Rice


By Penny.

I’m about to head off on pilgrimage to England for a month (please pray for me!), so I’ve been trying to think of a quick and simple blog post I could write before I go. It struck me that we haven’t had a recipe post for ages – not since The Magic Fruit back in 2013, as far as I can tell – so I decided to share something that’s helped give me a bit of extra energy for this last month or so. If you’re like me, and find lack of energy a real problem, I hope this will help!

For many years, my favourite breakfast was muesli stirred through with Greek yoghurt. Alas, about six months ago I realised that the cultures in the yoghurt weren’t doing me any good, and soon after that I worked out that I was also having trouble digesting the muesli, hence a lot of the fatigue I was experiencing. This is the breakfast recipe I came up with instead, which makes a good substantial porridge.

You will need:

1 and a half cups of brown rice. (You could also use white rice, but the brown has more nutritional value.) I like to scatter in some white rice among the brown to add stickiness to the mixture.

1 medium-sized saucepan.

1 sachet of chai latte powder – the kind you pour into a mug of hot water and stir to make one serving. You could also use hot chocolate, mocha, or even coffee powder, according to your taste. These do contain gluten, but there will be less of it to digest than in a bowl of wheat-based cereal. (If you have a wheat allergy, of course, please use your own preferred flavourings instead of the sachet.)

Ginger and cinnamon/nutmeg to taste.

Sultanas or raisins and maple syrup/honey to serve. Airtight container to store.

 

 

Method:

Boil water on stove, and add the rice.

 

 

Add a couple of teaspoons’ worth of the chai latte powder, and stir.

(Sorry for the shaky photo!)

 

 

Allow to boil for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Gradually add more powder until you’ve used up about half the sachet. This will froth, but if you lay a wooden spoon over the top, it should keep the water from boiling over.

Top up the water when it gets low, and allow to boil until the rice softens.
Once rice is soft enough to eat and the water starts to get low again, turn it down to a simmer.
Add the rest of the sachet of powder plus the spices, and stir through. Once you have something that’s the consistency of thick porridge, take it off the heat. One and a half cups of brown rice = three to four servings.

Serve hot with sultanas and maple syrup/honey or brown sugar for sweetness. Extra can be stored in the fridge and eaten over several days. It’s gritty and unpleasant if you try to eat it cold, but warmed up, it’s a tasty, inexpensive and healthy breakfast!

I’ll be back at the end of September: I will try to check my emails while I’m away, but please be aware that if you write, it may be a while before you hear back from me! God bless!

Penny.

The Outside Matters


By Sackcloth Dreams.

Recently, I was part of a discussion about theology students wearing the roman collar. One side said that seminarians shouldn’t wear the collar because it confuses people and they think a guy is a priest when he is not. But the former seminarian at the table explained how wearing the collar helped him feel more committed in his studies and the path he had embarked upon. It was interesting to hear.

The fact is, our bodies and our clothes matter, whether we like it or not. The outside reflects the interior, but our interior can also be shaped by our exterior. When I feel yucky in the morning, my initial reaction is to put on something comfortable and well-worn. I don’t want to put forth the energy to look nice. I want easy. But yet, if I stop myself and make the effort to look nice on the outside, it makes a difference in my attitude. There have been many days where I felt down but my usual clothes were in the laundry. As a result, I had to “dress up” because that was all I had. And it made a difference.

The day I entered the convent and changed into my postulant outfit was intense and most of it is a blur. But I do remember wanting to stand up tall and have proper posture to almost show respect to my new life and community, represented by my clothes. This feeling continued during my time there. My attire almost commanded me to carry myself a certain way.

When I returned to lay life, clothes were hard to come by. I don’t have sisters and I didn’t have any friends of the
same size/body type. As a result, I was given some ill-fitting clothes by people in order to get through and I used them for a long time (too long). I hate shopping with a passion and I didn’t have the money to get a new wardrobe. But I also didn’t feel like making the effort because I thought I wasn’t worth it. This created a cycle which I am still battling.

In “Searching for and Maintaining Peace” Fr. Jacques Philippe demonstrates the importance of the body and our actions. He says, “I should begin to strive to this peace in the easier situations of everyday life… to avoid excessive hurry in my gestures and the way I climb the stairs! The soul is often reeducated by the body!” (pg 82).

Haven’t we all experienced this? Don’t you pray differently when you are kneeling as opposed to sitting or lying down, for example? We have many times throughout our day when we sit, stand, lean, lie down, etc. But in Western culture we very rarely kneel or prostrate ourselves. This makes these postures meaningful. In regards to my surroundings, when I am in a beautiful church it is much easier to raise my mind to God. Furthermore, when I used to work in the Capitol I was often tempted to genuflect in the legislative chambers because the architecture was beautiful!

I had noticed this when thinking of postures in prayer, the beauty of a church and other more obviously “spiritual 
matters” but I hadn’t ever thought about it in regards to my appearance. I am blessed to have a spiritual director who has been helping me grow and pray through my struggles with my exterior. He has constantly encouraged me to pray with these difficulties and be open and honest with the Lord. It is humbling to realize how much of our identity is wrapped up in our exterior. I tried to deny this reality for so long and now I am forced to surrender. It does matter.

So how about you? How did you feel about clothes? Was it hard to give up religious garb because it saved you from clothing decisions? Or did you immediately go to the trendiest store after returning and run up a big bill?

Convent Cuisine

By Pinkie.
When I was in the convent as a postulant we were in charge of cooking. The kitchen sister would tell us the menu for the day and then we had to execute it. As a result, I learned many new recipes that I hadn’t ever encountered before. Some sounded strange initially but ended up being surprisingly delicious. We also had many special desserts for feast days and holidays that were truly amazing. And then of course kitchen accidents or sisters trying to make due with limited resources resulted in some interesting creations. I though it might be fun to share recipes that we experienced in the convent. Here are a few of mine to get us started:
“Dominican” Dog Salad

When this was described to me I am sure I wrinkled my nose. Um, cut up hot dogs mixed with cabbage? No thanks. But then when you eat it – yum! Here’s a recipe I found on-line that I think is really close to the convent version:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/chicago-dog-salad-recipe.html

Sr. Katie’s Saltine Dessert

We needed dessert and the baking cupboards were bare. An industrious classmate of mine pulled this together using what was available and everyone enjoyed it! Lay out saltines on a cookie tray, (over wax paper makes it easier to get dessert out and to clean.) Pour homemade caramel, (1 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar, boiled until thick and bubbly,) on top of saltines.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and melt in the oven. Spread the chocolate evenly over the top and then harden in the freezer. Break into little squares.

Please share your favorite recipes and cooking stories below!

The Feast of Saint Clare of Assisi

From The Rule of Saint Clare, Chapter VI:

 

After the most high heavenly Father saw fit by His grace to enlighten my heart to do penance according to the example and teaching of our most blessed Father, Saint Francis, I, together with my sisters, willingly promised him obedience shortly after his own conversion.

When the blessed Father saw we had no fear of poverty, hard work, trial, shame, or contempt of the world, but, instead, regarded such things as great delights, moved by compassion he wrote a form of life for us as follows:

“Because by divine inspiration you have made yourselves daughters and servants of the Most High King, the heavenly Father and have espoused yourselves to the Holy Spirit, choosing to live a life according to the perfection of the holy Gospel, I resolve and promise for myself and for my brothers to always have that same loving care and solicitude for you as I have for them.”

As long as he lived he diligently fulfilled this and wished that it always be fulfilled by his brothers.

Shortly before his death he once more wrote his last will for us that we or those, as well, who would come after us would never turn aside from the holy poverty we had embraced. He said:

“I , little brother Francis, wish to follow the life and poverty of our most high Lord Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother and to persevere in this until the end; and I ask and counsel you , my ladies, to live always in this most holy life and poverty. And keep most careful watch that you never depart from this by reason of the teaching or advice of anyone.”

 

Saint Clare, pray for us!

The Magical Fruit Part 2

I’m back talking about beans again. I hope you have been able to enjoy the magical world of beans. If you still haven’t taken the plunge (it took me 10 years!), maybe a little more encouragement will help. I am by no means an expert on bean cookery, but here are some tips from my kitchen.

Cooking with canned beans

Canned beans are great for quick bean additions. I usually start by opening the can, dumping the beans into a colander, and rinsing them. Sometimes when I don’t feel like cleaning the colander I just use the can to do a quick rinse. I keep the lid partially attached to use as a guard to keep the beans in the can as I dump out the bean “juices”. Then I fill the can with water, dump out the water, and repeat this a couple times. I’m not sure that is easier than just cleaning the colander, but hey, it’s what I do.

I have added canned beans to dishes like spaghetti, goulash, soups, and scalloped potatoes and ham (I actually prefer this dish with red beans in it now). I may or may not add a whole can to any one of these. Having some already rinsed beans in the fridge may encourage you to spring for a quick bean addition to a dish that may leave you wondering How did I ever enjoy this dish legume-less?

Here’s another quick canned bean recipe: Hummus

2 to 3 cloves garlic

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained with liquid reserved

2 tbs smooth peanut butter

A handful of fresh parsley leaves

1 tsp lemon juice

Pinch of black pepper and salt

1/3 cup olive oil

Chop garlic in food processor. Add the beans and half of reserved liquid. Add peanut butter, parsley, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Process until it forms a paste. Drizzle in olive oil and process until it is the consistency of mayonnaise. Enjoy on a sandwich, or as a dip for veggies, pretzels, or pita bread.

Cooking with dried beans

Since dried beans are cheaper than canned beans, I am pretty much just a dried variety girl these days. I usually soak and cook a double or triple batch at a time so I can freeze extras to create a quick bean solution. Before soaking, it is important to do a quick look through your beans to make sure there are no small pebbles or other such debris mixed in. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but I do find something occasionally. You can also take out any beans that look shriveled or funny-shaped compared with the rest of the group.

Soaking (6-8 hours) and cooking (1 ½-2 hours) the beans is a time commitment, but they require little attention during this process so you can easily accomplish something else while the beans do their thing. I usually soak the beans overnight and cook the next day. It’s helpful to cook tomorrow’s beans while I make tonight’s dinner. By the time I am done eating and cleaning up the kitchen, I have cooked beans all set for the rest of the week (or more if I freeze extras). This does take some planning ahead, but that is where the pre-planned menu is a big help.

My family has found some of our favorite beans recipes on the Kitchen Stewardship blog at www.kitchenstewardship.com. Here you can even purchase The Everything Bean Book with lots more ideas to inspire you on your journey toward your personal bean goal.

Good luck!

by Manna-T from Heaven.