Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dinner without photos and gross negligence on following a recipe

I was really in the mood for split pea soup, but when I pulled out my jar that holds split peas, I discovered it was empty. I really dislike having to come up with two dinner ideas in one day, especially when the first idea seemed like such a good one.

The lentil jar was next to the split pea jar, so I thought I'd make lentil soup instead. I couldn't remember what recipe I've used for lentil soup in the past, so I started looking through my cookbooks, and found this one.

Mediterranean Lentil Vegetable Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
6 carrots peeled and sliced
4 ribs celery, with leaves, chopped (I didn't have celery, so I dumped in some celery salt- I really need to dehydrate celery so I always have some on hand...)
2 medium onions, chopped (I used dried onions)
4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped (again, I used dried minced garlic)
8 cups chicken broth (I cut it down to 6 since I was using the crock pot. I probably could have gone with 5, but it was good)
1 can plum tomatoes (I used my home canned tomatoes, chopped up) with juice
1 cup dry red wine (I didn't have any on hand, so I left this out) :)
3/4 C lentils (I put in 1 cup because 3/4 seemed like not very much)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp allspice (I didn't have allspice, so I left it out)
2 cinnamon sticks (I was nervous about cinnamon in soup, so I only put in one stick- which turned out perfectly)
salt and pepper

Cook carrots, celery and onions in olive oil until onions are wilted. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add everything else and cook until lentils are tender. (I actually just dumped everything in the crock pot and let it cook)

I adjusted amounts, mostly of water and lentils, since I was cooking this in a crock pot instead of on the stove, but it turned out really well. The kids were skeptical at first, but once they tried it, they finished without complaint. We also made chapathis (3 C flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 C water- mix, rest for several hours, shape into 12 balls, roll out, and bake like tortillas (although they puff up better if you use a dishtowel wadded up to push down on them while they're baking.)), and what was REALLY good was to break off a piece of the bread and use it to scoop up the lentils.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Letter to my Children

My kids are young. The oldest is just at the beginning of realizing that there is a world outside of his family. They're happy, and have very limited experience with pain, for which I am grateful. Children deserve to grow up in a world where they feel safe and loved, and know where they fit in.

I was talking to my Mister about challenges I see around me, and how I want more than that for our children. Unfortunately each of them have to make their own choices in life. I can't protect them forever, nor should I. I just hope that I can teach them enough that they know how to avoid as much of the pain of life as possible, and to be happy.

So, To my boys (and I'm sure I'll add to this through the years),

I love you.
I hope you learn that life is never going to be easy, but that doesn't mean you can't be happy.
I hope you learn that God gives us commandments not to limit us, but to keep us free from extra pain.
I hope you learn to treat others gently,
I hope you learn to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
I hope you gain a strong testimony of the gospel, and of God's love for you, and that you can lean on it when you don't know where else to lean.
I hope you learn how to work hard.
I hope you learn how to value other people for the right reasons, especially when you are looking for a spouse.
I hope you learn to do what is right, even when it's hard.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Other Circumstances May Necessitate Individual Adaptation

This line from the Proclamation on the Family is an often overlooked part of the meaning behind the document.

My friend Derek recently posted on Feminist Mormon Housewives about expectations in our culture as far as gender roles and providing for the family.

As I was reading the comments on the post and thinking about other perspectives I've read about regarding gender roles in the church, I was thinking about how the church focuses on the father as the breadwinner, and mother as primary caregiver for children NOT necessarily because that is the best for everyone, but because generally, it works for people. I've read about people who feel hurt because in their experiences it has been implied that this traditional division of duties is the "Ideal" (and of course if you HAVE to do something else, that's okay, because of the short disclaimer in the Proclamation on the Family, but it's not the "ideal").

So a thought popped into my head, that what if it isn't about ideal vs. non-ideal? What if we teach roles the way we do because it's what GENERALLY works, but that the IDEAL for anyone is what they, as a couple have prayerfully decided works best for their family. We're all entitled to personal revelation for our own families, and I think if we can get away from the idea that there is one ideal, and the rest are less-worthy fall back positions, it will make life much less stressful for many people who find that the traditional roles are not ideal in meeting the needs of their family.