Sunday, October 31, 2010

Smoothie Alternative

In trying to create healthy, satisfying meals that conform to the guidelines of fasting, I am always open to new ideas.  Last year we added a lot of smoothies to our breakfast meal - packed with fruit and a bit of flax seed, they offered some variety for the kids amidst the daily oatmeal and bagels with peanut butter during Lent.  My one complaint - I don't have a good blender, and making fruit smoothies for 6 people in a mini-food processor took far too long in the morning!  So, that brings me to a new idea.  My kids love paletas.  We are fortunate to have a wonderful little shop in our area that makes them.  So, the other day as I was trying to get some inspiration for the coming Nativity Fast, I remembered Jen's post on popsicle molds - well, thank goodness for Amazon, 2 days later I am sitting at home with our mold of choice and a book of "pop" recipes - and while I still haven't managed to discover the perfect combination of ingredients to recreate our local paleta shop's amazing avocado paleta - I'm working on it!  Really though, any smoothie recipe you have can be made up and frozen into pops.  I have been making them while I am in the kitchen cooking dinner - pop 'em in the freezer and you are good to go!  I am thinking I might need to order a second mold, if I make 20 popsicles at once, I could only have to make them once every few weeks.

The popsicles pictured are my versions of avocado, and strawberry banana - a favorite of the kids.  Not pictured, the mango margarita pops - I ate all of them :)

Mango Margarita Pop (okay, so not all of my recipes are aimed at the fast, some are just plain fun!)
margarita mix with tequila added
sliced frozen mango
splash of orange juice

Combine the liquids and add to the mold, then drop a few slices of mango in before freezing.  These have to be eaten quickly, as the alcohol causes them to melt quickly.  You can also soak the mango in tequila instead of adding it to the mix, which would give a longer lasting popsicle, but I was trying to use up some leftover margaritas from having friends over.

Avocado Cream Pop:
vanilla yogurt
1 avocado
splash of milk or whipping cream

Process avocado until smooth, add yogurt and milk or cream.  The best way to determine amounts here is to taste test often!

Banana Strawberry Pop:
1 frozen banana
2 c frozen strawberries
1 t ground flax seed

I let the fruits thaw just a bit, then cut and place in processor, processing til smooth.  No sugar needed!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On Halloween

Here is a link to my post from last year.  I will add a link to Orthodox Christian Children which has gathered a selection of materials on the topic.

Bringing the Outside In: Fall Stained Glass Windows

Friday, October 22, 2010


Okay, here are a few of the recipes I have ready to link.  In the comments it was mentioned that some husbands would not put up with such a meal plan (my dad is one of them :).  As I said, it's not for everyone.  I have always planned our meals a week or two in advance, and used to plan them monthly.  That worked well for a long time.  As children and homeschooling slowly consumed more of my days, I began to look for ways to eliminate daily decisions.  I think it is Fly Lady that often talks about how the most exhausting thing we do in the day is make decision after decision.  My menu plans have removed a lot of decisons.  I also tend to cook multiples of certain dishes to freeze.  Pot pie is a great example of that.  I can make 3 pot pies just as easily as one, so the other 2 go in the freezer and are used as meals for new mom's or those in need, or babysitter meals.  My kids have learned that having a babysitter means getting chicken pot pie for dinner.  Since it is one of their 3 favorite meals - it works great for everyone!   As for the getting tired of the same thing, that does happen during a fast, but I am not sure variety would help that, there are only so many dishes you can make during Lent!  When not fasting, the key to success in my house is several things.  First, my husband misses several dinners a week due to his work schedule, and only has breakfast and lunch with us when he has a day off.    Second, on days where I specify a meat, I have several recipes for that particular meat, so at a minimum it is 2 weeks before a dinner is repeated, and often times it is more like 3 or 4.  We eat venison a lot since I live with two hunters, and my husband's hunting philosophy is that you don't kill just for fun, what is killed should be consumed.  So, I have a number of ways I cook venison, and I like to pick dishes that are seasonal (venison stew is a great winter dish!)   A decade ago, I would have thought it was crazy, and a decade from now I am sure I will be doing something different, but for this season of my life, it works.

A Holy Experience

If you have not taken a look at Ann Voskamp's new look, be sure to go check her out.  If you have never read her before, you are missing out!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy New Year (a little late :)

Yes, I know, September has come and gone, and the start of the new year is a good 6 weeks past, but I guess better late than never!  After the Dormition fast, I did not get a new menu created for several weeks, and it showed.  I felt incredibly disorganized, and found myself making extra trips to the store because I had not planned well.  So, I took some time a few weeks ago to create a plan for this wonderful time of year - we get to enjoy the peak of the summer tomato harvest as August winds down, the leaves begin to fall, figs are in season :), and the weather around here is finally cooling off.  And - no major fasting until November!  So, here is a link to what our meal plan for this time looks like, and while I know I did not do a good job of following through with my Dormition Meal recipe promise, I have already typed out most of the recipes from this plan, so at least a good number of them should actually make the blog this time!  I realize that making a plan this specific is not for everyone, and I assure you there are times when the plans get tossed temporarily, as we shift around life and what is happening in our home, but I have found it to be a great guide for me.  If the creative mood strikes, I go with it.  If not, I always know the decision has been made and I don't have to panic cook (or shop!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

I do not really want to say a whole lot about the current situation with evlogia, but as a small element of it affects me, I feel it must be addressed.  I am saddened, as I am sure many of you are as well.  Those Orthodox Christians who have looked to her for guidance, let us be slow to judgement and remember that we are called to love.  None of us truly knows the situation, and take heart knowing that ultimately only Christ is unchangeable.

I also want to apologize to each of you who have been so supportive of Letters of Grace.  I want to assure you that I had no idea what was happening. It weighs heavy on me that I feel I have let so many wonderful Orthodox mom's down, especially those of you I spoke with personally at the St. Emmelia conference.  Katherine has graciously handed the project over to Mat. Emily and I, and we are in communication as to where it will go from here.  There are some changes that will need to be made, but it is certainly my hope that the project can be completed.  At this point, I would ask your prayers.  Pray for Katherine and her family as they go through this incredibly difficult time.  Pray for Emily and I as we try to make a decision on the future of Letters of Grace.  And pray for me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thank you

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you.  Thank you to those of you who still check in here, even when I disappear for weeks at a time!  Thank you for your comments, for the community I experience when I hear from you.  The internet/blog world community has meant a great deal to me over the past few years, and this blog was started as a thank you to all of the others from whom I have learned so much.  It was my hope to offer a small something back, an offering in return for all I learned.  There are times when I have so much to say, and then there are the down times.  The times when silence is what is needed in my life.  There are times when the internet world lets me down.  There are times I count on others, and find out they are human too.  There are times when I look to others to lift me up, and then I realize that it is a mistake to turn to them, only communion with the one true God can lift me up.  There are times when I worry about how I present myself here.  This is not reality.  This is just a small window of my life.  And I must remind myself that other blogs only offer a small window into the lives of others.  We change.  We are not always consistent.  We are not always reliable.  So, thank you for being here.  Forgive me when I fail.  Forgive me when I contradict.  And know that I appreciate each of you who comment, who take a moment to connect.  Thank you.