Life these past few weeks has been absolutely crazy! Wedding planning is in full swing and Brad and I are crossing things off our to-do list on a daily basis. Last week, Brad and I had our cake tasting and he got measured for his tuxedo. In fact, today I ordered our wedding cake and signed the contract with the caterer. Next up, is mailing our invitations and finalizing our flowers.
When we first started planning our big day, I thought it was going to be hard to find a bakery and caterer that would be able to (affordably) make adjustments to accommodate my food sensitivities. I’m not sure if caterers and bakers are getting more of these types of requests, but it sure made it easy when I brought it up in our initial conversation. I’ve been using Wedding Wire for a lot of my planning, and so I did a search for a bakery that offers gluten-free cakes and close to my venue. After a bit of research and reading reviews, I found The Jenny Layne Bakery, located 10 minutes from my venue. I had a great conversation with the bakery, explaining my food issues. She told me they offer two cake flavors in gluten-free vegan and that most of their fillings were naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. The bakery made us two mini cakes and gave us five flavors so we could mix and match our flavors. Brad and I had so much fun eating cake and picking out the winning combination.
In addition to planning a wedding, we have decided to undertake some big home improvements. My future father-in-law is hosting an “I Do Barbeque” at our home the day before the wedding – so that pushed us to start a few big projects we have been putting off for over a year. The first project we are tackling is renovating our office. I’m super excited for this project! It’s been a challenge to share Brad’s desk and our office had become a dumping ground for shoes, bags, leashes, and piles and piles of paperwork. The two dads – my dad and Brad’s dad – have been helping Brad with the construction and they are like to kids in a candy shop. They are having such a good time working together on the room; it’s so cute then they complement each other on a job well done. Hopefully, we will have this project wrapped up by the end of the month so I can decorate it while Brad is in Boston for the weekend.
Enough about weddings …. onto St. Patrick’s Day that is on Sunday J
A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day
The real St. Patrick was born in Britain the late 4thcentury. When he was a teenager, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave; luckily, he escaped. He returned to Ireland in 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. When he died in 461, he had established a monasteries, churches, and schools throughout Ireland. Following his death, Ireland began celebrating his life with religious services and feasts.
The St. Patrick’s Day that we know and celebrate didn’t come into existence until the 1700s, when the Irish began immigrating to the United States. Celebrations in Boston began in 1737, where Irish businessmen and politicians started throwing parties to celebrate St. Patrick. New York held their first St. Patrick’s Day in 1762. To this day, both of these cities hold huge parades and parties.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
My grandpa was part Irish and loved celebrating his heritage. He sent me green carnations on St. Patrick’s Day and had a four-leaf clover preserved in a glass ball that sat on his desk. He had always wanted to visit Ireland and we were planning a trip to Ireland and England when he unexpectedly passed away of a heart attack.
We typically celebrated our Italian heritage, but on St. Patrick’s Day, my mom and I would put our Italian heritage aside and embrace our Irish heritage. We ate corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread and invited friends over to celebrate with us.
There are several ways to prepare corned beef and cabbage. My cousin likes to bake it in the oven, basting it with Guinness beer. My mom boils it on the stove. I always thought it was complicated to make corned beef, but it’s actually pretty easy. The reason it feels complicated is because it takes so long to cook. When you boil it, you need to give yourself four hours to cook. But, it doesn’t take a lot of preparation and you just need to occasionally stir it while it’s cooking.
When you are shopping for your corned beef, make sure to buy a cut that is not pre-seasoned. Many times, meats that are pre-seasoned or pre-marinated contain gluten and/or dairy. The unseasoned cuts of corned beef do come with a spice package that is usually black peppercorns.
If you are feeding a bigger group of people, I recommend buying an extra head of cabbage. Cabbage shrinks so much when it cooks, a single head of cabbage doesn’t really produce much. When you are selecting your potatoes, go with a yellow potato. Red potatoes don’t hold up as well when boiling for a long period of time. The skins tend to fall off – the flavor is still delicious but you end up with mashed potatoes.