Friday, October 31, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box

Today my lunch was sitting on the kitchen counter at home.

While I was at work.

So I ate in the school cafeteria. The bag on the counter at home had green bean-honey-mustard cous cous salad and blackberries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pondering Headcoverings

In the past, I've read with curiosity Alana's and Juliana's posts about head coverings.

On my lunch break today, I was reading about Mimi's retreat and ended up over on Xenia Kate's blog. Her post about her new snood reminded me of something my son said last week.

He was walking with his papa through the local university campus and saw a young arabic lady with a full headcovering. Little Builder pointed to her and said, "look, Papa! She looks like a saint!"

I don't wear a full-time headcovering or even wear one all that often to our new church. I did at our old one, because almost all the women did and we shared a meaning together. Almost no one does at our new parish, and since I feel separated instead of sharing together, I often don't wear one anymore. But there are times that I would like to... in and out of church.

I suppose that having my son look at me and think "saint" wouldn't be terrible! If only I could LIVE like one...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope for New Mothers of "Psycho" Babies

As I was telling Presvytera today, my babies seemed psycho before 3 months, and then un-psycho afterwards. Don't know if was the Dr. Brown bottles or the neurons connecting in the brain, but God knew I needed a break by 3 months and granted precious relief. Truly, a huge if untangible Gift!

What about you other mothers? Is 3 months the magic number?

God, grant all of us mothers to not go crazy ourselves, but to have the ability to raise these kids to see the Unseen, the Heavenly Kingdom and seek it. Yikes - grant us to model that journey!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box - Spinach Queso Recipe

spinach "queso" leftover from wednesday
tortilla chips
celery boats with peanut butter

Spinach "Queso"

1. Make a white sauce by melting 1TBS of oil and stirring in 1 TBS of flour, until bubbly. Add 1 cup of rice milk, stirring so as to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

2. Add 1/2 can of diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of chili powder, and 2 TBS of nutritional yeast flakes. Nutritional Yeast does NOT have candida and does have protein. I'm not gonna lie... it looks like orange fish food.

Buy it from the local health food store. You can add more unless you don't end up liking the flavor. I've also been known to use rotel tomatoes or salsa, as well as onion dip mix.

3. Cook and stir and adjust seasonings until it seems like good "cheese" sauce.

4. Mix in cooked chopped spinach (I used a box of frozen spinach, cooked in microwave).

5. Serve the first night over rice - yum! Eat leftovers with chips.

Or, use the base for a Pasta Primavera:
Omit the cumin, tomatoes, and chili powder but add broccoli & carrots, then mix in cooked bow-tie pasta.

Has anyone ever tried this book?
I saw it advertised when I found the nutritional yeast link on Amazon. Sounds interesting, though I'm not really wanting to repeat the "cheese" I made my first lent, which involved grinding cashews and gelatin and nutrional yeast and making my own fake block of cheese. But more reasonable ideas are welcome! Like this one for Tofu Pot Pie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Artisan Bread


Jump over to Mimi's for a video about making easy, no knead artisan bread. My favorite part of the concept is that you leave the dough in the fridge for a week, pulling some off when you need it. I'm a big believer in having dough pre-made, so I can just set it out to rise when I get home in the afternoon. Currently we have 6 balls of pizza dough in the freezer, ready and waiting to go.

I'd like to try this artisan recipe, though. I think that the longer it sits, the more flavors develop. And the wetness of the dough reminds me of my Godparents' Jim & Mary's foccacia dough - still the best bread I've eaten IN MY LIFE. So I'm going to try it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gifts from God

* small pink crocheted hat, with little embroidered ribbons tied below my toddler's chin... she actually kept it on much longer than I thought she would.

* a ride home from church when we couldn't find our keys.

* an evening with friends, complete with wine, garlic & herb goat cheese, raspberries, good bread, and grapes.

* clean toilets.

* leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow's supper; I only need to add a little sausage to the bean soup.

* Organic strawberry crisp high fiber cereal - on sale for $.99 at the local health food store because it's DATE was Oct. 7, 2008.

* the soft pale sage comforter resting on our bed, the one we've had since we were married. The only thing in the whole "wedding registry gift selection" that we both could agree on almost 10 years ago. The one we packed away last year to try something new, but were so happy to pull back out again a few weeks ago.

* Little Builder, who points to a wall and says to his friends as they play outside, "look, a wonder-working icon of St. Nicholas!" I asked him later and he said of course he didn't really see anything, he was just playing. What I'm thankful for is that these things of God are growing inside of him and are there to come out, albeit in odd moments and ways.

Oh Lord, who lavishes us with earthly good things, deprive us not of heavenly good things.

Implant in my heart to fulfill Thy commandments, and to forsake evil deeds, and to obtain Thy blessings; for in Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, save me.
(from evening prayers of St. John Chrysostom)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Theology from a 5-year-old Perspective

Me: So then Satan lied to Eve and told her that nothing bad would happen if she ate the forbidden fruit, that she would be as wise as God.

Little Builder: Then God turned Satan into a snake, huh?

Me: Um. Adam and Eve were ashamed and hid from God...

LB: So, if Satan turns into a snake, he is like a Transformer!

Me: Well...

LB: Right. Satan is actually a Transformer!

Me: (sigh)

More Than Meets the Eye!

(picture from

Will I Never Learn

... to NOT wear my favorite nice sandals on a rainy day, knowing I must walk through mud on my high school campus?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box

If you would like a chance to win some Orthodox Children's Books, Sylvia is hosting a give-away.

What you have to do is submit a Lenten Lunch Box recipe for her Presvytera to use in a cookbook. Sounds fun!

On another note. Coming soon... "the man cave" dun dun duhhh!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gifts from God: October

* a day off of school - Columbus Day - to spend at home with my family

* a stroll around the pumpkin patch

* sweet applesauce cupcakes, to eat after shcool as a treat

* mad scientist in the kitchen, laughing while doing his school project

* the picture my mad scientist colored of us doing his science project... don't you love my long pink and red hair?

* cool enough weather that makes it pleasant to be outdoors

* a visit from a beloved Bishop

* waking up and seeing the clock shine 6:45am instead of 5:00am... crossing myself and thanking God that the baby has slept in!

Thank you, Oh Lord, for every good thing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wet Burritos for Friday

Even though Mexican food is my *favorite*, I had never had a "Wet Burrito" until I went to school in Michigan. Michigan folks don't eat a ton of Mexican food, and I imagine this recipe was created to make Mexican more mild for the folks up there in the North.

I was glad to stumble across a way to make them as a fasting meal. It all goes much easier if you make the rice and rice milk the night before, but you don't have to.

Thursday Night - Free Rice Milk
Serve rice as a side dish. Make 2 cups of rice boiled in 8 cups of water, with salt and a little oil. When the rice is done, drain the water into a container to use the next night. This is free "rice milk" (Thanks, Alana, for the idea!)and can be used in baking as well as sauces.

Friday Night
1. Heat 2 pans each with a Tablespoon oil and saute some chopped garlic, but don't let it brown.

2. Add a can of diced tomatoes to one pan and turn to medium, so it gently bubbles until you can deal with it.

3. Add a Tablespoon of flour to the other. Stir, stir, stir. You're making a white sauce at this point. Once it bubbles, add 2 cups of the rice milk, stirring the whole time. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro, chili powder, and half the tomatoes bubbling in the pan next to this one. Turn to low. FYI: the sauce is now a mild red color, not white.

4. Back to the tomato pan. Season with cilantro, cumin, pepper, chili powder, etc and add a can of refried beans. Stir.

5. Adjust seasonings to taste in both pots.

6. Heat some leftover rice in the microwave, about 2 cups.

7. Pour enough wet sauce into the bottom of an 8inch square pan to cover it.

8. Assemble the burritos (we fit 6 into our pan) by smearing some beans and 2 spoons of rice on each flour tortilla and rolling them up. You could also add chopped lettuce, tomato, olives, or onion for the filling. Put in pan as you go.

9. Pour the rest of the wet sauce onto the burritos and pop in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

10. Serve with salad, guacamole, salsa.

I haven't made a meal in a while that every family member ate without complaint, but this one was gone from the children's plates before my husband and I barely started eating.

To make real Michigan Wet Burritos:
Substitue beef or chicken broth for rice milk and ground beef for rice. Cover the final shebang in cheese before popping them in the oven.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Venison without a Gamey Flavor

After dinner last night, my husband offered:

You need to put that recipe on your blog!

Smile. Okay.

We are very blessed to get free, antibiotic-free meat from my dad, an avid deer hunter. Some recipes leave us with a strange "wild" aftertaste, but this one from Rachel Ray's magazine is a huge hit at our house.

I didn't have lemons or mint on hand, so I just omit them. Also, I use 1/8 tsp of cumin, because my hubby doesn't love it, and increase the cinnamon to 1/4 tsp. I know the ingredient combination sounds strange, but when you eat them, you really don't taste any one flavor - just a yummy meatball. And, the last time I made them, I used breadcrumbs instead of bread. Do you what you need to - that's my motto for any recipe!

Meatball tip: always pull out and thaw double the meat you'll need. Make half the meatballs for tonight and freeze the other half for an easy meal in the future.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pink Eye

Little Builder, Toddler Girl and I all have pink eye. Yuck.

Appreciating your prayers,

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box

Oven-roasted Potatoes


Served in my nifty Laptop Lunchbox.

Looking for inspiration? Browse through their ideas for lunches, or look through their photo gallery. Of course, all of these are not "fasting", but Vegan Lunch Box offers all fasting ideas.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Saints Alive: Orthodox Children's Website

Little Builder likes this site, and the "easy" games ("medium" and "hard" options beckon older kids) fit very well with the letters he's learning in Kindergarten.

from the home page:
Saints alive! is a project of the Department of Internet Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. For more information about this project click here.

What games will you find? Aunt Ellie will lead your little one through the following:

Nick's Word Finder
Icon Painting at Father Andrew's Studio
Jigsaw Puzzles at Rachel's Puzzle Place
Dean's Mystery Icon Studio
Pacman-Letter Eating at Tina's Wordman Game
Matching in Maria's Memory Game
Chris' Crossword Puzzles

Aunt Ellie, if you click on her with the cursor, says "ow, don't hurt me." I don't know about your kids, but this made my son giggle and want to click on her again. It's a funny thing the programers added. After making LB stop clicking on her, I must admit, I was tempted to click her too (later once he was in bed).

Overall, it is nice to have an Orthodox web site for games, a refreshing alternative to Bob-the-Builder and Barney.