The month of February conjures images of cold and brightly lit days, also stormy weather and snow, many cozy nights sitting in front of the fireplace, and of course, hearts and chocolates. It suggests the richness of winter life in the days before the Lenten reflection period.
Here in San Diego, where there is a subtlety to the seasons, winter can be warm and dry one day, and completely wet with a deluge of rain, the next. This winter has been very dry, so far.
The patterns and textures that the winter shadows cast are rich with colors and a vibrancy from the rising sun’s rays. There is an intensity to the dancing waves on the mighty Pacific.
Winter looks a little different here in San Diego, but it is winter nonetheless.
Having grown up in the Northeast in Upstate New York, nothing says winter more than bundled layers of clothing, scarves and boots.
My favorite way to dress at this time of year, here in San Diego, is with richly embroidered sweaters, textured scarves and headbands.
One could say that this is the style of my inner GYPSY!
Textures and patterns are everywhere around me and on me! I adore a warm and rich color palette.
At this time of year, I thought it would be fun to explore Carnevale Season! As with every good celebration, there are many exciting things to look forward to and prepare for.
Carnevale has different meanings depending on where the celebrations are taking place. Loosely defined, it is the time of year to eat and drink with pleasure, knowing that the introspective quietness of the days before Easter are soon upon us.
In some cases, it is also recognized as the time the Earth begins to show signs of its rebirth.
As many know, I love to be outside. It is there that I find my inspirations and grounding.
You never know what will be waiting for you with each step forward.
This rock formation is a daily work in progress.
I wish I knew who originally created this. What I do know is that every time I walk in my nearby canyon, I stop to add to its artistry.
There have been times when the rain has washed away many of the stones, and I have also seen it completely overridden with weeds.
I like to think that all the canyon walkers make a little effort to keep the LOVE alive on the hike.
As with all good celebrations, there are infinite ways to make things special. I’d like to share my Grandmother’s simple, yet favorite specialty for Carnevale.
My grandmother was a first generation Italian, whose immigrant parents came from the small city of Sulmona, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. There are many treasured recipes that I have because of Lizette, (her nickname for Elizabeth).
From Christmas through Shrove Tuesday, Pizzelles were always to be found wrapped in wax paper in a Denby’s box out in the garage atop a utility cabinet. For those not familiar with Troy, New York, Denby’s was the department store to shop at!
Why the garage?
Simply put, during the winters in Upstate New York, the garage was used as an additional refrigerator!
- 6 large eggs
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 Tblsp anise extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, melted
- 1/2 organic shortening, melted
- 4 tsp baking powder
- pinch of sea salt, to taste
Equipment: Pizzelle Baker
- Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually until smooth
- Add cooled melted butter and shortening, anise and vanilla, stir until smooth
- Sift flour and baking powder, blend into egg mixture until smooth. Dough will be sticky.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto preheated Pizzelle Baker. (I use two regular teaspoons to make the drop)
- Close baker and cook for 20-30 seconds.
- Remove pizzelles and continue method with all remaining batter. Makes about 60.
- (Variations: add 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts and dust with powdered sugar)
Finding reasons to celebrate Life’s wondrous moments adds so many beautiful things to our lives in so many ways. Layer upon layer, rich with colors and textures, we can create an intricate tapestry to the way we participate in everyday life.
With Valentine’s Day upon us this weekend, I hope you will take a moment to pause and see the richness of life in the littlest of moments. It is truly in those magical things that we can all connect and see a more beautiful World bloom.
Find a way that suits just you to Celebrate the Winter Season and all the Love it holds. Whether you take a minute to breathe deeply, get outside for a brisk walk, take an exercise class, bake a chocolate cake, watch a sunset, dream of the summer evenings to come, just take a little time to fill your heart with JOY.
I will be continuing this series of Carnevale Season throughout the month of February. There will be more amazingly delicious recipes and creatively, beautiful ways to dress up the chill of Winter.