17 Days of March – St. Patrick’s Day Decorations, Recipes and Preparation
By Megan Dyer –
Not everyone may be Irish, but for this holiday, everyone can get into the holiday spirit! Decorate your house, create memories, learn about St. Patrick, cook some Irish food, and help to bring the luck “o the Irish into your home!
March 1 – Place green placemats onto your table. Include a glass bowl as a centerpiece with a green or orange candle in the center with some kind of decorative item to add some flair to hold it in place, such as flat glass marbles, in green, clear glass, or an assortment of colors that match the Irish flag (white, green and orange).
March 2 -Cut out clovers, with either 3 or 4 leaves, and attach them together with a hot glue gun and hang them over the entry way to kitchens or living rooms. Again, work in the color of the Irish flag or just use green.
March 3 -Put a festive wreath on your front door.
1. You’ll need a wire hanger, a plastic hook with adhesive on the back that can be peeled off again, an old white, large t-shirt, and some green food coloring or green paint.
2. Shape the wire hanger into a circle with the hook at the top. Set it to the side.
3. Cut the t-shirt into long strips, about 3-4 inches wide. Cut them again so that you end up with individual pieces about an inch wide. Your pieces should resemble confetti.
4. Begin to tie the pieces around the hanger, knotting them once. You are finished when your hanger is completely covered with tied t-shirt pieces.
5. Get some green food coloring and squeeze over the t-shirt pieces/wreath to spot the white wreath and color it a little. You don’t want to fully color the wreath; just add a bit of color to it.
6. Add some cut out clovers from felt or construction paper. You can make them yourself or purchase them at a dollar store. Attach them with a hot-glue gun.
7. Attach the plastic hook with adhesive to your front door and hang the wreath with the hook of the hanger.
March 4- Prepare Green Eggs and Ham (and green beans!) Watch the clip on YouTube too!
March 5-Hang green tea towel in your kitchen and bathrooms for decoration
And hang a festive St. Patrick’s Day Flag outside.
March 6 – Learn some of the history of St. Patrick’s Day. According to legend, Saint Patrick told the people of Ireland that the shamrock, which looks like a clover and have three leaves on each stem, is like the Trinity, made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Saint Patrick also supposedly banished all the snakes from Ireland using a wooden staff and drove all the serpents into the sea, forever ridding them from the island. There is another version of the story that states that Patrick had to trick an old serpent who was resisting banishment. Patrick built a box and the serpent and Patrick dared him to enter the box. The snake stated that the box was too small and the two argued. Finally, to prove his point, the serpent entered the box to prove his point. Patrick shut the lid of the box, trapping the serpent, and threw the box into the sea. Patrick became Ireland’s hero, having rid the island of snakes.
March 7 – Plant some peas! In the Northeast of the United States, many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by planting peas. This is mainly due to the time of year for the plant and for the color of the plant! You can start by planting a seed in a plastic cup until you are ready to transfer your plant outdoors.
March 8 – Collect empty bottles (with lids) in your home. Fill them with water and dye the water green using food coloring. Set them around your house to make it more festive. Use decorative bottles from stores if you wish, but simple bottles that you have emptied are perfectly fine. This is to represent the tradition of people dying water or beer green. Chicago dyes its river green every year for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and many bars around the world serve green beer. The White House also dyes its fountain green!
March 9 -Make Fruit Loop and Marshmallow Rainbows! Seat them at the kitchen table and have your children arrange the Fruit Loops in colored order and put the marshmallows at the bottom to create the clouds. Depending on the age of your children, work with them on their colors or just allow them to enjoy the treat!
March 10 -Try serving green milk to your children or make green milkshakes! Add a little mint extract to the milkshakes.
March 11 Make some Irish Cream Cupcakes!
· 1/2 cup butter, softened
· 1-1/2 cups sugar
· 2 eggs
· 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
· 3 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur
· 1/3 cup butter, softened
· 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
· 6 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
· 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Beat in applesauce and vanilla (mixture may appear curdled). Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with liqueur, beating well after each addition.
3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in liqueur. Add confectioners” sugar; beat until smooth. Pipe over tops of cupcakes. Refrigerate leftovers.Yield: 2 dozen.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 24 servings
1 cupcake equals 273 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 38 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein
Originally published as Irish Cream Cupcakes in Healthy Cooking October/November 2012, p36
March 12 If you have daughters, paint their fingernails green. If you have sons, have them color pages from an internet search for St. Patrick’s Day coloring pages.
And make Rainbow Pancakes!
March 13 For breakfast, have Lucky Charms!
March 14 Make Shepard’s Pie for dinner.
700g / 1.5LB of minced beef
2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium sized chopped onions
3 large chopped carrots
A little thyme ( approx. 1 chopped teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of plain flour
400ml of beef stock
2 tablespoon of tomato puree
Salt and pepper
1.5 ( 5lb) kg of potatoes
50g of butter
Heat the olive oil and fry the onions for about 5 minutes.
Then add the chopped carrots and continue frying for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the frying pan.
Increase the heat on the frying pan and cook the beef in batches.
Season with salt and pepper and add the vegetables along with thyme and parsley.
Stir in the flour and gradually add the beef stock to the mixture.
Add the tomato puree, reduce the heat and allow mixture to cook for 30 minutes.
Peel and boil the potatoes and sprinkle with salt.
After about 25 minutes the potatoes should be ready and at this point mash them and add butter.
When the meat is ready put it into a baking dish and spread the mashed potato on top.
Now bake for a further 25 minutes until golden and crispy on top.
March 15 Make some good scalloped potatoes to go along with your dinner.
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
6 cups potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Servings: 6-8 Servings
Units: US | Metric
1 Use a big pot.
2 Sauté chopped onions in margarine til soft but not browned.
3 In small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper.
4 Stir flour mixture into onion mixture then add milk and half and half and stir and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken (about 3 minutes).
5 Turn off heat.
6 Add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar to the sauce and stir til melted and smooth.
7 Add sliced potatoes and stir well to combine.
8 Pour mixture into a 9 by 13 casserole dish that you have sprayed with Pam.
9 Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
10 Remove from oven, take foil off and sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup cheese over top (or more as desired).
11 Return to oven to bake another 30 minutes or so or until potatoes are soft, cheese is melted and edges begin to lightly brown.
12 Let stand a few minutes before serving to allow sauce to thicken.
March 16 Make t-shirts to wear for tomorrow.
1. You’ll need a t-shirt (white, orange, or green), scissors, iron-on sheets, an iron, a cotton towel, and extras could include embellishments such as fabric glitter, buttons, charms, fabric paints and other embellishments.
2. You can cut out your own shapes like rainbows, clovers, letters, and the Irish flag or use the pre-shaped iron-on shapes and iron it onto the t-shirts and add your own designs around them. Add additional glitter, buttons, and bling and just have fun with it!
The big day is here! Wear your t-shirts that you made or something green! Go around pinching people who are NOT wearing green! Make a very popular meal: corned beef and cabbage and attend a parade and kiss everyone, for today, everyone is Irish!
4 lbs, flat cut corned beef brisket
1 (12 ounce) bottle Guinness draught (make sure you use Guinness draught, not stout as it will turn it bitter!)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed and drained
6 medium white potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 -2 lb carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 Rinse corned beef under cold water, and pat dry.
2 In a Dutch oven, or other large pot with a cover, brown corned beef well on all sides over high heat.
3 Pour Guinness over the meat, and add enough water to just cover the brisket.
4 Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and pepper to the pot.
5 Bring pot to a boil and skim off any foam.
6 Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 3 hours.
7 Add carrots, then potatoes and then the cabbage wedges to the pot.
8 Cover pot, and continue cooking until meat and vegetables are tender (about 20-30 minutes).
9 Remove meat and vegetables to warm serving platter/dishes, leaving the cooking liquid/sauce in the pot.
10 Over high heat, bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half (about 10 minutes).
11 Slice the corned beef; serve with the vegetables and the sauce on the side.
12 Note: Corned beef should always be sliced across the grain.
May Irish Eyes be smiling on you!
About the Author:
Megan Dyer is married and has three daughters, two Siberian huskies, and four cats. She loves to cook and write.
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.