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!