Monday, July 26, 2010

Like reading a job description, and liking it.

It sat on my shelf for far too long, then, perhaps out of desperation, I loaned it to a friend, who loved it, then I had to read it. "
Don't make me Count to Three!" by Ginger Plowman is my Summer pick for 'the book to tell everyone about' and I have been! Regina, Anna, Melissa W., Emily Y., and Melinda C. have all read it since this Spring and I've got more people in line! So far it's the only parenting book I've ever read that I can jive with. It looks at the child's heart, not the behavior and challenges us parents to do what we know we should do, take the time to teach the right behavior and not just punish the wrong. It does not condone counting to three or threatening consequences (guilty!) even if you do follow through. It's philosophy is that the child should obey, "all the way, right away and with a happy heart" (shouldn't we all?). It encourages creative discipline all the time and spankings under certain circumstances, however, none of this happens without a simple Scripture that reinforces what crime has been committed, and more importantly what God would have us do instead. Essentially, putting off the old, putting on the new, then most importantly, she encourages role-play, so the child practices the right behavior.

One heart-probing example of parenting was given in the book that I was able to try out with little Z just after reading it: We were with some friends at their house and their little boy was playing with a toy lawn mower for quite a while. Z came to me and said, "Mommy, Tommy won't share the lawn mower," now normally I would say, "Did you ask him nicely if you could have a turn?" But, instead, I said, "Does it look like Tommy is having fun with the lawn mower?" Z nodded eagerly. Then I asked, "Don't you want your friend to have fun and be happy?" His face started to sag. "The loving thing to do is to wait until Tommy is done with the lawn mower, then you may ask him if you can play with it. You may find another toy to play with while you're waiting." Z didn't need anymore help that day, though some days he does. He watched him for a while until he found another toy to play with. Finally, Tommy was done and Z got his turn.

It gave me direction and tons of examples of a Biblical model for parenting, not to mention really handy Scriptures like "[Love] finds no pleasure in injustice done to others, but joyfully sides with the truth." That's a handy one when someone decides it's fun to taunt his sister by pointing a stick at her until she cries, over and over and over, or "Love is not rude," for back talkers or for interrupters, "Love is patient, Love is not self-seeking and is not easily angered." All of these were found in 1 Corinthians 13, but she had lots of awesome verses, but my handy reference guide is still out on loan. Well, I guess I still have this one:
It's a quick reference guide ($3.99) also by Ginger Plowman, shaped like a calendar, with common behavior problems, questions to ask to probe the heart, Scriptures to "reproof" (put off the bad), reprove (put on the good) and extra verses for special occasions. This author definitely met a need in my life, as it can feel a little out of control and cloudy at times as to whether I'm doing the right thing for the ones I love most.

I'm striving for becoming the kind of parent that only is a "helicopter parent" when it comes to heart issues, not controlling their every move. But, I want to be right on (not that I'm perfect at this!) the sin in their heart, as I don't want it to take root in their lives...and it's my job. On the topic of helicopter parents, my college friend, Rachel (a feisty, common sense mother of eight), linked us to this site in a recent post that addresses how common sense in child rearing has been all but forgotten in our highly protective, fear based society. It was an interesting read, to say the least!

I'm now reading, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver and "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. Both are very intriguing so far. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My best yet Indian dish

I. Love. Indian. Food. There, I finally found something to say worthy of one word sentences. Indian food is slow food, takes lots of time to make, but they believe that the more work that goes into a meal, the better it is for you.

Last Summer I met a new friend at the park who is from India. As we got to know each other a bit, she said she'd love to teach me how to make Indian food, which I've been trying to do all by myself for years now. What an amazing experience!! Her mother-in-law led the cooking tutorial and Anita whizzed around the kitchen doing this and that. Both of them flitted in and out of the kitchen to check on the kids (four between us) while I took as many notes as possible to not forget all that I learned. I have made this numerous times now, I can't even count, and it is hands down the best Indian food I know how to make. The following recipes are written separately, though they were combined in my notes as they made them simultaneously. However, true to Indian cooking tradition, the recipes are written experientially, just as you would do them, not with ingredients in a list, then directions.

Sauteeing the onion, and spices (unmixed)

Garbanzo Bean Curry
Puree three onions in food processor, set aside in separate bowl
Puree 6 garlic cloves, 1” ginger, 1 med. Hot chili (green long skinny), set aside in separate bowl
Puree one 14oz can undrained tomatos, set aside in separate bowl
In another bowl, microwave 3 cans chickpeas (undrained) for 5-8 minutes (cover, they pop!)
In large skillet put:
3 T oil
2T butter
Pureed onion
1t. sea salt
In small bowl mix:
½ t turmeric
1t. garam masala
1t. chili powder (can use American or Indian hot chili powder)
2t. sea salt
2T Punjabi Chhole Masala, also called Chana Masala. (don't skimp on this!)
After cooking onions for 10 minutes add garlic mixture, mix well, add spices, mix well, add tomatos. Cook at medium heat. With potato masher, mash chickpeas half way. Add to pot of onions and spices. Add 1c. water. Turn up heat to medium high 10-15 minutes. Add a little salt. Serve with puri, naan or rice.

Poori is that scrumptious soft, puffy flat bread that they serve at Indian restaurants. I never in a million years thought I'd actually learn how to make it!! This recipe lasts my family of three adults and two kids at least three meals. Anita used this bread to scoop up the curry, had no rice and used no utensils. We usually make rice and do a mixture of forks and bread scooping.

In large bowl combine 4c. all purpose flour, 1 c. wheat flour
Add 2 T. vegetable oil and 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, mix with your hands.
Add 1/2 c. warm (not hot) water and mix by hand.
Add 1t. oil to make it smooth, get on your hands and knees and knead vigorously in a bowl on the floor for several minutes until dough is firm. That's what my friend did, so I copy her.
Let sit for a while (doesn't matter, longer is probably better, or you can freeze it until ready to use). Then grab a little dough and roll out into flat rounds (or oblongs like mine). A skinny rolling pin is easier to work with and what my friend used.

Rolling out the purri

Oops, too thin.

That's better. 1.5mm is just about perfect.

Don't have the oil up too high or they'll fry hard as a rock.
Medium to Medium high heat is perfect.

This is my current favorite dinner to make and to eat. If you're feeling fiesty, run over to your nearest Indo-Asian Grocer and pick up some spices!! Or order them on-line. You'll be glad you did!!!