Tag Archives: Black Beans and rice

What’s in a Name? And Queen Mary’s Salmon

For our 5th wedding anniversary, we enjoyed a couple of nights aboard the Queen Mary. Below is the photo I took of the booklet the hotel provided for our room keys.

Our room key holder

For one of our meals, I enjoyed the maple-flavored salmon dish.

Our 5th Wedding AnniversaryWhen we returned home, I decided to replicate it.¬†Here’s the photo of my version, along with my recipe. ūüôā Brody likes to add black beans as a side dish to any meal, and the steamed broccoli and rice are often seen in a supporting role since for time’s sake, we like to prepare a large batch to keep in the fridge for snacks and sides.

Queen Mary's Salmon

Queen Mary’s Salmon

butter

1 pound of salmon

salt

black pepper

thyme

dill weed

1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup (The last time I made this, I used so little, I think it’s actually negligible… unless you have an extreme sweet tooth, you’ll like the dish just fine with very little¬†or no maple syrup.)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Cut the salmon into serving-sized pieces.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet.

3. Sprinkle the fillets with the herbs.

4. Cook the salmon on medium heat for about 3 minutes.

5. Flip over the fillets and add the syrup and lemon juice.

6. Cook for approximately 3 more minutes. The salmon is done when the meat pulls apart easily, the meat is opaque and the juices are milky.

7. The skin comes off very easily after cooking, so I stopped removing the skin before cooking it. Now we just remove it as we eat. Here is a resource of tips for grilling seafood – some of these ideas translate well into pan-cooking, too. For additional tips, here is another site.

So, what’s in a name? I named the above dish based on our good memories of our 5th wedding anniversary trip. I’ve wondered from time to time how some items for sale in grocery stores came to be called “food.” This is especially interesting to me when I consider the conversations I’ve had with various people.

Some quote I Timothy 4:1-5 as reason to eat anything and everything.  True, these verses reinforce what Jesus taught in Matthew 15; that is, eating certain things does not defile us. Rather, the evil that comes from our hearts and proceeds out of our mouths defiles us. Based on these and other passages throughout the New Testament, we know that we do not need to apply to ourselves the dietary restrictions from the Old Covenant between God and the nation of Israel.

But, I do not think that I Timothy 4:1-5 extends God’s blessing to anything that someone has called “food.” For example, I could blend cardboard with water and spread the resulting mush on a cookie sheet and sprinkle sand on it. Simply labeling it “food,” does not mean that the concoction is nourishing. And I do not believe that such a mixture¬†is included in the endorsement of I Timothy 4:4.

So, what to do? It’s biblical not to pass judgment¬†on anyone for what he eats or doesn’t eat. While the topic is slightly different, we can find some principles to guide our thinking in Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8.

Romans 14 specifically is addressing a situation in which believers had differing views on eating meat which had been sacrificed to idols. Some believers could not eat meat without thinking about the pagan rituals and sacrifices which they had renounced. For them, their conscience was bothered by eating meat. So, for them, it was better not to eat meat. Other believers could eat meat without being uncomfortable at all since they no longer made the connection between eating meat and the idol sacrifices.

The Apostle Paul addressed this topic in I Corinthians 8 as well. He concluded both passages in the same way… if a person’s conscience is bothered by eating meat which was sacrificed to an idol, he should not eat meat. And if a person’s conscience is not bothered by eating meat sacrificed to an idol, then he can enjoy eating meat. But, he should be careful not to eat meat in front of others who may follow his example and then feel as if they had partaken of idol worship by eating the meat of the sacrifice. And neither the meat-eaters nor the non-meat-eaters should pass judgement on the other group.

So based on these principles, no one should pass judgment on others for what they eat or don’t eat. One of the verses my college Sunday School class memorized was Romans 14:17 “… for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So, I am aware that I should not evaluate someone’s life as being sinful based on what he or she eats.

But, I wonder if some of our Christian brothers and sisters would benefit from considering why they eat what they eat. For example, there have been times in my life that I have eaten for emotional comfort. The result of this, coupled with a lack of self-control, led to a significant gain in weight for me. If I struggle with a lack of self-control, I can ask God for help in overcoming that sin. And I can take comfort in the knowledge that Christ has already conquered that sin along with all other sins I struggle with.

If I eat for emotional comfort, I wonder why I’m turning to food instead of to God’s Word in times of sorrow or disappointment. According to Psalm 19, God’s Word is sweeter than honey, so why not pick up the Bible when I feel as if I need encouragement?

And if a believer is experiencing food-related health challenges, and refuses to change what or how much he/she eats, perhaps eating certain things or eating in a certain way has become a god to that person. That brother or sister in the Lord may benefit spiritually from praying for wisdom regarding his/her views of food. And making some changes in how he/she eats may result in some physical benefits as well.

Rice and Beans Until the Debt is Paid Off?

The administration page of our website shows us the words people use to search for a previous post or the Internet for a topic, bringing them to our website. One recent search caught my eye. The words were, “rice and beans until the debt is paid off.”

That search brought up a thought I’ve considered many times over the years. Why do we often think of ways to get out of debt? Why not employ those practices in order to prevent the debt in the first place? Why would we only consider eating rice and beans after we’ve created debt? If we feel as if “money is tight,” why not change our eating habits to stretch our grocery budget a little further so that we can buy our groceries without using a credit card?

Some friends have told me that they just don’t like beans. I understand… when I was a kid, I had trouble getting them down, too. But, in recent years, as I’ve begun to value living within my means and pursuing a healthier lifestyle, I’ve grown to appreciate the low-cost, high-nutritive value of beans and rice. And, it’s possible that how the beans are prepared affect the taste and texture. We really like the results of preparing beans according to the procedure outlined in Appendix B of A Recipe for Survival.

Since food preparation can sometimes be complicated in our household, and because time is limited with both of us working, the other reason I appreciate beans and rice is the simplicity of the dish. I can easily prepare a large batch of rice and a large batch of black beans, store them in the fridge and take beans and rice to work each day. The result is a simple, satisfying dish which fits into our budget and gives me the energy to work. An additional benefit is that I’m not eating food that will negatively affect my cholesterol numbers.

DSCF2303

But, if I have the time to prepare Sister’s Salsa (page 155 in A Recipe for Survival) and slice up an avocado, I can dress up the beans and rice and enjoy an even tastier meal. I suspect that anyone who says¬†beans are not interesting has not been eating this version of beans and rice! ūüôā

Simply the Best Rice and Beans

 

I absolutely look forward to eating the dish pictured above. Perhaps I have developed a taste for it because of appreciating the value of a meal that is nourishing and inexpensive. And perhaps, as I noted on the previous post, since I limit my intake of processed foods and refined sugars, I actually enjoy the taste of more natural foods such as this dish.

When Brody and I were paying off many debts, I quickly saw how much a packaged item in my grocery cart affected the final cost at checkout. Yes, I would have enjoyed some treats with sugar in them, but purchasing them would not have helped me pay off the debt and the sugar would have made me less productive throughout the day. Eating certain items is not sinful. But, for me, I would have sinned against my conscience to eat what was not necessary AND would make me less healthy, especially when I owed money to someone else.

This was true a few years ago, when we were paying off a dentist bill. The dentist graciously did all the near-emergency work for us even though he knew it would take us a long time to pay it off. We were blessed to benefit from a longtime relationship between the dentist and my family. I was the third generation of our family to receive care from him. May the Lord bless Dr. Dow and his gracious office manager, Alexis, for their kindness to us.

Since Dr. Dow was not charging us interest, I was very careful what we did with the money we were spending on anything besides regular payments to him. I knew he would not begrudge us our basic necessities such as nutritious food, but I did not feel right about spending money on ice cream or fast food instead of sending a larger payment to him in a given month.

God has promised to supply our needs and He is faithful to keep all His promises. But, how often do we begin to view our desires as “needs?” Sometimes, I think we begin to believe that we are entitled to certain things, such as “Food I Like to Eat,” or “Eating Out as Often as I Want To” instead of choosing to live within the means God has provided for us. Many people in the world eat whatever they can find to stay alive. Are we inherently better than they? Do we really deserve only certain foods which we enjoy? Are we so focused on the pleasures of certain items that we are¬†unwilling to recognize nutritious food which is available to us within our means?

Now and then, Brody and I eat food that is a treat for us. We have not completely given up buying or eating foods that contain sugar. But we do not believe that we are entitled to have whatever we want to eat, whether or not money is tight and whether or not the item will hinder our ability to accomplish what the Lord would have us accomplish. If you are struggling with your health or finances, you may find that being willing to change your tastes may help you in both categories.

Here’s another way I like to use black beans. Since it requires more time to prepare, I don’t make this as often as the dish pictured above, but once in a while, we enjoy Beyond Basic Black Beans (page 90 of A Recipe for Survival.)

Beyond Basic Black Beans

The apostle Paul said he had learned the secret of being content whether he was well-fed or hungry – he knew that no matter how difficult life on earth may become, nothing could separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. The trials Paul experienced were far more intense than the trying time of developing self-control to¬†give up foods that don’t fit in the grocery budget or negatively affect our health. Paul actually went hungry; he didn’t just pass up the “food” that actually was detrimental to him.

Philippians 4:10-13 from Bible Gateway:

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak [g]from want, for I have learned to be [h]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things [i]through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.