Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ann Kroeker's Belgian Salad and Crepes

Big excitement here at the castle. Today I have a GUEST POST-er!

It's Ann Kroeker, whose blog you'll find here. Ann has written the recently-published book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families, which is filled with encouragement for families to take life a bit slower in all kinds of ways: slow down so kids can be creative, slow down so your family can savor traditions, slow down long enough to enjoy God's creation.

One of my very favorite suggestions from the book was to take time to scribe; to write down a section or book of the Bible, word for word, allowing each and every word to really sink in. After reading about this, I've started transcribing in a journal the gospel of Mark. I can't wait to see what treasures unfold.

When I asked Ann if she had any recipes for readers who hope to slow down the pace of family life, here is what she shared:

My husband grew up in Belgium, where everyone in the country knows how to stop mid-morning and enjoy a leisurely coffee break. In fact, this might come as a shock, but vehicles in Belgium don’t come with standard cupholders. While Belgians might take a Thermos full of coffee to drink later on during their mid-morning break, they don’t seem to drink any en route. Maybe that’s because most cars have manual transmissions and require shifting with a hand that might otherwise be holding the mug. Or maybe Belgians would rather wait until they can sit down at home or a café and truly enjoy sipping it while nibbling a Speculoo cookie. I suppose we could argue that the caffeine from all that coffee negates their slow-down tendencies, but in general, Belgians seem to know how to hit the pause button. From what I can tell on my visits, Belgian families seem to eat together often, and their evening meals are eaten slowly, while sitting down and talking.

To celebrate their slower pace of life, I’d like to share two European recipes.

The last time we were visiting family in Belgium, I learned how to make a delicious salad using Belgian endives. That’s what they’re called at American supermarkets. The French word for them is “chicons.” This salad is an easy and delicious change of pace when it comes to a side dish/salad option. I fix it for adults, though, as kids aren’t sure about the taste of the endives, which is slightly bitter (though balanced with the sweetness from the mandarin oranges). Here’s the link (scroll to the very bottom for the recipe—but feel free to pause and admire the Belgian bread and beer pictures, if you like).
We also love crepes, which are a little bit more French than Belgian, but Belgians certainly make them. They are simple and inexpensive to prepare, yet make my family feel so loved. The kids literally jump up and down when I announce that crepes are on the menu and often request them for birthday breakfasts. Guests gobble them up. I wrote a crepe-making post years ago that includes the recipe, instructions, and helpful videos I plucked from YouTube to illustrate various stages of crepe-making. Here’s the link to“Crepes? Mais, Oui!” Much later, I recorded two simple videos of my own to illustrate how to “spin” the crepe batter on the skillet and how to roll a crepe on one’s plate before eating it.

I’d love to see more and more American families start slowing down enough to gather around tables for dinner. It’s easy to lose this tradition in the shuffle of frenzied schedules. When we’re always on the go, we lose the fellowship of this daily act of hospitality that we can offer to each other and extend to others as the Lord leads.
Maybe you don’t have time for dinner this week—if so, at the very least, try implementing an everyday slow-down solution from across the pond: Be a little Belgian today and brew a pot of coffee. Then sit down for a few minutes with a friend and talk. It’s a way to live not so fast in our high-speed world.

NOTE: For more thoughts about not-so-fast living, see Ann's posts here. And enjoy that coffee.

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Blogger Libby@CookingWithLibby said...

Great post! We always ate dinner as a family when I was growing up and I'm trying to implement that now with my own kids. :)

September 8, 2009 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger The Bumbles said...

Lynn - you (and Ann from the sounds of it) would completely love The Help - one of the main characters writes her prayers every day instead of saying them - to keep her mind working right. And she and her friend are often gathering together after a long exhausting day calming each other down and feeling happy about little things. Sounds like it would go perfectly with a cup of coffee and some crepes! Though you won't want anyone interrupting you while you read - so perhaps during the just as important alone time after the family dinner?

September 8, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Faith said...

What an excellent post! It's so important to remember to slow life down a little bit...otherwise before you know it, you'll have missed out on a lot of little joys!

September 9, 2009 at 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVED that advice to scribe, to write down a section or book of the Bible, word for word, allowing each and every word to really sink in...beautiful. Very simple, but powerful effects!

September 9, 2009 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I wish this idea of slowing down would catch on with more people. Love the post : )

September 9, 2009 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Southern Grace Gourmet said...

I love the advice about slowing down and enjoying life, my toddler loves to help mommy cook, I try to let him do what he can, while holding his hand to stir things, and eat raw veggies, he loves onions!

September 15, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Katy ~ said...

I absolutely loved this post. Loved it.

September 16, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous tasteofbeirut said...

Liked your post. I like Belgians a lot. They are friendly folks and sure know how to eat well! And yes, they do know how to take a break!

December 7, 2009 at 4:51 AM  

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