June 28 is Paul Bunyan Day, a day to celebrate American folklore and the legendary giant lumberjack in particular. You can celebrate a number of ways including:
- Familiarizing yourself with the legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox,
- Wearing flannel,
- Visiting one of the many states that lay claim to Paul Bunyan,
- Planning a trip to Paul Bunyan Days or Paul Bunyan Land, or
- In honor of his lumberjack heritage — practicing tree pose.
Whatever you do, have a little fun with your day!
Today’s Country Cooking Month is a companion recipe to the earlier post this month for old-fashioned meatloaf.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 2 14-ounce cans low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 16-ounce package frozen Italian mixed vegetables
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 reserved cooked meatloaf, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the vegetables and seasoning and return to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked through (about 5 minutes).
- Add the meatloaf chunks and parsley and cook until heated through (abut 2 minutes).
- Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
Honestly, this was not on the same level as the meatloaf. The next time I make it, I’ll probably saute a clove of minced garlic before adding the broth and water and add some chopped, fresh parsley at the end.
National Canoe Day is June 26th. Sounds like a perfect day to work on boat pose, or navasana! Boat is a great way to work on both your abs and back muscles. To do boat, you sit on your mat and tilt back until you can pick your feet up of the floor. Most traditionally, boat is done with the legs extended, arms parallel to the floor, and back long. There are number of ways to modify the pose to make it a bit more accessible as well as amp it up a bit.
- To make it a bit easier, keep the shins parallel to the floor and either hold behind the knees or extend the arms along the floor.
- For a bit more challenge, take the shoulders and feet closer to the floor, either holding or raising and lowering the shoulders with the breath.
- For variation, reach the arms forward and practice twisting from side to side
- You can really do almost any variation that comes to mind as long as you keep the back long and your breath moving.
June 25th is National Catfish Day. It’s meant to be a day to celebrate farm-raised catfish, but I think we should spare the catfish and enjoy some blues instead.
May you get whatever your fishin’ after today,
June 23rd is Pink Flamingo Day, a day to celebrate the fun or tacky plastic pink flamingos (depending on your perspective) that you see on people’s front lawns. But did you know the pink flamingo is also a cocktail?
Combine in a cocktail glass:
- 1 1⁄2 fluid ounces coconut rum
- 1 fluid ounce Amaretto
- 3 fluid ounces cranberry juice
- 1 1⁄2 fluid ounces pineapple juice
Top with ice, as needed, and garnish with a pineapple chunk or cherry.
Enjoy (responsibly, of course)!
June is Country Cooking Month and, while “country cooking” can mean a lot of things, I tend to associate it with comfort foods. One of my favorite foods from childhood was meatloaf, so today I’d like to share a healthier version. It’s from a really fun book from Weight Watchers (no, really!) called Now & Later: 160 Hearty Recipes that Turn One Meal into Two. It’s a cookbook that features recipes that use one meal in a second recipe.
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 zucchini, grated
- 5 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 1/4 pounds lean ground meat
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the carrot, zucchini, and green onions, stirring occasionally, until softened. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients until just blended.
- Divide the mixture in half. Form into 2 loaves and place 2 inches apart in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.
- Let 1 of the meatloaves cool and refrigerate for use in Italian wedding soup.
- Cut the remaining meatloaf into 8 pieces and top each with 2 tablespoons of red pepper.
This turned out great. I can’t wait to make the next recipe – Italian wedding soup!
June 19th is World Sauntering Day — a day meant to remind us to slow down and enjoy life. Getting out and walking in nature is an especially effective way to find peace, solitude, and beauty. The following meditation from Mike George’s 1001 Meditations can be useful today.
Walk on the calm side. When your brain feels foggy and confused, taking a ten minute walk in quiet surroundings will clear your head. As you walk, make a conscious effort to breathe deeply, inhaling for two steps and exhaling for two steps in order to regulate your breathing pattern. With each out-breath imagine that the clouds in your mind are gradually clearing. At the end of your walk, take three deep breaths, and gently share your head to clear any remaining mental fog.
June is National Rose Month. The rose is commonly known as the symbol of love but the true meaning of a rose is dependent on its color. I thought it might be a fun exercise to see look up the symbolic meaning of each rose associated with the chakra colors.
Root chakra (muladhara) – red – love, beauty, courage, respect, passion
Sacral chakra (svadhisthana) – orange – desire, enthusiasm, creativity, fascination
Solar plexus chakra (manipura) – yellow – joy, friendship, welcome back, new beginnings
Heart chakra (anahata) – green – vitality, healing, self-respect, well-being
Throat chakra (vishudda) – blue – the unattainable, the impossible, mystery
Third eye chakra (ajna) – violet* – love at first sight, enchantment
Crown chakra (sahasrara) – white – purity, innocence, youthfulness, sympathy
*often indigo instead
Today is Weed Your Garden Day — a day to remove unwanted weeds from your garden. What defines a weed is really a matter of perspective. Any plant that is in an unwanted place is viewed as a weed and, therefore, as something negative.
But how often do we take time to notice the beauty and resilience of what we think of as a “weed”? The next time you look at a plant and are quick to label it a weed, pause for a moment and consider it from a different perspective. Does it have a lovely flower? An interesting texture? A strong fragrance? See if you can find something to appreciate about it. Plants, as with most of what we encounter in our lives, are not good or evil but simply exist.
Peace and love,