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A simple soup with a creamy texture using cashew cream.  Cashew “cream” is made by soaking cashews overnight then blending them into a very smooth consistency.

The cashew cream doesn’t add much flavor but it does deliver some fat and protein.  However, this is a  light carby soup and it might not stick with you. So, if you have blood sugar issues and carby makes you crabby pass this right over.

If you use soy you might balance the carbs with a bit of soy milk.  Alternatively, you could use a 1/2 cup of tahini provided the tahini is pretty oily and not over roasted.

If you don’t give a hoot about the protein then use any old non dairy milk.

My kids love this soup so we also eat it during ordinary time with milk instead of cream.

This recipe is adapted from Robert Irvine’s on Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

8 cups vegetable stock

6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces

4 leeks (whites only), thoroughly washed and sliced

3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon of salt

pepper

1 cup of raw cashews for cashew cream (or 1/2 cup tahini)

Cashew cream:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight in enough water to completely cover
  1.  Drain soaked cashews, add cashews and 3/4 cup of water into a blender or use a stick blender and blend until absolutely smooth

Directions

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Put the vegetable stock, potatoes, leeks, celery, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Boil until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend the soup until smooth.
  4. Pour the soup into a medium pot; add the cashew cream and simmer briefly.  Serve.

 

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If shellfish are on your allowed list you might enjoy this curry.  It is mild and kid friendly.  If you don’t eat creatures try bean sprouts or tofu for protein.

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple magazine October 2004

Ingredients

1 large unpeeled tart apple, such as Granny Smith

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (omit if necessary and gently simmer in water)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened, full fat, coconut milk

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and veined (I use the 12 ounce bag from Aldi and it’s plenty)

1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

Directions

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Quarter,core, and slice the apple into 1/4 inch thick pieces; set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the ginger, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and golden, 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add the curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes, apple, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the peas and coconut milk and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  7. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes until just cooked.  Stir in the cilantro.
  8. Serve over brown rice.

45 minutes, 4 servings

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After I had my daughter, eleven years ago, Proeteasa Joan brought me this lovely cake along with Florentine Cannelini Soup.  She hoped that the iron from the molasses and the spinach would help me recover.  I’m still touched by her thoughtfulness.

She gave me a copy of the recipe with these notes:

This heirloom recipe for Molasses Cake was found in the 1920 cookbook of Therese Farrell.  Cooks in the old days (remembering my mother and grandmother, now) were artistic in their cooking and thus, a cup of flour may not necessarily be a level cup because they cooked by feel and by experience.  It may be that this batter is a bit thin, however, if it was I would still try it first and see if it worked.  Again, we have to remember that the gluten content of today’s flour is higher and less flour can make more volume than it once did.

I like this cake with cool applesauce and a dash of cinnamon.

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup lard (use shortening or some other suitable vegan solid fat)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 level teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups strong, black coffee at room temperature

 

  1. Lord, bless my work.
  2. Grease and flour 9 x 13 cake pan.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Cream together sugar, molasses, and shortening.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and baking soda.
  5. Cool 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) strong, black coffee to room temperature.
  6. Combine the dry mixture with the lard/sugar/molasses mixture.
  7. While combining, slowly add the black coffee and stir vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed and a smooth batter is formed.
  8. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or butter knife.

 

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When you fix pasta for dinner during the Fast be prepared to be hungry again in an hour unless you’re pious and leave the table hungry to start.  I have to get my kids through 90 minutes of karate and that won’t happen on white noodles alone.

Here are a couple of noodle hacks to try:

Whole wheat pasta takes longer to metabolize

Pasta with lentil, chickpea, or quinoa flour (most well stocked groceries have these)

Use a spaghetti squash instead and the lower carb count won’t spike your blood sugar so you won’t notice the lack of protein as much

Use zucchini “noodles” for the same effect, and zucchini has a touch more protein

Try gnocci (they’re tiny potato dumplings)

Sprinkle your pasta with nutritional yeast and ground almonds (Parmesan alternative)

Serve a side salad with sunflower seeds for a bit more protein

You can literally just add some cooked beans at the last minute, chickpeas or butter beans, something without much flavor.

I occasionally add other vegetables to this recipe.  I shred them on the box grater first.  My husband and kids prefer it in its original veggie-less form.

Mom’s Pasta Sauce

16 ounces tomato sauce

16 ounces of water

6 ounce can of tomato paste

scant 1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

6 cloves

sprinkle of pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Bake your spaghetti squash or zoodle your zucchini and let it rest.
  3. Combine all over ingredients in a large sauce pan or another pot, stir, and simmer for one hour. Remove bay leave and cloves.
  4. Boil pasta with salt.
  5. Serve.

You can also do this in a crock-pot on low for 6 hours.  If you use other vegetables (carrot, celery, onion, sweat them in the pot before adding the other ingredients).

 

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Enchiladas w/ cheese sauce (on the right hand side)

These enchiladas are very satisfying and they stick to your ribs.  They’re best hot of out of the oven.

I recommend corn tortillas for this recipe in order to complement the bean protein.  The “cheese” sauce adds protein from the nutritional yeast.  Corn tortillas are a bit ornery.  It helps if they are warm or at least room temperature before you try to roll them.  You can also pour some enchilada sauce on a plate and coat both sides of the tortilla before filling and rolling.

You may use canned enchilada sauce to save time.

Enjoy!

Bean Enchiladas with “Cheese” Sauce

1 pkg (8) corn tortillas

1 can of refried pinto beans or black beans

1 small can green chiles (optional)

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

Enchilada sauce

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cumin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

Cheese sauce recipe

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix beans, chiles, onions in a bowl, set aside.

Step 3. Heat enchilada sauce ingredients to boiling in a 2 quart sauce pan, stirring occasionally.  Simmer uncovered 5 minutes.  Pour some on a plate to dip tortillas in.

Step 4. Dip each tortilla into sauce to coat both sides.  Scoop ¼ cup of bean mix onto each tortilla, drizzle with “cheese” sauce; roll closed.

Step 5. Place rolled tortilla seam side down in an ungreased baking dish.

Step 6. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.

Step 7. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until bubbly.  Pour “cheese” sauce over enchiladas and bake another 5 minutes.

Step 8. Serve as is or top with lettuce, tomato, and chopped onion.

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colorful and steamy

After my daughter’s birth a very thoughtful Preoteasa J brought us this wonderful soup.  The beans are packed with protein, the spinach is very nutritious, and the sun dried tomatoes taste great.  Spinach contains huge amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is necessary for proper blood clotting.  Vitamin K is also synthesized in the guts.  That means babies cannot process this vitamin until a few days following birth.  Consequently, hospitals usually administer a vitamin K shot to babies.  Since we had a home birth, and thus no vitamin K shot,I was especially glad to get a big bowl of spinach soup afterward.  It was great for recovery for me, and a good beginning for S.

With this soup you may wish to add a complementary grain to make the most of the protein in the beans.  I recommend brown rice as a side dish, or you may add it to the soup.  Wheat crackers will also complement the beans.  Adding a complement increases the available protein by 43%.  (According to the Lappe).  In a non fast period you could add Parmesan cheese for the same effect.

Also, this is a great chance to try browning onions without oil.  According to D.J. Mesfin, author of Exotic Ethiopian Cooking, Ethiopian cooks almost never use oil for cooking onions.  “In all your cooking, except when you cook mild dishes, make sure that you brown your onions without adding oil or butter.  This needs your undivided attention to avoid scorching…”  The key here is to keep stirring and add a tablespoon of water if things get ugly.  No need to worry if things do get ugly because everything happens in one pot!  Any stuck onions will come off during the gentle simmer.

I have adapted this recipe from the Bush’s Bean website to improve its nutritional value and to make it fast friendly.

Florentine Cannellini One Pot Soup

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

Indispensable in an Orthodox pantry

1 bag of fresh spinach (10 or 16 oz)

1 15.5 oz can of dark red kidney beans

1 15.5 oz can of light red kidney beans

1 15.5 oz can of cannellini beans *

Homemade sun dried tomatoes.

5 1/2 cups of water or vegetable broth

3 tsp better than bouillon vegetable base (omit if using vegetable broth)

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips

1 tsp dried basil

salt to taste

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Cook onion and garlic in a large stock pot or dutch oven.  You may use oil or water to saute.

Step 3. Add spinach and 1 tablespoon of water.  Cover.  Cook 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.

Step 4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes.

*  If you can not find Canellini beans, Great Northern beans work just as well.  In fact, feel free to use all red kidney beans in this recipe as the different colors are simply for looks.

I like to make this soup in double batches.  There is very little preparation so a double batch doesn’t take much longer.  Then I put the soup in pint jars (leaving one inch head space) and freeze.  A pint is a good single serving.  Pre-made meals are really good in Lent when we should think about food as little as possible.

Five pints of soup for later

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Hi there.  Okay, today’s recipe is a favorite around my house.  Beans and rice form a complete protein (meaning they are complementary and easy for the body to use) and oh so good for you.  I will post three versions of my personal recipe, fast, medium and slow.

The slow recipe takes about 1 hour to complete because it uses dried beans.  The first benefit of using dried beans is that they are inexpensive, about $1.25/pound.  Secondly, if you first boil dried beans with 1 tsp of baking soda it will cut down on the gas in the beans.  After the first boil, pour off the water and add new water.

The medium length recipe takes about 30 minutes because it uses brown rice.  I recommend brown rice universally because it is not processed therefore preserving the B vitamins, fiber, and protein. 1/4 cup (dry) of natural brown rice has 3 grams of protein while 1/2 cup (dry) of white rice has 3 grams of protein.  You would need to eat twice as much quick rice to get the protein you would get from a serving of brown rice.  However, that is not to say you should never eat white rice.  If that’s what you like, eat it, but eat it with beans. White rice also has B vitamins because the government requires processors  to enrich white products.

A one cup serving of beans and rice will have about 10 grams of protein, 7 from the beans 3 from the rice.

You can garnish this with chopped green onions.  On how to keep green onions all fast long, look to the next post.

Now, on to the recipes.

Slow Red Beans and Rice (Serves a hungry wife and husband) Approx. 1 hour

1 cup dry kidney beans

1 cup brown long grain rice

1 onion (appx. 1 cup), chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 tsp salt

4 Tablespoons oil

dash black pepper

water

1.  “Lord, bless my work.”

2.  In a 2 quart sauce pan simmer onions in oil until they begin to turn transparent.

3.  While the onions are cooking, in a separate pan, bring two cups of water to a boil and add kidney beans.   Gently boil for one minute (or according to package directions) and pour off water.

4.  Add 4 cups of  water to onions, add beans, cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

5.  Add brown rice and salt, simmer for 10 minutes.

6.  Add green pepper.

7.  Cook until all water is absorbed.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Medium Length Red Beans and Rice (Serves hungry wife and husband)  Apprx. 30 minutes

1 can kidney beans

1 cup brown long grain rice

1 onion (appx. 1 cup), chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 tsp salt

4 Tablespoons oil

dash black pepper

water

1.  “Lord, bless my work.”

2.  In 2 quart sauce pan saute onion in oil until fragrant.

3.  Add 2 cups of water, rice, and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

4.  Gently stir in green pepper; simmer, 8 minutes; add beans.

5.  Cook until all water is absorbed, salt and pepper to taste.

Fast Red Beans and Rice

1 can kidney beans

1 cup brown/white minute rice

2 tsp onion salt

1 green pepper, finely chopped or 1 cup frozen bell pepper

1/2 tsp salt

4 Tablespoons oil

dash black pepper

water

1.  “Lord, bless my work”.

2. Add rice and water according to package directions.

3.  Add green pepper, salt, and beans.

4.  Cook until all water is absorbed, salt and pepper to taste.

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