Thursday, November 18, 2010


A few nights ago, I made Easy Crockpot Enchiladas and Piña Colada Cake.  I decided that my cooking will no longer take a haphazard approach that I have been using, trying a dessert one day, a side dish the next.  At that rate, I might take years just to get through just this first cookbook!  I decided that if I wanted to finish anytime soon, I would need to work a little more deliberately.  So twice a week now, I make a full meal.  I pick out three different recipes; an entrée, a side and a dessert.  Monday was the first.

I made this meal while also making another round of cheddar.  It was quite a juggling act.  Add an unexpected trip to the grocery store to the schedule and you can imagine how extremely rushed and stressed I was.  The cheddar turned out horribly!  Even now, as it sits on the drying board, it is falling apart.  I am not sure I will be able to use it at all.  Without question, it is the product of a time crunch and too little attention. 

The enchiladas, however, were great.  The side dish was the corn pudding I printed earlier – delicious! Even my daughter liked it. The cake, which I cooked in a bundt pan, fell apart upon removal.  Once it was covered with the Piña Colada mix and the milk, however, it was still pretty darn good (and we did not hesitate a second in consuming it).  Although the day was maddeningly rushed, it was nice to end it with a dessert whose name seems to imply a party.  Piña Colada, anyone?

Sometimes I think that our rushing around is about the craziest thing we do.  There never seems to be enough time, enough of ourselves to go around.  The truth is, however, we are not lacking for anything.  We have too much.  Too much opportunity.  Too many temptations to fill our time with more and more. Too many possibilities of things we can – and therefore we think, should – do. 

The truth is that we already have enough of what we need.  We have enough food.  We have adequate shelter.  Most of us have enough money for the necessities (though I’m sure none of us take lightly the fact that many are unemployed and suffering).  We even have enough time for the things that are important.  We have enough, though we seem to struggle so hard to live this truth.  Making use of what we have, however, simply boils down to choice.

The holiday season is about to begin; the lovely time in which we thank God for our blessings and prepare again for the birth of Christ.  It is a time of celebration and joy as we gather with friends and family to wait for the miracle that is to come.  All too often, however, we are foolish enough to spend this season in a hurry.  We are stressed out by too much, too many things on our lists to buy and to do.  We think we need to buy the perfect presents, host the perfect party, have perfect attendance at everyone else’s – then we miss out on the season that most deserves to be enjoyed and relished.  Every year we know we shouldn’t, but every year we do.

The difference between a harried season and a joyful one is simply a set of hard choices.

There are enough days in November and December to do the things that matter; those small but genuine celebrations that mark the real meaning of the season.  They are there like children waiting for our attention, calling us to spend the holiday season worshipfully and mindfully.

Let’s make a pact.  This season, I will choose one of the less meaningful things that I feel pressured into doing, and then I will not do it.  I will instead spend the time in quiet reflection, being thankful, listing to music and drinking cider with friends, driving my kids around to see Christmas lights, maybe even using that Advent wreath with my family as I intend to do every year, then don’t.  Will you join me?  What will you change this year?  Let’s do it together.

Blessed celebrating!

Easy Crockpot Enchiladas
1 box Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper                          1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground meat, cooked drained                         
1 can diced tomatoes                                                                     1 can pintos, rinsed (opt.)
Grated cheese                                                                                  1 pack flour tortillas
Place tomatoes, pintos, meat and onion in crockpot.  Mix well.  Add seasoning packet from Hamburger Helper and stir.  Sprinkle topping mix across the top, and stir in.  Add one can of water.  Stir.  Cook on medium for an hour or two.  Stir occasionally.  About an hour before serving add t he rice and another cup of water.  Cook on med. Until ready to eat.  Serve with warm tortillas and grated cheese.  Put a generous spoonful of the enchilada mixture down the center of a flour tortilla.  Top with cheese and wrap up.  Eat while warm.

Note:  I used ground beef for the meat, and black beans instead of pintos.

Piña Colada Cake
1 yellow cake mix, cooked according to directions
When done punch holes in warm cake.  Pour 1 can Piña Colada coconut over the top (this can be found in the mixed drink section of your supermarket).  Pour 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk over the top.  Top with one small Cool Whip.  Best served cold. – Ann Bass

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