We don’t really do the corned beef and cabbage thing. It’s not our cup of tea. But you better believe we do the Irish Soda Bread thing though. With green decorations. Made out of ribbon, yarn, coat hangers, and craft glue. Yep, that’s how we celebrate.

Want to celebrate like us? Here’s how—
1. Make Irish Soda Bread.
2. While it’s baking, make decorations for the soda bread, duh!
3. Get out some yarn, ribbon, craft glue, scissors, and a coat hanger.
4. Cut the coat hanger into 2 pieces. Wash thoroughly. Dry.
5. Cut 8 2″ (or so) pieces of green ribbon. Add glue to half of the 2″ piece of ribbon and fold over, making sure the yarn is in the center of the fold. Repeat 7 times. Allow glue to dry for about 30 minutes.
6. Cut triangles into each ribbon. Attached the yarn to coat hangers.
7. Once bread is done cooking, decorate.
8. Take pictures and eat!

Irish-American Soda Bread
Serves: one 8" loaf
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. currants
  • 1 tbsp. milk, for glaze
  • 1 tbsp. coarse sugar, for topping
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, and beat on high speed until the mixture is thick and light-colored, about 2 minutes. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then 1 cup of the wheat flour. Gently beat in half the buttermilk, then another cup of the wheat flour. Add the remainder of the buttermilk, and the final cup of all-purpose flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the currants.
  2. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 8" round pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Drizzle the milk atop the batter, and sprinkle with the sugar.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 325° oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Tent a sheet of aluminum foil over the top for the final 15 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the bread from the oven, wait about 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a rack to cool. Allow the bread to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking.

I need your help one last time!

1. Go to blog.madhungry.com.

2. Vote for Melissa’s chili.

3. Tell your friends to vote too.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I need your help!

A week ago I entered my Chili recipe into the Mad Hungry Game Grub contest. Today, I found out that I was one of the semi-finalists! Talk about exciting. I’ve been jumping up and down ever since. They even made my recipe and wrote up a description that sounds much better than I could have written.

Like I said, I need your help! Please go the the page and vote for me. (It’s on the right-hand side of the page.)

My coworkers and I threw a baby shower this week for our dear friend Kim. She and her husband Dan have a little boy on the way. No offense to all the men out there, but boy baby showers are a lot harder to plan than little girl showers where all you need are different shades of pink, some polka dots, cute girly baby outfits, eww’s & aww’s, cupcakes, and you’re set.Mary, my coworker, came up with the theme for the shower— The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and it turned out excellent! Cupcakes still made their appearance at the shower, there were  plenty of cute little boy outfits, and an abundance of eww’s & aww’s!

The idea for the cupcakes came from Coco Cake. It is a lot easier than it looks. In order to create this, make cupcakes (we had 48 total). It has become a staple in my kitchen to use Cake Love‘s recipes for the chocolate cupcakes (LaTonya, another coworker, brought in the vanilla cupcakes). To decorate the cupcakes, I use the Wilton Dessert Decorator Pro—it makes icing cupcakes super easy. Drop different shades of green in the dispenser to add some variation in color as you ice. I made a cream cheese buttercream (cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, a dash of salt, and food coloring). After icing, use brown long sprinkles along the outer edge of the cupcakes for his hair. Now, onto the head. It does get a little trickier here. You can buy fondant and color it. Or, you can make it. Can you guess what I did? I had to try it myself, of course, allowing a little too much room for disaster to occur the night before the shower. Thankfully, it worked. To make the fondant, get a jar of marshmallow fluff (7-8 oz.) and add lots and lots, I mean lots, of powdered sugar. The recipe I used called for 2 cups of powdered sugar, but that had to be a lie. I used at least double. You need to get all the sticky out of the fluff so that you can roll it out smoothly without it sticking to your surface.After you have a good consistency, add in your food coloring. When rolling the fondant out, don’t be afraid to dowse your surface with powdered sugar. You can brush it off afterward, or, if you let it sit overnight, it will soak in. Decorate your head as you please, and voila, you now have a Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake!

Photos taken by Craig Taylor, a coworker of mine.