“Green With Envy” – St Patrick’s Day

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 in Fabulous & Free | 1 comment

The Irish are “my people”.  I’m as Irish as any lass could be.  My dark hair, fair skin, and blue eyes probably give me away…but not near as much as my upbringing.  Where I come from you get pinched if you don’t wear green on St. Patty’s Day.  It is as sure as having a potato at almost every meal.  Potatoes (Yes, just ask Dan Quayle, potatoes plural has an e) they are a “staple” in the Irish home.  It is probably why next to ice-cream, potatoes are my favorite food.   Love em, love em, love em… oh how I love me some potatoes cooked any and every way you can imagine (although mashed are my all-time favorite just in case you want to have me to dinner).  Last summer what joy and elation when in Boise, Idaho I found what looked like a potato but it was made out of ice-cream.  Does it get any better than that when your two favortite foods are in one? I’m sure I heard St. Patrick himself singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” when I took a bite.

My Grandparents and Dad were 100% Irish. The blood is sure to run green through my veins instead of red.  I grew up in a town called Clare, my highschool colors were green & white and the mascot was a Gael (a fighting Irish man), and I have siblings named Kevin, Keith, Kurtis, Kelly, Kris, & Kerry (and that’s just the boys!).  I have been to Chicago when they color the river green for St. Patrick’s Day (now there’s a city who knows how to throw a party!) as well as to the Emerald Isle.  There is a myriad of greens that make up its own rainbow in the country of shamrocks and Guiness. I searched the grass for hours to find a four leaf clover in Killarney, Ireland for my Dad and with the “luck of the Irish” (more like with tenacity and persistence) I found one.  Acutally I don’t believe in luck.  Destiny yes, luck – no.   I passed up kissing the Blarney Stone because I’m not superstitious, don’t need the gift of gab, or all the germs from where everyone else has put their lips on that tourist trap. (I know I may have just sucked the marshmallows out of your Lucky Charms (then what fun is there in eating that cereal?) but the history of the Blarney Stone was strictly tourism – it apparently works. ) Just in case you still think I’m only a wee bit Irish, when my father passed away “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” was played at his funeral.  I grew up learning songs like “O Danny Boy”, “My Wild Irish Rose”, and others from the home country thanks to Sister Mary Madonna. So needless to say, I do wear green on March 17th…no pinching for this lil’ lephrechaun.  I’m not sure why the Greeks, Germans, Italians etc…don’t have their own heritage holidays where everyone joins in…but no doubt they are “green with envy” over St. Patrick’s Day.  Whether or not St. Patrick really chased out the snakes out of Ireland (wish he would have chased them out of the desert where I live) the day of celebration is soon upon us. If you are Irish (or pretend to be for a day just to drink a pint of Guiness and join in eating cornbeef and cabbage) and because it gets tricky trying to bag up green eggs and ham Sam I am,  here are some ideas for party favors or hostess gifts :

St. Patrick’s Day Gifts:

Step 1:

St Patrick's GiftGather a box of Hershey’s “Pot of Gold” chocolates, some Rainblo gum balls, small jewelry ziplock bags (2×3″), and green ribbon

Step 2:

Be sure to put one of every color of the gumballs in the small ziplock.  Cover the top of the zip lock with a piece of green scrapbook paper (printed or solid).  I used 2″x3″ jewelry zip locks so I cut my topper paper 2″x2″ so when I fold the paper in 1/2 it covers the top 1″ of the bag.   The small ziplocks can be purchased in the jewelry section of any craftstore.  The gumballs and chocolates can be purchased at Wal-mart.

Type a tag on the computer that reads “You are the POT OF GOLD at the end of our RAINBOW! We are “lucky” to have you in our lives. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”  I stamped mine with shamrocks in  a lighter shade of green.  You can also add cupcake picks as embellishments or St. Patrick’s embellishments/stickers found at the craft store.

Here is what my tag looks like:

St Patrick's Tag

My simple St. Patrick's tag to go on my gift.

Step 3:  Tie up the gift with green ribbon and attach the bag of gumballs through the ribbon.  If you zoom in you can see I added a small piece of ribbon to the top of my ziplock bag by simply folding a piece of ribbon over and stapling it with an x staple by criss-crossing the staples.  Here is my finished product for neighbors, friends, family, and teachers.

St Patrick's Pot of Gold

St Patrick's Pot of Gold Gift

Same tag with children's markers

Here I used the same pot of gold at the end of our rainbow tag but used a small bag of Hershey's Gold Nugget candies and a pack of children's markers from the dollar store. You could also use children's colored pencils (see below), play-doh, watercolors or clay.

colored pencils for rainbow/pot of gold tag

Colored pencils packaged in a cellophane bag along with Hershey's Gold Nuggets candies.

 

In case you want something less expensive for a favor/gift, I have a few more ideas for you.  Because I make things all year round, I knew I would need green kisses for St. Patrick’s Day.  So after Christmas I bought several bags of Christmas kisses on clearance.  I use the red and silver for Valentine’s Day and I use the green and add a bag of gold to them for St. Patrick’s Day (Not to worry – they don’t expire until Nov, 2012).  Realizing that you don’t have that option now, this works just as well with regular kisses wrapped in silver foil.  However, you can buy cream-de-mint kisses wrapped in green foil right now for St. Patrick’s Day.  Your choice.

Step 1:

Make a tag that says, “KISS me I’m Irish!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”  Wrap up the kisses in small cello bags, ziplock bags (see idea above) or a small jar.   Tie on your tag.  Here is what my tag looks like:

 

St. Patrick's Kiss Me I'm Irish Tag

Super simple:  Tie a bow around a box of Lucky Charms cereal or put some in a clear cellophane bag or small clear container and say, “I’m LUCKY to know someone as CHARMing as you!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Lucky Charms

I'm so LUCKY to know someone as CHARMing as you! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Easy Smeashy:  Tie up a bar of Irish Spring soap and say:  I’m “raising the BAR” in honor of the IRISH -Here’s a St. Patty’s Day gift I hope puts a little SPRING in your step.  (If you want, you could also add a bottle of Bailey’s IRISH Cream)

Thanks to the gals over at Howshedoes@howshedoes.com they made some great free printables available on their site.  They suggested using them on water bottles but I bought Sierra Mist natural soda instead (because it comes in a green bottle – Sprite or Mountain Dew would work too).  I tied those up with a green and white straw and curling ribbon.  Super cute right?  Thanks Howshedoes@howshedoes.com – I’ll be sharing these along with other gifts I’ve made this week.

Soda bottle labels - St. Patrick's Day

Here are my creations using the great water bottle labels from the gals at Howshedoes@howshedoes.com. I chose to put them on soda bottles instead (cuz I like the Irish green of the bottles of course).

Close up of St Patty's soda

Close up picture of St. Patty's soda

I would be one remiss lassy if I didn’t show you the fun surprise I received in my work mailbox today.  Perhaps you can copy this idea for one of your gifts.  My friend Debbie (yes the one who years ago SWORE she wasn’t crafty) is now doing the cutest things.  She calls her line of creations “imperfections”.  I think they are nothing but perfect don’t you?!  Take a look below at the cute packaging (love the embellished clothespin) and cute coordinated wording.  For those of you who aren’t the sharpest green crayon in the box….T = tea.  The teaspoon has an S initial in it for my name….and yes, I happen to LOVE a cup of hot tea.  Come sit a spell and enjoy a cup of the Irish brew won’t you?

Debbie's St Patty's gift

Cute packaging...card held on with embellished clothespiin

St Patty's embellished clothespin

The clothespin that held the card is embellished with green jewels.

Card from Deb

 

 

Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea

This is what was inside the bag...good things do indeed come in small packages. This is Twinings IRISH breakfast tea and a vintage  teaspoon monogrammed with an S for        Shela-Lyn. My Irish eyes are smiling!

Deb’s gift has my mind STEEPED with TEArrific ideas.  Trader Joe’s carries Irish Breakfast Oats in the cutest packaging.  Wouldn’t it be as grand as the Grand Irish Isle itself to put an “Irish Breakfast”basket together with the Irish breakfast oats, the Irish breakfast tea and some Potatoes O’Brien (in the freezer section next to the hashbrowns)?  Hmmmm has me thinking for next year’s neighbors’ baskets.  One can never be too early in creating a great idea.  The tag could read:

“Top o’ the MORNIN’ to ya!  One POTATO two POTATO three POTATO four…Here’s a TEArrific IRISH BREAKFAST for you to enjoy and more! We hope you have a beauTEAful St Patrick’s Day!”  You could tuck into the basket a few of the other ideas above….oh what fun to be (or pretend to be) Irish!

I found this very old piece of sheet music.  It is hanging in my foyer on the black cabinet I fondly refer to as my seasonal bulletin board.  While Mom is only 1/2 Irish and my Dad 100% Irish….I just couldn’t resist this music.  The lyrics are a hoot.  I’ve included a photo of Mom and my daughter from our trip to England and Ireland back in 2003.  Ohhhh how lovely are the daffodils in bloom.  Now time to start that pot of homemade Irish stew….

Irish sheet music

Irish Stew:

3 to 3 1/2 pounds stew meat (I use Angus beef)

6 TBSP flour (set aside)

1 cup water plus 1/2 cup flour (mixed together to make a rue)

6 garlic cloves diced

2 tsp dried rosemary (or 2 TBSP chopped fresh)

2 tsp dried thyme (or 2 TBSP chopped fresh)

4 dried bay leaves

2 1/2 bottles Guinness

4 cups beef stock

4 TBSP butter

6 TBSP packed brown sugar

4 onions sliced

4 carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces

8 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Stir in beer, beef stock, garlic, bay leaves, thyme & rosemary in a slow cooker.  (Set slow cooker on low to cook for 8 hours or high to cook in 4-5 hours).

2.  Caramelize onions in the butter and brown suger and add to slow cooker.

3.  Sprinkle stew meet with 6 TBSP flour, salt and pepper.  In batches, brown meat all over (but don’t cook it through) and then put it in the slow cooker. 

4.  After cooking for 6 hours (just short of 2 hours on low and 1.5 hours on high), mix remaining 1/2 flour and  1 cup water in pan with a whisk to make a rue. Add the rue, veggies, and parsley to the stew and stir.  Stew will thicken as it continues to cook.

5.  Sometimes you may need to add 1-2 TBSP more brown sugar after step four if the gravy/soup portion of the stew tastes too bitter.  However, we have never needed to add it but it is to your taste.  Enjoy!

 

Irish Stew

Irish Stew - serves 8-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment

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  1. Shela-Lyn

    Thanks – I hope you are inspired to make some clever creations and encourage those in your sphere of influence.

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