Contemporary Fiction Author, Infrequent Blogger & Retired Clown

St. Patrick’s Day Southern Style



St. Patrick’s.


My name, in case you haven’t noticed, is Shannon O’Neil. This leads me to believe that there is Irish blood flowing through me somewhere, somehow (though my research has yet to yield any family history outside of south Georgia, but I’m sure I just haven’t gone back far enough yet…).

Of course, in America, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t really about being Irish. It’s about celebrating what we perceive to be the staples of Irish culture: beer and smelly food.

In my household, St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) always ¬†falls on the eve of my mother’s birthday (March 18th). This year, we celebrated both occasions together with a small dinner party for a few friends.

My mom and I both love to entertain, so while she put together the menu (more on that later) I went to work on some decorations that would be cheap and appropriate for both occasions.

Bottles as Candle Holders

Rather than using traditional candle holders, I snagged an idea from Pinterest to stick tapered candles into recycled glass bottles. Sustainable and chic — hello, you have my attention.

In the Pinterest example, they lined a long table at a wedding with a variety of clear glass bottles in different shapes and sizes.

I only had access to what was in the recycle bin or near empty in the liquor cabinet, which happened to be a tall green wine bottle, short round brandy bottle and a medium clear rum bottle.

(What’s that? I have to drink the last dregs of rum from the bottle to make my centerpiece work? Damn, well it IS St. Patrick’s Day!)

I rubbed dish washing liquid on the labels and soaked the bottles in the sink overnight. In the morning the labels just about fell off, leaving me with three clean, unique, recycled and FREE candle holders.

Flower vases, St. Patrick’s Day Style

I wanted to add flowers to my centerpiece, but traditional vases wouldn’t work for a St. Pat’s Day feast. Instead I picked up two glass beer mugs from the Dollar Tree plus a bag of green glass pebbles for the bottom. I added a mix of white and yellow flowers — mums and daisies, two of my mom’s favorites — and staggered the two beer mugs between the three bottles.

A Southern Vegetable Feast

My mom is the source of my Alabama roots, and she decided for her birthday that she wanted to kick it old school with the kind of veggie-heavy country feasts she used to have at her grandparents’ farm as a kid. We served up corn, collards, black-eyed peas, fried okra, sliced tomatoes, corn muffins (considered a vegetable in all Southern states) and a little protein with some honey ham.

Mmm…hold on a second I’m still thinking about how good that meal was…wait for it…wait for it…okay I’m over it now.

Shamrock Chips & Dip

Prior to the meal, I served up a special St. Patrick’s Day appetizer that was pulled from Pinterest as well. It was super easy and a big hit for its visual appeal!

Seriously, how cute is this? I used a cookie cutter to cut the shamrock shapes out of a spinach tortilla, coated them lightly with olive oil and salt and baked them in the oven. They weren’t super crunchy — if I had it to do over I would probably put the oven on broil and toast them really well.

The salsa was a little more troublesome.

It was supposed to be gold (like a pot of gold…get it? very subtle) so the recipe called for a mix of heirloom tomatoes, lime juice and chopped green onion. I did as instructed, but the salsa was a little bitter for my tastebuds. I should have just added some spices to fix it up, but I tried to take a short cut and mix in some regular red salsa from the jar in the fridge. It fixed the taste, but it made the dip a very unappealing baby poop green color.


Fortunately, the shamrock chips were the hero of the dish and seemed to keep the guests from concentrating on the hue of the dip.

Great night, great friends, great fun!

It was a fantastic evening and a great birthday for my mom. Definitely worth all the prep work and a St. Patrick’s Day for the history books!

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