It might be the night before St. Patrick’s day, but the point of this entry is that it is the night before…..not the night after. Time still remains to make a family tradition out of this very green holiday. Serious or silly, recycled (green) or newly constructed, this occasion can be one that brings families together to enjoy each other.
This year we are making leprechaun beards out of construction paper and string, creating homespun tall tales about St. Patrick’s Day, and making some yummy food! Shepard’s Pie for the whole family. Once it’s cooked toddler will love it too. I remember last year I pureed it for baby but this year all the parts of the pie make for great finger food. It’s good for baby’s first foods (pureed), toddler finger foods and the rest of the family too!
In addition to some hearty Irish Food, one tradition I always try to honor on St. Patrick’s Day is getting together and connecting with friends. Franz Schubert said “Happy is a person who finds a true friend” and this year I reached out to my dear friend Kristen to see what she and her family were up to in Charlotte, NC. She is an amazing friend and I am one lucky lass to know her.
Sixteen years ago we traveled cross-country, visiting the Southwestern United States for 3 months. In those months, I began a love affair with all things western, realized that working with horses was enchanting, and pulled more tumble weed from under our car than one could imagine. To bring things full circle, I recall our trip to Collins Irish Pub in Flagstaff, Arizona. In the midst of a February Blizzard, we enjoyed some excellent music and good laughs, all while still making it home without freezing. Collins Pub is still in operation, and I still have the T-shirt to say I was there. One the back is printed this Irish blessing:
“May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
May God always hold you in the palm of his hand”
So enjoy the recipe and blessing, take some time to reach out to a good friend, and do something that truly makes you grin. You’ll be one lucky leprechaun and perhaps find your very own Pot O’ Gold at the end of the rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day!
Organic Shepherd’s Pie
2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 pounds ground chicken (thighs preferred)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium onion, thin sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1-2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance spread
Preheat oven to 350F.
Steam the potatoes in a steamer basket until soft. Once soft, mash them and add 1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance spread. Mix until the butter is dissolved and throughout.
Heat a skillet, add coconut oil to coat, and brown the meat, moving the meat continuously. While browning the meat add the spices and continue to mix throughout.
Remove meat and saute the thin sliced onions until translucent. Put meat back into pan, along with peas and corn. Cook till meat is just a bit underdone and swimming in its juices. Add a little bit of chicken broth or water if necessary to keep the meat lightly swimming.
Take a casserole dish or 2 large pie pans and spread the meat and veggie mixture along the bottom. Make a second layer of mashed potatoes to cover the meat.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F.
If you want to brown the top of the potato topping, remove the casserole dish, put on the broiler, and place the casserole dish back into the oven on the top rack. The potatoes should turn golden and a bit crisp on top in a few minutes, so keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
Serve alongside a green salad – a complete meal. Yummi!