Seven Quick Takes: First Friday of Lent

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Thanks, as always, to Jen for hosting Quick Takes.
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It’s Lent! I mentioned in previous posts that I’m reading instead of some of the more inane online activities I partake in. I’m planning a post for later today (if I can get to it) about what I’ve read so far in The Dolorous Passion.
One problem I am finding is that I’m doing other thing instead of the thing I gave up. And also instead of reading. Bad me. I have to really learn to rein in my tendancy towards laziness and wasting time.
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So what am I doing? Writing Quick Takes. uh, huh…
But I like the way it focuses me a bit. So here I am.
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We still have snow on the ground. The weatherman said that there were about eleven days in January where we didn’t have snow on the ground (since mid-December, when we got our first big storm). Amazing! Parts of Virginia have more snow than Anchorage, AK – or at least that was so a couple weeks ago, anyway. Anchorage might have caught up by now.
The girls have mostly enjoyed the snow, too. (If you come by the site, you’ll see a new header with a picture of them sledding together.) At one point, though, Little Girl was frustrated because it seemed that it was always snowing on Mondays, which made schools close on Tuesdays and, therefore, caused ballet class to be cancelled. This was not good. She told me one day, near tears, that she was tired of the snow and wanted it to go away.
What she really meant was, “I wish it would snow on WEDNESDAY, pleaseandthankyou.”
But this week, she had ballet class, and, yesterday, all was forgiven and they took the morning to play in the snow while it was still here. A good time was had by all.
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I chose a book to read for Lent that I cannot find right now. Has anyone seen my copy of Mother Angelica’s Pithy and Private Lessons?
No?
Rats. Guess I’ll have to keep looking.
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I was very motivated to finish my tax returns this year. Very. The IRS predicted it would be direct deposited today, but did not guarantee that. (And I wouldn’t believe them if they did.) But there’s a really awesome reason for being excited about it coming.
When it comes in, we’ll take that and a small part of what was left in my business account and pay off the last of the debt that isn’t connected to our home!!!
In two years’ time, we paid off a massive amount of debt. We will be, except for our home, debt free! I did not think it was possible.
I’ve talked in the past about the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Plan. When we’re done, I think I’ll write a detailed story on our journey so far. Paying off the debt is only Baby Step Two. We have four more steps to go to really finish it.
But let me tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that we’re nearly done with this step! Travel Man wanted to finish this step by the end of 2010. We’re finishing early. When we started out, I thought he was insane. I didn’t believe we could finish by 2015, let alone this year.
I’ll leave the whole story to a post of its own. It deserves that, and it’s a long story, anyway.
But in the meantime, celebrate with us! We’re almost there!
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We’re also managing to get schoolwork done, though I still need to work on the discipline needed to really buckle down. That working from home thing really messed up our groove that we’d had going for a while. But we’re getting better, and we’re getting work done. I’m also hoping that my Lenten moritifications will assist me in making sure I do what I need to do in my vocation.
The girls, though, are getting to do more science than before, and I’m actually enjoying it. Whodathunkit? Turns out science books from Catholic curricula companies are fun to do.
(When I was a girl, I didn’t like science classes because the books all made the assumption that God wasn’t there. I did not like that at all. Why does the Emperor Penguin have that pouch? Because God put it there! DUH!)
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Let’s finish with a recipe for Friday, especially since it’s Lent.
Our family keeps Meatless Fridays all year long, so I’ve learned to look for lots of recipes that meet this need. (Oh, lookit that – a pun!)
ahem…
Anyway, during Lent I’ll include a recipe for you in Quick Takes, in case you’re looking for something aside from the Parish Fish Fry. (We’re going three times to our parish’s – Travel Man is Deputy Grand Knight, and we do everything we can to support the Knights, anyway.)
I know that everyone has Tuna Casserole for dinner during Lent, but I love this recipe for it! It’s simple, and it’s more sophisticated than Mom’s recipe. (Sorry, Mom! I loved yours, but this one is better!)
Oh, man, that’ll get me in trouble with Dad.
Okay, so here goes: Weight Watcher’s (!) Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. uncooked egg noodles (For fun, you can also use shells or other pasta.)
  • 12 oz. water-packed tuna fish, drained
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced (I usually buy the packages at the store in the produce section, and baby bellas ROCK in this capacity!!)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 16 oz. fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard (Honey Mustard also makes for a nice flavor if you prefer the sweet.)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (I skipped this for years because my kids weren’t used to many herbs and spices in their food. They’ve developed a taste for it, though, and make sure I don’t forget this part now.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese or reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (The Swiss is oh-so-creamy!!!)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions without added fat or salt. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. (Or, if you’re like me and lack a dishwasher, directly into the pan you’ll be baking in. It’s okay. You can do that. I won’t tell.) Fold in tuna, mushrooms, and peas.
  3. Whisk sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl; fold into the noodle mixture. Transfer to a 4 quart casserole dish (or 9″x13″ pan or a half-sized warmer pan from Sam’s – I am ALL ABOUT the easy clean-up, people!); top with cheese. Bake until top is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Points (if you’re counting): 6

Serves 8. Or, in my family, five, if the kids don’t take thirds.

Enjoy! Next week, I’ll find something new for you.
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Have a blesssed Lent!

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