Promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation - one community, one individual at a time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


"May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go." - Irish Blessing    

Cook with us!

Recipes by Mary Parlanti

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
Whisk buttermilk, butter and egg in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Knead mixture briefly in bowl until dough comes together. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. 
Divide dough into 2 pieces. Shape each into a round loaf and transfer to prepared pans. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on the surface of each loaf, about 1/2-inch deep. Bake about 50 minutes, or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on racks. 

Irish Brown Bread

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 handful wheat germ or wheat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, bran, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, honey, and olive oil. Mix again until well blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Pat oats into top of dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. If desired, toast and serve with butter and marmalade or jam. 

Fast Facts

Leprechauns Are Likely Based on Celtic Fairies

The red-haired, green-clothed Leprechaun is commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns likely stems from Celtic belief in fairies— tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies.

The Shamrock Was Considered a Sacred Plant

The shamrock, a three-leaf clover, has been associated with Ireland for centuries. It was called the “seamroy” by the Celts and was considered a sacred plant that symbolized the arrival of spring. According to legend, St. Patrick used the plant as a visual guide when explaining the Holy Trinity. By the 17th century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

Our Book Recommendation

How to Catch a Leprechaun

You've been planning night and day, and finally you've created the perfect trap with shamrocks, pots of gold, and rainbows galore! Now all you need to do is wait. Is this the year you'll finally catch the leprechaun? Start a St. Patrick's Day tradition with this fun and lively children's picture book and get inspired to build leprechaun traps of your own at home or in the classroom!

Find a copy of the book here!

Tourist Attraction

Since the mid-1990s, the Irish government, in part to promote tourism and boost the economy, has sponsored a multi-day St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, featuring a parade and a variety of performances and activities; there are similar events in other sections of the country as well. Our Sister City in County Kildare is no exception! There are parades held in Athy, Castledermont, Celbridge, Clane, Kilcock, Kilcullen, Leixlip, Maynooth, Monasterevin, and Newbridge! And across the pond, many cities in America celebrate with a parade as well, including Lexington! 


Monday, December 21, 2020


2020 is coming to a close, and we at Lexington Sister Cities would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays! 

“For somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.”    -Margaret Elizabeth Sangster 

Cook with us!

Recipe by Mary Parlanti.
   Chocolate Yule Log 

6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided 
1/3 cup cocoa 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
Dash of salt 
Powdered sugar for dusting 

2 cups whipping cream 
1/2 cup powdered sugar 
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a jelly-roll pan, then line with parchment or waxed paper.

To make cake: In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, with 1/3 cup sugar until stiff. In another bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed, adding the remaining 2/3 cup sugar; beat for 4 minute. Stir in cocoa, vanilla extract and salt at low speed until smooth. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. 
Spread in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a dish towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Roll up in dish towel while still warm and let cool completely. 

To make filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, cocoa, instant coffee, and vanilla extract. Beat until stiff. 
Unroll the cake and remove towel. Spread some of the filling on the cake. Roll up and place on an oblong platter. Cut over 1/3 inch off each end of the role and place on top of the cake near the ends. (To make it look like the sawed-off limbs.) Ice the outside with remaining filling. Then take a fork and run the tines along the length of the cake to make it look like a real log. Chill several hours before serving. 

Fast Facts

Christmas trees were first used by ancient Egyptians and Romans

The origin or the use of Christmas trees goes way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans. They used evergreen trees like fir or pine trees, wreaths, and garlands. And the use of modern Christmas trees started in Germany in the 16th century. Instead of the glitzy decorations that we see on them today, they were decorated with fruits and nuts. 

The biggest Christmas gift was the gift of friendship to the US from the people of France!

Christmas is also the time of exchanging gifts. People either save up through the year to buy gifts for their friends and family or make the gifts themselves. But do you know which is the largest Christmas present ever given? It is the Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty was gifted by France to the USA as a Christmas gift in the year 1886.

Our Book Recommendation

“Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot…but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old.

Find a copy of the book here

Tourist Attractions

Christmas in County Kildare, Ireland at the Palmerstown House Estate!

Christmas in Newmarket, England at the Clock Tower! 

Christmas in Deauville, France at the Hotel Barriere Le Normandy! 

Cherry Blossom Festival in Shinhidaka, Japan on Nijukken Road!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Season of Thanks!

2020 brought us many obstacles due to the unprecedented pandemic that took over our lives.  We had to postpone and cancel events, exchanges, and meetings due to travel and crowd restrictions; however, in this season of thanks, we count our blessings.



We are extremely thankful for the programs and fundraisers we were able to host this year: the Sister Cities Annual Young Author/Artist Competition, the 18th Annual Edward T. Houlihan Halfway to St. Patrick's Day event and silent auction, and the 8th Annual Lexington Sister Cities Golf Scramble. 

We are thankful for the new virtual programs we have instituted because of the pandemic, as well as all of our upcoming projects! We are grateful for the Lexington community for their continuous support in making this program strong. Please know that our office, volunteers, commission, and members remain dedicated to the mission of Lexington Sister Cities and we are, above all, thankful for every person that supports the program and has remained supportive during this past year. 

Cook with us!


Recipe by Mary Parlanti


1 Turkey Breast

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon fines herbs  

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 small onion, quartered

1 large or 2 small ribs celery, cut into pieces

2 carrots, cut into chunks 

1 unpeeled orange, sliced

1 cup water

1 cup gin 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the turkey breast. Mix curry, herbs, salt and paprika in a small bowl. Rub mixture on turkey and inside the cavity. Place turkey in a roasting pan and surround with onion, celery, carrots and orange slices. Combine water and gin and pour over the turkey. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, basting frequently. 

Fast Facts

Where was the first Thanksgiving?

Colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts that is widely acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations.

What did they eat at the first Thanksgiving?

The Thanksgiving meal in Plymouth probably had little in common with today’s traditional holiday spread. Although turkeys were indigenous, there is no record of a big, roasted bird at the feast. The Native Americans brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood (mussels, lobster, bass) plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin.

 Our Book Recommendation                    

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang in this retelling of the beloved Thanksgiving TV special! Find a copy of the book here! 




Thursday, November 19, 2020

Exploring our Sister Cities - November 19, 2020

 Exploring Our Sister Cities

"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." - Gustave Flaubert

Cook with us!

Enjoy this recipe from Mary Parlanti! Mary, a long-time Lexington Sister Cities ambassador, Chair person of our County Kildare committee and chef. She has her own cookbook "From the Kitchen of Mary Parlanti, With Love" available for purchase at the Lexington Sister Cities office!

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15-ounce can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl; add eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Add alternately with water to the pumpkin mixture. Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until tests done. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cool. Makes 2 loaves. 

For Muffins: use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups for uniform size. Bake for 25 minutes. 

Fast Facts

Famed for its celebrity boardwalk, American Film Festival and multi-colored parasols, Deauville is Normandy's most chic and glamorous seaside resort.

Our Book Recommendation

Newmarket: A Year at the Home of Horseracing

Author John Carter has interviewed and shadowed 14 racing personalities throughout a year at Newmarket, the home and headquarters of British horseracing. His subjects range across the racing world, from top male jockey Frankie Dettori, who has also written the foreword, to top female jockey Hayley Turner; from leading trainer Jeremy Noseda, to the clerk of the Newmarket courses Michael Prosser to its former managing director Lisa hancock, now on maternity leave. Carter provides a fascinating glimpse into the often secret world of horseracing. 
You can find a copy of the book here

Tourist Attraction

A major tourist attraction in Shinhidaka, Japan is the Nijukken Road Cherry Blossoms. Nijukken Road has a 7 kilometer row of over 3,000 cherry blossom trees. Widely noted for its size, this Hokkaido heritage has been voted as one of the "Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites", as well as one of the "Top 10 Roads of Japan". A vast number of tourists flock here each year in may in order to glimpse the magnificent row of trees!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Exploring our Sister Cities - August 14, 2020

 Exploring Our Sister Cities

“Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”

- Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan Scholar, who was an explorer and extensively traveled the medieval world.

Cook with us!

Follow this recipe for easy to make French Crêpes, perfect for anyone to make!


1 ½ cups of milk

1 cup of flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of oil 


  1. Mix together flour, sugar, eggs, and oil until well combined. 

  2. Add the milk little by little, making sure there are no clumps as you mix. 

  3. Mix well and let the batter rest

  4. Heat up medium pan (be sure to spray non stick cooking spray on the pan between every couple crêpes)

  5. Use a ladle to pour a thin layer of the batter onto the pan, being sure to put excess batter back into the bowl. 

  6. When the crêpe has sufficiently cooked (There are no shiny or liquidy parts) flip the crêpe to cook the other side. 

  7. Fill crêpe with desired fillings (butter and sugar, nutella and strawberries, it can even be a savory crêpe)

  8. Bon appétit!

Fast Fact

County Kildare, Ireland and Deauville, France are Sister Cities with each other and Lexington. All three are major centers of Thoroughbred breeding in each of their respective countries. 

Alumni Testimonial 

Mai Takatsuji participated in the Shinhidaka student exchange in 2013, and she was a member of the Japanese delegation to Lexington in 2019 celebrating 30 years of twinning between the two cities. Currently, Mai works in the office of an international company in Japan. Read below to hear Mai’s take on what the Sister Cities program has done for her. 

“Visiting Lexington as an exchange student was my very first time to travel overseas. I was 16 at that time and I barely understood what my host family was saying to me. However my host family took care of me really nice and they kept trying to make me feel home. Even if I couldn’t understand what they were talking to me, I felt their love. And I found second home and second family. This experience completely changed my life and made my mind that I would definitely come back to my second home, Lexington to express my feelings toward my sweet host family by using my own words in English. It encouraged me to study English really hard. 3 years after the first visit of Lexington, I made a trip to Lexington by my own to visit my host family and stayed with them a whole week. Huge thanks to my host family, the visit was absolutely amazing. And again, I made my mind that I would come back to this place AGAIN. In 2019, I got an amazing opportunity to be a member of delegations for celebrating 30 years of sister city relations. I was really honored to be a part of this program for over 7 years. I’ve fallen in love with this amazing city, Lexington. And can’t thank enough to everyone who have involved this program. And I feel that I am very lucky to be able to have been part of this program and met my host family who are really special people in my life. These experiences have broadened my world. I’ve traveled 35 countries and joined 2 international volunteer works in Cambodia. I’ve met over 20 people from all over the world through the experience of being a host of Couchsurfing. I’m working at International company in Japan right now. My next dream is to move overseas and work internationally.

And in the near future, I would like to do something to contribute to the sister cities community.”

Playlist of the Week 

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our playlists, you can find us under the username Lexington Sister Cities. This week we have a playlist dedicated to our Sister City in England, Newmarket. Check it out here.  

Friday, August 7, 2020

Exploring our Sister Cities - August 7, 2020

 Exploring Our Sister Cities

“Distance cannot matter - ours is a friendship of the heart.” 

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Mary Anne Radmacher is an artist and author who was born in Portland, Oregon. 

Our Book Recommendations

Looking for a classic coffee table book about the early years and life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel? Try Chanel and Her World: Friends, Fashion, and Fame by Edmonde Charles-Roux. Buy it from Amazon here

Fast Facts

Newmarket is truly a horse town. There are over 3,000 horses in training at any time.

Alumni Spotlight

Our alumni for this week is Strohmann Breeding. Strohmann participated in the student exchange with County Kildare, Ireland in 2015. Currently he is a student at the University of Arkansas. Strohmann believed that, “The Lexington Sister Cities has allowed me to explore new places, meet new lifelong friends, and make the world a smaller and more beautiful place. I now have a lovely second family in Kildare, Ireland, and have visited them multiple times now. Having studied abroad multiple times now in college, the Sister Cities program remains the most impactful traveling I have done yet. It is SO important to learn how to travel and handle oneself independently in the global community at such a young age.”

Playlist of the Week 

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our playlists! This week enjoy a playlist inspired by our Sister City in Shinhidaka, Japan. Find it here

Friday, July 31, 2020

Exploring our Sister Cities, July 31, 2020

Exploring our Sister Cities

“The gladdest moments, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands”

-Sir Richard Burton     

          Sir Richard Burton was a British diplomat who travelled around Europe, Asia, Africa, and the         Americas.

Our Book Recommendations

One of our four Sister Cities is located in England. Newmarket is considered to be part of the West Suffolk district. See what the Suffolk area of England has to offer when visiting Newmarket. Buy the book from Amazon here

Fast Facts

County Kildare is also a “Derby” town. They host the Irish Derby in the summer at The Curragh Racecourse.

Shinhidaka hosts a Cherry Blossom Festival each year. Nijjuken Road is a famous tourist destination, lined with beautiful cherry blossom trees.

Alumni Spotlight

Our first alum we would like to recognize is Barton Lynch. Barton participated in three of our programs. Starting with the high school Deauville exchange program. He then went on to participate in the Calvados internship program, and he eventually accepted the Deauville teaching assistant program. Currently Barton works as a communications consultant. When asked how his experiences with the Sister Cities program has impacted his life and career path, Barton responded, “My sister cities experience has provided me with the confidence to try new things. I always know that I will be able to figure out anything that's in my path.”

Playlist of the Week

Follow us on spotify to keep up with our playlists! This week, our first playlist that we will release is titled Deauville, France, in honor of our oldest sister city. (Click here to listen). Stayed tuned for the next couple weeks for our other playlists to drop.