Tag Archives: recipes

International May Day Celebrations Renewed


Well here we are. May 1st. Some exciting things are happening this month! While typically here in Canada we think of Mother’s Day and Victoria Day celebrations as the highlights of May, it seems that there has been a resurgence in the popularity of celebrating the very first day of this bright and cheerful month all over the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day

May Blossoms from the May tree. Photo Credit: ceridwen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Queen_of_the_May,_in_June_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1346819.jpg

May Day, also known as the Gaelic festival of Beltane (May 1st) and the German Walpurgis Night http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night (which is celebrated on the night of April 30 – and leads into May 1st),  is  typically observed in areas such as England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, France, and even Hawaii (where it is more commonly referred to as “Lei Day”).

Historically, May 1st was considered the first day of summer in some pre-Christian pagan cultures.  This day was celebrated in pre-Christian times as the festival of Flora in honour of the Roman Goddess of Flowers. Following the conversion of Europe to Christianity, many pagan celebrations were either dropped or given religious undertones. In Roman Catholic cultures, May is considered Mary’s month and May Day is usually celebrated as a tribute to the Virgin Mary. Flowers are used to adorn her head in a May Crowning represented in works of art such as plays, sculptures and figure drawings. 

For many other people, May Day is recognized as a secular tradition where spring and fertility is celebrated with events such as dancing around a Maypole decorated with colourful ribbons, and the crowning of the May Queen.  

Maypole in Munich, Germany http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viktualienmarkt_Maibaum_Nahaufnahme_1999.jpg

Queen Guinevre’s ‘Maying’ by John Collier. Photo credit: Andreas Praefke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre%27s_Maying.jpg

If you are looking to make your own May Pole check out this amazing blog on spring festival celebrations and Maypole ideas at Kleas: http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2011/05/spring-festival.html

DIY Maypoles with dyed silk ribbons. Photo credit: http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2011/05/spring-festival.html

Here are a few other great sites to visit for creating a Maypole and celebrating May Day with your children:

Maypole with Beads. Photo credit: www.gardeners.com

Maypole Nature Table. Photo credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Fresh flowers and Ribbon Maypole. Photo credit: http://stillraisingthenextgeneration.com

Stone-tipped Fairy Ribbon Wands. Photo credit: http://paintcutpaste.com

A sweet tradition in the past (that is likely to gain new momentum) was to prepare May Day baskets filled with flowers or treats, and to leave them anonymously on the front door steps of a neighbour or friend. For tips on how to make your own May Day basket, visit Ben Partridge’s excellent post on The May Day Basket Refresher at Apartment Therapy at http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/may-day-basket-refresher-how-t-118478

May Day Baskets. Photo credit: Ben Partridge http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/may-day-basket-refresher-how-t-118478

May 1st is also International Workers’ Day  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Workers%27_Day which was officially recognized in 1891 and celebrates the International Labour Movements and marks the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago and the subsequent 1894 May Day Riots in Cleveland, Ohio when people rioted against the ineffectual measures the city officials carried out to reduce the skyrocketing rates of unemployment at the time. While this day is officially reconized elsewhere, here in Canada and the United States, Labour Day is recognized on September 1st (a move that was favoured by the then governor of Ohio so as not to commemorate the riots).

Currently, there is a resurgence in the United States and elsewhere to celebrate this infamous day in the context of supporting the 99% of the population who are not as well off as the remaining 1%. This planned day of protest is fuelled by the Occupy Wall Street (and other Occupy movements around the world) .

So what will we be doing this May 1st? Since I’ll be at home with the girls, we will be celebrating this special day as a tribute to spring and all its glory. My litle ladies love dressing up in their most desirable princess gowns and dancing around the living room or out in the front yard. So we will likely be doing some dancing (as per usual!) Not sure if we’ll have a little May Pole set up to dance around…although we could make a makeshift May Pole using our beautiful white hobby horse which would also double as a perfect companion to my two lovely little May Queens.

And perhaps a flower garland for their hair, or pansy flowers pressed into shortbread cookies in a basket would be a welcome activity to add to our day.

For a great shortbread recipe with pressed flowers to celebrate spring, here’s a great article on Stonegable: http://stonegable.blogspot.ca/2010/05/pansy-shortbread-cookies.html

Pansy shortbread cookies. Photo credit: http://stonegable.blogspot.com

Here’s to a very Happy May Day and a great start to your month! What does the month of May mean to you? Will you do anything special this May Day? Please share your thoughts.

DIY Fruit Roll-ups


Fay Meling von Moltke Pao, R.TCMP, R.Ac:

Great post by the Copycat Cook on how to make your own fruit roll ups! I will definitely be trying this with the girls shortly. Stay tuned!

Originally posted on The Copycat Cook:

(PsstLove desserts? Me too! That’s why I wrote an e-book about how to make them healthy. Take a peek here. Or maybe you’d like to learn how to eat healthy on a budget – check out my tips right over here. PDF versions are available here.)

Did you ever wrap a fruit rollup around your finger as a child, then gnaw away at it until you were left with a sticky, goopy mess?

I sure did. Gross.

Rest assured, I ate these fruit rollups like a grown up with the utmost dignity and decorum.

It’s hard to find fault with a raw cleanse that includes fruit rollups in the meal plan. Though these rollups are nothing like the ones of my childhood, because they have only two ingredients: strawberries and cinnamon.

I knew strawberries were high in vitamin C and antioxidants, but I…

View original 305 more words

Recipe of the Week: Celery, Cashew and Tofu Stir Fry


Here’s a great, healthy, and very tasty recipe courtesy of Front Door Organics, Inc. www.frontdoororganics.com and adapted originally from a recipe on www.foodnetwork.com. Based on my pantry supplies, I substituted the green onions with a small yellow onion, omitted the chili flakes, used 1 garlic clove, and substituted the cashews for some sliced almonds…and voila! Dinner was still exceptional.

Celery, Cashew and Tofu Stir Fry - You can substitute the tofu for another protein option of your choice if you prefer. Serves 4.

1 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1″ piece of peeled fresh ginger

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 pound firm tofu

1 Tbsp dark sesame oil

3 cloves of garlic

4 ribs of celery

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine/ light cooking sherry

1/2-1 tsp crushed red chili flakes

3/4 cup raw cashews (4 ounces)

Wash and halve the tofu, wrap each half in kitchen towel and set aside on a large plate.

Mix tamari/soy sauce, sesame oil, and wine in a medium bowl and set aside. Mince the ginger and garlic, combine with the red pepper flakes. Remove any tough strings from the celery ribs and thinly slice on the diagonal.

In a dry cast iron skillet, lightly toast the cashews over medium-high heat, stirring often and being careful not to over toast them. Set aside. Remove the tofu from the kitchen towel and chop into 1/2-1 inch thick batons. Have everything else chopped and prepared before you start cooking.

Heat a large fry pan or wok over high heat until very hot, approx. 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, the celery, and the cashews; stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture onto a plate.

Return the pan to high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, then lightly brown the tofu; stir-fry for about two minutes. Add the ginger-garlic mixture and the green onions, and stir-fry until fragrant, less than a minute.

Return the celery and cashews to the pan and add the reserved tamari/soy suace mixture and stir over the heat for about a minute to mix together evenly and blend flavours. Serve with steamed brown rice.