Sunday, July 28, 2013

Simplicity and Integrity

Yesterday after seeing this print called Polish Madonna it hit me that something is off-kilter in my life. After I receive communion at Mass I usually pray a prayer in the book Catholic Book of Prayers that I carry in my purse:
From the depths of my heart, I thank You, dear Lord, for Your infinite kindness in coming to me. How good You are to me! With your most holy Mother and all the angels, I praise your mercy and generosity toward me, a poor sinner. I thank you for nourishing my soul with Your Sacred Body and Precious Blood. I will try to show my gratitude to You, in the sacrament of Your love, by obedience to your holy commandments, by fidelity to my duties, by kindness to my neighbor and by an earnest endeavor to become like You in my daily conduct.
I was reminded by all the ways that I am not doing what I say that I will do. How many things fill up my day which are not in alignment with the above statement? One thing I love about being Catholic is how gesture/action is nearly as important as belief. Scripture tells us in Matthew 7:21 that
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
I realize that there probably are other ways to read that verse, but the way I see it right at this moment is that it's dishonest to profess with my lips that I love Jesus, that I aspire above all to be like him, to be a saint, and not live this profession with my actions. I must live this belief. By doing those things highlighted in the above prayer. There are a lot of things in my daily life that receive so much of my time that are out of alignment with the belief that I hold so dear. These things just eat away the day to the extent that sometimes the fidelity to my duties in my vocation as wife and mother suffer. This whole week my house has been a mess. The baby has not been bathed as much as she needed. I have prayed the rosary only once and read only a tiny bit of scripture. I've hardly spent any time in prayer. The laundry has been undone. The animals have not been attended to. Meals have been left uncooked. I have not spent time thinking about others the way that I should, only in the dysfunctional way which leaves the focus on me: "why can't I be like her? Why can't I have what she has?"

I have lived without integrity or simplicity. This week I want to focus especially on living my life as if I was in the cloister. Simply working, caring and praying. An authentic life.

Those things that suck up my time and do not particularly contribute to living my faith will have to fall to the wayside, cannot be the objects of my focus: Candy Crush, Facebook, Draw Something 2, television, Netflix. I want my time to honestly proclaim what is most important to me.

Sometimes being faithful consists in simple labor for those we care for. Mary's fidelity shown in this picture consists in doing the base, unskilled task of laundering the family's clothes. Her proclamation in the Magnificat in this moment boils down to the multitude of little nothings like this.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior;
For He has regarded
the lowliness of His handmaiden.
For behold, from this day
all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things to me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy
as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stuffed Manicotti

What We Ate

Stuffed Manicotti:
1/2 box manicotti noodles (7 noodles)-FREE (came with BOGO deal for another type of pasta)
7.5 oz ricotta cheese-$1.50/2=$0.75
4 oz mozzarella cheese (grated)-$1.50/2=$0.75
2 oz parmesan cheese (grated)-$2.50/4=$0.63
1 egg-FREE (backyard chickens...we do pay for their feed but I am not curious enough to calculate that).

Cook the noodles according to package instructions. While that's boiling, mix the cheeses, egg and 1/8 cup chopped parsley. Add salt to taste, you want it a little on the too-salty side because with the noodles and sauce everything will balance out. Put a little sauce on the bottom of a square baking dish. Stuff the cheese mixture into the noodles. I use a Pampered Chef cake decorator, but in the past I have just loaded it into a ziploc bag, cut off the corner and squeezed the cheese in that way. Line each up on the baking dish. I ended up having enough cheese for 6 manicotti, so the chickens got to eat the 7th one! Cover the manicotti with the remaining spaghetti sauce and grate some more parmesan on top of that. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes!

Sauteed Zucchini:
1 large zucchini-$0.68
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)-$0.05 maybe? An approximation
1 TBSP butter-$2.50/4/8=$0.07

Chop the zucchini into squares and sautee in the butter for about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and sautee until it starts getting a little brown. Add a sprinkle of parsley and heat only until it wilts. Add salt to taste.

Garlic Bread (frozen, we cut off only needed portion and keep the rest frozen) $1.08/4=$0.27

Total: $3.45

This meal created 3 servings, so that came out to $1.15 apiece! That total really just blows me away, and even if I had paid for the manicotti this meal would have been crazy inexpensive.

And here is my dessert:

This bad boy--a medio litro of Mexican made-with-sugar Coca Cola--cost me $1.39. More than my serving of dinner! Funny, but so worth it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pizza and Salad

In this post I wanted to do something a little different...yes, I do have some weighty religious issue on my mind that is fermenting into a post, but right now I have one of the housewifely variety to share. I have this curiosity about how much each meal we cook at home costs per serving, and I intend to itemize these meals out every once in awhile just for my own edification. I hope it encourages me to cook at home more often and to be more cautious about food waste. So without further ado, here is

What We Ate
Homemade Pizza:

1/3 pack of Hormel pepperonis - $2.50/3=$0.83
1/3 can of Hunts spaghetti sauce- $0.88/3=$0.29
8 oz pack of mozzarella cheese-$1.50
1/2 a green bell pepper-$0.65/2=$0.33
1/3 yellow onion-$0.33/3=$0.11
Jiffy crust packet-$0.58


2/7 head of romaine lettuce (Had to use some mathz on that one!)- $0.50
Little bit of salad dressing=$0.20 (almost a complete guess)

Total: $4.34

We ended up eating it all, so each serving was $2.17!

I think we came out ahead on that one, and we usually don't eat the whole pizza so maybe next time it will be even cheaper! That beats out the $5 Little Caesar's pizza and even Lean Cuisine microwaveable pizza.