Orthodox Lent and Fasting Recipes

Growing up Catholic I never really though too much about other religious sects within Christianity. I didn’t know any Orthodox Christians and I didn’t know a ton about how things were different. Fast forward to college, not only is Nick’s family Greek Orthodox, but we had friends that were Orthodox as well (Russian, Serbian, etc…)

There is definitely a lot to learn about Orthodox Christianity, and I think I understand most of the basics, but one of the areas that is vastly different is Lent. For Catholics, the more public aspect of Lent is mostly about giving up one thing for the duration as a sacrifice. For Orthodox Christians you fast during Lent, not a fast like no eating or drinking, how you usually associate the word fast.

Keeping it just about the food for WIAW, you fast every Wednesday and Friday. Everyone I know does fasting a little bit different, but for the most part you don’t consume meat or dairy, this also means no eggs or seafood with a bloodline. There are obviously exceptions, pregnant women, children, women who are breastfeeding, etc…

I thought I would share with you some recipes and ideas that follow those guidelines. Recipes that I’ve tried, recipes that friends and family members have tried. If you have any you would like to share please link them below.

Breakfast

For my morning coffee I tend to use almond milk or coconut milk and I use almond milk in my oatmeal. Obviously you can use soy milk as well, but for me personally, I prefer almond or coconut.  Vegan butter can be used as a replacement for regular butter. Personally, I find breakfast to be the hardest meal to keep dairy free, so many breakfast foods have some sort of dairy/meat component, the one that always slips my mind is eggs.

Mindy’s Banana Bread Muffins

 Iowa Girl Eats Immitation Starbucks Oatmeal – like she did, I would use almond milk instead of dairy

Kammie’s Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

Lunch and Dinner

In previous years, I have lived on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and pasta. Not exactly healthy, but I didn’t know nearly as much about cooking as I do now. Now, I have more carbs than I do most weeks of the year, but I try to keep it to things like quinoa and brown rice. I try to load up on lots of veggies and to make sure I find a way to get protein. My favorite family recipes are spinach and rice or lentils. Both recipes I need to write up and share with you. I tend to eat the same stuff for lunch and dinner because it is easier then prepping four different meat & dairy free meals for each of us. Try some of the recipes below if you are fasting this Lent.

Thug Kitchen’s Basmati Stuffed Grilled Peppers, I prefer tomatoes to peppers and might even leave out the rice.

Laura from Mommy Run Fast has a ton of great recipes but here are some highlights: Quinoa Minestrone, Soba Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Tofu, and Crockpot Black Beans.

Wildly Fit’s Lentil Stew – lentils are such a great way to get protein!

Two Peas & Their Pod’s Black Bean and Enchilada Quinoa Bake – this is a family favorite. You can either use vegan cheese or just omit the cheese altogether. It also makes A TON of servings, you can make a whole pan and freeze some so you can take out the servings you need instead of eating it all week.

Burgers – There are a ton of black bean burger recipes out there for you to make the following ones are ones that either I or my family members have made and loved. Maria’s Spicy Black Bean Burger – just omit the cream sauce and Girls Gone Sporty’s Spicy Buffalo Black Bean & Quinoa Burger with Vegan Blue Cheese Sauce. You can also try a Greek Veggie Burger or an unfried Falafel Burger.

Still want pasta, but want something to add to it? Try these quinoa meatless meatballs!

Try slow cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

And if you need something sweet at the end of the day? Try these Crockpot Baked Apples!

Find more recipes at Jenn’s WIAW Linkup!


What are your favorite meat and dairy free recipes? 

A Tale of Two Easter’s: Part Two

As I explained in my last Easter post, Nick and I celebrate Easter twice. The Catholic Easter with my family and Greek Orthodox Easter with Nick’s, some years they fall on the same weekend, but more often than not they are a few weekends apart.

For this marvelous Monday I will show you a bit of our weekend.

We started our weekend with a great Church service with the family, even B wore his best outfit.

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Photo courtesy of my brother-in-law

My mom drove down for the weekend and we spent Saturday together, I even stayed up for the monologue of SNL, that has happened in a very long time.

Sunday was Easter, we had dinner at my in-laws.

Some of mine (and B’s favorites)

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Spanakopita and Tyropita

We also had lamb, steak, pastichio, lots of salad, guacamole, stromboli and many many desserts (which I will blog about soon).

How was your weekend? Have you ever been a part of Greek Easter festivities?

Year of Baking: Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

If you missed yesterday’s post, I chatted about Zooma and gave a discount code for the Cape Cod 10K and Half-Marathon!

For this week’s year of baking I am continuing from my Easter desserts and sharing the Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcake recipe, many of you mentioned that you wanted the recipe so here you go! The recipe is from Bake It In a Cake, and I have to say, I am pretty sure I am going to make all the holiday cupcakes in this cookbook!

BIIACcremeeggcupcake

Ingredients

Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups whole milk
18 miniature cadbury creme eggs

Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup finely shredded sweetened coconut
Green food coloring
Handful of jelly beans

Instructions

Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 tins with 18 paper liners
2. Combine the butter and sugar for 90 seconds or until fluffy
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg completely before adding the next
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl
5. Add (while on med-low) the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
5. Mix on med-high and mix for an additional 30 seconds until all ingredients are well combined
6. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the milk, 1/3 cup of at a time
7. Mixing until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next
8. Scrape down the sides and mix on med-high until smooth and creamy
9. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of batter into each cup or until 3/4 full
10. Place a chocolate creme egg in each cup
11. Lightly spread the batter over the egg, but don’t push it to the bottom
12. bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges and tops are golden brown
13. Allow the cupcakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes
14. Move to a rack and cool completely

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Frosting

15. Whip the butter for about 30 seconds
16. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, whipping on med-high until fluffy
17. Add the vanilla until fully combined
18. If the frosting is too thick add milk
19. Put the coconut in a bowl and use a fork to mix in a few drops of green food coloring
20. Pipe or spread fronton onto cooled cupcakes
21. Roll the edges in the dried coconut
22. Place a few jelly beans in the center

Notes

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As you can see my eggs sank too far into the cupcake and got stuck on the bottom of the wrapper and that was pretty disappointing for me.

The frosting was too thin, again, like the Birthday cupcake, but I looked up a buttercream recipe and they were similar but had flour. I added 1/2 a cup of flour and it was thicker, but not my preferred consistency. Next time I will just use a buttercream recipe.

The vanilla cake was nice and flavorful and the cupcakes came out well, I wouldn’t cover the cadbury eggs if I made these again I would let them sink on their own and hope they don’t touch the bottom.

I was too exhausted after the lengthy lemon bar recipe, so I just made the frosting, no coconut or jelly bean topping, maybe when B is older?

I am not sure I would make these again, they were fast and easy (ha!), but there are a million other recipes floating around Pinterest that I would like to try instead.

Have you ever made a baked good with cadbury creme eggs? Verdict?

A Tale of two Easter’s: Part One

Again, I have moved the Year in Baking (Lemon Lust Bars) post to Tuesday because it would’ve made this post too long.

As I have shared on twitter, this past weekend was the first of two Easter’s I will be celebrating. Let me back explain, Nick is Greek Orthodox, and most of our holidays fall on the same days, Easter is a bit different. For the Orthodox calendar Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the Spring equinox and must follow or occur during Passover. Some years it is the same as Catholic Easter, this year it is not, it is actually the first weekend of May.

I decided that this would be a good time to have both our families over for Easter dinner and to throw a good ol’ dinner party. Thanks to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for their very much needed help cooking! I didn’t take pictures of everything but I will share what I managed to get pics of.

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Table set-up

Using the nice china and everything!

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Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil bites courtesy of my sister & her boyfriend

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Meatballs also courtesy of my sister & her boyfriend

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Sister & boyfriend

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Deviled Eggs courtesy of my mom They took a spill coming in, they look beautiful before that :)

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Homemade Guacamole courtesy of my sister-in-law

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Homemade Tzatziki courtesy of my mother-in-law, yum

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Lasagna

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Roast leg of lamb

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Spring Risotto, recipe courtesy of Sabrina. This was definitely a labor intensive recipe and I wouldn’t do it again for such a large group, but definitely for a dinner party, this was a hit!

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Delicious salad

We also had broccoli, salmon, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes and bread!

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Dessert: Lemon Bars, Cadbury Cream Egg Cupcakes, Fruit, and Greek Cookies

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Caty, Dad, and I

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Nick & I

and my favorite picture of the day

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Uncle Coco and B

How was your Easter? Do you celebrate? Are you a brunch out or a dinner in type of family?

Check out more delicious eats on Jenn’s blog for WIAW


Five Things Friday: Thankful

It’s that time of the week again! Five things I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful for a weekend filled with amazing family and home-cooked meals by my mother-in-law.

2. I am thankful that during my husband’s phone conversation with her today, that neither of them laughed (too much) when I requested broccoli and horseradish (for my baked potato).

3. I am thankful for the full week I had this week that included: watching a great friend run a GREAT Boston Marathon, catching up with good friends, and catching up with some of my family.

4. I am thankful that it seems that the weather is getting warmer…I hope.

5. I am thankful that I got my favorite tea for free today, all because I used a reusable cup.

 

Today’s Question: What is one thing you are thankful for?