Have you ever been slowed down? Maybe you didn't choose it, but perhapa something happened at one point or another that forced you to stop, rest, and hide away. The month of September is the start of the resting season for nature. The earth prepares itself for a few months of down time so it can be ready for new growth in the spring. If the leaves didn't change and whither, and the ground rest from the growing season, it might have nothing left to give come spring time. This past month my family has been forced to slow down; sickness grounded us. We weren't able to go every night, stuffing in projects and clients and work, juggling too many engagements and too many promises each day. We missed our vacation, and we relied on friends and family to care for us. We actually had to sleep, and the most exciting part of each day was thinking of what to have for dinner and doing fresh loads of laundry. Today I realized the last time I felt this freedom, in the midst of hospital visits, sleepless nights, and long days watching movies and sipping soup, was when Noah was born. You know that calm when you bring new baby home but you still feel kinda crappy from, well, birth? Ha! There has been this underlying joy I haven't felt in a while. During a sermon a few years ago, Roger Archer said, "It's kind of funny...when you don't choose a culture, without knowing it, one springs right up around you, one you didn't choose, one that's too much, one you may not like." I love how much God draws near to us when we don't think we need him, when it feels like things are going smoothly, when in reality we need him desperately. The time spent in prayer for me lately is precious. I have a clear head, I feel like this fall will be the best yet, because before I am anything I am a daughter, a mother, and a wife and that feels really good. Are you in a season of rest? Do you need a season of quiet? Choose one right now if need be, re-evaluate, and only say yes to what you are supposed to. Appointments can be canceled, you aren't as obligated to things as you start to feel like you are. Love on your family, spend time choosing how you want life to go; don't let life choose for you while you aren't paying attention. P.S. This meat loaf, make it, just for the sandwiches.
HOME STYLE MEAT LOAF SANDWICH
(My recipe and photo from the November 2014 issue of 425 Magazine)
2 lbs. 85/15 ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup, halved
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 clove crushed fresh garlic
1/2 cup finely grated fresh onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried thyme (fresh is great as well)
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt (I prefer this meat loaf on the salty side)
½ tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp. mustard
Dash of soy sauce
Serves 4 the first night and makes 4 sandwiches for round 2.
Mix all ingredients except 1/2 cup ketchup together, gently. You want to use a fork or stiff fingers – do not squish the meat together, or you may have a tough loaf. Form into a loaf in the center of a glass baking dish, and smear remaining ketchup on top. Bake at 350ᵒ for at least 60 minutes, uncovered. I like ultra-caramelized ketchup, and this cooking method allows a crusty tomato top that begs to be made into a sandwich! Place loaf in the fridge to firm up for sandwich slices the next day.
Arrange 4 slices of meatloaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet alongside 4 ciabatta buns sliced in half and topped with cheese. I love a fresh squeeze of ketchup on each slice of meat as well. Broil on high for only 5-6 minutes. The rolls and cheese may burn, so watch them carefully; if they get too dark, pull them out. When the meat is warmed through, place between the cheesy ciabatta and top with mâché lettuce or spinach and devour!