In case you hadn’t taken notice, St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend. I love all the glittery shamrocks, leprechauns, and Irish booze. What better way to mark the occasion than by baking cupcakes laced with two of the green isle’s two favorite spirits? Bailey’s and Guinness.

A quick Google led to several different variations. Many recipes called for a whiskey ganache filling for the cake, which sounded divine, but I was kind of pressed for time.  So, I went with a basic recipe for a moist, chocolate Guinness cake topped with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting.

I made these for my ladies book club that I hosted last Friday night, and everyone really enjoyed them. There is just enough of a boozy bite from the frosting to give it a kick, and the Guinness cake was just perfect – light, airy, and moist. I was honestly a bit worried about the cupcakes before putting them in the oven. With a whole bottle of beer in the batter, it’s very thin. Next time I might try using a batter bowl to fill the cupcake liners, instead of a scoop. Whether you’re creating an Irish celebration at home this St. Patty’s Day, or going out for a wild night on the town…try to squeeze in some time to make these cupcakes!

In my opinion, one of the best “bang for your buck” cuts of meat is the Boston butt. I’m not sure why they call it a butt, when really it’s a shoulder – one of the many mysteries of cookery. You can usually find one for under $10, and I find that we will get countless meals from it. My go-to way to prepare it was always in the slow cooker, with a ton of BBQ sauce. Which, I love. But, after trying it slow roasted in the oven with lots of Mexican spices…I have a new favorite go-to recipe for this budget friendly cut. The final crisping stage of the pork really seals in the flavor. One shoulder yields a ton of meat. I’ll usually plan for burritos or quesadillas one night, and then tacos later in the week. Would be great on nachos too. Perfect for your table on Super Bowl Sunday!

The past couple of years for Christmas, we’ve received a big tin of these wonderful  spicy peanuts from a family member. Sadly, this year she was not able to attain a tin. I look forward to them all year, so I must admit I was a little bit disappointed when they weren’t under the tree for us. However, it got me to thinking – how hard could they be to make at home?

After a little bit of recipe sleuthing, I found a recipe that seemed that it fit the bill.  I’m happy to report that I like this homemade version just as much, if not more, than the original. With just the right amount of kick from the chipotle powder, and a nice background sweetness from the honey – you’ll find yourself reaching for another handful.  Consider yourself warned, they are addicting! It makes a big batch, great for snacking on all week long. While I’ll still gladly accept a tin of Hot Honeys if gifted to me, I’m happy to know that I’ll be able to make my own at home all year long.

It’s been a good year, football wise, for our family. Not so much for my team (the Redskins), but for my husband’s 49ers. It’s also been a good year for football snacks in our home, mainly in the form of these fried pickles. I’ve always loved pickles, and at first I was hesitant about the concept of deep frying them. I first tried them at one of my favorite places, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats (if you’re ever in Rehoboth, DE – go! Delicious local fare and craft beer await). After that, I was hooked. I tried a few recipes that were good – but diddn’t make my heart sing. Finally threw in the towel and just tried the battering method that I use for my fish tacos, and it worked like a charm! I’ve made them every Sunday afternoon for the past month, and we’re still not tired of them.

They’re a breeze to make, as I usually have everything on hand for beer batter. They’re also a super-cheap appetizer. While I’m sure they are wonderful with a premium cold-chilled pickle, I really like them with my store’s generic brand. They’re a thick cut pickle chip, and they have the ridges in them – which I think helps the batter adhere to the pickle. They also stay nice and crispy for a good while after serving, not that they’ll actually last that long!

With playoff parties and the Super Bowl upon us, definitely add these babies to your lineup. You won’t be sorry!