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HaveAWonderfulMothersDay-1-

Did you know that 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day in America?

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 11 and what better time to take a look at the origins of this special day. Mother’s Day is observed in different countries around the world. The day is most often recognized on the second Sunday in May and has traditionally involved giving mothers flowers, cards and other gifts.

Recognition and celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Festivals were held to honor the mother goddesses, Rhea and Cybele. The modern precedent for Mother’s Day is found in the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” In the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, the occasion fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was seen as a time when the faithful would return to their mother (local) church for a special service. Over time,” Mothering Sunday” changed to a more secular holiday and children presented their mothers with flowers and other gifts of appreciation. The custom faded in popularity, then merged with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

The beginnings of the American Mother’s Day date back to the 19th century. Before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mother’s Day Work Clubs,” to teach women how to properly care for their children. In 1868, she organized “Mother’s Friendship Day” for the purpose of mothers gathering with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist and suffragist, wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” in 1870 as a call to action for mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering also worked to organize a Mother’s Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, Anna Jarvis, promoted the concept of a national Mother’s Day, as a way to honor mothers for the sacrifices they made for their children. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 83 million mothers in the United States. More mothers now work out of the home and the number of single-mother households has tripled to more than 10 million since 1970. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $15 billion this year honoring their mothers. Dining out is expected to be the No. 1 expense. Make Mother’s Day even more special. Instead of dining out, why not make dinner for your mother.

Mother’s Day Menu

crab

Crab Avocado Toasts

Serve with a Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 8 large slices packaged thin white bread
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • Salt and cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly brush a large baking sheet with olive oil. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut 4 rounds out of each slice of bread and transfer to the baking sheet.

Lightly brush the rounds with olive oil and toast for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden and slightly crisp.

In a small bowl, mash the avocados with a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper. In another small bowl, gently stir the crabmeat with the mint and lime juice and season with salt.

Spread the mashed avocado on the toasts, top with the crab mixture and serve.

spinach_cannalloni

Spinach and Pork Cannelloni

Ingredients

  • 8 (6-by 4-inch) homemade fresh pasta rectangles (recipe below) or 8 dried manicotti pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dried porcini, soaked 20 minutes in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cubed
  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • A small onion, minced
  • A medium carrot, minced
  • A 6-inch stalk celery, minced
  • A small bunch parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala (or sherry if you do not have Marsala)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Olive Oil Béchamel Sauce, recipe below

Directions

Heat butter in a saute pan and add carrot, celery and onion and brown them lightly. Add the pork and continue cooking until it is browned, then stir in the soaked mushrooms. Add in the Marsala and the diluted tomato paste, season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for an hour, until thickened. Stir in the spinach and cook until completely wilted. Remove from heat and add the grated cheese and parsley.

While the sauce is simmering, boil pasta 2 pieces at a time in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring to separate, until just tender, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta or about 6 minutes for packaged noodles. Gently transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, then remove from bowl, shaking off water, and lay flat on kitchen towels (not terry cloth). Pat dry with paper towels.

Place two or three rounded tablespoons of filling mixture down the center of each pasta sheet and carefully roll pasta tightly around the filling. If using the manicotti shells, use a small spoon and fill the shells from the sides or use a pastry bag.

Place the rolled cannelloni, side by side, into a greased ovenproof shallow baking dish.

Pour the bechamel sauce over the cannelloni covering completely.

Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Olive Oil Bechamel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallot 
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups low-fat cold milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for about three minutes until smooth and bubbling but not browned. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand.

Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Homemade Pasta Rectangles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose or Italian (00) flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of water
  • Dash of salt

Directions

Mix the flour, egg, salt and water together in the large bowl of a processor. Process until the dough forms a ball. Coat lightly with olive oil and allow it to rest covered for 30 minutes at room temperature.
After the pasta dough has rested, roll out sheets with a pasta roller to a thickness you can just about see your hand through, about the 5th or 6th setting on the roller for thickness.
Place the sheets on a pastry board and cut into 4″ x 6″ rectangles. Cook and fill as directed above.

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Pine Nuts

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of broccoli (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch florets, stems peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets and stems with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the broccoli in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until light golden all over, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the shallot and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season the dressing with salt and pepper. Place the broccoli into a serving bowl. Add the dressing and toasted pine nuts, toss well and serve.

almond-cake-pears

Italian Almond Cake with Pears

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs, beaten
  • 6 large egg whites

Pears

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 ripe but firm Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour with the all-purpose flour, grated orange zest, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add the beaten whole eggs and whisk well.

In a separate large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the egg whites are firm and glossy, about 2 minutes.

Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the almond-flour mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is puffed and golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs still attached. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the sugar over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Arrange the pear wedges in the skillet in an even layer. Cover the pears and cook them over low heat until the pears are tender and a syrupy sauce forms, about 7 minutes.

Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake into two layers. Spoon the pears and their sauce over the bottom layer of cake and cover the pears with the top layer of cake. Lightly dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

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Author – Graycie Harmon

What Does Mother’s Day Mean To You?

I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine about how commercial Mother’s Day has become and how the inventor of the holiday, Anna Jarvis, became disillusioned by how this special day evolved. Miss Jarvis’ image of Mother’s Day was very specific. It was to be a singular Mother’s Day — not a general Mothers’ Day. She didn’t see it as a holiday. She saw it as an intimate day between children and their mothers. Miss Jarvis wanted a national observance day, writing leaders in every state and around the world. Her persistence paid off. In 1914, President Wilson, her longtime friend, signed a proclamation stating, “The American mother is the greatest source of our country’s strength and inspiration.”

However, her triumph was short-lived, as Miss Jarvis watched the florist, card and candy industries cash in on Mother’s Day. In her mind, they were twisting heartfelt sentiment into crass commercialism. In the early 1920’s, florists began heavily marketing carnations and greeting card companies began to sell Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis hated this, as her intention was for children to write hand-written, personal notes. Though she had spent almost a decade trying to establish the holiday, she eventually turned against its commercialization and was arrested for protesting at a Mother’s Day carnation sale. Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to end Mother’s Day.

Well, Mother’s Day or any day of the year is the perfect day to say thank you to your mother for unselfishly giving of her life and love to make you the best man or woman you could be. Better than the greeting cards, of which there are 107 publishing establishments, nationwide; or better than the jewelry, of which there are approximately 27,000 jewelry companies in the U.S; or better than the wired flowers or the purchased gifts; or better than e-mails or text messages; sharing your time with your mother is ultimately the greatest gift you could give her. My mother and I do not live near each other, so get togethers involve traveling long distances. However, she is delighted with a weekly telephone call, where we catch up on all that has happened during the week. She also loves to share her thoughts about current events and discuss politics. I realize this is important to her and I am happy to have these conversations with her. So I would suggest, that the best Mother’s Day gift you could give your mother, would be that you find “the thing” that makes your time with your mother special. 

Have Breakfast With Your Mom On Mother’s Day

Or Any Day Of The Year

 

Espresso Smoothie

2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 medium banana, cut up
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking cocoa

Directions:

In a blender, combine all the ingredients; cover and process for 1-2 minutes or until blended. Pour into 2 chilled glasses; serve immediately. 

Grilled Pineapple

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts or hazelnuts, toasted

Directions:

Combine syrup and butter; set aside. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise, leaving top attached.

Heat an outdoor grill or stove top grill pan. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.

Grill the pineapple quarters, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn; brush with maple butter. Grill 5-7 minutes longer or until heated through; brush with maple butter and sprinkle with nuts.

Serve with remaining maple butter.

 

Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties

8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash each white pepper, cayenne pepper, ground allspice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Shape into eight 2-1/2-in. patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook patties over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.

Extras freeze well. 

 

 

Raspberry-Cinnamon French Toast

This moist French toast bake can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.

6-8 Serving

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices cinnamon bread, such as Pepperidge Farm’s whole wheat cinnamon swirl bread , cubed
  • 5 eggs, beaten or the equivalent egg substitute
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries

Directions:

Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; pour over bread.

Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle almonds over egg mixture. Combine butter and remaining brown sugar; drizzle over the top.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° F. for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with raspberries. Bake 10 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.


Mother’s Day

From painted hand prints to roses and other elaborate gifts, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world. People everywhere take the opportunity to honor their mothers.
This tradition has been around since the early Egyptians celebrated the Goddess Isis, who they considered the mother of the pharaohs. The ancient Romans also celebrated the festival of Isis, but their true celebration of motherhood was in honor of Cybele who stems from the Greek goddess Rhea. Rhea who was regarded as the mother of all deities including Zeus, was called the Great Mother or Magda Mater. 

It’s said that Mother’s Day was first suggested in the United States by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 as a day dedicated to peace after the Franco Prussian War. The holiday gained in popularity due to the efforts of Anna M. Jarvis.  Anna began a letter-writing campaign to gather support for a national Mother’s Day holiday about the same time that her mother passed away in 1905.  With the help of friends, reaching out to influential leaders, including William Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Wannamaker, Anna was able to gain support for the idea. She believed mothers deserved their own special day and that it would help strengthen family bonds.  She persuaded her mother’s church in West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the second Sunday of May. By 1911 Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state, and flowers quickly became a lasting tradition to express love on the occasion. In 1914, Congress passed a resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, saying it is “a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” President Woodrow Wilson issued the first proclamation making it an official U.S. holiday.  In addition to the United States, countries that celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May include: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, and Turkey.

Italian Tribute

                                            “For you, mother, one kiss for every heart”.


Mother’s Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on May, 12, 1957, in the city of Assisi, thanks to the initiative of Reverend Otello Migliosi, parish priest of the Tordibetto church. This celebration was so successful that the following year it was adopted throughout Italy and is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. “La Festa della Mamma” is the name of their celebration and  mothers are honored with a big feast and a heart-shaped cake. Mothers are relieved of their household chores that day and children bring home handmade gifts.


Mother’s Day Menu

First Course

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Traditional butternut squash lasagna can be very rich.  This is a healthier version that you can use for special occasions.  I like to roast the squash first because it adds much more flavor than when you boil the squash.

Squash Preparation

  • 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus extra leaves for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer the squash to a mixing bowl or food processor and mash. Season the squash purée to taste with more salt and pepper and chopped sage.  Set aside.

White Sauce


I like to use Wondra flour for sauces because it dissolves instantly in hot or cold liquids and you do have to mix it with lots of butter before adding the milk.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup Wondra all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat add milk, flour and butter. While whisking, bring the sauce to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Completing the Lasagna

  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 1⁄2 cups shredded skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly coat a 13-by-9-by-2- inch glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cups of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the bottom of pan with one layer of lasagna noodles. Spread half of the squash purée over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the cheese. Repeat layering once more, finishing with a layer of noodles covered only by white sauce.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese over the lasagna and continue baking until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Garnish the corners with sage leaves. Serves 12 for a first course and 8 as a main dish.

Second Course

Tuscan Pork Loin

  • 1- 3-pound boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest and lemon slices for garnish
  • 3/4 cup white wine

1. Tie kitchen string around the pork loin in three places so it doesn’t flatten while roasting. Place salt and garlic in a small bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Stir in oil, rosemary and lemon zest; rub the mixture into the pork. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Place the pork in a small roasting pan. Roast, turning once or twice, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 degrees F., 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, add wine to the roasting pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is reduced by half, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the string and slice the roast. Pour the wine sauce over the pork slices.  Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin green beans 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Trim off the ends of the beans and blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes to soften slightly. Drain well.  

Arrange the beans on a nonstick cookie sheet coated with olive oil cooking spray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake until the cheese melts and forms a crisp shell over the beans, about 10 minutes.

Let the beans sit a few minutes for the cheese to cool slightly. Lift the beans out onto a platter and serve.


Dessert

Hazelnut-Olive Oil Cake

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 1/2 ounces) hazelnuts
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon

Directions

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly coat 9-inch springform pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then rub in a clean dish towel to remove skins. Set aside to cool completely.

Grind cooled nuts in food processor until finely ground but not powdery. Transfer to a bowl. Add flour and baking powder; whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat eggs on medium-high speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until light, thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Gradually add hazelnut-flour mixture; then add olive oil, milk and zest, beating 1 minute more to combine.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet, and bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. Release cake from pan and serve.

Have a Wonderful Mother’s Day!

Don’t forget to honor your mother by playing Luciano Pavarotti singing “Mamma” in the video below.




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