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Almost-Primal Orthodox Christian Lenten Eating and Cooking

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  • Butternut Squash Soup

    Forgive me if this has already been posted, and I cannot remember where I found it. But this soup is DELICIOUS....and Lenten friendly.



    2 butternut squash
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 tablespoon garlic (a couple cloves)
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth if a fast day
    salt and pepper
    1 can coconut milk
    3 tablespoons honey

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds.
    Brush inside and out with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Place squash, inside down, on a baking sheet. Roast one hour.
    Saute onion and garlic until soft over medium heat in a large pot.
    Transfer the squash to the pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
    Add the cumin, honey, coconut milk, salt and pepper.
    Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth.
    Return the soup to the pot.
    Ladle into bowls and garnish either with crispy bacon or toasted nuts of your choice.
    (You can toast nuts in a pan on the stove with some coconut oil.)


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    • Thanks Tim - That looks great - a nice Fall/Winter weather soup! No it hasn't been posted yet - I'll include it in the index on page 11. (When I get up to page 21 I plan to do another index.) How time flies - only about 2 weeks until the Advent fast starts. We, of course, take a break for Thanksgiving, and have a blessing to do so - although my husband would like us to try to keep the Fast and serve salmon, but I told him, none of the kids or our guests would appreciate salmon instead of turkey!

      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


      • Antiochia:

        I'm sure that you have the famous "Coffee Hour" at your Parish. (Are you really Orthodox if you don't go to coffee hour?) :-)

        I know some Parishes just have coffee and pastries. Others, like mine, go all out.

        Assuming yours is like mine....what are some of your favorite crowd-pleasing dishes?


        • I assume you mean during Lent/Advent and other Fasting times. We have more of a lunch than a coffee hour. We split the alphabet in half by last names and A-L bring potluck food one week, and M-Z bring food the next week. And if it is a special event we all bring food. I often bring a large green salad, with lettuce (of one or more kinds), sliced red onion (peel the onion, cut off the ends, put it in a baggie in the refrigerator over night before slicing. It will sweeten!), sliced cucumber, chopped celery leaves, and grape tomatoes, and other veggies if I have them. You can just layer this stuff in multiple layers in a big punch bowl and serve dressing on the side. Be sure to save out some of the veggies to put on the top, otherwise they just get buried. If you make your own dressings, put them in washed out commercial salad dressing bottles with the flip up top. Then people can close the flip top and shake the bottle if the dressing separates. See posts #15 (page 2), #27 (page 3), #34 (page 4). My two favorite salad dressings are on post #6 (page 1).

          Another thing I often do is bring soup in a big crockpot. My favorite soup to bring is Curried Sweet Potato Soup, post #56 (page 6). Everyone always asks for that recipe!

          If it is a *fish* day, I've brought pickled herring in wine sauce (I buy this, I don't make it), or a tuna apple salad with vegan mayo (See Flaxseed Mayonnaise in a Jar, post #52, page 6) I don't think that salad recipe is on this site, but it is basically tuna, celery, carrots, apples, onions, mayo, dijon mustard, and sometimes frozen peas, mixed together in whatever proportions you want.

          One thing I used to bring - and always got compliments on - (but you need crackers for it, although I suppose you could also serve celery, or another veggie to put it on), is:

          (Note: double this for potluck proportions!)

          3/4 cup almonds (raw, blanched, or slivered)
          3/4 cup cashews (raw)
          1 carrot, finely grated
          2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
          2 tablespoons water
          about 2 tablespoons chopped onion
          about 2 tablespoons chopped celery

          Using a blender, blend the almonds to a meal (perhaps in two or more batches) and dump into a bowl. Do the same with the cashews and dump into the same bowl. Add the carrot, vinegar, and water. Mix well. Then stir in the onions and celery. Use as a sandwich filling or a spread for crackers (I used to serve this with rye crisp crackers). Makes 1-1/2 cups -- 12 servings at 2 tablespoons each.

          Per 2 tablespoon serving: Calories: 82.0, Total Fat: 6.5 g, Cholesterol: 0.0 mg, Sodium: 5.2 mg, Total Carbs: 28.6 g, Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g, Protein: 2.8 g

          Edit: Hmmmmm - I wonder if you could add apple chunks to the above spread and serve it as a salad? I haven't tried it though -- the idea just hit me.

          PS (another edit): If I'm asked to bring a dessert, I bring Carrot Brownies, post #71, page 8.
          Last edited by Antiochia; 11-01-2013, 09:15 AM.

          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


          • For those times when you are in a hurry:


            In a blender combine:
            1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
            1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
            1/2 teaspoon vanilla
            2 teaspoons dry unsweetened cocoa
            1 scoop OR 1/4 cup vegan protein powder*
            8 drops liquid stevia or use the sweetener of your choice
            Blend well.

            If you choose, you can thicken the drink with either ground chia or ice.

            Add either 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds OR some ice. If you want to drink it immediately use the ice and blend well.

            If you can wait, use the ground chia. Blend well and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.

            *Vegan protein powder is probably the only non-primal ingredient here. Try to find one without soy.

            See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


            • Here's another smoothie recipe:


              1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat, canned
              1/2 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
              1 scoop OR 1/4 cup vegan protein powder
              1/4 cup canned pumpkin
              8 drops stevia or sweetener of choice
              1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
              1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon allspice + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon +1/8 teaspoon ginger

              Combine in a blender. You can add ice if you like. This tastes best chilled.

              Note 1/15/2014: Still looking for a good vegan protein powder. First try this recipe with only 2 tablespoons of protein powder. Some of the vegan powders are rather strong tasting.
              Last edited by Antiochia; 04-08-2014, 07:57 AM.

              See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


              • I've begun to experiment with CHIA GEL -- I've read it can be used for egg and fat replacement. Here is how I make it:

                I put 1/4 cup seeds in a pint size jar. Fill the jar 3/4 full of water and shake well. Let the solution rest for a couple minutes, then shake again. Stir if necessary. Repeat. You do this for a few times until the chia seeds stay evenly distributed. Stir in water to the top of the jar. Refrigerate. It will be ready to use in a few hours or overnight. It keeps for about 3 weeks in the fridge.

                Here is one of my experiments -- I thought it turned out pretty good!

                (EDIT 11/16/13: CAUTION! THIS RECIPE IS STILL EXPERIMENTAL - The fact that it turned out so well the first time I made it was a fluke. The last two times I've made it, it has stuck to the waffle iron and split in half, even though this last time I greased my non-stick waffle iron with palm shortening, and I added more oil to the batter.)

                (Makes one serving)

                1/4 cup chia gel
                1 tablespoon coconut milk, full fat, canned
                1 teaspoon oil of choice (I use either safflower oil or melted coconut oil)
                1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
                5 drops liquid stevia (or use a sweetener of your choice)
                1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
                1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
                1/8 teaspoon sea salt
                2 tablespoons vegan protein powder
                1/4 cup ground golden flax seed
                1/4 teaspoon baking soda
                1/4 teaspoon baking powder

                Mix together 1/4 cup of chia gel, the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, liquid stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix very well. Then add the protein powder, ground flax, baking soda, and baking powder.

                Spoon the batter into the middle of your waffle iron. Bake according to your waffle iron's directions.

                Serve with butter or coconut oil and something sweet (syrup, berries, applesauce, etc...). This makes a very filling breakfast!

                Serving Size: For me this makes one 4-square 8" x 8" rounded waffle (without filling in the corners).

                Nutritional Info: Calories: 330.6, Fat: 23.1 g; Cholesterol: 30.0 mg; Sodium: 443.1 mg; Carbs: 17.9 g (Net carbs: 2.3); Dietary Fiber: 15.6 g; Protein: 19.6 g
                Last edited by Antiochia; 11-16-2013, 07:54 AM.

                See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                • FYI: I've begun experimenting with Pea Protein Powder as a vegan protein powder. At the moment I would suggest that for any recipe calling for the addition of protein powder, use half the recommended amount if you want to use Pea protein. It seems to thicken recipes (which may be an advantage in certain circumstances and needs more experimentation), and also has a stronger flavor, so any flavorings and spices in the recipe may need increasing.

                  See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                  • The Advent Fast is coming – beginning tomorrow! -- so I made up a batch of Mushroom Base/Stock yesterday, to have on hand for meals. Here’s the recipe. It’s a great addition to Lenten style cooking:

                    MUSHROOM BASE/STOCK

                    2/3 cup dried Porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
                    1-1/2 cups boiling water
                    2 cups sliced onion
                    2 tablespoons coconut oil
                    1 lb. white mushrooms cleaned and sliced
                    2 more tablespoons coconut oil
                    1 lb Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms cleaned, and sliced
                    8 cups water
                    1/2 cup brewed black coffee
                    2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate*
                    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
                    2 tablespoons vegetable broth seasoning
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1 teaspoon garlic powder
                    1/2 teaspoon thyme
                    1/2 teaspoon sage
                    A few grindings of black pepper
                    (*I empty a can of frozen apple juice concentrate into a wide mouth pint size jar and keep it in the freezer. Then I can scrape out what I need for recipes. It doesn't freeze very solid and if it thaws out you can refreeze it without a problem)

                    Have a stock pot, a small bowl, a large bowl, and a blender ready (also an immersion blender if possible).

                    Break the dried Porcini mushrooms into little pieces and measure 2/3 cup. Place in the small bowl and cover with 1-1/2 cups boiling water and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

                    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the stock pot and add the sliced onions. Stir to coat the onion pieces with oil and cook covered over medium-low heat for at least 10 minutes until the onions are tender. Meanwhile clean and slice the white mushrooms and the Baby Bella mushrooms and keep them separate. Add the sliced white mushrooms to the onions and turn up the heat. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are cooked and release their juices – about 8 minutes or so. Pour the cooked onions and mushrooms into the large bowl and reserve. Then, with the heat on medium-high heat, add the other 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the stock pot and dump in the sliced Baby Bella mushrooms. Cook and stir until they are cooked, and if they get browner all the better. Then dump the onions and white mushrooms back into the pot with the cooked Baby Bellas, and add the 8 cups (2 quarts) of water. Drain the Porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking water, and chop them up a little more. Then add the porcinis and the soaking water to the pot. Add all the rest of the ingredients and let it all simmer for at least 30 minutes.

                    Then, I use my immersion blender to chop up everything as uniformly as possible. Next, to get the mixture completely smooth, I blend it up in batches in a regular blender. If it has been uniformly chopped up first by the immersion blender, then when I finish emulsifying each batch with the regular blender, I can pour the mixture directly from the blender into wide mouth pint size mason jars. (Be careful when blending hot liquids in a blender. Hold a folded towel over a lid, otherwise the hot liquid can explode out and burn you when you blend it.)

                    I put the lids on the pint size jars and let the mushroom base/stock cool in the fridge (or just on the counter), and then I put them in the freezer.

                    This makes about 8 pints.

                    To use, thaw by putting the jar of mushroom stock/base into a sink-full of lukewarm water. When it thaws around the edges, you can dump it out into a pot on the stove and melt it.

                    You can use this vegan mushroom base as an ingredient in soups, gravies, and stews.

                    Edit 12/16/2013 Today, I thawed out one of my jars (the jars contain a little less than a pint because I have to leave room for expansion during freezing). The mushroom base had separated so I put it in the blender and it turned out fine. I used it to make a cream of mushroom soup: I added 1/3 cup raw cashews and 1 teaspoon of vegetable broth seasoning and blended it well in the blender. Then I heated it to serving temperature. It made two appetizer size servings of soup
                    Last edited by Antiochia; 12-16-2013, 06:35 PM.

                    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                    • Here's another good shrimp curry recipe:

                      SHRIMP & SPINACH CURRY
                      2 tablespoons coconut oil
                      2 cups sliced onion
                      2-4 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (or to taste)
                      1 can full fat coconut milk
                      1 teaspoon garlic powder
                      1/2 teaspoon salt
                      Freshly ground black pepper to taste
                      One 9 or 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach
                      One pound raw shrimp, thawed, and tails pulled off (I also slice them in half into long thin pieces, as if I were butterflying them, but I cut them completely in half)
                      Crushed Red Pepper for sprinkling (optional)

                      Have ready: cooked rice or cauliflower rice

                      Melt the coconut oil over med-low heat. Add in the sliced onion and saute until just clear, about 5 minutes. Add the green curry paste, coconut milk, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper and turn to low. Simmer about 5 minutes, and then add the frozen chopped spinach. Let cook until the spinach is thawed and everything is hot. Then stir in the raw shrimp. Let simmer until the shrimp is cooked.

                      Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with crushed red pepper to sprinkle over. Makes about 4 servings.

                      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                      • Here is a link with guidelines for the Nativity (or Advent) Fast from the Antiochian Archdiocese. Different jurisdictions may handle this fast differently. Here is how we do it (and in the United States, we break the fast to celebrate Thanksgiving):
                        Guidelines for the Nativity Fast | Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

                        See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                        • Blessed Advent Fast! The Advent Fast begins today, Nov. 15. For Old Calendar Orthodox Christians, the Fast will begin 13 days later on Old Calendar November 15th (which is Nov 28 on our calendar). Here's a recipe to kick off the Fast:


                          3 cups properly soaked and cooked Garbanzo Beans (see post #35, page 4)
                          1/4 cup Tahini paste
                          3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
                          1/4 cup water
                          1/2 teaspoon salt
                          1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                          1/2 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
                          2 tablespoons olive oil (or high oleic sunflower oil)
                          1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

                          Combine the garbanzos, tahini, lemon juice, water, salt, garlic powder, and cumin in a food processor and process until smooth. Then slowly add the oil with the machine running. When the oil is incorporated, pulse in the chopped parsley if using.

                          Serve as a dip for raw veggies.

                          OR make:

                          HUMMUS SOUP - Mix equal amounts of hummus and water and heat on the stove or in the microwave.

                          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                          • Ah!! I made this last night! It was a hit!!

                            Thanks be to God for good Lenten recipes! lol

                            Here's one my wife found:

                            Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash


                            1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked (I plan on making this next week, and will use cauliflower rice)
                            2 acorn squash
                            1 tablespoon olive oil
                            1/4 red onion, finely chopped
                            3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
                            1 small zucchini, small chop
                            2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
                            5 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
                            2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
                            1 tablespoon paprika
                            1 tablespoon ground cumin
                            1/4 cup nutritional yeast (I dunno about this one....)
                            1/2 teaspoon sea salt
                            Dash of freshly ground black pepper


                            Cook the brown rice according to directions (Note: approximate cooking time for 2 cups is 45-60 minutes).

                            Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

                            Gently scrub skins of the squash and cut off any long stems. Slice the acorn squash in ˝, from end to end, and scoop out seeds and loose membranes.

                            To prepare the stuffing, sauté the red onion in olive oil for 2 minutes over medium heat or until onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until it just begins to turn a very light golden brown. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the spinach, paprika, cumin, yeast, salt, and pepper.

                            Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and remove from heat.

                            Turn the squash cut-side up and scoop stuffing mixture into each squash ˝, packing it well and mounding the mixture high. Wrap each squash ˝ in aluminum foil and place on a cookie sheet.

                            Bake for 1 hour until the squash is thoroughly tender and easy to pierce with a fork.

                            Sounds good.....may need a tweak or two.


                            • (I meant I made the Shrimp and Spinach Curry last night.)


                              • Thanks Tim! With Thanksgiving coming up, and us hosting guests, I haven't been online much. Yesterday I was doing my Thanksgiving grocery shopping, and as I walked by the acorn squash I wished I had a good primal lenten recipe for stuffed acorn squash. I finally logged on this morning, and you've got one for me! I don't think there is any thing wrong with nutritional yeast -- it adds a nice savory/cheesy flavor. Glad you liked the Shrimp and Spinach Curry!

                                Just thought I'd share a quick breakfast idea, that seemed to hold me until lunch:

                                Bulletproof coffee with coconut oil (see post # 96, pg. 10)
                                One apple sliced, with a scoop of almond butter to dip the slices in.
                                That's it!

                                See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.