Friday, August 31, 2012

Mellow Meatballs

I came across this rather bland sounding dish in Nigella Lawson's cookbook Nigella Express. I've made it twice now, and it is quick and delicious.

Mellow Meatballs
Yield: 4-6 servings
3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
40 organic mini meatballs (1 lb 5 oz in weight) *SEE NOTE BELOW
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 14-fl oz can coconut milk (I have used lite coconut milk with no noticeable loss in flavor)
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 14-oz can chickpeas, drained
6 oz diced butternut squash  
6 oz diced sweet potato
2 cups chicken stock from bouillon cubes or concentrate or from a package
2 tablespoons honey
cooked rice, to serve
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Heat the curry paste and oil in a large wide pan, and when it starts sizzling add the meatballs, turning them in the red oily mixture.
  2. Sprinkle over the ginger and cinnamon and fry the meatballs for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, and drained chickpeas. Stir in the diced squash and sweet potato and then the stock and honey.
  4. Bring the pan to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with rice and then decorate each plate with some chopped cilantro


Maybe they exist in the U.K., but I've not found 'organic mini meatballs' at my local Kroger. I buy the precooked frozen Swedish meatballs from Kroger and just weigh them out. No need to defrost, I just add them frozen when the recipe says and I've had no problems.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Waiting for my self to be washed up.

At the Contemplative service we've been in a season of reflection guided by the writings of Anthony De Mello. In one of his passages he writes:

I am made whole again
-my self is given back to me-
In solitude and silence.

The phrase 'my self is given back to me' really resonated with me. Some weeks it feels like I lose parts of myself. People, meetings, tasks, all can siphon of parts of me. I can lose myself under the weight of my 'To Do Lists'. I give of myself voluntarily to others, lending my strength and support where they seem to be lacking.

As I read those words I was sitting icing down some sore muscles, making sure I took care of them so I didn't over strain them. I became aware that I've gotten a lot better at taking care of myself physically, but my emotional, spiritual and psychological self care often lags behind.

My self is given back to me in solitude and silence....and in the word 'no'.

As I reflect back over the past week, I notice the events, tasks, people, choices I've made. All the things that have pulled at me, drained and emptied me.

Solomon wrote 'Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again'.

I'm very good at giving out the bread of my life but not so good in trusting that the water of God will bring it back to me.

Just for a few moments allow yourself to drift back over the past week. Where did you lose parts of yourself? What took you away?

Then sit in silent stillness in a posture of expectant waiting. Whenever your mind tries to distract you with thoughts or worries just repeat the phrase 'I receive myself'. Use it to calm your mind down and to allow you to be open to God pouring your life back into you.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Dr Pepper and Prayer

"Anyone who is thirsty should come to me and drink" - John 7:37

I love Dr Pepper. I'm also aware that consuming 150 calories per can is not good for me, especially in the days when I would drink at least 6 cans a day. Since I've begun working out I've also begun limiting my caloric intake. At first I quit Dr Pepper cold turkey and drank only cold water - at least 8 cups a day, and then a strange thing happened. Dr Pepper, maybe somehow sensing a disturbance in the force, introduced a new product.

I could not get used to the taste of diet Dr pepper, but this new product lacked the chemical burn after taste and so it became a staple in my diet and took up permanent residence in my fridge. I try and limit my intake, but some days it does creep on up there....and there is the problem. As my Dr Pepper intake increases my water intake decreases as I can only take in so much fluid.

Why is it a problem? Because Dr Pepper 10 does not quench thirst. No caffeinated beverage does. The caffeine acts to dehydrate your body. The cold drink satisfies my taste buds but actually exacerbates my thirst.

I know that water is the best thing for me, and that knowledge doesn't help me when I open the fridge and set the cold can just waiting. What I reach for to quench my thirst and what ultimately satisfies me are two different things.

I need to remember this in prayer. Often it feels like I am praying for Dr Pepper thinking that is what I need, and I totally miss the water God is offering. My thirst remains unsatisfied and I blame God instead of realizing that he is offering a far better solution than I can imagine.

What are you thirsty for?