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? 

Five Years!

Don’t forget my one true shoe love is in stores today. I suggest you hustle to your nearest retailer then have a blissful run home!

I can’t believe it has been 5 years since Nick and I were married. It seriously has felt like it was forever ago and also like it was yesterday. Crazy how that happens. We’ve had an apartment, bought a condo, bought a house, sold our condo and have had an amazing little boy. Life is beautiful and I am so happy to share this journey with Nick. I didn’t have a blog when Nick and I got married so I figured I would share a few pictures of our wonderful day.

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The Groomsmen & Nick

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THe Bridesmaids & I

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My sister, sister-in-law, and good friend. These girls I love to death!

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In the limo on the way to the church, this is one of my favorite photos and those earrings were lent to me from our jeweler, amazing.

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Dad & I. I was so incredibly nervous, not to get married, but to be the center of attention, and my dad was trying to remain composed.

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I love this moment between Nick and his Papou (grandfather).

To give some background, we got married in a Greek Orthodox church. The ceremony consists of two parts which are distinct and separate from each other: The service of the Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage. Everything in the ceremony has a special meaning and significance, especially the repetition of each act three times to symbolize and to invoke the mystical presence of the Holy Trinity.

The highlight during the service of the Betrothal is the exchanging of the rings. The priest blesses the rings. The koumbara (religious sponsor) then exchanges the rings three times. The exchange signifies that in married life, the weakness of one partner will be compensated by the strength of the other, the imperfections of one, by the perfection of the other. By themselves, the newly betrothed are incomplete, but together they are made perfect. The rite of the betrothal ends with the priest praying for betrothal of mutual promise, officially given before the church, may prove in true faith, concord and love.

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The Wedding begins as the white candles are handed to The Bride and The Groom. These candles symbolize their spiritual willingness to receive Christ.

The crowning is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The wedding crowns (stefana) are joined by a ribbon which again symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity. The priest takes the two crowns and blesses The Bride and The Groom. The Koumbara then steps behind The Bride and The Groom and interchanges the crowns three times as a witness to the sealing of the union.

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The common cup, the cup is denoting the mutual sharing of joy and sorrow, the token of a life of harmony. The drinking of wine from the common cup serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys, as well as sorrows, and that they are to “bear one another’s burdens.” Their joys will be doubled and their sorrows halved because they will be shared.

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Parents & Grandparents

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The ceremonial walk. The priest then leads The Bride and The Groom in a circle around the table on which are placed the Gospel and the Cross. The Bride and The Groom are taking their first steps as a married couple, and the church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk.

You are never announced as man and wife. The bride and groom kiss but this is when you are married. It is obviously different from a traditional Catholic marriage ceremony.

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Coming out of the church

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Nick’s sister was our Koumbara and my maid of honor, and we had a bit of an emotional moment following her speech. They have such a wonderful relationship, I can only hope the same for my children.

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Nick’s best man was ready to give us some laughs! Another wonderful speech.

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My sister and I, love her.

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This photo is amazing and currently hanging in our living room. Bride and Groom, Maid of Honor and Best Man.

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First Greek dance of the night.

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Greek Dancing

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Father/Daughter Dance

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Mother/Son Dance

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Nick and his Dad play a lot of gigs with their Greek band, and they both ended up sitting with our band and played during the wedding.

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My man has moves. Nick is dancing, the money on the floor is a traditional Greek thing, people throw money during special dances etc… some couples take the money, some give it as tips to the band. We chose to do the latter.

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Nick, his sister and I dancing.

I had such an amazing wedding, so happy to be here 5 years later. Here’s to 95 more, I love you.

Have you ever been to a Greek wedding? What was your favorite part?

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?

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