Healthy Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

You don’t have to be Irish to look for the pesky playful leprechauns or make fun treats that have a special color in them. My boys and I have enjoyed making healthy and sweet treats for the celebration. Check out below what we have done most often through the last few years! But let’s start from the beginning.  Just in case you didn’t know why we celebrate St. Patricks Day, here is a little info about it.

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick  is also known as “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”. It is a cultural and religious celebration held on  March 17th, the traditional death date of  Saint Patrick who is the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Long ago in the early 17th century Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day. It has been observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, The Lutheran Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and of course the Church of Ireland. On this day Saint Patrick is commemorated for the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. During St. Patrick’s Day Christians may also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.  Perhaps because of this, drinking alcohol – particularly Irish whiskey, beer, or cider – has become an integral part of the celebrations. On St Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”), the colour associated with Catholics in Ireland (orange is the colour associated with Protestant Christians).

While St. Patricks Day is a celebration, it was a tough day for me for a long time. My dad’s mom died on Friday March 13th and then was buried on March 17th. Ironically the calendar is like that this year too in 2020. Back in 1986 when my grandma passed, she was the first death of a close family member. So it has taken me a bit to join in on all the “festivities”. The boys sure inspire me to find more ways to share happiness and live in joy. We decided to not only celebrate  St. Patrick on this day, but also Grandma Sophie.

I am not Irish – but I love the color green and teaching my boys about different customs. So we have made a special baked goodie and a celebratory yogurt for the occasion.

We took some basic refrigerator sugar cookie dough and placed in it heart molds. I know, its not Valentines Day, but the hearts represent love, and well, honoring St. Patrick and Grandma I thought they were fine to use. Before baking we added one half drop of green food coloring and brushed in on the cookie. And because my sons favorite color is blue he begged to make some blue cookies. It was hard to say no to that. It turns out they look like “Seattle Seahawk Football” colors. We brushed out the food coloring to blend it over the entire cookie. After we took it out of the oven we added a dark mint chocolate and it melted in the center. Once it was melted we decorated with the shamrocks and gold coins.

We used a mini muffin tin and filled a third to a half full with the sugar cookie dough. We patted down the dough so there was a nice “pocket’ for the melt away chocolates and added one dark mint chocolate and one green melt away chocolate.

After baking we decided to add the shamrocks and gold coins to make even more festive. We didn’t get that photographed but they are the same ones as above! The picture was from our first year experimenting with these. They have been a family tradition since, so I thought it was fun to honor it with a “vintage” picture.

Lastly, and definitely the most healthy. We picked our favorite yogurts, Siggis Coconut and Siggis Vanilla. These are low sugar and high protein. You can also choose options that are dairy free or vegan. We added:

1 tablespoon of Now Foods Hemp Seed Hearts

1 tablespoon of Great Lakes Gelatin

A tiny dash of green food coloring

Both boys now eight years old and almost five years old, are definitely looking forward to enjoy this treat! Just adding the extra protein from the collagen and hemp seed hearts makes it a nutritious filled snack or breakfast alternative.

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