Leap year only comes around every four years and this year, we will find ourselves enjoying an extra day in February. We receive 366 days as opposed to the 365 days that we are accustomed to. This extra day is given to us because of astronomical reasons, and an untidy condition in our solar system and calendars. Leap year keeps our calendars in sync and has prompted some interesting traditions and customs.

One known custom is marriage proposals given by women instead of men. This tradition was said to have begun in fifth century Ireland according to Irish history. The legend says the issue of women waiting too long for men to propose was brought to St. Patrick’s attention and he offered this decree for women. Most men, I would assume, want to thank St. Patrick for this tradition of romantic overtures directly after wrapping up Valentine’s Day; no pressure fellas.

On the plus side, if you are a leap year day baby then you have the perfect excuse for being in your 30s and not having a driver’s license. Although a leapling’s birthday only comes around every four years, some celebrate every year. Some choose Feb. 28 or March 1 to partake in their birthday celebration.

Shepards_PieDesiree Arnold/Foghorn

Some of the leap year traditions began in Ireland, but they have made their way around the world. Shepherd’s Pie is a well-known Irish dish and it is full of protein, veggies and amazing flavor.

Some of the leap year traditions began in Ireland, but they have made their way around the world. Regardless if you are celebrating a leap year birthday or celebrating an engagement, good food is always the best pairing. In Irish theme, I offer a healthy spin on the Irish dish Shepherd’s Pie. It is full of protein, veggies and amazing avor. Making my dish is the only type of proposal I will be offering this leap year. Enjoy the extra day this month and this Irish-inspired dish!

Sensible Shepherd’s Piedownload

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)

1 med onion (11⁄2 cup chopped)
6 med carrots (21⁄2 cup chopped)
1 package mushrooms (sliced)
11⁄2 cup frozen peas
1-11⁄2 lb gold potatoes (chopped)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (I use a cauliflower based mash to cut down on starch and carbs)
1 1⁄2 cup beef broth (low sodium)
2 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
2 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh thyme ( finely chopped)

*(1 1⁄2 tablespoon dried) 2/3 cup milk (low fat)
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon our
1 1⁄2 tablespoon salt
1 1⁄2 tablespoon pepper

Steps:

1. Brown meat

2. Drain of fat
3. In separate skillet heat oil
4. Add in garlic, onions and carrots (cook until softened, 7-8 minutes)
5. Add in mushrooms, thyme (cook about 6 minute

6. Add in cooked meat
7. Add in flour and blend in (let cook 2 minutes)

8. Mix in beef broth
9. Stir in peas
10. Pour mixture in 9×11 in pie pan
11. Preheat oven 350 degrees
12. Boil chopped potatoes and cauliflower (until softened)
13. Mash potatoes and cauliflower together until smooth
14. Heat milk, butter, salt and pepper
15. Add to potato/cauliflower mixture (until smooth)
16. Spread potato/cauliflower mixture on top of meat mixture

17. Bake 25 minutes

18. Serve and enjoy!

Suggestion: Top with cheese during the last five minutes of baking

Yields: 10 servings

Cost: $1.90 per serving


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Desiree Arnold

Desiree Arnold is a featured columnist/reporter for the Del mar College Foghorn and is well-known for her "Penny Palate." She joined the staff in Fall 2015. You can reach Desiree at darnold@foghornnews.com or Follow her on Twitter @DesireeArnold17.

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