Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On trust and patience, & a sausage vegetable bake

Work deadlines, 45 minute tantrums, a botched recipe, piles of mail to go through.  Balancing self-care and being present with the ones I love. Otherwise called Sunday.

How to get through it? With grace hopefully? A work in progress, surely. But something clicked for me at one point these past few months. An understanding, a new synapse connection (or something) that’s been helping me for the small, and the big stuff of life.

The link between trust and patience.

This has been so all-encompassing for me, I can see its applications in all areas of my life. If we trust, truly trust, have that faith, that things will “work out” even if we don’t know how or when (and ultimately we shouldn't be too concerned with the how or when, and focus on enjoying the journey and process of our lives). Just the profound knowledge we are capable (good enough, smart enough, deserving enough, fill-in- the-blank enough...). Of failing and learning and thriving (repeat as necessary), and so are our children.

This profound trust can be incredibly hard, we must let go of control, we must be accepting and open-minded, we must acknowledge and demystify our fears, rend them powerless. We must leave anxiety and guilt behind.

Yeah, profound trust is a heck of a lot of work, for a lot of us anyway. No wonder I’m feeling tired! ;-)

But this trust has a precious gift for us as well: it gives us patience, and compassion (for ourselves and others).

Because I trust that my son will develop, and struggle, and learn, and make all the right and wrong decisions that will help him grow and live life fully, I’m able to feel compassion for him and stay steady with him as he struggles (for 45 minutes...) with his feelings of anger and frustration, his desire for independence against his need for a safety net. I can be his rock, empathetic, patient, kind and safe.

Because I trust my son knows what his body needs and he’s capable of eating all kinds of foods, and enjoying a family meal, and in the long run, I have trust in his ability to enjoy good food, I’m not worried if he eats less at one meal, rejects a certain food, or tests me about getting up from his chair mid-meal. I can set my boundaries and feel patient with it.

If I trust my ability to get through hardships and struggles, I will feel more compassion and patience for myself and my own process.

Don’t get me wrong, this is HARD. Terribly hard in some areas for me. But it is a guideline, something to strive for. I don't feel so lost. Just moving forward on an uphill path. Oddly enough, I suppose because of the role of food in my upbringing and cultural environment as a child, food is one area where I had it naturally. This trust. When first feeding Pablo solids, it didn't occur to me he wouldn't like vegetables or have issues with eating. I trusted he would taste things, enjoy good food, and good meals, and ultimately "get it". That left me to enjoy the process, the fun of the food discovery, of the “education of taste”, and to learn and be infinitely interested in that process and its meanderings. Which in turn got Pablo even more eager and interested and engaged in the process, by model.

Trust and patience. Present and future. Self-care and compassion. A sense of worthiness and accepting our struggles and vulnerability. It’s all the same yin and yang. And it feels like a key to me...  to so many lovely gardens to open, explore and grow.

Real food for thought.

Speaking of real food, I thought you might enjoy this very simple, delicious and seasonal meal. It's full of flavor and the sage brings great subtlety to it... And since I couldn't be here last week, I'll hit you with a FFB Trifecta: my ramblings, a recipe AND the week's menu (scroll down below for that) ;-)

Roasted sausages with apples & onions

Adapted from Petits Plats Familiaux

Serves 4 people

Prep time: 15 mn
Cook time: 45 mn

Age for babies: 8-10 months, cut up small as finger food (skip the honey for a child under 12 months)

3 red onions
3 apples
1 bunch of small new carrots (1/2 pound or so)
3 Yukon potatoes
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
6 large sausages (either Bratwurst or I used Irish bangers)
6 sprigs of sage
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 tbsp honey
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

Prep all the ingredients: Peel and quarter the onions, peel, core and cut the apples (in about six pieces), peel the carrots, peel and dice the potatoes, cut the sausages in half. Wash and finely mince the sage and rosemary leaves.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut oil, olive oil, and minced herbs (setting a tbsp of herbs aside). Add in the onions, apples, carrots and potatoes and toss so they are well coated. Add salt (about 1/2 tsp or to taste) and pepper.

Place the coated vegetables in a baking dish. Place the pieces of sausage throughout. Sprinkle with the remaining minced herbs.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and potatoes are soft to the knife. (If you use a metal baking dish, it might cook faster, keep an eye on it.)

When you take the dish out of the oven, drizzle with honey, mix and serve. 

And now for good measure, the week's menu...

Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Raw cheddar (cow), goat brie, Italian blue, Petit Basque (sheep's milk).

Desserts: At lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat's milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.


Pablo's Lunchbox: 
Green asparagus tips, winter vegetable galette, ham, Petit Basque cheese, apple

Goûter (4pm snack) – Tangerine

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Baby artichokes roasted with lemon, herbs and olive oil
Main course:  Herbed lamb meatballs in coconut milk with quinoa


Pablo's Lunchbox:
Yellow and green beans salad, smoked salmon with tzatziki, quinoa, goat gouda, tangerine

Goûter - Pear

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Golden beet rainbow chard goat cheese salad
Main course: Crockpot oxtails braised in coconut milk, jasmine rice


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Avocado with vinaigrette, French breakfast radishes
Main course: Fresh mushroom ravioli with tomatoes and feta on top

Goûter – Mango

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Roasted cherry tomatoes with vanilla and rosemary
Main course: Pea, ham, Boursin clafoutis*, endive salad


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Watermelon radish (with butter and salt)
Main course: Pea sardine tartines

Goûter - Kiwi

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Spinach broccoli sorrel soup
Main course: Turkey breasts and vegetables in coconut milk*


Pablo's Lunchbox: 
Savory herb (dill & chives) bread, hard boiled egg, tzatziki, bell pepper feta salad, gruyère, blackberries

Goûter - Tangerine

Appetizer / Finger FoodsPea & herb salad
Main course: Baked creamy sole filets over leeks and carrots*


Lunch out

Goûter - Apple turnover

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Celeriac, Beet & radish greens soup
Main course: Roasted Pork tenderloin in creamy mustard sauce


Appetizer / Finger FoodsFrench-style grated carrots
Main course: Prosciutto mushroom comté tartine

Goûter - Strawberries

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Boiled zucchini (cold) with mint vinaigrette
Main course: Roasted chicken with caramelized onions and blue potatoes

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