Another beautiful afternoon! I hate Midwest winters and couldn’t be happier that spring seems to be ambling towards us. Dave bet me that it would snow again before spring, and I certainly hope he’s wrong. Not only would I cry at the sight of another snowflake, but I’d also be out two dollars.
When Dave and I arrived at my parents house, we spent the first couple hours chatting with my sister Emily, Dad, and Mom while I perused the cookbook I intend to use for St. Patrick’s day this year. Every year my family has a small hoopla where I cook traditional Irish food and we eat, drink, and are merry while we celebrate our Irish heritage (though we have yet to visit Ireland, I hope to go there in the next year or so for a honeymoon with Dave…we haven’t been on one yet).
This year I’m using a cookbook lent to me by my friend’s dad, and is, by its own description: “a mirror to a fresh, new Ireland. It draws from tradition, from what’s wholesome, natural, instinctive, and reinvents it with colour, taste, and confidence.” I certainly hope the Avoca Cafe can imbue me with some of that confidence–because everything sounded so delicious, I decided to do smaller batches of two soups, two cold salads, one main course, bread, and a dessert.
Whenever I’m planning a big meal, I always separate the ingredients on my shopping list into categories of Produce, Dairy, Baking, Boxed/Canned, etc. It makes it so much easier to check off the list by section than to do a word search amidst a heap of scribbles.
I’ve warned those with an onion aversion to stay far away–my shopping list calls for twenty-six onions in total! Thankfully, my immediate family will eat just about anything, save a few quirky dislikes (I, for one, love eggs, but I only like them when the egg and yolk are kept separate, like in hardboiled eggs, fried or poached eggs, etc).
After a few more family members arrived, we decided to enjoy the fresh air and go on a mile and a half walk down the road and back. When we returned, Dad started the grill! I enjoyed a tasty beverage:
And tried one of Emily’s flax seed shortbread cookies:
They were delicious–very fresh and earthy tasting, and not like a traditional shortbread cookie at all. We all talked for awhile longer while Dad kept his eye on the veggie burgers and baked beans. At 7:30, I was definitely ready for dinner.
I had one of my mom’s homemade veggie burgers with pesto-yogurt and provolone on Dave’s homemade potato buns. I also had some baked beans, my couscous salad, and several wheat saltines with Mom’s homemade hummus. This is real food. It’s so nice eating food when you know exactly what has been put into it. You can taste the love! The couscous salad got quite a few compliments, and I went home with an empty container, so the recipe must be a keeper! For dessert, I had a slice of my sister Moriah’s homemade banana bread and one of Mom’s homemade Earl Grey macaron’s.
I’ve never had a macaron and the texture was like nothing I had experienced before–crunchy, yet soft, with a jelly, tea-infused filling. The banana bread was moist and flavorful, as well.
I put my niece Aurelia to bed, then took her back downstairs because she suddenly was wide awake:
We played a few games of cards while I drank some coffee to keep me awake for the ride home, then left at about 9:30. Fresh air certainly seems to make me tired!
It was a lovely day, and I’m looking forward to my day off tomorrow as well. We’re celebrating Ty’s birthday at a local pizza place, since he had to work on his actual birthday and only enjoyed a few hours of it. I have something new and special in mind for his birthday treat, since he’s not a huge fan of cake. Hopefully it will turn out well!