Thursday, July 12, 2012

The BEST Bean Salad

I love bean salads!  My grandma made the most amazing bean salad ever and she knew that I loved it so she would make it especially for me sometimes.  That always made me feel loved by her, because she knew how much I loved her bean salad.  It was very simple, but so delicious.

Grandma's Bean Salad
1 can green beans
1 can yellow beans
1 can kidney beans
(or any type of beans can replace these 3)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, chopped

1/3 c. oil
2/3 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar (In my handwriting on this recipe card I have "TOO MUCH!  Even 1/3 is too much!)
1 tsp. salt.

Mix dressing ingredients with onion and pepper until sugar is dissolved.  Add rinsed beans.  Stir and refrigerate overnight. 

So, that WAS my favorite bean salad, and don't get me wrong, I still love, love, LOVE it!  But I was introduced to another bean salad two weeks ago and since then, I think I've made it about four times already!  It is my newest BEST bean salad!

This is from Connie's dad who, I'm told, kind of just made it up on the spot. 

Connie and Robert's Bean Salad
(This is mostly the recipe that I received from Connie)

1 cup dry white navy beans soaked in 3 cups of water in the fridge for 24 hours (the longer they soak the less gassy for you).
Simmer the beans in clean water for 60-90 minutes until tender. Rinse in cold water.
In a bowl add:
3 ears of corn, cut off cob
approximately 2 cups of cooked navy beans (or all of it for a larger salad, in that case you will need 4 ears of corn)
about 1/2 medium onion finely diced
about 1" ginger finely diced + or - depending on your taste
several splashes of apple cider vinegar
a splash or two of olive oil
several shakes of herbamare
sprinkle of cayenne pepper + or - as you like
a few shakes each: ground coriander seed, dried basil & parsley (although fresh basil / parsley would be better) (cilantro might be nice also)
Mix into the beans and corn and let sit to marry altogether for at least 1/2 hour.

I personally did use fresh cilantro and no coriander seed, fresh basil and fresh parsley.  I also tried something different with my ginger.  I had purchased extra because I knew I'd be making this salad often and I put the extra ginger in the freezer.  When I needed it, I scraped the skin off with a sharp knife and then used a hand grater with small holes and grated the ginger into the beans.  This was so easy to do!

Try this!  I'm sure you will no doubt fall in love with this just like I have!  It's my newest source of protein staple that I keep in my refrigerator all the time!  I love it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Introspection and Empathizing

There's a lot of introspection going on inside of me lately.  I find myself examining my thoughts, my motives, my actions, my reactions.  I question whether or not I've made the right choices, said the right things, performed the best actions.  I immediately regret the wasted time, thoughtless words, and unnecessary frustrations.

There has also been a lot of empathizing going on inside of me lately, too.  I'm putting myself in others' shoes and wondering how I would be handling their situations, wondering how I would be reacting, dealing with life, both present and future.

Because I don't know who all reads my blog these days (probably no one anymore since it's been ages since I've written), I am going to be very vague in my details, so as not to disclose information that may not want to be divulged, but I want to tell you what has caused me to be quite reflective these days.

There is a woman in my sphere of influence who is my age and in a similar family situation as I am.  She has children my childrens' ages and is going through the same life stages that I am.  For the sake of giving her a name as I write, I am going to call her Lisa. 

As I said, Lisa and I are very similar in our circumstances, or I should say, WERE very similar in our circumstances until this past spring when she found blood in her urine.  Hoping that it was just a typical UTI, but feeling that it was probably not, Lisa sought medical attention.  Her greatest fear became fact.  She was diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer ... and the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes and her lungs - Stage 4.  Obviously this news was shocking to her, her family and those of us in her circle of influence, and thus began the wave of appointments, tests, consultations and treatments. 

Lisa's friends have set up an account for her at which is a website designed to create calendars, schedules, contact information and well wishes for people who find themselves in situations where help is needed.  I am on Lisa's list as a support person as are many, many others.  As I've participated in providing my helping hands to Lisa and her family, it has caused me to think about my life and my family as well as pulled me into empathizing with her and wondering how I would be handling life if I were in her shoes.

* Is my relationship with the Lord as close as it could be?
* Is He really my rock and my refuge?
* How strong is my relationship with my husband? 
* Would he be ok if I were to die?
* Have I said everything I want to say to my boys? 
* Did I teach them everything I could so far?
* Does that pile of wadded up socks under the bed in their room really warrant barking from me?
* When is the last time that I told my dearest friends how much they have impacted my life?
* Have I chronicled enough memories of the boys when they were younger?
* Have I helped build up my husband so that he is strong enough to handle the future alone, should that happen?
* Did I tell him where I hid the combination to the lock where I store the boys' toys when they "lose" them?
* Do I have ANY accounts unsettled in my life?
* Am I ready to meet my God?

And I wonder:
* How is Lisa's marriage?
* Is she feeling overloaded with information about her own situation that taking care of her family might be overwhelming?
* Is she scared?
* Does she cry when no one is around?
* Does she feel pressure to do 'everything' before she can't do anything?
* Does she pray?
* Is she saved?
* How deep will she let me go with spiritual topics?
* Does she wonder how much more time she has?
* Is it awkward for her to talk about her situation?
* Does she hear and see 'death' everywhere?
* How will she tell her children the truth of her sickness?

Lisa is on my heart and mind constantly.  Today her children spent the entire day in our home and I struggled in keeping back my tears when I saw them playing as innocent children.  They do not understand the scope of the situation as it is too broad for their young minds.  They were enjoying life here, not realizing that their mom was at yet another treatment session for this ugly cancer that is stealing her life away from her.  I prayed today that her children would feel safety, stability, security and love in our home.  We don't know what the future holds, but I know that I want them to know that this home is a place of refuge for them, no matter what may happen.

There's more going on in my mind, but I don't think that I've even been able to put it all into words for myself.  I am affected by the events in Lisa's life and I am drawing closer to the Lord as I realize that it very easily could be me and not her.  These things are hard.  They are not pleasant to go through, but they do refine and strengthen, don't they? 

Please pray for Lisa, her family and her support group as we all walk this road together with her.