Sunday, May 24, 2009

Salmon Pie!

This is a favorite frugal meal at our home, a winner that my mom discovered several years ago. It's fast and easy and uses canned salmon in a new way, if you're looking for a change from salmon patties. (If you have an eater that likes lots of protein, I would suggest doubling the recipe and making two pies. Even if you don't touch the second pie, it makes great leftovers, hot or cold.)


1 egg, beaten
1 16 oz. can salmon (take out the skin and mash the bones with the fish for the extra calcium)
1/2 t. onion salt
1 t. marjoram
1 t. lemon juice
2/3 C. sour cream
(note: I add about 1 t. basil as well. The recipe is great as is and you may want to try it that way the first time you make it, but I like the burst of flavor that the basil gives.)

Spread mixture evenly in an ovenproof pie plate. Spoon one small can of chopped olives (or roughly 1/2 C. whole olives, chopped) around the edge of the pie plate, creating a ring of olives. Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Great served with salad and sourdough or french bread!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About blessings . . .

There are so many uncountable blessings that alight on each day, some unnoticed, some unappreciated, but when we stop and really pay attention , we can realize how many little things feed the soul while we're not even aware and how many more "could" feed the soul if we just brought our awareness to the surface. I'm amazed at how the simple step of "counting blessings" brings such peace to the soul.

I was visiting Tracey McBride's Frugal Luxuries blog and she posted about a few moments with her daughter, counting "frugal luxuries" ((blessings)) in their lives. (Look in my sidebar - I don't know how to post a link!) I had just recently realized how doing this one simple thing could lift worries and bring me back into appreciation of the present, where I really want to be anyway. God gifts us with so many moments, moments we sometimes miss while we're consumed with the busy-ness of life. To stop and reflect, to notice, to realize that the little things are really the biggest and the best things in my life, and to give thanks for all of it, makes me realize what a gift it is to be a human being right here, right now, even with all of the challenges that are immediately facing me.

I re-read the comment I left on her blog and I'm going to repost it here because it expresses how deeply I value the ordinary gifts of each day, even when I forget and get distracted by other types of gifts, the daily challenges.


After my prayers at night, I have been working on starting a new daily habit. I count thirty things that are blessings in my life. The ones I treasure the most have no price (they're free) and are the most cherished (priceless, as you say, Tracey). Hugs from my husband, random loving touches as he walks by me, requests for hugs from my daughter several times a day, the way she leans into my hand when I walk by her and stroke her hair as she is homeschooling, singing songs together while we're driving in the car, a perfect rose blooming on a less-than-perfect bush, the rich-as-thick-cream purr and silky fur of a well-loved kitty, nourishing food on the table for every meal, enough food stocks in the pantry to share with friends who are struggling right now, a card from a treasured friend letting me know how she treasures me (!), a small stray kitten choosing our home as a refuge, a snowy white egret in flight viewed from our back deck, a homey classic movie starring Jeanne Crain on a rainy Saturday afternoon, curling up with an old favorite book under a soft throw with a cup of steaming tea . . .

Yes, my husband's pay has been cut. Yes, he's working two jobs. Yes, we have to careful with money. And yes, I'm so grateful that through it all God not only meets our physical needs, but also meets our spiritual and emotional ones, so very well. So many blessings, so many moments to treasure, so much to be thankful for. I can only thank God for loving me enough to gift me with so much.

I'm just as human as the next person. I get distracted by the "problems", the "struggles", the "hurdles", the "worries", the "annoyances". I'm noting these in quotes because my commitment right now is to remember wise words from my mother. She told me years ago, "There's a gift in everything. Look for the gift." A problem, struggle, hurdle, worry or annoyance contains that gift waiting to be discovered. The gift could be anything - a new realization about myself, a newly-discovered skill that can resolve a situation, remembering that I have a true and loyal friend, or the gratitude I feel when I realize that God not only answered a specific prayer, but he brought me something even better!

When I'm annoyed at my husband for some tiny thing, I try to remind myself of the man who gets out of bed at 2:45 every morning to go to his physically demanding "second" job, the man who does this out of love for his family. When I'm stumped about what to cook for dinner and contemplating the familiar package of ground beef with a less-than-thrilled attitude, I try to remind myself to say "Thank you!" for the fact that my hand and our tummies are not empty. When I wish I didn't have to remind my daughter three or four times to complete a task, I try to remember to thank God that I have a healthy daughter that has blessed our lives for thirteen years. How many parents have lost babies, toddlers or teenagers and would be so grateful for the minor annoyance of constant reminders, if they could just have that child back in their arms?

As I'm sitting here typing this, my beloved Siamese kitty, Jamoca, is curled up in front of me with his head draped over my left arm, purring in sublime contentment. Now and then his feet touch the keyboard and cause all manner of alphabetical mayhem. I gently move his feet away and fix the damage, stroking his silky fur to keep him content. When I save this post and wait for the computer to take me to the next step, I will be waiting. Reworking our spending plan means that we had to drop our faster-than-fast broadband access to a less-speedy option. It's slower while it does the job, but the important thing is that I still have internet access. Dinner tonight is likely to be some kind of pasta dish with vegetables because my pantry is full of sauce and packaged pasta and I have veggies in the freezer. I could choose to focus on what could be different, thinking that different would be better, but doing so does not change the FACT that all of these ordinary things are blessings.

God blesses me abundantly in every moment. He loves me that much. And he loves you that much. So, if you're having a day shadowed by doubts and darkness, I challenge you as I challenged my daughter this morning. Take a few moments and count twenty blessings in your life. And whether you believe in God or not, say "thank you".

I can see your smile from here.

Blessings upon you,