Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy Day! Put on your hats. Work together to solve the clues. Split the pot o' gold. Luck o' the Blarney Stone be with you!

“Happy Day! Put on your hats. Work together to solve the clues. Split the pot o’ gold. Luck of the Blarney Stone to you!”

The leprechauns stopped by to lead the boys on their annual treasure hunt. Our leprechauns don’t come in the wee hours, and we have never tried to trap them. Their only mischief is to create silly clues that have the kids running from side-to-side of the house, laughing all the way.

We started this tradition when Teen was in 1st grade and Tween a toddler. Teen’s school had a book fair, and we decided we could justify buying more books if they were gifts for an occasion. The next holiday on the calendar was St. Patrick’s Day, which worked for us, especially as both of our kids have Irish names. We bought a few books for each boy, wrapped them in different paper, created a series of pictographs, and send the kids on a hunt working together.

The tradition stuck, but over the years the gifts have changed. One year Teen got a crepe pan and Tween got music for his iPod. This year they both got new boxers. They always get chocolate coins, because of course!

See if you can solve the clues: Cat Tree Harry Potter Roomba

See if you can solve the clues:
Cat Tree (an easy one)
Harry Potter (kids checked all the potted plants, especially the hairy ones)
Roomba (kids thought this was Tree House)

Practical items can make funny gifts but need a little sweetness.

Practical items can make funny gifts but require a little sweetness alongside.

The treasure hunt ended with a veggie shepherd’s pie, with Irish soda bread for dessert.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/4 c white whole wheat flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c+ organic sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 c non-dairy milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice – combine and set aside
2/3 c raisins, craisins, or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 8-inch diameter cake pan. Whisk flour, 1/4 c sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips (or tines of a fork) combine until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture and add milk/lemon juice. Gradually stir to combine (batter will be thick). Mix in final ingredient of choice.

Transfer dough to prepared pan and flatten slightly (I use fork tines and it makes an interesting pattern – Tween says, “Like birds’ feet!”). If desired, sprinkle dough lightly with additional sugar (I find about 1 tsp sufficiently covers the dough).

Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, and preferably with a spread of vegan butter or jam.

This recipe comes together so quickly that I made two loaves, one with chocolate chips and the other with craisins. I sprinkled the craisin loaf with sugar and left the chocolate loaf plain. Both turned out delicious.

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!