As we near the end of the second week of Lent there is an almost imperceptible shift, even in this frozen city, towards the light.
       By 7am, when I am sometimes leaving the house, the sky is turning from black to a lighter grey and dusk is falling as I prepare my dinner, not in the late afternoon, as in the past few months. So hope is rising as we journey through Lent, towards the sunrise of Easter.
     Slowly too the Day Camp Schedule is starting to be pieced together as more applications and enquiries come in. Last Monday evening our committee met and we worked hard on many topics from the slow progress of the Program Manual to early plans and suggestions for the Retreat Week.  As we transition from winter into early spring my stress level inevitably increases and I spend a lot of time in prayer trying to untangle myself from the “snares of the enemy” that whisper scary thoughts about the sheer impossibility of finding enough Team Members or, conversely the sheer impossibility of filling all the slots in our Day Camps schedule AGH!!!
    Today my attempts to focus on hope are being manifested by beginning to bake for the Retreat Week. This does seem a bit foolish, however I was impelled to start by a gift, from our local CO-OP, of 8 litres of milk! Not wishing to waste it, I’m starting this morning, by baking oatmeal bread and whole-wheat buns. Unfortunately I do not have enough other ingredients on hand to make more exotic items and since yesterday the streets were once again coated with ice, I cannot venture to the grocer for extra supplies but at least these two types of bread are a small beginning 😊 While I have the oven on I’m also going to remove the beeswax from my first dozen Pysanky and THAT will be exciting!!!
      Over the rest of this week I’ve had to do a lot of general office work as Tax Season is now upon us and the AGM is less than a month away. Starting on March 1st I shall be “Changing the Decorations” so I’ve blocked off a couple of days for that process.  It is both encouraging and daunting to change my home environment over to Lent & Spring because the fresh visual reminders  will all point to the coming of summer. Isn’t time strange? Scripture tells us that it is not up to us to worry about the future as no matter how hard we try we cannot “number our days” and yet we constantly waste so much of the present time by worrying about what is to come 😊
       The past week also saw several very nice lunch or dinner visits with friends and next week will include a series of lunch meetings so I have also been stashing away some soups and stews for those busy gatherings.Spring may be on the way but we are certainly still in the season when a nourishing bowl of piping hot food is just what is needed.
      So here is my take on a Fava Bean Ragout, the recipe for which originates in “Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes” (a super cookbook, well worth adding to one’s library!) 1 caveat; this recipe takes a long time in the slow cooker, so plan accordingly. I found myself (after doing some math) flinging it together at 630am before heading out the door, in order to ensure it was ready for a 6pm dinner. AGH!!!!!
Fava Bean Ragout
  • 2 cups dried fava (or baby lima) beans
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsps. Harissa Paste (available at Middle
    Eastern Grocers)
  • 1 28oz. tin fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
The day before making this dish, place the dried beans in a large bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.  Early next morning, heat the slow cooker on “High”. Drain the beans and add them along with 6 cups of water and all the other ingredients to the insert.Cook on high for 8 hours then reduce to low and cook for approx. 2 more hours or until the beans are thoroughly cooked but NOT mushy, and the ragout has thickened.
This is really good served in bowls,  each portion topped with a fried egg and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. If you are feeding a crowd, it is easier to serve the ragout topped with diced hardboiled eggs. Serves 6-8. Freezes well.

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