Peppermint and basil – waiting to be planted. I picked these up about a week ago and kept them in the house while it was still cold. They are now outside and I’m going to plant them this week in pots. I’ve found that the more delicate herbs seem to fair better in the summer heat in a pot where they retain moisture. It also enables me to move them around if needed.
Now the confession: I’ve already been plucking the basil leaves for culinary purposes. It really is my go-to herb for cooking and just for a little aromatherapy. Herbs are one of nature’s best gifts!
This is a throw-back post to last year, but I am sharing it again since I know I have many new readers! Whatever you do today, have fun!
Have you ever wondered what Fat Tuesday is all about? I wasn’t raised in a family or religion that observed the season of Lent; I didn’t really know what it was until I joined a denomination that does observe the season. Likewise, I was unfamiliar with Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras. Since we are heading into the beginning of Lent I thought it might be fun to look at these two observances and how they came to be, especially since they were originally one and the same.
Eating pancakes and going to Mardi Gras celebrations are fun activities, but their origins are thought to have started in the Middle Ages as a way to prepare for Lent. Since eating meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were restricted during Lent families would have three-day celebrations beginning on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and culminating in a great feast on Tuesday. The purpose of the celebration was to consume these items that would spoil during the forty days of Lenten fasting. By the beginning of the 20th century the celebration had been shortened to the one-day observance of Shrove Tuesday. This term was derived from the word shrive which means to confess one’s sins and receive absolution from the priest.
So where do the pancakes fit in to Shrove Tuesday? The English gave us this tradition of eating as many pancakes as humanly possible as a way to use up milk, fats, and eggs on hand. It’s easy to see where the nickname Fat Tuesday came from, right? But the Fat Tuesday nickname actually came from France as a reference to eating up all the fatty foods on that day. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.
Today Mardi Gras is associated with parties, parades, and revelry in the streets of many cities. It is thought that this tradition came about as a result of the Spring Equinox celebrations of the Romans and ancient pagan peoples of Europe, although many think that the celebrations began as a way to “let it all hang out” before the somber Lenten season’s restrictions mandated observance. These pre-Ash Wednesday celebrations were referred to as “Carnivals” which is derived from the Latin term carnem levare, meaning “to take away the flesh”. Most likely their exuberant excesses led to the Church’s decision to shorten the celebration to one day!
I hope you enjoy the fun associated with this week’s Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Carnival activities.
Vintage has been on my mind a lot lately. Vintage clothes, hats, linens, china and now jewelry. I have just a few rows to go on this crocheted shoulder wrap made of extra-fine merino wool, but my search for buttons was turning up empty. Then I found this pair of vintage clip-on earrings in a thrift store – perfect!
Who needs expensive mass produced buttons when you can have vintage clip-on earrings to hold your wrap together?
With temperatures in the upper 40’s, slightly gusty wind and a grey sky the February afternoon wasn’t exactly the ideal time to work in the yard, or maybe it was. It was time, I felt, to clean up and trim up a little as well as continue to dispose of the remains of plants that I knew would not be reappearing in the spring.
When finished I rolled the organics bin to the curb for pick up the next day and walked up the driveway with my mind far away. But this iris called out and said, “look, look at me”! There it was, all by itself, in it’s purple splendor. Maybe spring is closer than we think!
A mid-December trip to Lubbock delighted me in many ways. I found a very familiar looking Courthouse that led me to discover that it is one of the Architectural Triplets. The Concho County Courthouse was a delightful find and I enjoyed writing about it.
Click the links to hop over to the Doorway Into the Past blog to read about these Texas Courthouses!
I like to cook when I have the time and when the food is going to be eaten and appreciated; I find it very satisfying to prepare and serve a meal that people enjoy eating. Even after all the cooking and baking of Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m finding that January is making me want to continue – maybe it’s the cold weather or maybe I’m just hungry!
Recently I discovered spaghetti squash when it was served to me as a side dish. I loved the taste and appreciated the fact that it is a very suitable alternative to pasta (which I dearly love). When I saw the recipe titled Tuscan Spaghetti Squash I knew it was time to try something new. The squash does take a little time to prepare, but it is not difficult (see below). The sauce was made with whipping cream and parmesan cheese, how easy is that! All my favorite ingredients came together with the spaghetti squash: tomatoes, spinach, and garlic. And, yes, there’s bacon in there, too, but I did reduce the amount the recipe called for to keep this recipe within a healthy spectrum. The only thing missing is basil because my plant did not survive the New Year’s Day artic blast. My new comfort food!
Quick tip to prepare the spaghetti squash:
Choose a squash that has firm flesh and no soft spots or cracks and has the stem attached. Wash and place in a microwavable dish: microwave for 2 minutes, turn, and cook another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until flesh is beginning to soften. Cut in half vertically and scoop out the seeds (like a pumpkin). Coat with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place flesh side down on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until tender (strings should lift out with a fork).
Cool until it can be handled and use a fork to lift out the spaghetti like strings.
This is good advice for the New Year, but it truth I think it needs to be practiced more often. I never hesitate to suddenly turn off the road and head to someplace I’ve never been; practice it often and you will see that adventure is the most refreshing thing you can do for your inner self.
Happy New Year!
May the peace of Christmas be with you today!
Today we light the 4th candle on the Advent wreath, the candle of joy. As we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come” let us remember what the gift of the Christ Child means to us. Let us also remember others who need compassion and support, those whose hearts are hurting. Christmas is the perfect time to share God’s love and what we believe in a compassionate, loving way. After all, isn’t that what gift giving is all about? Let’s share our joy of a loving Savior with those who need His peace and comfort in their lives.