Showing posts from February, 2007

Worthy of its own post

and not to be hidden in the comments section! Thanks to Fr. Gregori for some really good sounding middle eastern recipes! As I was commenting to dh last Sunday night after our visit to a large Antiochian parish for the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers...their lenten food is so much better, more advanced, than our paltry American efforts. Here it is:


Here are some Lebanese Lentil Recipes for Lent:

These dishes were enjoyed by my family during Lent when I grew up as a Lebanese Melkite Byzantine Catholic:

Mjadra – (Lentil Pottage)

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. cumin
salt to taste
½ cup uncooked rice

Rinse lentils and place in a pan with water. Boil for 20 minutes on medium fire. Saut̩ chopped onions in oil. Add onions and residue, seasonings, and rice to the lentils. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve on a platter Рthis thickens as it cools. May be eaten hot or cold. Serves 4-6.

Mihshi Waraq – (Lenten Stuffe…

Time for some more Lenten Recipes

Lenten (Broccoli) Rice Stuff

This makes a crock pot other words, a vat.

2 cups white rice
1 cup TVP
1 packet Lipton Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
5 cups of water
1/4 cup (Ok, I'll admit it: 1 glug) of canola oil.

Bring the above to a boil, turn down and let simmer until water is absorbed.

Stir in one bag of chopped frozen broccoli and warm until the broccoli is cooked.

Tasty! (Or so they tell me.)

This would also work with peas, or no veggies at all, or any other veggie one might desire.

Pancakes/Waffles (Depending on if the Waffle Maker is clean or not, LOL!)

3 cups flour
3 heaping T. of soy flour
Heaping T. of baking powder.

Mix well.

Add a glug of oil and Rice milk, whisk or beat until the right consistency (thinner batter will make flatter pan cakes and crisper waffles). Cook on medium griddle or in Waffle maker with pam.

These keep nicely in the fridge and can be microwaved for 30 seconds by a kid for breakfast.

Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

A couple of tablespoons of cooking oil or pa…

Lent so Far: The Mercy of God

I just loved going to Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts on Wednesday night. That's one of my favorite things about lent.

I love the joyous and sober anticipation of Pascha.

I love the prostrations and the prayer of St. Ephraim.

(Ok, a note of explanation so what I'm about to write makes sense: I'm on a special diet ordered by my doctor to control my hypoglycemia and reduce fibromyalgia pain. Therefore I don't fast according to Orthodox practice. My priest told me so. This diet IS my fast.) As SOON as lent started, I began to crave bread like nothing else. When I'm on the strict side of my diet, there IS NO bread, or potatoes, or rice, or grains, or legumes...nothing at all starchy. Not even carrots or onions, two veggies I dearly love and miss. I can tell there is an element of spiritual battle going on that this suddenly became much harder for me. In the past I have always caved in to my desires and used lent as my excuse to eat things I crave like BREAD.…

Shopping Day

One bank and five stores later....Health food store, Catholic book store, Thrift store, Kroger and Walmort.

I'm tired.

Rx: Insomnia

Yesterday I had a really really really good day. It was like WOW!
Last night I slept from about 11 pm until 1:15 am. Then I woke up.

And no matter what I did, I could not go back to sleep.
I don't think Effexor xr is for me.

Pizza with Soy Cheese

They LIKED IT!!!!!!! 3/4 of the pizza was gone and my pickiest eater declared he'd be having pizza for breakfast in the morning.

Thanks. Be. To. God!

One of my prayers/attempts this lent is to help my kids grow in their fasting discipline. It's hard on them to see Mom on a special diet, but they are growing in this way and their attitudes about it are pretty good.

Meanwhile, the minute lent started, my diet seemed to get MUCH harder, for some reason. Suddenly the bread cravings kicked in big time. So, it feels like fasting to me, too...self denial and all that stuff.

God help us!


I've found a special place: Away from the noise of the TV during the kid's afternoon show, aways from the temptation of the computer. My back porch. We recently (this winter) had to replace our gutters, as they were incompetent/clogged and falling apart and we had some back-up/leakage problems with water in our crawl space, etc. Part of this repair included getting the roof on our back porch fixed. It was all hugely expensive, but now our crawl space is necessarily dry, and our back porch has a lovely roof. I have an old table out there, and an old rocker and a folding chair.

What a great place to sit, wrapped in a warm afghan, sipping something hot. Just me, the sparrows, cardinals, robins, and God. This morning the sunlight slanted across the yard from the east. The honeysuckle bushes, still brown from winter's frost, is filled with birds of all sorts. I could hear their singing. The lilac bush and the red-bud tree are still asleep. But spring is coming. T…

Prayer of St. Ephraim

Oh Lord and Master of my life
do not give me a spirit
of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather a spirit
of chastity, humility, patience and love to your servant.
Yes, Lord and King,
grant me to see
my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother.
For blessed are You unto ages of ages, amen.

Phood Philosophy Revisited

Melanie would like my recipes for homemade Ketchup and mayo. This from a post back about eight months ago. Glad someone's reading my archives! It's nice to moderate comments, because that way I don't miss comments on the old ones.

This Ketchup recipe appears in _The Healing Power of Whole Foods_ by Beth Loiselle, p. 262. An excellent cook book, in my opinion.

6 ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
pinch each of: cumin, nutmeg, black pepper
pinch of stevia extract optional
1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate in a covered jar. Makes slightly more than 1 cup.

My comment: Yes, folks, these spices are the real deal and this really tastes like ketchup!

Homemade mayo: just do a google search for "mayonaise recipe". There are tons of variations out there. I choose to have mine sugar free, often with a few drops of stevia.…


The weather has turned!

The ten day forecast has highs in the upper forties to mid-fifties range! Lows right at or above freezing. Spring is COOOOOMMMMMIIIIINNNNNGGGGG!!!!!

I'm so happy, happy, happy! about that, can't you tell? Still not warm enough for skirts and sandals, but the weather has turned! I"m so happy about this I'm almost crying, for some reason. Can you tell, I hate winter. I think I have a bit of SAD. I get depressed every stinkin' winter. And in the fall when the cold comes in...PAIN.

Spring is coming. Life will get better.

Woooo Hooooo!


And so Lent has begun.

I keep asking myself what that's going to mean for me this year, and I keep coming up with one thing: same old same old.

Same being stuck at home with no car.
Same taking care of my niece a couple of days a week.
Same being with my kids.
Same homeschooling.
Same cramming all my errands into Saturdays and showing up at Vespers exhausted.
Same isolation.
Same unfulfilled longing for more prayers with my community of believers.
Same desire for more of God.
Same sins.
Same confessions.
Same body.
Same spirit and soul.
Same food. I'm SO SICK of the food I eat. Same old same old. Day after day.

My struggle must be against self pity, among other things.

So, every thing's the same, but somehow everything just got harder, too. I'd best be casting myself upon God's mercy in that case, I suppose.

There's nothing much worth saying coming from my direction. I keep debating whether I need to quit the internet for Lent. I'm still thinking about it. Hav…


Today is Forgiveness Sunday for Orthodox Christians.

If I have sinned against you, my brothers and my sisters, in ANY way, please forgive me a sinner!

May God bless our Lenten journeys and always draw each of us closer to Himself.

On my mind

Today is one of those days when I'm having trouble getting going. I'm grumpy because I woke up at 3:45 am and only dozed fitfully with weird dreams after that. My own fault, totally. I shouldn't have had that second glass of wine. Sigh. That's what it does for me.

So, I'm head-achy, been up since six to prepare for my niece, who arrived somewhere around six-twenty. She's getting heavier every day. And is very wiggly and eating lots more. Going on three months old now. Taking care of her and homeschooling my kids are my two big triumphs in life: the things that remind me that I'm slowly getting well.

But I never really have really good days. I just kind of ache along. And then, when I've used up my limited allotment of energy each day (which, since I'm typically doing a bit more, is at the same aproximate time I used to loose my energy: early-mid afternoon) I'm done for.

My poor priest thinks I'm worse off than I am, because he…

I got tagged!

It has been so long since I've sat down and read through my stash-o-blogs that I have bookmarked, that I did not know I'd been tagged. But it's not too late for this odd little meme, I hope.

Peculiar Me (six peculiarities)

1. I'm very picky about my bed time ritual: I have to have the covers and blankets perfectly straight and up to my chin with the sheet folded over the edge of all the blankets so my chin skin only touches smooth cotton. And the blankets have to be heavy.

2. I like being home better than anywhere else.

3. I don't like eating food I did not cook...from scratch. (This comes, no doubt, from all my health issues and food allergies...I've gotten paranoid in the last few years. I WILL eat food I didn't cook, of course, but it usually has to involve an embarrassing interview with the cook to find out ingredients, etc. Blech.)

4. I HATE driving.

5. I MUST be on time if it is at all within my power to be so.

6. I used to consider myself to …

Oh, to be a saint!

Heaven can be touched, it is nearer than we know
and I think the appearing of Christ will be a universal and simultaneous bursting every cell of this earthly existence rupturing simultaneously to reveal the greater reality of God's Kingdom that lies just beyond our sinful physical eyes. The veil is so thin. It is so very very thin.

And I think that the appearing of Christ today, whether He comes again in glory now or later, can be a bursting through from heaven into and through the lives of His people, His agents, His saints.

The Theotokos, when she bore God in her womb threw and gauntlet down for the rest of us to pick, up: A challenge for us to rise to. Polycarp, submitting to tortures, Peter crucified upside down, Paul in chains, preaching, beheaded, Photini telling others and dying in a well, Mary living on air, prayer and the Holy Eucharist in the desert of repentance, Anthony in silence, Seraphim in his woods, Xenia in her foolishness, and Olga with her ne…

Fun Sub Picture!

I was looking for some information on North Pole expeditions this morning, and came across this very very cool picture of the Submarine Charlotte AT the north pole. They busted through more than sixty inches of ice, and the crew members got out and played for a while. The ship was on her way from Pearl Harbor to Norfolk, VA.

How cool is THAT??????

Electric Youth!

Today we created a working telegraph. It's a simple concept, really. We had a kit.

Create an electromagnet by winding wire around a nail. Attach one end of the wire to a battery (with a big rubber band), and the other end to a paperclip attached to a brad on a piece of cardboard. Bend the wide end of the paperclip up so it makes a switch you can press down...onto a second brad. Attached to this second brad is another wire going to the other end of the battery. Insulated, except for the contacts, of course.

The thing about electicity is that it always is a circut, either open (off) or closed (on). When you flip a light switch, you are either opening the circuit to turn the light off, or closing it to turn it on. Same with an appliance plugged into the wall. You tap into a circuit and then close it by flipping your hair dryer switch...and the motor starts.

The thing that makes it a telegraph, is the the electromagnet (nail wrapped in wire) is sticking into a foam block. N…

Why Not?

Why not come home from school and go straight to your room and not tell anyone you are home?

Why not wear your favorite hat everywhere whenever you are not in school?

Why not hide under the table reading a book when you don't know how/don't want to socialize in Church?

Why not sit in the dry bathtub, fully clothed, reading a book because the light was on in the bathroom and it was too dark to read elsewhere in the house?

Why not hit yourself when you are angry instead of hitting the other person?

Why not swallow green peas like pills to fulfill the dinnertime veggie requirement?

Why not read along in the Spanish Vespers book instead of the English one, just because it's there?

Why not be best friends with your kid brother?

Why not have unmitigated empathy for another person?

Why not be so innocent that teasing is off your radar screen?

Why not describe choir music as "pink"?

Gosh, I love that brain!

Clothes Party!

You know those blouses that hang in your closet, that every once in a while you try on, and it's too tight across the shoulders...barely, or you look down and realize that a person with your figure should NOT be wearing ruffles down the button placket of your chest not matter that it DOES say jjill on the label? Yeah.

And the skirt that, while it fits you is just not quite the right length, or the right cut or something?

Today I went through all my clothes. I was ruthless. Stuff that was so far out of style as to be embarassing went in one stack. (You all remember the skirts in the late 1980's with the horizontal stripe along the hem? Yah!) Stuff that any self-respecting 37 year old just should not wear...especially not a self-respecting permanently plump 37 year know, the tops that would be cute if they had an extra three inches at the bottom edge to that your belly does not accidentally show...and one relatively new chartreuse sweater that theoretically I li…

Snow Days

Lots of cozy indoor time this week. School has been cancelled, all but half of yesterday which my dd did not attend since I took her to the doctor and when we dropped her off at school they told us that it was about to be let out so I may as well take her home. Fun stuff!

I was able to hit the library after my chiropractor visit yesterday ( back has NOT been hurting since using the measures I blogged about a few weeks ago, thanks be to God!) and get some light reading and videos to watch.

If anyone likes British Comedy, I highly recommend the BBC series Jeeves and Wooster. Too, too funny. My ten year old and I were enjoying season two yesterday, and she was spot on with her plot predictions. When I complimented her (she has a knack for literary analysis) she rolled her eyeballs and said: "If you do enough reading you start to see PATTERNS, Mom!"

I have been staring at the walls lately, unable to get myself in gear, among other things. I know what th…

The Mystery of the Missing Zinc Pops

My oldest, being the warning label reader that she is, decided to forego the scary Multi-symptom Cold Relief medication she seems somewhat in need of. I reached into the medicine pantry and pulled out a bag of zinc pops. At least she could do something to boost her immune system, right?


The sealed wrappers were perfectly intact, with the pop-sticks sticking out of them. But the zinc pops were MISSING. Just a few crumbles. There were no crumbles in the bottom of the bag that would suggest they got somehow crushed and spilled. Only two zinc pops remained. Upon close inspection, these offered us a clue about the missing pops.

The kids and I had a very very good laugh at the thought that the members of our local ant colony will have good immune systems this winter.

How Nerds Watch Football

So, my family decides to watch the Super Bowl today. Before today, we barely even knew WHEN the Superbowl would be playing. I caused some chuckles at the grocery store a few weeks ago when I was overheard speculating with my eight year old son that the Super bowl must be that weekend based on the proliferation of chips etc. in the center aisle displays. Silly me!

So, today, after taking a nice long post DL nap, I got up and the pre-show was on TV. Wes was home from his portable office (Laptop at the library) and I made a pizza for the others. Lucky me, some two-meat chili was already lurking in my fridge. I pulled out a bowl of Fritos, some pork rinds, and made up a bit o' guacamole and some diet rootbeer floats all around and we had ourselves an impromptu family football party.

Unfortunately, I was busy with the pizza in the kitchen when the Chicago Bears scored a touch down on the kickoff. I figure that is what instant replay is for. My favorite way to catch a game...act…


Today I gave two hair cuts to my guys, helped my dh with a business decision, then went grocery shopping...bought my very oh-so-holy-local-happy-chicken-eggs and some organic veggies at the local health food store coop. Then headed over to the BEAST for the rest of my stuff. Unfortunately the meat I bought was
animal concentration camp meat, but oh, well. I'd be more of a vegetarian if my health would allow. As it is, my priest says to follow docs orders, and so I eat meat. All...the...freakin'...time. Yes, folks, it is possible to get sick of meat.

Got a crock pot of chili on for later tonight. Then I HAD to sit...for a long time. (Fibro happiness).

So I watched Sabrina (the one with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond that was made in 1995). I like watching 90's movies. In some ways I think I'm sort of stuck in the 90's with my clothes. I've just not gotten myself updated. And who cares, right? Not like anyone is looking at me, and besides, all th…

Oh, the irony!

I'm giving up coffee...even the decaf kind. Actually, I've switched to decaf. Drink about a pot a day.

Today I decided to look it up at to see if it has any carbs. (Surely not! I thought).

Yikes! .8 carb per 6 oz....WHO only drinks six ounces of coffee???? Not me, that's for sure. I drink about ten times that much. And eight uncounted carbs (not that I'm really counting, but sort of roughly keeping tabs nonetheless) can push a person from weight loss into maintenance. This might explain some of my frustrations with this low carb diet my doc has me on. I'm on it for hypoglycemia control and pain control, but since it's so restrictive, I may as well loose some weight, right? Well, that part's been really frustrating over the past two year, so much that I keep liberalizing the diet while counting calories, but loosing the pain control benefits it offers.

I can definitely tell a difference in my pain levels and energy levels when I"m…

LIz want to know...

if anybody's home....?????

Yes, I'm very much home...and pretty much nowhere else except grocery shopping and Church on the weekends. Kids are busy in home school, I still try to get a walk in now and again when it's not too cold. Brrrrr. This weekend will be too cold.

Currently I have a sleeping two and a half month old niece draped across my lap whilst I type on the keyboard. (AWWWWWWWW!)

Just been focusing on doing each thing that needs doing.

The depression was ALL PMS related, I"m afraid. Oh, look, that will be coming round again in a few weeks. Be forewarned.

And for hypoglycemics and low carb dieters everywhere, I have modified a recipe I found on-line to come up with:


An inch or so of hot oil in a sauce pan.

1 T. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 scoop vanilla sugar free protein powder (mine is whey)
artificial sweetener to taste (8 drops of stevia, here)
1 lid of vanilla extract

Mix until mostly not lumpy. Plug a funnel with your finger and pour hal…