Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lenten Joy

Ah, it's Lent! I love Lent. I love that all the world's Catholics are joining together in fasting, prayer and almsgiving. I love the anticipation before Easter, the solemn commemoration of the Passion giving way to the jubilation of the Resurrection.

I love how indelibly Catholic it all is: the communal aspects, emulating Christ's sacrifice, the repentance and symbolism that underlie every part of the season. I am never more proud to be a Catholic than at Lent.

I don't have anything profound to say. Just that I'm very happy right now and eager to do something good for God.

My biggest vice is my inherent laziness. After examining my day with a critical eye, I noticed that after the kids are in bed, my activities for the evening can be summed up as "wasteful sloth." I watch re-runs of TV shows I've seen a hundred times. I surf the web endlessly. I sit on the couch and don't even do anything but sit there. And all this when there are books to be read, rooms to be cleaned, prayers to be said and things to be organized.

So in addition to giving up secular reading, I am determined to spend my time serving God. If I have an hour, it should be spent doing something productive. If, at the end of the day, my Spanish homework is done, the kitchen is clean, my Rosary is said and the husband is occupied, then I can relax. Everything in its proper time.

I also thought I'd post a rice n'beans recipe for Friday nights. Since we are mostly vegetarians, having fish on Fridays would actually be an indulgence for us. So I limit our dinner to a simple meal of rice and beans. I'm extremely fortunate that, as it turns out, this is my husband's favorite meal. Go figure!

Moros y Cristianos

1 lb dried black beans, picked through and washed
1 small onion, halved
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 green pepper, cored and seeded
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano

1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bell pepper, cored seeded and chopped
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped

2 T dry white wine
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, soak the beans in cold water to cover for 6-8 hours. Drain off the soaking liquid and fill to cover by 3 inches. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, bell pepper and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer over high heat for 1-2 hours. Add water as necessary to keep the beans submerged. (I do this in a crockpot for 6-8 hours, much easier and foolproof.) Prepare the sofrito: heat oil in saucepan and saute onion, garlic, bell pepper and scallions until soft. Stir into cooked beans along with seasoning ingredients. Simmer over very low heat 20 minutes, until beans are soft and most of the water has been absorbed. (The mixture should be soupy, but not watery.) Serve over rice.

Picture credit.


Anna said...

Productivity as a Lenten practice may be good for you, but be careful about classifying everything as "wasteful sloth". Rest/leisure/recreation is an important part of life (God even commands us to do it, in the third commandment). Sometimes sitting on the couch thinking aimless thoughts is just what God wants us to do. :)

God bless.

Tienne said...


Very good point! But I'm pretty sure God doesn't want me to scroll through "LOLcats" for an hour instead of cleaning the kitchen or saying a Rosary. :P

Trust me, there's plenty of sloth to trim and still have time for leisure!