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Millions of Irishmen and women from all over the world will be marking Saint Patrick's Day in the coming week. Whether you are hosting a huge party for Saint Patrick's Day, or are simply going to mark the Irish holiday within your own family, remember that you'll need healthy dishes and treats to offset all that Guinness beer!
You would be surprised how many wonderfully green options you have to choose from. We'll cover everything from lunch to dinner, and from snacks to desert and drinks. There is no question that you will have ideas on what treats to serve. The only question you'll have is what not to make for this beautifully green holiday.
Saint Patty's Smoothie
There's no better way to start the day than with a smoothie! Take a cup of milk, two cups of vanilla ice cream, and add a bunch of kiwis and fresh mint to the mix. Use your blender to complete the magic, and you've got a real vitamin bomb that is relatively healthy, despite the ice cream. Did I mention that this surprising combination is rather tasty, too? You'll find vitamins C, K, A and folate in kiwis, as well as potassium, magnesium and calcium. Mint is rich in vitamin C and carotenes.
For lunch, Shamrock pizzas will get everyone into the spirit of Saint Patrick's Day. Making your own pizza dough is the healthiest option, and it really isn't hard to do or even very time-consuming. You will need four cups of the flour of your choice (you can go wholemeal if you really like it healthy!), as well as fresh yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil.
To start off with, mix your fresh yeast into a bowl of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, until you see that the mixture is starting to froth, and is therefore active. Then, pour the mixture into a standing mixer with dough hooks, add in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and start adding your flour little by little — using your mixer's lowest setting. If you prefer, you can obviously choose to kneed the dough by hand instead.
After you get a nice, smooth dough mixture (add more flour or water as needed, you'll see when the dough is right), gently shape your dough into a round shape. Let rise for an hour, covered with a damp cloth.
While your dough is rising, you can start working on the tomato sauce. You can use canned tomatoes. Start with a little bit of olive oil and finely chopped garlic. Then add the canned tomatoes, and some salt and pepper to taste. Wait for most of the fluids to evaporate so that you have a nice, solid tomato sauce for your pizza. Once your pizza dough has risen to twice its size, you are ready to add the tomato sauce and grate a hard cheese of your choice on top.
Done? Now, it is time for the “shamrocks” — green bell peppers thinly sliced into rings. For the stem of the shamrock, cut a bit of the bell pepper into a rectangle. If you would like to create a bigger feast, fresh rocket is always great on top of a pizza. You can actually find types of rocket that vaguely resemble a shamrock too. Do remember not to place rocket in the oven. Instead, add it once your pizza is done.