Thinking Irish

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It’s that time of year again! Are you looking for something to wear in celebration of Ireland Day? These Irish Hat Headbands are awaiting you in my Etsy SHOP today!! Priced at only $8.00, they’re a great way add some whimsy and green to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit!

OR

I have ONE Shamrock Necklace left, also for $8.00!

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Get ready for March by popping over to the SHOP for some GREEN!   :>

Recipe Exchange: Mince and Potatoes

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I can’t believe I haven’t shared my “company” dish before! Since I haven’t cooked anything new and exciting lately, I was scouring through my photos, looking for something I could share today for the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange. That’s when I realized I have a couple of photos of and have never shared my Shepherd’s Pie recipe, so here you go! It’s such an easy, forgiving dish that you can play with until it becomes yours. I ALWAYS make it the same way, the way we made it when I lived in Ireland, where I first ate it. But the whole idea of this dish is that you (the shepherds) use whatever you have on hand and throw it all in together. The original would have had, and still does sometimes, lamb instead of the ground beef or “mince” that I use. I can’t believe I don’t have any photos of the “pie” itself, but I do have a couple of the Mince and Potatoes version!

And if you’re looking for something Irish for a St. Patrick’s Day meal, this could be it!

This meal always takes me back to my days of living in Ireland and all of those great memories!

Shepherd’s Pie and Mince and Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 tsp minced garlic

6 lg potatoes

3 lg carrots

dash of parsley

1/2 cup cheese

2 T brown gravy powder (I always use Irish Bisto)

splash of milk

1 3/4 cups water

2-3 T butter

**Brown the ground beef and garlic in a large frying pan or skillet deep enough to hold the carrots and gravy later. At the same time, boil the carrots and potatoes until just tender. Mix the gravy powder with 2 tablespoons water to make a paste. Add the rest of the water and stir. Immediately our over drained ground beef, stirring constantly  on medium-low heat as gravy thickens. Add the cooked, drained carrots. Keep warm on low while you drain and mash the potatoes, adding a splash of warmed milk and butter, if desired.

**Shepherd’s Pie: Pour gravy mixture into a 9×13 baking dish, spoon the potatoes on top and smooth them out to cover the meat mixture. Sprinkle the cheese and parsley over the top and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are a bit crispy. You can also make it ahead of time and just do the baking the day you serve it.

**Mince and Potatoes: Spoon potatoes onto the plate, make a well in the center and pour the meat and gravy mixture into the well.

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**Great things to serve with this would be: Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Soda or Brown Bread or Roasted Potatoes. All very Irish!

I have friends who have made it with ground turkey also.

We even served the leftovers over rice when day when we had more “gravy” than potatoes and it was good too.

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I guess I DID shake it up a bit by adding peas last time! :>

And…Costco has Irish Stew ready to go for you! It’s really yummy, just add mashed potatoes or Soda Bread and enjoy!

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How do celebrate Ireland Day?

Wise-Woman-Builds

Modest Monday: Casual Outfit with Lilac Cardigan

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A few days ago, I decided that this week I would share a casual, everyday outfit for this week’s Modest Monday with the Modest Mom. I was wearing this outfit to run a bunch of errands around our town and the neighboring town.   But this lilac cardigan is so pretty, I thought it made the outfit share worthy. Then I decided to wear it Sunday, as we would be in “town” all day, and I wanted something comfy and versatile for the cool morning, warm afternoon and cool early evening. Our climate is desert-like here. So here’s one of my go-to outfits I LOVE!!

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I bought this lovely cardigan at Mervyn’s, before my favorite store closed.

The black top is an old one from Sears. Shoes are my Sanita Merrie faves. And the skirt is from Kohl’s? a few months ago.

And the flower clip is something I just bought at the Dollar Tree a few days ago! I just love it!!

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(Please pardon the dirt on the hem of the skirt. I think I dragged it while carrying it out, because I’m short!)

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The pretty earrings were a gift from my sweetie, but came from Kohl’s.

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Do have favorite go-to outfits?

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A New Look!

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It’s so exciting to see my blog get a pretty and fun makeover! Yay!

I saw a beautiful background on someone’s blog and it started the wheels in my head turning, thinking I would like something prettier form mine. I did a bit of work and, voila!!

I love the cursive words in the sidebar and the pretty little hearts!

What do you think?

Recipe Exchange: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

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It’s Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange time with Merissa at Little House on the Prairie Living! I haven’t made these for awhile, but they are great for a treat or special occasion!

I’m slowly sharing my old posts that aren’t available anymore, so everyone can enjoy them, and they’ll be available again for new and old readers. So here’s a posting from last May with an AMAZING recipe for Cinnamon Roll Pancakes!

Today’s come’s from The Recipe Girl. It’s really more like a dessert, even though it’s a pancake. This recipe for Cinnamon Roll Pancakes is skrumpdillyicious! Easy, decadent and yummy. The first time I made it as is, the second time I didn’t have cream cheese, so I just made a glaze, still yummy!”

CINNAMON FILLING:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Directions:

Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside.

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

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Yum, yum, yum!!

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They’re pretty rich, so I like just a couple with some yummy Irish tea!

Make some of these for your next special treat!

Post image for Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange 2/19

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Wise-Woman-Builds

Modest Monday: Multicolored Peasant Dress

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It’s Modest Monday with the Modest Mom again and yesterday I wore a repeat dress, but paired it a bit differently this time. Also, it was posted with my old server iWeb (unavailable), so here it is to a new audience. I was planning to have my Sweetie take the photos again for me, but I forgot to do it before the sun went down. And please pardon the messy braid, I don’t know what happened to it. Sigh.

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I bought this dress from Ross for $6.99! It isn’t completely my style, but it was my size and inexpensive. This time I took a top I have in my clothing collection as a costume piece and realized it went great with this dress! Yay, now I have another option to turn this sundress into a regular dress.

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I already owned the perfect jewelry when I bought this dress. Win! It’s a pink and brown necklace and earring set and goes perfectly with the outfit. Yay!

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I pair this look with my Sanita sandals or an old pair of sandals, as we’ve been having warm weather here. Thankfully, today is the start of nice cool temps, because I get tired of summery sun.

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It ended up being breezy after church when we went to see visiting Tall Ships, Lady Washington and Grand Hawaiian docked at a nearby beach. So I wore a brown cardigan from the thrift store several years ago, that came with a matching shell.

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How do you use the pieces you own to work together?

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pleated poppy

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Be Mine?

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Okay, here’s how we celebrated our love and marriage. We began last weekend while we were out of town and our hotel gave us a couple of perks as a part of their valentine specials. Then we had family here all week and my sister-in-law’s birthday to celebrate. Her birthday falls on February 14th!  So last night we had a little celebration at home. :>

Our table, laden with egg salad and curry chicken salad sandwiches, chocolate covered strawberries, tea and cookies.

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My Cookies!

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My Sweetie’s!

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Some Decor!

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Have you seen these “balloons” you pound to get them to expand?

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My Place Setting!

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The cookie collection for sharing! These cookies ended up being a great creative outlet for me. I had such a great time making them! Not everything turned out perfectly, but they tasted great and were a lot of fun!

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I sent my sweetie on a scavenger hunt to find a couple of gifts.

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Then we worked on a borrowed puzzle of our local Danish town, Solvang!

How did you celebrate with your sweetheart?

I’m linking up with Bonnie over at Saturday Upsides!

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Tea Time Tuesday

Love Day Preview

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Here’s a little preview of our Love Day celebration. We actually did some celebrating while we were out of town last weekend, so this is a part of our low-key at-home time. I made these cookies for my sweetie, family and a few other people. You’ll see more soon. They were such a great creative outlet for me! So much fun to make!

 

I haven’t had much blogging time this week with family here and preparing surprises for my Sweetie, so I may do a big one tomorrow, even though it’s Saturday!

 

Happy weekend everyone!

Recipe Exchange: Tea Cup “Cookies”

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It started with a picture on Facebook, and the opportunity to make and serve them! I have a family in my life that loves miniature tea parties. It started when they were all much, much younger, and I helped the mom with childcare regularly while she homeschooled the oldest kids. Our tea parties began as a girl event, but as the boys saw the tiny candies we were eating, they joined in on the fun, one by one.

This is the original photo, using products from Austraila. If only I had those marshmallows, which are also sold in Ireland, or were when I lived there 18 years ago.

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The Pioneer Woman shared a story a couple of weeks ago about her boys shunning scones as girly food, until she disguised them as “Sugar Biscuits” and it completely reminded me of the oldest boy from this family. The tea parties were far too girly for him…until he saw the sweets!! :>

So today, for the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange with Little House on the Prairie Living, I’m sharing this fun idea, even though it isn’t technically a recipe.

Go to this post for the original idea.

*My Version*

I used Marie brand tea biscuits, because that’s what we have available here, with a simple colored glaze of icing sugar and water to create the look of the European biscuit/cookie .

White large marshmallows

The glaze acts as the glue for the sprinkles on top, the marshmallow cups to the biscuit saucers  and the handles, made of broken in half, pastel colored Lifesavors.

It goes pretty quickly and easily, and the kids were THRILLED with this special addition to our usual tea parties!

Be creative and make them your own out of things in your pantry!

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Here’s a list the 6 year old of things to do on our “Play Date.” So ADORABLE! AND she made a MOVIE for me with her new camera! I felt so LOVED!

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TRANSLATION:

Play Kitchen

Have a tea party

A puzzle

Read Charlotte’s Web

Do a craft

Play Barbie with Tiffanie

Make a book with her

So sweet! Of course I had to tell her we wouldn’t have time for EVERYTHING! :>

Her new KITCHEN!

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Serving me “dinner” from her kitchen.

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I love these kids!

How do you make time with loved ones special?

Recipe Exchange

Handmade Projects ~ Add Yours! {2-12}modest+mondays+3

 

Modest Monday and The Amazing Choose Joy Conference

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I’m going to do things a bit differently today for Modest Monday, because I just can’t wait to talk about the Choose Joy Conference I attended on Saturday! What a blessing that was for me. And as I was thinking about a Modest Monday post, I realized that everyone at the conference was dressed very modestly! These women really showed that you can be fashionable and fun, while still being modest the way God calls us to be.

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This conference did not go exactly the way I pictured it, or planned it in my head, but IT WAS FABULOUS!! My favorite take away tidbits? The “Living Hannah’s Prayer” session and being in a room full of other women who get it. Being free to feel the feelings and talk about my story. Sharing your “mom” story makes most people uncomfortable, if you aren’t a mom anymore, never have been one, or it was a long , hard struggle to get there. But, in this room, we all understand. And we aren’t afraid to hear your sad and heart wrenching story. It was just such a blessing and a comfort to be there, and for the hope which springs from it! And I’ll always be a mom, even if I don’t have any children calling me mama at this moment in time!

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Can you tell that I loved the umbrella/pretty parasol decorations?

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Everything was so lovingly planned for this event, down to the tiniest detail. We all felt absolutely spoiled and cared for!

 

Here’s my version of the craft!

 

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We even had “swag bags” full of lots of fun gifts!

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I won the “Choose Joy” wall hanging and the “Choose Joy” Bible verse notebook!

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I love my new headband!!

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Read more about my reason for attending this event here.

Once again, JJ Heller’s song is a perfect fit for this topic.

Choose Joy Conference

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