Any Excuse for a Celebration!

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Feeling a little down in the dumps now that the holiday season is over and life has returned to normal? A long year stretches ahead. The calendar pages are mostly blank. Life is just plain boring.

It’s time to lose the attitude and get a life. There is much to celebrate – if you have the right calendar.

Your calendar may list Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 21st and Chinese New Year on February 7th. But did you know that today is National Whipped Cream Day and tomorrow you can celebrate English Toffee Day?

January also contains Curried Chicken Day (12th), Hot and Spicy Food Day (16th), National Buttercrunch Day (20th), National Pie Day (23rd) and National Corn Chip Day (29th).

You may have noticed the dates I’ve mentioned focus on edible things. I’ll admit my range of interests is a tad narrow. However, you are more than welcome to celebrate the birthdate of your favorite sports hero or movie star, the new season of a favorite TV series, National Clean Off Your Desk Day (January 14), Weatherman’s Day (February 5) or No Housework Day (April 7). In fact, some people are celebrating Second Hand Wardrobe Day today, not whipped cream.

Food is expected and typically served at most celebrations. You can let the celebration guide your menu. I’m sure you’ll grasp the concept! Peanut butter should be served on National Peanut Butter Day (January 24) and chocolate cake on Chocolate Cake Day (January 27). On Hat Day (January 15), serve whatever you want and allow diners to wear hats at the supper table. On Nothing Day (January 16th), you can eat nothing, wear nothing or do nothing, or perhaps all three. Better yet, cook nothing and eat out.

Further inspiration for celebrating 2008 in as many imaginative ways as possible can be found by consulting books or web sites that focus on holiday celebrations. For a start, check out www.wellcat.com/holiday.html for some original holiday ideas created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. For food-related holidays, try library.thinkquest.org/2886/foo.htm or CDKitchen. Or, be bold and create your own reasons to celebrate! That’s likely how many festivities got their start.

January is National Oatmeal Month. Make up some individual packages of the recipe that follows (minus the water!) so a nourishing and filling breakfast can be ready in an instant. For an extra special touch, I like to occasionally add a few chocolate-covered raisins once the oatmeal is cooked!

Breakfast Oatmeal
(Makes 1 serving)

1/3 cup (75 mL) minute oats
2 tablespoons (30 mL) raisins, dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit
1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) water

In a small bowl, stir together oats, raisins, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in water. Heat, uncovered, in microwave on High power for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Stir, then let stand for a minute before eating. Serve with milk.

(Tested in a 1000 watt microwave oven.)

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