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St Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it’s my Irish blood, but every year when the snow first begins to melt, I just can’t stop counting down the days until I can hear those bagpipes blow again. I love it all: the colors, the parades, the music, and, most of all, the gluten! Last year however, turned out to be a much different celebration than the years past because of my decision to go gluten-free. I still got the colors, parades, and music, but navigating my way through the kegs of green beer and festive baked goods turned out to be a little St. Pat-trickier than I thought!
So this year I have started training early. After approximately two months of research, I have compiled what I feel to be the best Gluten-Free Survival Guide an Irish girl can have by her side on the best day of the year. I’ve decided that the keys to success for St. Patrick’s Day 2015 are a “can do” attitude, pre-emptive cooking, and a backpack stocked with emergency libations. Here’s a brief look at my game plan for the big day:
For breakfast - Bangers and Mash
If made with the right gluten-free sausage, Bangers and Mash will start my day off with a great base and zero guilt! I found my favorite recipe at Mom…What’s For Dinner.
Naturally gluten-free, Corned Beef and Cabbage is also a piece of cake to make! (Gluten-free cake, of course.) The only thing to be careful of with this dish is over-indulgence. We’re only at lunch, and the festivities are just beginning! Here is an easy recipe from Celiac.com.
I might have to make two of these, just for the leftovers. Shepherd’s Pie is by far, my favorite traditional Irish meal and deceivingly not a pie at all. It was first introduced to me on a trip to see my good friend, a Galway native, who cut the entire pie into fifths and served with a side of ketchup. I haven’t been able to eat it any other way since! It takes a little longer to make, but when you make two it’s worth it! The Gluten-Free Homemaker has a great recipe that offers a lot of room for experimenting with whatever vegetables you’d like to add or subtract.
One loaf of this bad boy will make even the gluten eaters jealous! It may not be the same as a Kelly green cupcake, but Irish Soda Bread is always a crowd favorite. A few ingredient tweaks and voila! Gluten-free goodness.
Gluten-free drinks will probably be the biggest hurtle, but luckily the Irish have thought of that too. Cheers to that, or as the Irish would say, Slainte!
Magners and Bulmers both provide Irish ciders that are easier on the stomach than some of the overwhelmingly sweet American ciders. After these run out, I will be well-prepared with my favorite gluten-free beer, Omission IPA. This list of gluten-free beers from Bon Appetit can serve as a great reference as well.
For an added twist, I may even try combining a Magners with an Omission Lager and a splash of black currant liqueur for a festive Irish Snakebite.
In short, I am looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day this year more than ever, because I now have an excuse to work on my cooking skills and avoid the junk that is usually associated with the holiday. And if my plan somehow goes astray, I will stick to the cardinal rule of gluten-free living: there’s always meat and potatoes.