Monday, March 21, 2011

What does a rainbow taste like??

According to my daughter, a rainbow tastes like berries!  Lol!  I came across this recipe for rainbow cupcakes in the Disney Family Fun magazine and just had to make it!  Cupcakes are one of my favorite deserts to make because there is so many ways you can decorate them and make them special. A few years back my mother-in-law got me a fabulous cookbook for Christmas; "Hello, Cupcake!"  This is an excellent book for baking beginners as there are illustrated instructions and "how to's".

I absolutely love to bake and wish there was more time in the day for me to whip up some yummy baked goods.  Juggling work (domestic and a career) and taking care of my family doesn't leave much time to fiddle in the kitchen - but I do take every chance I get to bake and cook with my little one!  This recipe will definitely take a few tries for me to perfect it.  I over-filled the cupcake wrappers; so the rainbow effect wasn't quite right - but they still were delicious! 

I would love to hear from you if you have any creative cupcake recipes to share!  
Below is the link and directions from Family Fun for these happy rainbow delights.  Happy Baking!
  • White cake mix (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
  • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
  • Baking cups
  • Whipped cream (optional)

  1. Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.

    Purple9 red and 6 blue drops
    Blue12 drops
    Green12 drops
    Yellow12 drops
    Orange12 yellow and 4 red drops
    Red18 drops

  2. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.
  3. Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove the paper wrapping, and if you like, top each cupcake with a whipped-cream cloud 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guinness Beef - Yum!!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to share with you my new favorite Irish dish to serve my family.  It is rather simple to make and I have yet to find someone who didn't like it! Add some champ ( Irish potato dish ) and some soda bread and you have the perfect meal for a rainy March day! I found this recipe courtesy of .   Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Ingredients:1 1/2 pounds chuck or round steak
1/2 lb carrots
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour seasoned with salt & pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 tsp fresh basil, minced
2/3 cup Guinness
1 tsp honey
2/3 cup beef stock or water
sprig of parsley

1. Cut beef into chunks
2. Peel and chop the onions; peel and slice carrots into pieces about the size of your little finger
3. Heat the oil and cook the onions until they are soft. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large, shallow, oven-proof dish
4. Toss the beef in the flour and brown quickly in the hot fat
5. Remove the beef and place on top of the onions. Arrange the carrots around the beef
6. If necessary, add a little more fat to the pan and stir in the left-over seasoned flour. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly
7. Add the basil and the Guinness. Allow to cook for another minute or two and then add the honey and the stock. Again, bring to a boil and then pour over the beef, carrots and onions
8. Cover with a lid or foil and cook in a 325 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
9. At serving time, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Serves 4
I also want to talk about the true meaning behind St. Patrick's Day. Most of us associate St. Patrick's Day with parades, green beer and wearing green or "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" shirts.  But how many of us really know what St. Patrick's Day is celebrating??  Since I come from a very Irish family (maiden name is O'Connell!) I feel it is important to be educated on our culture.  One way I have been able to honor my heritage is by giving both my daughters Gaelic spellings for their names ( Madailein and Caitlyn ). 

Back on track to St. Patrick's Day!  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and introduced Christianity to the people of Ireland in the 5th century.  St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans; which is why the shamrock is the national flower of Ireland. 

Traditionally, St. Patrick's Day was intended to be a day of spiritual renewal and offering of prayers.  March 17th is the day St. Patrick died and is observed as a religious holiday in Ireland.  This holiday usually falls during Lent, so the Lenten ban of eating meat is lifted on this day. 

St. Patrick was born with the given name of Maewyn Succat.  He was born into a wealthy family in Britain and was taken as prisoner at the age of 16 by Irish raiders.  He was then sent to Ireland and became a slave for six years.  St. Patrick spent these six years as a shepherd and became a Christian for solace.  Eventually he escaped and returned to his family in Britain - where it is believed an angel came to him in a dream and told him to return to Ireland as a missionary.  His religious training continued over the course of 15 years before he returned to Ireland to convert the people there to Christianity.

So, as you celebrate today keep in mind the true meaning behind this joyous holiday!!  Enjoy!

Please visit for more Crafty Friday ideas and also visit for Feasting in Fellowship Fridays!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainbows and Shamrocks!!

With a three year old preschooler, I find myself  looking for crafty projects we can do together.  Most of her school art projects are displayed at school and we don't get to bring them home for a few weeks - so we don't get to enjoy any of her holiday crafts.  I take every opportunity to share my passion for art with my daughter.

This week we decided to make some St. Patrick's Day crafts.  Using just some construction paper, scrapbook paper, a glue stick and scissors we made color rainbows and shamrocks to hang up for decoration.  Toddlers and preschoolers tend to like projects that are very hands-on and don't take too much time since they will lose interest quickly.

For the rainbows we tore up pieces of scrapbook paper in various colors of the rainbow and then simply glued them onto a piece of contruction paper.  This is a wonderful way to get your little one to learn color recognition and hand-eye coordination.  For the shamrock I drew one on a piece of green contruction paper and then cut it out to use as a template for the second shamrock.  We again tore pieces of scrapbook paper, this time just green, and glued to our cut-out shamrocks.  They are now proudly displayed on our pantry door where everyone can see! A very simple and quick way to introduce kids to the world of arts and crafts!!

Please take some time to check out the host site for Crafy Friday, Home Sweet Farm!

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waltz on by Wednesday!

I started participating in Waltz on by Wednesday, hosted by Home Sweet Farm.  This is a wonderful way to find other bloggers that share the same interest!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March - month of the Daffodil

Daffodils are one of the first flowers of spring, thus symbolizing hope and rebirth. The Latin name for daffodil is narcissus, which is also a name known in Greek mythology.  Narcissus was extremely self absorbed and eventually fell in love with his own image.  In one version of the myth, Narcissus fell into a river while admiring his reflection and drowned.  The gods placed daffodils on the riverbank in his honor.
Ancient Egyptians used the daffodil as a ritualistic flower in death.  Daffodil bulbs were placed over the eyes, nose and mouth of buried Pharaohs.  In the Christian faith, daffodils are often used to symbolize Christ's death and resurrection.  They are often referred to as Lenten flowers in England since they are in bloom during Lent.
Daffodils are available in a large variety of colors, the most common being yellow.  They can also be found in white, pink, orange, peach, red and green.  Blooms can be of a solid color or a variation of colors. There are over 13,000 hybrids listed in the Daffodil Data Bank.
Switching gears slightly, flowers have long been depicted in paintings and other forms of art.  One of the most well known artists for painting this subject is Georgia O'Keeffe.  She was an American artist whose work spans from the late 1910's through the 1980's.  Her art was always a reflection of her surroundings and she was known for simply painting what she saw.  Between 1918 and 1932, Georgia O'Keeffe created over 200 flower paintings - depicting roses, petunias, poppies, camellias, sunflowers, bleeding hearts, daffodils, black iris, calla lilies and orchids.
" A flower is relatively small.  Everyone has many associations with a flower - the idea of flowers.  ... So I said to myself -  I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it. "  - Georgia O'Keeffe
"Yellow Jonquils #3"
Georgia O'Keeffe 1936