St Patricks Day

St Patricks Day is a day that few of us know much about, except that it is associated with being Irish, shamrocks, wearing green, getting pinched, luck, leprechauns, corned beef and cabbage, and March 17th, the day Patrick died! For me it's a dual holiday because it's also my Mother-in-Law's birthday! I guess I get to celebrate with double luck and I am lucky because she's wonderful. Her name of course is Pat, in honor of this special day!

St Patricks Day Cupcakes

St Patricks Day cupcakes made by my niece Amanda Smith

Some Fun Facts about St Patricks Day:

  • There really is a Saint Patrick. He was British, a priest, and called as a bishop as an early missionary to Ireland in 432. He evangelized there for almost 30 years, until he died in 461. He is highly regarded in the Irish church and is known as their patron saint.

  • There is a myth that Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity, (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), to the Irish people.

  • St Patricks feast days have been celebrated, by the Irish, since the 9th and 10th centuries and became part of the Catholic churches calendar in the early 1600's. It's a church festival.

  • Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on clothing since the 17th century.

  • The first parade held to honor this day took place in the United States in 1762, where Irish soldiers in the English military marched through New York City. They played Irish music and celebrated their Irish roots. This little known religious holiday became greatly celebrated by Irish Americans to honor their ethnicity.

  • In 1903, St Patricks Day became an official public holiday in Ireland, and became more secular, rather than just religious. Many visited the local pub or bar for a pint of beer to celebrate.

  • In the mid 1990's Ireland began St Patricks Day festivals to showcase their culture. Many cities hold parades and festivals.

  • People in Chicago actually dye a portion of the Chicago River green on this day.

  • In the United States this holiday is not a legal one, but we have celebrated it since the late 18th century. It is a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. There are celebrations, feasts, drinking beer, parades, religious celebrations, green clothing, and shamrocks. Interestingly enough there are 35 million Irish American immigrants, which is almost nine times the population of Ireland. No wonder it's a popular holiday in America!

  • The corn beef and cabbage meal associated with this day has an American twist. The traditional Irish meal was boiled bacon and potatoes, but in America, Irish immigrants could buy a cheap cut of beef called brisket, soak it in brine to tenderize it, and serve it with cabbage cooked in the brine. They made soda bread to go with it.

  • On this day 13 million pints of Guinness, Irish stout, are consumed, which is twice the amount consumed on other days. Many of them are tinted green.

  • The modern celebration has little to do with the man who started it all.

The History of St Patricks Day in Video:

Menu Planning for St Patricks Day:

The traditional meal is Corned Beef and Cabbage, but it's a healthy diet habit to increase vegetables in your meals, so let's add root vegetables to the mix. It's always good to practice lifestyle solutions on event days, where you often overeat.

Corned Beef: It's easy to purchased already brined corned beef. You will simply need to boil it in a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven, covering it by an inch with water, and then simmer it covered, on low for 4 hours. To serve, slice the meat against the grain, or it will be tough. Serve it with horseradish and spicy mustard.

Vegetables: A great combination of boiled vegetables is turnips, parsnips, carrots, red potatoes, and cabbage. Quarter the turnips, parsnips, potatoes, and cabbage. Cut the carrots and parsnips into thirds and then quarter them. Cook the vegetables in the remaining beef broth. If it is too salty, add more water. Simmer the vegetables for 15 to 30 minutes, until they are done.

Soda Bread: This bread is an Irish staple that uses baking soda and buttermilk, rather than yeast.

Another option is to cook the corned beef and vegetables in a large your slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours on low, or 5 to 6 hours on high, covered with 1 cup of water.

This holiday meal plan is simple. Grocery stores often have great deals on corned beef. A frugal tip is to grab a couple of extra packages, and stick them into the freezer to enjoy this simple meal more often.

For a Meatless Recipe, try my Lentil Cabbage Stew!

Soda Bread

Try my Soda Bread Recipe!

May the luck of the Irish be with you as you celebrate this Irish/Irish American holiday and Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Pat!

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