While I was traveling last week in North Carolina, we went on a couple of hikes. The longest hike was to Linville Falls. I took the more difficult route since the rule was that if you hadn’t seen the falls before, you should go on the easier walk. Feeling suddenly energetic, I decided on the more advanced hike since this was my second time to the gorge.
Well, it was fine going down and down and down to the shores of the river. The problem was the coming back up. Luckily, I avoided all poison ivy, and with my new hiking boots, I was in pretty good shape. I tried to avoid, along with my friend Jeff, a cardiac embarrassment. Hahaha
When we got close to the falls, I took several pictures. One shows a plant, what looks like a wild rose, growing right into the granite wall.
It reminded me of the old adage “Bloom where you are planted,” which was ingrained upon me from a stained-glass knick-knack my mom had in her pretty bow window as I was growing up. I would sit and eat my cereal on school mornings, thinking about blooming. Only years later would I understand.
In the natural world we see circumstances of difficult survival. Sometimes, seeds attach themselves in the oddest places and seem to be happy and thriving wherever they are.
It’s a bit like life: we’re dealt a hand of circumstances with people we live among and can either bloom and thrive or wither and wilt. No life is perfect. We all wish for a bigger paycheck, more free time, a house with less maintenance, a car without a “check engine” light blinking on every few miles. But we get the hand we get. So we ask ourselves: how will we bloom today?
Beef and Sherry
I must admit: I had low expectations for this meal (p. 39), but it was delicious. I made some adjustments, so I’ll add the whole recipe here.
1 lb. beef round, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 can reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, sliced
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 c. sherry
olive oil for browning the meat
While dicing the meat, heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. Get it pretty hot. Throw in your meat and toss. (Take time at this point to turn off the smoke alarm scaring your dog since you got the pan a little too hot.) Toss in the seasonings and stir. Let the meat brown a little before adding another 1 t. or so of olive oil. Soon the juices from the meat will be released, and you’ll start to have a nice broth in the pan. Add the soup, onion, mushrooms, and sherry. Simmer for at least a 1/2 hour–longer if you have the time. Serve with brown rice, couscous, or quinoa.
I had some leftover whole-wheat couscous, so I heated that up, threw on some of the meat mixture, and wow, was it delish! I was slightly impressed with myself.
I had decided when I was planning out my menu that I’d forego the Lipton Onion Soup mix and the 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, and instead lighten it up with just one can of soup and forget about the onion soup mix altogether. I made that decision once I saw that the sodium content of one serving of one envelope was 600 mg. Wow! That’s a lot of sodium. When I looked at the ingredients of the mix, it looked mostly like salt and dried onion. Since I had minced dried onion at home, I decided I could use that if I felt like it. But when I was cooking, I just stuck with fresh sliced onion, and didn’t lose any of the great flavor for this dish.