How we celebrate St Patrick’s Day

 

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Yet another thing I love about Homeschooling is that we can decide how to celebrate holidays.  For us, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to learn about Irish history and to read Irish folktales.  My Dad was an amazing storyteller and was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage.  So to celebrate him we go all out for St Patrick’s Day all March.  Actually… it pretty much starts the day after Valentine’s Day.  We make decorations, make a little leprechaun fairy garden, and I put all our Irish folktale books on the coffee table and we read them often.
I teach them traditional Irish recipes and read through my Irish cookbooks and look for new ones to try.
I don’t dye milk green or make leprechaun traps.  There are no pots of gold to be found.  But there is apple cake and soda bread and isn’t that pretty much the same thing? 🙂

My favorite Irish Recipes can be found here

My favorite Irish cookbook is:
Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen

Some of our favorite Irish folktale and history books are:
Irish Tales of Mystery and Magic by Eddie Lenihan
The Story of Ireland by Brendan O’Brian
Tim O’ Toole and the Wee Folk by
O’ Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute
Jamie O’ Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie Depaola

 

Irish Cheddar Crackers

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February 15th.  I love February 15th.  Don’t get me wrong, Valentine’s day is great.  But the day after is my day.  To deck the halls with as much Irish cheer as I can! Every year we have a big Irish dinner in celebration of my Dad who was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage.  I was only 19 when he passed away and this is my way of celebrating him and his love of life and all things Irish.
I love making appetizers before any holiday meal, they help take the stress off of getting dinner done on time and since everyone ends up in the kitchen anyways, it gives them things to munch on.
I made a chalkboard fabric runner for our counter so I can write what things are around them.  Easy and super handy.  If you want more Irish recipe ideas, read here.

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IRISH CHEDDAR CRACKERS

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Irish Cheddar
2-3 T ice water

In a med bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until pea sized clumps remain.
Add cheese and 2 T of the water and mix just until dough comes together, adding more water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut into rounds (I used a 2 1/2″ cutter) and place on greased baking sheets 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until barely browned.

Recipe adapted from The New Irish Table by Margaret M. Johnson

Irish Cheddar Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Irish Cheddar
  • 2-3 T ice water

Instructions

  • In a med bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until pea sized clumps remain.
  • Add cheese and 2 T of the water and mix just until dough comes together, adding more water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Cut into rounds (I used a 2 1/2" cutter) and place on greased baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until barely browned.
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    Shortbread

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    Everyone needs a good shortbread recipe, and this is an excellent one.  They are buttery and rich.  You can add vanilla extract but I usually don’t.  My favorite way to serve them is to dip half of each cookie in dark chocolate too.  You can cut them in different shapes and even mix in mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts.  I think shortbread is one of those things that is best when made simply and perfectly though.  I’ll be making them for our Irish dinner again this year I’m sure!

    SHORTBREAD
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    Extract of flavoring, if desired (about 1 tsp of regular extract)

    In a large  bowl cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
    If using extract or other add in, mix in at this point.
    Add the flour and salt and mix just until incorporated.
    Roll or pat dough into an 8 or 9 inch square.
    Score into fingers about 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches in size.
    Pierce with a fork a few times in each piece.
    Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  Place on a baking tray  lined with silicone mat or parchment paper with a little space between each cookie.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes and BARELY browned.

    Shortbread

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • Extract of flavoring, if desired (about 1 tsp of regular extract)

    Instructions

  • In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  • If using extract or other add in, mix in at this point.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix just until incorporated.
  • Roll or pat dough into an 8 or 9 inch square.
  • Score into fingers about 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches in size.
  • Pierce with a fork a few times in each piece.
  • Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Place on a baking tray lined with silicone mat or parchment paper with a little space between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes and BARELY browned.
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    Holiday Sausage Rolls

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    Sausage rolls are mainly from England and Ireland, making appearances in a couple other countries as well.  Basically they are sausages wrapped in pastry.  A tasty finger food served for parties and holidays.  Sausage rolls are usually made with puff pastry but I like making them with pie crust.  Especially my pie crust 🙂 Super flaky, buttery, and makes my hubby one happy guy.  My 8 year old is becoming quite the pie dough expert and I can’t wait to make these with her again for the upcoming holidays.
    These are a great appetizer for taking to parties or serving before a holiday meal.  You could even make them ahead of time, a few days even and rewarm in the oven before hand.  If you want to make them further ahead of time, I would bake them, then freeze.  Thaw in the fridge and then rewarm in the oven at 350 degrees. (You could probably bake straight from the freezer okay).

    HOLIDAY SAUSAGE ROLLS
    makes 32 pieces

    Double pie crust dough, a double batch of this recipe
    Egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T water)

    Filling Spices: (OR use a seasoned pork sausage and skip the seasonings.. but this makes them super yummy!)
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp dried parsley
    1 tsp dried fennel
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp dried basil
    1/2 tsp dried sage

    Filling:
    1 lb ground pork
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp cornstarch
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    1 egg

    Grind spices in a spice grinder if desired.  mix with remaining filling ingredients until well combined.  Divide into quarters.
    Roll out half of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 9 by 13 inches.  I have a silicone mat this size I use for a guide.
    Cut in half lengthwise.
    Shape one quarter of the filling into a log and place on the center of one of the strips of pie dough.
    Repeat with another quarter of filling on the other half.

    Holiday Sausage Rolls

    Brush the length of pie dough and wrap around filling snugly to seal.
    Holiday Sausage Rolls

    Cut each roll into 8 equal pieces.
    Holiday Sausage Rolls

    Place rolls on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Cut slashes in top if desired and brush with egg wash.
    Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling.
    Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and pastry is golden and flaky.

    Holiday Sausage Rolls

    Yield: 32 pieces

    Ingredients

    • Double pie crust dough, a double batch of this recipe
    • Egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T water)
      Filling Spices: (OR use a seasoned pork sausage and skip the seasonings.. but this makes them super yummy!)
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp dried parsley
    • 1 tsp dried fennel
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp dried basil
    • 1/2 tsp dried sage
      Filling:
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg

    Instructions

  • Grind spices in a spice grinder if desired. mix with remaining filling ingredients until well combined. Divide into quarters.
  • Roll out half of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 9 by 13 inches. I have a silicone mat this size I use for a guide.
  • Cut in half lengthwise.
  • Shape one quarter of the filling into a log and place on the center of one of the strips of pie dough.
  • Repeat with another quarter of filling on the other half.
  • Brush the length of pie dough and wrap around filling snugly to seal.
  • Cut each roll into 8 equal pieces.
  • Place rolls on lightly greased cookie sheet. Cut slashes in top if desired and brush with egg wash.
  • Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and pastry is golden and flaky.
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    Roast Beef Hash

    Roast Beef Hash

    This was one of my father’s favorite dishes, so it seems fitting to post it today.  He loved all things Irish and was quite proud of his Irish heritage.
    I’m pretty sure my youngest inherited her fieriness from that line 😉
    In the month of March I always make a big Irish dinner and it remains one of my favorite meals to cook.
    This is a great recipe to use up leftover corned beef (or roast beef if you don’t enjoy corned).  I’ve made this even with some cubed leftover Canadian Bacon, or crumbled bacon too.  It’s delicious any way!   If I’m thinking ahead I cook the potatoes even a day or two ahead of time to make these super easy and quick to cook.  Happy St Patrick’s Day!

    ROAST BEEF HASH

    3 lbs gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (Should be 5-6 cups)
    2 T oil
    1 large white onion, diced (about 2 cups)
    1 1/2 lbs leftover cooked roast beef or corned beef, diced (about 3 cups)
    1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and cover.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
    Uncover and add onions.  Cook about 5-10 minutes longer.
    Add beef and spices, cook until heated through and potatoes and onions are golden and tender.
    If desired, serve with a poached or fried egg and fresh parsley.

    SHORTCUT VERSION: Boil or bake your potatoes, peel on, ahead of time.  Cook until barely tender.
    Chill, then peel and cut into cubes.  Cook in an uncovered skillet along with the oil and onions until golden, then continue as above, adding meat and spices.

    Roast Beef Hash

    Ingredients

    • 3 lbs gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2? cubes (Should be 5-6 cups)
    • 2 T oil
    • 1 large white onion, diced (about 2 cups)
    • 1 1/2 lbs leftover cooked roast beef or corned beef, diced (about 3 cups)
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper

    Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and cover. Cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Uncover and add onions. Cook about 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Add beef and spices, cook until heated through and potatoes and onions are golden and tender.
  • If desired, serve with a poached or fried egg and fresh parsley.
  • SHORTCUT VERSION: Boil or bake your potatoes, peel on, ahead of time. Cook until barely tender.
  • Chill, then peel and cut into cubes. Cook in an uncovered skillet along with the oil and onions until golden, then continue as above, adding meat and spices.
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    Coconut Cream Berry Flummery

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    Berry Flummery is one of my all time favorite desserts.  I really did not think it could get any better.  But out of necessity I made a vegan dairy free version the other day when a dinner guest was coming who is allergic to dairy and also has celiac disease.  I made regular berry flummery for the rest of us and used the same berries for both versions, but made her cream layer using coconut milk.  (Well, the cream layer anyways).  Normally sour cream is added to the whipped cream mixture to give it some tang and I debated on adding a splash of vinegar to mirror that.  But then I tasted it.  I honestly think I like this version better than the regular if that’s even possible?!
    The coconut cream is so luxurious and creamy and the hint of coconut flavor goes so well with the oats and berries.   And while this is a gluten and dairy free dessert you would never guess you were giving something up in it.  This made one very large parfait glass, or it could make 2 or 3 smaller ones easily.

    COCONUT CREAM BERRY FLUMMERY (Vegan, Dairy, Gluten Free)

    1 can coconut milk (regular, not light)
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 cup McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal, or quick cooking oats
    Berries of choice (I used some fresh strawberries and some frozen marionberries)

    The night before using put the coconut milk in the refrigerator.
    Spread the oats in a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until fragrant and toasted.  Set aside to cool.
    When ready to use, remove coconut milk from fridge and open can upside down.
    Pour off liquid, which should look like this:
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    Now scoop out the cream that remains:
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    Whip the cream using a hand mixer or whip until slightly fluffy.  Mix in the powdered sugar (add more or less to taste), vanilla, and the oats (reserve a tablespoon of oats to sprinkle on top if desired).
    Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made a day or two ahead of time.
    Chop strawberries and mix with other berries of choice and sprinkle with a spoon of granulated sugar.  Put in the fridge to macerate.  I don’t like doing this step the day before.  A few hours ahead is usually all I do.
    Layer the coconut cream and berries in a tall parfait glass and finish with a sprinkle of oats.

    Coconut Cream Berry Flummery

    Ingredients

    • 1 can coconut milk (regular, not light)
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 cup McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal, or quick cooking oats
    • Berries of choice (I used some fresh strawberries and some frozen marionberries)

    Instructions

  • The night before using put the coconut milk in the refrigerator.
  • Spread the oats in a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until fragrant and toasted. Set aside to cool.
  • When ready to use, remove coconut milk from fridge and open can upside down.
  • Pour off liquid. Now scoop out the cream that remains.
  • Whip the cream using a hand mixer or whip until slightly fluffy. Mix in the powdered sugar (add more or less to taste), vanilla, and the oats (reserve a tablespoon of oats to sprinkle on top if desired).
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made a day or two ahead of time.
  • Chop strawberries and mix with other berries of choice and sprinkle with a spoon of granulated sugar. Put in the fridge to macerate. I don’t like doing this step the day before. A few hours ahead is usually all I do.
  • Layer the coconut cream and berries in a tall parfait glass and finish with a sprinkle of oats.
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    Rainbow Jello

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    My daughters picked this for their choice to make for our Irish Dinner Party.
    I made a mini version up as well, and loved how it looked.  When you serve the big one, it does start to look like a mess pretty quickly, so the mini versions are a good choice if you’re worried about that too.  If you have time, allow a little extra chilling time between every couple layers to prevent colors bleeding through.

    rainbow jello2

     

    RAINBOW JELLO
    3 oz jello in 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
    Large container cool-whip (or greek yogurt)

    Mix purple jello with 3/4 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve.
    In a 4 cup measure add ice to 1/2 cup cold water to make 1 1/4 cups.
    Whisk into hot jello, then remove any ice left after a couple minutes of stirring.
    Reserve 2/3 cup jello, then pour the remaining in a trifle bowl or other container.
    Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
    Whisk 1/3 cup cool whip (or greek yogurt) into the reserved 2/3 cup jello, then gently spoon or pour over chilled jello.
    Place back in the fridge for 1 hour.
    Repeat for the blue, green, yellow, orange, and red layers.
    Dollop with cool whip before serving.

    For mini versions, assemble in half pint canning jars or other small containers.

    Rainbow Jello

    Ingredients

    • 3 oz jello in 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
    • Large container cool-whip (or greek yogurt)

    Instructions

  • Mix purple jello with 3/4 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve.
  • In a 4 cup measure add ice to 1/2 cup cold water to make 1 1/4 cups.
  • Whisk into hot jello, then remove any ice left after a couple minutes of stirring.
  • Reserve 2/3 cup jello, then pour the remaining in a trifle bowl or other container.
  • Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  • Whisk 1/3 cup cool whip (or greek yogurt) into the reserved 2/3 cup jello, then gently spoon or pour over chilled jello.
  • Place back in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Repeat for the blue, green, yellow, orange, and red layers.
  • Dollop with cool whip before serving.
  • For mini versions, assemble in half pint canning jars or other small containers.
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    Lime Slush (Or Leprechaun Punch)

    lime slush
    I wanted a fun green drink for our annual Irish dinner, and made this one up the day before, hoping it would turn out.  Luckily, it turned out well!
    The kids LOVED it, I’m not sure how much my 5 year old drank, but I’m guessing that’s why she was bouncing off the walls at bedtime 😉
    Next time I might try making it with seltzer water for a more tart punch, but I just loved how green this was 🙂

    LIME SLUSH (OR LEPRECHAUN PUNCH)
    2 1/2 cups sugar
    4 cups water
    large lime jello
    1 cup lime juice (unsweetened)
    1 cup lemon juice (or an additional cup lime juice)
    46 oz pineapple juice

    To serve: 2 (2 liters) lemon lime soda (or ginger ale)

    Bring the sugar, water, and jello to a boil in a pot.  Let boil for 3 minutes, then stir in the remaining ingredients.  Let cool, then divide between 2 gallon ziplock bags and freeze overnight or longer.
    To serve add one 2 liter of lemon lime soda to each bag (or ginger ale) in a punch bowl.  Break up with a wooden spoon.

    Lime Slush (Or Leprechaun Punch)

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 cups water
    • large lime jello
    • 1 cup lime juice (unsweetened)
    • 1 cup lemon juice (or an additional cup lime juice)
    • 46 oz pineapple juice
      To serve:
    • 2 (2 liters) lemon lime soda (or ginger ale)

    Instructions

  • Bring the sugar, water, and jello to a boil in a pot. Let boil for 3 minutes, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool, then divide between 2 gallon ziplock bags and freeze overnight or longer.
  • To serve add one 2 liter of lemon lime soda to each bag (or ginger ale) in a punch bowl. Break up with a wooden spoon.
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    First Silhouette Cameo Project

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    I just got my Silhouette Cameo and for my first project I made some decorations for our classroom for St. Patrick’s Day.  I ended up laminating them so we can reuse them in coming years.

    I used these Silhouette files :
    Pennant- file #24597 (resized to fit the letters)
    Leprechaun file #39324

    And these free fonts from DA Font:
    Celtic Hand
    Clover Things  (for the clover shapes)
    DSC00284

    I strung the pennants with green and white striped twine, and for the leprechaun’s flag I used a long wooden skewer.
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    Isn’t he cute?  I did learn that in the future I will probably think about how many tiny pieces I will have to glue together before choosing images next time.
    And yes, I do display books in our classroom for the current season/holiday.  What, doesn’t everybody do that?! 🙂

    Blackberry Fool

    As I’ve said before I’m quit the fool for fools, and this was the best I’ve had yet!  We are living it up in berry country here, the strawberries and rapberries in our garden our doing amazingly well.
    I’m anxiously awaiting the blackberries to come in season, and I always use up any in our freezer to make room for the new seasons berries.  The flavor in this fool was so good!
    We love blackberries so this was the perfect dessert for us.  I can see me making it when friends come over for dinner, or bbq’s, or just cause!  It can even be made overnight, stored in the fridge, and you can just pull them out when it’s time to serve.  I think they would be cute served in jelly jars too.
    BLACKBERRY FOOL
    2 cups blackberries (8 oz) fresh or thawed frozen
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp lemon juice
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/3 cup powdered sugar
    2 tsp instant clearjel (optional, just stabilizes the whipped cream so you can make it ahead of time)
    1 tsp vanilla
    Puree the blackberries with the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
    Press through a fine-mesh sieve (if the seeds are offensive to you). My Vita Mix pulverizes the mixture, so I can’t even notice the seeds.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the berry puree.
    Whip cream with powdered sugar and clearjel to stiff peaks. Add vanilla.
    Fold the blackberry puree into the whipped cream, leaving some streaks.
    Drizzle with reserved 1/2 cup of berry puree. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.
    Serves 8.
    Recipe Source: Adapted from Everyday Food

    Blackberry Fool

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups blackberries (8 oz) fresh or thawed frozen
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp instant clearjel (optional, just stabilizes the whipped cream so you can make it ahead of time)
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Instructions

  • Puree the blackberries with the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
  • Press through a fine-mesh sieve (if the seeds are offensive to you). My Vita Mix pulverizes the mixture, so I can't even notice the seeds. Set aside 1/2 cup of the berry puree.
  • Whip cream with powdered sugar and clearjel to stiff peaks. Add vanilla.
  • Fold the blackberry puree into the whipped cream, leaving some streaks.
  • Drizzle with reserved 1/2 cup of berry puree. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.
  • Serves 8.
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