Mmmm. . . . CHOCOLATE

 

Chocolate Lovers – Rejoice!

Time to celebrate and have a BIG SALAD!!

Mmmmm...Chocolate

May Day -A Celebration of Spring!

It’s MAY! It’s MAY!…the Lovely Month of May!May Day - A Celebration of Spring!

TIME  TO  CELEBRATE!

May Day is a time of celebration and has been since ancient times. The earliest celebrations of spring appeared in pre-Christian times with the Festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, the Germanic countries Walpurgis Night celebrations, and the Gaelic Beltane, marking the beginning of summer.

Today, May 1st – May Day – is celebrated internationally with festivals, parades, May Poles, dancing, singing, FLOWERS, and ,,, cake? (Let’em Eat Cake!) . Today, too, May Day coincides with International Worker’s Day – a celebration of laborers and the working classes.

May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of May.  For me, it has always been about Flowers.

May Day -A Celebration of Spring! The giving of “May Baskets” — small baskets of flowers and/or sweets, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps on May Day is a tradition I learned in childhood.

I have fond memories of my sister and I helping our mother make small ‘cone’ baskets filled with blossoms and then running around early in the morning on May 1st,  hanging them  on the neighbors’ doors…anonymously was a big part of the fun!  I attempted to continue the tradition with my own children, but while living in the cold northern climes (and in a rural area) where rarely a blossom was in sight on May 1st. (and neighbors were miles apart!), I let the tradition fade away.

Still, I think of flowers on May Day, and might treat myself to a lovely bouquet! I prefer May Flowers -but any bouquet of blossoms will do!

May Flowers – Lily of the Valley  – are sweetly scented, delicate tiny white bells.  May Day - A Celebration of Spring.They are the ‘Flower’ of the month of May. In the ‘language of flowers’, the Lily of the Valley signifies the return of  happiness. The scientific name, majalis or maialis, means “of or belonging to May”, and old astrological books place the plant under the dominion of Mercury, since Maia, the daughter of Atlas, was the mother of Mercury or Hermes.

Lily of the Valley is a popular flower for weddings. It was the flower chosen by Princess Grace Kelly to be featured in her bridal bouquet. Most recently, it was featured in the bridal bouquet at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Lily of the Valley is in the coat-of-arms of the Norwegian municipality Lunner,  was the floral emblem of Yugoslavia, and also became the national flower of Finland in 1967.

Farewell to Winter – Spring is here!

It’s MAY!

 

 

Image credits:

Dormouse: Mel Turbyfill

May Basket: Great Group Activities

Lily of the Valley: Agnes DeCrits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish for a Day – St Patrick’s Day!

Irish for a Day - St Patricks Day!How Irish are You?

In celebration of St Patrick’s Day,

we can All be Irish for a Day!

Any reason is reason enough for a special celebration and helping the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day is a fun one:  wearing of the green, wishing the ‘luck o’ the Irish’ with shamrocks and gold coins, eating great food and drinking green drinks! It has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and lots of green!

 Who IS Saint Patrick?  and  What is this Day all about?

Irish for a Day - St Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin’s Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland

We can enjoy celebrating St Patrick’s Day just for the fun of it – without knowing what – or who – the celebration is all about but I like to have a little background.

St Patrick is the most commonly recognized patron saint and national apostle of Ireland (c. AD 385-461). He is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland.

Why March 17?  It is the date of Saint Patrick’s death, so the ‘Feast of Saint Patrick’  or the “day of the Festival of Patrick”  is celebrated every year on March 17 to honor him.

Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century.

Great FOOD and Green DRINKS!

The ‘Feast of Saint Patrick’ has it’s share of great food along with the revelry, festivities and a lot of green. 

Irish for a Day - St Patrick's Day!The classic St Patrick’s Day meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage is more American than Irish. It seems Irish Americans in the 19th century created a simple, hearty one-pot dish using spiced salty ‘corned beef’ to flavor plain cabbage as a tasty and cheaper alternative to cured pork and potatoes.

Today, other delicious Irish foods such as as Haddock soup, braised beef, and Shepherd’s pie are found on menus along with Corned Beef and Cabbage.

I am excited to finally find a recipe for making my own ‘corned’ beef. I will have to wait until next year as it takes at least 17 days to ‘cure’ the beef.  I like lots of potatoes and carrots with the cabbage and beef…more veggies, less meat.

Complete the meal with a dark rye bread  (I am not fond of the classic Irish Soda Bread) and a beer – it doesn’t have to be green – any dark stout will do!

Top off your meal with an Irish Whiskey or Baileys and cream.

St Patrick’s Day – What a deliciously fun day to celebrate!Irish for a Day - St Patrick's Day!

May the Irish hills caress you;
may her lakes and rivers bless you;
may the luck of the Irish enfold you;
may the blessings of Saint Patrick, behold you.

Go muirní cnoic na hÉireann thú.
Go mbeannaí a lochanna agus a haibhneacha thú.
Go dtimpeallaí an ádh Eireannach thú.
Go bhféacha tú beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Phádraig.

 

Image credits:

Pierson Library; Wikepedia; Celebrating St Patrick’s Day

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tidbits: Famous Fiction Writers and their Cocktails

  Literary Drinks:

A Fun Look at 10 Famous Fiction Writers and their Cocktails

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

From theKitchn, here is a brief look at some great American writers and their signature drinks

  “the boozy concoctions they drank and wrote about”

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Readers, what’s your cocktail of choice?

 

For Recipes: Click on each author or go to the Kitchn Post 

Read More: For more on great writers and their cocktails, check out Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide, which NPR profiled in this 2006 Morning Edition broadcast.

 

 

Unusual Flowers To Boost Your Spring Fever

Did somebody say something about Spring?

Unusual Spring FlowersSome of you are still deep in the winter wonderlands with cabin fever and only dreaming of spring flowers, while others of us are feeling The Fever:  Spring flowers, birds singing, the sun is shining and… aaaahh . . .ready for that intoxicating fragrance of fresh mown grass! 

 

Rain? Snow? or Shine? – No matter how close you are to springtime, these exquisite and exotic flowers will boost your Spring Fever!

 

So – Sit back, relax, and let these photos ‘take you away’ while you enjoy these unusual flowers.

Unusual Flowers To Boost Your Spring Fever

Unusual Flowers To Boost Your Spring Fever

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Unusual Flowers to Boost Spring Fever

What do you think – Ready for Spring?

Did you recognize or identify any of these unusual flowers?

 

 

Flower Image Source: Unknown

February Snow Scene: A. P./Wyoming

Happy Heart’s Day!

Happy Heart's Day!

 

May your day be filled with Joy and Happiness

and your heart filled with Love !

 

Happy Heart's Day

 

HAPPY  VALENTINE’S  DAY

 

 

 

 

 

Food Art Images source unknown

 

 

 

National PIE Day Today

 Perfect!  A National Pie Day in the middle of January National Pie Day

We’ve eaten our way through the fresh pies of summer, the apple pies of autumn, the satisfying pies of Thanksgiving, and all the holiday treats of Christmas. And on the horizon is the decadence of Valentine’s Day.  A National Pie Day in the middle of January is perfect!

It’s curious how a word, or a phrase, or even just a photograph can stimulate the appetite or create a craving: “The golden crust on the apple pie”  (previous Great Food Fun Places post and a Nora Jone’s song lyric) or Epicruious.com’s post “8 Gorgeous Reasons” to eat pie  with this image of a piled-high meringue pie – starts the mouth watering…and the creative cooking juices flowing. Ready to bake?

Pie is good! How else to brighten the cold dreary days of winter?  

 

National Pie Day  Remember – not all pies are dessert pies.  Think hot bubbling and rich savory Pot Pies . . . like this English Beef Pot Pie (The Yummy Life) or this Skillet Butternut Squash Pot Pie (Epicurious.com) National Pie Day

 

And what about Pizza? It’s a Pie!

 

In fact, you could do an entire PIE meal in honor of National Pie Day:

Appetizers: Mini quiche pies or fresh chopped veggie-topped flatbread pizzas

Entrée: Pizza – thin crust, deep dish – any yummy pizza

Dessert: Well…just take your pick!  Being January, I usually think of cherry (President’s day and all).

A special (dessert) pie from my childhood has been on my mind lately, reminding me that I haven’t been made it in a long time. This pie is on the rich, elegant side  and oh, so good! – a dark dense chocolate layer with a rich vanilla custard topped with fluffy whipped cream and chocolate shavings . . . I’m thinking Valentine’s Day. . . might as well take pie-eating into February!

Perfecting Potatoes

From BAKED  (vintage vendor cart)  to FRIES  (Pommes Frites in Belgium)  to . . .    COCKTAIL status?

Perfecting Potatoes

Enter:  MASHTINI  (aka MashPatini)

Mashed potatoes served in a martini glass — A fun and elegant way to present potatoes.

I encountered my first Mashtini/MashPatini Bar at the After Party of WordCampPhoenix (a fabulous weekend of learning more about websites and blogs!).  Served as part of an appetizer ‘bar’, we scooped creamy mashed Voilá -a delicious, satisfying and very elegant serving of a comfort food!Perfecting Potatoes

I  thought this was such clever creative idea – one of those “why haven’t we thought of this before?” things when I discovered it has been thought of before!   In doing a little research (it didn’t take much) I came across a reference from waaaay back in 2010 – yikes. Where have I been?Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtinis & MashPatinis

 Mashtini/MashPatini bars have apparently become quite popular, especially in the catering aspect for banquets, weddings, even holiday parties. Think of it… the options are endless as are the ‘flavors’, combination of toppings and presentations.Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtini/MashPatini

Thanks to Bob Evans (refrigerated mashed potato company), the Mashtini has been elevated to elegant ‘cocktail’ status. More than just mashed potatoes piled in a glass and covered with toppings, add a little flair, a twist of the wrist and they are works of art – Edible Art!  With names like The ClubSmokey Sub BBQAutumnCarbonnaraMac’n Mashtini,  Thankstini, and Sweet TaterTwist.

Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtini/MashPatiniBob Evans offers recipesvideos, even a downloadable Mashtini Planning Guide!

When is YOUR next Mashtini (MashPatini) Party??

Images from BobEvans Mashtini and Great Food Fun Places

Potatoes First Then Hot Dogs?

Food Vendor: Vintage Baked Potato CartHere is a fun photo that came my way:   A “Street Vendor” selling Baked Potatoes.

I don’t know what ‘circa’ the photo is but it is fun to to see what appears to be a vintage version of a ‘fast food’ service or a ‘street vendor’

Street Food is onsidered ‘ready-to-eat food or drink’ sold on the street (or other public place such as a market or fair) from a portable ‘stall’.

When I think of street vendors, I think of  hot dog stands (or carts) on New York City street corners. While in Belgium, I had fun purchasing Pommes Frites (french fries served in paper ‘cones’ – no ketchup!) from street vendors. There were also vendors during the holidays selling fresh roasted chestnuts.

But ‘street food’ and street vendors have been around for a long time …. long before hot dogs!  There was street food in ancient Greece as early as 200 BC. Supposedly, Greek native, Theophrastus (successor to Aristotle) held very low regard for the “custom of street food”  which at that time, in that region, was small fried fish. There is also evidence, discovered during the excavation of Pompeii, of a large number of street food vendors.

Street food vending is found around the world, and varies within regions and cultures. The reasons to purchase street food varies as much: convenience, reasonable prices, ethnic cuisines experiences, tradition, and charm! Historically, street food vending was considered a convenience for the urban poor who didn’t have kitchens in their homes.

Street food vending has become quite popular and has expanded from small hand carts like this vintage baked potato cart to large ‘trucks’ Remember God Save the Cuisine,?  Monsterlicious PBJ  ? and Jolly Old England ?

According to a 2007 study from the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day – Are you one of them? And if so, what is your favorite?!!

Genius Solutions to Simple Problems

Re-Using, Re-Cycling or just Re-Inventing  —  Storing, Protecting, and Hiding

Here are some Great-truly Genius!-ideas to make your life in this New Year easier. These Genius Solutions are so simple and practical, you will wonder why you never thought of them yourself!

89 Genius SolutionsClick  here  to see all 89 of these amazing ideas.

 

Shared from a post found on Viralnova – Trending Stories on the Web