Sunday, March 7, 2010

Momma on Sick Leave

Momma has been having some medical problems. I am still undergoing tests and will take a 2 week hiatus from my blog. The family has been making quite a few jokes as these medical issues surfaced after I gave up wine for Lent. Anyway, I would appreciate your prayers and hope you are all enjoying good health.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One gift wonder

An Act of Charity

"O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen."

has a quick suggestion for Lent.

Momma Explains
: During Lent, I sometimes feel called to do as many things as possible. It is a desire to improve myself so that after Easter Sunday, I have somehow become a super Christian. As if through a multitude of Lenten activities, I could suddenly transform into a Saint. I need a lot of work for that to happen. Yet, it is good to have goals that will improve us spiritually and hopefully benevolently affect others. So if you seem to aim for an extravagant improvement do not be daunted. Start small, start with just one act of charity. I find acts of charity allow me to look beyond myself and toward the needs of others. It can be any action that aids your fellow man. Sometimes, you write a check for a financial need, make a meal for a family who is pinched, help an elderly neighbor or just drop off extra donations at your church food bank. When you do this act of giving, you can add a small prayer for the recipient. It really is amazing how little time it takes to help someone, and yet would not the world be an amazing place if we all were working that charitably?
Have a joyous Lent.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My family is taste challenged

Momma likes to try different ethnic recipes, sometimes and present the novel experience to her family but it is not always a hit.

Momma Explains
: I was given a crock pot recipe from someone I trust. Now this person is not a cook that loves to cook but I have had some nice fixings at her house so when she suggested a recipe for salsa chicken that you make in the crock pot, well, I thought I would break out of macaroni mold and go for it. I rarely use the crock pot as it seems impossible to make a full meal in one itty bitty pot. As it was cooking, the chicken smelled tasty and I am a big fan of salsa so I was eager to try the recipe. I even served it on tortilla chips and a nice wedge of lettuce. It had all the visuals of one of those chain restaurant menu items. Gees...what a flop and my guys were dismayed ,I knew it was a bomb when Poppa went to the fridge, took out the salami and provolone and proceeded to eat over a pound. The others just pushed some of the food around, ate some chips and made popcorn. What a disappointment. Even I have to admit, the chicken was tougher than I like and the salsa was flimsy. It tasted more like an appetizer than a meal. I have learned that those shared recipes should first be administered to Momma, maybe I would change some aspect to fit our taste palate better but at least this time ,the fridge had salami and provolone. Speaking of that I better run out to the store and buy more. You never know when I may feel multicultural again. Oh, anybody want to try salsa chicken? I have extra.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Practices

Momma would dread the start of Lent for many years until recently when I saw it as an opportunity for growth.

Momma Explains: As a child, Lent meant that I needed to give up something and try to be nicer to my brothers and sisters. Since I was the oldest and very bossy, this was painful and dreaded. I still am a person who loathes self-sacrifice. I like my comforts and the gifts of the earth. Lent used to mean that I resentfully needed to sacrifice many of my favorite things. Now however, I have been blessed to have been given some insight by a priest and several Christian authors. This insight has allowed me to approach Lent with a smile. I still try to make a physical sacrifice, basically restrict certain foods or beverages but I also try to improve a part of my life and increase my prayer rituals. Rather than looking at these as sacrifices, I now see it as empowerment. I am empowering my spiritual side by turning off my dependence on material things. I am becoming a stronger spiritual person, and the spirit needs to be strong. It has become my custom during Lent to find a new daily prayer to add to my litany. Sometimes it is a very short prayer but I enjoy finding prayers and new recipients for those prayers. I am growing and strengthening the spirit, the part of me that is easily forgotten with the demands of the day. Lent is a wonderful reminder for us all to look to the inside, the internal, and the spiritual. Feed those components and be a Lenten pilgrim. You will be better for the journey.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenten Doughnuts

Momma tries to sacrifice during Lent, but the day before Ash Wednesday, I do enjoy a BIG helping of my sweets.
Momma Explains: It has always been beneficial for me to try and make sacrifices during Lent. For me a sacrifice is to refrain from certain foods, desserts and wine. Before I attempt this kind of self control, I do feast on my favorites and I am not talking about brussel sprouts. One Christian tradition involves having doughnuts on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The following recipe is a short cut doughnut recipe. You can adapt this to your tastes. It is fun for children to see how simple doughnuts are to make and even better to eat.

Short Cut Lenten Doughnuts

Take frozen bread dough, purchased at a local supermarket and follow directions to defrost. Let the bread rise according to directions and after the first rising, break into golf ball size pieces. Stretch out the dough and roll into a log that you then form into a doughnut. Do not make the dough too thick or it will not cook properly. You may need to use less dough or more so a few experimental ones will be best. After the doughnuts are shaped, let them rise. They should almost double their size. Then fry in hot fat, shortening or vegetable oil. If you have a deep fryer, that is the best but a deep pot works also. Be careful when working with hot fat and lower the dougnuts into the oil with a slotted spoon. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning once. Remove with the slotted spoon and place on paper towel. Then roll in confectionary sugar or brown sugar and cinnamon. Now make some coffee or tea and dunk away.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Graciousness, a welcome attribute

Momma made many mistakes in her life but will always be grateful to those who overlooked her faults and treated her with gracious courtesy.

Momma Explains: Gracious courtesy is abysmally lacking in much of today's society. Good manners, polite conversation, modesty, humility and kindness have been replaced with boorish behavior, rude interjections, wardrobe failures, conceit and selfishness. What are we doing ?

We have forgotten an earmark of civilized behavior. That earmark is graciousness. I think it is important to look at the word graciousness, it has the same root base ( gratia) as the word grace. Both words speak to us of harmony, compassion and theologically of God's love to man. I think we could all use a little more grace and graciousness. Without intent, many of us have forgotten to be gentle with each other. We are so goal driven, and self absorbed that we overlook the beauty of our humanity and each other. Being courteous and gracious does have merit and welcome effects. If you speak to anyone with civility and gentility, they will be more comfortable and compassionate. If you on the other hand attack them verbally, they instinctively respond defensively. People on the defense protect themselves. They cannot share or compromise because they are in the fight or flight mode. However, if we approach all situations with serenity and gracious concern, we demonstrate our respect for people and their reaction is more open and positive. Is it really so difficult to treat each other with dignity and courtesy? Be gracious, be graceful, be understanding. It is far more relaxing and the benefits are gratifying.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pork and Finocchio

Momma does not mind all the snow in the East as long as I have some comfort dinners to accompany a BIG glass of vino.

Momma Explains: If you know the snow is coming, do not worry about milk and bread. You just head out and buy some nice comfort foods, especially a nice piece of meat and a good bottle of wine. Let the snow fall, you are warm all over with this recipe. It is pork chops with finocchio, which is simply fennel or anise. If you go into the store and ask for finocchio they may call security and accuse you of profanity, so ask for fennel as it is safer. Now, momma loves fennel, cooked or raw. In this recipe it is cooked, which softens the slight licorice taste, but it is still there. When you make these pork chops, use a red wine that is described as fruity with a licorice spice. The wine that you use in the recipe should be the same wine that you serve to accompany the pork chops. In the wine stores you should have several wines that list their flavor description, and that makes combining recipes and wine easier.

Pork and Finnochio

4 pork loin chops, medium thickness

olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper( less if you do not like pepper)

1 cup red wine

2 whole cloves garlic, split

1 bunch fennel, cut into 1/2 inch slices

Flour for dredging

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Heat olive oil to fry pork, add pork and cook on medium heat, browning on both sides. It should take about 20 minutes per side depending on thickness. Pork needs to be cooked thoroughly, if it is getting too brown, lower your heat. When cooked, remove pork chops and place on a dish.

Add butter to pan with drippings and drop in garlic cloves, after about one minute of cooking, add chopped fennel. After fennel softens, add red wine, let reduce and place pork chops in wine sauce to simmer for 5 minutes or until they have absorbed some of the sauce. Do not overcook or they toughen.

Pour your wine and let it snow!