Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mothers and Fathers

Every parent knows they cannot raise their children with out help.  Acutely aware of my own failings and weaknesses, I am grateful for family mealtime because of the opportunity it affords.  Today I am grateful for another excuse to pray.  As we offered thanks for our food, I petitioned God's intervention and aid in behalf of my children.  Three meals a day give me three more chances to approach the only Being who will be able to make a lasting difference.  Thank goodness for meal times.

The HOW:

Today I taught the children that rice triples its volume.  One third cup raw rice yields 1 cup cooked.  We cooked three batches of differing amounts but the same ratio 1 part rice 3 parts water.   The rice boiled, the girls stirred periodically.  When the water had all disappeared we turned off the stove and covered the pans.
We served the rice as 1)the starch under hamburger gravy, 2) rice pudding for breakfast the next morning, 3)  Spanish Rice for the next Dinner and 3)leftovers for Breakfast the next morning.
Then on Thursday evening we made a stew out of the leftover hamburger gravy.   The week flowed smoothly with food prepared ahead that everyone loved.

Rice is a food storage basic.  Twenty five pounds lasted the whole 11 weeks when combined with our normal diet this summer.  It is a grain of choice for people suffering from allergies and costs less that $.03 per serving.  Cooking rice is a basic skill everyone should feel comfortable doing.

Spanish Rice:

onion. chopped
onion powder
chili powder
chopped celery
tomatoes (sauce, diced or fresh diced)

Ratios are about 3 cups rice (already cooked)
1 pound browned ground beef
1 small onion
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup dice celery

Methods: Brown the ground beef in a little oil, add onion, celery, green peppers until meat is down and onions are clear. Add tomatoes and spices.  Stir on stove top of put in casserole pan and heat through.  This dish freezes well.  If starting with raw rice add three cups water with one cup raw rice then add browned meat and spices.

Other possible flavorings:  bacon, green peppers, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar


Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day - Accepting Risk

Good parents help their children accept risks.  It is a risk to go to school, to say "Hi" to a stranger, and to try a sport never before attempted.  Our nation has reached its greatest heights of success because of brave individuals, teams, a communities that wanted to take a risk starting a small business, introducing a new flavor of ice cream, or a new way to market a hamburger.  So on Labor Day when we celebrate the working citizens of America, I will celebrate those who take the chance to be successful even if it mean giving up the security of a guaranteed paycheck.  I will celebrate parents who create safe ways to for their children to take risks in their homes.  This builds creative and self assured individuals.

Today, our family ate at a Mongolian Grill that allows each person to not only pick the meats, vegetables and pasta's in his stir fry but it also lets the patron pick the flavors in which to fry the mix.
My children have enjoyed trying squid, tofu, baby corns, and a flavors as basic as a sweet and sour to a garlic hoisin sauce.  The adventuresome  have made both terrific and awful creations.  If it doesn't work then starting over is permitted.  The not so eccentric can assemble a simple version of Ramen noodles, but if he wants to eat, every person has to create and take a risk that it will taste good.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dinner tables, Family and God

Feeding our families as we sit together around a meal table glorifies God as a real presence in our lives. Through 2010 our family completed two food challenges: one to stay out of the grocery store for three months and one to live off only the food I could buy for less than $50.00 per person per month. This last month was a challenge of it's own to move - albeit only a few miles- and still put a meal on the table. All of these challenges have given me pause to ask why? Why go to the effort to cook, to sit down together, and to eat home prepared food? The answers are many but surprising to me is that the main reasons we put food on our shelves to use in our homes on a daily basis are to nurture relationships with people we love. Those relationships are strengthened by the sacrifice necessary to cook, the work required to prepare and provide food and the ensuing feelings of love that flow when our hearts are in the right place. These fundamental benefits reaffirm that there is a God and that He loves us. In an atheistic paradigm, humans only sacrifice to preserve themselves not out of a desire to nurture a relationship with a child, husband or wife, or friend that we want to share forever.

These next few months posts on this blog will continue to be more of the why along with the how. I will attempt to start at the beginning to teach the very basics of cooking.  I will teach and post what my six, eight, and ten year old daughters are learning as they cook with me.  For many of you who never had a mother who cooked - here is an example of what goes on at our house.  Each house is different and each mother or father is different.  Food preferences are different so the biggest lesson to learn is there is no right or wrong way to prepare food in your home.  Gourmet chefs follow specific methods and I am not a gourmet cook.   We are going to try and enjoy one another as we feed our bodies through creative adventures in the kitchen.   On discouraging days I will remember that God loves to Create and the relationships we create as we prepare dinner only further His greatest objectives on this earth.

Thanks for patience and support - until tomorrow.