Monday, March 27, 2017

Mushroom Magic

If you don't know, I keep another blog at where I chronicle other creative pursuits as well as natural life in the Midwest. (I also keep another shop at where I specialize in hand crafted journals and old-fashioned quills). Over at Traveling Chariot, when the weather is right, I post Mushroom Mondays where I share my photos of the many unique, magical, and sometimes edible mushrooms. And since it's been raining again there are lots of fungi to be found. So if you'd like to meander through a woodland of toadstools, faerie caps, and magic hop on over HERE.

Friday, March 24, 2017

March Emerald Post

Well, I hope your spring is off to a colorful start and surely the predominant color of spring is green. Ireland and its awe-inspiring shades of green were the fertile seeds that grew into the March issue of Emerald Post, for March is the month we celebrate not only St. Patrick but Irish culture in general (albeit sometimes in ways that are inaccurate or misguided). Besides an annual St. Patrick's fest, I celebrate Ireland and spring by bringing fresh flowers inside, taking hot cups of tea outside, revisiting Irish films, books, and of course music, and cooking up my favorite Irish meals. 

The March Issue was a lot of fun to create and curate. To honor the Emerald Isle, I included a large print of a hand-painted watercolor map of Ireland.  

Also included in the March issue: a lovely postcard print of a gothic green doorway at St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny (which can still be obtained with 7 other postcards in the Portal Collection), a cute miniature notecard and envelope featuring a lucky 4-leaf clover, and a 5x7 print of my favorite - 40 Shades of Green Butterfly which mimics stained glass. The Butterfly print is available individually HERE. It's time now to go outside and enjoy Spring's bounty and gather inspiration for April's issue which is fast approaching.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Welcome Spring

Spring, or the Vernal Equinox, arrived yesterday in which day and night were equal. In Ireland many ancient portal tombs and cairns align with sunrises or sunsets of solstices & equinoxes. Loughcrew Cairns is one such ancient monument that aligns with the Spring Equinox. Watch the magical video below to see that sun illuminate the inside of a stone cairn. Read more about it HERE.

Here in the Midwest Spring arrived with a sultry 87 degrees and a gorgeous blood orange sunset. Back to normal today with rain (thank goodness) and 60s. Spring is such a delicious, refreshing season. I hope it lingers, though yesterday had me fearing it would get skipped altogether.

May Spring be beautiful, long, and green. May we be blessed with blooms and rain a plenty. May the season inspire your soul. Go outside and greet the it.

Countryside in County Kerry

Monday, March 20, 2017

Irish Surnames

Check out this article at  which includes a cute infographic making sense of many Irish surnames.  

               How Irish Are You? Your Last Name May Offer A Clue. Enter Your Last Name to Learn its Meaning and Origin.:  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May you always have
walls for the wind,
a roof for the rain,
tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you,
those you love near you
and all your heart might desire 

-Irish Blessing

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Seafood Chowder at Inch Beach

I love to cook up hearty Irish dishes, especially in March but my all time favorite is Seafood Chowder. Now this isn't like your Clam Chowder. This is much more akin to heaven. The first time I ever had this food of the sea gods was on a cold, gray day in Sammy's Bar on Inch Beach on the Dingle Penninsula. Perhaps it was the wild waves just outside the window, the freshness of the fish, or perhaps is was the dreary weather and jet lag but I have held this dish in the highest esteem ever since. My main brag about it is that it contained so much seafood and so little potatoes (a flip flop of what I know in MO). I now look for this on every menu when we're in Ireland and I've had some other delicious variations but Inch Beach Seafood Chowder is at the top of the list.

When I'm at home, however, I love making a huge pot of this. Surprisingly, even with some frozen fish, this is incredible. I use Kevin Dundon's recipe of fish chowder as a spring board but alter it for American groceries:

- I usually add more onion and skip the leek
- Swap water or chicken stock for fish stock - both work fine
- Peeled shrimp instead of Dublin Bay Prawns
- heavy whipping cream for pouring cream, maybe a bit richer :)
- I've always omitted tarragon and smoked salmon because I didn't have any and $$
- Use any fish you like really, I usually use salmon and cod and mussels if I have any

The Esteemed Seafood Chowder and Bulmers

Sammy's Bar Restaurant and Café at Inch Beach

It is an pretty quick and easy, if not a little pricey, recipe and actually is a great leftover (that surprised me) Make a loaf of brown bread with it, spread some Kerry Gold Butter, crack open a Guinness and start the daydream!