Worlds to Conquer

My time needs more time in it.

There are worlds to conquer out there, people! And I’m pretty sure that there are people out there not doing their part. So obviously, I need to personally make up for every one of those possibly thousands of people who are not paying attention to conquering said worlds.

This means I need to have the perfect day every day. I must get up on time, (with lots of energy–that will be important) wash *all* the dishes as they get dirty, keep the house spotless, cook three meals plus a couple for the freezer and maybe a dessert,  bake bread for a week, sew some clothes, reorganize a closet or two, read several chapters in an educational and thought provoking book and of course spend several hours praying for world issues. Naturally I would follow this up by writing a witty blog post, phoning friends and family for long chats, decorating for an evening party and rebrushing and styling my hair immediately before my husband walks in the door after work.

Aside from ending up with ridiculous amounts of bread, this daily schedule seems ideal.

Well, and the minor flaw that this is about three full days of work…

Aside from this, I’m convinced that this schedule would help me accomplish all my goals. The house would always be ready for anything, especially impromptu gatherings where people would have deep and worldchanging thoughts and fellowship. I would always have extra food around in case people happened to be around who needed food at mealtimes, or needed a meal sent to their house. I would have fascinating thoughts based on all my reading, and would not have to bore all my acquaintances with such trivial thoughts as the price of ground beef or all the meals you can make out of cabbage.

I would change the world through food and facilitating great conversation. It would be amazing.

Instead, today I baked bread, assembled burritos and put them in the freezer, divided a five pound bag of mozzerella into reasonable portions to freeze, picked, shredded and froze chicken, cleaned out my refrigerator, and got flour soaking for pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, and  I did cook three meals, if smoothie counts as ‘cooking’ for breakfast.

I washed some dishes, but there are more left on my counter, and I still haven’t folded my clean laundry from yesterday, or finished unpacking from our housesitting adventures last week. I read half a chapter of a novel that looks like it’s going to be fun and well written, but it hasn’t inspired any deep thoughts yet. I also researched options for a modest swimsuit that costs less that $100, but since I haven’t determined any good options yet, it didn’t feel that productive.

It would appear that I either need to petition God for more hours in my day, or resign myself to the fact that He’s the awesome one, not me, and He can save the world without me baking ridiculous quantities of bread. While the second option is somewhat humbling, it does sound less exhausting than the first one. I think I’ll go with it.

 

 

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How to Kind of Follow a Recipe, Part 2

Continuing my chicken marinating adventures of yesterday, I calculated precise times and temperatures for the various parts of dinner (which is to say I decided that 375 for 40 minutes was probably about right for chicken and root vegetables), promptly got distracted and started ten minutes late on dinner preparations.

While eagerly awaiting the results of my chicken marinade, I knew I had to peel and chop a rutabaga, a sweet potato, and several turnips first in order to get them in the oven the same time as the chicken. In true form, I sort of followed this recipe, but with different root vegetables and supplementing the olive oil with some melted butter.

Finally having the veggies peeled, chopped, drizzled and arranged on cookie sheets, and the oven preheated, I pulled out the chicken and put in in a casserole dish. It smelled good, but sharper than I expected.

I threw the veggies and chicken in the oven, (even further behind schedule now, since the peeling and chopping process took longer than predicted), added a cup of brown rice to the now only slightly frozen vegetable stock on the stove and waited. Okay, actually I washed dishes. Being caught up on dishes is slightly addictive, though difficult to achieve, even for only two people dirtying dishes. But I digress.

The rice turned out very rice like, which is probably good if you’re a fan of rice, which I’m not. I am however a fan of butter, and put in enough butter, along with salt and parsley to find the rice more than tolerable.

The root vegetables were quite good, as they have been every time I’ve roasted them. It turns out that one sweet potato, a very large rutabaga and several turnips makes enough for several meals. Yay for cheap, yummy, healthy food!

And I suppose you’re wondering how the chicken turned out?

The chicken had a mildly sweet and tangy taste, less dramatic than I would have preferred, but quite good, especially with some extra sauce spooned over the top. Overall, a success, especially since Colton liked it even better than I did.

And dinner was only twenty minutes late.

How to Kind Of Follow Recipes

Some people follow recipes religiously. These are the people who get on forums and say things like, “Help me! I started making this recipe and discovered I only have 1/4 tsp of tarragon and the recipe calls for 1/2 a tsp and it’s ten minutes until dinner and I don’t know what to do!”

Other people look at you  blankly when you ask for the recipe for that marvelous food they made. “Recipe?” they say, “I just took a handful out of every third bag in my cupboard and shook it for a while. You could try doing that…”

I have discovered a third category. I am neither a recipe follower, nor a complete adventurer. I generally use a recipe as a guide, switching out ingredients at will, and often just following the general idea I have in my head of how a certain dish should turn out.

This is fine when I know how a dish should turn out, but can make experimenting with new dishes a bit difficult. (One might say dangerous, but I think this would be an overstatement.) Sheerly by accident I have developed a system that works for this situation.

First, I develop a inexplicable desire to try some certain food that I’ve never had before. Today it was deciding that I really needed to marinate the chicken for tomorrow in some sort of lime sauce. To the best of my memory I’ve never had lime chicken, but it suddenly seemed like a good idea.

Then, I do a google search. “Lime chicken marinade” seemed most applicable in this case. I open tabs of recipes that look interesting, giving preference to blogs that I’ve gotten good recipes from before, or sites that have recipe reviews. I skim the recipes, close the tabs that are clearly not the kind of recipe I’m looking for, and compare the remaining three.

Why three? I have no idea, but it’s almost always three.

Sometimes, this leads me to the conclusion that there’s only really one basic recipe for the dish I want to make, and since I’ll season it up however I feel like anyway, it doesn’t matter which one I follow. In the case of lime chicken marinade however, there are a lot of variations. This leads to a more complicated process of figuring out what *kind*  of lime chicken marinade would go best with roasted root vegetables and rice, and choosing various ingredients from all the recipes, ignoring the uninteresting ingredients.

I muddle together a concoction of olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, lime juice, tequila, vinegar, ginger and garlic. I hope I have enough of all the ingredients to actually flavor the chicken and not enough to be overwhelming. I drop the chicken in the fridge and wait…

To Be Continued…

Slower than This?

I’ve been sick for a week now. I’m slowly getting better, which is relief after waking up a few days ago with an itchiness in my lungs that reminded me of my three week bout of bronchitis last summer. Aggressive use of Theives Oil along with my normal vitamin regimen has cleared up the lung itchiness and begun to lessen the cough. For the past couple of days I’ve been feeling well enough to do household chores for ten minutes, rest for twenty minutes and repeat.

I thought I could handle being sick this time, but even with recovery on the horizon, I’m getting frustrated. I keep pushing projects back a day or so at a time, or moving them to next week, knowing by then I’ll have new projects I want to do. They’re little projects like washing the living room windows or shaking out the welcome mat in front of the door. Or, I see a tutorial on cleaning out your freezer and think what a great idea that would be, and I should clean out my freezer today! After I wash all the dishes and clean the rest of the house, of course. And then keel over from exhaustion and spend the next two days in bed… Overall not such a splendid idea.

So when I read Gabrielle’s blog this morning, this line stood out to me: “There are so many productive things I could be doing if I weren’t moving at this pace.”

Before I got sick Colton and I just been trying to be more deliberate about our schedule. Trying to fit in important things, more fellowship time with people, having people over for dinner again after letting that lapse for the last few months. This also meant being very deliberate about scheduling in down time so I could keep up the pace long term.

And then I got sick. Gabrielle’s post clicked in my head with these thoughts and left me wondering…

“Slower than this, Father?

Don’t you want me to be more productive? Do more with my time?

Don’t people already think that Colton and I are anti-social recluses, and that I should have more time on my hands than I can reasonably fill with what I do?

Or is this just a reminder that I need to keep it slow so I don’t break more in the future?

Or is life about to get crazy, busy again, and this is You giving me a break before that happens?

Or…”

Or maybe I don’t need to know the details and I just needed space to pay attention to the message.

Slow.

Why? I’m not sure yet. “Because I’ll break otherwise” is probably a good start. Bits of other lessons to be relearned are beginning to coalesce too. It doesn’t seem to me to be a good enough reason to be home sick instead of energetically taking on the world, assorted dragons and several mountains at once. But I’ve begun to get the impression that God knows better than I do, so for now, slow it is.