’s Day Isn’t Just an Excuse to Drink

StPatricksDayParade

Why is St. Patrick’s Day such a huge celebration? Why do we even bother celebrating it at all? It isn’t a national holiday, the U.S. doesn’t have enough of a Catholic population to make the religious aspect of the day that important, so why do we look forward to St. Patrick’s Day once March starts? Simple: it’s about celebrating our roots.

According to Catholic Online, St. Patrick was born in Scotland around 385 to Roman citizens. As a teenager he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. He remained there until he was around twenty years old. During his time in pagan Ireland, St. Patrick’s Christian faith grew stronger. After receiving a message from God in a dream telling him to leave Ireland, St. Patrick made his way back to Britain and his family.

After joining the priesthood, St. Patrick eventually rose to the level of bishop and was given the task of spreading Christianity throughout Ireland. He arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. St. Patrick quickly began converting the Irish and setting up churches all across the nation over the next 40 years. He is said to have died on March 17, 461. He was eventually canonized as the patron saint of Ireland.

For those who don’t know, being the patron saint of a country makes that saint the guardian of the nation. That saint is the first person people pray to in times of trouble. Ireland has several patron saints, but St. Patrick is by far the most well-known. So how does Ireland celebrate their most famous protector?

St. Patrick’s Day was once a solemn time throughout all of Ireland, although that is beginning to change. History.com states that it wasn’t until the 1970s that pubs even stayed open on the holiday. The website Ireland for Visitors explains that Irish tradition is to go to mass to celebrate St. Patrick, perhaps stop and get a pint or two, and then sit down for a special family meal. Rather than the corned beef and cabbage that Americans demand every March 17, the Irish serve “succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken.”

Since the mid-1990s Ireland has started to have larger St. Patrick’s Day celebrations like those of their American cousins. Many large cities now have parades as well as cultural performances and activities during the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

While St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland has typically been treated like any other saint’s feast day, it has always been a different story across the pond. March 17 quickly became a day to celebrate Irish culture in the United States. In her International Business Times article “St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2014: Top 10 Largest Parades; Schedules And Route Maps For New York, Boston, Chicago And More,” Nadine DeNinno states that the current population of Americans with Irish heritage, more the 30 million, is “seven times the population of Ireland itself.”

Those numbers don’t really matter since, as the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It does explain the popularity of the holiday from America’s beginning though. St. Patrick’s Day parades have existed since Irish settlers first appeared in the 16th century.

While DeNinno does mention that St. Patrick’s Day has earned the title “drunkest holiday” after New Year’s Eve in the States (did you know that St. Patrick brought distillation to Ireland?), it isn’t just an excuse to drink. After generations of Irish immigrants making their mark in American society, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate the culture that so many Americans call their own.

Not sure how to celebrate the Irish culture this St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s some festive food and drinks to serve this Tuesday.


Robinson, Diana. 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, NYC. 17 Mar. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 11 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/mbxscn

Pi Day Is Upon Us!

CherryPie

March 14th, is celebrated in math classes across America for being numerically similar to the infamous numerical constant pi. For those who have forgotten, pi is an infinite decimal that is rounded up to 3.14 or 3.14159. While every March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day, this year is special because March 14, 2015 (3.1415) will bring us closer to than we’ve been to pi since 1915. So let’s celebrate!

I say you’re never too old to celebrate anything. Most of us live pretty average, mundane lives. Any excuse to make things more interesting or bring people together is wonderful in my opinion. Obviously, you can celebrate with the classic pie of any or every flavor, but if you want to make a meal to celebrate pi or keep the party going all day, what else can you make? Here’s some more interesting food options to try next Saturday to celebrate 3.14159

Pizza Pie

A pizza is great for parties and even better for Pi Day. I recommend Chicago Style since it’s more pie-like, but traditional pizza is still great. If you’re feeling festive with your traditional pizza, use your toppings to spell out why you’ve all gathered on this night: 3.14159, or simplify it with ∏.

Zucchini Pies

Trying to stay healthy? You can still eat your pizza pie without dealing with greasy pizza dough. Zucchini Pies can be serves as either appetizers or the main course, so it’s perfect for any size party. Find the recipe here.

Chicken Pot Pie

Another wonderful entree idea is the chicken pot pie. While it doesn’t have same ability to feed a party like pizza does, it does have the word pie in the name, so points for that. If you want to feed a crowd with them, try the mini version. Get the recipe here.

Quiche

Depending on the filling, quiche is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re Pi Day party is more of a brunch than dinner event, make a quiche.

Frito Pie

If you would like something a little more spicy, make a Frito pie. While I don’t have a recipe to point you to, there are literally dozens of Frito pie options with different spices and flavors.

Mini Shepherd’s Pie

Okay, I have a slight obsession with making things in muffin tins. It’s so much easier than making the actual thing though! Mini Shepherd’s Pie is another item that can either be a snack or the main course. Find the recipe here.

Rice Cake Pie

Are your guests vegan? Gluten-free? Trying to eat healthy? Serve these Rice cake pies. While they aren’t technically pies, they’re the perfect option for your health-conscious friends. Get the recipe here.

Pie Fries & Jam

Did you make a pie for your Pi Day dessert? Do you have leftover pie crust? Don’t throw it away! Use it to make Pie Fries! They’re cute, only take 15 minutes to make, and with only 3 ingredients you probably already have everything you’ll need in your kitchen. Like dipping your French fries in ketchup? Dip your Pie Fries in jam, pie filling, or fruity frosting. Find the recipe here.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

The best part about this recipe is that you make the filling in the microwave. The second best part about this recipe is that the tarts are store bought. Perfect if you don’t have time for all that baking or you’re just too lazy for the oven. You can even make this in your dorm room. Find the filling recipe here, and the lemon meringue pie recipe here.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a big blowout bash next weekend or a small get together, you should never miss an opportunity to make things fun. Do you have any other recipes that celebrate 3.14159? Share them in the comments!


Stephanie. Cherry pie. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 6 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nL82TY

Enjoy the Sunshine: Daylight Savings Time Is This Sunday

clocks

We’ve all heard the saying: Spring Forward and Fall Back. Move the clocks one hour ahead in spring, move the clocks one hour back in the fall. I’m sorry to say it, but Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday, March 8th. At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday your clocks will spring forward one hour to 3:00 a.m. Luckily most cell phones automatically change for you, but that doesn’t change the fact that Daylight Savings Time is quite possibly the most annoying “holiday” on the calendar. So why do we even bother with it?

Contrary to popular belief, Daylight Savings Time isn’t mandatory. Not every country country participates. According to WorldTimeZone.com, most of Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of Australia does not change their clocks throughout the year. Interestingly enough, not every state in the U.S. follows the Spring Forward, Fall Back guideline either. Both Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of the rule.

So why do these places choose to have Daylight Savings Time?

DST has only been used for roughly the past 100 years, but people have been changing their daily schedules around the sun for centuries. Without electricity, ancient civilizations needed to maximize their time in the sun in order to complete their regular work. TimeandDate.com explains that “Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.”

Although it had been suggested throughout the centuries, DST became widely accepted during WWI. With so many countries using as many resources as they could spare, changing the clocks to allow more sunlight, and therefore cutting the amount of resources citizens used for artificial lighting, seemed like the perfect solution during The War to End All Wars. TimeandDate.com states that Germany was the first to utilize DST on April 30, 1916. The rest of Europe quickly followed and the United States finally joined in 1918.

DST has come and gone in the U.S. since WWI. Some states used it, some states didn’t, some major cities followed it, some didn’t. It actually affected travel and nationwide businesses because there was no real set time for the entire country.

After a few decades of watching this “do whatever you want” attitude towards time cause major problems, the United States passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. TimeandDate.com explains that the Act declared DST was from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October and gave states the ability to opt out of the time changes. According to Glenn Coin’s article “Daylight Saving Time: When do you change your clocks this spring?” for Syracuse.com, several changes have been made to DST since 1966, the last one being in 2007 moving DST to the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.

Coin states that DST doesn’t really help save energy like many proponents claim. Moving our clocks around an hour “only cuts electrical use by 0.5 percent — if that.” There have been studies supporting this claim, one in Australia in 2000 and the other in Indiana in 2008. For my fellow Hoosiers out there, the Indiana study “showed little change in energy use when parts of the state went to daylight savings time,” so don’t feel too bad that you don’t capitalize on that extra hour of sunlight.

Whether you like the idea of Daylight Savings Time or not, it’s here to stay. If you’re worried about being late for work or school, use your cell phone as an alarm clock if you don’t already. Like I said, cell phones automatically switch to DST so you don’t have to worry about programming it like some of your other electronics. I’m sorry that we’ll all be essentially losing an hour this summer, but let’s hope that the extra sunlight means less of the awful freezing temperatures and several feet of snow the nation has been suffering through.


becosky…. TIME. 23 Jan. 2008. Online image. Flickr. 2 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/632Ye5

Emma Watson Celebrates International Women’s Day with Fans

EmmaWatson

Emma Watson, the actress best known for portraying heroine Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, has been making a name for herself as a social activist. She has quickly become the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Women‘s HeForShe campaign, a new gender equality movement that calls for men to become supportive of their female coworkers, colleagues, classmates, friends, etc. as a way to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Obviously International Women’s Day, which is this Sunday, March 8th, is going to be important for the Ambassador. Watson posted a Facebook video Monday sharing her plans for the big day: she’s going to be hosting a conversation in London at 5 p.m. local time about HeForShe and gender equality.

In the video Watson explains how her amazing opportunity is also great for her fans and followers of HeForShe as well.

I am going to be conducting a live Q&A in London answering questions about gender equality. I’m also hoping that you would like to be a member of the audience. If you would like to be a member of the audience there is a form on my Facebook page which you can fill out telling me how you are advancing gender equality, or telling me about how gender inequality has affected your life, or you can send me some questions.

If you’re going to be in London and would like to be in the audience, simply fill out this form by 12 p.m. London time on Wednesday, March 4th. Can’t make it to England in time to see the Q&A in person? Facebook is going to be streaming the event live on Sunday, so check out the Facebook event for more information. For my fellow Americans, keep in mind that the event takes place at 1 p.m. EST so you don’t miss it!

What’s a question you have for Emma Watson about gender equality? Are you going to try and join the audience? Let us know!


Bond, Marco. Emma Watson. 15 Jun. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 3 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nZ6Ffi