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Homemade Shamrock Shake

I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day pass by without indulging in a mint shake. I searched Pinterest for recipes and found a homemade version of McDonalds Shamrock Shake. Never having tasted a Shamrock Shake I realized I’d have no way of knowing if it was close to the real thing. So, I decided to hold a giant mint shake taste test with three judges: me, Eric and Arielle.

When Eric walked through the door after a week in St. Louis I hugged him and said “Suprise! I’m cooking for the blog again… try this!” Even though he’s not really a fan of mint flavoring I think the fact that he hadn’t seen me in a week won over. He pulled up a chair and pretended to be interested in what I was doing. I’m a lucky gal.

The battle was between…

McDonald's Shamrock Shake

The homemade version…

I had to add green M&M's.


Steak ‘n Shake – Mint Cookies ‘n Cream Shake

And introducing Kd Rausin’s Mystic Mint Shake. Named by my beautiful daughter. I love the way her brilliant mind works. She’s already plugging my middle grade novel that comes out in November. MYSTIC. I’m a lucky mom too.

This one is for the over 21 crowd... if you live in the United States.

Guess which one I voted for as best? Mine of course! It had Bryers Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream my all time favorite ice cream. How could it not be the best one? Eric agreed with me. Arielle chose Steak N Shake Mint Cookies’n Cream. She’s a huge cookies and cream fan. I had a feeling that one would be her favorite. She told me if I added regular Oreo’s instead of mint Oreo’s to mine it may have won. Nah, I’m a mint fan all the way. And in case you were wondering the homemade version of the Shamrock Shake is very similar to the real thing. It all depends on how much peppermint extract you use.

If you would like to try the homemade version of the Shamrock Shake visit the browneyedbaker. And if you would like to make Kd Rausin’s Mystic Mint Shake see the recipe below. I’ll include a kid friendly version because after all MYSTIC is a children’s book. But you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it.

Kd-Rausin’s Mystic Mint Shake

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert


  • 2 tablespoons Milk (I used whole milk.)
  • 1 cup Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • 2 Mint Oreo's


  • 2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup Whipped Cream


Step 1
Add all the ingredients except the whipped cream in a blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes. Top with whipped cream.


I’m usually pretty good at resisting dessert temptation. Usually. Turns out these cake balls have a power over me that I can’t resist. I don’t know whether it was sheer joy that they actually were tasty, the spider cake balls I made for Halloween were a tad on the nasty side, or if it was their small size. I’d pop one in my mouth and then feel as though a few hundred more wouldn’t hurt me. When I reheated the morning’s leftover coffee after preparing the milk chocolate dip – I knew I was in trouble. It wasn’t long before I was walking around the house holding my stomach wondering just how many sparkly bites of joy had crossed my lips. And there’s still another pan of cake balls in my refrigerator. One cake makes a bazillion cake pops/balls.


Sparkly Bites of Joy – Pot of Gold Cake Balls

Serves 36
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Website Bakerella


Pot for pot of gold

  • 2 Sugar cookie package

cake balls

  • 2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2fl oz Green food coloring


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and find two eight inch cake pans. Grease and flour the cake pans. Grease two cupcake tins for the cookie dough.
Step 2
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and blend in all the liquid ingredients. (Including the food coloring.)
Step 3
In a separate mixing bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Step 4
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for several minutes until it is all combined.
Step 5
Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes.
Step 6
Cookie dough pots: Place both cookie dough packages in a bowl and add a half cup of cocoa. Stir together until the dough is black.
Step 7
Break the dough into 18 separate balls. Each should be about the same size.
Step 8
Put each ball into a cupcake compartment in the cupcake tin. Press the dough to the bottom and up the sides.
Step 9
Place the cupcake tin in the oven for ten minutes. Take out and gently push down the center of each cookie pot. Place it back in the oven for 5 more minutes and repeat. 4 more minutes - push down and if the cookie dough still looks wet return it to the oven for another minute or two. Once the dough looks dry in the center it's done. Let cool for five minutes in the pan and then pop the pot out using a knife along the edge. If the bowl/pot doesn't pop right out the cookie is not done. Put it back in the oven. The total cooking time is around 20-22 minutes.
Step 10
How to make cake balls: When the cake is done and completely cooled, crumble the cakes into a large bowl. Add half the can of cream cheese frosting and mix well. Form the dough into little balls. Place the balls in the freezer for an hour or the refrigerator for a few hours.
Step 11
Melt the chocolate in a microwave. Heat for 20 seconds - stir and repeat until the chocolate is melted.
Step 12
Dip the cake balls into the chocolate and set on parchment paper to dry.
Step 13
Place the balls in the cookie pot and you have a sparkly bites of joy pot of gold!

Day five of my St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza. Whew! I made it. I feel as though I’ve spent the past five days in a very unnatural habitat – my kitchen.

Here’s a quick recap of the recipes.

Day 1:

Pot of Gold

Day 2:

Shepherd's Pie - vegetarian style

Day 3:

Chocolate Mint Eclair

Day 4:

Beer Fondue

And last – at least for a few days… My own creation (kind of but not really) cake pops pot of gold. I combined two recipes. I took the pot of gold cookie pot and tried it in a regular sized cupcake tin. It worked! Then I made the cake pops from Bakerella‘s recipe and added yellow chocolate to make them look like gold. I’ll call them sparkly bites of joy.

When you look at those pots are you seeing a potential Easter basket? Hmm.

Eric thought the sparkly bites of joy entire ensemble was delicious. I prefered the chocolate mint eclair to the cake pops. But then Bryers mint chocolate chip ice cream is one of my all time favorite desserts. Eric is more of a pumpkin or pecan pie kind of guy. Blah. We have extremely different tastes in music too.

I’m cheating a wee bit and ending this post before I put up the recipe. Sunday, I’ll add the steps and pictures to the GetMeCooking website. They have a lot of other great recipes too – even ones that aren’t vegetarian. Eek! You should take a peek.

Day four of my St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza… Fondue!

Every January fifth Eric and I can be found at the Melting Pot enjoying our anniversary fondue. It’s one of my favorite foods. I even tried to have a fondue party when I was in high school many, many years ago. It ended with a group of us girls dumping a pot full of half melted cheese in the woods. Silly us, we thought the cheese had to be cooked in the fondue pot over the little can of sterno. Yeah, kind of embarrassing to admit.

This recipe is cooked on a stove and is almost as good as the Melting Pot’s version. Almost. It sure makes for a quick easy dinner with very little to clean up.

Beer Fondue

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes


  • 1 bottle Beer (12 oz.) light-colored beer
  • 1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups Shredded Gruyere cheese (8 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon course grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • Apple slices, bread cubes, vegetables, potato slices


Step 1
Pour the beer in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until it stops foaming and then reduce the heat to low.
Step 2
Mix the cheeses in a bowl with the flour.
Step 3
Add the cheese mixture to the beer a little at a time. Stir constantly until all the cheese has melted.
Step 4
Add the mustard, salt and red pepper. Transfer the mixture to a fondue pot and sprinkle with nutmeg. Or if you don't have a fondue pot simply pour the cheese in individual bowls and eat as quick as you can! Of course there's always the microwave if the cheese gets too thick. Yum!


Think Thin Mint Blizzard! Yum!

Day 3 of St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza!

Today I learned a very important lesson… read the entire recipe carefully the night before or the morning of baking. No, I didn’t forget any ingredients. I had that checked off my list two days ago. What I didn’t realize was that this recipe needed 2 hours in the refrigerator. Ooops. And I discovered I had to add those two hours to my baking time just as I remembered Kai’s orthodontist appointment that I also didn’t make time for in my day. Ooops again.  What I thought was going to be a quick dessert turned out to be hours in the kitchen… after the orthodontist appointment.

If you like Andes mints or Dairy Queen’s peppermint Blizzard. You’ll love this dessert. It feeds a crowd. Perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day party.

Chocolate Mint Eclairs

Serves 9-12
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
From magazine PIL Cookbooks


  • 1 box Whole Chocolate graham crackers
  • 1 container (8 ounces) Frozen whipped Topping
  • 3 cups Lowfat milk
  • 2 (4-serving) Packages vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint or peppermint extract


  • 6-8 drops green food coloring


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract


Step 1
Grease a 13x9 baking dish and line the bottom with graham crackers. I used 7 whole crackers and a half. As tempting as they are don't eat too many. You're going to need the entire box.
Step 2
Whisk the milk and the packages of pudding.
Step 3
Add the food coloring and peppermint extract.
Step 4
Fold in the whipped topping. I was tempted to add some cream cheese to this mixture. Alas our cream cheese was out of date... way out of date. Maybe next time.
Step 5
Spread half the pudding mixture on top of the crackers.
Step 6
Add more crackers. Cover the giant pan of mint chocolate goodness and store it in your fridge for two hours. Now, go fold one of those piles of laundry strewn across your bed.
Step 7
For the frosting: Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Stir in the milk and cocoa. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. It tastes just like melted Andes mints.
Step 8
Pour the frosting over the graham crackers and place it back in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes. If you try and cut it right away after pouring the frosting you will have a big mushy mess. Decorate your masterpiece for St. Patrick's Day and enjoy!




Today is day 2 of my St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza.Yesterday’s pot of gold was a big hit with the high school crowd and today’s shepherds pie received two thumbs up from Arielle and Eric. I believe I heard Arielle say, “You’re keeping the leftovers in the fridge… right?” And Eric replied with, “Yeah but this is a get up in the middle of the night and sneak some dish.” My heart smiled. It’s nice to know my cooking skills are improving. Even though last night Kai told me the Food Network had the perfect show for me – America’s Worst Cooks. Anyone who lives with teens has to be tough. Insults are the way they express their love. I’m not sure why they teach pregnant moms deep breathing exercises. The moms who really need it have teens. Breathe in – remember that little baby you held in your arms? – Breathe out – I know they still love me.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Misc Serve Hot


  • 2 bags MorningStar Crumbles
  • 1 box MorningStar Sausage (Cut into small pieces)
  • 1 cup onion
  • 2 cups Frozen mixed vegetables thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (6oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2lb Refrigerated mashed potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup Shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 heaped teaspoons Sugar


  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper and red pepper


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12x8-inch dish with cooking spray. Cook the crumbles and sausage in a large skillet on medium heat. (I add a little olive oil.)
Step 2
Add the onion first and cook for two minutes.
Step 3
Next, add the vegetables, broth, tomato paste, water, parsley and sugar. Sprinkle the salt and black and red pepper to taste. Stir everything together.
Step 4
Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top.
Step 5
Sprinkle the cheese and green onions over the mashed potatoes. Spray a sheet of foil with nonstick spray and place it over the shepherd's pie while baking. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Oh, so good!