Did someone say food?
We are experiencing quite a cold snap in central Texas. I don’t know about you, but cold weather makes me want to eat. As I think about it, so does spring weather, summer weather, and fall weather. I love food, but what I love more is the experience of fellowship and food around a table. When I think back to some of the most joyful (and some of the most life altering times) of my life, the memories are ones that involve conversations around a dinner table.
There is an allure to food. It’s often the gateway to relationships. Think about it. Offering your guest a place at your table is a way of saying “I’m interested in you. I’ll listen if you want to talk.” I’ve seen this phenomenon happen time and time again. Sometimes I equate it to being a bar tender–although I’ve never actually been a bar tender–people want to tell their story. They want to be heard. They want to be validated. They want to be loved. For me, a way I can express my love is to offer a place at the table.
Disclaimer: I don’t buy into the lie that you have to be a good cook to create the environment I’m describing. I’ve laughed, cried, loved, and listened over Ramen, delivery pizza, peanut butter and jelly, and easy mac n cheese. Nor, do you have to have a perfectly decorated, immaculate home. Let’s take the pressure off one another and know that Pinterest-worthy homes exist in one place…the internet.
I’ll hop off my soapbox now so that I can share
My Favorite Things: Food edition.
Maybe this Christmas, in an attempt to spend less and be more engaged, we can offer fellowship over food.
Perhaps, you are culinary challenged. Have no fear, here are some of my favorite cook books (it is SO difficult to narrow down my favorites).
Bread and Wine Ahhhh…this book just makes me smile.
And, if you’re like me and that stupid 5 o’clock surprises you every single day, the next two books will become your BFFs. Or, here’s an idea, you may want to make something from one of cookbooks and give the meal and the cookbook to a friend/relative for Christmas. And, if you need to practice, say, your baking skills on someone, I will gladly be a sacrificial lamb and lay my life down for a friend. I’m a servant like that.
Anyway, I’ve made frozen meals several times the last few years and every time I do, it is worth the one or two days of chaos and hard work. These are not your typical cream of chicken freezer meals either, they are legit (not that there’s anything wrong with cream of chicken).
Let me give you permission to baby step. If you want to make ONE dish over and over and over again for people, here are a few of the LeRow family favorite recipes. I’m pretty sure the angels rejoice in heaven when the 6 of us love a recipe. Or, maybe an angel gets its wings when we all love a recipe. Something like that.
These are what I made made for Kaden when he surprised us for Labor Day.
Oh, and I should probably also shoot straight with you…these are not calorie-light, gluten-free, protein-packed, low carb meals. Which means they taste dee-lish.
Million Dollar Spaghetti is to die for! In fact, several of my kids’ friends ask me to make this when they come over.
Can diced peaches, undrained
16 oz hot pork sausage
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 C. dry roasted peanuts
Iceberg lettuce leaves
Drain peaches, but reserve syrup. Cook sausage in large skillet, stirring til it crumbles and is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of peaches, and 3 TBSPs peach syrup. Add ginger, lime rind, lime juice, peanut butter, cilantro, and peanuts. Stir til mixed together.
Serve meat mixture in lettuce leaves.
THIS MAKES A VERY SMALL AMOUNT. I triple this recipe and we run out…but we also like to eat a lot.
Mexican Stuffed Shells:
Basically, make taco meat, put meat in cooked jumbo pasta shells in 9X13. Sprinkle (that’s not the right word. Suffocate is the right word) with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 min at 350. Use whatever toppings you like on tacos.
If you need fancy-schmancy directions, use this recipe. I rarely use this recipe as it’s usually a miracle I have all the ingredients on hand which is why the recipe has been reduced to meat, taco mix, shells, and cheese.
I couldn’t close out this post without telling you about one of my favorite dinner-time traditions…”the Question of the Night.” Some nights the question is light-hearted. Some nights the question is heavy. On nights the kids get to make up the question, it is usually something similar to “if you could change one rule mom and dad have, what would it be?” or one of my favorites, “when you are a parent, what is something you will NEVER do that our mom an dad do?” Oh to be young and naive.
And, please, give everyone at the table a gift this year and always, don’t use your cell phone at the table.
I so wish I could sit across the table from each of you and hear your story. I am confident that we would laugh, and cry, and love. But, most of all, we would feast on the Faithfulness of the Bread of Life and Everlasting Water. There isn’t a culinary masterpiece in the world that will satisfy us like our Savior can.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.