Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turning 40, Cabbage Rolls & A Family Dinner

Yes, last week I turned 40.

I was really struggling with this age because in the infertility world, 40 is the point where it gets more and more difficult to be chosen, accepted, thought of as young enough to parent/birth.

We've been waiting so long to be matched with a couples' embryos and turning 40 didn't help one little bit.
This past week our church started a new in depth, Bible study. One of the first steps in this course was looking honestly at who you are and how you minimize sin. It's called the Gospel Centered Life. As I browsed the list of character traits, I saw the words fake and hiding.
I couldn't help but instantly well up with tears.

Faking- "I strive to keep up appearances and maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not many people know the real me. (I may not even know the real me.)"

Hiding- " I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the "bad stuff". This is different from faking, in that faking is about impressing, Hiding is more about shame. I don't' think people will accept or love the real me."

So often, I try to keep up a smile and put on a happy face for others. But inside, I'm deeply sorrowful. I'm continually dealing with the heavy feelings of longing and waiting...the sadness of unfulfilled desires that infertility has upon my life.
I'm crying most nights and praying most days for the Lord not to forget His promises to me.
I'm constantly trying to put our best face forward to show our family as the perfect open arms to receive their precious embryos and yet, horribly fearful that my age, weight, income, tiny little house will be a stumbling block for us.
Yesterday morning, I picked up a children's book that my mother had sent home with Levi. He and I sat in the living room big chair and read it together.
It was the story from the Bible of Sarah and Abraham. I didn't get past the first page before I felt the tears streaming down my cheeks. The picture of this little old lady (Sarah) giggling over the fulfillment of the promise from the Lord, was more then I could handle. I've heard this story many times but today...
it just spoke volumes to my aching heart.

40 is not too old, I am exactly where the Lord wants me and His timing to fulfill our promises will be perfect.
A new peace is beginning to settle within me. My sister Janene said it best when she said ... I'm being re-made from the inside out.

I believe that the Lord has a beautiful plan for our family and it really doesn't matter what age I am...
if He deems it time.
For I know that,
All things will work together for the good.
NOTHING is too difficult for my God.

So after reading this children's book, I felt a freshness and
my day seemed a bit brighter.

Jesus, You have such a way of encouraging my heart. I know that you have not forsaken me... and the desires You've placed within my heart, will not be forgotten.

in You, I will continue to wait.

This picture of Richard holding our grandbaby, Heidern and our friend's twin girls, Taylor & Tristyn
warms my heart as I think of all the Lord has in store for our family.

Tonight we have a family dinner planned with many we call family.
(Reiko, Gabby, Heidern, Pollo, Quany, Megan, Josiah, Tristyn, Taylor, Mayshell, Di & Beau... and our family of 5)

We are having Cabbage Rolls, Pico de gallo, and Fruit Salad.

Cabbage Rolls have been a family recipe and favorite ever since I was a little girl. My mother always made them for my sisters' and my birthdays.
They truly are wonderful!

This last year, I made them for a family dinner with Reiko, Gabby and Pollo. As we began to eat, I was COMPLETELY horrified when they dumped fresh pico de gallo over the top of them.
It just seemed WRONG!
After much convincing, I tried it and discovered that they had
changed my famous cabbage rolls...
I loved it! With all of the new and wonderful things I'm learning regarding Mexican cooking, I think I should write a cookbook titled...

"My Daughter Married A Mexican"
Having Reiko, Gabby and many of their friends now in my life, my eyes have been opened to so many new things and I love it!

Now, many have asked what are Cabbage Rolls any ways?...So I've decided to step by step photo journal the recipe for everyone. So here we go...

Pico de gallo

(Remember, I cook in bulk because our Family Dinners feed many. The recipe I give you is more for a regular size family meal.)

1 lg. onion

2 lg. tomatoes

1 bundle of cilantro

2-3 fresh limes

3-4 hot peppers

generous amount of sea salt sprinkled over the top

I always start with the onions. I guess chopping them is not my favorite thing to do, so I like to get it over with at the beginning. I have one of those fancy choppers that help make it a bit faster and less painful. LOL I see these choppers all the time at garage sales... Pick one up the next time you see one and you will love it, I promise.

Here is my little helper.

He was working really hard at it too. hahahaha

Now that he's finished and grown tired of the project, I re-chop them and make sure I do enough for the pico and also set some aside for the cabbage rolls later.

Next, I chop up the tomatoes. Gabby says that all the ingredients should be chopped about the same size to look right. He also told me that the colors of the Mexican flag represent tomatoes, hot peppers, and onion...Red, Green, and White. The staple ingredients in most Mexican foods.

Too funny!


Make sure you wash this pretty good. I've found lots of dirt sometimes within the bundle. Remove the stems and chop away.

Next, add the limes juice.

I use a glass juicer I picked up at a garage sale.

Yep, I'm a sale junkie. I see them all the time.

Awesome item to have in the kitchen and works great.

And finally, I chop the hot peppers with my chopper and add the salt. Be careful to not inhale the pepper fumes....


Talk about cleansing out your brain...


Mix it all around and put it in the frig until dinner time.

Cabbage Rolls

(Again, remember pictures show bulk cooking for our Family Dinners. The recipe is for a much smaller amount. If you want to bulk cook ...double or triple the recipe)

1 lb. hamburger

1 lb. sausage (hot)

1 onion

2 can (80z) tomato sauce


2 c. cooked rice
Salt/ Pepper

Spoon into steamed cabbage and top with tomato sauce

Cover in tinfoil and cook 1 hour at 350*

First I precook the rice so it has time to cool a bit before I use it.

It's hard to see this picture but this is the precooked rice set aside to cool. I also added the onions that I chopped and set aside when making the pico.

Here is another of my kitchen helpers.

Bailey is attacking the meat with a force not to be matched. :)

She's mixing the hamburger and sausage in a lg. pan to make sure nothing spills out.

You really want your meats to be blended well.

Next she's mixing in the rice and onions. You just can't do this any other way but to use your hands.

That's why you want that rice to cool.

Once that is all mixed you want to blend in 1 can of tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
Then mix it all really well.

In a separate bowl, de-core your cabbage and place in a bowl. Fill the empty core with tap water and place it in the microwave for a few minutes.

Cooking the cabbage slightly this way will allow you to easily pull the off the layers of leaves without breaking them.

Once you have a pile of leaves ready, begin scooping the meat mixture into the leaves, wrapping them tightly, and placing them snugly into a lg. cooking pan.

Once you have the whole pan full of rolls, top them with the other can of tomato sauce. I also like to chop up the left over cabbage and tuck it all around to cook with the rolls and absorb the juices.

It's yummy.

Cover with tinfoil and bake.
Here is what they look like when finished cooking.

And... Oh Man, do they smell good!

You can't have Cabbage Rolls without Fruit Salad. It's tradition.

While your Cabbage Rolls are baking, it's time to prepare the fruit salad. My friend Di and Addison were making it.

Fruit Salad

1 can chucked pineapples

1 can mixed fruit

2-3 apples

2-3 bananas

1 handful of chopped nuts

1 lg. spoonful of sour cream

First thing you need to do is drain the pinapple juice into a bowl and use it for dipping the apples and banana slices in. This will keep them from turning brown and ugly. Once you dip them in the juice, spoon them into the fruit salad bowl.

Dump your dipped apples, bananas, pineapples and drained mix fruit into a big bowl.

Now add your big spoonfull of sour cream and chopped nuts. Mix well and refrigerate until dinner time. Some people like to add marshmellows but we don't because I like to keep down the sugars.

Now it's time to eat.

And this is how you do it! It may not look too pretty but OH MAN...is it ever good!!

Here Bailey is doing what some of the kids do... Passing the cabbage to Dad. LOL Our family dinners are usually so big that we use the entire house to seat everyone.

Love the closeness!

After dinner Gabby, Reiko and Pollo had some birthday gifts for Bailey and a few more for Levi.

This is the Hollister jacket Pollo bought for Bailey.

She was thrilled.

Levi got more of the dino collection and couldn't have been happier.

Addi, Heidern and Pollo

Dinner was good, the family was great, and the blessings of having everyone we call family in our lives is Awesome!

Couldn't be more thankful!

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