Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lenten Works of Mercy

Lent is right around the corner and I see an opportunity use the the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy as a springboard to come up with some family sacrifices (at the bottom of the post for your reference) and at the same time honor the three pillars of Lenten Sacrifice:  Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

We have already agreed on one sacrifice to make together; we will eat on a food stamps budget for the entirety of Lent. But after our conscientious observance of Advent this year, I really want to help us keep Lent in an active way.

I brainstormed these ideas to talk over with the family to see which ones we want to implement. [2/14: The ones in bold are the ones we chose] Here is my starting list; what are your ideas?
  • Buy food for the hungry before Easter using our savings from our "food stamps" budget and have the kids take them into church on Easter as offerings.  (We did this at Christmas and it was good for us all).
  • Make up "help bags" for the homeless to carry in the car.
  • Cull our closets for high quality things we don't wear to donate to the children's home and women's shelter
  • Get wish lists for local children's and homeless shelters to see if we can meet any of those needs
  • Write letters to cheer service-persons abroad 
  • Challenge each member of the family to share his or her faith with someone 
  • Send an encouraging note to someone going through a hard time
  • Start a prayer jar; place names of family and friends (living and dead) on slips of paper in a jar on the table.  Each night, draw a name from the jar and pray for that person (or the repose of their soul).
  • Set a purpose to speak (mercifully) to someone who is on a destructive path.
  • Share this excellent blog post with Dear Hubby and the teens
  • Make a concerted effort effort to "bear wrongs patiently and forgive all injuries." I'm thinking of getting some bear stickers for the little ones to put on a paper cross each time we notice them "bearing" with each other.  Might be good for the big ones too!
  • Pray for someone or a situation we learn about on the news
  • Sacrifice TV time and use that time to write a letter to an elderly friend or do a good deed for someone, such as cook a special meal, clean something, repair something, etc.
  • Calendar times to attend stations of the cross on Fridays
  • Make a King's cake for Fat Tuesday (since I forgot on Epiphany this year! Here's a pic from last year)
  • Participate in a Food Fast to help us understand how the hungry are suffering (Feb 21-22); I won't have the little ones do this, but they'll have no sweets or extras that day [two of us are doing this; the others think they're crazy!]
The corporal works of mercy is as follows:
  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • Shelter the homeless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • Visit the imprisoned;
  • To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday Fish Meal

Yesterday was Friday and Pepper woke with a hankering to cook.  She is a cook in her own right now, far more creative than I, and not afraid to work long hours to produce an extraordinary result. Except when baking, she works without recipes, allowing her skilled nose and sense of food harmony to guide her.  In this case, the masterpiece could be called:

Pepper's Fish Tacos with Fresh Corn Salad and Texas Slaw
(in her words)
Fresh Corn Salad
I roasted on the iron griddle:
Whole corn on the cob (4 ears), 
2 Poblano Peppers
1 Red Bell Pepper
Black beans, drained, 1 can, roasted briefly on the griddle.
Cut the corn off the cob.
Dice peppers.  
Dice 1 Tomato.
Rough chop 1/2 bunch Cilantro

Make a dressing:
Juice of 4 limes
lime zest
Cumin (to taste)
Garlic powder (to taste)
Chili powder (to taste)
a bit of Paprika
Salt (to taste)
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all this all together and let it marinate in the fridge a few hours. (I thought about how delicious  it would be topped with some queso fresco. :)

I made a dredging mix of flour, Mexican spices (comino, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder), and salt. 
I dredged the cod fish in this mixture then pan sauteed it in a very little oil.

Texas Cole Slaw
Half of head green cabbage - finely shredded with a knife
Make a dressing:
Rice Wine Vinegar, "Mexican spices," mayonnaise, a very little sugar, (all to taste)
(The spices turned the slaw pink and I loved it)

Corn Tortillas (wrapped in foil and heated in the oven).

Assemble a taco of fish and slaw.  (We ate the fresh corn salad on the side but Mom ate hers in the taco)

[This meal was delicious, oh my goodness. Sadly, we gobbled down the whole thing with nary a photo. The corn salad, particularly, was lovely. dmt]

(Recipe copyright 1/25/2013 Allison Tischler, aka "Pepper")

Monday, January 21, 2013

"You Won't Miss the Meat" Chili with Cornbread Dumplings

We've actually had a bit of cold weather this year so we have enjoyed more soups and stews than in times past.  My people love chili.  I mean they love it. They also love cornbread so I had the idea to combine the two.  We eat meatless most Fridays, so we make our chili with a 9 bean mix instead of meat.  Only Sunshine and the Dear Hubby miss the meat; really it tastes great either way.

To make the chili:

1# 9 bean soup mix (discard seasonings)
   (Cook beans according to package directions.  Do NOT add remaining ingredients until the beans are soft)

When beans are cooked or nearly so, add:

2.5 T chili powder;
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cumin
1.5 t salt; 
1/2 tsp Cayenne (or omit if too spicy)
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger (helps with "repeating")
2- 16oz cans diced tomatoes, un-drained; 
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. of beer

Heat til bubbly; reduce heat, cover, simmer 30 minutes.

To make the cornbread dumplings:
1 packaged corn muffin mix
1 egg
Milk (as directed on package, less 25%) or buttermilk (my preference)

Reduce the amount of milk called for on the package by 1/4th.  Mix all three ingredients, then drop by 1/4 cup scoops onto the top of the chili.  Increase heat long enough to return the chili to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes until the dumplings are done.

Here is the chili when I first added the dumplings:

And here is the delicious finished product.  I think our chili will always have cornbread dumplings from now on.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christmas Pics

If a picture's worth a thousand words, well what are a lot of pictures worth?  Here some assorted snaps of the family at Christmas.  Later I will post some photos taken by our niece, Lily.  She is an amazing photographer. I am going to also put up individual albums for the kids in case I never again put an actual photograph in an actual album. But for now, you get these: