Whether or not you claim Irish as your heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a day we can all celebrate. It is also an excellent opportunity to bring your family together and establish some of your own special traditions. Family traditions don’t have to be passed down from generation to generation. Just as important are those small customs you start and carry on as a family. In fact, smaller traditions can be more important than the bigger ones as chances for family bonding and we’ve got some great ideas to get you started!
Start your own St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
• Engage in some leprechaun tricks. Make a mess in the kitchen for them to find when they wake up and tell them the leprechauns must have been there in the middle of the night. Those leprechauns could even leave a small surprise – perhaps some silly St. Patrick’s day socks! (It will make sure they have something green to wear!) This tradition could expand each year – maybe next year the leprechaun takes all the sofa cushions off or covers their bedroom door with green crepe paper that the kids have to break through when they wake up…
• Find the gold at the end of the rainbow. Create a scavenger hunt in your own home with the clues written on clover shaped paper. The last clue leads to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (which could be anything from a bowl filled with chocolate coins to a bag of Cheetos).
• Go to a parade! Crown Point’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held at dusk on the square. All participating floats are adorned with lots of lights. And the fire station just off the square hosts a corned beef & cabbage dinner from 1-6 p.m. Both will be held on March 17 this year. While you’re in Crown Point, consider heading over to Carriage Court Pizza to try their corned beef & cabbage pizza.
Get your kids in the kitchen.
Use St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to try some Irish foods. Maybe it will start a tradition of exploring other ethnic foods at different times of the year!
Brown Soda Bread
• 4 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 cup bread flour
• 1/3 cup oatmeal
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (see cook’s note)
1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them.
3. In a large bowl stir together everything but the buttermilk. Once that is well combined, gently stir in the buttermilk until a soft dough is formed. Knead this very lightly in the bowl for a few minutes – just to help it come together. Divide into four pieces.
4. Form each piece into a round, flat loaf. Mark each with an X and place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown – 30-40 minutes.
Cook’s note: Don’t have buttermilk? Here’s an easy substitute: place one tablespoon of white vinegar in a measuring cup, fill with milk to the one cup line. Stir and you have one cup of buttermilk.
Corned Beef in the Slow Cooker
3-4 pounds of corned beef with pickling spices
1. Place the beef in the crock pot and spread the pickling spices on top.
2. Add water to the crock pot – enough to almost cover the roast.
3. Cook it on low for 10 hours.
Now comes the really yummy part, just before serving add a horseradish crust.
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
• 4 generous tablespoons of prepared horseradish
• 2-3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1. Mix the horseradish with the breadcrumbs
2. Take the corned beef out of the crock pot, scrape off any fat.
3. Spread the mustard all over the roast and then smush the horseradish topping on top.
4. Broil on low heat for 3 minutes until the crust gets lightly browned.
Finally, finish your day with this traditional Irish blessing:
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright, happy hours
That stay with you all the year long.