The gift of giving
Monday, December 09, 2013 2:37 AM
This holiday season, I vowed to participate in "The Angel Affect," a movement outlined in the book I introduced to you last time. I committed to become the change I want to see in the world and live it. In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else's life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Peel the potatoes and cut into one-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute' pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute' just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
So every day this month, I am going to do something that's greater than me...something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less. I encourage you to join me and help create an angel affect!
The closest thing to being cared for is to care for others. We are all in this together and we should treat each other as such. It takes no more time to see the good side of life and act upon it than it does to see the bad side and trip over it. If you don't like something, change it.
Be conscious of what you say and how you say it. Use words that build up, appreciate, encourage and inspire. Don't attach to the negative behavior of others. It brings you and everyone close to you down to their level. Stay positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others frown. It's an easy way to make a difference. Every time words are spoken, something is created. Inspiration and positivity begets inspiration and positivity times infinity.
A brave, extraordinary soul recognizes the strength of others. Give genuine praise whenever possible. Doing so is a mighty act of service. Start noticing what you like about others and speak up. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are is extremely rewarding. It's an investment in them that doesn't cost you a thing and the returns can be astounding. Not only will they feel empowered, but also what goes around comes around and sooner or later the people you're cheering for will start cheering for you too.
Compliment people who deserve it. Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and compliment the people who have gone out of their way to shine. Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
Every day this month, I urge you to perform a random act of kindness. Pay for a stranger's coffee in line at the convenience store. Bake holiday treats for your office, just to say "Thank you." Help an elderly lady with her groceries. There's nothing more rewarding than putting smiles on the faces around you.
Big or small, it's not what you do for people that matters, but how you make them feel that's important.
Ultimately, how far you go in life depends on your willingness to be helpful to the young, respectful to the aged, tender with the hurt, supportive of the striving and tolerant of those who are weaker or stronger than the majority. Because we wear many hats throughout the course of our lives, and at some point you too, will have been all of these people. So always be compassionate of others.
The best exercise for your heart is letting it reach down and pick others up! If you want more uplifting and inspiring ideas for living a better life, read "The Angel Affect," which is available for a limited time at Harmony IGA, Preston IGA and Rushford IGA!
Join the mission: The Angel Affect on Facebook and @TheAngelAffect on Twitter.
Let's create an angel affect this holiday season!