Monday, November 30, 2015

Minty Radish Green Pesto

2 garlic cloves
radish greens
salt, pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh mint (optional) or basil or cilantro or parsley

Directions: blend them all together and serve with gluten-free crackers/pasta, also stuff fresh mini red peppers or serve as topping on soups. (may change the radish greens with spinach, kale etc)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Delicious Pears With Cinnamon

A very simple dessert: organic pears, cut into bite sizes and a sprinkle of cinnamon!
This combination can be added to cooked buckwheat flakes, along with some ground flax seeds and nuts for a nutritious vegan & gluten-free breakfast. (other optional ingredients to add: raisins/cranberries/flax seed oil/berries).

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Saint Nectarios of Pentapolis

"Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside of it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God.
But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: "To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?"
Saint Nectarios

The Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Nectarios on November 9.

Alexandria 15th September 1998
The Holy Spirit has enlightened the gathered members of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, under the leadership of H.B. Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, more than a century since Saint Nektarios, the great Teacher and Father of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church was expelled from the Church of Alexandria, to reach the following decision:

Taking into account the resolution of the Church to rank Saint Nektarios amongst the saints because of his innumerable miracles and his acceptance within the religious conscience of Orthodox Christians throughout the world, we appeal to the mercy of the ever-charitable God.
We hereby restore the ecclesiastical order of the Saint of our Century, Saint Nektarios, and grant to him all due credits and honors. We beseech Saint Nektarios to forgive both us, unworthy as we are, and our predecessors, our brothers of the Throne of Alexandria, for opposition to the Saint and for all which, due to human weakness or error, our Holy Father, Bishop of Pentapolis, Saint Nektarios, suffered.


By the Grace of God
Pope and Patriarch
of Alexandria and All Africa.
Below is the chanting of "Agne Parthene", a chanting composed by Saint Nectarios:
Translation by the Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania
O Virgin Pure
Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)
Refrain: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and purer than the sun's light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav'nly armies.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon'rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flow'r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
(Source and translation: Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

The Synaxis of The Archangel Michael and The Other Bodiless Powers

The Synaxis of The Archangel Michael and The Other Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel is celebrated today by the Orthodox Christians all over the world.
November 8th – Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other ...
God created these orders nine months after He created the world.(I did not know that). Angels are not to be worshipped. The following is the hierarchy of the nine orders: six-winged seraphim, many-eyed cherubim, godly thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels and angels. Archangel Michael is the leader of the angelic army. His name means, "Who is like God."
When Lucifer and his followers, were cast from heaven, Archangel Michael said to the remaining half of the angels in heaven, "Let us give heed! Let us stand right! Let us stand with fear!" Archangel Michael defends the Garden of Eden, told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, told Lot to flee Sodom, protected Jacob from Esau, took the soul of Moses from the devil, and changed the course of a river in Asia Minor to protect a holy spring in a church.

The icon depicting Archangel Michael is on the left side of the iconostasis in all Orthodox churches, and Archangel Gabriel is on the right. The name Gabriel means " The Power of God". Archangel Gabriel announces the mysteries of God.

The Iconostasis (A Guest Post)
Oct 2013 15:36:07 | Architecture , spirituality

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fresh Fruit with Mascarpone Cheese

I have tried something similar this week-end and I really liked the idea of this paleo sweet recipe, especially for kids and parties. The original recipe had whipped cream, but since it is so hard to find a "clean" variety I decided to replace it with cheese.

3 pears, cut into bite sizes
1 apple, cut into bite sizes
1/2 cup raisins
1 container with mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar (or raw honey)

Mix the sugar with the cheese together in a small blender. Set aside for a minute. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients until all fruit is well covered in cheese mix. Serve.

Note: One can change the ingredients to cranberries instead of raisins and add coconut flakes. The desert can stay in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Other possible ingredients are grapes, cinnamon powder (for decoration) and vanilla.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Romania's children are the happiest in the world

... în România pentru copiii de la şcoala generală din Micherechi

We like to think our children are the happiest they can be, but are they the happiest in the world?
New research completed by Goethe University surveyed 53,000 children between the ages of 10 and 12 to see just how happy they were.
15 countries took part in the survey... and the UK didn't come out on top. Romania did.
The top spot was shortly followed by cheerful kids in Colombia, Israel third and Algeria fourth. The UK came in second from last.
The report surveyed children on their home and family life, money and possessions, friends and relationships, school, their local area and their own self.
Children were given questionnaires and were also asked about psychological wellbeing as well as overall satisfaction.

The researchers concluded overall that generally children were more satisfied with their family and friendships than with other aspects of their lives such as school and their local area.
There were variations between countries. In the three African countries surveyed, school was more prominent among the aspects that children were most satisfied with.
Differences between girls and boys were looked at, and while girls tended to be more positive about their school lives, boys placed more happiness on playing sport and exercising.
The most notable differences in gender were revealed in the children's answers to questions about their view of themselves. In five European countries and South Korea, girls were significantly less satisfied with their appearance and body than boys.
So from happiest to children to least happy children, here are how the countries ranked.
1. Romania
2. Colombia
3. Israel
4. Algeria
5. Turkey
6. Norway
7. Estonia
8. Spain
9. Germany
10. Ethiopia
11. South Africa
12. Nepal
13. Poland
14. United Kingdom
15. South Korea

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The new app is a great tool for both patients and doctors:

"Gain insights into your diet and health. Track your meals with a few simple taps of your favorite foods, set the intensity of any symptoms experienced, and then run our analysis algorithms to see if any patterns emerge between your diet and symptoms. Share a web report of your diary/journal with your doctor or dietitian."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Message to the Pope

Since the Pope is to come to US this month, I was thinking of this great article below.

Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol -  on the Pope's visit to Cyprus

Saturday, September 12, 2015

“A Gift for Mathew”

I have always been touched by the wonderfully illustrated books by Masha Lobastov. My children are very fond of her first book, "And Then Nicholas Sang: The Story of the Trisagion Hymn ", which has been translated in other languages already.

"A Gift for Mathew" is yet another beautiful work in which a young boy visits an orthodox monastery and learns amazing facts about the rich tradition of iconography. Thus, he has the unique opportunity to see how icons are being made and he even has the chance to help. The Jesus Prayer said while working on the icons grows the color, the melodious lines and finally the image depicted is all done. Just as the prayer transforms spiritually, so the prayer in the icons brings the young closer to God and His saints. Mathew is even more excited about returning back to the monastery, especially after finding the unexpected gift. "
Quick View

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Nativity of the Theotokos

The Nativity of the Theotokos is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on September 8. There are many resources that can be found through Mystagogy website:

"All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace, The assembly of Angels and the race of men. O Sanctified Temple and rational Paradise! O Glory of Virgins! From you, God was incarnate and become a child, our God before the ages. He made your body into a throne, and your womb H made more spacious than the heavens. All of Creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace! Glory to you!"
    St Basil the Great

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
One of the things to which we aspire as Orthodox Christians is to be wise and faithful stewards. Surely we are familiar with the importance of properly managing our talents and treasures, of using the gifts with which we have been blessed to glorify God and to serve one another. Somewhat more elusive is the call to be stewards, or managers, of our time. While we may be committed fully to offering our talents for the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom, and while we may be thoroughly dedicated to setting aside the first and best of all we possess for this purpose, it is often the case we are remiss in setting aside the time we need actually to accomplish these things.
The culture in which we live is obsessed with time. While we are offered “time-saving” devices and methods of every sort, we often find that our days are filled with rushing from one event and activity to another with little or no chance for reflections; that our children are “over scheduled;” that we wish we had forty-eight hours in a day just to meet the demands of daily life. Among today’s best-selling books are those dealing with “time management,” each promising do divulge the “secrets” of maintaining a “balance” in our hectic lives.
In the Church, it is not uncommon to hear even our most faithful members lament how they have little time to pray or attend services, much less to minister to others, to make a “time commitment” to the building up of the Body of Christ, or to engage in those things which, just decades ago, made the parish the center of personal and community life. All too often, it is the case that, in “prioritizing our time,” we regulate the spiritual life to the bottom of the list, or pursue it only if and when every other aspect of our lives is satisfied and fulfilled. Instead of setting aside the first portion of our time for the things eternal, we pursue the material first, reserving the “extra time” so many seem never to have for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – and all those things that bring and restore a true balance to our lives.
In his Great Kanon, Saint Andrew of Crete laments the many times we “squander” our time in laziness or in “rushing about in vain.” In so doing, he calls us to recognize not only the need wisely to order our time, but to repent when we fail to do so.
On the first day of September, we mark the beginning of the ecclesiastical year. The commemoration itself reminds us of the constant need to re-evaluate and recapture that which is central to our lives as Orthodox Christians, to restore balance in all we do, and in repentance to make an earnest attempt to set aside a portion – the “first portion” – of our time to acquire the peace of the Holy Spirit, without which our “rushing about” is indeed in vain and our lives as Christians is reduced to external formalities, “time permitting.”
May the beginning of this new ecclesiastical year mark a new beginning in our lives as individuals, as families, as parishes, as the Church in North America – a new beginning by which we set aside, before all else, the time we need to grow spiritually and to respond to the call to live as wise and faithful stewards, not only of our talents and treasures, but of the precious gift of time.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
September 2006

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Plum Pudding

It is often called “chisalita” -  in Romanian.

2 lbs of plums, washed
Directions: Remove seeds. Cut them in halves or quarters and place in a non-stick skillet with lid. Simmer on low to medium for 20-30 min until all fruits are broken. Stir in occasionally. 

 Serve with plain or with vanilla ice-cream.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Thyme Tea

How to make thyme tea - Boil a pot of water and then add the leaves of the plant. Let the tea steep for 5-7 minutes before drinking.

Used on a regular basis in cooking, thyme is one of the most common herbs on the planet. The thyme tea can help you with a number of different things. It can be used as a mouthwash, and its antiseptic qualities will help sore throats, infected gums, and more. It's a common ingredient in most major mouthwashes, in fact. The tea itself also has numerous antifungal properties and is often used to combat skin parasites and athlete's foot, used in both oral and topical application.

Thyme tea has also been show to help with headaches and pain from inflammations like rheumatism. Gas and flatulence are also lessened through its use, and its healing properties for treating coughs due to colds and flu are well documented. It can also help ease bronchial troubles as well as providing assistance in overcoming anemia. Even some intestinal problems can be relieved through the use of this versatile tea.

Thyme cures styes and aids pink eye. It cleans scrapes and cuts immediately with its antiseptic and disinfectant properties. Thyme treats women with menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms also. Some people claim that it may help the alcoholics quit their habit.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Super-fast Salad!

Ingredients for 1 salad:
a handful of fresh parsley, use all the stems too
cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup cucumbers, cut into bite sizes
1 plum, cut into bite sizes
The dressing of your choice.

Directions: Wash everything well. Cut them into bite sizes and toss them together. Enjoy!
This is a perfect salad for when you come back from work or for your lunch.

Why parsley? Parsley is the world's most popular herb with high nutrient content. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning "rock celery" (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established.

Banana - Pumpkin Buckwheat Cake

As I was looking in my pantry and found some pumpkin cans, I was going to experiment and try something new since I did not care too much about the can goods and it was a perfect trial without being very sorry about wasting the ingredients. I can't wait to try this recipe in the fall when real pumpkins come out.
1 can of pumpkin mix or make your own mix (the mix has sugar in it, but if you make your own mix, may omit sugar) or use 2 cups of grated raw pumpkin
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
½ tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cream of buckwheat
2 tbsp coconut oil or melted butter

1/4 cup water or OJ (if sugar not added)
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Pour batter in a pre-greased glass baking pan. Bake at 375F for 30 min. Allow to cool. May use confectioner's sugar to garnish (optional).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What is Orthodox Christianity?


I wanted to share with you that after three years, What is Orthodox Christianity? An Answer in Three Parts is finally complete!  It is a three-part slideshow movie that aims to:

1. Answer the question for a contemporary American audience with some familiarity of Christianity.

2. Offer some basic orientation for those who may be exploring Orthodox Christianity. 

It tries to do this using the aesthetics and resources of the Church, rather than conventional movie-making techniques. Therefore, the decision to use still images, to use readable text (rather than voiceover), and other aesthetic choices are deliberate and are inspired by what is already present in Orthodox Christianity. 

It features 363 icons, 162 photographs, 68 other pictures, and 92 explicit references to Scripture.

The three parts are available here:

Part One; "The Teachings of Christ" (running time 40 minutes):

Part Two: "Falling Away From Christ" (running time 45 minutes):

Part Three: "The Life in Christ" (running time: 40 minutes):

This movie was made to be shared with please do so.

With love in Christ,
Fr. Daniel

Monday, July 13, 2015

St. Paisios of Mt. Athos


Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (Greek: Ὃσιος Παΐσιος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης), born Arsenios Eznepidis (1924–1994), was a well-known Eastern Orthodox ascetic from Mount Athos, who originated from Pharasa, Cappadocia. He was respected for his spiritual guidance and ascetic life and many people worldwide highly venerate Elder Paisios, especially in Greece and in Russia.
Venerable Elder Paisios was canonized on 13 January 2015 by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the church commemorates his feast day on July 12.
The book is amazing: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Hardcover – 2012; by Elder Isaac (Author)                                     
St. Paisios please pray for us always!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Why Orthodoxy

This is an excellent interview with Fr. Josiah Trenham, a terrific speaker who is very informative!
I highly recommend taking the time to see this video- you won't regret it!
His book is available from:
"This book has been written for three purposes. First, to provide the Orthodox reader with a competent overview of the history of Protestantism and its major traditions, from its beginnings in the 16th century to the present day. This overview relies heavily upon the Reformer's own words as well as the creeds of various Protestant faiths, in order to avoid misrepresentation and caricature. Second, to acquaint Orthodox and non-Orthodox readers with a narrative of the historical relations between the Orthodox East and the Protestant West. Finally, to provide a summary of Orthodox theological opinion on the tenets of Protestantism.
About the author: Father Josiah Trenham is a native Southern Californian. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 1993, and was awarded the Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Durham, England, in 2004. He has served as pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, Ca. since 1998. Father Josiah is the founder and director of Patristic Nectar Publications which produces both recordings of patristic works as well as recordings of lectures and homilies available in direct download formats ( Father Josiah's weekly homilies and additional theological reflections are published weekly on The Arena podcast on Ancient Faith Radio: "

"Rock and Sand": Part I :

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Zuchini, Moringa and Buckwheat Pilaf

3 cups of fresh moringa
1 chopped onions
3 cups zucchini cut in 1 inch pieces
oregano, basil, salt, pepper to taste
4-5 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups cream of buckwheat
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
In a stainless steal skillet saute in coconut oil the onions for 10 minutes. Add the spices, zucchini and moringa. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup water, lemon juice and cream of buckwheat. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
Note: for more info on moringa see my post from: September 14, 2014:" Tiny leaves- Enormous Benefits: Moringa"

Almond, Walnut, Mango Upside Down Cake

Ingredients: (a no sugar, gluten-free recipe)
1.5 cups of almond meal
3 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 box of mascarpone cheese
1 ripe mango
1 ripe banana
2.5 cups of chopped walnuts
In a mixing bowl add the almond meal, salt, banana, vanilla and milk. Mix all ingredients very well (a blender would make the job easier). Separately, blend together mango and cheese.
Cover a 4X4 inch glass pan with 2 cups of walnuts. Add the almond batter. Bake at 350F for 30 min.  Remove from oven and allow to cool down to room temperature. Cut in the serving portions (6). Cover tightly the pan with a serving dish and invert so the walnut side is up. Cover with
mango-cheese mix.  Serve. Garnish with the left over walnuts. (optional)

Avocado-Banana Chocolate Ice-cream

This is a raw & vegan recipe, great for all ages, but especially for kids! For those who are following a paleo diet is a must try:

3 ripe bananas
1 avocado
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. chocolate powder
honey to taste
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a blender, mix until smooth. Pour in a container provided with a lid and place in the freezer for 12 hours. Enjoy!
Note: The photo shown has also some Mango Banana Ice-cream too  (1 ripe mango, 1 ripe banana, coconut oil, salt, mint, vanilla extract)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Signature Chocolate Balls

1 cup pecan meal
1-2 tbsp. chocolate powder, to taste
1 tbsp. liquor of your choice (optional)
3 tbsp. honey
orange extract or rum extract
pinch of salt
extra pecan meal(or flax seed meal) to roll them in

Directions: (a vegan, raw, gluten-free recipe).
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Take 1 tbsp. of this mixture and form small balls, after which they are rolled in the flax seed/pecan meal. Other options are to roll them in confectioners sugar or coconut flakes.

Amazing Romanian Churches

St. Eleftherios The New Church in Bucharest

                                          St. Dimitrios The New Church in Bucharest

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

"The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter). Since the date of Pascha changes each year, the date of the Feast of the Ascension changes. The Feast is always celebrated on a Thursday. The Feast itself commemorates when, on the fortieth day after His Resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and after blessing them and asking them to wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, He ascended into heaven." - See more at:
Christ Is Ascended!
He is Ascended in Glory!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chocolate Cheese Pudding

God inspired me to made for my boys this raw pudding, as I was not sure what to do with some of the left over mascarpone. (I just did not feel like making Tiramisu today). I wanted something fast and also gluten-free.
Ingredients for 2 servings:
1 banana
2-3 tbsp raw honey, to taste
2 tbsp cocoa or chocolate powder
1 box of mascarpone cheese (1 cup)
Directions: In a blender add all the above ingredients, mix well for 3-5 minutes until a smooth cream forms. Pour in the serving glasses and sprinkle some chocolate chips on top. (For me and my husband I added fresh mint and peppermint leaves). Enjoy! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Favorite Breakfast

I wanted to share this yummy omelet I tasted one morning. Since then, I  cannot stop making it for breakfast at least once or twice weekly.
Garlic Chives Omelet
2 tbps butter
2 pasture-free eggs
1 cup fresh garlic chives, chopped (I used the Chinese variety, which are juicy and ribbon-like; Botanical Name: Allium Tuberosum)
Salt to taste
Directions: In a stainless steel pan heat the butter on medium heat, add the chives; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the eggs and salt. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
The omelet was served with freshly squeezed orange juice and ½ cup of freshly picked blueberries.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Romaine Lettuce and Moringa Salad

Ingredients: Romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, chives, garlic greens, cucumber and Moringa leaves.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Beets and Moringa Salad

It has been a while since we ate moringa in our house. Now, as they are so vibrantly fresh, putting them in a salad, would be the perfect eating option.
Ingredients: 4 cups of boiled beets, chopped; 1 green apple, chopped; chives and garlic (to taste, I put about 3 tbsp), 1 green pepper, chopped, a large handful of fresh moringa leaves; other possible ingredients: celery, cabbage. Toss them together and add your own favorite dressing! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Delicious Liver

For dinner we will have today liver! Yum!  This is the fastest recipe one can make, even after a long day at work.
In a stainless steel pan, add ¼ cup grass-fed organic butter. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until butter melted. then turn heat down. Add several 1 inch size pieces of grass-fed beef liver and 3-4 chopped garlic cloves. Salt to taste and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes maximum, by making sure both sides are done. Serve with salad. Enjoy!

Note: if you do not plain liver like this, one can try to make liver pate:
In a frying pan brown 2 chopped onions in 1 cup butter and when done cooking add 1 egg and mix it well for another 2 minutes. Pour the onion-egg mixture in a food processor, add the liver as cooked above, 3 - 4 garlic cloves, spices (thyme, coriander, pepper, salt to taste) and combine well until smooth.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) will peel your carrots nicely!!!

Conventional - Carrots – approx 1kg Bag
"Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye and caustic soda, is an inorganic compound.
It has so many used, from chemical pulping (making paper), to dissolving amphoteric metals and compounds, or from cleaning agent to tissue digestion
(a process involved placing a carcass into a sealed chamber, then adding a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water. This eventually turns the body into a liquid with coffee-like appearance, and the only solid that remains are bone hulls, which could be crushed between one's fingertip; is frequently used in the process of decomposing roadkill dumped in landfills by animal disposal contractors)"
Have you known that this very same chemical can be used for food processing? This is the interesting part!!!
"Food uses of sodium hydroxide include washing or chemical peeling of fruits and vegetables, chocolate and cocoa processing, caramel coloring production, poultry scalding, soft drink processing, and thickening ice cream. Olives are often soaked in sodium hydroxide for softening;
Pretzels and German lye rolls are glazed with a sodium hydroxide solution before baking to make them crisp. Owing to the difficulty in obtaining food grade sodium hydroxide in small quantities for home use, sodium carbonate is often used in place of sodium hydroxide.
Specific foods processed with sodium hydroxide include:
The Scandinavian delicacy known as lutefisk (from lutfisk, "lye fish").
Hominy is dried maize (corn) kernels reconstituted by soaking in lye-water. These expand considerably in size and may be further processed by frying to make corn nuts or by drying and grinding to make grits. Nixtamal is similar, but uses calcium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide.
Sodium hydroxide is also the chemical that causes gelling of egg whites in the production of Century eggs.
German pretzels are poached in a boiling sodium carbonate solution or cold sodium hydroxide solution before baking, which contributes to their unique crust.
Lye-water is an essential ingredient in the crust of the traditional baked Chinese moon cakes.
Most yellow coloured Chinese noodles are made with lye-water but are commonly mistaken for containing egg.
Some methods of preparing olives involve subjecting them to a lye-based brine.
The Filipino dessert (kakanin) called kutsinta uses a bit of lye water to help give the rice flour batter a jelly like consistency. A similar process is also used in the kakanin known as pitsi-pitsi or pichi-pichi except that the mixture uses grated cassava instead of rice flour."
This all being said, how would like your carrots?  Washed and peeled with sodium hydroxide or chlorine?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hristos A Inviat! Christ is Risen!

Adevarat A Inviat!
Indeed He has!

At the begining of the Resurection Liturgy we hear:

Paschal Troparion 'Christ is risen" in different languages:
The Troparion is probably the most known and beautiful Orthodox Christian hymn. It is sung at the Feast of Feasts - the Holy Pascha (Easter) that's the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Lenten Breakfast (gluten-free)

Broccoli and lettuce
Homemade Spinach Quinoa Pancakes (gluten-free)
Homemade Oven Roasted Onions and Potatoes (sweet and regular) with rosemary
Cup of Tea of choice and Fresh Fruit

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Behold Thy Bridegroom

“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be overcome with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. But rather rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, our God, through the Theotokos have mercy on us.”

Here you may hear the hymn:

"Holy Week: An Explanation
Great Lent and Holy Week are two separate fasts, and two separate celebrations.  Great Lent ends on Friday of the fifth week (the day before Lazarus Saturday).  Holy Week begins immediately thereafter. Let's explore the meaning of each of the solemn days of Passion Week.

Lazarus Saturday:  Lazarus Saturday is the day which begins Holy Week.  It commemorates the raising of our Lord's friend Lazarus, who had been in the tomb four days.  This act confirmed the universal resurrection from the dead that all of us will experience at our Lord's Second Coming.  This miracle led many to faith, but it also led to the chief priest's and Pharisees' decision to kill Jesus (John 11:47-57).

Palm Sunday (The Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem):  Our Lord enters Jerusalem and is proclaimed king - but in an earthly sense, as many people of His time were seeking a political Messiah.  Our Lord is King, of course, but of a different type - the eternal King prophesied by Zechariah the Prophet.  We use palms on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as the true King and Messiah of the Jews, Who we are willing to follow - even to the cross.
Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:  The first thing that must be said about these services, and most of the other services of Holy Week, is that they are "sung" in anticipation.  Each service is rotated ahead twelve hours.  The evening service, therefore, is actually the service of the next morning, while the morning services of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday are actually the services of the coming evening.

Understanding that, let's turn to the Services of Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (celebrated Palm Sunday , Monday and Tuesday evening).  The services of these days are known as the Bridegroom or Nymphios Orthros Services.  At the first service of Palm Sunday evening, the priest carries the icon of Christ the Bridegroom in procession, and we sing the "Hymn of the Bridegroom."  We behold Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of His suffering, yet preparing a marriage Feast for us in God's Kingdom.

Each of these Bridegroom Orthros services has a particular theme.  On Holy Monday, the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated.  Joseph is often seen as a Type of Christ.  Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery by them.  In the same way, our Lord was rejected, betrayed by His own, and sold into the slavery of death.  The Gospel reading for the day is about the barren fig tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit.  The fig tree is a parable of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruit of obedience.  Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God's word and His Messiah.  However, it is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God's word, but putting it into action. 
The Parable of the Ten Virgins is read on Holy Tuesday.  It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out, and hence were shut out of the marriage feast.  This parable is a warning that we must always be prepared to receive our Lord when He comes again.  The theme of the day is reinforced by the expostelarion hymn we sing:  "I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter.  O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me."  The theme of Holy Wednesday is repentance and forgiveness.  We remember the sinful woman who anointed our Lord in anticipation of His death.  Her repentance and love of Christ is the theme of the wonderful "Hymn of Kassiane" which is chanted on this night, reminding us one more time, before "it is too late," that we too may be forgiven if  we repent." 

Holy Week

By the Grace of God today we heard a talk by Mr. Constantine Zalalas. We were reminded about the true and hard road we are to take to go along with Our Lord, The Christ to Jerusalem this Holy Week! He is caring His own cross and we are to do so too. He is being crucified for us and so we are to crucify our passions for His sake! There is no Resurrection without Crucifixion! There is no Heaven without Humility!
“Dear fellow Christian,
    In today's perilous times, (2 Tim.3: 1) the enemies of Orthodox Christianity are not only numerous but within the very walls of the church; the weeds of neo-idolatry, syncretism, secularism, and pan-heresy are blooming and de-Christianizing the confused members of the Orthodox church of Christ. Today more than ever we need to abide by Saint Paul's deception-proof recipe found in the second letter to the Thessalonians, Stand fast and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2:15) The Lord gives the same instruction to the bishop of Thyateira and accordingly to all the sincere members of his body, Hold on what you have until I come back (Rev. 2:25). The true gospel of Christ, the fullness of Christianity and its ability to heal today's heavily burdened man remain in the bosom of Traditional Orthodoxy, the ark of salvation.”
Wonderful talks by By Constantine Zalalas:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Holy Hierarch Nicholai Pray To God For Us!

Photo of St. Nikolai (Velmirovich) of Ochrid and Zicha Serbia
The Life of the Holy Hierarch Bishop Nicholai (Velimirovich)
Of Ochrid and Zicha, Serbia
Nicholai Velimirorich was born into a large peasant family in the village of Lelich, Serbia, on December 23, 1880. Young Nicholai began his education in Lelich and later went to the capital city, Belgrade, to attend St. Sava Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1902 at 22.
He entered the graduate Theological Faculty (or school) in Bern, Switzerland, in 1905 and 1909 received a doctorate in sacred theology – the first of many doctoral degrees he would earn. Later that year, he returned to Serbia and was tonsured a monk at the Monastery of Rkovica, receiving the name Nicholai. He was soon ordained to the priesthood and eventually elevated to the rank of archimandrite. Two years after his ordination, he joined the faculty at his alma mater, the St. Sava Theological Seminary in Belgrade and taught there until 1915. During his four summer vacations from St. Sava’s, Archimandrite Nicholai went to study in Russia.
When World War I broke out, Archimandrite Nicholai was sent to England on a diplomatic mission. While he was there, he lectured at Oxford University and received a doctorate in philosophy at the university’s King’s College. At the same time, he received honorary doctorates from Cambridge University and Glasgow University. He returned to Serbian in 1919 and was elected and consecrated a bishop that same year, at age 39. He was appointed to the Diocese of Zicha and later to the Diocese of Ochrid.
He spent 1921 and 1922 as a missionary bishop in America, creating and administrating the Serbian Orthodox Diocese in the United States and Canada. After his two years in America, he returned to Ochrid, where he resumed the archpastorate of his two Serbian dioceses. That is where he remained until 1934, when he went back to Zicha until the collapse of Yugoslavia in World War II.
During World War II, the Nazis occupied Yugoslavia. Civil war broke out, and Serb fought Serb. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians were tortured or massacred by the Croatians under the direction of the Nazis. Hosts of other Serbs were sent to Nazi death camps. Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo and Bishop Nicholai were sent to the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where – although they suffered horribly – they both survived the war.
Years later, Bishop Nicholai said that he had once spoken with an elder on Mount Athos. Young Nicholai asked the monk: “Father, what is your main spiritual exercise?
The elder replied, “The perfect visualization of God’s presence.
Ever since then, Bishop Nicholai said, “I tried this visualization of God’s presence. And as little as I succeeded, it helped me enormously to prevent me from sinning in freedom, and from despairing in prison. If we kept the vision of the invisible God, we would be happier, wiser, and stronger in every walk of life.
As the war was nearing its end, Bishop Nicholai and Patriarch Gavrilo were liberated from Dachau. Patriarch. Gavrilo returned to Yugoslavia, but Bishop Nicholai did not, having found that he was unwelcome in Serbia. During the years that followed the war, Church leaders were not given the freedom to preach the Gospel and teach the Faith in Yugoslavia. So it was from abroad that Bishop Nicholai felt he could best serve the faithful of his Church, and he chose to remain in foreign exile.
He first went to England, but within a year, in April 1946, he decided to go again to America. This time he was a refugee, without any official position in the Church. He arrived at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. He also taught at the Serbian Orthodox Seminary in Libertyville, Illinois, until 1949. Bishop Nicholai moved to the Russian Orthodox St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York and later to St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. There he would teach, preach, continue to write, and pursue his own studies. In addition to degrees from Bern and Oxford, Bishop Nicholai received doctorates from Halle in Germany, the Sorbonne in Paris, and Columbia University in New York.
He began as a professor at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, but eventually he was appointed rector. At that time, most of the courses at St. Tikhon’s were taught in Russian, but Bishop Nicholai chose to teach only in English. Other faculty members disagreed with his decision, and some became resentful of him, but the bishop knew that it was important for the students to hear their lectures in their own language. On most occasions, he even preached his sermons in English in the monastery church at St. Tikhon’s so that everyone – the monks, the seminarians and the faithful laity who attended the Liturgy – would be able to understand him. The people often complained about the use of English, but he would answer: “You have learned and heard enough. It is time for the seminarians to learn something.
One of the students wrote of Bishop Nicholai: He sighed a great deal when he prayed and before class he would spontaneously pray for us and the seminary. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of each seminary student. At time he would sit on a warm fall evening and pay his flute, and the tears would stream down his face as he remembered his beloved Serbia. He also survived the Dachau prison camp. When the students would complain about the food, he would say, “You don’t know what bad food is. We would search through the garbage cans at Dachau.” But beyond that, he would not mention his sufferings.
Bishop Nicholai’s health had been weakened by his captivity at Dachau. Despite his ill health, however, he remained in constant contact with the faithful of the Serbian and other Orthodox churches. He taught his seminary classes with enthusiasm, power, and deep insight. He often traveled to the Serbian Church House in New York, and there he received his spiritual children and other visitors. His correspondents, his spiritual children, his students, his fellow monks, and all who knew him came to regard him with love and respect.
Bishop Nicholai fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, March 18, 1956, at St. Tikhon’s. Ten days later, his body was moved for burial to the Serbian Monastery of Sava in Libertyville, Illinois, where it remained until April 24, 1991. At that time his body was taken back to Yugoslavia, where he lay in state in many towns and cities. According to his own final wishes, the bishop’s body was finally transferred to his native village of Lelich in Serbia on May 12, 1991. His remains joined those of his parents and his nephew, Bishop Jovan Velimirovich. In 1987, the local diocese as a saint of the Church glorified Bishop Nicholai.
(Source for the Life of Bishop Nicholai (Velimirovich): Portraits of American Saints, Compiled and Edited by George A. Gray and Jan V. Bear, Diocese Council and Department of Missions Diocese of the West Orthodox Church in America, 650 Micheltorena Street, Los Angles, California, 1994, pp. 74-77).
I would like to humbly thank The Rev. Father Bratislav Krsic for sending me the Troparion and Kontakion for the Holy Hierarch Nikolai Velimirovich.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kalamata Olive Tart

This is another lenten, gluten free recipe. It is very easy to make and it could be a good breakfast recipe too.
3-5 tbsp Kalamata olive tapenade, as in the jar shown.
2 cups of oat flour
Salt (may omit, since tapenade is very salty too)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup brown sugar
2-3 tbsp coconut oil and some more for pan coating
¼ cup water
Directions: In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, oil, sugar, water and combine well. It won’t form a good dough like wheat will do, it will crumble. In a 4x4in oil-coated glass baking pan press down with your fingers the dough to cover whole surface as much as possible. Add on top a thin layer of the tapenade. Place in oven at 350F and cook for 25min. 
Note: if you do not have tapenade, don't worry, place in mixer a few pitted olives, oregano, salt, garlic and basil and here you go- done, your own tapenade!

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Child's Lesson on St. Gregory Palamas and Stillness of The Heart

Praying in a dark church is about the only time I believe that lack of electricity can be a good thing.  As I stood in the chapel of the monastery on Saturday night, a chapel with no electric lights, the word “vigil” moved from being just the name of a service to the desire of my soul.  A few candles flickered, the icons were just shapes and shadows, and the monotone of the monks’ chanting spread a warmth that started in my chest and flowed out to the tingling of my fingertips.  In the darkness, it was easy to let the tears flow, those tears that are a gift.  The tears that come when prayer stops being a rote exercise and begins at the beginning; at the Light that never knows darkness.
Here is some information about the life of the Saint: