Gluten-free St. Patrick’s Day favorites

I am a mix of ethnicities, but I do have a spot of Irish in me. That might explain why I like St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday — that and the fact that no presents are involved!
We have a neighbor who always makes corned beef and cabbage and invites us all over. (Every corned beef we checked was gluten free. Read ingredients in seasoning packets, though these are usually gluten free too.)

And I always make sure to have a loaf of Irish Soda bread (Check this blog soon for a gluten-free recipe). I also do a little decorating with green and bring out my Belleek vases and bowls.

But my children’s favorite part of this holiday was always Irish Potatoes. I am not talking about the kind you bake in the oven and slather with butter. I mean those tiny little confections usually made with sugar, coconut and cream cheese, rolled into little balls and coated in cinnamon.
The end result is a candy that looks just like a tiny Russet potato. We first discovered them years ago in a local candy store and were thrilled they were gluten free. That meant my daughter who has celiac disease could enjoy them along with everyone else.

I just ran across a similar box of Oh Ryan’s Irish Potatoes at Wegmans. They appear to be gluten-free by the ingredients list and when I contacted the company, Dave Lamparelli confirmed they are gluten free. In fact a gluten free label will be added to the packaging next year, Lamparelli said.

If you want to make your own, you’ll find a recipe at allrecipes. Original Irish potato candies did actually contain mashed potatoes and you’ll find a recipe that includes them at group recipes.

Your children might also enjoy marking St. Patrick’s Day with green marshmallow Peeps from Just Born company. The peeps are gluten free – the modified food starch is made from corn – but the company recommends always reading product labels for the most up-to-date information. The green peeps are really made for Easter but are perfect for the day of leprechauns and pots of gold.

You’ll find a cute idea for a fresh fruit rainbow that ends with a pot of gold from Heidi Kelly at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom. Highly inventive Heidi also has recipes for shamrock smoothies and muffin tin shamrock snacks.

You can also “dust” your table with shamrock “glitter” and credit the  leprechauns. Children always seem to enjoy the mischievous antics of these magic fellows.  I remember my children coming home from elementary school with stories of how the leprechauns mysteriously created a disarray in their classrooms when the students were outside for free play — upside down chairs, knocked over stacks of books and fairy dust everywhere. The teachers could never explain how the leprechauns got away with it.

Whatever you do to mark St. Patrick’s Day in a gluten-free way, we hope you have fun, experience a little magic and get touched by a little luck.

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