Honoring Mom

By Diane Ruyack

The early Christians in England celebrated the Mother’s festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter) to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers, and named it as the Mothering Sunday. People working out of their homes were expected to return to the “mother” church (the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm). It also became an occasion for family reunions.

What will you do to honor your mother? Food that protects her bones is a great choice as is exercise.  So, let’s plan a menu that anyone can make.

Bagel Portraits

Breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day is a tradition that will never go out of style and will allow time to get ready for church.

But it could stand to be jazzed up a bit. So what about: Bagel Portraits of Mom and the kids created by the kids (with a little help from Dad).

For Mom and Dad, use 1 large bagel, cut in half, toasted or raw, spread cream cheese and make a face of black olives, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, parsley, grapes, shredded carrots, chopped nuts, etc

Mini bagels, cut in half, as many halves are there are kids in the family, raw or toasted and decorate.  Use your imagination as to what ingredients you can use for faces.

An easy breakfast casserole that can be made with Dad’s help the day before and baked the following morning.

Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata

Ingredients:

3 or 4 large day-old croissants or  8 slices of bread without crusts

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped

2 cups grated sharp cheddar

3/4 cup diced ham or cooked and crumbled turkey bacon

6 eggs

2  cups of milk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil

Instructions

Butter a 9- by 13-inch casserole. Using a serrated knife, cut the croissants or bread into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (you will need 6 cups) and scatter half of them in the casserole. Set the remaining cubes aside for now.

Melt the butter and  add the onion and cook it over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the spinach (you may have to do this in batches) and cover the pan. Let the spinach cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon the spinach over the croissant cubes in the casserole. Then sprinkle on half of the cheese and all of the ham. Next, add the remaining croissant pieces and the rest of the cheese.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and basil just until blended. Ladle the liquid evenly over the layers in the casserole. Press the croissants down gently with a fork to dampen all of it. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 350F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the strata in the center of the oven until it is puffed and golden brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.

Wildflower Hike

Now for an activity, go on a wildflower hike, make an obstacle trail in the back yard, bike to the ice cream store for some more calcium, run and fly kites or play on the neatest playground in the area.

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