Saturday, October 27, 2007

busy day...

Today is Pavlos' last soccer game. My parents came for the game. We are going out to dinner on Tuesday night with his team. DH is at a men's breakfast and then painting for the new gym at the school. I'm making prosphora for Liturgy tomorrow. It is also our godson's 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday Athanasios!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beautiful Day...

Petros and I are trying to soak up all this sunny weather we have been having lately. We have been going on long walks through falling leaves. It's beautiful. This is my mom's favorite time of year. She's back from Greece, by the way. They came over last night for some lentil soup. It's been soup weather, at least for me. I am making Avgolemono Soupa (Egg Lemon Soup) for dinner tonight. I have opened all the blinds in the house to let the sun in. I'm thinking about painting. Will probably go to Home Depot tomorrow to pick up paint chips just for fun. I still haven't planted my fall bulbs. And there's raking to do. Better do the raking today, while it is sunny. What are you having for dinner?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More lamb recipes...

On Friday I pulled out what was labelled "Lamb Roast" and put it in the refrigerator to defrost for Sunday dinner. On Saturday, I actually looked at the "lamb roast" for the first time because I was going to put it in the crockpot to cook on Sunday while we were at church. It was a bit fatty and I noticed it had two bones in it. So, I decided to make a stew. DH (who is actually as much Irish as I am Greek he just doesn't really know anything about being Irish) asked that I make an Irish Lamb Stew which is what I did. It was very yummy, very hearty. Here is the recipe (and it is modified for those who eat a gluten free diet).

Irish Lamb Stew
3 - 4 lbs. lamb cut in 1 1/2" cubes
2 T. butter
1 T vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
*** note: I used 1 cup water and 2 cups homemade vegetable broth from the freezer***
1 to 2 t. salt or to taste
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
4 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
8 sm. white onions (ok, I didn't have any white onions so I used one large yellow onion)
1 package frozen peas (I used petite peas)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms (I don't like mushrooms so I just didn't put mushrooms in the stew)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour (instead of flour I use gluten free all purpose baking mix)

Over medium heat, brown lamb in butter and oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water, broth, and seasonings; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove surface fat. Add potatoes and onion; simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Combine milk and flour; stir until smooth. Add to simmering stew and simmer for about 1 minute or until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.

***Note: I threw the lamb bones in with the water, broth, and seasonings just to add more flavor.

Women's Retreat Notes:

I went to our women's retreat both sessions, but I only took a few notes from Saturday. Let me just say that even though I had never heard of Dr. Muse, I was very impressed. And if he ever comes to your area to speak, I highly, highly encourage you to make every effort to go and hear him.

So the theme for Saturday was "Passion Bearing: Clothing our Theology in Flesh" (and he defined "flesh" as "life" at one point).

Dr. Muse had a short discussion of little "p" passion v. big "P" Passion. Little p passions are the sinful passions and big "P" Passion is what Christ opens us up towards... a Passion Bearing Life.

Asceticism is acquiring a body. Why would God become flesh is flesh is evil? Asceticism renders us vulneralbe to divine energies. Asceticism is a freely shoen act of love whose purpose is to acquire a body responsive to the Holy Spirit (I believe that this is a direct quote from Dr. Muse, I definitely could not have written something like that on my own:)

We need to study our attention. Are we present in our lives, in our bodies?

We spoke about what women want. He told a story but I won't repeat it now because I will probably get it all wrong. The moral was that women want sovereignty. The slave does not give all of herself unless she chooses. You have to know what you want to be able to choose. And fear is what stops us from choosing. (God giving us free will to choose Him, etc. and our fears stop us from choosing Him).

Little p passions possess us (he said that they were demons). Real Passion is the Passion of Christ- God's love bearing the world.

Love has to have freedom; only a free person can love.

We read Luke when Archangel Gabriel appears to the Theotokos as a point of her saying "yes" to God completely.

We broke up into groups and discussed the following questions:
1. what are the three most significant turning points in your spiritual life?
2. what are the three most difficult choices you have ever made?
3. how are these choices related to your spiritual life and moments when you feel most alive?
-feeling most alive: on Sunday Dr. Muse talked a little about how those moments when you totally feel alive, at peace with everything around you like when you are watching a beautiful sunset? How those moments cannot be forced. They have to just come.

How do I say "Yes" to God (like the Theotokos)?

The spiritual is in our ordinary life we have to find it.

The Power of Yes (annointing of Christ by the sinful woman)
We broke up into groups again and discussed the following:
1. what were the obstacles to those three most difficult choices you have ever made?
2. what was the price you paid for those choices?
3. did God provide a "Way" for you to bear the pain? What was that "Way"?

We watched clips from the movie "Ghandi" and "Entertaining Angels" (Dorothy Day).

Judgment = idolatry
-me taking God's place

We don't have a body, we are body.

Finally, we read about Christ in the garden of Gethsemene that shows Jesus' humanity and the love Christ has for us is too great.
discussion questions:
1. what is your Garden of Gethsemene?
2. How are you "sleeping" (like the disciples) in your life?
3. What prevents you from truly praying "Thy will be done"?

That's all the notes I took. Some make sense, others may not. I apologize. I am currently reading "Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios" and came across this passage the other day,
Fix your unwavering gaze towards Christ. Become familiar with Christ. Work with Christ. Live with Christ. Breathe with Christ. Suffer with Christ. Rejoice with Christ. Let Christ be everything for you. Let your soul long for and cry out to her Bridegroom, 'I crave for You, O my Bridegroom...' (words from a dismissal hymn) Christ is the Bridegroom. He is the Father, He is everything. There is nothing higher in life than love for Christ. Whatever we desire we find in Christ. Christ is everything: all joy, all gladness, all Paradise. When we have Christ within us, we possess all magnificence. The soul that is in love with Christ is always joyful and happy, however much pain and sacrifice this may cost. (p. 106)

I left with these questions about my own life: Where is my attention? Am I present in my life? Is Christ present in my life, day to day? How is Christ present in my life? Is it a head (intellect) presence or a whole body presence?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned DH went to the monastery fundraiser dinner and bought half a lamb? Well, we have our half, in the freezer, right now. Like our friend who we split the lamb with said, I don't think I have ever had this much meat in my freezer. We only have the small freezer that comes with the refrigerator. One future purchase will be a freezer because I do a lot of doubling dinner recipes and then freeze them for DH's lunch (and my lunch too). I also have been making my own vegetable broth (you can't believe...well, maybe you can... what kind of yucky stuff some of the broths out there have in them.... and many of them have MSG (which is yucky in and of itself but is also a no-no on DH's diet).

Anyway, back to the lamb. We had lamb chops last night. I am posting the recipe and I am also going to do that food meme that's been going around (I think Katie did it first?!?!).

Baked Lamb Chops with Potatoes (this is from Popular Greek Recipes cookbook)
8 lamb shoulder chops
4 T. butter
6 large potatoes, sliced
3 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. chopped mint
2 cups canned tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes)
1 cup water

I did the "variation" method. Do not broil meat. Arrange meat and potatoes side by side in a large bakcing pan. Cover with the rest of the ingredients. Bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour or until browned and tender. Stir occasionally. (I ended up baking it longer because the potatoes were not done).

It was really yummy.

C- chocolate chip cookies (I used three C's:) Something Pavlos and I like to make together and we did make these last week for our women's retreat!
H- honey. Ios honey. The best. or hummus. I have an awesome homemade hummus recipe.
R- restaurant: a place we rarely go to now that DH is gluten free. too much of a hassle. or Roast: something I like to make in the crock pot. I love my crockpot! or Rice: something we eat a lot of lately because of the no pasta thing.
I- ice cream! something I don't eat too often as I have a slight lactose intolerance. but I like ice cream:)
S- salmon. yummy.
T- tiramisu. my favorite. or how about Thai peanut sauce? I like Thai food.
I- (more ice cream?!?!?). I is for Icky. Something Pavlos says at least once a day in reference to something I have cooked.
N- nectarines: what popped into my head first.
A- Avgolemono Soupa. Egg Lemon Soup. I remember my mom making this when I was growing up. So yummy. It takes two people to make Avgolemono and I remember my dad helping my mom as they mixed they egg lemon sauce and added it to the soup.

My name is too long.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Housekeeping Tips...

So this is for Katie.
I will say that I am no expert on housekeeping but there are a few rules that I follow that make it a little easier.

1. plan your meals at least a week in advance. Do two weeks if you are able. I usually spend about 1/2 hour every other Sunday evening planning our menu for two weeks. I pull out my cookbooks, make a list on a piece of paper with the day of the week (Mon, Tues, etc.) and write the meal name and cookbook and page number of cookbook (so I can find the right recipe I am looking for). At the same time, I write out a grocery list and include any of the more exotic spices that I might need for the meals. That way I know that I will have everything on hand when it comes time to make dinner. No quick trips to the grocery store for one item! That doesn't mean I only go grocery shopping every other week! I do a big shopping trip every other week for those dinners on our menu and day to day staples in our life. By planning meals, you know that you have all your ingredients and you know that you can start things the night before (put your meat in the refrigerator for the next days dinner instead of trying to defrost something at 4:30pm:) That doesn't mean that we always completely follow the meal plan. Sometimes I switch things around in the week (like I might be more in the mood for chicken over beef and so I switch dinners around). And if we decide to go out (which is very rare for us because of Paul's diet), I still have what I need to make that particular evenings meal and can move it to another day. The weeks that I don't do this are more stressful for me, I can tell you.

2. Get rid of your mop. All you really need is a bucket and some rags to mop your floors. Just use good old fashioned elbow grease and get on your knees! It actually does go faster when I mop on my hands and knees. I use old cloth diapers that are no longer good for Petros to wear (fraying, etc.).

3. Have a plan, even if it is in your head, of what day of the week you do what. I know that grocery shopping usually falls on Tuesday. Bathroom cleaning is on Monday (with spot cleaning in between). Laundry is everyday, one load (but we have a really tiny washer and dryer and so I have to do laundry everyday... hey, one of those yiayia things... back in the old country my yiayia would wear the same thing two or three days in a row. That really cuts back on laundry! We have too many clothes and feel like if we only wear it once, it must be dirty. Now, if your baby throws up on you, go ahead and throw it in the laundry. I bet if we were all hand washing our clothes like my yiayia did, we would be wearing the same thing more often!).

4. Keep your sink clean. This is one of those flylady things that I love. I am not on flylady's list anymore, but this is probably the most important thing... Keep your dishwasher (if you have one) unloaded... do this ASAP! And put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher ASAP! If you don't have a dishwasher, wash your dishes as you use them. That way you have a nice clean sink and not a huge pile of dishes to do at the end of the day.

5. Keep your counters free from as much "stuff" as possible. If you eat toast everyday, then, by all means, keep your toaster out all the time. If you eat toast only once a week, find a nice home for it in the cupboard. I only wish that I had a cupboard big enough for my KitchenAid mixer! I have tried every way to get that mixer off the counter and my cupboards just aren't big enough. Right now the thing that is driving me crazy about my counters is that our garbage can is on the counter (otherwise Petros would get into it). I want to put it under the sink, but we have a really deep sink and it won't fit. So I probably need a smaller garbage can that will fit under the sink. Future purchase.

6. Make your bed everyday. Right when you wake up. It only takes a few seconds! And makes the room look great.

7. Lay out your clothes the night before (this is a flylady thing, too). I have been doing this since school started. I lay out all of out clothes (well, everyone but DH) and it makes the mornings so much easier (esp. since we have to get out the door by a specific time in order to pick up our carpool).

8. When your children want to play with you, play with them!

9. Teach your children from an early age how to do housework. Give them responsibility. Even if they can't do it as fast as you or as good as you would like, it will give them wonderful skills for when they are older. My mom made us do our own laundry starting when we were 12 or so. We also each had one night a week that we were responsible for dinner, from start to finish. So by the time I went to college, I knew how to do my own laundry and how to cook a good number of meals. My mom also divided the house chores into areas. Cleaning dad's bathroom was easiest so you would also have to vacuum the living, dining room, and hall. We actually didn't really ever get money for doing chores, it was just expected. Don't get me wrong, we argued, cried, fought, etc. to get out of doing them, but it was part of being a part of our family.

About yiayias... I think that they just looked at what they had to do as their job and did it. There really isn't a secret to it. It was their job. Cooking, cleaning, feeding, bringing water to the house, baking, laundry (by hand) all of this was their job and they did it. I really don't have any insights to their secrets:)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


First, please add my sister in law to your prayer lists. Her name is Kathryn. She is 17 weeks pregnant and has lost the baby (they can't find a heartbeat anymore). This is my husbands sister. They are going through a very difficult time right now; what I would consider my worst nightmare... I know that when I hit the 12 week mark in my pregnancies I felt like ok, now the baby is fine (especially having gone through two miscarriages). But life is so precious. And my miscarriages, though very difficult for me, I think are not as bad as what she is going through right now. May the Panagia protect them!

In other news... today is my dear husband's birthday! Happy Birthday to you, Paul/Rob or whatever people call you:) The other day we were talking about when John Denver died and he said that it was, you know, in the last five years when he was in college. I reminded him that we have been married for seven years and he graduated college in 1998. Guess his memory is starting to go...

Mom and Dad are in Greece RIGHT THIS SECOND! I have heard from them twice. I hope they have a safe and productive trip. I am responsible for picking up their mail and paying their bills while they are gone. So, after dropping Pavlos off at school in Beaverton I drove all the way out to their home in Vancouver (about 35 minutes). It was then that I realized I did not leave Pavlos' booster seat at school... it was still in the car, with me. I had this grandiose plan to do my grocery shopping over by my parent's home and then go on to my own home. Quickly, I revised my plans, drove back to Beaverton (remember, 35 minutes) and dropped off his seat at school (we are in a carpool where I pick up a little boy and take him with us to school and his dad brings Pavlos home... what a blessing to be in a carpool! I don't have to wake Petros up from his nap to drive out to school!). Anyway, that completely threw off my entire morning.

Paul went to the monastery fundraiser dinner and bought half a lamb! I don't know when we are going to get it but I guess we will be eating lots of lamb sometime in the near future (we are actually splitting a whole lamb with some friends). Good thing I know how to cook lamb!

I finished reading Fr. Seraphim Rose's book "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man". Very interesting. I really liked the first part of the book. One thing that I kept thinking about over and over again while reading this book is if I truly have faith in God, then it shouldn't be a problem for me to believe that God created the universe in a week. If God can do anything, He can do anything. Anyway I don't want to get into an in depth discussion of this on my blog, just had some realizations while reading this book. I guess I had never given much thought to creation v. evolution. I remember learning some combination of the two in my Catholic school biology class, but I only took the required science credits to graduate from college (I chose to take environmental studies classes:)

That's about all from here, I think. We have been eating a lot of brown rice lately in place of any pasta I might have served in the past. Costco now sells a 12 lb bag of brown rice. Awesome!

OH! I almost forgot... Packers are 4-0. My DH is very happy! And we are going to be able to watch the game Sunday night with a friend who is a Bears fan. Should be fun... although I don't know how much of the game I will be able to watch. I will probably be chasing little boys around the room, keeping Petros from pressing buttons on the TV, etc.