03 March


March 2, 2022: Ash Wednesday (Worldwide Day of Prayer and Fasting for Ukraine)

This post is dedicated to our friend Olga W. whose family is fighting for survival in Ukraine. Olga was Islander’s classmate when we lived in Illinois. We join others around the world in praying for peace in her country. We also pray for the Russians who do not support their government’s war with their neighbor; sometimes hatred is misplaced on the people because of their political leaders’ actions.

Borscht, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine (see Notes), is a vibrantly colored vegetable soup made with beets, cabbages, carrots, onions and potatoes. It was a dish that Olga would cook when Islander came to visit and stay with her in Indiana during spring break, which often fell on Lent Fridays. This budget-friendly soup is suitable as a meatless meal on Ash Wednesday as well. As the season of Lent begins, cook borscht as a sign of solidarity and support for Ukrainians and continue to pray for peace around the world.


Inspired by Olga W.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped finely (may substitute for onion)
  • 2 large red beets, peeled and grated
  • ½ head of green cabbage, sliced finely
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-7 cups water
  • Sour cream 
  • Dill, chopped (optional garnish)


Chop the shallots, grate the beets and slice the cabbage.

Grate the carrots and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sautee the shallots until softened, around 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the beets, cabbage and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, around 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, stir then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and dill.


Bailey’s Irish Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

Our local Walmart FINALLY stocked Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Baking Chips in the store. We thought people were panic-purchasing. But perhaps these new chip additions were just that popular and novel so they sold out fast. Of course, when we saw them on the shelves for the first time (luck of the Irish?!) we had to buy and try them, too, especially for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert.

We baked half a batch of the classic cookie recipe on the back of the package so we could snack on the restso we could make something else the next time (see Notes below). The morsels tasted mostly like chocolate chips with a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream (without the booze buzz). We also used an Irish butter for a richer recipe. Yes, the cookies were yummy as expected—Bailey’s chips did not make a familiar and favorite treat taste boring!

So splurge on these special baking chips and make Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies for a festive Feast Day of St. Patrick.


(Adapted from Clabber Girl)


  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, unsalted, softened (we used Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package (1 ½ cups or 12 ounces) Bailey’s baking chips


In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with brown and white sugar.

Beat in the egg and add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix this in with the butter mixture.

Fold in the Bailey’s baking chips. Use a small cookie scoop to place dough rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Lightly flour the bottom of a flat glass. Press to flatten the cookie dough. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers. Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies.


  • Clabber Girl company offered two free digital cookbooks so people can try recipes using their Bailey’s baking chips. It is a clever marketing technique. Download them here.
  • We halved the recipe for just the two of us and also shared some cookies with our friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Search our blog for other St. Patrick’s Day recipes.

Blueberry Pie

March 14: National Pi Day

The global pandemic has definitely changed the way Islander’s Global Cooking Club (GCC) has met for the past year. Members have not been able to socialize/cook/eat together in each other’s homes—and even social distancing did not feel safe enough for us.

So, like other organizations, GCC members used Zoom to meet. Islander was the first to adapt to the new format and hosted a pie-making party. After members agreed on a date and time, Islander sent out an email invitation with “before, during and after” instructions. “Lattice make pie together apart” was the theme. Participants could choose a fresh fruit filling and pie crust recipe, as long as they were not from a can or ready-made dough. Essentially, members challenged themselves to make a lattice-top pie from scratch.

Before the Zoom session, everyone prepared their filling and bottom crust (blind baking it if desired). During the session, participants took turns sharing their choice of fruit filling and then “together apart” rolled out strips to make the lattice, laughing at our own weaving mistakes but encouraging each other to keep trying. Once the pies went in the oven to bake, the session ended. Afterwards, we shared photos or how our pies turned out.

For some, it was the first time ever making a pie, first time ever making a pie from scratch and/or first time ever making a lattice top!

Although only a few members joined in for the first GCC session, the Zoom pie-making party was a success. We are sharing the recipe for the blueberry pie that we made during that session (others made blueberry, apple and rhubarb pies) for National Pi Day.


(From Sister Gretchen T.)

For the pie  dough (double crust)

  • 2 ½ cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated white
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) butter, unsalted, cold and cut up
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold or frozen
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4+ tablespoons ice water


In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in the cold butter. Add the cold or frozen vegetable shortening. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to blend the dough until coarsely mixed and there are pea-size pieces. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vinegar.

Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Divide in two and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove one dough ball from the refrigerator. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to cover the bottom of a pie plate/dish. Leave some overhang and trim the edges. Refrigerate while making the filling.

For the blueberry pie filling

  • 4-5 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)


In a large bowl, combine the blueberries with sugar, corn starch,  cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Mix well.

Spoon the  blueberry filling in the pie crust and set aside. Roll out the dough for the top crust about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into strips, re-rolling scrap dough as necessary to have enough cut strips. Place strips on top of the filling and “weave” into a lattice design.

Trim the excess edges and use a fork to crimp the sides. Brush the top with egg wash. Place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes to brown the edges. Remove from the oven and cover the edges with a pie crust shield or foil and return to the oven to bake for another 50 minutes until the filling has thickened and is bubbling. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve the pie at room temperature or warmed up.


  • See the easy recipe for blueberry pie pockets that we made for National Blueberry Pie Day years ago (pre-pandemic). Back then we were not challenged to make from-scratch pies. But the pie pockets still tasted good.

  • Brush egg wash on the bottom of the pie crust before filling to prevent soggy middles (optional).

  • Search our blog for other pie recipes for National Pi Day (3.14) on March 14.

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