Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day Report

I've often thought about the way that our virtual, online lives can be more ideal than our actual, real life. In the interest of "keeping it real," so that you all know that I am sometimes a person with great plans but not so much follow through, I thought I'd report on yesterday's festivities. Some of our plans happened, and some fell by the wayside. And that's ok. I just don't want to give a false picture of my real life--I think that is the kind of thing that sets women up to compare themselves and get discouraged about the things that they aren't accomplishing. Please feel encouraged at the messy house you see in the background of this photo!

I did make the "green smoothies" for breakfast. I used grape juice, a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, raspberries, and marionberries, and lots of spinach. My best guess is 4 cups or more of raw spinach. I kept adding more, hoping that it would be greener, and finally decided that my decision to use grape juice instead of soy milk had yielded a brown smoothie instead. Oops. Thankfully, my kids were happy to drink it when I explained that grape juice had turned it brown. When they asked how I had tried to make it green, I avoided the question with a non-answer, "Of course I tried to make it green. It's St. Patrick's Day!" The kids all drank full glasses of the stuff without complaining. I, on the other hand, left most of mine in the glass. Methinks there was a bit too much spinach. Next time I will have to follow Diane's instructions a bit more carefully! But I am happy to eat spinach in other ways, whereas Kimball is the only one of my kids who will eat very much of the stuff in its original form, so I was pleased with the outcome.

We took some suggestions from my readers and had green eggs with our breakfast. We read Green Eggs and Ham together and my two oldest picky eaters actually tasted their green eggs before giving them all to Ian, who was happy to eat everyone's eggs.

The Irish Soda Bread was perfect. Delicious. Unfortunately, it came out of the oven at 9:00 am, much later than my kids were interested in having much! I used this recipe, but omitted the caraway seeds and half of the butter (it called for using 2 T on the pan--I used canola spray instead; and for dotting the top with butter--I used 1 T. Next time, I'll just brush the top with butter after it has baked.) Since it made a big loaf, I took some to Jared's assistant to enjoy. The poor thing is constantly being fattened up by me. Not that she's fat. She's definitely not fat. She just has to eat my fattening food.

The green jello was never made. I barely got these frosted before we had to run out the door to pick up the babysitter. We had a great time at our girl's lunch, lingering for a long time, enjoying the sunny day (we sat outside at a favorite Mexican cafe), the chance to talk without interruptions, and loving the food. I'll put the recipe for these carrot pineapple cupcakes at the end of this post. It's a must have.

When I got home around 3:00, I piled kids into the car and we went to meet our cousins, who are here from Arizona, at the park. The weather was beautiful and we lingered there until 5:00, which meant that I did not much feel like making Fresh Green Pea Soup for dinner. Instead, we had a spinach salad and the kids had quesadillas with it. So much for a green dinner. I have to admit, what I really wanted was the Irish Lamb Stew that Nancy emailed me about, her St. Patty's Day fare. I should have gone over to her house!

Sonja mentioned in her comment that her kids would build a leprechaun trap, and after breakfast I discovered that Kimball was busy doing just that. He fashioned it out of an old Kleenex box and used paper shamrocks and Irish Soda Bread as bait. This morning he found a hole in his trap (the leprechaun got away!), only crumbs where the bread had been, and a handful of gold foil wrapped candy. He was very pleased that a leprechaun had been by.

So there you have it. It was a great day and I wouldn't have changed any of it, so I'm glad I adjusted some of our plans. Hope yours was great as well!

Here's the recipe. This is actually a recipe for a cake, so you can make cupcakes, a three layer cake, or a 9x13 pan cake. It would be great for Easter dinner. I used fresh pineapple because I had some that needed to be used--and I loved it that way--but you could use the canned stuff.

Carrot Pineapple Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla (you know better than to use imitation)
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 small can crushed, drained pineapple (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Sift and set aside the flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. To the egg mixture, add carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture, just enough to blend. DO NOT OVERMIX!!!

Bake at 350 F. I usually make it in three 8 inch layers, which take about 35 minutes to bake, but you can also use a 9x13 pan. When it is done, it will be a rich brown; administer the toothpick test!

Ice with classic cream cheese icing. (8 oz. Cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 3-4 cups powdered sugar, 2 t. vanilla, 1 t. lemon or orange zest) If desired, sprinkle finely chopped pecans on the icing between layers and on top of the cake. Serves 12-16 as a cake, 24 as cupcakes.


scrap chair potato said...

I think it may have been all the berries you used that made it brown. I made the smoothies and used grape juice and they were still green. I used some mixed fruit that I had with grapes, honeydew, strawberries, cantaloupe, and a couple of kiwis--my excuse for it being green. :) They loved it and begged for more. I will be posting pictures today of all of our green food from yesterday.
I am glad you had a good day yesterday, even if it was not all that you expected!

Nicolette said...

Even though your plans didn't go just as planned, it still sounded like a very fun day! I can't wait to make the cake, it sounds soooo yummy!

The Red Hen said...


I know that this is TOTALLY unrelated to your post, but I am wondering how you customized your blog page. (cool background, different set up for pics, etc) I have looked everywhere and CANNOT figure it out. Do you pay for your blog account? Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!


a10cowwoman said...

Man, I just go for the corn brisket, cabbage, onions, potatoes, and carrots thing on St. Patty's Day. My kids would love to be in your house.

Cornfields, children and waterballet said...

I know why we have teen-agers. It's to make them WORK! HA!HA! No, our kids really appreciate a clean and organized house! We all do! It's not my idea of a perfect spring break but some of us have to go to Europe in May and hopefully Disney World in November. So....Now is the time.

How was the visit from Myrissa and family? :') The park sounded fun.

mindyluwho said...

I love that you posted about how your day actually went as opposed to how it was intended to go! And I love how you were happy with the way your day turned out anyway. Great example to me who tends to compare myself to everyone else!

That cake looks delicious, I can't wait to try it.

Martin said...

Becky's famous carrot cake recipe has used pineapple, and i am sure that is where you got the idea.
You might want to credit your sources :)

Michal said...

in fact, i had this recipe before i ever tried becky's carrot cake (which is delicious, i assure you.) i originally got the recipe from lindsee, my sister in law, and i should have given her the credit. you are so right!:)

Sonja said...

You know, on our first date I told my husband that I wanted to "keep it real". No false pretenses. It's important to me too. Yet, I can still get carried away in my "Rosy, cotton-candy world" and not even realize that everyone else doesn't actually see my small, humble, messy home and hear all the kids trying to talk to me at once and see me throw fits when the printer stops working. So yeah, I appreciate when other people "keep it real". :)

I love the spinach drink. Nobody ate the green eggs this year. (They all LOVED it last year) I'm glad that the leprechaun trap was rewarding. We had fun doing that too. I love reading about everything you guys are doing. You sound like a wonderful family. Aack! Sorry for taking up so much space. I need to get your email address. :)

Rebecca said...

That cake sounds so good! My day didn't go exactly as planned either,
but our dinner included homemade coleslaw, green mashed potatoes and brownies with green whipped cream.