Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looking forward to St. Nicholas

First, thank you for your Chicago prayers. We made it back safely and one student even made it to the "Top 12" in Prose/Poetry Interpretation.

Our parish is doing something lovely this year:

St. Nicholas Creative Arts Festival

All adults, teens, children, and friends are invited to participate. The theme is St. Nicholas' love for the poor and for children. We are encouraged to express our reflections in a creative form. Here's the schedule:

Friday, Dec. 5
6 pm: Great Vespers w/ Artoklasia

Saturday, Dec. 6
9am: Orthros
10:00 am: Divine Liturgy
11:30 am: Potluck brunch with Art Exhibit

12:30 pm: Oratorical and Awards Presentation
Creative Essay

Price of Admission for the Festival:
1 can or box of food for the needy

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pray for Me

I've done something very ridiculous. I've taken 16 high school debaters to Chicago for a huge tournament.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

123 Meme: from Green, toward God

I'll show my Geeky Green side by participating in the Meme I read at Anastasia's.

1. Open the closest book near you.
2. Turn to page 25.
3. Skip the first 5 sentences and write the next three.

Book = Building Green by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan

"There are a number of ways that loads can put stress on the structure of a building. Compression is a force that squeezes something together. Tension is a force pulling something apart."

You know, stress-- that has nothing to do with a parent's life. (smile)

I think it would be funny (or sad, or... gratitude-inducing , these ugly beautiful things) to consider the compression loads and tension loads in our lives.

Building Green goes on to consider ways to distribute those loads so the structure won't break.

I can think of another one.
With thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace that surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. St. Paul's epistle to the Philipians, I believe.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Millions of Fasting Meal Ideas

For those of you who are new to Orthodoxy and would like some logistical help with vegan meal-planning.

1. Veggie Fajitas

2. "Cheese" Enchiladas

3. Wet Burritos

4. Spinach Queso over Rice

5. Spinach, mushrooms, & rice-cheese quesadillas
Shrimp Fajitas

6. Black Bean, Frito, and Cilantro Cream Burritos - the Fritos really make this dish!

7. Fried/Grilled Fish Tacos

8. Use Soy-rizo (like Chorizo) in any recipe, replacing the meat

9. 7 Layer Dip for Office Parties (layers starting from bottom layer): refried beans, silken tofu blended with taco seasoning, quacamole, lettuce, tomatoe, olives, green onions. Serve with chips.

1. Stir Fry & Rice

2. Sweet & Sour Shrimp

3. Thai Tofu & Broccoli with Peanut Sauce over Rice

4. Shrimp Fried Rice

5. Veggie or Shrimp Lo-mein

6. Asparagus Stir-Fry

7. Eggplant with Garlic Sauce over Rice

8. Ginger steamed Fish with Veggies & Rice

1. Pasta & Marinara

2. Gnocci with soy-milk Bechamel blended with cooked zuccini (yes, it's green sauce)

3. Bowties, Broccoli, Carrots and Primavera "Cheese Sauce"

4. Bolognase using soy crumbles or crumbled Boca Burgers, or TVP

5. Shrimp Fra Diavlo

6. Eggplant "Parmesan"

7. Tomato, Peas, Rice-Mozerella Orzo

8. Butternut Squash or Mushroom Risotto

9. Veggie Lasagna

10. Seafood Lasagna

11. Near East "Pine Nut" flavored Cous Cous with Garlic-Basil Veggies on the side.

1. Shrimp Jambalya

2. Jambalaya Pasta (with carrots & white beans instead of meat)

3. Gumboz-n-Herbs (Gumbo made with lots of different kinds of greens)

4. Shrimp Etoufee'

5. Crawfish Etoufee'

6. Fried Catfish

7. White Bean & Carrot Etoufee' (or choose whatever veggie/bean your family likes)

8. Corn, Crab, & Tomatoe Stew

9. Okra Shrimp Gumbo

10. Cabbage, Green Bean, & Potato Gumbo

1. White Bean (carrot, onion, celery, tomato)

2. Greek Lentil Soup

3. Black Bean (garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder)

4. Winter Squash Bisque

5. Clam Chowder (I've used non-dairy powdered creamer mixed with water as the "cream"... I know, sort of pathetic)

6. Corn Chowder

7. Broccoli "Cheese" Soup

8. Split Pea Soup (use liquid smoke to add ham flavor)

9. Indian Curry (sweet peas, onion, potatoes)

10. Cauliflower Chamomile Soup (from the inside of a Celestial Seasonings box)

11. Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger

1. Eggplant Casserole (shrimp, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, canned tomatoes, bread crumbs, mushrooms)

2. Smothered Beans-n-Greens w/ Corn Bread and Sliced Tomatoes

3. Veggie or Tofu Pot Pie (if I did this, I'd probably use a pre-made crust on a week-night)

4. Veggie Pizza (we like rice-mozzerella on top)

5. Greek Smothered Peas, Mushrooms & Garlic Tomato Sauce over Rice

6. Crab Salad (corn, cooked rice, green onion, mayo, salt, pepper & sugar)

7. Tuna Salad

8. Salmon Patties

9. M'Jeddrah (Lentils & Rice with Caramalized Onions)

10. Squash, Bean, & Tomato Ragout over Polenta

11. Hatian Beans & Rice

12. Beet & Potato Salad (Russian Style)

13. Eggplant "Caviar" (which varies greatly, from basic to cilantro-flvored with pine nuts)

14. Greek Potato Salad (olive oil, parsley, green onion, salt, pepper)

15. Grilled Fish

16. Magic Loaf (leftovers are good for lunch sandwiches)

17. Any Bean/Grain Combo, like Crock Pot Grains

18. Black-Eyed Peas Patties with Remoulade

I have printed these ideas in a Monday through Saturday Table-Format and keep them on my fridge.

If you like, whenever you post a new idea or recipe on your blog, let me know and I'll add a link on this page back to your site.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Breakfast Burrito Experiment

During the fast, I would like to have something with a bit of protein for breakfast, and oatmeal, malt-o-meal, and polenta are good for warmth but wimpy for protein. I suppose a glass of soy milk would bulk up a porridge breakfast. However, I like to experiment, I like to cook, and we have 6 weeks of breakfasts, so...

I would like to make something like these:

I could make them and freeze them, pulling one out to microwave on a hurried morning.

I don't feel bound by these ingredients, but it's a start. If you have advice on this process, I'd be glad to hear it.

What about you? What is your go-to breakfast during a fast?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nativity Fast Approaching...

... in one week! Time to gather my tools:
Kale tamales, black bean enchiladas, and lively alternatives to liven up our palates after too many meals of pasta and marinara or PBJ.

Best All-Around, with ideas like "Butternut Squash & White Bean Ragout with Polenta" and "Tofu, Mushroom, & Spinach Spanokopita".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nurtured to Knit

I told my husband, October rolls around and I want to start crocheting and knitting. I don't know why, so strange.

When my mom saw me knitting last week, she commented, Your Nana always used to pull out her crocheting in the fall. She said it was too hot to bother with in the summer, but October through April, she always had yarn by her side.

Mystery solved.

What things, I wonder, will I pass down subconsciously to my children?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Builder's Current Favorite Book

(Thank you, Godmother Mary & Godfather Jim for the stash of books!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

From an email from our parish priest:

On this monumental day, which will decide who the next president of the United States will be, it is critical that we, the members of the Body of Christ who live in this nation, turn to our Heavenly King in prayer, asking for Him to grant mercy to our nation and to provide us with godly leadership. Let us take this day especially to pray for the people of this nation and for "all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence"(I Tim 2:2). Furthermore, let us, members of the royal priesthood of all believers, offer repentance on behalf of our nation and its leaders, asking God to forgive the sins of the American people and to protect us from falling into worse sins.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We made prosphora last night - click here for the recipe.

The Seal. I don't remember the exact month this part went from impossible to a working reality, but I'm glad it started working for me! I always used to feel so bad that the priest would have to use a strong imagination to find the lines.

I am thankful for the blessing to participate in the sacrement of the Eucharist.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Making Orthodoxy Real

Today, after celebrating the Liturgy for St. Raphael of Brooklyn, we had the huge blessing of making a little pilgrimage to honor him.

Let me give you some background. One hundred years ago, Father Raphael used to travel the country, seeking out "lost" Orthodox Christians who had no parish. He would arrive in a city, sometimes at midnight, only to drop his bags in a hotel and then head back out into the night. Armed with a phone book, he would find Syrian and Lebanese names, then go knock on their doors, offering to serve liturgies, baptisms, or other sacrements.

Near the end of his earthly life, as he was traveling around the country to minister to Orthodox families, some Syrian and Lebanese Christians in our city heard he was coming through on a train on the way to another location. They arranged to meet him at the train station, where he blessed them and their desire for a church in this city. He reposed before the parish could be realized, but we consider this blessing as the beginning of our new little parish that exists today.

No one knows where these original families are now. Maybe they chose to attend Episcopal or Catholic parishes. Wouldn't it be nice to reunite with the descendents of those faithful ones from 1912?

Anyway, today after liturgy we trapsed over to the now-closed old train station, sung hymns to St. Raphael and processed around the building singing the apolytikion:

Rejoice, O Father Raphael, adornment of the holy Church! Thou art champion of the True Faith, seeker of the lost, consolation of the oppressed, father to orphans and friend of the poor, peacemaker and good shepherd, joy of all the Orthodox, son of Antioch, boast of America. Intercede with Christ God for us and for all who honor thee.

The little ones lead the procession, holding icons. It felt like we were taking part in St. Raphael's ministry and like we were somehow "sanctifying" the city.

Thank you, Lord, for a blessed day!

O holy hierarch Raphael, in obedience to the will of God thou didst proclaim the Word to a scattered people, calling together the descendants of those first called Christians. Nurtured in three cultures, and having adopted a fourth, thou didst reach out to all who would hear thy voice. As the first bishop consecrated in the New World, thou art a symbol of unity in the Orthodox Faith. Now by thy prayers help lead us into the kingdom of heaven.

all links and photos from