Florentine Rice & Lentils

I’m always on the lookout for a good slow-cooker meal. Here is a great one. It is also highly versatile so really it doesn’t have to be italian. Make it mexican, make it Cajun, make it Irish, make it Asian!

Florentine Rice & Lentils

3/4 cup dry lentils
1/2 c brown rice
3 1/2 C homemade chicken stock
1 cup tomato sauce
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green or red pepper
1 grated or finely chopped carrot
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1-2 handfuls of spinach
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or oregano)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper

Marinara sauce (homemade: 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
sprinkle parmesan cheese
Combine rice and lentils and cover with water. Soak overnight in slow cooker with the machine turned off. In the morning, drain the water, then add all other ingredients except marinara sauce and cheese. Mix and cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. 10 minutes before serving, add marinara sauce to top, then cheese and allow it to melt.

Variations:

For Mexican version use Taco seasoning instead of Italian seasoning. Add salsa instead of marinara. Use Jack cheese instead of mozzarella.

For Cajun version use Cajun seasoning, add celery and kidney beans. Omit marinara and mozzarella.

For Irish version, add lager beer in place of the liquid. Add thinly sliced green cabbage. Top with Irish Cheddar.

For Asian version: Use ginger and soy sauce, pineapple chunks, green onions and serve in lettuce cups.

Book Review: A Chance To Die

For any who have never read anything by Amy Carmichael, get yourself to Amazon.com now!

Reading this biography (written by Elisabeth Elliot after Amy Carmichael had died) showed me what a life of faith and self-denial really looks like. Amy lived in England in the late 1800’s and left home at 18 to be a Missionary. Never marrying or having children of her own, and through illness and heartbreaks, she finally ended up in India where she found her life’s call. Her heart was distraught and broken for the victims of the sex temples in India- the children. Eventually, God called her to rescue these children by whatever means, but mostly by prayer and watching God work (for “prayer was the center of every day”), and start a home for these children, which she called “Donavaur”. She became their “Amma” or “mother” and they became her dear children.

God gave her insight into her role as a “mother” of these children:

“Motherwork, like any other honest labor, is God’s work– not to be despised, but offered up to Him.”

Every third sentence and every poem is quotable and worth passing on, but one especially stuck with me. Maybe it is what mothers (and all who call themselves Believers) need to hear.

“… If the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples (the job of the lowest slave in an Eastern household), then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning. To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task. ‘Could it be right,’ Amy had asked, ‘to turn from so much that might be of profit and become just nursemaids?’ The answer was yes. It is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which important or unimportant–he is not greater than his Master….

“‘If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love,'” Amy wrote after many years of such unspiritual work.”

Verdict: Very Good

She wrote many other books. She wrote until- literally- her index finger and thumb would no longer touch. Then she dictated. It is only when she slipped into a coma that she stopped writing. If you don’t read this book, read another book of hers… or every other book she wrote. I plan on it!

Others by her:

Little Ones, Do Not Sin

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

A while back, I handed my son something to drink and as he walked into our living room, with the drink in his clumsy toddler hands, I said, “Don’t spill.” I then realized that my son, who was 2 at the time, was probably going to spill. So I followed up my command of, “Don’t spill” with “But if you do, it’s okay. Mommy will clean it up.”

And I think that’s basically what we see here in John’s command to us! He says “Don’t sin.” And then it’s almost as if he remembers to whom he is writing.  He can guess that we are probably going to sin. So he follows it up with, “but if you do, don’t worry. Jesus cleaned it up.”

John issues an impossible command- speaking on behalf of a perfect God, instructing imperfect children to do something that is so against our fallen nature. Though, we do have a new nature. We do have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us to overcome and be a master over sin. We are able to walk in the Spirit, possessing the fruits of the Spirit.  Love when we formerly couldn’t truly and sacrificially love one another, patience when we our own nerves are shot, kindness when we can’t think of a reason to be kind to that undeserving person but we can think of 1,000 reasons to let them have it, faithfulness when we feel like walking away, gentleness when we want to be harsh, and self-control when we really want to let go of all control and follow the desires of our flesh. So, we do have the Spiritual ability to not sin, by the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself. However, we are still in this body of death. We still have desires that we allow to give birth to sin.

So John, knowingly, lovingly says, “Jesus! Jesus is the answer. Don’t spill, but if you do… Jesus is your advocate. Jesus has already cleaned it up!”

God the Father looks down on us and only sees Jesus. His perfection in place of our imperfection. His sacrifice in place of our sin. He is before the Father, having cleaned up our sin. We spilled red wine on God’s brand-new white luxury carpet and Jesus cleaned it up. Not only cleaned it up, but replaced it, restored it, renewed it and made it so our red wine can never stain it again!  Our sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. God the Father sees us as perfect because of Jesus Christ the righteous!

Sweet and Sour Lentils

Wow, it’s been a long time since anything was posted on here. It has been a very busy past two months and I am just now getting back into some sort of routine. Soon to come: more recipes, new homeschool/housework schedules, and lots of thoughts on REAL food!

This recipe was different and yummy! Even Mr. 4-year-old “I don’t like lentils all of a sudden” liked this meal. It is sort of a compromise because of all the sweetness in it, even if it is made with natural sweeteners. But once in a while a sweet main dish is good after a lot of savory ones!

Sweet and Sour Lentils

1 cup green lentils, soaked overnight or for 7 hours to remove anti-nutrients
1 bay leaf
2.5 cups water or broth
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced bell pepper
1/4 cup sugar (sucanat/rapadura or maple syrup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fruit juice (apple, pineapple, mango, papaya, etc…)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves

1. Simmer the lentils and bay leaf in the broth for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
2. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in carrots and saute another 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and saute until all veggies are crisp tender.
3. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, juice, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
4. Deglaze the veggie pan with the dressing mixture. Heat through.
5.  Remove bay leaf from lentils. Add lentils to the veggies and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve over arugula or rice/quinoa/couscous/other grain…