Wee Cook No-Meat Fridays: A Vegetarian Feast!

I decided to rerun this post from June 2009 in honor of the first Friday in Lent, for those who would like a meatless meal idea!

The Vacation Bible School program at my church this year is called “Adventure with the Apostles,” and explores the Church around the world, each day focusing on a different part of the globe:

Today, in honor of the Church of Asia, I have for you this tasty and inexpensive lentil-and-rice feast (with Naan bread and cucumbers with yoghurt dressing) that is easy enough for the whole family to help with! 

wholemeal-naan-bread-food-recipe16To make Naan Bread, you will need

1 tsp fast-rising yeast
1 Tbls sugar
1/2 C warm water
2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbls oil (olive works fine)
2 heaping Tbls yoghurt (save rest of 6 oz container for salad)
2 Tbls milk

1. Put warm water, yeast, and sugar in cup; stir to dissolve. Set aside for 5 minutes.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add oil, milk, yoghurt, and yeast mixture. Stir with fork to combine, then put on floured board and kneed 5-6 minutes until flour is incorporated and dough is soft. Cover with a wet tea towel and set aside 15 minutes. (Get rice-and-lentils started during this time.)

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Break dough into four equal sized balls, turn onto lightly floured board. Pat or roll into ovals approximately 6-8 inches long and 4-5 inches wide. (Don’t roll too thin, should be about 1/4 inch). Repeat for remaining 3 balls; place on cookie sheet. If desired, brush with milk. Rest 10 minutes. Bake 10-12 minutes, until bubbled and brown on top. To serve, tear in half with hands and place in basket.

(Photo credit: For an excellent recipe for whole-wheat Naan, check out “Jenna’s Kitchen” blog!)

For Rice-and-Lentils, you need:

1 C lentils (dried)
1 C rice
2-1/2 C water
3 small potatoes (sliced thin)
2 med. onions (sliced thin)
1/4 C oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt

1.  Rinse lentils and place in large pot. Add 2-1/2 C water, then cover and simmer on low 20 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, place rice in strainer, then put strainer in a pot of warm water deep enough to cover the rice. Allow to soak while you’re doing the next step.

2.  In frying pan, heat up the oil then layer onions and potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Cook 8-10 minutes, until nicely browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside (but do NOT drain off oil).

3.  When lentils have cooked 20 minutes, strain extra water from rice and add to pot along with curry, cumin, and salt. Stir well — add another 1/2 cup of water if it has all steamed away. Sprinkle potato-onion mixture over the top and cover again. Cook another 10 minutes, until rice is done. (Should be chewy, not sticky.)

For Cucumber Salad, you need:

6 oz carton plain yoghurt (less 2 Tbls for bread)
1-2 medium sized cucumbers, chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbls white rice vinegar (works best — white vinegar works okay, too)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Refrigerate until serving time.

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Weekend Ponderings: Happy Feast Day, Mother Teresa!

mother teresa window

Today we celebrate the life and homecoming of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of the world’s most famous “mothers.” A wonderful reflection of her life can be found at Catholic Fire.

You can read my series on Blessed Mother Teresa as the perfect patroness of foster and adoptive mothers, based on the book “Come Be My Light,” here.

Mother was an unmistakable sign of the love of God turned loose in the world, touching the lives of those who were least able to reciprocate her ministrations. We see this kind of compassion over and over again in the life of Christ.

From Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37)

And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.

Jesus’ healing miracle was a wonderful fulfillment of Isaiah 35, which reads in part . . .

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

This connection between word and act, between promise and fulfillment, is seen clearly in this passage. The healing itself was miraculous . . . but it was not an end unto itself. It was always intended to be a sign, pointing those who witnessed it to a greater and higher reality.

Every person that Jesus ever healed would die one day of some other cause. Our time here on earth is truly a gift . . . and yet, it is also a sign of something better that is to come. That’s not to say we should walk around with a death wish, for life is also full of wonder and blessing. But we should never lose sight of the fact that this, too, is temporary.

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Photo Credit: Dave Burke’s blog (Also click on this link to read an interesting meditation on the meaning of the Aramaic word “Ephphatha!”

Calling all Extraordinary Moms… That’s You!

Founder of the Extraordinary Moms Network (EMN)

The simple truth is that every child thinks Mom is extraordinary. Whether that child comes to us the conventional way, or through adoption, or foster care, or some other way. Your presence is what teaches that child about love, about goodness, about kindness, about truth. You ARE those things to your child … and to all the children in whose lives you invest.

Pope John Paul II used to talk about the “feminine genius,” and frequently quoted the Council Fathers of Vatican II who contended that “Women imbued with the Spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” By our very nature, women have gifts and abilities that are distinctively feminine. We relate differently, both to one another and to God. And that is a good thing.

This website is dedicated in a special way to “Extraordinary Moms” Moms who devote themselves to their families (often but not always large families) to a remarkable degree. And Moms who are “extraordinary” in the sense that (like an “extraordinary” Eucharistic minister) they come alongside the “ordinary” mother and help her raise that child in God’s name.

Adoptive and foster mothers, godmothers and favorite aunts, even teachers and religious education instructors! For each of us has a God-given job to do … and in the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (a great patron of adoptive and foster families), “God does not call the equipped; He equips those who respond to the call.”

This website is for all women who need encouragement to live out their vocations as fully as God wants them to. There are resources for all kinds of EMs … those with big families and small ones, those who struggle with infertility and who wish they weren’t quite so fertile, those who long for children … and those who are considering, perhaps for the very first time, whether the child who is meant for them has already been born and is waiting for them. Those who are happily married, and those who carry on alone.

So let’s share our experiences … let’s help each other. If you’re considering adoption and are looking for more information, especially about foster-adoption, feel free to check out my adoption blog “Mommy Monsters.” For now, let’s begin, as we begin every good thing, by calling on the Father of us all!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth
As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
Those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.