Shamrockin’ Half Marathon and Crockpot Lamb Stew


Our St. Patrick’s Day was really different this year, although we did do some of our traditional family celebrating, such as creating this cool party space for the leprechauns.

Ian ran in the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon—his first—and so our boys had an overnight with their besties while the leprechauns partied in our front yard. They all had a blast it seems (boys and leprechauns). Ian and I woke up bright and early on St. Patrick’s Day to make it to Raley Field for the half marathon.


I am so proud of him. Seriously, I am amazed. He’s awakened early nearly every day for five months to train, in part for this event. He’s run in the dark wee hours of the morning, in the winter cold and rain and fog to do this.


13.1 miles. In a row. His time: 02:00:56. Awesome! This is my best shot of him crossing the finish. Bunch of people were in my way, even though I had the best seat open to the public in the whole stadium.


I’m so proud of you, honey!


Afterward, we celebrated with some friends, eventually collected our children, and then came home to this:

Leprechaun gold



Leprechaun gold and golden chocolate coins! The leprechauns must have enjoyed the goodies we left them. And then we ate an Irish family feast.

Crockpot Lamb Stew

This is a recipe for a crockpot Irish stew I found and then altered. I don’t have a pretty photo of it, so you’ll just have to trust me. I made this crockpot version because I needed something that would cook itself while we were at the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon. It was delicious.

1.5 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cubed and browned in a skillet
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness stout
4 to 5 medium russett potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
2 onions, chopped
2 to 3 medium carrots
8 ounces of sliced crimini or shitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 stems of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
10 ounces frozen peas
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

Last Step: I’ll just put this right up front because this is the type of thing I always miss when reading and (not) following recipes: Add the peas in the last hour of cooking.

OK, First Step: Brown the lamb in a skillet. Add it to the crockpot. Add the Guinness, onion, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and tapioca. Stir a little. If your Guinness isn’t almost covering your lamb and veg items in the pot, add a cup of water or more Guinness.

Another Tip: Quick-cooking tapioca will make a really thick, luxurious gravy. I had never used it before. I found Kraft Minute Tapioca did the trick. It looks like Bob’s Red Mill also makes some tapioca products.

Cook your lamb stew in the crockpot for 10 to 14 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 hours. Then slept. Then turned it back on before we left for the day to cook for another 6 or 7 hours so it would be ready to eat for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.) I don’t think the extra cooking time harmed it at all. I think you just have to make sure your lamb is tender. Again, add the frozen peas in the last hour or so.

Makes 8+ servings. Enjoy!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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