18 February 2015

Lent beginnings and meatless meals

Another year, another Ash Wednesday, another Lent. Unexpectedly, today has been an unusually pleasant, peaceful day in the Shifflerhaus. Little Bear has been happy and helpful all day, it's beautiful and warm and sunny outside, and I've been so... peaceful today. Not being able to follow the fasting regs because I've been pregnant/nursing was really frustrating the last three Lents, and today it just hasn't. It's a facet of who I am right now, of my particular vocation at this particular point in my life, and I'm content with that. I'd like to think that I feel this way because I've grown this year in not feeling like I need to compare myself to others and make sure I'm "doing Lent" the same way to the same visible degree as they are... And hopefully I have a little bit, but I know that I haven't grown this much; this has to be grace. 

We'd talked about Lent and sacrifices and I had some ideas, but nothing that struck me as this is what I'm supposed to do this year until this afternoon, as I'm realizing that this being at peace in my role and with my vocation, being content instead of stressing about so many things, is what God wants for me, and is something my family needs of me. I think that I was given today to see how it could be, how God wants me to be... and so now I have a direction for my Lent: Working on being joyful regardless of circumstances, content in the life God is giving me instead of comparing to others, and being more open to God's grace and peace.

As we start Lent off today with a day of fast and abstinence, I sat down with last year's lists and two of my favorite cookbooks, A Continual Feast and When You Fast, to come up with a master list of meatless meals for this Lent. After trying to make this week's menu last Sunday night and being unable to think of anything meatless other than tuna noodle casserole, I need a good list to look at! We agreed to a Lenten practice of two meatless days a week, Wednesday and Friday, at least one having fish; practically speaking, I'll often be cooking meatless on Tuesdays as well because Matt takes supper with him to class that night (so he won't be eating at home) and he'll need meatless leftovers for Wednesday's lunch. I'll probably wind up not using all of these and finding some other things that sound good, but in case anyone else needs inspiration, I thought I'd share.

With fish:
Tuna noodle casserole
Salmon cakes/burgers
Pan bagno
Parmesan tilapia
Fish tacos
Spaghetti with clams
Clam chowder
Salmon quiche
Tuna pasta salad

No fish:
Noodles with peanut sauce
Grilled vegetable burritos
Crustless spinach quiche
Vegetarian chili
Broccoli potato egg bake
Vegetable stir fry with peanuts
Minestrone with tortellini 
Macaroni and cheese
Bean and rice burritos
Bean enchiladas 
Vegetable pizza
Pasta & veggies in balsamic garlic sauce
Veggies & rice with sweet & sour sauce 
Spicy rice and beans
Monterey spaghetti 
Quinoa caprese salad
Waffles or pancakes with eggs

What are some of your go-to Lenten meals?


  1. Hmm...I did the same thing yesterday! I have all our meatless meals planned for Lent. (only doing Fridays, and Friday lunch will probably be cheese and crackers.) Yesterday we have tuna mixed with pesto on rolls with cucumbers. Future ideas: tuna balls (like meatballs), clams and spaghetti, sauteed chick pea with broccoli, gemelli with zucchini and pine nuts, falafels, pasta with pesto and veggies, and pasta aglio e olio.

  2. Joey's family introduced me to tuna egg salad, which sounded gross to me but I really like it! 1 can of tuna (in water, not oil), 2 hard boiled eggs, mayo, relish, and whichever of the following you have on hand: green apple, celery, and/or onion diced tiny, ground oatmeal if it's too wet, and whatever spices you like. Makes two very full sandwiches or enough for two hungry adults to eat with crackers.