Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Recipe...

and, wow, has it been a long time....
First, Happy Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple!

We are now well into the Nativity Fast.  For this year, I wrote up a list of all our favorite Lenten recipes and then a second list of new recipes that I would like to try.  Most of the next 40 days we will have meals that I have already published the recipes on this blog.  Especially from last Nativity Fast (when I attempted as many new recipes as possible).

Anyway, last night I tried one of those new recipes and I am posting it for you now:)


Greek Ragout
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions quartered and very thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
28 oz diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 lb trimmed fresh green beans
1/4 vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon (1 1/2 Tbs- which I actually forgot to add to last night's meal so it tastes pretty good without it)

In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic and cook over low heat.  Cook about 15 minutes until very tender.  Add potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, broth, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a brisk simmer.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally or until the veggies are tender but not mushy.Add lemon juice and cook for an additional 5 - 10 minutes.  serve warm.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zucchini and Tomato Soup

Here is a keeper.  Even the children are eating it!

Zucchini Tomato Soup (you could leave out the zucchini and have a really good tomato soup)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 med. onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic (we like garlic- you could use less)
1 bay leaf
1 medium zucchini, halved and cut into 1/4 in. pieces
1 jar roasted red peppers (I didn't have any and it tastes great without it)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 tsp. oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups macaroni type paste (i used gluten free)
1/2 cup white beans (already soaked and cooked)

Heat a pot over medium heat.  Add oil, onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes, stirring.  Add bay leaf, zucchini, salt, pepper, oregano.  Cover pot and cook five minutes.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add pasta and beans.  Reduce heat and cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on how you like your pasta).  For a non fasting day, garnish with parmesan cheese!  Yum!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

St. Phanourios...

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Phanourios.  Right now, I am making my "phanouropita"- the cake that you make for St. Phanourious when you find something you lost.  A few months ago, it was my weekend to make prosphoro for church.  I get ready to make it and I cannot find my prosphoro seal that my DH bought from Mt. Athos.  Those at our church know that this is a really nice seal.  It's big.  It's carved very deep into the wood.  It is a great seal.  I search the whole kitchen and even in other areas of the house (I keep my seal in a specific place so it was odd that it was missing).  I let a friend borrow it, but I remember getting it back from her.  Did I let someone else borrow it and I just don't remember?  Fortunately for that Sunday, I had my yiayia's seal.  And it was nice to use her seal, although it is made of plastic.  And it is not as nice as my seal.  I ask around at church, no, it does not seem that I let someone borrow it.  I pray to St. Phanourios- help me to find my seal!  And, a few weeks later, I am taking something down from a shelf in the kitchen (the shelf where I also keep my seal) and there it is- seriously, it was not there and then there it was- so in keeping with tradition, I am baking a phanouropita.  This is actually going to be a gluten free apple spice cake.  I have baked the "traditional" cake but our priest says that any cake will do.  I have a mom's group potluck dinner tonight and I think I might bring it there to share with the women of our parish.  But, I will, of course, leave a few slices home for DH.  Thank you, St. Phanourios, the finder of lost things!  Through his intercessions, may the Lord have mercy on us and save us!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day Three through the end of the journey....

Uhm, yeah.  So I stopped writing about our summer trip after day 2.  We were just a bit busy.  Now that my sister is back in Moscow, we are not so busy:)  So, for those of you who have been holding your breath to read about our trip to Crater Lake/Northern California, here is the condensed, one post verion.  This might be a long one (or it might not) so maybe you should go pour yourself a cup of coffe (or some green tea), pull up a chair, and read....

Day three we showered (yeah!) at Crater Lake (really, at the shower facilities in the campground- I think it was 75 cents for 5 minutes- I have to say it is nice that I get to take my shower all by myself and get ready, etc. while DH has both boys with him in the shower- the small things).  And started the next part of our journey.  With Mt. Shasta soon in our view (is that one beautiful mountain or what) we drove to Manton, CA to the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco.  Our original plan was to go to Mt. Lassen to camp for one night and stop by the monastery for a few hours on our way to San Francisco.  But, a few weeks prior to leaving, we receive an automated phone call cancelling our camp reservation due to snow- Mt. Lassen did not open up until July 8 (I believe that was the date).  So we missed it by a day or two, BUT we were happy to be able to visit the monastery (esp. because we have a friend who is working towards entering that monastery and we got to check it out- it was esp. good for Big P because he is close to this friend and we talked a lot about where Mr. J would be living and becoming a monk, in general).  The boys loved it.  They have this wonderful dog (and, while we were there, they had a new puppy).  The chanting was amazing.  Big P made it throught the services, little p struggles with going to church.  The monastery is beautiful.  We had wonderful dinner (it was the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist- they are Old Calendar).  It would have been nice to stay for a few days but. alas, the next day we departed for San Francisco.

On purpose, we made each "leg" of our journey about 4 hours long so that we were not in the car for too long.  And, we would not have to stop to eat (plenty of potty stops- esp. for little p) just have snacks in the car.  One of our goals on this trip was to not have to eat out (with our gluten free diet it can sometimes be difficult to even find places to eat - and for DH, a burger without the bun just isn't enough for him).  I planned all our meals plus extra. 

Anyway, no trouble getting to San Francisco.  Beautiful city.  I have been before (so has DH).  We really needed more time there.  DH found a state park about 20 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge.  We pull into the park and find out that we have to carry all of our camping equipment anywhere from 500 yards to 1200 yards (we leave the car in the parking lot).  I was not thrilled with this plan (esp. when we at first couldn't find our site and DH is walking up this big hill and I am thinking about how many trips it will take to get even our basic car camping equipment up there, etc.  As it turned out, we had passed our site so we walked back and found it and it actually (I have to swallow my pride and admit to this) ended up being one of the nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed at (China Beach State Park). 

Our two goals for San Francisco were to go to the Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of all who Sorrow to venerate the relics of St. John of San Francisco and to go to Alcatraz.  The "plan" was to go to Alcatraz around 12:30 (that was our departure time) and then spend a few hours there.  Afterwards we would go to the Cathedral for Vesper's.  Not knowing San Francisco traffic in the morning, we left at 9am.  We arrived at the wharf at 9:30.  Hm.  We have three hours before the boat departs.  Let's head over to the cathedral.  We arrived at the cathedral shortly after liturgy was over and about 1/2 hour before the bookstore would open.  We went inside.  Aside from a babushka sitting in the corner, we were the only people in the cathedral.  The boys were able to ask questions about the different icons and to venerate the icons without my worrying about their noise level (they were quiet and respectful).  It was so peaceful inside the church.  We stayed for quite awhile.  Went to the bookstore, eventually.  Met a man from the tri-cities who goes often to the monastery in Goldendale, bought a gift for our godson (who had recently celebrated his nameday and is named for St. John of SF), and left for Alcatraz.  I felt that I was given the opportunity to lay my prayers at the feet of this wonderful saint and when I left, a huge burden had been lifted.  I was at peace.
Alcatraz was fun.  Big P loved it.  I have lots of great pictures on Facebook if you want to look at them.  After Alcatraz we were so exhausted (you know, you just don't sleep well camping) that we walked around for a bit and headed back to camp.  And we were happy that we went to the cathedral before Alcatraz rather than waiting for vesper's where there would be more people and I would probably be stressed by the boys behavior, etc.  All worked out well.

The next day, we woke up early, had breakfast and broke camp.  DH wanted to drive up Hwy 101 to get to St. Herman's monastery (about a 4 1/2 hour trip- a little longer than the more direct route).  So we did this.  We punched it into the GPS and headed north.  Ok, so word of advice.  Never trust your GPS.  It had us going on this crazy route (when we left 101).  I actually saw the GPS add time to our trip as it re-adjusted and re-calculated.  Our 4 hour trip ended up taking closer to 7 hours.  I drove on a dirt road at one point.  I repeat- A DIRT ROAD.  DH asked if I wanted him to drive.  I, clenching the wheel, said, through my gritted teeth, "no. I am venting my frustration on this dirt road."  It was crazy.  I would highly recommend not doing this ever.

But we made it, eventually.  I have heard of Platina for years (having read a number of Fr. Seraphim's books, etc.).  I did not realize that it is population 65.  Hm.  Big P asked when will be there and I said we have to go through a town first.  It was more like a gas station. 

The monastery is beautiful.  Rugged.  The trapeza and courtyard reminded me of Greece (could have been the heat reminding me of Greece, too).  We were there for the feast day of Sts. Sergius and Herman which they have a small chapel dedicated to these saints.  So there was a vigil in the evening (little p and mama had to go back to the cabin because little p just couldn't make it through the service) and then liturgy in the chapel.  It was so beautiful.  Very intimate.  Beautiful chanting.  There isn't electricity or running water as we know it at the monastery.  And it is so remote that when the sun sets, it is very dark.  I saw lots of deer. 
After liturgy and the meal, we were given a tour of the monastery.  The monk gave the boys peacock feathers because at one point there were peacocks at the monastery.  It was a wonderful tour.  They have this amazing cemetary (during the service, I took little p to the cemetery where he kissed the crosses multiple times- it's a lot of crosses).  We went to Fr. Seraphim's cell and to where he is buried.  And then we packed up and left.

Our original plan was to drive into Oregon, find a place to stay, and then head home on Monday (and DH would go back to work on Tues.).  But since we had that lovely adventure of driving for so long to get to St. Herman's the day before, we decided to push it and head home.  Without stops, it was a 7 1/2 hour trip.  We of course, have to stop.  And we knew that we would have to stop to eat.  But if we went straight home than DH would have all of Monday to help me put away the camping stuff, start laundry, take the boys to their first day of swimming lessons, relax a little.  So we pushed it and we came striaght home.  And the boys were wonderful in the car.  Oh, and the GPS redeemed itself- just south of Salem we hit horrible traffic.  No one was moving.  So the GPS gave us an alternative route and we followed it and we bypassed all of the traffic.

It was a great trip- tiring, but very enjoyable.
DH thinks that we might be able to drive to Wisconsin next summer to visit his family.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


or Thank God for Digital Cameras...
I forgot to add that every time we go to a museum or some sort of display, Big P wants me to take a picture of him standing next to each display.  There is this little museum that overlooks Crater Lake.  I have pictures of Big P standing next to each display case.  He wanted me to take a picture of him next to each picture (there is a wall of framed pictures- some old, some new) but I convinced him that it would be alright if I just took one picture of him standing in the middle of the wall:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 2 Crater Lake and how a one mile hike can turn into five miles...

Paul looked up the 10 day  forecast for each destination on our trip in order that we would be able to pack appropriately.  Crater Lake was supposed to be high of 60.  It was more like high of 75 in the shade.  Not complaining, but I did pack a lot of long sleeve shirts and pants (along with skirts for monastery/church visiting).  I only brought two pairs of shorts (which can definitely not be worn at the monastery) and our plan was to not do any laundry at all during the vacation (there really wasn't a chance to do any laundry).

Day 2- we went to the two visitor centers, watched a movie about Crater Lake, picked up our Junior Ranger activity books (the boys do activities and earn stamps to eventually earn a Junior Ranger Patch which is kind of cool because my boys collect patches from different places that we visit and I sew them on their school backpacks- my sister came up with this idea first so credit goes to her:).  We bought postcards for the grandma and both sets of cousins and mailed them.  We saw lots of amazing views of the lake and Paul really really wanted to do the hike down to the lake.  I asked the ranger how it was (difficulty-wise- we DO have a four year old).  Ranger said it is easy going down, difficult going up.  Ok, well, let's give it a shot.  Later in the evening at the campsite, one of the rangers had a program and he said that hike is a mile down, five miles up.  That felt about right.  Paul ended up carrying little p on his shoulders most of the way up.  I was with Big P and about a million mosquitoes.  It was nice at the water (very cold, by the way).  Big P and I tried stopping every so often on the trail back up, but each time we stopped, we were attacked by all those mosquitoes.  So we kept going.  This is the only hike that I have ever heard Big P complain on- and we have done lots of hiking with him.  And he never complains. 

We went back to the site and made dinner and went to the ranger program.  The next day we were leaving for St. John of Shanghai monastery in Manton, CA so we began packing some things.  At the entrance of the campground there were showers ($.75 for 4 minutes).  We decided to shower on our way out in the morning.  End of day 2 (I don't think anyone could ever tire of just looking at the lake- it was disappointing to not be able to drive around the whole lake- ti na kanoume (what can you do).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First stop- Crater Lake (three days, two nights)- Day 1

I am going to try to write up some of our experiences from our vacation in early July.  I think I will do it day by day.  I will maybe post a few pictures, too.

I am a  native Oregonian.  I have never been to Crater Lake (does that sound like an almost sin?).  I have always wanted to go.  So, as part of our Summer Vacation 2010 adventure, we decided to divide up our driving into roughly four hour time slots (drive four hours- stop somewhere for at least one night- continue driving).  We thought it would be easier on the youngest son to not drive 12 hours in one day.  Which, it did work out well overall (except on two occasions, but those are future posts).

Words are insufficient to describe Crater Lake.  You enter the park and there is no lake.  Drive for a short distance (up) and then round a bend and you see it.  Rob/Paul says it is the most beautiful place he has ever been (and he has travelled all over the US).  The deep blue of the water reminded us of the blue of the Mediteranean.  But this is a LAKE.  He grew up surrounded by lakes (the great lakes anyone?).  And he had never seen a lake quite like this.  And you cannot just walk down to the lake.  There are two (I believe) trails that lead down to the lake- otherwise it is a literal bowl of water- cliffs straight down to the water.

Ok, other than the indescribable beauty (I agree, it is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever visited- I would have liked to have been one of those pioneers who happened on the lake- a few too many tourists to call it really peaceful) I was surprised by the amount of snow still on the ground!  We could not do the rim drive because half the rim road was closed due to snow (all the while I am thinking that we are camping in this- Paul has threatened to take me winter camping on Mt. Hood every year - he goes with friends- I always decline- camping in snow just doesn't sound fun to me).  Anyway, it was not ever cold, just that there were snow packs on the ground.  Even in our campsite.  And because it is such a late thaw, the mosquitoes were everywhere.  I stepped out of our vehicle to be greeted by hundreds of eager mosquitoes, ready for dinner (and we were dinner).  One can of deep woods off later we were ready to battle the mosquitoes (needless to stay, after three days and two nights at this site, the mosquitoes won) and set up camp.  It was a nice site.  We had our own personal snowpack that little p had fun climbing up and down (declaring that he was king of the mountain). 

We walked around our campground.  Paul and Big P hiked the trail down to Annie Creek (I believe that was what it was called?!?).  little p did not want to go- which was probably a good thing because there was a lot of snow on the trails and would have been a difficult hike for him.

*no pictures posted, yet.  I deleted them off of the laptop after posting them on Facebook (we keep our pictures on the upstairs computer).

Monday, July 05, 2010

Vacation Starts Today...

Today we are leaving for our summer vacation.
First stop, Crater Lake for 3 days, two nights.
Next stop, the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco for one night.
Third stop, San Francisco for 3 days, two nights.
Fourth stop, St.Herman's monastery for one night.
Then head back to Oregon and maybe stay somewhere for one night or drive straight home (depending on how we feel).

We are camping except when we are at the monasteries.  I don't think I have gone camping for this long (I went on one really big packpacking trip that was about a week long but not camping). 

I don't know if we are going to have internet access- I don't want to take the laptop but DH wants to take it.
See you in a week!!!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Special Trout Dinner Tonight...

The boys went to a Cub Scout fishing thing yesterday and each caught a legal sized trout (DH complains often of the fishing rules and regulations here in the Pacific NW- I guess it's a lot different in UP Michigan where he grew up).

Anyway, here is the recipe we are using for the fish.  It is pouring rain so we can't BBQ it- so we are baking it.  In June. 

Will post a picture of the boys with the fish later.  Pictures posted, as you can see:)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still here...

Christos Anesti! Shannon has prompted me to post something (Shannon, are you on facebook?) I guess it HAS been a while since I last posted. Nothing new to report... just busy with life! We had a lovely Holy Week and Pascha. My parents are now in Greece; but returning on Monday (as long as the volcano does not spew out more ash). We had our spring break during bright week (did not go anywhere, but recovered from Holy Week and Pascha). We are back in school. My tulips have pretty much come and gone. Garden is started. Geraniums are on the front porch and pansies are on the back porch (I don't go in for annuals EXCEPT for these planters of geraniums and pansies- two of my favorite flowers). The geraniums must be red and the pansies must be dark purple. Don't ask me why- that's just how I like them. And here is a picture of my pansies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Italian Minestrone...

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day- DH's Irish granfather was named Patrick.  If we had another boy, his name would have been Joseph Patrick (after both of DH's grandfathers).  Anyway, happy nameday to all the Patrick's!

I made this Minestrone over the weekend.  3/4 of us liked it.  Big P is still not a fan of soup in general (unless it is lentil soup or chili).  little p gobbled it up.

Italian Minestrone
1 cup dried white beans (I soaked two cups of white beans and now have some in the freezer for future use)
8 cups vegetable broth or combination broth and water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions chopped
2 small carrots chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic minced
2 lbs. tomatoes or 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
4 oz green beans trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 cup uncooked macaroni (I used GF)
2 small zucchini

Soak the beans however you soak beans.  In a large stockpot heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, and cook, until vegetables are softened (about 10 minutes).  add the garlic and increase heat.  add broth, tomatoes, spices (I did not use thyme or sage- i do not really like thyme or sage so I used oregano).  Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat and cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
add the potatoes, green beans and pasta (I would wait a little longer to add the pasta).  bring to a boil.  reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  add the zucchini (add pasta here instead), stirring well to combine. add the beans stirring well.  cover and gently simmer until the pasta and vegetables are tender and the beans are heated through.  Serve hot.

This soup would go well with bread.  I wish I had made some GF bread to go along with it but that takes planning!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Corn and Bean Tamale Pie and yes, I do things other than cook:)

I used to post things on this blog.  Pictures, anecdotes from my life, notes from retreats, book lists, etc.  Somehow I have gone down the path of posting recipes.  And while I do enjoy cooking and I actually do enjoy trying new lenten recipes to mix things up a bit in our home, I guess there is more to me than just cooking (although, there are days that I feel like all I did was spend the entire day in the kitchen- esp. after making a loaf of bread that takes 3 1/2 hours from start to finish- yikes!).

Last weekend I went with our women's group to the monastery in Goldendale.  Always a joy to go visit.  This time was special for two reasons: the company in the car (you know who you are;) and to have a wonderful talk with a special sister at the monastery.  I will leave it at that.  Gerondissa, as always, said many profound things and I forgot my notebook.  So, Katie, if you are reading, will you please type up your monastery notes for me and either email them or post them on your own blog (heehee)?  I would GREATLY appreciate it.

One thing Gerondissa mentioned is the Panagia as our mother and running to her as we run to our own mother's.  I forget this at times.  That she is there to console us in our times of trouble and delight with us in our times of joy.  I try to teach my children this; but, of course, we mom's are very good about taking care of everyone else but mommy.  I had tears in my eyes as Gerondissa spoke of our Panagia.  May she watch over us and protect us!  (I still want those notes, though, Katie:)   NOTE: Panagia is the Theotokos, Mother of God.  Especially in this season of preparate for Annunciation with our Akathist Hymns on Friday evenings- and the struggles of Lent- always worthwhile to remember the Mother of God who knows what it is to be a mother and to watch her own Son crucified- but also to have the joy of the Resurrection- OK- I could go on... 

The boys in our family went camping while I was away... camping.  In March.  Not snow camping (little p wanted to know if they were going to "Mountain Hood")- I don't think the Biggest P (DH) is ready to take the boys snow camping.  Anyway, they had a wonderful time and the boys were great.  They all love the outdoors (I do too, and I did spend a lot of time walking the monastery grounds).

I am in the midst of filling out grant applications for our school.  One to go out today (I am sort of procastinating by writing on the blog because I am waiting for one question to be answered and then it needs to be converted to Orthodoxy oh, I mean to a pdf file and then off it goes).  This is my first grant writing project in a very long time.  I am re-learning the art of BS, uhm, I mean, wordiness, uhm, I mean, making things sound pretty:)

Ok, enough is dinner from last night. 

Corn and Bean Tamale Pie
1 1/2 cups corn or two ears of fresh corn (guess which option I chose, come on, guess?)
1 Tbs. oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes (again, guess which option I chose?)
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 4 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 bag of frozen black beans that used to be dried and I soaked and cooked last week (guess which option I chose?) 
1 tsp. oregano
1 cup polenta
1 Tbs. flour (GF flour, thank you)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg lightly beaten (or whatever egg substitute you like to use)
1/2 cup milk or fake milk product (we use rice milk)
1 Tbs. butter (or margarine)
2 oz. melted cheese grated (or soy cheese)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Ok, I used frozen corn and did not parboil the ears of corn, etc.  I just do not see myself ever using two ears of corn for this recipe.  and I googled how much corn is in 1 ear of corn and came up with 3/4 cup. Anyway, moving on...
Heat oil in large pan and fry the onion, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes until softened.  add the chiles and cumin and fry for 1 more minute.  Stir in tomatoes (or can of tomatoes), tomato paste, beans (I used 1 2/3 cup black beans (b/c that's how I measure out my beans after I soak and cook them, etc.) which is more beans than the recipe calls for and it was fine), corn, and oregano.  bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping by mixing together the polenta, flour, salt, baking powder, egg, milk and butter in a bowl to form a smooth, thick batter.
transfer the beans and corn mixture to an oven proof dish and spoon the polenta mixture on top and spread evenly.  bake for 30 minutes.  remove from oven, top with cheese, then return to oven for 10 more minutes.

this was very good.  3 out of 4 people in our home liked this.  Big P did not like it (he can be super picky and doesn't really like corn anyway).  But everyone else liked it.  In DH's words, "it's a keeper."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Asian Spicy Green Beans...

I have been trying new recipes, I am just not posting all of them.  Last week I made my own black bean "burger" patties and they were good.  Even Big P ate his right up! 
Then I went to the monastery with the women from our church for an overnight stay (our women's group goes once a year, usually during Lent- I will take the P's with me for overnights during the year).  DH and the boys went camping.  Yes, camping in March!  They had a blast and, as it turned out, Sat. was beautiful here (60 degrees and sunny).  I came home from the monastery and have lost my voice and now have a bad cold.  I hope it does not last too long (I am very blessed that I do not get sick too often- but when I do, it is usually a doozy (note: this is aside from the chronic stuff I have- if I didn't have lupus, I would be considered super healthy:)

On to Asian Spicy Green Beans:
1 cup white or jasmine rice cooked to directions
1 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 inch fresh gingerroot, grated or minced
Juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs hoisin sauce (I have some GF hoisin sauce)
slivered almonds for a garnish (ok, so I didn't have any slivered almonds but I happened to have cashew pieces so I used those)

Cook rice.  Steam green beans in simmering water for 3 minutes covered.  Rinse in cool water then drain.  Place a large skillet on the stove over high heat.  Add oil then onion and pepper.  stir fry 1-2 minutes then add garlic, crushed red pepper, ginger, and beans and stir fry 1 more minute.  squeeze orange juice over the pan and add hoisin sauce.  toss everything to coat.  Serve with rice and toasted slivered almonds (or cashews).

This was really good.  I loved it.  DH loved it.  Picky boys who eat peas and brocolli didn't love it.  I would highly recommend doubling the recipe because it was really enough for two adults.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greek Potato Casserole and some suggestions for Shrimp Cakes...

For the shrimp cakes... I believe that you could  probably do without the egg.  Process the ingredients in your food processor and then transfer to a bowl.  Add the almond flour (or, if you are not gluten free use regular flour) and then refrigerate overnight.  I refrigerated for 30 minutes and it wasn't set enough to make "patties".  So I heated up my oil (I used coconut oil but you could use any oil that you like- you don't need to use grapeseed oil like in the recipe) and dropped large spoonfuls into the heated oil to fry.  It worked for me but I would like to make it the day before and refrigerate overnight and see how that turns out.

Tonight's dinner is an old favorite,

Greek Potato Casserole.
2 cups canned tomatoes

½ cup olive or vegetable oil
2 onions thinly sliced
1 clove garlic crushed
4 Tbs. parsley chopped
1 Tbs. mint chopped (I use dried mint in the winter)
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4-6 large potatoes thinly sliced
2 peppers cut in 2 in. pieces
1-2 zucchini and or summer squash thinly sliced

Mash tomatoes with a fork; combine with oil, onions, garlic, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. In a greased 8x12 baking dish, alternate layers of tomato mixture, potatoes, peppers, and squash, ending with tomato. Bake covered in oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover; cook until vegetables are tender.

Honestly, I do not layer this.  I actually just put everything in my largest bowl, mix together (so everything is well coated with the tomatoes and oil and spices) and then "dump" it in a baking dish, cover, and put in the oven. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Shrimp Cakes and Greek Potatoes

We had a modified version of these Shrimp Burgers for dinner tonight.  Yes, I did use the egg (we can have limited eggs).  They were delicious!  The boys even ate their required amount for dinner, too.  I also made Greek Lemon Potatoes and we had a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and Greek olives with olive oil and salt and pepper to flavor.  Very nice. 

Here is the Greek Lemon Potatoes recipe:
5 potatoes (or enough that when you cut them up they fit into a baking dish)
juice of 3 lemons
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. oregano, dried
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combing all the ingredients minus the potatoes (I use a whisk).  Set aside.  Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise (remember, to dry your potatoes with a towel so they will not stick to the pan while cooking)- you can cut the smaller- they will cook faster.  Let marinade one hour (optional).  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes (I actually broiled them) or until potatoes are browned. Remove pan from the oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.  YUM!

Ok.  This was super yummy.  So yummy that when my husband suggested that he take the shrimp "burgers" to work, I said, "no!"  And so I had them for lunch today:)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup...

Ok, so I made Butternut Squash Soup and it wasn't very good.  I am not sure what I did wrong- but it was very bland.  So, I am freezing the leftovers in individual containers and calling it thick vegetable broth.  I think it will make a good broth for the Garlic Potato Soup I made before Nativity.  And if I use it as a broth for the Garlic Potato Soup I can definitely leave a lot of potatoes chunky in the soup (like DH likes it).

SO... if you have a really excellent, non bland butternut squash soup, please either post it or email me because I would really like to have it:)  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gigates or GIant Beans...

Go to my mom's blog for her gigates recipe.  They are very good.  This is my nephew's favorite food!

Angela's Stir Fry

DH's coworker is Chinese-American.  She grew up in Chinatown in New York.  Anyway, here is her thrown together stiry fry recipe (he tried it at work one day and then wanted me to make it).  Angela actually does not use a recipe so this is what I had to follow:

Angela's Stir Fry
2 pound bag of Miki Noodles (these are wheat based noodles, Gluten Free Spaghetti noodles will work too)

Meat (Sliced Pork, Chicken, and/or Beef, or Shrimp, Anything Goes!)
3 Medium Onions
Baby Bok Choy or Half of a Nappa cabbage
Soy Sauce
Asian Oyster Sauce
Dark Soy Sauce (Optional – This is to give it a dark rich color)
Veggie Oil (I just used sesane oil whenever it called for oil)
Sesame Oil
Couple cloves of garlic
Teaspoon Corn starch
Freshred Chili Pepper (in oil) - this can be purchased at an asian market- she bought a jar for us:)
Marinate meat with some soy sauce, salt and a little bit of water. After a few minutes, add the cornstarch and mix. Heat stir-fry pan with oil with medium-high heat.  Add garlic and dash of salt and let it brown for a little bit.  Add meat.  Add onion and veggies when meat is almost done cooking.  Remove meat and veggies to another bowl.  Add oil.  Add noodles and a teaspoon of water (The purpose to adding water is to make sure that noodles are separating).  Once the noodles are warm, add back the meat and veggies to the pan.  Add about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce, ½ tablespoon of Dark Soy Sauce. Mix and adjust.

Ok- so what I did was marinated shrimp.  Heated stir fry pan with sesame oil. added garlic and salt.  added shrimp.  i used 1 large onion and this is where I added 2 Tbs. of the freshred chili pepper (but this was too much- this is super spicy so you might only need to add 1/2 Tbs. and then adjust- it was so spicy that I could not eat it and DH ate it but said it was spicier than what Angela brought to work).  I also used gluten free spaghetti noodles.  Everything else I followed as it is written.  I did not use dark soy sauce as I do not even know if they make a gluten free dark soy sauce.  I just used my regular gluten free soy sauce.  Oyster Sauce is usually not gluten free but one brand is- so if you need gluten free oyster sauce buy the Wok Mei brand.  They sell it at Whole Foods.

Anyway, there is a lot of this in the fridge (good lunches for DH over the next few days).  I might try this again with less of the chili pepper.  DH loved it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quote and Vegetarian Chili with friends....

A quote from St. Seraphim of Sarov in "The Joy of the Holy" on watchfulness (goes along with the Elder Thaddeus quotation I posted last week):
You must always strive to avoid mental distractions, because coming from the devil, they turn your soul away from the awareness of God and away from His love. Do not forget the words of St. Macarius, 'that the devil devotes all of his energy to turning our thoughts away from God.'
Yesterday was Sunday of Orthodoxy and the Orthodox of Portland gethered at Holy Trinity to celebrate and to have our procession (on a very sunny and beautiful day- that can be a rarity in the Pacific NW).

Afterwards, we came home and I had vegetarian chili in the crockpot (put it together on Sat. evening and put it in the crockpot Sunday morning).  I doubled the recipe because we had invited friends over for dinner (this all came about because little p and his buddy v were playing last Sunday after church. little p and v decided that they were going far far away together. v left. little p cried. little p sobbed. little p wailed. so I though, we should have v and her family over for dinner and let them PLAY! little p and v play really well together (if you have 3-4 year olds you understand that some children play well together and some do not play well together). that's the story of how our dinner plans came together).

So v and family came bearing guacamole and corn chips and apple grape juice (yum).  We had our chili and I made a coconut berry crisp from the Almond Flour Cookbook.  Unfortunately, this recipe is not on the website.  and even though I changed the recipe to use all blueberries instead of strawberries and blueberries, I feel a little strange posting the recipe here.  It was delicious.  It was lenten.  It did not have sugar in it (I used Agave Nectar- although, most times I substitute honey for Agave Nectar in this cookbook).  Perfect.

I am being a little lazy this morning and will not post the link to the vegetarian chili recipe.  Look through my last few posts and you should see a link to that recipe.

It is now Monday, Big P is at school, little p doesn't go to school on Mondays so he is still asleep. And I am on the computer posting this blog to you. 

BTW- Saturday was little p's 4th birthday!  And four years ago at this time there was a freak snowstorm in March! I see lots of people outside, prepping their gardens and beginning to plant and all I can think of is that there is a possibility of a freak snowstorm in March. So I am holding back on the tempation to plant; at least for now:)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Soaking beans for future use...

We are having some friends over on Sunday for lunch/dinner so I decided to make my vegetarian chili
So I will probably have to make a double batch. 
So why not just soak 3 lbs. of different beans all at once and then have enough beans not only for my double batch of veggie chili on Sunday but for two more single batches of chili? 
So I am now up to my elbows in soaked/cooked beans:) 
But now it is done.  And the beans for Sunday are in the refrigerator.  And the future beans are in the freezer.
(BTW- I used 1 lb. kidney beans, 1 lb. black beans, and 1 lb. pinto beans and soaked them according to Nourishing Tradtions and cooked them according to Make it Fast, Cook it Slow in my crockpot which means I soak the beans with whey or lemon juice and then drain the beans and either cook them on the stove and/or cook them in the crockpot).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Fair at school!

I just cut and paste the following from an email from the school.  The great thing is you can order books from anywhere in the US, have them shipped to you and still support the school!  Or, if you live in the Portland area they can ship to the school and you can pick them up from there:)

Usborne Book Fair is coming to Agia Sophia Academy! You may view the books on display next week and select books anytime during the Book Fair. For your convenience, cash, check (payable to ASA PTP please), Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all accepted. These books make great Birthday or Pascha/Easter gifts!

The school will receive up to 50% of the sales in FREE books!

You can also browse the full Usborne books catalog and place your book order online: Go to and click on Agia Sophia now through March 3. A terrific option for Grandparents, Friends, and Family who would like to purchase books as well.

We won something!

We won this book the other day!  Woohoo!  Should be arriving sometime this week.  Thanks, Chrissi!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Elder Thaddeus, Lenten Reading, and Clean Week Menu...

As soon as we conceive a thought that is not founded on love, we have accepted the evil suggestions of the demons. By accepting a negative thought, we accept the devil himself. The demons are invisible, but we lend them our bodies so that they become visible.
~Elder Thaddeus of Serbia
(Sylvia posted this on a Facebook page called My Notebook: Orthodox Treasures - I am not certain what this link will do as it is posted to a Facebook group- so it may or may not work, FYI)

Fr. T. recommended I read "The Joy of the Holy: Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Orthodox Spiritual Life" so have begun that work while also reading "Middlemarch" with Mimi and my sister (I am sure there are others reading it, also). DH is reading "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica" so I hope to read that soon:)
I will post new recipes for Lent.  But this week being clean week, we keep it real simple. 
Big pot of Basic Lentil Soup
Plain Brown Rice- "plain" means water and rice and salt only (no butter or olive oil)
New GF Bread Recipe (which we all like and Big P was able to take a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich to school today which he hasn't done in MONTHS!!!- is it considered fasting when you are this excited about PB&J?) I also must add that this is the BEST homemade GF bread I have ever made which is super exciting.  It is an involved recipe so I can see mysel maybe making this once a week and maybe making two loaves at a time (slice one and put in freezer for toasting maybe?).  We shall see. 

I don't know if I have given you enough links in this post:)  Enjoy!!!  And I will be posting more recipes next week as our menu begins to change (and, hopefully, I will be posting new recipes next week).  May your Lenten journey be blessed!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dinner tonight...
Prepped it all last night in the crockpot, put in fridge, woke up, take out of fridge, start crockpot, go to church, come home.  Dinner's ready:)

No fasting this week.  If you are Orthodox, you will understand.  If you are not Orthodox and would like to know more, leave a comment:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Four years ago..

On this day four years ago I went to the hospital because I was not feeling right.  I was 28 weeks pregnant with Petros.  Obviously, everything turned out just fine; but every year, on this day (and there are a few more key days in the next two months) I am reminded of how precious life really is and how much of a miracle my boys are in my life.  I live with lupus everyday, but Jan. 19 is a day to pause- to reflect, to pray and be thankful for life.  I think that for the rest of my life, the month's of January, February, and March will always be a reminder that experience (talk about "joyful sorrow"- out of all that mess came Petros- out of pain can come joy and beauty- a reminder of the joy that is present in our lives always if we choose to see it).  Funny that today in Bible study we were finishing up Philippians (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me).  I have always took this to mean that I can endure through whatever trial because Christ will give me the strength (even when I feel that I have none). 

Normally I don't get all Biblical on the blog- mostly I post funny things the kids say or pictures or recipes.  But today is a day to reflect; to think; to remember.  And I hope that I will always remember.

To read about "what happened four years ago" go here. 

Oh, and happy birthday to my mother in law!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Java Roast...

Miss me?  I am not planning on posting recipes everyday like during the Nativity fast (that was fun- but it has been nice taking a break from blogging).  Nativity was such a whirlwind with my sister here.  It felt like the boys' break was not long enough.  I would have welcomed having them home for another week! 

I love my crock pot.  If you do not own a crock pot- go get one now.  I made this recipe from a new cookbook I purchased called "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow".  I love this cookbook.  Here is the Java Roast recipe that we had for dinner last week.  It was delicious.  Many of the recipes in the book are on line so peruse the website to find some excellent crock pot recipes!

I may continue what I started during the Nativity fast- the posting of recipes- the planning of all our meals for the entire fast period- just to continue trying new recipes.  But for now, I hope that you will enjoy the occasional post- might be food related, might not be food related:)  Have a wonderful weekend!