Praise for the small things

In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Th 5:18

Things just seem to be coming together for me the last couple of days. Things that I have struggled with in the past are falling into place. I have to say that I specifically prayed yesterday and today for wisdom. I give thanks to God for answering my prayer. They aren’t big things though. It seems almost silly to even mention them. But all things that work for good come from God so I am giving him the glory for making my brain work.

First thing – yesterday we had a wonderful dinner of black beans and rice and egg-free, wheat-free corn bread. Now this seems like a very small victory. However, I have been trying to find a recipe for black beans and rice that suited my family for years. You see I grew up in New Orleans and it is tradition to have red beans and rice at least once a week. In our family it was Monday, that is when Mom did laundry. I have never been a fan of red beans and rice and dreaded Monday nights. I know it just doesn’t seem right to claim I am from New Orleans and not like red beans. I have tried a few times in my married life to cook red bean. I make it about once every two years. I buy the one pound bag of dried beans a pound of smoked sausage and get the crock pot to cooking. I walk in the house after it has been cooking for several hours and I almost gag from the smell and the horror of having to eat it once a week floods back. We eat it that one night, I put the rest in the freezer only to throw it away one year later because I couldn’t bear to fix it again. I love the idea of red beans in the crock pot though. First beans and rice makes a complete healthy protein. Second it cooks with little effort. I really like black beans and have tried for years to find a good recipe. I finally stumbled on a couple of recipes the other night and combined them into a compilation that we could eat once a week. Even my bean loathing husband liked it. He tends to eat a bowl of rice with some beans, but he eats it. This is another small thing to praise Him for. I can only hope that each time I make it Wes puts a few more beans in his bowl. It’s called baby steps.

So what was my secret recipe. I have found lots that call for a can of tomatoes, but we aren’t big fans of that flavor. So this is what I did. First off, my beans were already cooked. I cooked 5 pounds of beans several months ago and put them in the freezer. A couple cans of beans could work great or you could use dried beans as well and cook them longer. I put some olive oil and lime juice in a pot and sauteed some onion, garlic and smoked sausage. I then put my beans in the pot with a little water. I added some salt, dried cumin and dried cilantro. It was fabulous. My kids even lapped it up. And they usually cry when I say we are having beans and rice. I did however bribe reward them with corn bread for eating their entire bowl.

So to my corn bread. With all of the food sensitivities that Karate Kid has I was thrilled that he could have corn. And even though wheat is out he can have spelt. He loves corn bread and it was a main side dish before food testing. I have not had a recipe come out in two years. I gave another try last night. I finally stumbled on just the right mixture of everything. So in case you are interested here is my recipe:

  • 2 c. cornmeal
  • 1 1/3 c. spelt flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. xanthan gum
  • 2 T. ground flax and water to equal 1/2 c.
  • 2 T. sucanat
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 3/4 c. rice milk

I melted the butter in a pan in the oven. Mix all dry ingredients. Add butter, rice milk and egg substitute then mix. Pour into pan and bake in 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

So my last success that I have to praise about. Gymnast read 5 sentences yesterday and another 4 today. She has been very resistant to reading and I have been struggling to get her to read for almost a year. So how did it happen. Well, I think part of it is that it is finally clicking. She was really with blending the sounds into a word. She also had no interest in reading the words that were on the page. She was satisfied to recite the story from memory and tell the story by the illustration. I bought her some decodable readers from primary phonics. They are really easy stories with black and white pictures. I told her that when she read the page I would let her color the picture. I made copies for her and Karate Kid to color. She was begging me to read more so that she could color the picture. Karete Kid was also motivated by this. He was reading great a few months ago but I hadn’t really worked with him. He was excited to color his picture after reading. So praise God Gymnast is getting it and I have found the motivator.