Friday, February 26, 2016

ST. CONSTANCE, ST. DOMINIC, AND CHICKEN VEGETABLE SOUP Lent Madness 2016 Saintly Sprinkles Three & Four



I’m combining Lent Madness 2016 Saintly Sprinkles Three and Four because the nurse and the “difficult patient” seem to go together. (For further study, check out St. Constance and Her Companions and St. Dominic of Osma from my archives.)

St. Constance and her Companions became the Martyrs of Memphis in the sacrifice of their health to stay and care for those stricken by Yellow Fever because, as she wrote in a letter to her mother superior, “cases that are nursed seldom die.” In other words, they were literally saving lives with every night’s sleep abandoned and every meal skipped.

Not that there was an abundance of food available -- “The calls for food and wine are incessant.” If only people outside the stricken city delivered wholesome soup along with the mail.

In honor of St. Constance and her Companions, cook this soup to store in the freezer as a reserve in your own caretaking, to gift to someone in need, or to enjoy by the hearth with those you love.

But what if the recipient of your caretaking has dietary restrictions or no great love of food?

St. Dominic enjoyed the rigors of walking along difficult roads as a form of penance, ate little food, and preferred praying over sleeping. So when he visited the Order’s hospices, the sister nurses doted over him, but they could never get him to eat anything more than an extra egg, a bowl of porridge, or maybe a cup of broth once in a while.

In honor of St. Dominic, devote yourself to the practice of caring for someone in the most healthful way that suits them. For example, a version of this soup without chicken for the vegetarian, or a version with just broth, noodles, and eggs for the one who needs easy-to-digest meals due to illness.  

INGREDIENTS

1 - 32 oz box Organic Chicken broth 
1 - 32 oz box Organic Vegetable broth 
(Or 64 oz of homemade chicken\vegetable broth)
About 3 cups water
1 ½ pounds organic chicken (2 or 3 skinless breasts, or 4 or 5 boneless skinless thighs or leftover cooked chicken)
1 - 12 oz can whole, stewed, or diced tomatoes (or 12 oz of garden fresh tomatoes, seeded and skinned)
3 large leaves of kale, shredded
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium squash, sliced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 or 4 carrots, sliced
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced 
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

 1. In a large pot, combine chicken stock, vegetable stock, and water. Place over high heat.
 2. Add whole pieces of chicken.
 3. Add tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces.
 4. Shred kale by hand into bite-size pieces. Add to pot.
 5. Add zucchini, squash, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper.
 6. Boil until chicken is cooked through. 
 7. Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces. Return to pot.

 8. Simmer, uncovered, for about two hours.
 9. Ladle into bowls and serve with nice, fresh bread.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI AND BERRY JAM SCONES Lent Madness 2016 Saintly Sprinkle Two


Christina Rossetti suffered from Graves Disease, depression, and breast cancer. In her Victorian Era it was vital for the sick to eat plenty of healthy foods including antioxidant-rich berries to strengthen the immune system. Christina encourages us to caretake with food and visits:

“The dear old woman in the lane 
is sick and sore with pains and aches, 
we’ll go to her this afternoon, 
and take her tea and eggs and cakes. 

We'll stop to make the kettle boil, 
and brew some tea, and set the tray, 
and poach an egg, and toast a cake,
and wheel her chair round, if we may.” 
                                                                          Delphi Complete Works of Christina Rossetti

(For further study, here's a good article about Christina Rossetti's Lenten Life.)

In honor and thanksgiving for the gift of Christina’s spiritually poetic legacy, bake these scones, bring them along with a package of tea, and get to visiting.

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup quick rolled oats
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (½ cup) butter
½ cup milk
¼ cup berry jam (any type or a mixture)
1 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
 2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
 3. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it’s mixed throughout.
 4. Pour in milk and stir with fork until just moistened.
 5. Knead with hands until all is mixed in.
 6. Place on lightly floured surface and knead four more times.
 7. Cut in half.
 8. With floured hands, pat half of dough ball into a 6-inch disk.
 9. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
10. Spread jam on top.
11. With floured hands, pat other half of dough ball into a 6-inch disk and carefully place on top of jam.
12. With a large sharp knife cut dough into eight wedges.
13. Brush dough with melted butter.
14. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden with lightly-browned edges.
15. If desired, shake powdered sugar over top.
16. Cool a bit, and then serve with tea, coffee, or milk.






Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SPIRITUAL JOURNEY SONGS


"Music always makes me feel less alone in the mess." - Brené Brown

Some of the following songs have helped me climb over particular boulders along my spiritual journey while others sustained me and shored up my courage and fortitude.

Within each song is a message that might help you move forward, no matter where you are on your path.

Here's the whole recipe, I mean, playlist, on YouTube:
Spiritual Journey PlaylistFocus on the audio even though these are videos.

Here are the links to the 20 separate songs if you'd rather check them out one at a time: (With the titles and artist's names, you could create an audio playlist so you don't have to use all your cellular data by playing the videos on your phone.) 
  
Shake it Off - Taylor Swift Be done with rejectors.
Touch of Gray - Grateful Dead You'll get through this.
They Just Keep Moving the Line - SMASH Cast Despite the expectations, keep going.
Mary Had a Little Lamb - Stevie Ray Vaughan Shift your perspective and look deeper.
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen Reveal your brokenness. That's where the Light beams.
Let it Be - The Beatles Relax and accept.
All About Soul - Billy Joel You're going deeper than love.
Good Night, My Angel - Billy Joel You're Loved and cared for.
Ripple - The Grateful Dead Share lessons from your difficult steps.
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine Recognize your happiness.
Beautiful Things - Gungor See the deep beauty in all of us.
The Servant Song - Bukas Palad Journey together.
He's a Pirate - Klaus Badelt Bring us that horizon.

Here's the thing about spiritual journeys - no matter where we are along our path, we are all journeying together. 




So, you know, fist bump on that.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

TRANSITIONAL SPACES




Welp, I’m back. *sigh* So cliché. I bet y’all thought I’d be back at some point. *sigh* If only we could see these things for ourselves at the beginning. But the journey is real and the journey is necessary.

As you may recall, the Blessed Mother Mary turned me over to The Angels about nine months ago. Nine months ago. Yes, she does speak to me in metaphors. Stop writing, she said. Go exploring. You’ll be fine. Everything’ll be fine. Have faith and trust.

I learned so much on this recent journey (most of which I shared along the way on my Facebook page). I considered several different vocations, caught up on some of my reading, granted myself the privilege of a weekly beach meander, dove headlong into new church volunteer activities in town and at youth conferences, and celebrated my role as full-time mom which now includes a fun supporting part in my daughter’s life in the theater.

Yet, my future vocation remained unclear. Would I even continue to write? And if so, would I write a book or start a new blog? The messages I received from The Angels were always different versions of the same theme – stand by, we are working on this for you, trust us, we’ve got you, you are loved and surrounded by many heavenly beings sent to you by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  
Stand by; we are working on this for you. And then, boom, it happened. And it wasn’t pretty.

A relationship challenge.

TMI to go into here. But I learned something extremely valuable which I can share. When you call someone out on something, you’ve got to let them have their defensive reaction. Don’t take it personally. Be strong and flexible like a reed in the wind.

Be patient. Figure out what you need from the relationship. And when the time feels right, ask for it. Be vulnerable and graceful.

Accept that some people cannot handle your vulnerability nor welcome your grace. These are people whom you need to cut or limit ties with because the relationship is unhealthy. But, and here’s the big recent lesson for me, don’t let the conditioning of past experiences muddy your perspective of the current situation.

Rejoice that most people will respond positively to your request and your grace.

As soon as I learned that, The Blessed Mother Mary called me home to these pages via a friend’s suggestion.

My heart had been saying don’t let go of Saints and Recipes, but I didn't know how to stay. Then my brain kicked in and 'splained that I no longer had to post detailed saints biographies here. I can blog about the saints, AND I can blog about recipes for faithful living. It’s all about my understanding of the word “and” in Saints and Recipes.

Saints and Recipes will be different than it was before because I’m different -- reborn with a new perspective of who I am and who my dearworthy readers actually are and what you might like in a spiritual blog.

Climb aboard as I journey on to bring us that horizon.