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Happy thanksgiving

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“Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it.” – Pope John Paul II

I found this post by Simple Speedy Snacks and thought it would be quite appropriate given that St. Patrick’s Day is only two days away.  There are some very interesting drinks I look forward to trying, as well as some interesting facts I didn’t know.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and check out Simple Speedy Snacks for some more great recipes.

St. Patrick’s Day Drinks

Posted on March 10, 2012 by Simple Speedy Snacks

Tis the season to be Irish! St. Patrick’s day is celebrated across the globe with people drinking lots of alcohol!  So let’s begin the St Paddy’s day preparations with a look at Irish beverages!

But before we do..just to is Paddy’s day and not Patty’s day, which is a common mistake! Paddy is the diminutive form of Patrick. Padraig is the Irish translation of Patrick, hence Paddy! Irish people are generally referred to across the world as Paddies! Plastic Paddy is a slang term, which is used to describe people whose ancestors came from Ireland or those who adopt Irish customs!


Guinness is a heavy Irish dry stout that is loved across the globe! It originated in the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. Arthur Guinness started brewing ales from 1759.

The top markets for Guinness include, the UK, Ireland, Nigeria, United States and Cameroon. There are two main Guinness variants: Guinness Draught and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. Guinness Draught is sold predominantly in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. It is available as Guinness Original, Extra Cold, Extra Smooth and as Guinness Red. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is the original export stout and is the key Guinness variant in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

The perfect Guinness consists of a ‘two-part pour’, which takes 119.5 seconds.

Guinness is good for you!

The poster above reads Sefearr de thú Guinness, which means Guinness is better for you!!! There was a time when pregnant and nursing mothers were advised to drink Guinness. (Please note this is no longer the case!!!) A relative who is a nun brought my mother a bottle of Guinness just after the birth of my brother in 1980.

Studies claim that Guinness can be beneficial to the heart. Researchers discovered that “‘antioxidant compounds’ in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.”

Guinness is probably the most popular Irish drink to have on St. Paddy’s Day! I brought a friend from Brooklyn to the Guinness museum for a tour and a free pint of Guinness at the top of the tower. She was super excited to try Guinness, when we got to the top of the tower she took one tiny sip and spat it out! That was her first and only experience with Guinness. It is a heavy drink, drinking a Guinness is like having a meal!

My friend with the Guinness (she did not drink) at The Guinness Brewery in Dublin. It has a wonderful view of Dublin city.

Murphy’s Stout

If Guinness is a little too heavy for you, then try this lighter and sweeter dry stout, which has been brewed in Cork since 1856.

The Irish Flag

irish flag shot

In a shot glass, carefully pour green crème de menthe, Bailey’s and then Cointreau orange liqueur in the order, so that each ingredient floats on the preceding one.

The Irish Car Bomb

The first time I heard about this shot, I was in the US. It is not a drink that would be on a menu in Ireland…it’s just not appropriate! It consists of Guinness, Bailey’s and whiskey. The whiskey is floated on top of the Irish Cream in a shot glass, and the shot glass is then dropped into the stout. You must drink it quickly before it curdles!

Mozzy’s Maynooth Madness 

This special cocktail was created by a very good friend…who is also the creator of the valentine’s cocktail. It is extremely sweet and dessert like. My friend Mozzy (nickname) and I met at a dinner party when we were in college in Maynooth…hence the name!

1 measure butterscotch Mickey Finns

1 measure Bailey’s

1 measure Tia Maria

1 measure Kahlúa


Blend with Ice, cream and crème de cacao optional. Yummm..thanks Mozzy!

Baby Guinness

This is a very popular shooter in Ireland. Two and a half oz of Tia Maria or Kahlua is topped by a layer of Bailey’s (half oz), which is poured over the back of a spoon.

Hot Whiskey

New York on St. Patrick’s day can be very cold! I remember slipping on ice a few years ago..on St. Paddy’s evening. NYC was covered in snow. Also known as a hot toddy, hot whiskey is a quick solution to warm your bones! It can also make you a little sleepy! Hot whiskey is traditionally served in Ireland with cloves, a slice of lemon and a teaspoon of sugar.

Bailey’s Coffee or Irish Coffee (whiskey)

Bailey’s coffee and Irish coffee are very popular after dinner drinks in Ireland.

Simply pour one ounce of Bailey’s into a cup. Then add one cup of coffee. Top with whipped cream and serve. A traditional Irish coffee is with whiskey instead of the Bailey’s! A chocolate flake bar broken up (or chocolate sprinkles) and sprinkled on-top of the cream makes the coffee even more delicious!


Smithwick’s is an Irish red ale beer from Kilkenny. It was originally brewed in the medieval St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny, known as ‘Smithwick’s Brewery’ until c.2000. The brewery is situated on the site of a Franciscan Abbey where monks had brewed ale since the 14th century. The brewery was founded by John Smithwick and Richard Cole in 1710. It was purchased from Walter Smithwick in 1965 by Guinness and is now, along with Guinness, part of Diageo.

Fat Frog

This green drink is a very popular alcho pop for people in their early drinking years in Ireland. At my debs (prom), this is what we drank ALL night….pints of it. In Ireland, you usually get two pints of it when you order a fat frog, as it consists of Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer Orange and WKD Original Vodka Blue. You can also buy it in the shop ready-made in a bottle like the image above.

Bailey’s Smoothie

Bailey’s is my one of my favourite drinks! I like it with ice. A Bailey’s smoothie can be really refreshing on a hot day. Simply blend some Bailey’s with ice in a blender!

Mickey Finns- Sour Apple

Mickey Finn’s sour apple makes a great green shot for Paddy’s day. It tastes like sour apple sweets. Mickey Finn’s is currently number 2 liqueur to Bailey’s. If you would like a glamorous cocktail on St. Paddy’s day..then maybe Mickey Finns appletini is for you! Pour some sour apple and some vodka into a shaker..shake, shake, shake…and then strain into a martini glass!


Harp Lager was first produced by the Guinness company in 1960 as a bottled beer due to the trend among drinkers in Ireland and the UK towards continental lager. Harp is made with pure water from the Cooley Mountains, Dundalk, Ireland.


Bulmers is a very popular Irish cider!  It started in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary in 1935 by William Magner.

Non alcoholic Irish beverages

Cidona (non alcoholic cider), Club Orange, Finches Orange and Tanora (tangerine flavour) are Irish-made fizzy drinks that we love to drink!


And don’t forget…we LOVE drinking tea! Barry’s or Lyons!

Any Irish visitors we had in NYC brought lots of Barry’s Tea with them in their suitcases! Wherever in the world my family go they always bring some teabags with them!




“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ve been waiting to post this.  Two people were supposed to send me pictures taken with a much better camera then I presently have – I haven’t received them yet. If I wait much longer, it will be Valentine’s day – so I’ll just post this with the pictures I took.

Update – I received the pictures and have added them to the slide show.

About one month before Christmas, right around Thanksgiving, my grownup daughter, who was visiting asked us to spend Christmas at her home.  Now I have never relied on my daughter for much of anything because after all she is my daughter and I’m the mommy. Added to this was my angst about leaving our home on such a holiday for just a few hours, because we were burglarized two years ago and the aftermath is still vivid in my mind.  Now to add to my fear was the fact that my daughter wanted us to stay overnight.  In past years we always had a reason to stay home – there was our stallion Max, 4 outdoor cats and 4 poodles, all who needed to be fed.  Granted we could go for the day and bring the poodles, but it was like packing for 4 children.  Anytime we went anywhere, all 4 dogs had to have a bath and a hair cut by none other than me.  Then their little beds had to be pack along with wee wee pads just in case the older ones had an accident.  There were bowls for food and bowls for water that needed to be packed along with the rubber mats the bowls and their font paws rested on when they ate.  The rubber mats prevent the bowls along with the paws from sliding around during the all important event of eating. And most important was to remember to pack the food. Then, when they were loaded into the car, there were the throws placed on the rear seat to protect the seats from nails and dirt, harnesses to attach to the dog and the seat belts and a carry case between the two larger dogs had to be strapped in for the two little older dogs.  Let me tell you, it was quite an ordeal to prepare to go visiting for a day.

So this time, when my daughter asked us to come to her home for Christmas, most of our reasons were no longer valid. This year alone, we lost 3 cats, 3 dogs and a horse.  I only had to bathe and groom one poodle, and put food out for one cat.  There was still the matter of the burglary, but they got all our good stuff – not yet replaced, and now the property has a locked gate and video cameras – I guess we could take the chance.  So after much thought, and a week or so, we decided to go to our daughters’ for Christmas.

As Christmas drew near, I asked Rob what time did he want to leave on Saturday?  SATURDAY he said, I thought we were just going after church on Sunday.  Now our daughter lives in Tampa, a good two-hour drive away. The last thing I wanted to do was drive for four hours (two each way) on Christmas day.  I calmly tried to remind him that he was the one who convinced me we could go this year since there were no animals to feed. Well, let me tell you, he tried every trick in the book.  First he tried the guilt trip – how he was looking forward to time off to relax and putz around.  If it were a three-day weekend that would be one thing, he said.  I looked at him and said, “It is a three-day weekend – next reason!  Then he tried the old – “you two hoodwinked me, somehow I got tricked into this by you and Veronica”. I told him that wasn’t going to work since it was he who had to convince me to go overnight in the first place. It took him a day, but he came up with another one.  At dinner the next evening he told me he heard on the radio that this weekend would be the highest weekend for burglaries.  I reminded him of the locked gate and camera. The next day he tried the “I’m going to be bored routine”…What am I going to do when you and Veronica are out shopping on Saturday?  What am I going to do in the morning? You know I’ll be up before everyone else … I hope there’s coffee blah, blah, blah!!  You would have thought we were going to a deserted island or something.  I told him he could go shopping with us, or he could look at TV – you know, the box attached to the cable with 100’s of channels.  Veronica has a coffee pot so you can make coffee and sit at the table and turn on the computer and surf the net.  The next day he took another approach, he came at me with this question “Do you think people will think we are away when they see the locked gate and come up anyway, or do you think the locked gate is a deterrent?”  By now I was exasperated and just looked at him and said “We’re going, we’re leaving on Saturday and we’ll be back on Sunday night end of discussion!!!

So Saturday came and we left for our daughter’s home.  I wasn’t quite sure what the day, and evening would be like but I knew it would be fun. We went to an early Mass, and after Mass we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet.  It was delicious and filling and when we were done, we took a stroll at the outdoor mall.  The stores, streets and courtyard were all decked out with Christmas lights. People were walking about even though the stores were closed and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, the Chinese food made its’ was through my body quickly, and we went back to our daughter’s home sooner than I would have wanted. After getting rid of the food, my daughter and I went back out to pick up a few odds and ends and finished the evening watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” – a great Christmas classic.

The next day was quite impressive.  Rob and Veronica were up first and began making the sauce for the lasagna. Once the sauce was well under way Veronica began fixing greens – something that is not on my top ten list of favorites. Next the turkey was washed and prepared, and I showed Veronica the secret to my famous turkey stuffing. Meanwhile, grandma and grandpa – Rob’s parents – arrived and grandma helped with the meal as well. Regular and sweet potatoes were peeled, the green bean casserole was put together and the ham was readied for the oven.  Then, the noodles were par boiled and the lasagna put together while the turkey cooked in the oven. Of course while we were cooking, there was eggnog to drink, or sodas – I opted for the eggnog with some B & B in it. I was really impressed, I didn’t think our daughter had it in her, but after all she grew up on home-made meals and large gatherings where there was lots of food – why should she be any different. Finally the ham and lasagna were put in the oven, along with the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and greens while the regular potatoes cooked on the stove top.  Finally, the turkey gravy was made, the ham was glazed and the potatoes mashed.  All was ready. Everything was laid out buffet style and we filled our plates and took a seat at the table. The food was delicious and there was nothing wrong with anything! Desert was equally plentiful and tasty – there was pumpkin and apple pie, and cheese cake too.


  • The first picture is of the room our daughter prepared for us to stay in.
  • The next is of Rob with his new NOOK
  • The third and fourth are of our granddaughter Ali showing us the book she made for her mom.
  • The next is of Rob discussing the nook with our granddaughter while watching the nook charge up.
  • Then there is great grandma having a pretzel after we all opened up our presents.
  • Who could forget the dogs; – the next two are of Louie our poodle and Diva our daughter’s dog.
  • Then Veronica and great grandma are preparing food.
  • The proof is in the oven for all non-believers —-Veronica can cook!!!
  • The feast is laid out
  • Come and get it
  • the company seated for a great meal
  • relaxing after dinner
  • The children have some cotton candy for desert.

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“Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.” – Blaise Pascal

Need some last-minute gift ideas?  Don’t want to fight the crowds at the mall.  Well here is an easy recipe for “Classic Butter Cookies”.  Just decorate with icing and candies and voilà!, great tasting Christmas cookies you can give as a gift.

Classic Butter Cookies

  • 1 C. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • bare pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

Cream the butter until softened, then add sugar and salt. Fold in flour and mix to make a stiff dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured board to make the dough smooth.

You may otherwise place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter in chunks and pulse to make a crumbly mixture. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead to make a stiff dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll dough out to a thickness of 3/8 to 1/2 inch. Cut into rectangles or circles. Mark with the tines of a fork. Place cookies two inches apart on baking sheet and place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 325 F. Bake until lightly browned (25 to 35 minutes). Reduce heat if cookies are browning too quickly.

Cool cookies on a rack, when cool decorate and enjoy.


“Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.” –  Albert Camus

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This weekend Rob wanted pizza, so I made one.  After a summer of  eating pizzas – some good, some not so good, I finally perfected the crust, and Rob the sauce.  Now our pizza rivals even “New York Pizza Plus” and “I Love New York Pizza”!   Since the oven was on for the pizza, I whipped up a pumpkin bread.   I cleaned out the pumpkin this morning, washed the seeds, and stored three cups of pumpkin in the refrigerator. It only takes one cup of pumpkin to make pumpkin bread and two cups of pumpkin for a pie.  So far I have baked one pumpkin bread.  I can either make two more breads or one pie.  I guess the deciding factor will be whether or not the bread is any good. Then, while the oven was still warm, I decided to roast some chestnuts. While the chestnuts were roasting, I put the pumpkin seeds in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil and roasted them. What a delight those little seeds are when they are eaten warm.

Today, Fifi had her stitches removed and she was so very happy to get that Elizabethan collar off.  I was happy I could give her a bath! Louie got a bath as well, much to his chagrin!  Unfortunately, when Fifi had her surgery, the Vet found it necessary to shave the ear on the side of the surgery. Today, I shaved the other ear so they would both match.  When Fifi was just a pup, her ear hairs got so tangled with Spanish needles, we had to trim them and they never grew back.  I mentioned that to the vet and she said that is typical if a poodle is very young.   I hope the ear hairs will grow back some, now that they have been shaved.  It will take some getting use to, to look at Fifi with no hair on her ears.

Louie, on the other hand, has long hairs on his ears.  The last time he got a trim, we gave him a Mohawk along his back.  Next time I think I’ll shave it off.



“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”    Henry Ford 

Colder temperatures send pests, such as field mice, spiders, water bugs, and cockroaches – or palmetto bugs as they call them here in Florida, searching for food, water and shelter inside your homes. Mice are a common winter nuisance here in the south, and only need a space the size of a nickel to enter your home.
I remember as a child, my father putting steel wool around the pipe openings, or if he made a repair, in the opening before sealing that repair.  It didn’t matter if there was no way anything could come into our home once the repair was made, as long as my mother felt secure, that is all that mattered. So to help you keep those unwanted house guests away here are some tips.

  • Seal any cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including utility and pipe entrances.
  • Seal the openings where a pipe comes into your home – under sinks etc. You can use that stuff that squirts into an opening then expands and hardens or you can use the old steel wool method.
  • Put screens on vents and openings to chimneys. This will also keep birds, bats, raccoons and squirrels away.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows, and at all entry doors. Helps with utility bills as well.
  • Keep attics, basements if you have one, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • If you store items in totes, make sure you tape up the holes.  Those holes allow spiders, roaches and other assorted bugs to crawl into the tote and nest.  You’ll usually find those holes in the handles or the carved out spaces for your hands to carry the tote.  Yes, those holes are there for ventilation, but I for one do not like to be surprised with a spider nest when I go for something stored in the tote. I would rather seal it, than create a nesting place for bugs and mice. Been there! Done that!


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It time for Family Movie Night again!  To view the flyer for this month, just click on the red words above.  This month’s feature movie is Shrek 2.  Take a break with your children,  without breaking your wallet!

When:  Friday June 3, 2011 at 7:30  (doors open at 7:15)

Where: Family Life Center 17155 NW U.S. Hwy 441; High Springs, FL (behind the St. Madeleine church – you know, the place on 441 in High Springs that does the fish fry)

How Much:  Admission is FREE!! and the popcorn’s on me!

See you Friday at “Family Movie Night”

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