Tuesday, March 11, 2014
We decided as a family (okay, I decided and told my family and no one jumped ship so it's happening) to do a rice and beans dinner challenge for the 40 days of Lent. Basically, dinner is rice and beans and whatever vegetables and spices go with the dish. But no meat. No other grains. No tofu or tuna. The idea is to experience some solidarity with the majority of our world's poor, whose main staples are rice and beans, by limiting our dinner choices to those ingredients. The addition of vegetables and spices is for health and palatability, although we have decided on Fridays of Lent to have a simple meal of black beans and rice without vegetables or spices.
So far it is going well. God Bless my husband, who is not Catholic, and is nevertheless such a trooper in situations like these. I didn't expect that the kids would really eat their dinners and they aren't. But they don't eat anything I cook unless it's spaghetti or tacos and even then, one kid won't eat the chunks of tomato in the sauce, another only eats the noodles, etc. So I make the meal and serve it, they must try one bite, and then they are free to make whatever they'd like for their own dinners. Usually the toddler eats her rice and then asks for a sandwich and one of the older kids will make her one. My 10 year old likes to cook himself a cheese omelet, and my 7 year old eats apples with nut butter.
I've made the following dishes since Ash Wednesday:
Black Beans and rice
Red Beans and rice
Moroccan Chickpea Stew
The best part about this challenge is that the dishes are easy one pot meals that cook on their own. So the dinner hour is not stressful. I have much more time in the late afternoons to do Bible reading and prayer, clean the kitchen so it's not such a disaster after dinner, and spend time with the kids. We took advice from Jessica at A Shower of Roses and made a Lenten calendar detailing who to pray for and what blessings to count as penny offerings for the poor. The kids have been excited to participate in these devotions so far.
It's all been wonderful, and I feel so very grateful for the joy that surrounds me these days.