My youngest daughter is getting confirmed today.
In our congregation, confirmation is a year-long process that begins in the winter of eighth grade and finishes the following November. In addition to two weekend retreats and bimonthly group meetings, an important part of the process is being matched with a mentor. The mentor is an adult member of the congregation who enhances his or her partner’s spiritual experience, by being both a sounding board and a spiritual advisor.
Our daughter was fortunate to be paired with our friend Catherine. Together, they’ve prepared meals for our two families and met on several other occasions. Their discussions have ranged from international politics to music to, of course, their faith. Catherine’s friendship and guidance played a big part in my daughter’s enthusiasm about joining the church.
We all met at the church on Friday night – teens, their families, mentors, and Michael, the youth minister – to celebrate the end of the program and the beginning of our children’s membership in the church. We marvelled at how tall they were and recalled when they were small children getting to know each other in the Sunday School. And we celebrated with that great church tradition of a pot luck meal.
In addition to taking a plate of cookies (it seems I rarely leave the house without a plate of cookies in my hands), I made a couple of salads that Catherine could eat. She can’t eat wheat flour, so I wanted to ensure that some of the food would be safe for her. That gave me a great excuse to make this recipe again.
I try a lot of new recipes, and this dish is one of my favourites. It’s so easy, and so beautiful, and so delicious, that it’s hard to believe it’s healthy, too. This salad came from The Brick Kitchen blog, where I find lots of great, healthy food ideas. Don’t let the ordinary name of this recipe fool you into thinking that it’s anything less than sensational.
Have a great week!
Warm Brown Rice Salad
(adapted from The Brick Kitchen)
1 cup dry brown rice
1 Tbsp olive oil (first amount)
2 medium carrots, in small dice
1 stalk celery, in small dice
1 medium zucchini in small dice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 tsp oil (second amount)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Cook brown rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and celery and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add zucchini and cranberries, season with a pinch of salt and continue to cook for another minute or two, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in prepared brown rice, vinegar and remaining tsp of oil. Serve warm.