Category Archives: St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day Tribute

A Tribute and Thanks to a Phenomenal, Part Irish, Woman –170px-Irish_clover

Mom passed away two days after St. Patrick’s Day in 2006, with her family by her side.

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since then and even harder to write about Mom using the past tense – she was always so full of life and energy. She exuded an endless pursuit of learning and teaching throughout her 89 years. In fact, the month before she died, she was teaching cribbage to some local students. They joined her on Sunday afternoons at her senior living campus apartment, to learn a game she enjoyed playing over a lifetime and had taught to her grandchildren to help them improve math skills.

Of German and Irish descent, Mom was a daughter, a sister, a wife, widowed twice, a mother of four daughters, grandmother of twelve, great grandmother of 28, an aunt, an excellent cook, creative, skilled, resilient, ambitious, a good friend to many, a devout Lutheran and above all, she loved her family dearly.

On my desk is a photo of Mom holding an array of colorful flowers, each one given in honor of herLila -80th birthday - LL Blog 80th birthday at a surprise party hosted by her daughters. Each attendee was asked to bring one flower to the party. Nearly 100 family members and friends gathered. Being among so many who loved and honored her made for a magnificent celebration.

Mom loved life, loved baseball, loved dogs, read a lot, loved to garden and was an avid exerciser. She walked the Heartland trail a couple miles a day as long as she was able. In inclement weather, she picked up a friend and drove to the high school to walk the halls prior to the start of classes. Yoga later replaced walking and helped her remain limber as osteoporosis crept in.

One evening, about 3 weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, Mom fell in her apartment, broke her hip and ended up in surgery. Her recovery did not go well. She required oxygen related to a worsening lung condition and after several failed physical therapy sessions to help her walk, she asked to have all treatment and medications stopped. Mom told me and my sisters, I showed you girls how to live. Now, I will show you how to die.

Rather than move her to a care facility, we chose to move Mom to our home. With hospice support, along with my three sisters and our husbands, we provided her care.

Emotions of both joy and profound sadness filled our home during those last two weeks as she said her goodbyes to friends, family members and their dogs, who all came to visit. She said she had lived a good life and it was her time to die. Her strength helped us through those last days.

As a young girl, Mom’s red curly hair and freckles were an indication of her Irish ancestry. Her strong will, attention to cleanliness and order were expressions of her German heritage. But, her love of family was the truest expression of who she was. As her daughters, we were loved unconditionally, and enjoyed living in a well cared for home where we were treated to the some of the finest cooking ever, including many fabulous German meals. But, on St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrated our Irish heritage by wearing green and savored an annual meal of corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes and Irish Freckle Bread. She didn’t serve green beer but she did sip a beer with us now and then.

Mom was strong and loving to the end.

We miss our wonderful German-Irish Mom.

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CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK’S DAY

170px-Irish_cloverDid you know the real St. Patrick wasn’t Irish and the original color associated with St. Patrick was blue? Why then is Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland and around the world people parade in the streets wearing green?

The son of a British Christian church deacon, Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 and sent to Ireland. There he was enslaved as a sheep herder on a chilly Irish mountainside. After escaping bondage, he made his way back to Britain, but returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. When explaining the Trinity to the pagan Irish, he reportedly used the three leafed shamrock plant.

Centuries later, St. Patrick became known as a patron saint of Ireland and in the 1600’s Saint Patrick’s feast day became a holiday in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1903, St. Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. Wearing of the green meant to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in NY City is the largest parade in the world.

For us, St. Patrick’s Day is a fun celebration of our Irish heritage and it centers on an annual meal of corned beef. For an easy healthy holiday dinner, corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes and Irish Freckle Bread are favorites.

Corned beef is common in many cuisines. Corned is a term from “corns of salt” used to preserve the meat. Irish corned beef was traded in the 17th century and used as provisions for British naval fleets and North American armies. The preserved meat has a long a sordid history with use on ships involved in slave markets. When fresh meat was rationed during World War II, this salt-cured product became important. The preserved beef, often cooked and canned, was preserved in “tins” and exported from Ireland around the world. Kosher cured beef became popular with the Jewish population. Today South America is a major supplier of canned corned beef.

Corned beef is found in most deli shops and the favorite Reuben sandwiches. Pastrami is smoked corned beef with added spices. Preserved and salted food, such as corned beef, are not for those on low salt diets, but for the rest of us, an occasional meal is acceptable.

Crock Pot Beef in Beer

3-4 pounds corned beef brisket

Trim all visible fat from meat

Vegetable selections: potatoes (peeled and quartered), 2 medium onions (peeled and quartered), 1 cup thinly sliced carrots, 1 small cabbage cut in wedges.

Place vegetables of choice with one bay leaf in crock pot.

Place meat atop vegetables.

Pour beer or one cup of water over beef.

Cover and cook on LOW heat for 10 hours.

Cool meat on cutting board for 10 minutes, then cut across the grain in thin slices.

Serve on large platter surrounded by vegetables.Corned beef meal

Irish Freckle Bread

1 pkg dry yeast

8 tablespoons sugar (divided)

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)

½ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

¼ cup warm mashed potatoes without butter or milk

3 ¼- 4 cups flour

1 cup raisins

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon sugar. Add the butter, eggs, potatoes,Freckle bread unbaked salt, remaining sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

·  Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

·  Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Place on baking sheet. Cover and let rise untilFreckle bread baked doubled, about 30 minutes.

·  Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf, 12 servings.

green-beerTHREE CHEERS TO GREEN BEER, SHAMROCKS & GOOD FOOD

WISHING YOU A HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!