12 September 2014

Seven Quick Takes of fall colors and liturgical meal planning

The fall colors are finally here. It was so very weird, last week, to be shivering in sub-freezing temperatures but have all of the trees and underbrush still green! In the past week, almost everything has turned: the trees are all golden, and the underbrush is a canvas of fiery reds, oranges, purples and browns.

We also got an unexpected thermal jump this week, so it's actually comfortable to be outside enjoying the fall colors without having to wear anything heavier than a light sweater: we've hit mid-60s most days this week, and supposedly today or tomorrow will even see 70. It's not expected to last long, so we're making sure we take advantage of it: We've gotten several walks in over the week, and last night we took a picnic supper to a park and let Little Bear run around and play on the swings and slides. I'm so glad he's finally conquered his fear of slides—up until a few weeks ago, he refused to go down even the shortest slide. Last night, he climbed to the highest point of the play equipment and went down the tunnel slide all by himself, without needing any encouragement from us! It was great to be able to sit back, talk with Matt, and enjoy watching Little Bear having fun on his own.

Tomorrow morning, Matt is kindly foregoing his precious Saturday morning sleeping-in time so the three of us can take a ride on the Riverboat Discovery. They give an excellent presentation of local history and culture, and now that the leaves have turned it should be an especially beautiful trip downriver. Matt and Little Bear have never been, and it's been years since I've gone; we are looking forward to it! Hopefully we will get some good photos.

Last weekend, we learned that Home Depot has free kids' workshops the morning of the first Saturday of each month. Matt was looking for materials to build a wood rack for our deck, but it was his weekend on call for work and he got a call right as we parked, so Little Bear and I went inside to wander and noticed the hammer-and-paintbrush-wielding children. The timing worked out perfectly: Little Bear and I finished building and painting our birdhouse just as Matt finished gathering his building materials. Little Bear held the hammer to help me pound in the nails, and he did a really good job of keeping the green paint on the roof and the orange paint off the roof (his choice of colors, probably because they're the only two colors he consistently points out). He was very proud of it!

This has been a two-Marian-feast week... How often does that happen? On Monday we celebrated the Nativity of Mary, and today is the Most Holy Name of Mary. I wonder if there was a tradition in early Judaism of naming girls, or children in general, several days after their birth? 

Aha: Wikipedia is an ever-helpful resource. The article on the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary cites the Roman Martyrology as describing today's feast as "a day on which the inexpressible love of the Mother of God for her Holy Child is recalled, and the eyes of the faithful are directed to the figure of the Mother of the Redeemer, for them to invoke with devotion.

So it's more about her name as a reflection of who she is, not about her naming itself. 

To celebrate Our Lady's birth on Monday I'd intended to make a cheesecake with blueberry sauce, but ran out of time and patience and just made blueberry bread pudding instead.

It was wonderful. Also very purple. But now I'm out of blueberries, my go-to fruit for Marian feast days, and we have dinner guests coming tonight and I really wanted to make a good dessert for today's feast. I guess we will see what happens. There's a bunch of ripe bananas hanging next to the stove, and I've been eyeing this recipe all week... That would make a good dessert *and* a fun breakfast tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow is the feast of Saint John Chrysostom, and Sunday is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. "Chrysostom" means "golden-tongued," a name he was given for his eloquent preaching, so I'm planning to make something "golden" for supper. Not sure what yet, though! (Although those banana sticky buns would probably be fairly golden...) There's a legend that Saint Helena found a basil plant growing at the site where she found the cross, so something Italian—possibly pesto?—sounds like a good idea for Sunday. 

I'm sorry for inflicting my "oops, I need to plan meals for this weekend!" thought process on y'all. What are you making this weekend?

Don't forget to stop by Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!


  1. I'm making homemade pizza and tacos, kid friendly and the grownups like it too. And I've had a request for sausage gravy and biscuits for Sunday breakfast. I will roast a chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans too. That's some of the stuff I remember from my meal plan I made yesterday. Thanks for mentioning the kids' workshops. I had forgotten about them and they should make a good activity for my two youngest (not quite 3 and 8)

    1. That all sounds good! I may have to borrow pizza from your menu; a chicken pesto pizza would be a good way to use up some leftovers in my fridge!

  2. We're having hot dogs (hopefully over a campfire) tonight and tomorrow John's grilling marinated chicken and sausage kabobs and I'm making rice and zucchini in tomato sauce.

    1. Do you put anything special in the tomato sauce with the zucchini and rice? I've been cooking a lot of zucchini lately, and I need a new way to make it.

    2. Yes. First I saute several cloves of garlic, minced. I think John's mom adds onions, too, but I don't like onions. The tomato sauce is 1 small can of tomato paste and 2 small cans of water. Whisk together in the pan to make a thick broth. Add a dash of cinnamon. Bring to a simmer. Add 3 zucchini, diced. Simmer until done to the way you like it. Matt will likely recognize this recipe. :)