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  Top o´ the mornin´ to ya´,

Whether you claim Irish ancestry or not, it's time to break out the green!

That's right, one of my favorite holidays of the year is rolling around, filled with shamrocks and leprechauns.

While Lá Fhéile Pádraig (that's St Patrick's Day if you don't know your Gaelic!) started out as a religious holiday to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland, over the years it has morphed into a joyous international festival dedicated to Irish culture, and, well, parties. It also arrives around the onset of spring in the northern hemisphere, marking the perfect time to toast an end to the long cold nights of winter and the beginning of longer, more hospitable days.

To help get your celebration started, here's a great recipe for traditional Irish Soda Bread. It's delish! Happy St Patrick's Day!

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  Irish Soda Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pint sour cream
2 eggs
2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
3/4 cup raisins

Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a small bowl beat eggs and stir in sour cream. Add the egg and sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Batter will be very thick.

Add the raisins and caraway seeds and stir well with wooden spoon or knead with your hands. Place batter in a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Dust the top with enough flour so that you can pat the batter like bread dough evenly in the pan without it sticking to your hands. Make a shallow crisscross on the top with a knife.

Bake for 50 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven.
  May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you´re dead,

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