From the Diary of a Kitchen Goddess: Heavenly Ambrosia Salad
Thursday, June 21, 2012 ~ Midsummer Campout
Welcome to the Summer Solstice~The Longest Day of the Year!
Good morning. It is Midsummer and I am gloriously ecstatic. Yesterday was the longest day of the year, and it was very hot, but that did not get in the way of my enjoying all of the delicious bounty that summer blesses me with. Because of the rises in temperature that come with the season, cooling off as I water my gardens becomes a joyful habit at this time of year. Soon after I spray myself I am dry. Sometimes I make sure I spray Esperanza.
A Sweet Beginning
For breakfast, Esperanza and I sat at the table on the patio to eat big bowls of granola soaked in soy milk and honey, topped with fresh strawberries and ripe bananas. The taste of fresh strawberries in the morning sweetens the entire day for me, and adding fresh carrot juice gave us the energy we needed to accomplish everything we wanted to do today. After such a pleasurable morning feast we began to prepare for our magical evening festivities.
Fresh strawberries make everything naturally sweet
The Magic of Midsummer
Esperanza wheeled a cart full of fresh-squeezed lemonade around town to pour out with summer solstice blessings for our neighbors. She knocked first on the doors of families with children, to let them know about the party we planned to host in the back yard of our home, and the production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream we planned to offer for our neighbor's entertainment. Her last stop was the senior center in town, where our wisest neighbors welcomed her cool refreshment. Esperanza was in charge of arranging the pot luck dish and drink contributions and I volunteered to lead the day of rehearsals for the play. The entire collection of the library's paperback holdings of the play were checked out in my name, and filled my tote bag.
Our party was also a camp-out. Esperanza made party invitations and delivered them. I prepared bundles of sage to light at nightfall. Together we pitched three tents and arranged pine branches in a labyrinth that encircled the tents. The paper lanterns were still hanging from last week, and fit in perfectly with our other decorations.
Our next task was preparing our share of the food to be eaten that evening, and the stage on which we would all have a part in contributing to the performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.
Another treat that I set up was the sprinkler. It was placed a few feet from the tree swing we hung from an old oak on my property. The children would have a chance to swing into the arc of water produced by the sprinkler.
The finale was the fire pit that we prepared for toasting marshmallows to make s'mores, and singing campfire songs around.
Gardens Full of Fresh Food
This is the time of year I enjoy sharing my bountiful summer harvest with my neighbors. Snap peas, lettuce and spinach are in full bloom. Cabbage is turned into cole slaw and kale is turned into a special salad with lemon juice, seeds, and nuts. Midsummer is the perfect time to throw a party, and my neighbors grill the fruit I grow on skewers. They also grill all manner of seasoned vegetables for us to enjoy. But let us not forget the Ambrosia salad. No party held by a Kitchen Goddess would be complete without a big bowl of heavenly Ambrosia.
Jump right in!
A Midsummer Night's Dreamscape
By late afternoon, my backyard was transformed into a magical place. Our guests began to arrive at 5pm. Esperanza greeted each with a bottle of bubbles and showed them to a table that sported more tools for bubble making. With this they were kept busy for at least half an hour. After that, the children were ready to dash through and swing into some sprinkler water to cool off.
As they arrived, the parents brought their food offerings to the table, and I brought out pitchers of gazpacho, sun tea, and tropical fruit smoothies. A big bucket of ice was also set out, and Esperanza cut up a giant watermelon to serve as a dessert.
At 6pm, I blessed our guests and food, and we all began to eat. Music was provided in shifts. Esperanza played her harp while I played my flute. Spencer played his drum while Amanda played her fiddle.
At 6:30pm, I lit the fire pit so that our guests could toast marshmallows and sing campfire songs.
At 7pm, when everyone was full and happy, I blessed us with sage smoke and a prayer before we walked the labyrinth.
Blessing the Night ~
"Thank you for your light, Mother Earth.
Thank you for the bountiful harvest you feed us.
Thank you for the time we spend together.
Thank you for the magic of this night.
Please bless us with peaceful rest when we drift off to sleep.
Magic is afoot!
At 8:00 pm, the performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream began. Some of our party guests were a troupe of young adults who perform Shakespeare plays, and I invited them over to perform this play with us. They led us in offering a stellar performance, and we threw confetti at the actors during the wedding celebration scene. We also provided some of the sound affects and the festive music. As the sky grew darker, the dome of stars above and the fireflies drifting around us added to the magic of the night.
A couple of the other parents from the neighborhood stayed to help out during the camp-out sleepover. One adult slept in each of the 3 tents set up in my back yard, along with about 3 of the children. Two tents had all girls and one was for boys. A couple of extra adults stayed in my cottage to help children who needed to find their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I think they just wanted to enjoy a bit of the gleeful pleasures of their young along with them.
In the morning, Esperanza and I rose at 7am and began to prepare waffles and home fries for breakfast. The toppings provided for the waffles were pureed fruit, whipped cream, and pure maple syrup. Over our morning meal, eaten at the large round table on my patio, everyone shared the sweet dreams given to them by the midsummer angels/fairies as they slept.
Heavenly clouds of sweetness nestled in my heart ~
A Round of Applause for Heavenly Helpings
The time it takes to make heaven on earth ~
What does it take to make it to paradise? ~
- 2, 15 oz, cans Mandarin Oranges
- 1, 20 oz, can Crusehed Pineapple
- 2 Cups + 1 handfull Miniature Marshmallows
- 1 Cup Coconut Flakes
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Cup Almond Slivers, (optional)
Mix it all together with a big wooden spoon ~
- Open cans of mandarin oranges, drain the water from the cans, and pour the oranges in a giant mixing bowl.
- Open can of crushed pineapple, drain the water from the can, and pour the pineapple into the mixing bowl with the mandarin oranges.
- Pour the miniature marshmallows, coconut flakes, almond slivers (optional), and sour cream into the mixing bowl with the fruit.
- Mix everything in the bowl with a big wooden spoon until all of the flavors are woven together evenly.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
- Spoon into small bowls for guests to eat.
Nutrients in a bowl of Ambrosia, with almonds
|Serving size: 1 bowl,|
|Calories from Fat||144|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 16 g||25%|
|Saturated fat 8 g||40%|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 23 g||8%|
|Sugar 21 g|
|Fiber 4 g||16%|
|Protein 4 g||8%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
© 2012 Karen A Szklany