Let me tell you a secret.

I used to be addicted to Cheez-its and Coca Cola.

This went on for years.

As a real estate agent, I raced around town showing houses with complete disregard for proper nutrition. I’d sneak into the WaWa or 7-11 and buy a large pack of Cheez-its and a huge Coke for lunch. The punch of the cheesy salt crackers together with the burn of the sugary carbonated soda was bliss—for a moment. Then I’d crash from the sugar high and feel slightly dehydrated.

And guilty.

See, I was a fraud. I taught aerobics at the local gym, pretending to be a health nut, but in the privacy of my office-on-wheels, I was binging on fatty crackers and soda!

And I couldn’t stop.

Enter Lent.

My paternal grandmother was a super duper Catholic, going to mass every week—sometimes multiple times a week¸ reciting the rosary every night, getting Holy Water from the church to bless things, watching the nuns on cable television, and taking me to Sunday Mass after sleepovers and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

I figure that makes me about 2% Catholic and okay with God to participate in Lent.

I like the symbolism and stark beauty of Jesus fasting in the wilderness. Heck, if he didn’t eat anything for forty days. Surely, I could give up Cheez-its and Coke!

One day at a time.

No Cheez-its.

No coke.

Forty days.

Done.

I’m not the only non-Catholic observing Lent. There are others, even non-believers, too. Read more here. 

For me, Lent has become a time of reflection, discipline, and self-improvement. This year, I quit processed sugar. Instead, I’m using natural sweeteners like honey and eating more fruit. Also, I made a promise to log 10,000 Fitbit steps everyday (on cold wet nights that means doing laps in my living room!).

My Catholic friends get a kick out of me. They promise they’re praying for my blasphemous non-Catholic soul. They’re afraid I’m going to want to start taking Holy Communion, too. When I say, “Lent is almost over . . . Thank God!” it’s tongue in cheek. Lent has saved me from blowing up into an overweight, cracker-eating, soda-guzzling, aerobics-teaching hypocrite. I am hopeful that my grandmother would be happy to know I turned out just a little bit Catholic.

 

Thoughtful Food: Filet Mignon w/Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions Sauce & A Loaded Baked Potato Bar

With Lent on the mind, I should probably recommend a fish dish, but like I said, I’m 2% Catholic at best, so we’re having good old steak and potatoes!

IMG_7950Filet Mignon w/Mushroom & Caramelized Onions:

Filets or any steak (we buy a large piece of beef at Sam’s Club and it into small filets)

3 onions, sliced

12-16 oz mushrooms (any variety), sliced

6 tbsp butter

Start by making the onion and mushroom topping. In a large pan, melt the butter. Add onions. Cook until softened then add mushrooms. Stir occasionally, cooking for approximately twenty minutes or until onions turn a lovely soft brown. Meanwhile, broil or grill the filets. Top steaks with onion mixture. Yum! Yum!

Baked Potato Bar:

Yukon Gold Potatoes (one per person) – Baked at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours (do not microwave – they won’t taste as good). Once baked, slice piping-hot potatoes down the middle and instruct your diners to top away!

IMG_7948Here are a few suggestions for your toppings’ bar:

½ cup snipped chives

sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

bacon bits

whipped butter

chopped onions

 

Thought For The Week:

Thomas Keating said, “Lent is a time to renew wherever we are in that process that I call the divine therapy. It’s a time to look what our instinctual needs are, look at what the dynamics of our unconscious are.”

Did you give up anything for Lent this year?

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