Saturday, June 5, 2010

Great Meals to Give: The power of food to nourish, feed, and love

For JY, SY, HY, and precious baby L

I spent a part of my day today, blessed to have the opportunity to pray for my friend's baby.  He is in the NICU, born with a really rare lymphatic growth, and it is potentially going to block his breathing and make it difficult for L to eat and breathe.  When I had first heard of this situation, my first act was to pray for this precious life.  I cried out hard to God to hear my prayer for healing for L, and an outpouring of grace and love for JY and SY.  I know that God hears my prayers.

My second instinct was trying to figure out - how can i relieve some of JY's burden?  She is going back and forth to the hospital, pumping milk to give to L, taking care of her other son, and being a wife to her husband.  She has many things on her plate and I couldn't figure out how I could help her, especially since we don't live that close to each other.

In my conversation with her, I asked if she wanted me to bring some food when I visited.  She initially said no, that there was no need and not to go through any trouble, but I knew right then, that this is what I would do.  I wanted to feed her and her family.  She is a great cook, always feeding her family and the people around her so wonderfully, but I wanted to do something more for her.  I told her I would bring her dinner and not to worry.  I even asked her if she wanted something baked and she laughed, saying she had wanted to make the chocolate banana cake, but just hadn't had the time (or the brown bananas.)  I immediately began planning which foods I might want to bring her, some to nourish and some just to nosh on (cupcakes and banana cake.)

Meanwhile, 600 miles away, friend HYK, who had a baby recently, has been receiving meals through her church meal rotation.  But she revealed to me that many of the foods she was receiving were take out - not many homemade dishes.  She was deeply appreciative of these people who were spending their hard earned money to bring her and her family a hot meal, but did note that little to none was homemade.  I wished so much that I could bring her a home cooked meal for her family to eat.

In addition, another friend HKL also had a baby, and I talked to her to find out that she was cooking her family a meal, less than two weeks after giving birth. I found myself wishing again that I could cook her something and bring her family some food. (she also lives too far for this.)

After experiencing these waves of wanting to cook for my friends, I decided that I would compile a nice list of dishes that can be easily made and given to those who may need a hot, homemade meal.  It does take a bit of time and effort, but know that your work will not be unappreciated and someone on the receiving end will be forever thankful.  The meal lasts a few moments, but the experience of love leaves a fingerprint, long after the meal is done.  There are ways to touch lives and this is one of them.

Incidentally, I got a lovely message from my friend JY, thanking me for the food.  She appreciated it all.  Her family ate with little work from her this evening.  She also sat down and enjoyed some cake, all alone as she pumped her milk for baby L.  Her words of thanks, simple thanks, warmed me on the inside and made my heart smile.  This - all from cooking a small meal for someone else.  You won't regret it as you will be rewarded so much more than your effort.

Preparation note:  you can certainly make double the amount and serve yourself AND your lucky recipient with one round of cooking.  (which is what I usually do.)

Great Meals to Give - these dishes transport well, hold up well, taste good after reheating or don't need to be reheated.

Meal #1
Soy Braised Chicken:  fully cook it, cool and refrigerate.  Holds up well under reheating.
Bok Choy Salad: Wash and cut all the vegetables and tuck it into a ziploc bag.  Dressing made in a jam jar.

Meal #2
Greek Chicken Thighs: fully cooked
Orzo Salad with Feta, Tomatoes, and Scallions

Meal #3
Spice Rubbed Chicken:  fully cooked
Cold Sesame Noodles: dress and allow it to marinate.

Meal #4
Korean Marinated Flank Steak - fully cooked, unless you know that the recipient is a good griller or married to one
Curried Slaw - all vegetables chopped in a ziploc bag, dressing in a jar

Meal #5
Mexican Roasted Tomato Soup with Corn and Chicken - can be cooked and then refrigerated.  Tastes great reheated.
Crusty French Bread

Meal #6
Turkey Chili - you might think it too hot for now, but this is a dish that gets better as it refrigerates.
Cornbread Muffins

Sweet Treats - if you're feeling extra motivated, these are great travelers and hold up well.

Chocolate Banana Cake
Banana Coconut Chocolate Muffins
Strawberry Banana Muffins
Pecan Rolo Pretzels - super duper easy, and no one can eat just one
Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Toffee Chip Cookies

Lovely Extras
Fruit that is already cut up - watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple.  Cutting fruit can be difficult if you're busy or incapacitated.
Bouquet of Flowers


agnespterry said...

Another idea that makes a lot and is easy to take to someone else's home: sausage rolls, or bierocks. Basically, thaw frozen bread dough rolls and breakfast sausage, cook up the sausage, flatten the rolls and stuff them with one or two spoonfuls sausage and bake at 350 for twenty minutes.

They taste delicious dipped in mustard and with a salad on the side. You could also use a basic white bread recipe instead of frozen dough if you preferred and add or change the filling as you prefer. Chicken, spinach and cheese is excellent too. If you have leftover rolls without any sausage left, you can use pepperoni to make pepperoni rolls.

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for sharing this list. so many of my friends are having babies this year and i'm going to go to this list to deliver them some home cooked meals. i actually know JY and pray everyday for baby L too. i hope that the Lord will answer our prayers!


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