Sunday, September 4, 2011

Preparation an Divine Truth

Preparing is a truth.  To be happy we must prepare.  We prepare ourselves for the day by showering, eating breakfast, taking a moment to pray.  We prepare ourselves for the week by going to church, pondering on the upcoming responsibilities, and our direction in life.  Any good sales person or parent will ask what our hopes and dreams are and if we are headed that way.  Long term planning and setting goals for life determine what we do today.

Mealtimes are no different.  If we are wise each day we are executing a plan - preparing.  If we are not short sighted we will do more than just fill stomachs for the next three hours, we will be preparing the current meal while thinking of the next meal and at the same time by cutting salad greens, putting a dish in the crockpot or preparing a triple batch of the current meal for extra freezer meals. 

As we shop, we are prudently looking for sales, buying extra, preserving food for times of want ahead.  Preparation becomes a way of life as one constrains the desires and impulses of the moment for a long term benefit. 

This month (September 2011) my goal is to live life and blog our day to day with these principles in mind.  There is no overt monetary restriction, no challenge to only use what is on our shelves, I will prepare meals according to what we have on hand, the sales we encounter, the time restrictions of our family and the appetites to satisfy. Let's see what benefits we enjoy as we prepare for family mealtimes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Without appology - Intestinal Fortitude

For three days my children have enjoyed a big pot of baby Lima beans, pinto beans, read lentils, split mung beans, and brown rice flavored with dehydrated onion, crushed tomatoes, garlic, Mrs. Dash, and salt.  The dish tasted delicious but by the second day I felt a little badly when the children came home from school and beans were all they could find to eat.  The older children were ravenous and ate it with great relish commenting "This makes my tummy feel so happy."  One seven year old refused to eat the beans until I held her on my lap and gently persuaded her to take one bite, then another.  She ate a full cup one bite at a time while sitting on my lap.  My mother's heart was doubly rewarded knowing my sweet child had eaten a healthy meal that would stick to her bones while enjoying a special bonding for a few minutes.  I had to question myself, "When was the last time you got the hold this child without competition from other children, the laundry or the next errand?"  Thank goodness for mealtimes.

The willingness of the children to eat just beans with bread and butter for lunch, dinner, breakfast, after school snack/dinner, and dinner again made me hope that maybe they are developing a little "intestinal fortitude."   This is the quality to do what is unpopular, and may appear unpleasant, what at first one may not want to do but after doing feels the greatest reward: a sense of accomplishment and well being.  Often intestinal fortitude is required if we are to serve and love others in our family or community.  I count it an honor to develop such strength in my family even if it is little by little around a dinner table.

Thursday September 1, 2011
Breakfast:  oatmeal
Lunch: mixed beans
Dinner: Mixed beans/ Fresh hot bread

Friday September 2, 2011
Breakfast:  beans, bread and butter
Dinner: beans with tortilla chips

Saturday September 3, 2011
Breakfast: blueberry muffins, beans
Lunch: rice pudding (that did not get prepared before breakfast)
Dinner: **Italian chicken over biscuits** This was an absolute hit from Family Circle magazine.

2 pounds chicken thighs ( I used 1 quart bottled chicken cubes.)
1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash -original.)
3/4 tsp garlic salt (I used diced garlic browned with the onions.)
1/4 tsp black pepper (I left it out.)
1 large onion ( I put 2 in and doubled all spices.)
1 large can diced tomatoes ( I put in three cups diced tomatoes.)
1 cup chicken broth ( I used the juice in the bottled chicken.)
2 TBSP tapioca (I used tapioca purchased at the Indian Store - 2 pounds for $4.00)
1 can cannellinni beans (I used 1 cup red lentils, could also use pinto, navy, or mung bean)
1/2 cup sliced black olives (I left these out.)
1/2 cup fresh basil torn into small pieces ( I used 2 TBS dried basil.)

Brown onions and garlic, add all other ingredients.  Let it simmer while preparing biscuits.  Prepare a double batch of biscuits (I baked two batches - one for dinner tonight and one for cream of tuna later and also measured out another double batch of biscuits putting the dry ingredients in a gallon size bag in the freezer ready to add the eggs and water.  Doing a little preparation while I'm already in the kitchen goes a long way in feeding out family on the run.)