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St. Patrick’s Day has the potential to create fun memories of family traditions. The day can revolve around far more than wild parties and revelry. For kids, depictions of rainbows, leprechauns and all things green can elevate the day from ordinary to one talked about for years to come. It is fun to celebrate the minor holidays to help break up the year and give kids some sense of the rhythm of seasons.
Terri Cooper of Elk Creek once made cards with her five children to send to the long distance relatives. She cut a bell pepper in half so that it resembled a shamrock. She then filled a plate with green paint, and let her children use the bell pepper as a stamp. They stamped the paint onto the front of their cards. The stamps could also be used on canvas or heavy paper to create art that can be framed as used as St. Patrick’s Day decor for years.
Children could also make art by using their handprints to make shamrocks or thumbprints to make rainbows.
Cooper’s family dinners on St Patrick’s Day vary. Some years they enjoy corned beef and cabbage. Meal ideas can be as simple as dying regular meals green and as elaborate as planning Irish inspired menus such as corned beef stew.
The dish that has been a constant in the Cooper home for over 10 years is the Cool Mint Pie. Cooper’s daughter Arden, who is now a freshman at the University of Kentucky, was 5 or 6 when they started making the pie. It has been a favorite in their home ever since.
“I don’t remember where it came from, I’ve been doing it so long,” said Cooper. “It’s Arden’s favorite.”
The recipe calls for a homemade pie crust, but Cooper always uses a refrigerated store-bought crust when making this pie. For the chocolate decorations, she has a crinkle cutter that she picked up from a cooking retailer. Cooper also pipes the whipped topping onto the pie instead of spreading it. She likes to make the pie pretty. She uses Hershey’s milk chocolate bars for the chocolate decorations.
St. Patrick’s Day-themed desserts can include anything green or Irish-inspired. Pistachio and mint flavored desserts are common, as are desserts flavored with Guinness beer or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Cool Mint Pie
Pie crust (homemade or refrigerated store-bought)
3 milk chocolate bars
1 package cream cheese
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring
1 package white chocolate instant pudding
1 container whipped topping
Bake the pie crust according to the package directions or the directions in the recipe. Allow cream cheese to soften while the crust bakes. Let the crust cool.
Combine softened cream cheese, milk, peppermint extract, food coloring and pudding. Fold half of the whipped cream into the peppermint mixture. Put the mixture in the pie crust. Let pie set up in the refrigerator for several hours.
To make the chocolate decorations, open the bars, and put the chocolate in a bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating it in short bursts, about 20 seconds each time, and then stirring each time. Place waxed paper on a cookie sheet.
When the chocolate has melted, pour it on the cookie sheet and spread it in a layer.
Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the chocolate is hard, cut it into pie wedge shaped pieces.
Stick the chocolate wedges into the firmed pie so that the chocolate is spiked out of the pie. Pipe whipped cream onto the top of the pie.