Seasons. I am so thankful that there are seasons in life. I know in Tennessee, we really get to experience all of the seasons of the year while in other parts of the country/world the shift is not as obvious. There is great therapeutic value for me in living life by seasons. Forming and maintaining rituals in these sections of the year gives me something to look forward to and to ground me. Robert Fulghum, in his book From Beginning to End: the Rituals of Our Lives states,
"... for everyone of us, there is still an annual cycle of personal seasons.
A productive time and a fallow time.
A time to generate new ideas and a time to make them work.
A time to invest and a time to sell.
A time to get organized and a time to let go.
A time to get in shape and a time to be lazy.
This paradoxical swing of the rhythmic pendulum of life is not to be ignored or disallowed."
Spring is my favorite. I am so thankful for the vibrant green of grass and trees and the blossoming of flowers, the wearing of flip flops, and enjoying being outside.
Having jars of Zinnias and daisies to have in my house, take to people, and even put on a friend's fall birthday cake make it worth it!
and tomatoes for days...
|this bounty was the harvest from our garden before the first fall frost|
And Spring also means fun, zippy, fresh food.
This past week
I made my first Key Lime Pie of the season.
When Becca made Baked Alaska for Easter Lunch and used 1/2 dozen egg whites and left a nice bowl of egg yolks for me, I was inspired to make the Key Lime, since it calls for lots of yolks. (If you are ever in a similar situation, where you have remaining yolks, hang on to them and make a key lime pie!) Asher and Dave were especially happy.
And I made some WRAPS for lunches, and it made me excited about picnic food. My sister brought a couple of creative wraps over from a sandwich shop last Friday and we split them: one was a turkey strawberry wrap and one was hummus and veggie. Lucy loved the veggie one with crunchy lettuce and cucumber being her favorite parts and I especially loved the turkey strawberry one. It prompted me to make some for lunches this week. A wrap seems much more exciting than an average sandwich, don't you agree?
Dave has been a wrap fan for years! When we would go on vacation, Dave would always ensure that we had tortillas so that he could wrap up whatever was leftover from dinner into a tortilla and heat it up for a midnight snack! We are believers in throwing all kinds of things into a wrap!
Here's what I do.
Open my fridge and pull out every POSSIBLE thing that I could put in a wrap, look in my fruit bowl and see if there are any fruits of vegetables that could work,
and think about what flavors would be compatible,
and then pile all of those items into a tortilla,
and wrap them up,
and there you have a tasty, convenient, transportable meal!
I tend to like wraps that are like a hand-held salad.
Last summer we were having sandwiches and salads for a dinner meeting at church. I thought of making wraps because you can make them beforehand without ruining the bread and they seem a little more exciting for a dinner sandwich. It worked out. They were a hit – with kids and adults.
You can make them really basic or get creative and more gourmet!
You can make them all the same or custom make them and label them when you pack them up.
You can serve them with different dipping sauces.
You can make big ones and cut them in 1/2 or you can make regular sized ones.
I must give credit to my dear friend Connie who taught me much about picnic-ing. Back when we would go to the park or go to the YMCA to swim and picnic, Connie taught me. She picnicked in a big way. She brought leftover pasta for us to share, and she brought wraps for the kids, often times. She brought containers of cut fruit: melons, berries, whatever she had. She brought plates and forks and served the meal. It was so much more exciting than individually wrapped PB and Js. I adopted her picnicking practices immediately! It's fun when you picnic with friends and you both do this. Melissa and I will coordinate as to who's bringing the main dish, who's bringing which fruit, and who has time to make a batch of cookies to bring. We find that our kids would rather eat what their friends have in their picnic than what they brought (no matter what it is), so we might as well do this "family style".
Here are 4 wraps we love.
1. Smoked Deli Turkey/Havarti Cheese/ Green Leaf Lettuce
with honey mustard on the side for dipping.
2. The Manly Wrap with co-jack cheese, turkey and bacon.
3. The Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap
This week we had some leftover grilled chicken tenderloins from dinner. I added salad greens, cucumbers, apples and crumbled goat cheese, salt and pepper. (I tossed the meat with some balsamic viniagrette before putting it in the wrap so that it wouldn't get the wrap soggy by pouring on the dressing, but would add the touch of dressing to the mix. It worked.)
|grilled chicken tossed with vinaigrette|
4. And my PBPB&S (Peanut Butter, chopped Peanuts, Bananas, and Strawberries) – inspired by strawberry season last year! (Or it's delicious without bananas- it's like PBJ on steroids)!
So in honor of spring. Plant something, make a key lime pie, make some wraps, and by all means, have a picnic! I suggest you look deep within your fridge and start pulling stuff out that looks like the makings of a sandwich: meat, cheese, cream cheese, lettuce, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, dressings, condiments, etc. and see what creative concoction you come up with.
|wrapped and ready for a picnic|