Look to the root of the word Carnival for the answer. Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Lent is a time of fasting, prayers, and giving in preparation for Easter. Our Catholic friends give up meat, carne, especially on Fridays throughout Lent. The pre-Lent party was really all about using up the meat, eggs, butter, lard, sugar and other rich foods before giving them up for Lent.
Lutherans fast as part of our tradition, but it is not an obligation. Fasting for Lutherans is more of a spiritual discipline, and we are not required to "give anything up" during Lent. In our home, we try to keep the solemnity of Lent without losing sight of the joy we have because Jesus went to the cross as payment for our sins. Celebrating today, with pancakes (!) for dinner (!!), helps me begin reintroducing Lent to the children through this contrast in our daily diet.
For dinner tonight we'll be feasting on pancakes. I was going to make some sort of special pancakes, but with a few other projects taking precedence today, I'm relying on a box mix. I know, I know, don't shame me! Guess what else, I'm out of syrup. And want to know something else? I don't want to run to Publix today. SO, instead of measuring and mixing real pancakes, and in the spirit of using up odds and ends in the fridge and pantry, I hope to come up with a variety of fun toppings for my family to enjoy. I have powdered sugar, strawberries, bananas, sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, various nut butters and coconut just to name a few. Certainly I can whip together a few topping options!
Before I tell you about my topping concoctions, I'll show you breakfast!
What did the kids want for breakfast? Waffles. Sigh! We finished off the box of Van's topped with jam. Peter finished two, yes TWO, waffles before I even sat down with my breakfast. It truly was a Marti Gras moment when both of the kids vultured over my plate, drooling with their hands out! Throw me somethin' Mama! They ate most of my breakfast too.
Empty plates and another round of dishes to do...
This afternoon while Pete was napping I finally got those breakfast dishes done, and then I got to work creating the "out of syrup" pancake toppings.
Starting from the top and going clockwise, we have Sweet Banana, Greek Yogurt Vanilla, Strawberry Merlot, Sweet Coconut Cream, and Almond-Chocolate Swirl. Good thing it's Fat Tuesday!
Here's the non-recipe for each!
Sweet Banana is for Pete. It's a whole banana, a dollop of sweetened condensed milk, a splash vanilla and milk all mashed together with a potato masher. I resisted the urge to add a splash of rum.
Greek Yogurt Vanilla is for a little tart, creamy protein. It's just plain Greek Yogurt with a couple splashes of vanilla.
Strawberry Merlot. Yup, Merlot. I mashed some sliced berries along with just a touch of powdered sugar and the last swallow of last night's bottle.
Sweet Coconut Cream. I'd rather have sweetened condensed milk than syrup any day! I stirred it together with an equal part toasted unsweetened coconut, a splash of vanilla and milk. Even though I know he'll find this whole idea weird, Andy is going to love this one!
Almond-Chocolate Swirl, for me! I could live, LIVE, on nut butters and dark chocolate quite happily. Why not put it on pancakes? I had a little chocolate syrup left over from the Valentines brownie mix, so I just swirled it into my yummy almond butter.
Fat Tuesday indeed.For dessert... just kidding!
Dirty, happy children are now in the tub.
And another round of dishes waiting for me.
Enjoy Pancake Day! Have a happy Lent too!