I won’t speak for you, but I certainly prefer comfort, peace, and sunny skies to discomfort, difficulty, and foggy-grey days.
If everyday life was left up to me, I’d love nothing more than to luxuriate in simplicity, ease, things always working perfectly when needed and never breaking down, complete harmony in all relationships, and an abundance of money coupled with a scarcity of problems.
I have yet to meet anyone that would much prefer to find themselves in the midst of challenge, shortage, illness, or general discomfort; have you?
And so this leads me to suspect that I’m not alone in my preference for life to always be sweet and sunny, and without pain and pressure.
Ah, but here’s the rub: how, then, would anyone truly appreciate the warm, bright sun, or the blue skies, unless we experienced the other?
And more importantly, what would motivate us to move forward and to grow, evolve, shift, and change if not a little “pinch” that awakens us and challenges us to start to ask questions?
I’ll tell you something, though I kinda cringe to have to admit it; pressure, even an abundance of it, even more than we seemingly can handle, is a very good (and even merciful, though that may seem counterintuitive) thing for us.
And I’m speaking now from personal (and current) experience.
I’ll share with you that right now, pretty much everything that my husband and I could find potentially challenging (besides our personal relationship and our relationship with our son, thank God!), is truly being challenging, and creating some intense pressure on us.
But it’s that very pressure that has been causing us to question life (and even question and engage our Creator), which is what is helping us to see things in a new way, and even creating an inner longing to change our approach to certain things.
It’s the pressures of life that internally “prime” us, in a way, to get ready to receive understanding and gain information in order to take the steps to move forward and not stay stagnant, which is deadly.
Without the discomfort of pressure and challenges, there would be no color to life, no opportunity for faith to be strengthened, no push to examine ourselves and our circumstances, and less gratitude for the things of a miraculous nature when they do present themselves.
Take these delicious potatoes, for instance; once they’re roasted, they’re smashed (pressure!!) in order to open them up and prepare them, “prime” them, to be infused with rosemary-olive oil goodness, and savory and crispy parmesan loveliness.
They’re made better by pressure being added to them, in turn creating an opportunity for them to taste even better and more complex once all is said and done.
Now of course I’d never ask that life become filled with more difficulty and challenge, and for more pressure to be added.
That would be ludicrous!
No, the challenges will certainly come on their own, but I’d much rather have a perspective on them that could be helpful to positive change in me than not, and rather fully experience and learn from them instead of wanting to run away from them.
Simply, it’s a matter of choice; and I’d prefer to choose not to go down in discouragement, but rather to be helped through any given difficult ordeal in order to see what potentially amazing revelations await me on the other side.
Listen, when life gives you “smashed” potatoes…eat ’em!
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Crispy-Roasted Smashed Parmesan Potatoes with Rosemary-Garlic Olive Oil
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
• 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes (I used a combination of both)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus ½ teaspoon, divided use
• Sea salt
• Cracked black pepper
• ¼ – ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 lemon
-Preheat your oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
-Add the baby potatoes to a large bowl, and drizzle over them the olive oil; add in the garlic, the tablespoon of chopped rosemary, a couple of good pinches of sea salt and cracked black pepper, and then toss to coat well.
-Turn the potatoes out onto your prepared baking sheet, and roast the potatoes for about 40 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times during the roasting to roll the potatoes around for even crisping; once you can easily pierce a potato with a paring knife, they are done.
-Take the potatoes out of the oven, and turn your oven to the “broil” setting.
-Using a “1 cup” measuring cup, gently press each potato to smash it, taking care not to completely flatten it—you just want to cause it to smash and crack.
-Sprinkle over each smashed potato about 1 heaping teaspoon of the grated parmesan cheese, and place the potatoes under the broiler; broil for about 1-2 minutes, or just until the cheese melts and becomes a nice golden-brown (don’t walk away from your broiler!).
-Finish the potatoes by sprinkling over top the remaining ½ teaspoon of chopped rosemary, plus the chopped parsley, and grate just a very small amount (just a little pinch) of lemon zest over the potatoes using a microplane or fine zester, for a little extra aroma; enjoy hot.