Celebrating International Fairy Day

red faerie house 3 resized

International Fairy Day is celebrated today, during the week of Midsummer when the veil between our world and the fairy world is lifted.  So create a fairy house, look for fairies and fairy doors in trees, dust off your fairy wings, wear a flower crown and eat a little fairy bread (white bread with butter and sprinkles).

It’s a Salad Celebration!

Salmon Salad Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Salmon Salad
Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

May is National Salad Month, but I think  a nice fresh garden salad makes any meal a celebration. When you think of a garden salad, or green salad what comes to mind? A bowl of iceberg lettuce with maybe a little purple cabbage or grated carrot mixed in and one slice of tomato on the side? Do you sometimes get bored with that?

Not Your Ordinary Garden Salad
We all get tired of a plain old green salad. Try the following suggestions for greens, veggies, dressing and other ingredients to jazz up that ordinary salad. Add a little protein to your salad and make it a meal.

Be Daring in Your Choice of Greens

With hundreds of varieties of salad greens, why get stuck on iceberg lettuce? New time try something different. Use the list below to help you get started.

  1.  Arugula (also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola). Low in calories and high in vitamins A and C the leaves have a distinctive peppery flavor.

2.  Belgian endive is a leaf lettuce which is related to chicory and escarole with crisp, tightly packed leaves and a slightly bitter taste..

3.  Dandelion greens are high in vitamins A and K, calcium and iron. The newest leaves are said to be less bitter. Before you go harvesting the greens in your back yard be sure you are not using herbicides, insecticides or other harmful chemicals on your lawn.

4.  Escarole is a type of endive that is less bitter than other types and it good either eaten raw or lightly cooked.

5.  Iceberg or head lettuce is what many people think of when they hear the words lettuce or salad. Iceberg lettuce is known for it’s crisp sweet tasting heads. It also keeps longer than some of the other lettuces. The large leaves may also be used like a tortilla to make lettuce wraps.

6.  Mesclun (also known as Spring Mix) is the French name for a mix of a variety of tender young lettuces. These often include chervil, arugula, lettuce and endive.

7.  Cabbage may not be an ingredient you think of for salads but the mild flavor make it a perfect bed for spicier salad ingredients.

8.  Radicchio is a red lettuce in head form (resembles red cabbage) that is bitter and peppery but adds a nice accent flavor to salads when added in small amounts.

9.  Romaine has long, deep green leaves. It also has a deep flavor and sturdy leaves that work well in a salad. Romaine lettuce is a good source vitamins A, C, B1, B2, manganese, folate, chromium, dietary fiber, as well as the minerals potassium, molybdenum, iron, and phosphorus.

10.  Spinach is a source of Vitamin A. It is rich in iron, calcium and protein. Spinach gives a good splash of dark green color and it’s own flavor to a green salad. It is also very good lightly cooked in a little olive oil with garlic.

11.  Watercress has small spicy leaves that are a good flavor addition to a salad.

Salad Dressing: How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

The formula for a basic vinaigrette is 3 to 1. That is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. If you want to make 1 cup of dressing use ¾ cup oil and ¼ cup vinegar. If you want to make a small amount try 3 tablespoons oil to 1 tablespoon vinegar.

I use olive oil for the benefits of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but any good vegetable oil will work. Even your basic canola or sunflower oil may be used. You can also get fancy and use flavored oils or add a little sesame or flax seed oil to your regular oil for flavor.

The vinegar is also up to you. Regular apple cider vinegar works, but I prefer balsamic or red wind vinegar.  Flavored vinegars like raspberry also work nicely for some dressings. You don’t even have to use vinegar at all. Citrus juice such as orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime may be substituted.

A basic vinaigrette starts with the vinegar or other acid in a small bowl . Add salt and pepper or other seasonings as desired. While beating the vinegar with a wire whisk add the oil, slowly in a small stream. Continue beating until all the oil is incorporated into the dressing. Why do you do this? You are creating an “emulsion” or a blending of the oil and vinegar so they do not instantly separate. This may also be done in a blender.

That’s the basic vinaigrette. Plain and simple. Of course you can fancy it up. Add whatever you want — mustard, honey, finely chopped garlic or onion, any herbs and spices your heart desires.

Making only as much dressing as you will use immediately is a good idea. Olive oil tends to solidify when it gets cold, so some dressings do not store well in the refrigerator. I think you will also find the flavor of fresh salad dressing can’t be beat.

Now get out there and celebrate National Salad Month.  Be daring in your choice of greens, make your own dressing, add a few of your favorite fruits and veggies and maybe a little protein and take that salad way beyond your ordinary garden salad!

This celebration is linked to:

Sugar and Spice Link Party #156  http://sugarspiceandfamilylife.com/2017/05/sugar-spice-link-party-156.html

Earth Day: Our Dependence on our Mother

Today is Earth Day.  This is a sad day for me as I see the arrogance and controlling nature of human kind destroying our planet at an alarming rate.  Even in our quiet little wooded lakeside community we live with people who want the trees cut down and the wildlife killed or relocated.

As much as people want to believe they depend on no one, we have to remember the earth is our mother.  We do depend on her — for our very lives.  She provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the ground that supports us, the food we eat — everything necessary for survival is available from our mother, the earth.  As we continue to poison the air, water and ground how long can we expect her to support us?

We were put on this earth to tend the garden.  To care for and nurture the earth and the creatures living on it.  The earth is not ours to exploit until there is nothing of any value left.  As we destroy the earth we are destroying ourselves.

This is the time to keep up on important environmental issues and take action as needed.  Some may be able to work on the “front lines” to save and protect our earth and her wildlife.  Those of us who cannot do that can still help by writing letters, signing petitions and being aware of how our everyday actions effect the earth.

Finally, we can all pray.  The prayer of one person raises the energetic vibration of the earth, but when we all join together it is multiplied over and over.  I have been involved in international, inter-faith prayer efforts and the power of such prayers is so strong, at times it can seem overwhelming.

So this Earth Day, start taking your responsibility for caring for the earth seriously.  Show Mother Earth a little love.  We can stop this…

 

A Vintage Christmas

When we lived in Omaha part of our holiday celebration was to visit the large gingerbread house display at the Mormon Trail Center.  Since moving to the lake we have enjoyed the yearly Christmas on Main Street at Har-ber Village Musem Local businesses and civic groups decorate selected buildings in the Main Street section of the Museum and visitors vote for their favorite entries.  After learning this would be the final year for this fun event, I decided to take the camera and see what I could get.  Since many of the photos were taken through glass it was hard to get good ones, but I do have a few to share with your today.

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Now, I saved the best for last — the Jail Birds entry from the local Audubon Society.

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What are some of your holiday traditions?  Please share.

 

The Season of Magic and Miracles

Here we are in the middle of the holiday season, that magic, miraculous time of year.  This is the season of miracles like the virgin birth of the Christ Child (Christmas) and lamps that burned well beyond the supply of oil (Hanukkah).  Even the legends of Santa are full or magic, including flying reindeer and a rather rotund gentleman in a red fur trimmed suit actually making it down chimney after chimney to deliver gifts.

This is a season full of belief and hope.  Even if we are not sure we believe we want to.  We want to hope for better tomorrows.

As the very foundations of our country and our world are being shaken by the forces of darkness it is especially important for us to take time out to celebrate, look for the miracles that still surround us and maybe even make a little magic ourselves.  This is the season where we normally see people being a little nicer than usual, giving to those in need and even speaking to strangers.  Let’s not stop that because we are still angry over an election.

If we “call off Christmas” (or whatever holiday you celebrate) because of the uncertainty of the world we live in then the darkness wins.  Worrying and fretting about what might happen doesn’t accomplish anything right now.  I’m not talking about the Great Greed Festival some call Christmas, I’m talking about recognizing and celebrating the presence of something bigger than all of us still at work in our lives and in our world.

So go ahead and celebrate.  Draw your loved ones close.  And finally, keep your eyes open — you don’t want to miss those miracles and the magic of the season.

And That Ain’t Your Sweet Little Baptist Jesus

The above was a favorite saying of John S. Reist Jr. Ph.D, , my theology professor from my seminary days.

When Jesus was asked to read the scripture in the synagogue he ended the reading from Isaiah with the words, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:21 RSV  So what was fulfilled?

‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

–  Luke 18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2  RSV

Throughout his life and earthly ministry Jesus tried to teach us how to live, to be our example.  But somehow we totally missed the point.  Some churches even downplay these messages by saying that Jesus was God so it is impossible for us to live as he lived.  No, we must simply say we have “accepted Jesus as our Savior” all our sins will be forgiven then we go back to living the way we want.  We totally ignore the message and worship the messenger.

Jesus was rejected as the Messiah because he was not the political, military leader that was expected to save the Jews and vanquish the tyranny of Rome.  Aren’t we still looking for such a leader?  Doesn’t the recent election in the U.S. show this?  We were created to live in communion with God, but humanity wanted more.  Demanded more.  Over the centuries we have demanded, laws, judges, kings, even presidents.  Earthly leaders to tell us what to do and how to live.  We have forgotten that the law of God is written on our hearts.  We also have the life and teachings of Jesus, the Master Teacher to help show us how to live in this earthly realm.

So this December instead of celebrating the birth of a baby, let’s live the life the teacher taught us to live.  Shine your light for all to see.  Don’t get caught up in the drama created every year by people who want to tell everyone else what and how to celebrate.  This year when someone gives you a holiday greeting you don’t like, instead of getting angry, how about responding with Peace be with You?  We all need peace in our lives and in the world don’t we?