Preparing Koliva

Have you prepared koliva for memorials yet?  Here’s a video and recipe.

For a small memorial service, like Saturday of the Souls or a family memorial, you will need the following ingredients: 2 c whole wheat (uncooked), 1 c chopped walnuts, 1 c blanched / slivered almonds, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c golden raisins, 1/4 c Italian (flat) parsley, 1 c whole sesame seeds, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t pumpkin spice, 1 t honey, 2 c powdered sugar, Jordan Almonds.

Fast Free Week, Here We Come!

Okay!   It’s probably cold where you are and Spring is the last thing on your mind.  Gee!  we just finished celebrating the Presentation of Christ which is Jesus’ Forty Day Blessing… forty days following Christmas.  And just recently the Groundhog predicted another 6 weeks of Winter. But the Moveable Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Calendar tell us we are about the begin the Triodon, the three weeks before Great Lent, which means Easter is coming early this year.

What is the Triodion?

The Triodion is what Southerners refer to as “fixin’ to get ready.”  It’s the three week period where we slowly get into the right mindset for Great Lent.  You see the difference in the Sunday Gospel Readings and the fasting schedule.

Triodion Gospel Themes

You know the stories, they repeat every year but here’s a quick reference.

First Sunday: Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican  The Gospel according to Luke 18:2-8

Second Sunday: Sunday of the Prodigal Son The Gospel according to Luke 15:11-32

Third Sunday: Sunday of the Last Judgement The Gospel according to Matthew 25:31-46

Triodion Fasting Rules

And in the finest expression of Orthodoxy, the church has a special fasting practice for the Triodion.

Week One- FAST FREE WEEK!  Yup!  No fasting this week!  This is a good time to get it all out of your system.

Week Two- Regular (Wednesday and Friday) fasting.  This is a good week to clean out the refrigerator.

Week Three- Start by removing meat from your diet.  It’s a week to help you get in the mood.  I imagine going cold-turkey from meat and dairy would be rather traumatic.  This third week is the final step.

I hope you have a blessed journey this Lenten Season.

Come back for Lenten recipes in the coming weeks.

 

Rice Pudding

In a small saucepan simmer, after boil, 1 c long grain rice in 2 c water for 10 minutes or till liquid is absorbed.

In a larger pot warm 6 c milk (2%, skim or almond milk if you need a lenten dessert) with 1 c sugar and 1 t vanilla extract. Be careful not to scorch the milk. When rice is cooked and milk is warm, combine the two.

Continue cooking milk and rice over medium heat until rice is fully cooked and mixture has thickened, which should take another 40 minutes. STIR OFTEN!!

After 40 minutes whisk 1 T softened butter and 3 beaten egg yolks in a separate bowl. Do not add the egg mixture to the pudding until you temper it by slowly whisking it with 1/2 c of warm pudding. You can skip this step for a lenten recipe.

Add the tempered egg mixture to the pot of rice pudding.

Simmer another 2 minutes over medium heat.

Pour into individual serving bowls or a serving platter. Be sure to let the pudding cool to room temperature before you chill in the fridge or a film will form. You don’t want that.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Scoop out a portion and garnish with peach slices and homemade whipped cream. Yumm!!

 

Greek Potatoes in the Oven

 

Peel and cut 5 potatoes in half and then cut eat half into thirds.
Soak in water for a few minutes.

Remove from water and dry on paper towel and return to a dry bowl.

 

 

 

Marinate with 1 T olive oil, Cavendar’s seasoning, and lemon juice. If you don’t have Cavendar’s use dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Put marinated potatoes in a baking pan and roast about 50 minutes, stirring a few times for even browning.

I like Greek Potatoes in the Oven. It’s something we can all eat and pairs well with a side of hummus or steamed broccoli. I served them with sauteed shrimp and mushrooms.

Lenten Banana Bread

This Lenten Banana Bread is always a hit at church coffee hour.   It’s great with chocolate chips, walnuts, or cinnamon.

Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl, mix dry ingredients (and then set aside)
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

In large bowl, beat together
3/4 c. oil  (I use 1/2 part vegetable and 1/2 part coconut oil)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold water
1 t vanilla extract

Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture. The mixture will be thick but don’t worry. The bananas will add plenty of moisture.

Mash 3-4 bananas and incorporate into mixture

This was a double recipe.

Add 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips.  (Ghirardelli are lenten.) or add 2 T ground cinnamon.  Or add 1 C chopped walnuts.

Pour into a greased loaf pans and bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Or pour into lined cupcake trays and bake for 15 minutes.

If I need a quick cake, I pour the batter into a greased glass cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. I dust the top with cinnamon or powdered sugar for an added treat, but they are sweet enough that a topping really isn’t needed.

When I add walnuts, (my guys don’t like nuts) I like to add half walnuts on top so we can remember which ones have nuts and which don’t.

V’s CARDBOX

When you want them to remember what you wrote, write it on something they’ll keep.  

 

Today’s JAR : Christmas is a religious holiday, not a shopping season.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas shopping season and the false sense of want.  Ads and catalogues are being sent to our homes competing for attention. You probably think you need another “this” or two more of “that.”  The double page layouts can be very convincing.  Surely you know someone, anyone, who would appreciate item 4B on page 15, in multiple colors and sizes.

But this kind of thinking is exhausting, especially if you try to maintain it for 6 weeks, (which is evident by the abandoned naked pine trees and dark homes on December 26.)

Justify it as the virtue of giving all you like.  The truth is that it’s all a distraction from what really matters. Christmas is a religious holiday, not a shopping season.

2013_04_05-074

Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who created the universe, has chosen to enter into the limits of his creation.  And not as a mature man with the rights and privileges of adulthood, but as a tiny, vulnerable baby.

This is something awesome, something worthy of greater reflection than a moment of silence before you dig into a well-laid feast or rip open the boxes under the tree.

Keeping the Advent Fast is the best way to remember that Christmas is a religious holiday.

Why?  Fasting requires us to delay the celebration of Christ’s birth until Christ’s birthday.  It also allows the days preceding said celebration to be one of reflection and preparation.  If I might interject a commonly used phrase, it’s “the reason for the season.”

Don’t let the holiday activity distract you from the end prize, which is actually just the beginning.

The Advent Fast lasts November 15-December 24.  There is no fasting December 25- January 6, (except January 5 which is a strict fast day in preparation for Theophany.)

May we have a blessed fast which will prepare us for a glorious feast!

Where Is Your Faith?

Today’s JAR just a reminder

2014_08_panagia-pousiotissa-058As I think about today’s reading and the woman who washed Jesus’ feet. He told her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

But to be clear, it wasn’t that she possessed “faith” that she was saved, but what her faith inspired her to do.

Her faith led her to take action. Her faith revealed a true relationship between her and Jesus. Her faith brought her to tears of repentance.

We have to relocate faith from our head and put it in our hands, feet, and heart.

This is how we truly experience God’s love. This is how we experience peace.

The Apolytikion for Panagia tou Harou

Panagia tou Harou Apolytikion

The Apolytikion for Panagia tou Harou as translated by our dear friends, Pres. Evangelia and Fr. Nicholas March.

Your holy icon, depicting the Death of our Lord, we venerate, All-praised One; having been called upon through invocation, the lilies were observed to grow on it green and fresh after the passage of time; we praise your grace with all reverence, Virgin, crying out: Glory to your mighty works Pure One, Glory to your wonders, Glory to your care towards us, O Immaculate One.

Panagia tou Harou 2016 a

Panagia tou Harou

VMHarosTouHarou

Panagia tou Harou is an icon of the Virgin and Christ, on the island of Lipsi, Greece.  This icon depicts the Virgin Mary holding a miniature crucified Christ.

On the Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Feast of the Dormition (August 23), which is 9 days after the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, thousands gather on the small island to witness a miracle.

The miracle comes from flowers that were offered as thanks to the Virgin Mary in the 1940s.  The local folklore tells of a woman who was praying in a little countryside chapel before the icon of Panagia tou Harou. Her prayers were answered, and in gratitude, she returned and placed a simple bouquet of lilies on the icon. These lilies were forgotten and dried on the icon.

In the following year, on Vespers of the Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Feast of the Dormition (August 23), when they opened the little chapel once more, as it is customary to only hold services in the small chapels on their feast days, these rootless lilies blossomed and were fragrant.

Since then, this miracle occurs annually.

Panagia-Harou-church-Lipsi 1