jan-15-2009-051

Before I had children I never thought I needed a day of rest. As always, He knows better than I.

Then I had children and it seemed that when I needed a day of rest more than ever, it was impossible to have one. There are meals to prepare, dishes to wash, laundry to do, diapers to change, and a never ending list of to-dos. Just when I thought I wouldn’t be getting a day of rest for another 18-20 years, He opened my eyes. We may not be able to lay in bed all day resting, reading and meditating, but with a bit of preparation we can care for littles and have a day of rest.

jan-15-2009-052

Preparation is key, but a proper perspective must come first. We must work towards the Sabbath throughout the week, knowing that rest will come. If you want to have a day of rest, the focus of your week should be in making preparations for that day. Since we keep a Saturday Sabbath, Thursday and Friday are my major preparation days.

Take note of what you are doing on the Sabbath. What jobs are easily avoidable by simply doing them on another day? How can you prepare throughout the week in order to avoid certain tasks on the Sabbath?

Find out what creates peace within your home. For me this means the house is clean. At least as clean as it can be in this season of my life. It also means that we have plenty of food on hand without having to cook a big meal or create a lot of dishes.

Get organized & prepare. Make a list of what needs to be done before the Sabbath comes. Organize your weekly schedule around that list.

Realize that some things are unavoidable. Diaper changes, proper sanitation in the kitchen and feeding and cleaning up babies are all necessary and impossible to do ahead of time. Focus on those other things that you can do ahead of time.

Don’t sweat it if things aren’t just right. If your week has been hard, if you have a new baby or a sick child – let a few things go. If the bathroom isn’t perfectly clean it doesn’t change the focus of the day – resting in Him.

This is what works for me in finding a peaceful, restful Sabbath in our home.

How do you do it?

Next week I will share with you the specific preparations I make in cooking, cleaning and laundry in order to avoid those tasks on the Sabbath.

jan-15-2009-027

Lindsay is asking for nutritious freezer meals, and I figured what could be better than a soup. I generally have leftovers and freeze them for our own use later or to give to family members who don’t have the time or inclination to make nourishing meals.

I am trying to move away from freezing our foods in plastic and for that reason we purchased many quart and pint sized canning jars. I was a little scared at first to be freezing in glass, but have only had one jar crack thus far in freezing soups, stocks and raw milk.

To freeze in glass canning jars: Pour the soup into the jar leaving about 1 1/2 inches of headspace. This will allow the soup to expand without cracking the jar. I place the jar, uncovered, into the freezer for about eight hours. That way if the jar was too full, the contents would expand up and not out. Then simply place a lid on the jars. You have to be careful defrosting in glass jars, as sudden extreme temperature changes will cause the glass to crack or shatter. I just pull out a jar and place it in the refrigerator. It takes about one to two days to thaw out in the refrigerator.

Minestrone is a soup made from any variety of vegetables. When I make minestrone in the summer it usually involves zucchini and bell peppers. With a foot or two of snow on the ground here, zucchini and bell peppers are nowhere in sight. Replacing them with hardy root vegetables is a delicious and seasonal take on the chicken & tomato broth soup. Using dried herbs instead of fresh also makes sense, unless of course you have beautiful pots of herbs in your kitchen.

This soup is a wonderful anecdote for the arctic chill we are experiencing right about now.

jan-15-2009-018

Winter Minestrone

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 small celery stalks, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
5 small turnips, peeled & chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon each: basil, oregano, thyme & rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-2 cups cubed, cooked chicken or 1-2 cups cooked white beans
sea salt & pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute onions, with a pinch of salt, in olive oil until translucent. Add celery, turnips & carrots and saute until slightly browned. Add garlic and saute another two minutes. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up all of the lovely browned bits with a wooden spoon. Stir in tomatoes, dried herbs, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Add a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, a couple of hours is even better. Ten minutes before serving stir in chicken or white beans. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with salt, pepper or a dash of lemon juice or wine.

Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese. And if you do have those fresh herbs, basil would be perfect to sprinkle on top.