Shamrock[ish] shake

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It’s that time of year again where we all pretend we’re a little bit Irish! While the most common association with St. Patrick’s Day is drinking (and more specifically, drinking Guinness or Jameson!), there are some other things that come to mind. For me, it’s corned beef and cabbage. For others, it might just happen to be the famous McDonald’sShamrock Shake.

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a Shamrock Shake. The ingredients behind this shake are quite simple: milk, vanilla ice cream, green food coloring and peppermint extract. That’s it! I heard the morning dee-jays talking about the shakes on Monday morning while I was driving into work. I started thinking about how I could make my own at home, and what kind of healthy (or unhealthy) variations I could put on it. The dee-jays brought up the idea of putting crushed up thin mints into the shake, which sounded pretty awesome.

Yesterday evening, I made a shake for my husband.

I started with (cow) milk, vanilla ice cream, ice, and a few drops of peppermint extract. Food coloring is not something that I buy, so I added spinach to make the shake green. :) I wasn’t impressed with the flavor, so I added in a scoop of vanilla whey protein, some more ice, water and guar gum (to thicken it). And since my husband happened to have a box of Girl Scout thin mint cookies, I threw two of those in as well (they form a chocolate-y foam-y layer on the top). I had a sip- and it was good. But, since I’m being good, I gave it to Greg.

Husband approved!

(Greg’s a good sport- I made him pose like that.)

St. Patrick’s day was a big deal for me in college. I went to school in Baltimore, and my friends and I would usually go to an Irish pub downtown. We were often part of the “Great Guinness Toast,” which basically just tries to break the world record for how many pints of Guinness are consumed on a given day. This was back when I could easily handle 5 or 6 drinks in a night, and wake up without a hangover, and do it all again the next night. Those days are long gone. I don’t think I’ve done much to celebrate over the last few years. Last year I did a healthy take on “fish and chips,” which actually turned out pretty well! Trader Joe’s has some awesome looking corn-beef briskets, so we might buy one of those to throw in the crock pot all day, along with some cabbage. Cooking a crock-pot meal would be convenient because we’ll be gone all day in DC! I’m going to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum via a deal I bought on Groupon, and meeting up with the fabulous Jenny! I’m so excited!

One thing that’s for sure: I will be drinking a Guinness Draught at some point during the day. Not only do I love the taste of Guinness, I love the calories as well. People often think that it’s so much higher in calories because it’s so “filling,” but the truth is- it’s about as much as a light beer: 126 calories for 12 oz! I’ll take it!

What do you do for St. Patrick’s Day?