I'm a beer-loving atheist who's giving up alcohol for Lent.

"Why, if you don't believe in God, would you give up anything for Lent?"  

I believe Christianity is not inherent to much of what it claims:  the values, the parables, the idea of rebirth...The Good Life is not contingent upon a belief in God.

The story of the temptations of Christ is one with which I easily identify:  avoiding temptation while in a weakened state, proving mind over matter leading to a rebirth.  There is power in achievement; believing theoretically that you can meet a challenge is different than having the internal knowledge that you've met that challenge.  It is easy to say that the mind is powerful, but to rise up to a trial and summon a renewal of confidence that comes from such a triumph over self can prove that your mind is more powerful than your body, your urges, your weaknesses.

All this for a 40 day test?  Yes, please.  Bring it ON!

Beer Pickled Eggs

I'd never been able to bring myself to eat the beet-red (pun intended) pickled eggs that sit in a jar on a counter for who knows how long.  Once I started doing my own pickling, however, the idea of pickled eggs sounded much better.  I came across a recipe for beer pickled eggs and had to make a go of it.  I made these, didn't think much of them and stuck them in a fridge.  About a year later, I pulled them out for as a side for a bloody Mary bar.  They had firmed up, mellowed out and tasted delish.  A select few raved over them and so I give you the recipe.  Use it as a guide, adapt, enjoy...and invite me to your bloody Mary bar.

24 Small Hard-Boiled Eggs
1 (12 Ounce) Bottle Beer (Denver Pale Ale)
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Pickling Spice
2 Tbsp Parsley Flakes
4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Hot Peppers (2 Tsp Ghost Pepper Sugar)

Place eggs in a large, deep pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Drain and place in fresh cold water.  When the eggs are cool peel. Pierce each egg all the way through with fork so that all that tasty brine can fully penetrate the egg.

(He he he...I said fully penetrate!)

Divide the eggs into two quart sized canning jars (or other air tight glass container).

In each jar place, 1 tablespoon each of the pickling spice and parsley flakes plus 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and a hot pepper.  Use whatever kind of pepper you like (I actually used a tablespoon of ghost pepper sugar) or, you can omit the pepper if you don't want spicy eggs (pshaw).  You can use the pepper whole or seeded or whatever you like depending on level of spiciness you like.

Combine the beer and vinegar and pour over eggs until they are fully submerged. Add additional vinegar if you need more liquid to cover the eggs.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 week before using.  Enjoy!