Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Fun on St. Patty's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is Thursday, and in honor of that I am posting a few of our favorite Irish recipes.  For a fun learning activity, make a trip to the library with your children and check out some books about St. Patrick or look up some information online to read to them.  Our family usually has an all green breakfast on St. Patrick's Day.  I put a little green food coloring into the scrambled eggs and we tint the icing for our cinnamon rolls green.  The kids love it and even my honey asked the other day if we were going to do that again this year.  He enjoys the silly traditions we have as much as the kids do!

Irish Soda Bread
(serve with butter, or try our herb butter recipe)

4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and soda.  Stir in buttermilk and mix to a soft dough consistency.  Turn onto a floured work surface and knead lightly.  Press out into a flat, round cake, and 2 inches high.  Slice an "X" in the top.  Place on a floured cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned.  When done, it will sound hollow when tapped.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes one loaf. 

Herbal Butter

1 T. chives
1 T. basil
1 T. parsley
1 T. rosemary
1 T. marjoram
1 T. tarragon
1 t. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients, using a small coffee grinder if you have one.  Keep in a locking plastic bag until ready to make your butter.  Allow 1/2 pound softened butter for each tablespoon of the herbal blend, mixing well.  For extra butter flavor, add two or three drops of lemon juice as well.  You may substitute cream cheese for butter.  Delicious on freshly-baked bread or over fresh steamed vegetables. 

Iced Shamrock Cookies

2 c. shortening
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. orange peel
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 c. orange juice
6 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt

Cream shortening, sugar, orange peel and vanilla together.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add orange juice and mix again.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add to creamed mixture.  Chill for 2 hours, covered.  Roll on lightly floured surface 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out three heart shapes for each shamrock and carefully stick them together.  Cut out a long rectangle for the "stem".  Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.  Ice when cool. 

1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. butter, softened
2 T. milk
peppermint extract to taste
3-4 drops green food coloring

Combine sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons milk in a bowl and mix.  Add peppermint extract to taste and food coloring to desired color.  Add more milk if necessary, a teaspoon at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable.  Sprinkle with fairy dust (crystallized sugar) if desired. 

And one more thing for a fun activity...........

Stenciled Shamrock Tablecloth

Using a heart cookie cutter, trace hearts on a large piece of cardboard in the shape of a shamrock, adding a stem at the bottom.  Be sure to leave at least 4 inches of margin around the shamrock.  Cut out your shamrock with a sharp artist's blade.  Position the stencil on a white cotton/polyester tablecloth and paint the inside of the design with permanent green acrylic paint.  You may wish to make several sizes of shamrock stencils, and paint smaller ones in metallic gold for a magical touch.  Use this same method for napkins, table runners, or even T-shirts!

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