Mad-Cap Irish Tea Party

Tiger and Firefox turn two!

Tiger and Firefox come to the party!

“It’s Saint Paddy’s day tomorrow,” says Vinny, “Let’s throw an Irish tea party! Get out your top hats and Irish bowlers, invite Tiger and Firefox,  and set the table.

“But what should we serve?” ask Will and Isla.

The drinks

“How about tea?” Vinny offers. “In Ireland people drink more tea than any other beverage. The only drink that comes close to tea there is Guinness, a stout Irish beer that is totally not on for kids!”

“Oh, Vinny! Kids can’t drink tea, either…,” say Will and Isla.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Vinny says right back. “Check out the power of the leaf!”

Vinny knew that tea is a wonderful drink for good health. It’s enjoying lots of  praise these days as a super-food. Tea keeps you well-watered without adding too much of the demon Sugar to your diet. Its nutrients keep the heart pumping and your brain sharp. And it doesn’t take much of a guru to see that teas are way ahead of colas for controlling weight. Even diet colas can’t compare, as recent studies are showing that artificial sweeteners in colas are adding to the sugar problem, not curing it.

“There are lots of caffeine-free teas that kids could have,” I say. “Herbal teas with a little spoonful of honey or maple syrup and a splash of low-fat milk would be good. I’m thinking Roibus, a red bush tea from South Africa, or mint tea, or rose hip tea, or even decaf green tea. Any tea will do for kids as long as it’s caffeine-free.”

“I’d like to have raspberry smoothy tea,” says Isla.

So that’s what we do.

Allow me to pour 🙂

The food

But a party needs more than just something to drink. As St. Paddy’s day is all about green, we talk about green pistachio ice cream and our famous green eggs.

We check out Irish soda bread, which is like a giant tea biscuit and easy for kids to make. My healthier version is made with whole-grain pastry flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil.

And we think about Colcannon, another famous Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and cabbage. If the cabbage is boiled until it is soft, the whole thing can be pureed together, with a little butter and milk and a dash of salt and pepper, to make a traditional food that kids might eat even if they don’t want to try cabbage on its own.

irish-soda-bread-final

Irish Soda Bread

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 cups unsifted whole-grain pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds  (optional great flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or add a teaspoon of vinegar to 1 1/2 cups milk)
  1. Grease and flour (or line with parchment paper) two 8-inch round cast iron fry pans (best results) or two cake pans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whir them for 30 seconds  in a food processor (this adds air to make the bread light and airy).
  4. Cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture, using hands or a pastry cutter, until evenly distributed.
  5. Add raisins and caraway seeds to the flour mixture and toss them with your hands to distribute them evenly.
  6. Beat eggs with the buttermilk.
  7. Pour egg/buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Blend well with a spoon. The dough should be heavy but not too wet. If it’s too dry, add a splash of buttermilk. If too tacky, add a little bit of flour.
  8. Divide the dough into two loaves, one for each pan. Dust hands generously with flour and mold dough into a round shape. Dust tops with flour. Using the wrong end of a fork cut a deep X into the dough. The traditional cross of St. Patrick prevents the bread from cracking.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until well browned (knife comes clean). Cool on a rack.

The songs

We end the party with some music. Will loves Lord of the Dance, which we always think of as Irish. But we learn with surprise it was composed by an American! And to top it off, it’s sung below by The Corries, a Scottish folk trio. Ronnie Brown, the lead singer, has a beautiful voice! See if this song doesn’t give you a few shivers.

Isla loves bears and dancing, which Jacquie Lawson helps us out with.

We fill the rest of the afternoon drawing rainbows, clovers,  snakes, and leprechauns and telling Irish stories, including the one about Saint Paddy’s day.

Party on, dudes! The luck ‘o the Irish to you!

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25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Herbal Tea Ireland
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 07:18:11

    IT MAKES ME HEALTHY..

    Reply

  2. sh0werstorm
    Mar 18, 2013 @ 12:39:32

    I’m a tea fanatic, providing it is milk and sugarless, My drink of choice at the moment is decaffeinated green tea, but now and then I intersperse it with redbush, Dragonfly tea do a really nice earl grey one. or Twinnings Earl grey or lady grey.

    Reply

  3. Vinny Grette
    Mar 17, 2013 @ 12:30:01

    Reblogged this on Cook Up a Story and commented:

    I’ve never tried reblogging before, but thought I’d give it a try this 17th of March. It’s St. Paddy’s day! Vinny’s Irish tea party from last year has lots of great links to recipes, songs and stories to help you celebrate the day with your family. Erin go bragh!

    Reply

  4. Chanel
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:51:04

    Love the cake and tea set so CUTE!!! Love the irish hats to show St.paddy’s day spirit!! I am Irish my self!! And the little kids ARE ahh-dorable 🙂 :*

    Reply

  5. Alia
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:50:20

    luv the hats they look sooooo cute . luvvvvvv the tea set and the little kids are sooooo CUTE!!!!!!!!!! 😀

    Reply

  6. Emily
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:50:20

    I love tea but, my mom tries to keep me away from it because it makes me hyper and I won’t fall asleep but, I’m going to tell my mom about this website so she can check out the tea thats caffine free so she can make it for me.

    Reply

    • Vinny Grette
      Apr 05, 2012 @ 15:14:43

      Emily – My favorite tea with no caffeine is Roibus. It’s an African bush tea. It looks red in the cup and has a good strong flavor. I like it without any sugar at all. You can get it nearly anywhere. Some people add lemon and honey. Let me know how you like it. You can also try mint tea or camomile tea (a sleepy time drink).

      Reply

  7. Anonymous
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:40:55

    The Dragon fruit looks very good

    Reply

  8. Sophia
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:35:01

    Hi it’s Sophia ,
    Oh I really liked the Hat’s !
    Did you make them, or buy them from the store ? 🙂
    There super awesome!(:

    Reply

  9. Quinton
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 10:01:21

    that looks good

    Reply

    • rhys
      Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:45:52

      go ireland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply

  10. Taylor
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 16:11:58

    The recipe I have made is birdy’s on a stick. I have enjoyed making this recipe because, we are doing, cook up a story at school. We are in diferent groups and after school a couple teacher will stay and help use do one of the recipes. The teacher that started this is Mr.Highley. We have not finished making the birdy’s on a stick yet but the teacher have already made them and tryed them and try them, they said they are really good! I can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

    • Vinny Grette
      Mar 27, 2012 @ 22:32:46

      Vinny thinks it’s awesome you are all trying the birdies recipe. Hope it turns out! And a really big thank you to Mr. Highley for everything he’s done to get the cooking program organized and to all the other teachers too for their help 🙂

      Reply

  11. janderoo92
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 00:37:07

    Camomile is a great tea for kids. My daughter will have that whenever the mood strikes to have tea. It’s also good for the digestion if tummies are a little upset.

    Reply

  12. Caroline
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 18:25:44

    What kind of tea would you recommend for a 5 year old’s “Fairy Princess Tea Party” – currently we’re planning on serving lemonaid in lieu of tea, but if you can recommend a kid friendly one I might give it a shot!

    Reply

    • Vinny Grette
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 22:51:02

      I might try a fruit tea and sweeten it with apple juice. You could try floating kid-friendly fruits in it, like raspberries. I would think at five years old it would have to taste sweet rather than tart. Let me know how it works out!

      Reply

  13. Stacia
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 10:06:23

    Love the hats! And the extra fiber tips. Smart.

    Reply

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