Theres something special about each day

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Can summer vacation truly be over?

Lulled by summer's slow pace, I haven't completed all I intended to this summer. Now, at the tail end of the dog days of summer, I'm out of time for excursions and am feeling the restraint of the short leash of autumn activities.

Ah, but the changing of the season shouldn't cause despair; it happens every year. Yes, we will miss having a loosely structured schedule, and yes, we know that rain will be falling soon. What we need is some diversion to ease us into what we will soon recognize as the coziness of fall.

These last few days of summer call for a little pizzazz, a little spin doctoring. The Pollyanna in me knows that there is something special about each and every day! As proof, following is an abbreviated list of special observations to take us through September.

Today, Aug. 30 is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Now who wouldn't want to partake of that?

And tomorrow, Aug. 31, is National Eat Outside Day - think you could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner outdoors? Set tables in the lawn and light candles!

Who would guess that the month of September is literally jam packed with special observances? We all associate September with 'Back to School Month.' That event, notable as it is, is minor compared to other events celebrated at this time. September is also regarded as National Biscuit Month, Better Breakfast Month, National Chicken Month, National Mushroom Month (yum!), National Organic Harvest Month, National Potato and National Rice Months.

And if that isn't enough, Wine Season and Oyster Season both start Sept. 1.

How do we get all these special observances? Interested parties petition the president (or governor or mayor) to authorize the observance. Evidently, the president of the United States authorizes about 150 special observances every year. These observances have no legal binding, that is how we can end up with a Guacamole Month and a Guacamole Day, or having the day observed on different dates in different states. After the observance is authorized, it is up to the petitioner to promote the event.

Now, you can tell some food lobbyists are better at their jobs than others, as some foods end up with just a week or a day of honor, rather than the full month. I suggest we celebrate them all with gusto during their short duration; they sound simply too fun to let pass without acknowledgement!

During the second week in September you may want to honor National Waffle Week, Biscuit and Gravy Week (I will pass on that one!) and Vegetarian Awareness Week.

There are a few individual days in September that you will probably want to mark on your calendar.

Sept. 3 - National Welsh Rarebit Day. My mom's version was a favorite Sunday lunch - I've got her recipe if you need one.

Sept. 5 - National Cheese Pizza Day. Sure to be a popular event in American households.

Sept. 7 - National Acorn Squash Day, a personal favorite of mine.

Sept. 15 - National Linguine Day. Sounds tempting, as does

Sept. 22 - National Ice Cream Cone Day

Sept. 26 - National Pancake Day. Falls on a Sunday this year.

Sept. 30 - National Hot Mulled Cider Day. This falls on Thursday. Curl up with a steaming mug and your Review or Tidings.

There are some days I'll probably choose not to observe including:

Sept. 10 - TV Dinner Day

Sept. 14 - National Cream Filled Donut Day

Sept. 20 - National Rum Punch Day

Sept. 25 - Crab Meat Newberg Day

Sept. 27 - Corned Beef Hash Day

Sept. 28 - Drink Beer Day

The anticipation alone of observing these special days will add pizzazz to your family life. It's plain and simply fun.

For the complete list of observances for the month of September and beyond, visit the Web site

In an attempt to observing both National Rice Month and Better Breakfast Month, I've selected a recipe for Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl. Not only economical, delicious and nutritious, it is a unique approach to the most important meal of the day.

Bon Appetit! Eat locally!

Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl

Makes 4 servings

2 ½ cups water

1 cup brown rice

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Nonfat milk

Brown sugar

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and salt if using; lower heat to medium-low and cook, covered, about 40 minutes or until tender.

Stir in raisins and walnuts; cook uncovered for five minutes more.

Serve in bowls with milk and brown sugar if desired.

NOTE: To speed the process of getting breakfast on the table, cook the rice the night before; refrigerate the rice in the pan you cooked it in. In the morning, stir into the rice the raisins, walnuts and as much as milk as you usually put on cereal. Heat the mixture until warm; serve immediately with a smile.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-881, ext. 101 or by e-mail at bran

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