St. Patrick’s Day Fun with Tasty Recipes from Food Network and Allrecipes

by Alice Knisley Matthias

Did you know that Ireland is known as “The Emerald Isle?”

Ireland got the nickname from all the green leaves, stretches of grass and rolling hills in the country. An emerald is a green gemstone and an Irish writer wrote a poem where he called his country “the emerald of Europe.”

The original color people first used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t green. It was blue! Green became a part of St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the 18th century when the shamrock was named as a national symbol. Thanks to the shamrock, and Ireland’s many trees and hills, the color green became the color of Ireland. 

Green is also the color worn by the mythical characters called leprechauns. Stories about playful leprechauns date back to before the color green was mentioned in tales. Leprechauns were first described in fables wearing red and gold jackets. 

One legend says we are supposed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or risk getting pinched by a leprechaun! Why? Traditional folklore says wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns. If they can’t see you, they can’t pinch you! 

Wearing the color green on St. Patrick’s Day is also a way to bring good luck. People celebrate the holiday on March 17th with parades, bagpipes, Irish flags and shamrock decorations. The city of Chicago dyes an entire river bright green to celebrate! 

Leprechaun Language

Alice Knisley Matthias

I couldn’t believe what I stumbled upon,

There he was before me. A real leprechaun!

He said, “I just woke from my long morning nap.”

Stretching his arms, he fixed his giant green cap.

He had big black eyes and a rather round nose,

With emerald green shoes that turned up at the toes.

He said, “You know, that soon it’s St Patrick’s Day!”

“I’ll share with you friend, something the Irish say.”

They have a saying that is oh, so clever,

“Erin Go Bragh means Ireland forever!”

Let’s make some treats that any leprechaun would be happy to find at the end of the rainbow with these gold coins stashed in a yummy cupcake!

Our friends at Food Network shared their recipe from The Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook for Gold Coin Cupcakes!.

Hollow out the top of cupcakes using a paring knife. (You can also try to scoop out a small amount from the inside with a spoon.) Fill with small scoops of ice cream and top with gold sequin sprinkles; freeze until firm. 

We talked with the food experts at Allrecipes about a delicious green shake you and your family can make for St. Patrick’s Day. Allrecipes Editor, Corey Williams says, “This is obviously a community favorite judging by the reviews! It seems like people especially love the green decorating sugar garnish.”

Shamrock Shake 

There are the six ingredients to make this top-rated copycat Shamrock shake recipe.

Here’s what you need:


2 cups vanilla ice cream

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ teaspoon mint extract, or more to taste

9 drops green food coloring

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, or to taste

2 tablespoons whipped cream, or to taste

½ teaspoon green decorator sugar, or to taste


Blend ice cream, milk, mint extract, and food coloring together in a blender until smooth. Drizzle chocolate syrup around the inside of 2 tall glasses; pour shake into the glasses. Top with whipped cream and green sugar.

Wishing you the luck of the Irish and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Alice Knisley Matthias writes about food, garden, family and education. Her work appears in The New York Times, Allrecipes, Taste of Home, Food Network, Washington Post, Eating Well, The Kitchn, Delish, Birds and Blooms, Woman's Day, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, America's Test Kitchen, Boys' Life and Parade. Her book, "Tasty Snacks in a Snap!" is published by Scholastic for young readers. You can read her work at Home / Alice Knisley Matthias ( and follow her at Alice Knisley Matthias (@aliceknisleymatthias) • Instagram photos and videos and @AKnisleyMatth ( / Twitter (