Sunday began the period of fasting we call "The Nativity Fast" in the Orthodox Church. This is my third Nativity Fast. I was a little taken back when I realized this last night. Being Orthodox has become such a part of me that I forget sometimes that I haven't always been here. But, on the other hand, time flies. I can't believe that I am entering into this fast for the third time!
Last night we prayed the first Paraklesis service. I have mentioned it before. For those of you who don't know it. It is a service of intercessory prayer to the Theotokos. (The bearer of God, The Virgin Mary.)
For the first time in almost a year, we sang this song:
"The Virgin cometh today into the cave to give birth, ineffably to bring forth Christ the Word eternal. Therefore, rejoice, O earth at the message glad with the angels and shepherds give glory to Him who shall appear by His own will as a young child, He who is from eternity God."
I love to sing this song. I love it not only for the lyrics, but also for the sweet memories it brings to mind. I love this service because it is a quiet service after the sun goes down. I always feel cozy and safe with my fellow parishioners in the church whenever we're praying this service. That's one of the many reasons I love it so much!
I still don't really feel like Christmas is anywhere near. (That might have something to do with the 70 degree weather outside...) But, last night brought back a few happy memories of preparations for Christmas in the past few years. (I am aware that I should have been more focused during the service, but my mind wanders frequently.)
Of course, I cannot write a post without including some mention of food:
Someone asked me on Sunday if I planned on posting some fasting recipes soon. During every fast one food emerges as the "go to" food for the fast. Such as my 15 bean soup or something quick and easy to prepare. I have already noticed an obsession with sweet potatoes. Since I'm just cooking for me it's easy to make a potato and have a pretty decent meal. (I realize it lacks a lot of protein, I didn't say it was perfect. But, it is decently healthy.) I will definitely be posting some fabulous sweet potato recipes soon.
I also have another new obsession. It isn't for something NEARLY as healthy. But, it's pretty great if you ask me.
On Sunday my friend Liz and I were talking about her recent experiments with a really cool idea using black beans in brownies. (I'll let her post more on that sometime.) She mentioned the "Coke Cake." I had no idea what this was, but I was definitely intrigued. I think it's magic. Or rather it's two very highly processed foods coming together to form cake. AND, it's fasting friendly! AWESOME!
1 Can of Coca-Cola (you are welcome to use diet, or any other type of fizzy soda.)
1 Cake mix (I used chocolate for mine, but I think a ginger ale/ carrot cake mix combo would be really good!)
Mix the coke and the cake mix. Bake according to package directions.
No, I am not kidding. This just made my LIFE!
I made icing for it, but I didn't really follow a recipe. I used margerine, a little bit of coke, cocoa, vanilla, and powdered sugar. It will do the trick in a pinch, but I've made better icing in the past. Last night, I made an icing with rasberries and lemon zest that turned out really well! (I was inspired by the "razzle dazzle" cupcake at Muddy's Bake Shop, chocolate cake with rasberry icing.)
It's interesting to note that I was just talking with a friend about cutting back on the processed foods during this fast... Everyone needs cake every once in a while!
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