Monthly Archives: July 2013

What’s (been) for Dinner

What’s (been) for Dinner

Hi Sweet Friends,

It’s been a while. I talked to one of you this week and got a gentle reprimand? chiding? let’s say, “reminder” that I have not posted a menu lately. She’s right. I haven’t. Here’s why: I feel totally uninspired. Dinner just keeps rolling around. It feels to me like I’m always {have you ever notice how “always” and “never” only seem to turn up in whiny conversation?} running home, later than I meant to be, on the verge of being a hot mess instead of the gracious preparer of nutritious meals for the family. And it often feels like I am just recycling the same old meals, day after day. So I haven’t been writing about it much.

This week I tried a new recipe though! Crazy, right?!? Last night we had “Beef and Bean Burritos.” It’s another recipe from my favorite Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen. Only I made enough changes that I think it’s okay to post. So here it is. Not totally intense, stir in the clock-wise direction like ATK recipes can often be. Instead it’s more appropriate for a weeknight. So we had it last night with chips and salsa, green salad, and pineapple. Yum! Here’s the recipe…

Beef and Bean Burritos (adapted from Cook’s Country recipe)


2 cups chicken broth
1 cup rice
1/4 cup minced cilantro

Beef & Bean Filling:

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 1/2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 pound ground beef
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon salt
8 tortillas
grated cheddar
sour cream

1. Put 2 cups chicken broth in rice cooker with 1 cup rinsed rice and chopped cilantro. Follow the directions for your rice cooker.

2. Combine 1/2 cup chicken broth and half the rinsed beans. Mash with potato masher.

3. Heat oil. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute. (Be sure to breath this amazing fragrance! Yum!) Add beef. Cook until no longer pink.

4. Mix mashed beans with meat mixture. Cook until nearly all liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining whole beans, lime juice and salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Adjust oven rack to highest slot. Preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Warm the tortillas until soft. Divide rice, meat and beans and cheddar cheese evenly. Fold and roll tightly. Transfer to sheet, seamside down.

6. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Broil and serve with a dollop of sour cream. (Think about garnishing with more chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, or a scoop of salsa/pico de gallo.

Absolutely worth the effort. It’s a keeper!


What I Meant When I Said Live Generously

What I Meant When I Said Live Generously

One of my life goals is to live generously. It’s a favorite phrase of mine and one that I sometimes repeat, mantra-like, in the car or in line for the metal detector at the airport or similar other locations where it’s easy to lose your cool…like the DMV for instance. What I hope though is that it will become such a part of my thinking, so completely ingrained into my very character, that it will no longer be necessary to put it on a repeat cycle in my brain.

It turns out, much to my surprise, I had some trouble explaining it when Cathy asked what I meant. So I’ve been thinking about it and trying to figure out a way to elaborate that helps others see my heart. And then it turns out that (once again) Henri Nouwen has already done that very thing. Here’s what I meant to say…

…We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit–all these are little steps toward love.

What I call generosity, he calls love. Yep. That’s what I meant to say. Every time I have the choice to interact with grace or generosity or love, I want that to be my default. Every time I have the opportunity to be short-tempered, ill-mannered, snarky, rude or even indifferent, I want instead to be gracious and loving, to live out a generosity of spirit.

I know this will continue to be part of my inner-dialogue and I’m sure it will come up again in my ponderings. In the meantime, feel free to chime in. How do you nurture a generous spirit?

(From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen, June 15)