Sunday is Saint Patrick’s Day and so badly I want to bestow upon my children the fun things my parents did for us growing up. However, dying the mashed potatoes green and hiding a carrot in the middle of the meatloaf and calling it leprechaun’s gold just isn’t cutting it for me.
Knowing what we know about the effects of food dye on our health and that my son hates cooked carrots, even if they do taste like they were drenched in beef juices, I had to figure out something new. I feel I am doing my parents a dishonor if I did not teach my kids to have a sense of humor in life and celebrate the “smallidays” like Saint Patrick’s Day. They set a good example for us and I want to do the same for my kids. Essentially holding these little gatherings taught us not to take life so seriously that we forget what’s really important, the people around us.
What we learned from those times spent together was that we were not alone and some thing’s like stress in work has its place and should stay there, not follow us home and interfere with our down time. After an evening connecting with people I always feel better. Besides, stressing and worrying ruins the present, it robs us of possible happy memories we could have had…and all for what?
That being said, I am asking ALL OF YOU, Irish roots or not, to get your green on and use this weekend as another opportunity to tell your friends and family how important they are to you by getting together and using Saint Patrick’s Day as another reason to hang out together. Don’t worry about the messy house, if they care about that they are not your friends. If cooking and doing dishes is your stressor then gather up appetizer size munchies and small plates and be done with it! Below are the pictures of our early celebration. I got all my fun stuff out for the table, seared up a quick London broil, a bag of peas and made a mashed potato bar.
Under the photos I made a list of possible toppings you could put out, I mean really who doesn’t like potato’s? They’re not that expensive and you can ask people that want to bring something with them to bring a topping. Even if your not a drinker, there’s nothing like a potato shot from the bar! (Topped with bacon of course)
At this point I will call upon the leprechauns to snatch your cell phone and computer’s for a few hours so you can spend time connecting with your friends and family. Human voices, hugs and laughter…now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
If you are the one throwing the gathering this weekend, consider having a big bowl where everyone can turn off their cell phones and toss them in. Then slow the pace down, put on some music and enjoy each other. And as always, remember…
“Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”.
Below are a few items you might consider as toppings for your Mashed Potato Bar:
Bacon, ham pieces, cheese, crushed potato chips, crispy fried onions, sour cream, beef gravy, marinated mushrooms (recipe in the May 2011 archive, Waste Not Want Not), green onions, flavored butters and ranch dressing. If you think of any others you’ve tried, feel free to leave a comment.
A few notes:
For crispy fried onions, take a shallot or sweet onion and shave off thin slices, dredge in flour then fry until crispy.
For very flavorful mashed potato’s, add an 8 oz package of Havarti or Smoked Gouda cheese to your steaming hot potato’s, you won’t be sorry! And for an interesting twist, try a little hot sauce with some blue cheese crumbles on top.
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK”S DAY!