Recipe Swap: St. Patrick's Theme

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We're not the least bit Irish, but we can't help joining in the fun this time of year. Thankfully this holiday doesn't involve gifts or expensive planning. It is a great time to gather the kids in the kitchen to plan and execute a fun, family, St. Patty's meal. We relied on Foodily.com as our go-to resource for recipes. First, we wanted to try a traditional Irish Soda Bread--and we found a slew options.

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The FoodNetwork option was out favorite. It's kid-friendly because the mixing involves fingers. Throw some aprons on the kids and let them have fun getting good and doughy. While the bread is baking, leave the aprons on and try out some St. Patrick's crafts like making these Leprechaun Beards courtesy of French Knot Blog.

Ingredients

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 cup currants
* 2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds
* 1 tablespoon melted butter
* 1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, work the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, the buttermilk, the currants and the caraway seeds and mix into the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough forms a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly greased loaf pan. Score the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

For the main course, we wanted a hearty Irish Stew that would be perfect for dipping our bread. Back to Foodily for another search. This time we came up with dozens of options. The photo of this beef-stock stew (with wine!) drew us in. The Irish Beef Stew recipe is from Simply Recipes and we think we've found a winner.

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We can't wait to see what you're cooking up!

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