Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Small Meals : Fasting for Lent

Hey y'all,

Time to break out the ashes and the sackcloth again!

Yes....Lent is here. Which means sacrifice, penance and mortification. The time of "giving up stuff".

And every adult's favorite Lenten practice.....fasting. 

With recent easements, it is only necessary to fast two days out the year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (oddly enough, both days of complete abstinence as well.)

However, most traditional parishes encourage and heartily recommend fasting the full forty days if at all possible.

The fasting guidelines for the Catholic Church are very simple: one complete meal (allows meat, unless it's a day of abstinence) and two small meals that don't equal one complete meal (no meat). No snacking is allowed.

Easy, right?

Sure, if I don't overthink the details....

The biggest thing that I got hung up on was: what constituted a small incomplete meal?

There are a couple ways to look at it: the scientific approach (calories) and the size and structure method.

Most humans eat between 1200-2400 calories per day. Broken up into three meals, that is 400-800 calories, which includes the calories that are in drinks such as soda and juice.

So...in terms of calories, fasting would look like eating 150-300 calories for two meals and a regular 400-800 calorie portion.

Now that is all fine and dandy for the people that count their calories. But I don't have the patience to do that daily. So I looked at a second method - portion size and meal structure.

By fasting law, the two small meals cannot equal a full meal. Therefore, cutting portions in half doesn't work (as two halves equals one full).
But....cutting in a third does work. Because 2/3rds does not equal 1.
Therefore, a small meal would be a third of a regular meal.

This could especially easy for portioning foods like spaghetti. But what if you meal is made up of various foods?

Lets say that you always have very structured meals. Breakfast is pancakes and/or eggs and pastry with some fruit. For lunch, it is sandwiches or yogurt, some sort of carb (crackers or chips) and something sweet (usually cookies). For dinner it is an entree (usually meat or fish), a carb side (potatoes, pasta, rice) and a vegetable.

How do you make small meals from that? Well, you can simply reduce your regular portion by 2/3rds or you can cut foods entirely.

From previous experience, I know that while cutting foods out is easier, it doesn't work as well as a smaller, more balanced meal.

If you do decide to cut foods out, which do you cut?

For me, the first thing that would get cut is the sweet stuff. As a lot of people already know, just living on cookies and desserts can wreak havoc on your health and your blood sugar levels. 

As to the question of entree vs. carbohydrate side? That gets trickier.
Humans get most of their energy from complex carbohydrates (the really stodgy grain-based foods.) Historically, that has been the sustaining food group, which is what you want. Protein can also give a lot of energy and help muscles, so that would be more helpful to people that do a lot of physical labor. 
It may just be better to have a combined protein/carb source in a small portion size.

Whichever route you take, make sure that the meal you eat is enough to give you enough energy to last until your next meal without feeling sick or faint. The idea is to be hungry (a sting, as my priest told me), not on the floor dying.

Have a blessed Lent! 

Old-fashionably yours, 

Farm Lassie  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sweet and Sassy: A Pineapple Dessert

Hey y'all,

So the past couple of posts have been pretty serious so I decided to change it up a bit.....with a cooking scrape!

Ok, so I'm a big fan of bulk food stores, but it's an art to make it work for a single person. So sitting in my cupboard was a large container of pretzels that I got over the summer at BJs. It was one third full and growing stale fast. Now, I hate wasting food if I can possibly avoid it, and I had a big potluck coming up. I figured that I'd kill two birds and  So, I started looking for pretzel dessert recipes. I found one on The Gingham Apron site via Pinterest which looked delicious. Here is the link in case you are interested: http://www.theginghamapron.com/pineapple-pretzel-salad/. 

So I bought all the ingredients that I didn't have, rolled up my sleeves and got to work!

I simply started by following the original instructions (although I must admit, the crust was terrible. I would heartily recommend that you find another recipe for the crust!). Everything was going peachy....until I started getting frugally fancy.....

The recipe called for drained canned pineapple. Since I always get the kind in pineapple juice, I knew the juice was still good. Boy, I hated to waste all 20 oz of it., Besides, the top NEEDED a drizzle! So naturally, why not make a pineapple drizzle?

Ummm, I failed....big time.

I had no recipe to go off of, so I started creating one in my head. I broke out the powdered sugar and started to pour it in, figuring that it would thicken up enough that it would drizzle. After an alarming amount of sugar didn't thicken it at all, I looked for another alternative.


That didn't thicken it either, and frankly, the color looked horrible. Of course I'll salvage it!



(You get where this is going?)


Oh brother.......well, it tasted good! I spread the hot sticky stuff on the partially cooled filling and let it set a bit. But the original problem still remained....no drizzle.

So I go searching through and found some dark baking chips in the freezer. So, I tried melting them. Not totally successfully here either. The chips were really grainy and further melting didn't help at all. By this point I was totally frustrated and started flinging the hot globby chocolate over the dessert. I wish I had saved pictures of the original because it was a work of art once it was done.

So instead, I made an artistic representation of it. 
I added extra pretzel pieces in addition to the chocolate, and the dish was a smash hit (only one or two servings left to take home) 😀

I've included my recipe below. Hope you enjoy it!

Old-fashionably yours,

Farm Lassie

Sweet and Sassy Pineapple/Pretzel Dessert
Adapted from The Gingham Apron's Pineapple Pretzel Salad

Ingredients (makes a full 9 x 13 pan):

3 cups of crushed pretzels
2-3 sticks of butter, melted
2/3 cup of sugar

16 oz Cool Whip (2 containers)
16 oz cream cheese, softened
2 20oz cans of either crushed or tidbit pineapples
1 cup of sugar (or ½-2/3 cup Monkfruit in the Raw)

All juice from the pineapple cans!
1-2 cup of powdered sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
Milk chocolate chips
Extra pretzel bits

Directions for pretzel crust/topping:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Mix the melted butter and the sugar together
3. Stir in the pretzels.
4. Spread 2/3 of the pretzel mixture in an aluminum lined 9 x 13 pan. Put the rest on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7 minutes.
5. Break up the topping mixture and let cool.

Directions for filling:

6. Cream together cream cheese and sugar.
7. Stir in the Cool Whip and drained pineapple into the cream cheese mixture.
8. Spread into the cooled crust.
9. Set into the fridge while you start the topping.

Directions for topping:

10. Mix pineapple juice with powdered sugar and cornstarch.
11. Place into microwave on HIGH for about 7-14 minutes or until the mixture gelatizes.
12. Stir hot gelatin and spread it all over the top of the filling. Set into the fridge until cool.
13. Press pretzel topping gently into gelatin.
14. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle it all over the dessert.

15. Chill for a few hours. Serve and enjoy!   

Friday, February 17, 2017

Modesty for the Active Woman : Outdoor Recreational Activities

Hey y'all,

Last post for the Modesty for the Active Woman series! Ho boy...this may be my toughest post yet....so many activities, so little time!

Each activity requires different kinds of movement, so you have to plan accordingly. Some activities can be safely done in regular modest wear. Other activities require a little more attention. I would recommend that any outfit that you wear to any sport should not be restrictive in any way. Pay attention to the tightness of the skirt/dress for any of the following activities. There is nothing dignifying about a woman struggling to run because of a tight skirt.

Safe sports for regular everyday wear:

Marksmanship sports (archery, target shooting, etc.)

Sports that require a little more care:

Horseback Riding:

I had planned to do an entire post on modest horseback riding, but this is one area that I have no practical experience in. I have a million and a half theories and ideas that may or may not work. Horseback riding in a skirt can be a difficult matter. I do have a Pinterest board devoted to ideas though that I would love to share.


I would go with a similar wardrobe to what I outlined in my Farm Work/Gardening post. Durable fabrics, such as denim, are great. Skirts can be a little longer, around the ankle. Again, wider is better, can't really climb over trees, rocks and streams with a tight skirt on. As to what to wear underneath, it depends on the location. You can get away with long socks/stockings on a well marked, clear park trail. Jeans/jeggings are better with a rough mountain trail, such as the Appalachian Trail. For camping, I would stick to jeans/jeggings under skirts, as they limit the bugs better and protect from nature's "snaggy" things. 


Most camouflage shirts and gear are modest enough for Catholic girls to wear. I would recommend that you sew a simple mid-calf camouflage skirt for dignity's sake. See Olivia Williams's camouflage skirt here: http://freshmodesty.blogspot.com/2013/12/getting-my-hunting-on.html


Wear either an old skirt, a modest swim skirt or any other skirt that you won't mind getting wet in and/or be able to swim in. Capsizing is still a risk, even without skirts entering into the equation.


Running was not really considered dignified for ladies in the olden days, because of the fact that the skirts tended to ride up around the ladies thighs-knees, depending on the skirt length. Now women, modest dressers included, have included running into their daily workout.

I would recommend that the skirt you choose should kick away and not cling (clinging skirts slow you and force you to create more effort into getting to your destination). 

Gym workouts:

Finding modest workout clothes that fit Vatican standards is almost impossible. Most 'gym skirts' that I've found, even on modest sites, are simply too short. On the one hand, I understand why. Mobility. On the other hand, there is dignity to consider. Most gym clothes are also made from stretchy knit material, which is considered clingy by Catholic standards.

In my gym class, I've stuck to my regular modest skirts and T-shirts and did fine. I chose clothes that I could move freely in without restriction but close enough to my figure that they didn't drape all over the gym and get in the way of the equipment. However, I'm thinking of making an 'exercise' skirt, similar in style to my swim skirt.  

For more ideas for modest wear for active recreational wear, please see my board on Pinterest.
Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

Old-fashionably yours,

Farm Lassie

P.S. Apparently, someone else shares my opinion on females and sports! Check out this link here: http://againstallheresies.blogspot.com/2006/08/traditional-catholic-women-and-sports.html

Friday, February 10, 2017

Modesty for the Active Woman : Swimming, Part 2

Hey y'all,

This is the second half of the Swimming post for my Modesty for the Active Woman series. In this post, I'll be outlining how to "modest-ify" a one-piece swimsuit. Any suggestion by me is purely from my personal experience, which is fallible. 

Ok, we've all been swimsuit shopping, looking for that one that covers the most. Most will be ok in the front, but almost nothing in the back. Yet, it fits and looks so well on you…….
I know I've been in that situation. I had just embraced modesty when I realized that all of my old suits were simply too small for me. I went shopping in SteinMart and picked up a pretty black one-piece with a blue design on the front. 
Here is one that was very similar in style : 

For years afterward, I was wearing a rash shirt over it to cover my back, and later leggings to cover my legs (I get cold in the water). But I felt it still wasn't enough, and my family was getting a little exasperated because I kept covering up my suit.
Finally, I said enough's enough. I had to find a way to make this darn thing more modest without changing the suit itself.

How did I do it? 

1. I looked at my suit to see what the dominant color was. The idea was that I wanted the rest of the outfit to look like it belonged with the suit. In my case it was black. Easy peasy. If your suit is a pattern, such as a floral, stripe, or art deco, it may be harder to spot a dominant color. If that is the case, look for the background color or see if you can match an accenting color or choose a complementary color.   
2. I picked up matching black swimsuit fabric at Joann's. For a small woman (5'3"), I would pick up 1.5-2 yards of 45” fabric. For a taller woman, I would pick up at least 2-3 yards. I made a simple straight skirt (see my note below). For this style, I wouldn't recommend going much longer than the Vatican-approved standards, simply because of the fact that this skirt will have the tendency to stick. All skirts will do it, unfortunately. Circle skirt patterns have also been used for swim skirts, but I've not tried it yet. 

Note: The way that my fabric measured out, I was able to cut the fabric lengthwise along the fold line and have enough length for a Vatican-approved length skirt, and have plenty of width. If you are between 5'4” - 5'8", I would recommend that you add a ruffle to the bottom if you do it this way, which will call for extra fabric. 

4. For the skirt, make a narrow hem and a ½-1” casing. Gather till the skirt fits you rather snugly, and then sew in elastic. Sew sides together.
5. Make a raglan-sleeved shirt out of the swimsuit fabric, long enough to cover most of your rear. This style is what most rash shirts are. In fact, I copied my own rash shirt in order to make this. The reason I say to make it that long is so that it has less of a chance of 'popping out' and exposing your back when swimming. This style of shirt has no shaping in the bust area, so it is safe to wear under swimsuits with built in support (like mine!).
6. Use any extra fabric to make a pair of shorts, if you so desire.
When putting this outfit together, put the shirt first. Then put your one-piece on. Put on your shorts/leggings (if applicable) and then your skirt last.

Some things that I have learned from experience: 

1. Swim fabric is still clingy. It will stick to your body as you come out of the water. This is why I made my skirt very wide and full.
2. Swim skirts tend to soak up water (a LOT of water). You will soak multiple towels. If the sun is hot, I would honestly recommend drip drying 😁 
3. Remember in my last post when I said to add leggings/shorts? Here is the reason: air bubbles can become trapped by your skirt, causing it to lift/balloon. Sure, try to avoid that, but maintain your dignity at the same time. Because of ease of movement, the skirt mostly pull away by your movements too. Might as well have your bases covered (including accidents involving separation, not that I think that will happen....). I would recommend going to at least right above the knee. I swim with full length leggings only because I get very cold in the water rather quickly. 

In the future, I will post pictures of my suit to the blog. Unfortunately, due to it being winter, it's hibernating.....

Old-fashionably yours, 

Farm Lassie

Friday, February 3, 2017

Modesty for the Active Woman : Swimming, Part 1

Hey y'all,

This is part 1 of the second installment of my Modesty for the Active Woman series. Any suggestion by me is purely from my personal experience, which is fallible.

This may be one of the most controversial topics in modesty that I have ever encountered.

A lot of modesty advocates actually look down upon the idea of public swimming, and there is a good reason for that. With widespread immodesty and bad company on the public beaches, the air is ripe for scandal. But there is a flip side to that. We, as modest swimmers, can be a shining example for those poor girls. Who knows what good we could do by simply letting our dress speak for us!

And besides, swimming in itself is not bad! There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a dip in a pool, ocean, pond, whatever body of water that is near you, especially with family and friends. Just costume and conduct yourself appropriately.

So...how do we do so?

First and foremost, start with the Vatican standards of modesty. High neckline, sleeves, knee length skirt. Easy enough. I would heartily recommend that you add leggings/shorts to that. I'll explain why later on.

There are a couple of different ways to supply yourself with a modest suit: buying one and making it yourself.

Some companies have created ready-made modest suits, including Sea Secret, HydroChic, Undercover Waterwear as well as several small businesses. Use the image search on Google for the best results, and follow the links attached to the images.
Commercial modest swimsuits/swim dresses have the following characteristics:

1. Shirt - cap to elbow sleeves, high neckline
2. Skirt - mid-thigh to knee length
3. Leggings - most stop at the knee.

There are a few cautions that I would like to pass on:
1. Not all "modest" suits fit Vatican standards, as the characteristics list above will prove.
2. Many shops that sell modest swimwear are affiliated with a faith group, (Jews, Muslim, and evangelicals are the most common). Each of these faith groups has a different standard of modesty than Catholics do. I would review these products on a case-by-case basis, seeing if they fit Vatican standards.
3. Modest swimsuits and swim dresses tend to be a bit pricey (by pricey, I mean over $50).

For ideas to help you get started on your search for modest swimwear, please check out my Pinterest board
When I began looking for modest swim options, I quickly discovered that buying one was not a good option. Since I was handy with a needle, I looked at the second option: making one.

Believe it or not, there are patterns available to make modest swimwear. Fresh Modesty has one here: http://freshmodesty.com/shop/creating-custom-swimwear/

However, I had a unique problem come up right around the time I was thinking of making one...check out my next blog post to find out what it was!

Old-fashionably yours,

Farm Lassie