10 February 2016

Looking at Lent

Another Ash Wednesday has just about wrapped up here, despite my feeling completely unprepared for Lent to begin already. Why is there still a Christmas tablecloth out? Where is the bean jar for sacrifices? How has Little Bear apparently forgotten all about Lent? I don't know. We're off to a slow start, but we'll get our feet under us soon.

Matt and I each have some personal sacrifices we're making, and the whole family is going back to meatless meals on Wednesdays in addition to Fridays, which sounds a little daunting with Kit's current allergies—no meat, no dairy, and no soy? Oh, and no breakfast-for-supper, at Matt's request. I guess my available proteins are beans, fish, and maybe hard-boiled eggs... This could be difficult. 

But hey, just a half hour ago I read a quote that totally applies here: "For if the work be laborious, reflect that it is for God's sake you undergo all this, and you shall receive sufficient consolation." (St John Chrysostom) I'm hearing two pertinent lessons in there: Not only that A) remembering that we're doing this in order to draw closer to God will help when observing Lent is difficult, but also that B) I do actually have to be carrying out these Lenten practices with the purpose of growing closer to God. Not for the sake of looking good to others, not simply for the sake of "doing something for Lent"; for God's sake. Whatever sacrifices I'm making during Lent, they're supposed to be about God, not about me.

Because having a list schedule thing helped me so much with staying on top of things during Advent, and I was somehow organized enough last Easter to write down what we'd done for Lent 2015, let's have a quick sketch of what our current Lenten plans look like.

Feb 9: Shrove Tuesday; doughnuts for breakfast, pancakes for supper

Feb 10: Ash Wednesday; fast/abstinence

General Lent: meatless Wed & Fri; sacrifice jar with black beans on the table; daily reflections; sing Stabat Mater; shoot for once-a-week stations of the cross 

Feb 17, 19, 20: Ember days; meatless

Mar 6: Laetare Sunday; ??

Mar 13: Passion Sunday; veil statues around the house

Mar 17: St Patrick; Irish stew? Soda bread?

Mar 19: Solemnity of St Joseph; ??

Mar 20: Palm Sunday; psari plaki for supper

There's a few question marks up there, but I have almost a month before I have to figure out how to celebrate Laetare Sunday, so we should be good. Holy Week and Triduum don't need to be taking up real estate in my cluttered mental calendar just yet either; I'm probably going to need all of my mental energy to come up with this year's list of supper ideas. If you have any favorite meatless recipes starring beans, please share them!

One thing more; I think I've shared this before, but here again is the Lenten prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian. I've had it posted on the bathroom mirror the last couple of Lents, and I think it's going up in the kitchen as well this year.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle chatter. 

Give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Your servant.

O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, for You are holy always, now and ever and forever. Amen.


  1. I like taco pizza. Skip the cheese and sour cream. (that's what John does.) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/taco-pizza.html

    1. That looks really good! Little Bear was excited about it too (because it's by "cooking lady.") I think this is going on the menu for the coming week!

  2. I love to make shrimp fried rice! Fry the rice in coconut oil and either just use salt or coconut aminos if you can find them instead of soy sauce. Scramble up a few eggs, throw in some pre-cooked shrimp, a can of pineapple tidbits, and whatever veggies you like (peas, carrots, corn, bell peppers), stir it all up together till warm and voila! A delicious one-pot Lenten supper. Oh, if you have a little extra effort in you, sauteing some finely chopped onions adds a lovely flavor. And also a sprinkle of garlic powder over the shrimp and veggies.

    Also you can do salmon loaf (way less time intensive than salmon burgers), salmon noodles (egg noodles, canned or chunked salmon, capers if you want to be fancy, peas if not, maybe some fresh spinach tossed in at the very end so it just gets wilted, top it all with fresh lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper), and tuna-egg-salad sandwiches.

    I'm useless for beans since Joey can't eat them :-/

    1. PS- you don't have to use coconut oil if you don't already have it... it just adds another level of delicious flavor! Canola or vegetable oil both work fine. Butter leaves a bitter aftertaste for some reason.

    2. I've never heard of coconut aminos! Is the flavor similar to soy sauce? I'll have to check our health food store to see if they carry it. Stir fry is one of my favorites, and I've been so disappointed to be unable to make them because of being off soy!

      How long would you bake a salmon loaf? Would it be shorter than a similarly sized meatloaf? That sounds tasty. And yes, tuna egg salad sandwiches! I'd forgotten about those.

      I do use coconut oil, though mostly in baking; Matt likes to use sesame oil in stir fry, but I can see the coconut oil flavor going well with it, too.

    3. Yes! Coconut aminos are what Paleo devotees use instead of soy sauce. If you can find them, they are a great substitute!

      Hmm, pretty sure salmon loaf would cook shorter than a meatloaf... I want to say a loaf made with two cans of salmon would bake for like 40 minutes and be well done. I should double check though... Joey's mom makes it a lot more than I do.

      Coconut oil holds up better in higher heats than many other oils, which is supposedly healthier. I frequently will cook with coconut oil and then drizzle a little sesame oil on at the end for stir fry, so you get the flavor without breaking down the more delicate oil's structure.