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Monday, February 08, 2016

Menu Plan: Mardi Gras & Ash Wednesday

Lent is upon us in the West. We will begin our Lenten abstinence as well as my own dietary restrictions. Breakfasts may include dairy and egg, for our kids, so if you are keeping the strict fast, they may not be as useful for you. We still will eat fish and use oil and wine, because my own restrictions are my major fast this year, and I don't want to be making multiple dinners. I am always a little uncomfortable sharing how we observe the fast, because it seems so personal, between us, God, and our spiritual fathers. However, I know it's helpful for me to find blogs and websites that share recipes and food ideas, so I do the same.

Before we begin Lent, though, we will be feasting. Our doughnut night is on again this week! It will be my last day of dairy and egg (I may have to break that for one occasion, but will try to avoid it then as well) as well as our family's carnival (carne vale = meat goodbye or farewell to meat in Latin). Unless you have health issues, are very young (under 13 or uncomfirmed), very old, pregnant or nursing, or have specific direction from a spiritual father, the rule of Ash Wednesday (and Good Friday) is to fast completely from food and nutritive drinks (milk, juice, etc) for the whole 24 hours, please keep drinking water. If you cannot keep the whole fast, it is a day of abstinence from meat, and some limiting of meals or portions is recommended. A priest told us that a good guideline was to stop eating before feeling satisfied. Our younger children usually fast from one or two meals before they are old enough/ready to fast completely. We encourage them to fast from breakfast and/or lunch so they can eat before going to bed and if it is too difficult, it is not considered a failure if they eat. This is a physical discipline as well as a spiritual one and it takes training and building to the goal. We do not want this to be burdensome to them, so we have them eat after church, and it still helps them train themselves for the fast when they are older.

We picked up our organic produce boxes from the co-op this weekend, and ordered a big box of minneolas for snacks and to go with our meals. Usually during Lent, we try to get as much produce as possible, since we won't be eating the heavier meals of meat. There were some, out of season for us, blueberries from Chile that we just gobbled up as soon as we got them. We do try to eat seasonally, so unless we have canned, frozen, dried, or otherwise preserved our produce, we don't get a huge variety of it during winter. This isn't a strict rule, but this means that we generally don't have much in the way of fruit during winter (with the exception of citrus). The kids were so excited to have those fresh blueberries, and so were we! In any case, for the first part of this week, we will be having meat and cheese and eggs and sweets, but that will shift on Wednesday. I have planned meals Wednesday for the kids who aren't fasting, but tried to keep it pretty simple and easy to prepare.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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