Showing posts from January, 2009


God provided a huge ham. What a pleasant surprise!

Someone loved on my son by giving him an unexpected toy, too. He needed that this week.

I was getting sick: chills, sore throat, the works. Got up Friday morning and went to Church thinking..."If I can just receive the Body and Blood of Christ..." and my illness left me and I've had some very productive days.

I think poverty is a blessing. Whether it's "money being tight", or "low energy" or even physical illness. Any type of need, because it casts us into the place of dependence on God.

Ice Storm

The big Kentucky Ice Storm of 2009 happened several days ago, and most likely will start melting off tomorrow. Many are still without power.

But it's been gorgeous, like a fairy land to look at.

We were without power on day 1, but it came back on at 10:30 pm that night. Much sooner than expected.

I thank God that this time (last big huge ice storm was in 2003) we have a wood burning fire place. That makes a difference, and dinner on Wednesday night was hobo meals cooked in the fireplace by candle light. Followed by an impromptu family sing along. I learned that my kids know ALL the words to American Pie, as well as the Star Wars version (My, my this here Anakin guy, maybe later he'll be Vader now he's just a small fry...).

Here's what I wrote to a friend, that describes some of this week:

More snow here. Wes and I dragged the kiddos out for Divine Liturgy at 7am in the dark today and the snow was coming down, ice on the trees and already a layer of snow underne…

OK, I did it: New Cooking Blog!

Hi all, I decided to create a blog about cooking yesterday after I came up with the perfect blog title: Fast Meals from a Slow Kitchen (and yes, the pun is intentional.)

Please visit it, bookmark it, and enjoy.

It's still in the mixing stage right now, but I might pull some of my food posts from here and post them over there. Or I might just start writing from scratch over there. That will most likely be the blog which I monetize at some point.

GFCF S'mores

One of the challenges of being on the GFCF diet if you are a kid, is missing out on some gastronomical community events of childhood that everyone enjoys. It's just no fun to be at the bonfire when everyone else is eating s'mores, and you are stuck perhaps only roasting marshmallows.

Well, fear not, because today I bring you: GFCF S'mores.

First off, the marshmallows: those are easy. Just read the ingredients list and make sure they are GF. If it says food starch, find another brand. So far I've had good luck with generics, which specifically say they are made with corn starch. So, that's easy.

We've been making GFCF graham crackers for quite some time, and have gotten to the point where whipping up a batch is not really that big of a deal. We love all the recipes we have tried from, and the graham cracker recipe is no exception. My tips for this recipe would be to roll it thin onto your baking stone, perforate the crackers and prick…

Impressive Church Leadership

Today after Divine Liturgy, we all went to McDonalds for some coffee and breakfast. Afterwards, all our cars were iced over ...again.

Bishop Mark helped scrape ice off my car.

This and That

Lots has been churning through my head and heart this week, but not much of it is the sort of thing I want to write about on a blog.

And so what am I left with? A hodge-podge of I guess.

I still love living here. God's given me at least one new friend, and a few people who are currently in the friendly acquaintance category that I thin, given time and opportunity, could develop into friendship.

Today, Eric was particularly sad about being on the gfcf diet when the OCF was selling donuts and pastries to raise money for a retreat. So, instead of hanging around at coffee hour, we booked it on home (three minute drive), for some lunch. And promises of mom making some treats this afternoon.

So I spent part of my day today making GFCF brownies and some GFCF donut holes. Those turned out very good. At least Eric liked them. Me, not as much. But I don't care. He gets to have those, and I'm very glad he liked them.

Sunday is a nice day to eat up all the leftovers in t…

It looks cold out there....

It's George Walker Bush and Barak H. Obama. Intersting deletion of the new president's middle name.

And Pastor Rick Warren has some BALLS and I admire his very specific prayer, ending in the Lord's Prayer. Way to go.

Nice pipes, Aretha.

Four weeks...(A View from Above)

I can feel depression settling around me like a fog drifting in when the weather is right. Cold, dank, and can't-see-my-way-out.

It got me wondering, when's the last time I blogged about depression? I know I was so sure, there for a few days, that I'd need to get some meds. And then it lifted, and I've been fine.

So, when's the last time I blogged about being so depressed?

Four weeks ago, that's when.

Perhaps that also explains how I was able to take a three hour long nap yesterday afternoon, and still go to bed before midnight.

OK, so it's only temporary. Temporary I can deal with. Like a rollercoaster ride. Not much fun, but I can hang on for the ride.


Some Nice Gluten Free Blogs

This morning we woke up to snow, but that was no surprise since it really started snowing while Wes and I were at book club last evening. It was dry when we arrived, and by the time we left, the roads were covered, it was snowing hard, and the driving, even on the expressway, was very slow and careful. Lovely large winter wonderland type snow flakes.

So, to celebrate a warm, cozy morning with snow out the window, I decided to make coffee cake. This also celebrates the fact that we are pretty much OUT of frozen GFCF waffles and definitely OUT of GFCF chicken nuggets, both of which I must make today.

In searching for a coffee cake recipe I could use, I found a couple of excellent GFCF cooking blogs that I want to share: Karina's Kitchen and Ginger Lemon Girl

Now THESE are some cooking blogs.

So, I am happy to report that the coffee cake turned out scrumptiously well, book club last night really hit the spot: spiritually, intellectually and socially, and it is a cozy do-lots-of…

GFCF Chicken Kiev

Tonight after vespers is our house blessing.

Chicken Kiev is my go-to recipe for when the priest and his wife come over for dinner. So this year I made a gluten free/casein free version of Chicken kiev, and judging by the smells emanating from my kitchen, it will turn out just fine.

I take thawed chicken breasts and pound them with a mallet. This makes me think that flesh was not meant to be pounded or beaten. (God have mercy on all those who suffer by beatings.) The chicken just gets really flat and breaks apart so easily. One must be careful to only pound just enough.

I make a mixture of minced garlic, minced parsley and minced green onions.

Onto each breast goes salt, pepper, a spoonful of the minced stuff, and a large dab of GFCF margarine. (Smart Balance lite is completely dairy free, which most margarines aren't.)

Then I roll the breast, and wish fervently I'd remembered to buy toothpicks. In lieu of toothpicks I do some deft holding together of the roll while…


It's been, like, one degree here or something. That's Farenheit.

And according to the news, we are not alone. So the cold is everywhere. What's up with that?

Global warming really bites, let me tell ya!

It's not the 1980's anymore!

Oh yikes.

I took my kids to a home schooler's skating party today. Champs Rollerdrome. No, they have not changed a bit. Disco lights, smoke machine (Hey, our Church has one of those!) and lots of super fast little rugrats whizzing around at just below light speed.

I wore a skirt and brought my knitting.

But after her first lap, my youngest BEGGED me for help. When did she not learn to skate?

There was nothing to it but to do it. Doesn't the gospel say something somewhere about laying down one's life????????

My worst fall was once when my daughter pulled me down and I landed on top of her, but with most of my weight falling on my bad knee that had one of my fingers between it and the floor.

I'm not making this up. But my finger is not broken, neither is my knee and I did get some exercise.

And by the end of the skate party, my youngest was much more confident on her skates.

Then I remembered that the reason I wasn't out there doing this with my kids when…

Art Whimsy

Here is a picture I drew today:

And Ariana's (age 9) drawing, inspired by the one I made:

Underneath it all

I'm having a very hard time getting used to Church on Sunday mornings. I cry every week for one reason or another, it seems. It's embarrassing, and I'm really struggling with feeling like my family is the weird, broken family. Probably because we are. I'm used to that, but it's extra difficult in a giant room filled with strangers, most of whom do not know us, or the things that make us unique.

But I am learning something: Beneath the surface, every person has a story. And often, that story has more in common with our own story than I would at first guess. We were sitting next to a family in the pew on Sunday and after liturgy was over we started chatting briefly and discovered we have the whole gluten free thing in common, as their kids have various food allergies, for instance. And the wife is a special ed teacher and agreed that home schooling my spectrum kids was probably the best thing for them. (It's rare for a public school servant to be suppor…

How Lord of The Rings Should Have Ended

too good not to share!

Po-Ta-Toes (Waffles)

Leftover mashed potatoes (or instant)
an egg or three, depending on your quanitity of potatoes.
a bit o' salt
a bit o' non-dairy (if you are avoiding dairy) milk alternative, or the cow stuff...whatever
a bit (a few tablespoons for a small batch, a few more for a large batch) o' flour (GFCF blend if that is your diet).

Mix. While your Kitchen Aid does all the work, stand there glorifying God. If you don't have a Kitchen Aid, this is a good time for prayers of petition.

Heat up waffle maker and cook each waffle about five minutes.

Serve with ketchup and something savory like beans-n-meat (ground turkey strechted with onions, butter beans and lima beans in this case).

God Provides Yet Again

I was busy in my kitchen sometime last week, and in the middle of baking or cooking or something involving a hand mixer, my mixer broke. Again.

I had just purchased this mixer, too. It seems we go through them very quickly. This was the first use on that mixer and I finished the bread I was making by hand.

If I were the type of cook who only makes cake mixes on birthdays, that would be one thing. But I'm not. My kids are on a special diet and I make everything from scratch in order to afford said special diet.

Here's how it went:

"Lord, my mixer broke again. Lord, I'm going to be bold and ask you for a Kitchen Aid. Lord, I know we can't afford one, and I don't know if this is a need or a want, but Lord, I'm just going to ask, and if you provide me with a Kitchen Aid, it will be a miracle and you will get the glory. But Lord, it will have to be YOU, because we don't have the three hundred dollars it would take for this appliance."


Socks, 2nd pair

Baby steps toward Fair Isle knitting...just wee baby steps.

Sometimes all you can do

is bake brownies, when your day has been so hard and everyone is just stressed to the max. And you can feel those magic chocolate chemicals taking effect, because they do, you know.

And then it's nice to calm down enough to realize that a nice long walk is in order.

And so you go out, and find that while you are walking, your eyes are leaking and you are talking to Jesus and asking Him if he would heal your daughter. Not if He could, but if He would.

And then all you can do is keep walking in the cold and the wind and pray "Thy will be done" and wonder if things will ever get any better.

Sometimes that's all you can do.

Aren't we the happy homemakers????

Too bad I don't have a pretty calico apron...;-) Or charming pictures to post here.

I woke up to my teenaged daughter working on a triple batch of gluten free/casein free I helped her get those individually frozen and into the freezer in a couple of bags.

I home schooled the kids, did some laundry, and then this afternoon I made up a double batch (that means two bags of frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts, thawed, etc.) of gluten free/casein free chicken nuggets. Hopefully those will last two or three weeks because that job too several hours of working in the kitchen to accomplish.

I had to run to the store to get some cooking oil when I ran out, and I picked up a new hand mixer since we tend to go through those like they are disposable.

So Bethany starts making the bread and realizes we are out of guar or xanthan gum. Necessary for GFCF baking.

For that we whipped over to Whole Foods.

The motor stopped working on that new mixer half way through a batch of…

Everyone says these are the tough years

nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen...

I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, just trying to parent my kids this week. Oy vey!

Throw in some possible PMS, and some mental distress and some autism and all I want to do is RUN AWAY!

More knitty-knitty stuff

Just wanted to show you all the fun two color pattern I'm working into my current pair of socks, and also how I'm holding the yarns, knitting in the continental style. The photograph is fipped, unfortunately. That's my left hand you are looking at.

Both colors are being held on two fingers of the same hand, and I just grab whichever one is appropriate to the pattern as I take each stitch. Fun stuff.

Cozy, Cozy Socks!

Well, I finished my first pair of socks yesterday. I'm so happy with how they turned out.

These socks are 100% wool and inspired by the Warm Woolies project. I plan on making several more pairs, and then sending off a package.

You know, about "crafty almsgiving"'s a great thing to do. How many knitted things or sewn things does one family need? But a fast knitter can surely turn out lots more. And quite frankly, for many of us, a ball of wool is very affordable (five bucks?).

But the key is follow through. I still have my almost completed stack of "goods for girls" sitting in my closet waiting for some snaps. The good news on that front is: They are still there and the snaps are finally purchased. Perhaps some snap pounding will happen today...or not. Crazy busy days have been plaguing me lately.

I do struggle with the following: Having a brilliant idea for a way to give to those in need, and then failing to actually DO it. As many time…

How to Celebrate one's Name Day!

Although we've been Orthodox for almost seven years, we are still learning some of the small "t" traditions like St. Basil's Day bread and how to celebrate one's name day.

Yes, it's true that these things are borrowed from other cultures, but what else can we do? It comes with the territory of being Americans, eh?

Well, I made a gluten free/casein free St. Basil bread the other day by sweetening up a regular quick bread recipe and adding a coin. I like lemony sweet breads so I added a touch of lemon oil. Next year I'll sprinkle almonds on top, too. I did not have any on hand this year, so we skipped that part.

And to add to the general festivities, yesterday I celebrated my name day. It coincides with that of St. Seraphim of Sarov, who is an awesome saint, so I got to go to Divine Liturgy in his honor.

It helps to have a friend from "the old country" to let one in on good ways of keeping a feast such as a name day. How do you celebrate…

Wise Guys - Oh come all ye faithful

These are the same guys who did the accapella techno mix of "Alle Meine Entchen"...

Happy Name Day to me!

I could never remember if my name day (St. Juliana of Lazarevo) is today or tomorrow, so yesterday I got on line and looked it up. It's today. I'm thrilled to find out that my patron saint shares the day with St. Seraphim of Sarov, so there was Divine Liturgy this morning. I was caught flat footed on that score, because the Church bulletin said Matins instead. Not that I'm complaining, but I wasn't prepared for Eucharist. Oh well. There's always a next time.

And since it's a new year, this is a good time to think about whether or not to go for a "Through the Bible in a Year" Scripture reading plan. I think I need to do this.

So I found a handy PDF form that Thomas Nelson (publisher of the Orthodox Study Bible) has put out. I got the link through this blog, and since I can't figure out how to put a PDF link on here, I'll refer you there.

Should I Start a new blog about GFCF?

I could, you know.

Late last night I made some GFCF St. Basil's bread (Wes found the hidden coin!) and my dd was SO grateful that I'd made the special bread so that she did not feel left out of the celebration when the bread was passed out after Divine Liturgy this morning.

And the other interesting GFCF cooking I did, was used these big pieces of round rice paper wrappers to make some pork and cabbage and onion filled "spring rolls". Well, those were a pain, and it took many tries before I figured out the technique for dealing with the rice wrappers. They are very stiff and have to be immersed in hot water to make them pliable. I was dipping the whole thing in and having a "cling to itself" problem, rendering the wrapper unusable. The solution: dip each edge into the hot water, leaving a stiff bit in the center of the circle untouched by the water. I put the filling on that part and was able to fold the wrapper burrito style just fine. The nice thing…


She is an 8 kg long handled sledgehammer with an old pillow tied around her, complete with red bow!

She needs a name. She is my shovelglove and her purpose is to help me get some exercise.

What shall I name her? Dusty is NOT an option.

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ

Today in the Orthodox Church we celebrate the circumcision of Christ, and his naming in the Temple. It's the eighth day.

That's one thing I like about Orthodoxy: Our liturgical calendar is full and consistent.

I've read various blog posts by various writers this season who are against Christmas, for instance, stating that it's a pagan holiday or that the Bible nowhere states that Jesus was born on December 25th, therefore we have no business commemorating it on this day, etc.

Well, the Orthodox Church has no problem doing so, and neither do I. Neither do we forget Christ's cirucumcision eight days after we celebrate his birth, nor the Annunciation precisely nine months before His birth, on March 25th.

The date of Christmas is tied to the date of the Annunication, which is tied to when the Theotokos visited St. Elizabeth, which is tied to when the birth of St. John the Forerunner is celebrated according to tradition, etc. All of these dates are internally co…