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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

It's the first day of Lent and this morning we all got our ashes at Starbucks!  Our church staff was stationed at 6 different coffee shops this morning giving out ashes.  I love that our church doesn't only exist within the walls of the sanctuary.

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year.  Much like Advent it's a time to focus.  Unlike Christmas though there aren't a million other expectations around the season.  Lent truly lends itself to introspection and positive change.  As I was preparing some Lenten things for the kids yesterday I found a writing (from Paige Byre Shortal) that stated-
Lent is a time for giving.
For giving up something- we call that fasting.
For giving our attention to God- that's prayer.
For giving to others-that's called almsgiving.
For giving in- that's called reconciliation, or forgiveness.
What a great way to focus our thinking this season.

Again this year we're giving up eating meat.  Though we're going a step further and eating less fish than last year to cut our grocery budget.  I read about a mom who during Lent worked to decrease her grocery budget and then put a quarter under everyone's dinner plate each night.  Every night the family put those coins into a jar which they donated to a food pantry on Easter.  It was a visual reminder for everyone that their small sacrifice was really adding up.  I'm going to do something similar.

I'm also going to use this blog to post daily (hopefully!) vegetarian recipes that we like.

Tonight we're having minestrone and bread.  It's easy and delicious--I imagine I'll have to work hard not to write that everyday because honestly why would I make a recipe more than once if it were not a.) easy and b.) delicious?   We were supposed to have leftover vegetable fried rice from Sunday for dinner tonight but someone took that for lunch yesterday.  No problem, this dinner really is a cinch.

From: Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, peeled and diced  (I'd never heard of peeling celery before this!)
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes (you can also use parsnips or turnips)
Salt and Pepper
6 cups veggie broth
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped canned tomatoes in juice
2 cups chopped zucchini, and kale (you can also use green beans and summer squash)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
a Parmesan rind cut into small pieces (Dierberg's sells the rind sans the cheese and if you knew how much parmesan my family uses you'd understand why I do not want to pay for nice parmesan.  I do most of my shopping at Aldi but there are a few things that  go other places for.)

Put 3 tablespoons oil in deep pot, over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes and Parmesan rind, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the veggie broth and the tomato, bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently.  Cook, stirring every now and them, until the veggies are fairly soft and the tomato is broken up, about 15 minutes.

Add the zucchini, kale and parsley.  Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers.  Cook 15 minutes, or until everything is tender.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with Parmesan.

Ordinarily I'd make breadsticks to go with our soup.  But since I was at Dierberg's already getting a parmesan rind I thought why not get a par baked baguette too?  Trust me though these breadsticks are really good!

 Breadsticks (adapted from
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
3 cups of bread flour
1 tsp. salt
3 TBS brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Put water, oil, brown sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Mix yeast mixture in with bread flour.  Use dough hook on Kitchen Aid and mix on medium for 7 minutes.  Or knead for (??? don't know) if you knead bread dough you probably know :)!

Let rise for an hour and a half.

Butter a rectangular cookie sheet.  Spread dough onto sheet.  Using pizza cutter, cut dough into 24 pieces.  Cover and let rise for an hour.  

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

When breadsticks come out of the oven drizzle with melted butter and garlic salt.  

Poor girl has a terrible cold!  Still sweet as can be though.  Last night we watched Charlie Brown's Valentine.  It's all about the "little red headed girl", which of course we all told her, was her.  She agreed, "yes, I'm the little red head girl".

We had some important Valentine's Day business happening tonight.

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