St. Patrick’s Day activities: Wednesday, March 17, is Saint Patrick’s Day, and though there won’t be group festivities or parades planned because of the pandemic, there are plenty of fun things to do before that date: Wear green, eat green, or just go run on the green grass at the upcoming dash at GREEN Lake on March 13 and 14.
1. Take on a craft.
If you or your child can cut out a heart shape, your family can do these fun Dancing Shamrock and Rainbow Shamrock crafts. Paste on some googly eyes, or draw your own. Make sure you have plenty of construction paper, glue, scissors and markers … and go!
2. Sign up for the St. Patrick’s Day Dash.
All ages! The St. Patrick’s Day Dash is an annual tradition in Seattle. The 2021 Dash will take place at Green Lake Park on both March 13 and March 14, to limit the numbers of runners due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Choose one day only.) Tickets start at $30. Register ahead.
3. Make something green to eat (and skip the dye)!
Of course you can settle for lime Jell-O or mint chocolate chip ice cream. Guacamole is another festive alternative, with the benefit of being naturally green.
Or you can try some green cake or green muffins — with no added dyes, too. Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious and the meal delivery service One Potato, has created some delicious options that won’t have the wee ones bouncing off the walls from artificial food-coloring overload.
Here are her Weelicious recipes for spinach smash cake and spinach cake muffins, both more than green enough for celebrating the Emerald Isle in the Emerald City.
Spinach Smash Cake
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Spinach Buttercream Frosting:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 6 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Spinach Smash Cake:
1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat the insides of 3-6 inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray, line bottoms with parchment paper rounds, then spray parchment.
2. Whisk together sifted flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl to combine. Set aside. In a blender, combine milk, egg whites and spinach, blend until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
3. Beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternately with the milk-spinach mixture, while beating on low speed. Begin and end with flour, and beat briefly until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into layers shows a few moist crumbs when removed. The layers will be a light golden brown around the edges and top and will have come away from the sides of the pans.
6. Cool the pans on a wire rack for 8-10 minutes. Unmold, peel off the parchment, and place the layers directly on the racks to cool completely.
Spinach Buttercream Frosting
1. In a blender combine milk and spinach. Blend until well combined.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer or a stand- mixer on medium-high, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add one cup of sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add remaining sugar, milk-spinach mixture, vanilla and beat on high until silky smooth.
To assemble the cake:
1. Cut off the very top of the cake to make all three layers even.
2. Place on 6 inch cake on a platter and spread 1/3 cup of the frosting. Top with another 6 inch cake and spread 1/3 cup frosting. Top with remaining 6 inch cake and use remaining frosting to cover the cake.
Note: The Spinach Smash Cake can sit at room temperature for 24 hours, refrigerate for 3 days or cakes can be individually wrapped and frozen up to 3 months.
Spinach Cake Muffins (Makes 24 Mini Muffins)
For a green breakfast treat, try these tasty green muffins.
Cook Time: 12 mins
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh spinach, packed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and puree.
3. Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combine.
4. Pour the spinach puree in a large mixing bowl.
5. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
6. Scoop batter into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way.
7. Bake for 12 minutes.
Both recipes reprinted with permission from Weelicious.
4. St. Patrick’s Day activities: Make Irish soda bread!
Thursday, March 11, at 4 p.m.: The King County Library System is hosting a free session in which kids 3 and up can learn how to make Irish soda bread, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day treat in the United States. Bonus: Stories will be told while your bread is baking.
For supplies and registration information, go to kcls.org.
5. Zoom trivia for St. Patrick’s Day.
Free event: On Wednesday, March 17, at 7 p.m., Kirkland Parks and Community Services is hosting a Zoom trivia match for kids age 7 and up on St. Patrick’s Day and the holiday’s history. You’ll need a Zoom account and a phone, tablet or computer to play. Also: Players should dress up in “St. Patrick’s Day” attire.
Three rounds of trivia, 10 questions per round.
There’s a prize for the winner! Sign up ahead.
6. Get your kids moving at home!
Watching Irish step dancing was one of my Irish-born grandmother’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day activities. Children can watch (and try to copy) Irish dance in this video, “St. Patrick’s Day Around the Puget Sound – Haley Prendergast School of Irish Dance,” one of many activities linked at the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle’s Irish Week website.
(Bonus: Check the Irish Heritage Club’s Facebook page on Saturday, March 13, at 12:30 p.m. to see the live stream of the Seafair Pirates Landing of St. Patrick.)
7. Scavenger hunt?
Look for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … or just in your own yard! Secretly sprinkle gold coins (well, gold foil-covered chocolate coins) throughout the area, and wait for your little leprechaun to find them all.