Time to Slow Down

Welcome  If you know me, you know I love self-improvement books and challenges.  I’ve shared from a few of those here on the blog, like my positive thinking challenge in November and my gratitude challenge in December.  I also did a minimalism challenge in January, and I emphasize the word challenge there!  In March, I did a self-love challenge, because I often struggle with self-esteem issues.  There was a lot of list-making, self-reflecting, and goal-setting in this challenge.  Today, I’m going to share from Day 8 of that 31-day challenge.  It’s also Two-for-Tuesday in our recipe section, so be sure to stick around to the end.  Thanks for joining me.

Food For Thought  On the eighth day of this self-love challenge, I was asked to reflect on the following question: When or where in my life do I need to slow down?  Well, if I was still teaching, it would be a no-brainer to say I would need to slow down in my profession.  I was always rushing to meet deadlines, especially during standardized testing (yes, even in kindergarten!)  The new demands of elementary education made it seem impossible to teach children with the best possible methods and keep up with the clerical aspect of data collecting and recording.  It led me to serious burn-out because I spent every waking moment working, or thinking about, getting the next things done for my classroom or school responsibilities.  But that life is behind me now.  I have indeed slowed down, but are there ways I could still improve in this area?

I don’t think it’s so much a matter of slowing down as it is just being more CONTENT, PATIENT, and STILL.  I always seem to want to rush to the next big thing in life, that next BIG event, OR I’m rushing around trying to find something to bring me peace, joy, or happiness.  This is SO dangerous.  In my rushing for that next thing to lead me to the miracle of happiness, I’m seriously at risk for missing out on the things that bring me happiness in my daily life, in the here and now.  I’m chasing happiness like a flitting butterfly going from flower to flower, never quite landing anywhere with commitment.  Oh, I’m committed to my writing and my website.  I’m certainly committed to my family.  I’m even committed to my renewed passion in my Bible study and seeking God’s Will.  I put a lot of work into these important parts to my life, but I haven’t committed to them bringing me that peace and happiness I’m longing for.  As that butterfly going from flower to flower, I should stop, BE STILL, and appreciate the beauty of the blooms where I’m at right now.  Instead, I land on one flower and look over at that “other” flower that seems to be more beautiful and enticing and want to leave immediately.  Why don’t I rest my weary body and soul and mind and enjoy this flower I’m visiting right now?  This is what my flower looks like right now…an average home in an average suburb, smack dab in the middle of the country, trying to change careers at age 40, working at being a better wife and mom to a pre-teen, finding balance between what I want to be and do with the direction God is sending me.  My flower can be beautiful, right here where I am, if I would just SLOW DOWN and notice the amazing gift that it is.  Here’s my advice to you, and for me, today:  Slow down and admire the beauty of your own life’s flowers.

Today’s Scripture  Psalm 46:10, ESV  “Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth!”

Today’s Recipes  Sometimes the best comfort foods are the ones that have been made s-l-o-w-l-y.  My first recipe is for a slow-braised beef roast in a cast iron pan in the oven.  It’s perfect for those cool, rainy weekends when you can put that roast in the oven and just let it go while you go about your business in the home.  It makes great juices for a gravy to accompany the classic side of mashed potatoes, if you choose to do so.  My second recipe is a spin on my husband’s favorite blackberry cobbler.  This one has the addition of orange zest and juice and a sweet biscuit crust.  I used a sucralose sweetener for my husband’s cobber, but you can use sugar in 1-1 substitution, if preferred.

Slow Cooked, Oven Braised Roast Beef with Onions

  • 1 3 or 4-pound chuck roast
  • 1 1/2 TBS grill seasoning (I love Northwoods Seasoning from Penzey’s)
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5-6 celery stalks, with greens
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • mashed potatoes and gravy, for serving, if desired

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  In small bowl combine grill seasoning, black pepper, and salt.  Pat dry roast with paper towels.  Rub in seasoning mixture on all sides of roast.  In large cast iron skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add roast and reduce heat to medium.  Brown roast on all sides, about six minutes per side.  Cut celery, onion, and garlic in large chunks.  Add to hot oil in skillet, distributing evenly around roast.  Cover skillet, place in oven and braise at 200 degrees for five hours.

beef roast with onions and celery
Browning the roast in a cast iron pan before braising sears in valuable juices.

 

Blackberry Cobbler with Orange Essence and Sweet Biscuit Crust

  • 3 pints fresh blackberries, washed and stemmed
  • 3/4 cup sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 orange–zest whole orange and use juice of half the orange
  • 2 TBS cold butter, diced
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, diced
  • 3/4 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray casserole dish or 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  In large bowl combine blackberries, sugar substitute, and flour.  Add the zest of a whole orange.  Cut the orange in half and squeeze juice from one orange half over the blackberry mixture; stir and set aside.

In medium bowl combine flours, sugar substitute, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in butter with pastry blender or two forks.  Slowly add in milk, mixing with a fork until soft dough forms.

Dump blackberries into prepared dish and top with biscuit dough.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

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