In Season August 2011

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Alanna Weissman

Forever Friends
The first Sunday of August marks International Friendship Day. Celebrate by making and giving woven friendship bracelets. Find straightforward directions to create the heartfelt accessories at www.how-to-make-jewelry.com.

S’more, Please
Those who dig the summer favorite marshmallow-chocolate-graham-cracker-combo can rejoice on August 10, National S’mores Day, and August 30, National Toasted Marshmallow Day. If rain is in the forecast or you’re simply unable to toast marshmallows in the great outdoors, substitute the cooked treat with spreadable Marshmallow Fluff and pop assembled s’mores in the microwave.

Lefty Love
August 13 brings Left-Handers’ Day. Have a few laughs with your kids by trying to draw pictures left-handedly (or, right-handedly if participants are southpaws). While you’re at it, learn some fun facts about lefthandedness at www.planetlefthanded.com.

Very Berry
Did you know that the first of the month is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day? To celebrate, try this no-bake recipe from www.epicurious.com.
Ingredients:
•7 oz. chocolate wafer cookies (about 32), coarsely broken •½ c. bittersweet chocolate chips •6 Tbs. (¾ stick) butter, cut into ½-in. cubes •¼ c. sugar •14-oz. sweetened condensed milk •¼ c. crème fraîche •¼ c. fresh lemon juice •1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel •½ c. fresh raspberries (2 6-oz. containers)
Directions:
Place broken cookies in food processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely ground. Place chocolate chips, butter and sugar in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high at 15-second intervals until melted, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate mixture to processor and blend until combined. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch glass pie dish (do not pack firmly). Chill crust while preparing filling. Whisk condensed milk, crème fraîche, lemon juice and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Add half of the raspberries. Stir, pressing gently on some raspberries, until raspberries begin to break apart and filling turns pink. Transfer filling to crust. Chill until filling is set, about two hours. Scatter remaining raspberries over pie. Cut into wedges and serve.

Knock, Knock
August 16 is National Tell a Joke Day and August 11 is Presidential Joke Day. If you’re not a natural-born comedian, go to www.ahajokes.com for some inspiration.

Nifty Thrifty
National Thriftshop Day comes on August 17. Check out the bargains and discover what cool vintage items are stocked in stores. To locate a thriftshop near you, visit www.thethriftshopper.com.

Rhymes with Orange
To honor National Creamsicle Day on August 14, make your own with this frosty treat fix from www.recipes.sparkpeople.com.
Ingredients:
•2 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt •6 oz. frozen orange juice (concentrate works best, but orange juice in a box works, too) •1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into individual paper cups or molds and freeze. Insert popsicle sticks (if desired) when mixture is slightly frozen. Makes eight servings.

Gimme a Break
August 15 is National Relaxation Day. Unwind with a spa treatment or concoct a DIY version at home by following the easy directions for lavender bath salt from www.planetgreen.discovery.com.
What You Need:
•Coarse sea salt •Lavender essential oil •Dried organic lavender •Spice sachets •Clean, empty jars •Epsom salts (optional) •Ribbon (optional) •Unbleached cheesecloth (optional)
Directions:
Mix several drops of essential oil into about 4 cups of salt. Alternately, combine 3 cups of salt with 1 cup of Epsom salts. Sprinkle in dried herbs. Mix well. Pour into jars, and tie on a ribbon and gift tag if you’re feeling fancy. Include pre-made spice sachets or cotton tea bags that bathers can spoon some salts into before using, to keep the lavender bits from floating around. Alternatively, cut a circle measuring at least 8 inches in diameter out of unbleached cheese cloth. Instruct your gift recipient to scoop bath salts in the middle and gather up the edges of the cheesecloth into a knot.

Smile Wide
Looking for a way to honor Admit You’re Happy Month this August? Bake these yummy sugar cookies courtesy of www.allrecipes.com. Then use icing and toppings to decorate the baked delights with bright colors and cheerful pictures of flowers and happy faces. You’re sure to bring smiles to all who see and devour the confections.
Ingredients:
•2¾ c. all-purpose flour •1 tsp. baking soda •½ tsp. baking powder •1 c. butter, softened •1½ c. white sugar •1 egg •1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet 2 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

This column appeared in the August 2011 issue.