Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our first Thanksgiving in the 'new' house

Our MENU 2010
a 16lb oven-roasted TURKEY (first one)
jellied cranberries
green beans
gourmet mac and cheese (recipe below)
mashed potatoes and gravy
baked sweet potatoes and marshmallows
homemade stuffing casserole
yeast rolls and Irish butter
Joybeth's pumpkin bread
pumpkin pie and whipped cream

My daughter, Jb was looking through the November Food Network Magazine and she came across "Bobby Flay's Macaroni & Cheese Carbonara." We decided to make the recipe for Thanksgiving 2010 and I wanted to share the recipe with you!

Unsalted Butter, for the baking dish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1-inch thick slice pancettam cut into small dice (or fatty part of bacon)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk, hot
4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus more for top
1 1/2 cups grated Irish white cheddar cheese, plus more for top
1 1/2 cups grated American Cheddar cheese, plus more for top
1 cup aged fontina cheese, plus more for top
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for top
Kosher salt & ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
1/2 cup coarsley chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves.

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter the bottowm and sides of a 10-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Add the garlic to the fat in the pan & cook until lightly golden brown, 1 minute. Whisk in the flower & cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, raise the heat to high & cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 3 to about 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated & let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat & whisk in the thyme, cayenne & all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt & pepper. If the mixture appears to thick, add additional warm milk, 1/4 cup at a time.
4. Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved pancetta, and the parsley. Stir until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
5. Combine an addition 1/4 cup each asiago, cheddars, fontina, & parmesan in a bowl & sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is a light golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

God is weaving the tapestry of life and using everything!

Dear children; With motherly perseverance and love I am bringing you the light of life to destroy the darkness of death in you. Do not reject me, my children. Stop and look within yourselves and see how sinful you are. Be aware of your sins and pray for forgiveness. My children, you do not desire to accept that you are weak and little, but you can be strong and great by doing God’s will. Give me your cleansed hearts that I may illuminate them with the light of life, my Son. Thank you.
Medjugorje message, November 2, 2010
I copied this utterly inspiring message from this blog. I am amazed at how pertinent this is to my life right now, in this very moment. I had my first day -- ever-- of physical therapy today and am really looking forward to working with Linnet, a young and capable woman, who has a plan to help me help myself to strengthen my body, especially my lower back. This commitment to physical therapy is itself the fruit of almost two years of monthly spiritual direction, one of the many gifts of my life in Regnum Christi.

I try hard to live a life filled with apostolic zeal and the daily perseverance required to live well (see Despite Lupus blog -- so good!) with a chronic illness is the same daily perseverance needed to pray well. I often do neither well. (I blog to reflect and to take time to count my blessings.) In my younger days, I was such a talker and loved to "think out loud," with a good friend. These days, I nearly crave silence, and I find that writing helps me get my thoughts out. I can put words to concerns and blessings. I can try to complain less and live more. I can stop and love the rich tapestry of life, even if my particular tapestry has lots of frayed spots!

I, by temperament (sanguine), am not one who likes to plan. I find it boring and would rather "fly by the seat of my pants". All my duties require flexibility, prudent spontaneity and, yes, lots of planning. Through the eyes and ears of faith, it is abundantly clear to me that I "cannot always get what I want but I just might find that I get what I need". I want to encourage myself and others to "work against themselves," meaning to dig hard and learn what it is that personally impedes LOVE. Through almost 10 years of living with "something like Lupus," I have found that I do not have to say "yes" to all the (perceived) needs and activities around me --that sounds anti-Gospel but HOLD ON...

I must say "yes" to Christ, "yes" to time in prayer, "yes" to interruptions and to duties, "yes" to a daily rhythm that leaves a calm and smiling face on this constantly tired and achy woman and "yes" to laughter and to tears. "Yes," my Lord, "yes," my Mother, I will stop and garner strength from the Holy Spirit, so that I am not sinking in to my lower nature, sinking in to the sin that potentially separates me from who God has created me to be. For me, making the commitment to Regnum Christi was a means to deepen my practice of the Catholic Faith. Living in the "ever ancient, ever fresh" daily routine of prayer and penance is to continually feel the providential hand of the most perfect and loving Blessed Trinity, Who has the answers to all the questions, even those questions that we do not, as yet, know exactly how to formulate.

God makes no mistakes. We are perfectly capable, in any and all circumstances, to be a conduit for His Love and His most glorious salvation. This makes even a tired person smile. I cannot express properly how humiliating life with chronic illness can be; at the same time, it is a great blessing to be able to stop and offer all of the physical and psychological pain for my own salvation and the salvation of others, as if it were a lovely pearl. This is the gift of suffering -- it is a time to open up, to share with those around you that THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS. We are pilgrims. We are going somewhere and all of these exercises are preparations to draw us closer and closer to Him who is LOVE.

I have a dear friend who I have not seen in too long, and she used to tell me that God "wastes nothing and weaves everything!" (maybe from St. Paul?) It is so true. We ought to pause often throughout the day and think of Heaven. Heaven is, in some ways, as near as the beating of our hearts. Heaven is always challenging us to change -- to be better, holier and happier.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!