Friday, October 26, 2012

Pollo a la Santanderina

My favorite Spanish chicken dish - easy to cook and always a hit.

  • 1 whole chicken (or parts - I use about 8 - 10 pieces of chicken)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in about 8 - 10 wedges
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt

  1. Clean the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil and add the chicken.  Brown the pieces, then remove to a paper towel to drain.
  3. In the same oil, saute the onions, carrots, peppers, and garlic until tender.
  4. Put the vegetables in a dutch oven/soup pot (spoon out - because you want to reuse the oil one more time).  Add the chicken to the dutch oven.
  5. Add the wine and brandy to the frying pan and heat well - allowing the drippings to come off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour on top of vegetables and chicken.
  7. Cover the mixture and cook on top of the stove about an hour (until chicken is done and vegetables are very tender.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pot.
  9. Use an immersion mixer and puré the vegetables and sauce into a "cream of vegetable" soup type texture.
  10. Return the chicken to the soup.
  11. Serve with bread.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Problem with Perfectionism

I know - it has been forever since I posted.  Over the past month life has moved faster than I could keep up and unfortunately the blog lost in the line of priorities.  I have so many blog posts floating around in my head that I could probably write for an entire day and still not be caught up.  Hopefully over the next week or so I'll get some more of them down, but for now - we'll just take it one post at a time.

"Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality disposition characterized by an individual striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations."  

Some of you who have known me forever just read that and said "that describes her perfectly."  I had the same reaction.  I have always been a perfectionist.  I have always set high standards and usually have achieved them.  I graduated from high school in the top 10 students (out of 500+), I graduated from college with honors and a GPA of higher than a 3.75, and I graduated from seminary with the same GPA while working, raising 3 children, being married, and driving nearly 2 hours each way to class.  

I have driven my co-workers (and husband) crazy at times.  Shoot, I've driven myself crazy at times!  But I'd say, most of the time this perfectionist trait has benefited me.  It has proven to be the push behind surviving and reaching my goals.  It is a great benefit when organizing large events or handling tasks that require attention to every detail.  But this week it really hit home how this attitude hurts as well.

I am not blessed with the gift of learning a new language.  I have to work for every new word and every new conjugation (and Spanish has thousands) and every new pronunciation.  I think I am making progress.  I have learned to survive and can even usually accomplish my daily tasks.  But then, put me in a situation where I think I am being evaluated (whether I really am or not) and I know no Spanish.  

For example, last Sunday in church I had to introduce our guests and I stumbled over the 10 words I said and half were wrong.  Why?  I panicked because the team leader of the language and orientation program was there and in my mind he was "evaluating" my language when he probably wasn't even thinking about it.  Then later this week I was in a group class and every time I went to speak I first looked at the teacher to see if she was nodding yes or no.  (She pointed this out to me later when she was asking "why do you talk in long, fluid sentences and communicate well when it is just you and I and yet in a class of all learners you stumble with 3 word sentences?")

I realized this week that perhaps, needing to be "perfect" in my language may actually keep me from ever being fluent.  How do I overcome this?  I have no idea.  All I know is that I am tired of tears falling over Spanish, tired of freezing when needing to speak, and tired of fearing I will never pass the DELE (the proficiency exam we must pass).  I know that God's grace is sufficient and that I can do all things through HIS strength.  

My goal this week?  To rest a little more in His grace and a lot less in myself.