The process of organizing my life at home and at work starts with organizing my mind and emotions. I get started, then put it all away because things get busy. As I was sitting here last night putting things together, I knew I wouldn’t get a whole week’s worth of celebrations done – this once a week thing really isn’t going as well as I thought it would – so I figured since we all have to eat, I just posted the food celebrations. This is about as organized as my mind will get this week!
There are very important things to do because Miss B is here visiting for the week, and our precious granddaughter gets the attention. I won’t be spending a great deal of time on the computer unless she is napping or in bed for the night. There are many fun things on the plan, but I’ll go into those when the week is over so I can share pictures with you. I am finishing this part of it up after getting breakfast for her, and I’m watching her as she enjoys a Looney Tune cartoon. She has grown up so much, so quickly! She’s tiny for a 5 year old, but she is sitting on the old rocking horse that she used to struggle to get onto when she was a toddler and now it’s a shock, with as hard as she’s rocking it, that she isn’t getting bucked off onto her head! I remember when her little legs wouldn’t even reach as far as the rockers. It hurts my heart sometimes, that we are missing so much with the grandkids. Every time we see them, so much is different! This must be how my Grandma felt when I was growing up. I know she said it, but to me I wasn’t that different, so it didn’t make a lot of sense. I get it now, all the way down to my heart and soul.
Grandma made visits to her house so special in every way, from the food she prepared for us, to the lovely aromas that were always happening in her kitchen. I want to be that for my grandchildren, so to give them a taste of it, I made her special oatmeal cookies yesterday. Just the smell of them baking takes me back to her kitchen, and I’m little again, eating a cookie with a glass of milk, sitting at her kitchen table watching her move around the kitchen. I wish that she could have met these precious children, I know that she would have made each of them feel so special, just like she did with my brother and I while we were growing up. Each new day I think about her, and I hope that as these children grow up, they look back and remember me the same way, and that maybe, just maybe, I will have had as big an impact on their lives as she did on mine.
Food Celebration of the Day –
Monday – August 19
National Hot & Spicy Food Day – Today is a day to indulge in some hot and spicy food. None of the celebration calendars list which particular types of hot and spicy food would be good, just so long as they are both hot AND spicy. Yeah, my taste buds are sissy, so I’ll have something slightly spicy and a teensy bit hot. Doesn’t THAT just take a bit of the scorch out of the intent of the celebration?
National Potato Day – I love potatoes. Not just a little. I love them a LOT. Now, starches and I don’t get along on a dietary level – as they cause my weight to increase after one tiny serving, but oh my goodness, they taste good. I don’t care HOW they are fixed, baked, boiled, fried, potato chipped or mashed, I love them. Unfortunately, they make the arthritic pain in my hands horrendous, as to all nightshade vegetables to anyone with arthritis, so I do my best to avoid them and substitute sweet potatoes instead. It’s just not the same though, even though they are also good, they just don’t compare. Did you know that Americans eat more potatoes than any other kind of vegetable? On average, each person downs a 1/3 of a pound per day!
National Soft-Serve Ice Cream Day – Soft serve ice cream, I love it. It brings back many happy childhood memories. My Grandpa K LOVED soft serve. Sometimes when we went to visit, he would take us to Artic Circle (a drive-in burger place) to get soft serve and French fries. I remember sitting in the booth, neither of us talking, happily licking our ice cream cones with the fun curly bit on top and eating our salty fries. I’m pretty sure I remember happy, yummy sounds too. Soft serve ice cream is made by air being put into the cream mixture during the freezing process. Makes sense, since when the ice cream maker is running, it is spinning around, and air is being circulated through the cream while it is spinning. When I stop it early enough in the process, we get soft serve.
Tuesday – August 20
National Bacon Lovers Day – Bacon is one of the most amazing gifts that the carnivore world brings to us. The aroma, the taste and texture, the promise of delicious moments ahead that the song of the sizzling frying pan brings. Mmmmm . . . For me it brings memories of sitting in Grandma’s kitchen, sipping hot cocoa and eating toast with my bacon. It is the experience of camping while bacon cooks in the great outdoors. Bacon is awesome by itself, on sandwiches, with breakfast, on salads, pizzas or with maple donuts. It is awesome in potato salad, in green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, and layered on top of meatloaf. It is comfort, it is happy on a plate. Humankind has been having a love affair with bacon since as early as 1500 B.C. The Chinese began salting pork bellies as far back as that, and for that I’m sure we all thank them. More than half of all homes keep bacon on hand all of the time – though I do not know if that is worldwide or just in the United States. Every year, just in the U.S. alone, more than 1.7 billion pounds of bacon are eaten. Bacon is so awesome that it is even said to cure hangovers! I don’t know about that, but considering how great it is, I would not be surprised.
National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day – Pecan pie is delicious – extraordinarily sweet, but delicious. The addition of chocolate only makes it better! Know something great? You can make this low-carb! No! Seriously! You really can! Check out this recipe by Sugar Free Mom!
National Lemonade Day – I can’t think of anything negative to say about lemonade! It is refreshing and delicious and is just says summer with every sip. Traditional lemonade is just water, lemon juice and sugar, but these days we can also enjoy a variety of flavors that are delicious and quench the thirst, from strawberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade and even lavender lemonade! Yum! Basic lemonade has been popular in the south for many years, with sweet tea and lemonade being nearly trademarks for anything southern. We have all seen pink lemonade, but I learned something new today. I thought pink lemonade was just regular lemonade with food coloring in it – which doesn’t sound appealing to me, so I stay away from it, but apparently the conventional approach to pink lemonade is to take conventional lemonade and put a little grenadine in it. The Greeks came up with this so that while the grown-ups were having wine at a celebration the children would have a special treat too. The Greeks used wine to dye the lemonade, but there was a myth in the community that it was made from pink lemons that grew in a forest that no man could enter and come out alive. The children were told that the magical pink lemons were brought back by a noble king. What a cool story! I make simple low-carb lemonade by squeezing fresh lemons to make 1 cup of lemon juice, making a simple syrup out of erythritol and hot water, mix the two together, then top off the pitcher with cold water and chill. Delicious, refreshing and healthy.
Wednesday – August 21
National Sweet Tea Day– I have always loved iced tea. When I was little I would watch my dad mix up a glass using the Lipton instant iced tea crystals, and I liked that, but what I REALLY grew to love was brewing my own iced tea from different flavors of tea and sweetening it just a little bit. My first real experience with sweet tea was before my ex-mother-in-law was my mother-in-law. I’d gone over to her house for dinner and she asked me if I wanted iced tea, to which I of course said yes. From what I was told the expression on my face when the obnoxiously sweet beverage hit my taste buds was priceless. I almost couldn’t bring myself to swallow it. It was like drinking simple syrup with a bit of tea flavor. I found out later that she would make a half gallon of tea and put an entire cup of sugar in it. Good heavens, that was sweet. She was raised in Alabama and apparently that’s how they drank it in her house growing up. It just wasn’t for me. Right now, I do have a pot of tea steeping on the stove. It’s a combination of black tea and mango tea. I’ll put about 1/3 cup of erythritol in a gallon pitcher to sweeten it just a little bit – which for us will be just right! They say that iced tea was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, where they added ice to hot tea to cool it down for visitors. To those intelligent people, I say thank you.
National Pecan Torte Day – What makes a torte different from cake? It is a dessert that is filled with whipped cream, buttercream, mousse, jam, fruits or nuts and is sometimes glazed or garnished with whipping cream or frosting when it is cooled. Usually tortes are made with no flour, using ground nuts or breadcrumbs instead. This makes it a pretty great dessert to make low-carb. This recipe from www.verywellfit.com is for a sugar-free chocolate pecan torte. It looks delicious, doesn’t it?
Thursday – August 22
National Bao Day – When I wrote about this one last year, I hadn’t tried Bao. Since that time, I felt like I just had to try it, so I went to the Asian food section of our market and bought a package of frozen bao buns and looked up a few recipes. They weren’t bad at all, though I recommend using meat that is a solid slice with some pickled vegetables, because I used seasoned ground meat and couldn’t keep the meet in the buns. Next time we have them I think I’ll make slow roasted pork belly and use that to see how much better it is.
National “Eat a Peach” Day – I love peaches. Just walking past a display of ripe peaches in the store can get my saliva glands working overtime. I’d never actually been to a peach orchard though until my husband and I took a few days to drive around the eastern part of our state a few years ago. We stopped at an orchard and the aroma was incredible! Like nothing I’d ever smelled before. The hot summer air warmed those peaches up and sent that incredible peachy goodness everywhere. My mouth is watering just THINKING about it! Now I know why my Grandma’s canned peaches were so delicious. She lived over there and would go to the orchards every year and put up big batches of them. No matter what else she canned, those peaches were always my favorite. Whether you like them fresh and juicy out of hand or baked into a luscious dessert, peaches are a summer must. Enjoy them while you still can!
National Spumoni Day – Have you ever had spumoni ice cream? It’s interesting. I like it very much but know some who don’t. It is an Italian ice cream that originated in Naples, Italy. It was brought to our country by immigrants around 1870. Italian restaurants have it year-round, but traditionally it is thought of as a treat to have around Christmas time. It is made from layers of ice cream – usually vanilla, but sometimes chocolate too – candied fruits, cherries and nuts. Pistachios are often added too, and whipped cream can be sometimes found included in the recipes as well.
Friday – August 23
National Cuban Sandwich Day – Mmmm . . . this one sounds delicious. The basis for the Cubano sandwich combines elements from three different immigrant groups that came together in the deep south. A traditional Cuban sandwich is made of ham, mojo pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and dill pickle slices on crispy/not too chewy Cuban bread, all heated up on a sandwich press. Here is some interesting history about the Cuban Sandwich. There was an early version of it born in Cuba, but the one that developed into what we know today came about in the late 1800s in Tampa, Florida in the cigar-producing neighborhood of Ybor City. By the 1900s it was popular among the workers in the many cigar factories in the city. The truth is that though it is called a Cuban sandwich after the Cuban immigrants who settled in Ybor City, being the sandwiches biggest influencers, the ingredients also include influence from the Italian bricklayers and the German cigar workers who had also immigrated to the area.
National Sponge Cake Day – Sponge cake is one of the oldest and simplest forms of cake — recipes for it date back as far as 1615. This delicious airy cake is the perfect little cake for a tea party – something Miss B and I have planned before she leaves us at the end of the week. A perfect sponge cake has a fine crumb, but stays moist, and is often served with whipped cream and berries. Carolyn Ketchum created the perfect mini Victoria Sponge Cake recipe that I believe we will be enjoying with our tea!
Saturday – August 24
National Peach Pie Day – Today is a day to appreciate the amazing taste of homemade peach pie. I haven’t had one for many years, but I remember it well and am now craving it. When you add a dollop of ice cream on top and let it melt a bit – oh YUM! There are lots of recipes for this delicious dessert out there, find one and give it a try!
National Waffle Day – The ancient Greeks are said to have been the first waffle bakers — they cooked flat cakes between two metal plates held over burning embers. Since today is the anniversary of the day the Waffle Iron was invented, it would normally seem like a great time to make waffles, so we will definitely be celebrating this one with Miss B!
Sunday – August 25
National Whiskey Sour Day – Invented in the 18th century to help prevent scurvy in British sailors, sours combine spirits and citrus juices to irresistible effect. A traditional recipe is to mix whiskey or bourbon, lemon juice and water together, serve over ice, then garnish with half an orange and a maraschino cherry. That sounds pretty tasty, doesn’t it?
It’s time to get our day started! We have plans to go take some fresh out of the oven cookies to Papaw at work, then run a few errands before we settle in to have some fun. It’s going to be a busy week, but an awesome one. God bless you and I’ll see you next week!
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Celebration list sources: