Friday, September 19, 2008

No Longer Insignificant!

I love to cook. I love to try new foods and new recipes. And SOMETIMES my family lets me get away with it and will be my guinea pigs. I try not to experiment TOO much because it really hurts my feelings when I spend a couple hours cooking a new dish only to have everyone turn their noses because they aren't ready to try a new food. And the last couple years, I've been buying cookbooks that have to do with healthy eating... not really dieting, because ANYTHING you cook can be a diet food if you follow the directions and eat the proper potion size.

Well yesterday, I came across a recipe in my newest cookbook, "The 3-hour Diet Cookbook", for Turkey Lasagna. (BTW, It's not really a diet. But I'll get into that another time.) I read the ingredient list and thought I would give it a shot. Matt was... well, not all for it but he was willing to give it a try. He's not a big fan of lasagna because usually it's really watery. But we haven't had lasagna in a LONG time, so like I said... Willing to try. 

I was happy! Excited! I pulled out the turkey from the freezer and made sure I had pasta sauce. (Costco. 4 lbs of ground turkey for almost 2/3 what it costs in the grocery store. And did you know that marinara sauce is sometimes a freebee in diets? Again... Costco!) I got my check book, put on my walking shoes and off I went to the grocery store. (Exercise! Yay! It's a little under a half mile to the store.) I carefully went down every isle, found the ingredients, including the whole wheat lasagna noodles. (Not only am I not SUPPOSED to eat it, but I can't STAND whole wheat pasta anyway!).  I made a few substitutions in the cheese selection, simply because I know the ones called for in the recipe were very comparable to ones I knew my son would actually eat. Then I walked myself and the two heavy bags home. I was still so excited!

When it came time to cook, I started defrosting the turkey in the microwave and chopping the veggies. While the pasta cooked, I mixed the cheeses and spinach. Everything smelled so good! When the noodles were done, I laid them to dry out a little, and then made the sauce. The recipe called for turkey sausage, but I only used 1/2 the sausage and plain ground turkey meat for the other half. Most purchased sausage is to spicy for Eli. (Can you tell who the picky eater in our house is?) 

While I cooked, I thought about how I knew this wasn't a "for the family" recipe (meaning the extended family). Not unless I did some substituting. It has onion in it. :) The whole time I sniffed and chopped my way through the onion, Eli was reminding me that papa doesn't like onions. (He may be a picky eater, but Eli really is a budding chef! If I'm cooking, it's the only time he won't watch Matt play WoW!) At this point, I sent Eli into the living room, because I knew if he saw me put the spinach in with the cheese, his eagerness to try it would be over.

After the layers were done, I looked at the almost finished product and was I impressed! The watery texture that I normally see at this point wasn't there! I had hope! I added that last layer of mozzarella that would bake up all golden brown, said a quick little prayer and popped it in the oven.  My little prayer went something like this:

"Dear God, 
We all need this, but Matt REALLY needs to eat healthier. I'm so worried about him. He's overweight, and not only does his heart have to work overtime because of that, it also has to work overtime to compensate for the damage that the Sarcadoises did to his lungs. I know this healthy dinner is a small step, but if you add in his exercise, then this small step could turn into big things! So please, God. Let this be a healthy recipe we can add to our menu. Let this lasagna NOT be watery! And let him be happy with the right size serving. Thank you, God.

Insignificant? Maybe to some. And at the time I said that little prayer last night, yup... even I thought it insignificant. Almost as soon as I walked away from the kitchen I thought of that country song that came out a little while back... It's by Brooks and Dunn, and it's called "God Must Be Busy". Basically it's about a person praying and saying: 

"Hey God? I know with our country at war, and people kidnapping little kids, and all the MAJOR things happening in the world... well I know you're busy. But my heart is broken and I'm praying you can fix it."

Anyway, the 45 minute wait began. And then, I took it out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool, my hopes getting bigger. So far so good. Nice crispy cheese top, no water in sight. So I set the timer for 30 minutes to wait for it to set and cool. Still, I thought that I, as one person making an insignificant prayer would have to deal with soupy lasagna and the disappointment of Matt eating only part of it. 

See, if he doesn't eat all of it, it's not good. If he eats all of it without comment, then it's edible, but I shouldn't make it again. If he eats 2 servings, it's good, but not filling. If he comments, and eats 2 servings, it's good, repeatable but not filling. If he raves, it's worthy of sticking the recipe to the fridge. And if he raves and eats only one serving, then it's fridge worthy and filling! Those are the best recipes.

Guess what? I'm not so insignificant after all! The timer went off, and I sliced into the pasta. Carefully, I pulled out that first piece and the only word to describe me at that moment was MARVEL! My jaw was slack, my nose full of that WONDERFUL smell and my pasta pan was water free! AND... the book said to slice into 12 equal pieces, so I did. The pieces were HUGE! I could hardly contain my excitement, but I somehow managed. I put Matt's piece on a plate and off I went to deliver everyone's dinner. 

Matt raved! Not only that, he didn't ask for 2nds! Woot! AND he added a new rating. He raved, ate one serving and asked if the leftovers would hold so he could take some to work on Saturday. Now THAT is awesome! And a real answer to a little prayer.

I had a moment when I thought my prayer was insignificant. But God used it to remind me that no matter how insignificant we think we are, He hears all of it. Every sound we whisper no matter how much we think it's insignificant, He hears it. Even if it's a little "Lasagna Prayer." I think, now that I've been reminded I'm not so insignificant that my next little prayer is gonna end like this:

"And God? Eli really needs to eat some more. Please let him like this dinner! Amen!"

And that song? I heard it all night long! And if you have your sound on, maybe you're hearing it all night long to.... It's on my playlist! hehehehe!


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