Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Where is Solomon when you need him ?

Why is it that deep, sustainable changes have to be so difficult to make ? Simple change is easy, and just because something changes does not mean it will remain on the new course unless it is a sustainable action. And unless something is a sustainable action, change can mean more harm than good. Intelligent change must be real, measurable and sustainable. To bring sustainability all factors of the current problem must be understood and taken into account when making a change, or it will fail. That's kind of where I am right now, and it seems that the equation gets more complex as things go about. I have been considering just how to make this whole thing with family time work with my husband's commitments. He devotes almost all of his vacation time to the heavy weeks church wise ( Holy Week and Christmas), every weekend ( at least 2 weeks a month it is Saturday and Sunday, the rest is usually all morning on Sunday) flex time off at work for funerals and now he is being called to do funerals on his vacation as well. We have one car because we cannot afford a second car, no public transportation and live at an intersection of two very busy roads with no sidewalks.No possible solution is one that would be sustainable for many reasons and it is making me think very unkind thoughts about everything involved. Then in the mail I got a bridal shower invitation for one of the nieces, and as much as I would like to go I know I probably will not be able to because he is going to be called for a funeral AND do evening mass that day and we will have to jockey around the whole rest of the week in order to fit in the necessary errands of the week, so I will not go. It's one of a thousand things I have missed because he has to sing. It gets really old.

One thing is certain though, I think better on my feet while walking. Walking can become a moving meditation that gets your blood pumping, endorphins flowing and helps you burn some calories. While walking I discovered that I am also able to jump now ! Nick and I did a lot of walking yesterday , housecleaning and playing another Wii game called Walk it out. It allows you to walk to the beat of several different tracks while you build an island community. We could not walk because of the noise factor, so we did the most we possibly could while seated in a chair. We broke a sweat , and it was a lot of fun !

The day was powered at the start by pear apple blueberry oats. We seem to go to this one a lot !

Lunch was black bean salad on a bed of romaine and watercress. I really love the colors in a black bean/corn/tomato mix !
15-Minute Black Bean Salad

½ cup minced onion
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 can black beans -- (15 oz) drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn -- thawed
8 cherry tomatoes -- quartered( I used 2 whole, chopped)
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
lettuce of your choice

Mince onions and garlic
Mix all ingredients together and serve on a bed of lettuce. This salad will keep for a couple of days and gets more flavorful if you let it marinate in the refrigerator for awhile. Serves 4

Dinner was an easy one . I wanted to make another round of lentil soup and 15 bean soup for the freezer, and both work best with ham. I bought a shank ham for the bone, planned to cook it in my crockpot, but it would not fit so I had to cut the meat off the bone and cook it separately. This was a big advantage because I could do a second crock pot with lentil/split pea soup at the same time as the ham. I remebered a trick discussed on my freezer cooking loop to make ham less salty ( pour a can on lemon lime soda over it) , and decided to try it for myself. It worked ! The ham came out less salty and very tender. I served it with a tossed salad topped with fruit salad and pecans and a vegetable ragout- think a sort of stew without broth.

Asparagus-Potato-Leek Ragout

2 large leeks -- white and pale green
1 lb. small yukon gold potatoes ( or other small potatoes)
2 cups water -- seasoned with Mrs Dash
1 lb. asparagus -- trimmed and cut diagonally
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves -- chopped ( or 2 T dried)
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley -- finely chopped ( or 1 T dried)

Cut leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter potatoes and steam in a steamer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl. In skillet,water-saute leeks in seasoned water for 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. (Add liquid if needed.)
Transfer leeks to bowl with potatoes. In skillet, heat more VegiZest water and water-saute asparagus for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and water-saute mixture, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Combine all ingredients. Before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over vegetables, stir in mint, parsley, and pepper to taste, and gently toss. Serves 4.


Enz said...

Once again, your meals are to die for!

I would hire you as my personal chef :)

Your car/transportation situation really sucks. Do you drive? Could you drive your husband to his commitments, keep the car do your stuff then pick him up after? Is that feasible?

We've only had one car for a few years and I admit sometimes it is such a PITA - on the other hand - the last year Den hasn't been able to drive because of the aneurysm (his license was just reinstated this week - yahoo!) so I've been the designated chauffeur and it has not been fun..I will be glad to let him take over some driving duties again.

Ok, that went way off topic - shutting up now!!!

Keep posting your yummy nummy food!!

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

I have a license, but the commute to and from here and where he has to go would eat up way too much time, gas and overall car wear and tear. It was an option we considered a long time ago and quickly realized that the time I would spend getting him to and from home to work so that I could have the car would seriously deplete time needed to spend with home-school and other things. His church commitments are a little further , so it winds up a no go. Bikes were a consideration but the traffic level once you get out of our complex is something only really experienced riders should attempt ( leaves both me and son out). To have him quit the commitments presents a serious loss of income and creates a lot of other problems in it's wake. I think the solution is something that I simply have not seen yet. I keep walkin, scrubbing and looking for it...

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

So sorry that you are having to miss social functions for your hubby's incredibly busy work schedule. That must be hard.

Your black bean salad looks delicious. I make 15 bean soup a lot but don't use ham - just do it vegetarian. We all love it! (Well, except the 5 year old)

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

We have done it vegetarian style and it works, but we like the ham flavored version better, so that wins. I think either way bean soup of just about any kind makes for a tasty, healthy and economical option ! My son used to hate it but now he seems to devour it and get really excited when he knows it's on the menu .

Sadly ever since my husband got involved in ministry it has meant a whole lot of giving up on the part of the whole family. It's not a uncommon thing for the family of anyone involved in ministry in any form, and it becomes one of the hardest things to deal with. Your time is not your own, your family falls under a magnifying glass , and it can create a boatload of stress for all concerned. There are no easy answers, it takes a whole lot of dialog, compromise and creative thinking to overcome the challenges, but somehow you figure out a way. I think these complicated issues are tossed in our path to show us that if there is a will, there are at least 3 different ways to accomplish it !

spunkysuzi said...

I hadn't heard that trick for the ham!
I can drive and have my licence but we don't have a car because honestly with my hubs on disability we just can't afford to run one.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Suzi- I don't know if it really does make it lower salt, but you can no longer taste as much salt in the ham. We have he one car, and the price of maintaining it is a definite consideration ! Not having a car can be a real drawback, but it is not impossible. I think in a lot of ways not driving has given me more hours in our day to do what I must, but it really hard to do "fun" sorts of extension things without wheels !

Sally said...

It sounds incredibly difficult to manage. Real life does get in the way at times. One thing I have learnt through my journey is that if you really focus on achieving something then it will happen. I am sure you WILL find a way to solve this problem eventually.