Friday, March 12, 2010

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

This is my March contribution for the Etsybloggers' Team Blog Carnival. For this edition of the carnival, one of the topics we could select to blog about was that March was Irish-American heritage month. Since I'm of Irish descent on my paternal grandmother's side, I've always felt a strong connection to the history of the Emerald Isle, and of course, St Patrick's Day was always a holiday that was celebrated on a grand scale in my home - and my hometown of Chicago, IL... the city that always had a HUGE St Patrick's Day parade and even went so far as to turn one of its rivers green!!!

I have many memories of St Patrick's Day traditions while I was growing up... my dad would always make a trip to the florist to buy a bouqet of green carnations to celebrate the day - a tradition that I try to continue to this day! And of course, the "wearin o'the green" - even if it was just socks or a bow in my hair as a child (or yes [ gasp] an inconspicuous pair of green underwear - hey, our school uniforms were brown and white!) - remains the norm for my March 17th wardrobe!

Dinner of course, was the traditional Irish-American meal of corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes and potato rolls - a meal I love even now and look forward to as an annual treat. Since many people shy away from corned beef because it tends to be salty, I'd love to share a little secret I learned from my mom to make it a little less so - add a can of beer to the water you simmer the corned beef in! It will draw the salt out of the meat as it cooks, and since the alcohol evaporates to leave a negligible amount in the final dish, you'll find that it adds a unique and very tasty touch of flavor to the meal. If you're one of those people that roasts their corned beef, simple soak the meat in a beer "marinade" for a couple of hours before you throw it in the oven - turns out yummy! For a great left-overs idea, corned beef reubens are one of my favorites - simply layer slices of corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on some rye bread (I'm partial to Jewish or Russian rye with caraway seeds), add a bit of light thousand island dressing if you'd like and lightly grill (or put on your panini press!) with just a little bit of healthy olive oil. Quick and easy meal for a busy weeknight treat!

One of the other things that I love from my Celtic roots, and which I have quite a collection of in my own jewelry box, is Celtic themed jewelry. The intricate knot patterns that are its signature component are interesting not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also in some of the meanings and significances attached to them. From simpler triskelles to more intricate shields, there is an amazing variety of patterns available with a wide variety of symbolism and significance attached to them. I've always offered a few Celtic pieces in my shop, but this year, I'm looking to expand the collection to include a greater variety. Before I end this post, here are a few of the pieces I currently have available - be sure to check back for more!

Have a great day!!!
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