Top of the morning to ya, literally. It's 2:22 am. It doesn't get much top-pier than that. Daylight Savings Time really messes up my blogging schedule. I much prefer fall back to spring forward and I'm sure everyone that gets up early for work or doesn't have any free time until everyone is asleep agrees with me.
Anyway, as I was saying, top o' the mornin' friend! Kinley and I had an awesome St. Paddy's Day themed play date on Friday and I wanted to share just in case you would like to have one, too. We invited our best Mommy and baby friends, Jody and Cate, over and had a sham-ROCKin' time. :)
Jody and I have been dreaming of this sort of afternoon since Cate and Kin were just fetuses (or is it feti? Ha.) Our girls are only six months apart and we just knew they were going to have so much fun growing up together--riding shotgun in each other's Power Wheels, going swimming, spending summer Saturdays on the boat, bonding over their love of all things Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies, getting into trouble and, of course, themed play dates.
Now that the girls are both walking and old enough to enjoy an afternoon of green, sparkly, messy fun, we were all over the planning. I took the reins on the art projects and sensory activities, and Jody was in charge of festive food.
This first installment is going to strictly be about the Irish feast that Jody prepared. Mostly because it was so delicious it deserves it's own post, but also because Jody took most of the pictures of the girls doing activities and I will not have those pics to show you until tomorrow. My phone was filled up after about 45 minutes of play date. This is the fourth time my phone has filled up with pictures since Kinley was born. Like I have previously admitted, I am on par with the paparazzi parked outside of the hottest Hollywood nightspots. Hopefully I don't give my daughter Lindsey Lohan Syndrome.
So, back to the delicious lunch Jody prepared. She says these recipes were super, super easy. I'm going to make them again for our family St. Patrick's Day meal because they were perfect and soooo delicious. The smell when she took the lid off of the casserole dish made me wanna grab a fork and take the whole thing over to the table to eat by myself. Thank goodness I was able to resist...may have been a smidge rude. 
One bite may have you doing a jig or speaking with a new Irish accent, it's that magically delicious.
Cate, Kinley, and Cinderella and Ariel (the pony princesses,) agree that this lunch deserves two training spoons up!
The original recipe is from Sandra Lee over at Food Network.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb-Buttered Potatoes
Corned Beef:
3 lbs corned beef brisket, with spice packet
2 carrots, cut into medium sized pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped
2 cups apple juice
1 cup water
1 1/2 lbs baby red potatoes, sliced in half
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For Corned Beef:

Put the carrots and onions on the bottom of slow cooker, and put the corned beef on top. Arrange the chopped cabbage around the beef. Add the apple juice and 1 cup of water along with the contents of the spice packet. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours until the beef is tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter and keep warm.

For potatoes:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return them to the pot.

Add the butter, garlic, parsley, and salt, and pepper, to taste. Gently combine so that all the potatoes are evenly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with corned beef and vegetables from the slow cooker.

Who doesn't love a great set-it-and-forget-it Crockpot dinner, right?

I think we all would have been thrilled with just that fabulous lunch, but Jody also made dessert. And not just any dessert, but one made with Guinness. (Don't freak out, the girls had frosted animal cookies just in case the alcohol didn't all bake out.)
This original recipe is from good ol' Emeril Lagasse at Food Network.

Gingerbread with Spiced Creme Anglaise

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup turbinado sugar (recommended Sugar in the Raw
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup molasses
1 cup Guinness, or other dark beer
Spiced Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Spiced Creme Anglaise:

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and set aside. 
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. In a third bowl, combine the molasses and beer and stir to dissolve. Add the dry ingredients and beer mixture alternately to the egg mixture, beating after the addition of each. 
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Spoon the Creme Anglaise onto the middle of 12 dessert plates. Cut the gingerbread into 12 equal portions and place on plates. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Spiced Creme Anglaise:

Combine the cream, the zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat. 
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the hot cream, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to warm milk and stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve warm. (Or, to serve chilled, place in an ice bath to cool, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.)

This cake is so yummy and moist and just the perfect amount of sweet. We both loved it and Dave totally devoured the piece Jody left for him when he got home from work. So yummy and perfect for celebrating our first Shamrock Celebration. Both of these recipes taste especially festive if eaten while listening to the iTunes Radio station St. Patrick's Day Party. ;)

Okay, time for this SuperMom to turn in. Tune in tomorrow for part two of this exciting series! (I really hope my SuperBaby's internal clock didn't automatically spring forward.)

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