Special Occasions

Breakfast In Bed
Special measures for special occasions. I can remember that almost every Mother's Day, or on her birthday, we would surprise my Mom with breakfast, or breakfast in bed. In our house it was often "Scrambled Eggs" or one of our favorite breakfast meals, "Eggs-In-The-Nest." In my wife's family they were called "Eggs-In-A-Frame" Go figure. Chickens lay eggs in a nest don't they?
This particular breakfast is what I call "Comfort Food". Serve it with bacon or sausage to take it over the top. It is a great special occasion breakfast. 
When you care about someone, what better way can you think of to tell them, than with breakfast in bed? Since Mom made us breakfast almost every day, we decided to give her a break. I am talking about the late 50's and early 60's here. The local drug store carried a line of Woman's fragrance called "Eau de Toilette," Usually it came in a pint size bottle filled with a purple liquid that smelled like lilacs or lavender. The total cost for this luxury item was $1.00, if I remember correctly. I don't think that Mom ever really wore this stuff, but would always say "this is nice," thanking us for the gift. Sometimes we would sit the kitchen table and bring her a cup of coffee and wait for her to come into the kitchen.
Lobster Benedict
My mother just loved lobster tails, crab legs and shrimp. While not nearly as expensive then as they are today, my Mom did have to make budget changes during the week to allow for her almost every Friday night indulgence during the early years. I honestly believe that we were the only family I knew of that had shellfish every Friday night. If there was ever any left-over lobster or crab, which really didn't happen often,  Mom would whip up some Eggs Benedict with crab or lobster instead of Canadian bacon.
For all of you married, living together or just seriously dating people out there, other than remembering  birthdays and anniversaries, there are two other days that you must get right. "Sweetest Day," and "Valentines Day. Your choices for a romantic breakfast are so vast, I could write a whole book on it.  There are so many breakfast casserole's that can be prepared the night before, and popped into a hot  oven while you enjoy a hot shower, alone or together. For a more hands on meal with a spectacular finish why not get creative?  Recently I purchased a heart shaped cookie cutter. For the entire week before Valentines Day my wife wanted to know what it was for and why I spent any amount of money for it. In case you don't know it, pancakes and French toast are two of the easiest breakfast  foods to make. I simply cut out a heart shaped piece from each slice of stale bread I was using and made French Toast. I think that my wife was a little sorry she gave me so much grief about purchasing this heart shaped cutter. If' she's lucky maybe I'll use it again some day.
Take me out to the ball game!
When I was young, a father taking his son to a ballgame didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Today, most of the seating goes to corporate or individual season ticket holders, ticket brokers, or scalpers. If your home team is hot, getting a ticket to a game is going to cost you dearly. Forget about buying “some peanuts” and Cracker Jacks,” soda or beer. So what do you do?
With the digital revolution squarely in place, why not set up your back yard and have a tailgate party? You’ve probably heard of “stay-cations,” why not “stay-sporting events”? Instead of paying a couple hundred dollars for tickets through a broker, or buying a season pass, get yourself a 40” flat panel TV, set it up in the backyard, crank up the barbeque, invite some friends, and have a tailgate party family-style. You’ll pay your outdoor TV off in one season. Why not multitask your outdoor TV and have “dinner and a movie night?” 
If you’re fortunate enough to have a digital projector attached to your computer, you can now purchase an inflatable projection screen and project your movie on a screen in the backyard.  Sit in your car and you're at the drive-in.

Get your Irish on

St. Patrick's Day was always a big deal in our house. It almost always gave Mom a break from cooking so that we could enjoy a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner away from home. The Irish side of my family took this Irish holiday very seriously. We even marched in the City of Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade for a  couple of years until we had to give up our parade position to some more politicians. 
There were a few restaurants where we enjoyed their corned beef and cabbage. Like most holidays, I always enjoyed cooking and eating at home. Cooking at home always meant that we would have left-over's the next day, which almost always involved a Reuben sandwich, or corned beef on rye with Swiss cheese. In most cases there was still enough left over for corned beef hash.

New England Boiled Dinner
I first learned that corned beef and cabbage was not a traditional Irish meal brought over from Ireland until I was  married. 
My wife had been cooking since the age of twelve and corned beef and cabbage was something that she made often. In her family it was called a "New England Boiled Dinner." 
This year my daughter told me that a friend of hers made a corned beef brisket, using a recipe that uses Guinness Beer for the liquid.  My daughter, who normally doesn't care for corned beef loved this version better than ours. The Guinness recipe was oven baked and I wanted to use a slow cooker so I combined both recipes and had a very delicious St. Pat's dinner. So grab a couple of recipes and get your Irish on.

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