So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34
The meal I cooked was bigger than usual. I finally decided to try the mysterious Porcupine Meatballs which, no, are not made with the actual animal. They are beef with rice mixed in. Very cute. I also provided more side dishes than I normally do, trying to give the family a few more options for fruits and vegetables. I made “Good Potatoes” and tried to sneak in some additional onions and broccoli. We resurrected the broccoli cornbread from an Advent meal, because it had been well liked. Some baby carrots added color to the meal with no cooking. Our dessert was Four Ingredient Cake served with summer peaches we still had in the freezer.
My ongoing efforts are to serve my family heavy doses of food that is healthy. I am hoping that lots of options will help them find something they like. I am also hopeful that the continual appearance of these foods on their plates will result in some acceptance of them, or at least a surrender to pressure. I’d like for them to develop a taste for what is good. A lot of the foods I give them were things I liked, or at least tolerated, as a child. Carrots, raw cabbage and sweet peas were among my early staples, because my parents knew I would eat them. I am always surprised when my own will not.
Although ate cabbage and carrots when I was young, I can’t say the same for beets, Brussels sprouts, radishes or any other number of vegetables, especially when they were cooked. I was as picky as any child. But as an adult, that won’t stop me from trying with my own kids. I believe that appreciation for and even enjoyment of foods can be learned, so I will continue to give my kids heavy doses of good foods even if they take some coaxing to go in.
Life comes in heavy doses. None of us have everything we want on our plate, all the time. I often get tired from my life as it is right now. Don’t get me wrong, my life is great. I have work that I believe in and a family I wouldn’t trade for the world. But all of these marvelous things take a lot of energy. In my more weary moments, I reflect on the brief span of time that my life will be like it is, when my work is manageable and my children will be at their current adorable ages. When this phase is gone, it will be gone.
I remember when I was a young adult and had just moved to Atlanta. I knew no one. The lonely weekends I spent in my apartment would drag on forever. Even if I went out to find something productive to do, it was always with my own company. I would yearn to go back to work on Monday where I would have some human contact. Eventually I made friends, but I remember the real isolation I felt during those lonesome days.
Now I look back and can’t help but think longingly about those quiet days, and how nice it would be to have an entire weekend responsible for no one but me. I hardly want to return to that solitary era in my life, but I often wish for just a taste of the it; just a little bit to mix in the with activity-filled days I have now. Still, as harried as I sometimes feel, I also cringe at the reality that my children will not always be at the wonderful, demanding, accessible ages they are now. They will one day be grown and I will ache to hear a child’s voice asking for a drink, or otherwise begging for my attention and time. I may, in fact, be begging for theirs.
Our lives are not taste tests. They are full courses laid out before us that will usually include some version of both filet mignon and boiled spinach. Even so, these are plates we should clean, because when they are taken up, the same dishes will not be returned.
This makes our lives a long practice in contentment. As long as we are breathing, we will take in heavy doses of whatever is in front of us for the moment. We will be called to fully embrace what we love about our lives, and to accept what we like less. The enjoyment of each delicacy will be fleeting and must be fully experienced here and now if it is to be ours at all. Hopefully, we can learn to appreciate anything that stays in front of us long enough. It is all we have.
What do you enjoy most in your life, right in this moment? What are your Brussels sprouts? Finally, what will it take for you to relish every bite of the meal you have been given? My prayer for you is that you can broaden your palette enough to take delight in all that God has served you, now and always.
Porcupine Meatballs with Mushrooms
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef ½ cup rice
1 tsp. salt ½ tsp. pepper
2 Tb sp. Minced onion 1 can cond. Mushroom soup
In large bowl, combine meat, rice, salt, pepper and onion. Shape into small balls. Heat mushroom soup and ½ c. water in cooker, using brown function or not closing lid. Drop meat balls in soup mixture. Close cover securely, then bring up to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let pressure drop of its own accord (natural pressure release). Serve over hot cooked noodles. – Lisa Wade
(Note: I do not have a pressure cooker, so I cooked in a pot on the stove. It worked fine.)
Potatoes onion soup mix
Sour cream milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Skin potatoes. Slice and cook with onion. Place in dish with sr. cream. Mix in a little milk and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the day before serving. – Jean Godwin
1 box strawberry cake mix (suggested: Duncan Hines)
12 oz. Diet Sprite Mix these together, bake according to package directions, spraying cake pans (2 round or 1 sheet pan) with Pam. Cool. Topping: Mix 12-oz. fat-free Cool Whip & 12-oz. no-sugar strawberry preserves.
Variation: Chocolate Cake mix & Diet Coke, topping of Cool Whip mixed with sugar-free chocolate syrup. I used more than 12 oz. of Diet cola, because batter looked too dry. Another variation: Lemon cake mix, Diet Sprite. Cool Whip & low-fat or fat-free lemon yogurt. – Marilyn Johnson
(Note: I used the last variation, lemon. I only used first two ingredients because I topped with peaches.)