I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be self-centered. It's kind of a sticky wicket, isn't it? You're supposed to take care of yourself, and be good to yourself, but if you do too much of that, people start to look down their noses at you. And how do you decide what you're doing for yourself, and what you're doing for someone else, even if it fulfills you?
know someone who dedicated 40 years of her life to teaching in public
school and raising her children. She paid her dues. And now she does
the things that she wants to do: going to the YMCA, meeting friends for
lunch, watching TV, helping out with a project at church. When you talk
with her, she talks mostly about these things. Is that self-centered? Or well-deserved self-care?
there are times I think that maybe *I'm* self-centered. I'm at
home with N., but most days I go to the Y in the morning after the morning routine and playtime, and N. plays in Child Watch for an hour while I go sweat.
We come home, I feed N. lunch, and she takes an hour long nap, during which I get to shower. In the afternoon,
we do something ... sometimes a walk, or an errand, or on rainy days, we
draw and do puzzles. Then there's picking I. up from the bus, and managing homework time trying to keep her entertained, and dinner. At night, I am out at a meeting sometimes three
nights a week. Board of Education, the Board of the Friends of the
Library, a meeting for church. Sometimes I go to yoga. Less often I go
out to a discussion group. I feel guilty about going to yoga or to other events, because I feel like I am already so self-centered.
making my own salary has a lot to do with this worry, I know. I buy
some expensive tea, or a book, and I feel like I have taken without giving
back. Like I've tipped the balance of the Universe in favor of MEMEME.
I made this recipe even though my family isn't vegan, even though my husband really likes meat, even though I knew my kids probably wouldn't like it (and that N. probably wouldn't eat it at all). Is THAT self-centered? (I also made another version of it, which I will post later this week, which my son DID eat ... for breakfast. Maybe it's a matter of simply winning people over to doing what I want them to do in order to get around the problem of being self-centered?)
Lentil, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from the kitchn
5 medium sweet potatoes
1 c. green lentils, washed and picked over
3/4 c. uncooked steel cut oats
1 bay leaf
1 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, quartered
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, diced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 c. red wine
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. soy sauce
2 t. smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash sweet potatoes well and prick them a few times with a fork to prevent explosions. Bake the potatoes for about an hour, or until they just about collapse when you try to pick them up with your potholder. Set aside.
Place lentils, oats, bay leaf, salt and 5
cups of water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for
15-20 minutes or until lentils are just done, and no longer crunchy. Remove bay leaf and drain the mixture, trying not to eat too much of it before you add the other ingredients.
Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the quartered mushrooms with a pinch of salt until tender and just beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining vegetables and continue to cook, stirring
occasionally, until they are softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low nad add the lentil mixture and additional seasonings. Simmer for 5 minutes, adjusting seasonings to your taste if necessary. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel the potatoes (this should be very easy; just grab one end of the skin and the rest should fall out) and mash into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the the lentil mixture into a 9x9-inch pan and cover with the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the lentil mixture is bubbly at the edges. Cool 5 minutes and serve.