Ten Easy St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

I’m no super mom but I dream of being one. I love all the creative ideas floating around with fun things to do for your kids on holidays, but the truth is, I tend to forget to actually do them. Am I alone?

Here’s a list of super easy and quick ways to do a little something extra special for St. Patrick’s Day this year:

1. Green Toilet Water

greentoiletwatervia A Differentiated Kindergarten

Add a little green food coloring to the toilet bowl before you call it a night, and blame it on those pesky leprechaun’s.

2. Green Breakfast

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Or if you forget, do it for dinner. You get a second chance with this one. This is my husband and my oldest having green eggs and green milk. Endless options here…green milk in the cereal, green smoothie, green pancakes/waffles/french toast.

3. Lucky Charms

luckycharmsvia Wizards & Fairies

Get ’em hopped up on sugar cereal!

4. Free Printables

freeprintablevia Money Savvy Michelle

There is a plethora of free printable coloring pages and activity sheets on Pinterest.

5. Wear something silly & green

Via Target

Pick up some St. Patty’s Day themed socks for each family member.

6. Make some art

via Parenting.com

Browse Pinterest for a bunch of easy art ideas you can do with your kids. I love this hand print version of a four-leaf clover. Precious!

7. Rainbow water

via happy hooligans

How cool is this? Just add a little food coloring to your ice-cube trays in rainbow colors to make this “rainbow water”. This would be a fun way to spice up dinner time.

8. Jazz up the lunchbox

via Bento Diva

You don’t have to go all out like this adorable bento box, but try to add some green or a shamrock sandwich to the old lunchbox. If you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter, you can also cut out three small hearts to form the shamrock leaves, and add something else for the stem.

9. Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner


via Canadian Family

Make a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. This recipe is easy peasy, you just put everything in the crock pot and get on with your day.

10. Green beer

Now pour yourself a green beer and kiss someone – Irish or not ūüôā

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

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I have been searching for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe forever. I found it.

The perfect recipe had to deliver soft, gooey rolls with just the right amount of cinnamon and icing.

Over the past few weeks I’ve made a lot of batches of cinnamon rolls, much to the pleasure of my husband who has been my eager taste tester. Have another roll babe, enjoy.

Anyway, I do not in any way claim to be the creator of this recipe. It is just slightly adapted from our beloved Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Believe me, I wouldn’t dream of messing with the Pioneer Woman. I’m pretty sure she can herd sheep and lasso bulls while simultaneously baking the perfect pie. Her recipe does make a ton of rolls, so I’ve cut it in half since we aren’t feeding a ranch. One for you to enjoy right away and another for the freezer. So here we go…

Easy Cinnamon Rolls
– adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 cups milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (heaping)
1/2 tsp baking soda (scant)
1/2 tsp salt (heaping)

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3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup turbinado sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup sugar)
4 tsp cinnamon

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2 cups powdered sugar
¬ľ cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
¬Ĺ tsp vanilla extract

Start by combining the milk, coconut oil and sugar in a saucepan. Heat on medium until scalding (not quite boiling), stirring constantly. Set it aside to cool down for 45 mins or so until warm. Side note —-> I used coconut oil because I love it, but you could use vegetable oil if you prefer.

It’s important that the mixture is not hot when you add the yeast. Lukewarm or slightly warm is best, around 110 degrees if you are using a thermometer. Once the temp is right, stir in your yeast and let that sit for a few minutes.

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Then add 4 cups of flour. Cover and let it sit for an hour. It will do its thing. It should rise and look like this:

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Then add another 1/2 cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Now you should have a nice smooth, elastic dough. You’re ready to roll baby!

I take half the dough and roll it out into a rectangle onto a floured surface. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now the Pioneer Woman’s recipe uses melted butter, but I found it easier to use softened butter so it didn’t ooze out all over my counters. So take 3/4 cup butter (yes, I cut out a bit of butter, mama told me to) and soften it in the microwave until it is spreadable. Take a couple of dabs of butter and spread in the bottom of your baking pans. Then take half of the remaining butter and spread evenly onto your rectangle of dough.

Then sprinkle with half of the sugar. I use turbinado sugar because I love the flavor, more rich and molassess-y. And it’s not processed as much as white sugar. But use whatever you like. Follow with a sprinkling of 2 tsp of cinnamon.

Start rolling ’em up! Start at the longer side and be sure to pull a bit while you roll to keep things tight. You don’t want to lose any of that buttery, sugary goodness in the middle. One you have it rolled up, slice and place the rolls in your buttered pan. I forgot to pinch the seam here. But it’s okay, you can forget steps like that and they will still turn out amazing.

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And repeat that process for the second pan. Side note —> this recipe would fill about three round cake pans, a 13×9 pan and another 8×8…however you can make it work. I did one big 13×9 and a round cake pan and it worked perfectly.

Once you have your gorgeous rolls ready to bake, cover the pans with towels and let rise for another 30 minutes or so.

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Bake @ 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

And I didn’t even remember to take a photo of them fresh out of the oven topped with icing. Because I couldn’t stop myself ¬†my husband dove right in.

For the icing simply combine the four ingredients and stir until smooth, and drizzle over the rolls. You may want to add extra powdered sugar or milk, to get the right consistency. Super easy!

There you have it! A super easy way to get the perfect cinnamon roll, every time.

Nailed it.

Easy Crusty Bread

This bread is amazing. Seriously. It will blow your mind. Just a few ingredients and you’ve got a super yummy, fresh-baked loaf of bread. Never buy another loaf of artisan bread from the grocery store again!

This is not an original idea by any means. I have seen similar recipes on Pinterest and on various blogs. I used the recipe over at Simply So Good: Crusty Bread. I won’t go into all the details she does…but if you want more ideas on what to bake it in, or what other flavors to add, check out her post.

Here we go…you will need:

-3 cup of flour (regular white unbleached)
– 1 3/4 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp yeast
– 1 1/2 cups water

*The only thing you have to remember about this recipe is that you need to give it 12-18 hours to rise. So plan ahead! I like to mix mine up the night before and bake the next day, about mid-day.

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and mix together until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter, unrefrigerated to rise, 12-18 hours. It will be a big gooey mess, but that’s ok. Just walk away and let it do its magic.

After 12-18 hours it should have puffed up nicely and look very sticky. It’s perfect.

Preheat¬†your oven to 450 degrees and once preheated, place your pot in the oven for 30 minutes. I used my crock pot insert because I don’t have a gorgeous Le Creuset¬†(yet!) like she suggested. After putting your pot in the oven, dump out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape it into a ball. Let it rest (no kneading!) and put the plastic wrap over it. And you really don’t need to grease your pot, the dough doesn’t stick a bit.

Once your pot has preheated for 30 minutes carefully take it out (remember, it’s really hot!) and drop your dough into the pot. Put on the lid (or cover with foil) and bake for 30 minutes.

After baking, carefully remove the pot and using pot holders, remove the bread to cool on a wire rack. Admire your gorgeous work and how wonderful your kitchen now smells.

See? Could it be any easier?? We enjoyed this loaf with big bowls of soup on a cold night, and the next night sliced thin for paninis.

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Roasted chicken thighs with sage and pear

Savory chicken thighs with fresh herbs and the sweetness of pear. This is a perfect super-simple recipe for fall that fills your kitchen with the smell of comfort food. I also like this quick dinner because it literally takes a few minutes to prep, something I can appreciate as a mom of little ones.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive or grape seed oil
3-4 fresh sage leaves
2 pears
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse chicken thighs and place in glass baking dish. Roll up sage leaves and slice, and run your knife through them again to dice. Combine oil and sage in a bowl, and brush over thighs. Turn once to cover chicken. Quarter pears and place around chicken in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40-50 minutes, until meat reaches 165 degrees on meat thermometer.

How to cut an onion

A couple of years ago¬†I took a knife¬†skills¬†cooking class and while I didn’t retain everything from the class (evident by the rather large¬†cut on my finger from cooking last night), I use this little trick all the time.

It was explained that the “root” of the onion (the hairy end) releases and an enzyme when cut that causes the irritation. So if you save that part for last, you have less crying. Grab yourself an onion and follow along.

I started with this bad boy. Someone grew this massive thing in their garden! You have the pointy top, and the root on the opposite end.

Start by cutting off the tippy top.

With the root on the bottom, cut ’em in half right through where the pointy top was and through the middle of the root.

You’ve got two halfs. Lay one with the flat side down on the cutting board with the root away from you.

Start slicing vertically from the root to the other edge. PLEASE, for the love of God, don’t hold on to the onion like I am with my fingers out just waiting to be sliced. Knife skills 101 says curl those fingers under! How embarrassing.

And do not cut into that stinking root! Just start a little below it.

After you’ve worked your way around it should look like this. Purdy. If you want to dice instead of¬†chop, make these cuts much closer together.

Now we’re going to slice going the other way. And stop before you get to that root! The root is our enemy people. Unless you need a good cry.

A bada bing! You have a perfectly chopped up onion with no (or at least minimal) tears. Now use all that onion for my Orzo with Grilled Vegetables.

A life changing organizing tip

Well, that might a big dramatic. But, my sister did promise it would change my life. So here we go…

This happens all day long, right? I am constantly digging through the pantry and grabbing snacks for the kids, and trying to keep my diaper bag stocked. And then along came…the snack bin.

I did not¬†come up with this idea. I was raiding my sister’s pantry during a visit and admiring her organization (she is amazing, you can find her at Morganize with Me), and I saw the snack bin. She explained how it worked, and I knew I must do the same thing immediately. She got the idea over at I Heart Organizing.

The idea is to package up portioned snacks ahead of time in small containers and make them accessible to your kids so they can help themself. Then the individual snacks go in a bin in the pantry where they can reach them.

In our house, my son needs to ask permission to get a snack from the snack bin, because I don’t want him helping himself all day and filling up too much before meals. I have found it really helpful for those times when I am busy and can’t grab a snack, and my son loves to be able to pick his own out.

I copied my sis and got the same containers, they are the Ball Plastic Freezer Jars. I have tried pre-portioning¬†snacks in ziploc bags before but they end up getting smushed in my bag and my son can have a hard time opening the bags. I love these containers because they keep the snacks fresh, they don’t get crushed and they wash well.

I also love these because they help me when I’m doing the mad dash out the door in the morning. I always grab a couple of snacks for my bag so I am prepared for the day.

Some snack ideas for your snack bin:

  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Animal crackers
  • Veggies Straws
  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Pirate’s Booty
  • Nuts
  • Chex Mix
  • Granola
  • Trail mix

My sister also keeps a snack bin in the bottom drawer of her fridge for items like string cheese, yogurt, applesauce, etc. I love this idea but I’m not ready to give my kids access to the refrigerator yet. ūüôā

How do you organize snacks? Would these work for you?

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Enchiladas¬†are a staple in our house. Thank God my husband isn’t a picky eater and doesn’t seem to mind having them quite often. I found a recipe for honey lime enchiladas and had to make them that night when my mouth started watering at the idea. These are so delish. Sweet, spicy and tangy all at once and so easy.

I tweaked the recipe to my liking. The one I tried had a pound of cheese. A POUND. I personally think pretty much anything is better with cheese, but not that much. Instead of using sour cream or half and half, I substituted greek yogurt which cut down the calories but kept them creamy and rich.

Honey Lime Enchiladas
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 garlic clove, diced
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
16 oz green enchilada sauce
4 cups Monterey jack cheese
10 flour tortillas
1 cup of plain or honey greek yogurt
1 bunch cilantro

Combine the honey, lime, chili powder and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and marinade for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat¬†oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of¬†a 9×13″ baking dish. Add 3 cups of the cheese to the chicken mixture and stir together. Fill tortillas evenly with chicken and cheese mixture, roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Add yogurt to the remaining enchilada sauce and pour over rolled enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is brown and edges are crispy. Top with chopped fresh cilantro.