Monday, January 30, 2012

The Day After - Daniel Fast

Peanut butter fudge brownie trifle
How does chocolate-gingerbread trifle sound?
Layers and layers of gingerbread, chocolate cream,
maple-spiced whipped cream and topped with
shaved chocolate and spiced cocoa powder...

So what will your first indulgence be?  Coffee?  Something sweet?  A big breakfast?  Before you jump in head first and splurge on steak, chocolate cake, and a double shot of espresso, consider two things:  You haven't had meat, sugar or caffeine for three weeks and eating all those things at once may make you feel ill.  Secondly, why undo all the hard-earned benefits of the fast?  Now that you've dropped a few pounds, lowered your cholesterol, regulated your blood sugar, lowered your blood pressure, detoxified, and engergized, why not keep the momentum going by continuing to eat healthy and just adding back other foods in small amounts?

Here is my "break-fast" menu:

BREAKFAST:  Greek yogurt with ground flax seed, hemp seed, granola and raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate arils.

Normally I down a bowl of this every morning, but I honestly had a hard time finishing the whole thing.  Maybe start with half a cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 c. granola, then add your fruit.  Or try thinning out the thick Greek yogurt with some regular plain yogurt.  If you choose a fruit-flavored yogurt, I honestly think you'll find it too sweet.  You may be surprised at how sweet things taste since omitting sugar from your diet for 3 weeks.

LUNCH:  Fish with fruit salsa, sprouted rice, asparagus, salad, coffee, cookie

I was excited about the simple addition of feta cheese
to my salad!
This is the zesty and refreshing fruit salsa,
a perfect compliment to the mild white fish

Since my fast ended the day before yours, my first real meal was Sunday Dinner.  I chose a light main course---white fish.  I spritzed it with olive oil and sprinkled on parsley, lemon and salt and pepper and then broiled it.  I topped it with fruit salsa (mango, red pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice and a bit of olive oil).  Then I made sprouted rice in half water/half coconut milk.  I fixed the asparagus my favorite way:  Quick blanching until bright green, sauteed in a bit of olive oil until just starting to brown, then drizzled with Yoshida sauce (a thick, sweet soy sauce).  Last, I had a yummy salad of spring greens with dried cherries, green onion, avocado and feta cheese.  Everything tasted delicious.  I made dessert for my Sunday gang...a chocolate-ginger trifle, but other than licking the cream off my fingers I didn't have any.  But I did have a cup of long-awaited french-press Coava coffee with half a teaspoon of real maple syrup and half-n-half.  Then I also had two bites of cookie! The day before my friend made cookies and told me to wrap some up for after my fast. I saved one gingersnap and one chocolate chip.  After dinner I took a bite of each and found them to be too sweet to finish eating. That was a pleasant surprise!
My beautiful fast-breaking dinner!
Stirring the maple syrup and half-n-half
into a perfect cup of french-press coffee

DINNER:  Pasta with tomato sauce and tossed salad, veggie pizza appetizer

I went back to a Daniel Fast dinner for evening.  We ate with some friends, so there was a whole potluck spread of good things to eat.  But there was whole-grain pasta and tomato sauce and a big salad. I made the veggie pizza that we had on the fast a few days ago, adding only a very light sprinkle of low-fat cheddar cheese and keeping the rest all veggies, and then cutting it into appetizer-size pieces, of which I had two.  And that was it!  I didn't take the yummy-looking white french bread with butter and I didn't have the apple crisp.  When we got home that night, I sat on the couch to blog, and Jeff and I and my daughter Kate shared one bowl of popcorn between the three of us (I usually eat that same size bowl all by myself).  I went to bed feeling very good about my three weeks of fasting and very good about breaking my fast.

My beautiful "family," praying together before our meal...
Okay, so we all got the giggles in the middle of the
prayer.  Don't even remember what was so funny now,
but this is a pretty typical Sunday dinner for us...
10+ people, lots of food, lots of laughs.
I love it.

So, now the Daniel Fast Blog is officially done.  Thank you for sharing the fast with me!  I hope you were encouraged and challenged in some way these last three weeks.  I want to thank those of you who shared your comments with me, whether by blog, email, Facebook or in person.  You encouraged me!  I appreciated the recipes, tips and ideas as well as the questions and feedback.  I pray the biggest blessing of this fast is yet to come, as the Lord responds to your faithfulness!

And as for my will continue!  It won't be on fasting, but the fast has a revealed a need that I must give some attention to...organizing my recipes!  So I invite you to join me in putting together an easy, efficient recipe system in the next few days!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

DAY 21 - Daniel Fast

So, you did it!  Can you believe it is Day 21?  I have mixed feelings...kind of excited for the freedom to add back some of my favorite foods, but I also think I'll miss the challenge of creating Daniel Fast meals, blogging about it, and eating so healthy and thoughtfully.  That's really what a Daniel Fast is, eating thoughtfully.  Our culture tends to eat mindlessly or indulgently.  Rarely do we really think about what we are eating and how it affects us.  And that is a principle I can certainly incorporate into my life after this fast is done!

Here is your last menu:

BREAKFAST:  Smoothie

LUNCH:  Left-over potato-corn chowder and half a veggie sandwich

DINNER:  Your turn to be creative!

Make your favorite recipe from this fast or think up one of your own!  Use your left-overs, if you still have them, or make one more trip to the store to pick up something special to celebrate your last meal.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now that you have had 21 days of new dishes to try, I'd like to hear what your favorites were!  I'm going to categorize all the dishes for you according to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  You select your favorite from each category.  Feel free to comment on what you didn't like, or what didn't work well, or substitutes you made or any tips you'd like to share! 

Almond-Butter Sandwich
Granola with soy milk
Blackberry Crisp

Spinach salad w/pomegranate, avocado, green onion, hazelnuts
butternut squash risotto
spinach dal
Greek wrap
Asian salad
quinoa spinach salad w/pomegranate
fiesta salad
tortilla chips w/refried beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole
veggie sandwich
hummus, veggies and pita chips
veggie pizza
mango black bean salsa w/tortilla chips

spinach-leek couscous soup
fettuccine with Mediterranean vegetables
Greek salad, lemon potatoes, pita w/hummus and bruschetta
Oriental stir-fry over soba noodles
rice and bean bowl
burgers and fries
sushi and edamame beans
carrot-ginger soup
fettucine w/roasted cauliflower and olive tapenade
green salad w/cherries, rosemary bean spread w/crackers
black bean soup
roasted root veggies, soy-ginger green beans
lettuce wraps
potato-corn chowder

popcorn with brewer's yeast
tortilla chips w/refried beans, pico de gallo or guacamole
pita chips and veggies with hummus
Daniel Fast fudge
roasted nuts
"live" or raw bars
Odwalla green smoothie
fresh fruit
trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

DAY 20 - Daniel Fast

I'm having mixed feelings about ending my fast...I made my last "fast" trip to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's today and didn't have to buy much; in fact, I probably bought more than I needed just because I still want to eat this way after I'm done with the fast (with the exceptions of adding back Greek yogurt, feta and salmon!).  The benefits have been noticeable:  I am 4 lbs. lighter (Jeff has lost 9).  My skin is honestly break-outs during the fast!  I feel good about what I'm putting into my body, no post-binge regrets or guilt. I sleep more soundly.  My prayer life is better.  My prophetic edge is stronger.  My spiritual and natural awareness is sharper.  And the exciting thing about fasting is that the biggest benefits come after the fast is the best is yet to come!  Share with me what benefits you have experienced on the fast---I'd love to hear your story!

BREAKFAST:  ABB Sandwich, green drink

I ran out of almond butter on my very last ABB sandwich today.  But I do like eating it now and again even when not fasting, so I picked up a new jar today.  This is a new brand, one I've never tried before, and it has roasted flax seed in it, so it's full of omega-3's.  I'm excited to try it!  I also picked up a new protein green drink.  It's full of juice, strawberry puree, banana, mango, grape juice, soy protein, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, sinach, barley grass, wheat grass, parsley, ginger, blue green algae and odorless garlic.  Wow!  I honestly think it would have been better without the grape juice concentrate because it was a tad too sweet for me (that's what 3 weeks off sugar will do for you!).  Actually, just a word to the wise (that's you!), this whole breakfast, although very healthy, is quite high calorie.  I only make half a sandwich instead of a whole, which eliminates 110 calories, I do not spread my almond butter very thick (100 calories per tablespoon), and I only drink half a bottle of green drink at a time, which eliminates another 170 calories.  If you were to eat a whole sandwich and drink the whole bottle of juice, you would be consuming 865 calories!!  My serving will only cost you 545, which I still consider on the high side for breakfast, as a bowl of oatmeal with apples, cinnamon and soy milk is only 185.  Whenever you eat this breakfast, select lighter foods for lunch and dinner.  Although nuts and seeds are really good for you, they pack a surprise punch in their calorie count!

My new flax seed almond butter, Green Protein drink,
and a new kombucha flavor---raspberry ginger

LUNCH:  Caribbean Salad

Take that left-over mango salsa out of the fridge and spoon it over some fresh lettuce.  Then crush a handful of corn tortilla chips and sprinkle that on top.  If you want to, add more of any ingredient you think might be lacking.  For me, I can never have enough avocado!  It's definitely one of my favorite foods!  (and high in fat...sigh.  Good fat, but still high-cal!)

DINNER:  Corn Chowder, veggies and dip, toasted manna bread/pita chips/whole-grain crackers

Cut up some celery stalks, carrot sticks, cucumber spears, sugar-snaps, and red pepper slices and dip them into whatever you have left over...hummus, pesto, bean dip.  Jeff finished off our hummus yesterday, I finished off the bean dip, and the pesto made with avocado is very brown (the downside of replacing the parmesan cheese with avocado in the pesto is that it doesn't keep very well), so I actually bought a super-yummy dip at Whole I don't think I ever would have purchased if I hadn't have been fasting.  It's called "Melitzano" and it's an eggplant dip.  Now I'm not a big fan of eggplant, and I honestly don't know what made me even buy this, but it's delicious!  As soon as I opened it I was hit with the smell of garlic.  It is a very zesty, flavorful dip that I will definitely buy again, even off the fast.  I may even try making it one day, as the ingredients are quite simple (just eggplant, parsley, garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, oregano, pepper, salt).  You can also dip in any pita chips or whole-grain crackers you have left, or just eat the crackers with your soup.

The soup recipe is only 4 servings, so you should have enough for dinner tonight and another bowl tomorrow with a sandwich for lunch.  I never liked corn chowder because I had only ever eaten it made with a can of creamed corn...blech!  Honestly one of the worst foods ever!  Then I had a bowl at a friend's house.  I took a bowl to be polite...and it was surprisingly delicious!  It was a Mennonite recipe that used fresh corn kernels shaved right off the cob.  What a difference!  So, unless you love canned creamed corn, go for the freshest, sweetest kernels you can find and you'll love the soup too, even without the cream!  And because there is no cream, it's healthy and low-fat!

Potato-Corn Chowder

1.  Boil 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced, in 1-1/2 c. water (lightly salted) until tender (about 20 min.).  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 c. soy milk.  Blend with an emulsifier or in the blender.  Add more soy milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
2.  While potatoes are boiling, saute 1 small onion, diced fine, in olive oil.  You may add other vegetables, if you like, such as celery, carrot and red pepper (diced fine).
3.  Add vegetables, 1 c. corn kernels, 1/2 tsp. ground thyme, and pepper to potato liquid.

Option:  You can use 2 russet potatoes, peeled, and 1 red potato, skin on. Take the red potato out before pureeing, then add the chunks back into the pureed soup for texture.

Even without the cream and bacon garnish, this looks pretty delish!

Friday, January 27, 2012

DAY 19 - Daniel Fast

With just 3 days to go, the resolve may start to weaken a bit...after all we've been so good!  But let's take these last days and finish strong!  Be deliberate in your food choices.  Be faithful in your prayer time.  Be diligent in your entertainment selections.  Why go out with a fizzle when you can go out with a bang?!  Those last few miles seem endless, until the finish line is in sight and then there is a renewed burst of energy.  Let's tap into that right now!


I'm really enjoying steel-cut oats over old-fashioned.  It's just personal preference, but I really enjoy the chewy-creamy texture combination.  And I love tossing in toasted nuts, dried fruit and lots of cinnamon.  I also enjoyed the 5-grain cereal by Bob's Red Mill.  Jeff likes his food untampered, so I never offered it to him, but one day I did mix some of the 5-grain into his old-fashioned oats and he didn't notice at all.  He also didn't mind when I tried the crockpot method and loaded the oatmeal with apples and cinnamon.  I think his biggest obstacle is thinking about a change and not really the change itself!  Maybe that's true for a lot of other areas too! : )

LUNCH:  Mango-Black Bean Salsa and Corn Tortilla Chips

This sounds like a snack, but it is so full of goodies that it really does become a meal beause it includes protein and complex carbs as well as both fruit and vegetables. It's a good weekend meal for chilling in front of the TV or computer to catch the news while casually dipping and munching away. Just hold the whole bowl in your lap and enjoy!

Load your chip then put the whole thing in your mouth!

Mango-Black Bean Salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained  (replace beans w/ 1 lb. of baby shrimp after the fast)
1 mango, diced (peach or pineapple would probably taste pretty good too)
1 avocado, diced
1/4 c. sweet corn (frozen is much better than canned)
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/4 c. sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced very fine (omit if you don't like spicy)
3/4 of a small can of V-8 juice (5.5 oz., so use 4 oz. and drink the last sip!)
1/8 c. lime juice
1 T. horseradish
tobasco, couple of dashes
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve with whole-grain corn tortilla chips for dipping. Just a note...before storing the rest of the salsa in the fridge once you're done eating, take out the avocado chunks and mash them into guacamole. This will keep your salsa from having brown, slimy avocado the next day. Add lime juice to the guacamole and seal it airtight. The next day, just dip your chips into the guacamole and top with salsa. The taste will be great and the salsa will still look fresh and appetitzing.

Dice everything very small so you can get all
the flavors in one bite and not just a big chunk or
onion or mango

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl before adding to
the beans and veggies/fruit.  It is important to blend
the horseradish thoroughly or you'll get a big bite of hot!

A chunky, filling salsa that's a little bit savory, a little bit sweet
with a little bit of heat!

DINNER:  Fill-in-the-Blank over noodles/rice/quinoa/polenta/lettuce

I don't know about you, but my fridge is overflowing with left-overs! For dinner today, let's use some of them up. You can take whatever you have and heat it and serve it over noodles, rice, quinoa or polenta. Add a little pesto or marinara sauce if you need to liven it up or moisten it. Or you can have a cold lunch and toss some of your left-overs with lettuce and drizzle it with that pom dressing you made awhile back for a yummy salad. Or you can puree some of those veggies into a warm, hearty soup. Be creative. I had left-over carrot-ginger soup, rosemary bean spread, and polenta in my fridge, so I stirred it all together and heated it up and ended up with a delicious soup that had a thicker, more satisfying consistency than it did originally, with more protein and fiber. I actually thought it was better the second time around! See what you come up with!

Pretty appetizing for left-overs, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DAY 18 - Daniel Fast

BREAKFAST:  Smoothie

I'm repeating my green's just sooo good.  What's your favorite combination for a smoothie?

LUNCH: Pizza!

You have to admit that even without cheese, this looks delicious!

Okay, I have to start with another funny story about Jeff...and pizza.  As you can probably tell by now, if it wasn't for me Jeff wouldn't be able to do a Daniel Fast.  The other night Jeff and my oldest son Justin were out car shopping (my younger son Tyler totalled his car the day after Christmas).  Jeff needed Tyler's signature on the check from the insurance company, so he had to drive in to Portland to the college campus where Tyler and my daughter Anna live.  Anna was at work so Jeff decided to surprise her and take her and the boys out for dinner.  Anna only had a very short break, so they headed for Whole Foods, the closest food place.  Jeff thought that would be a good choice because he could stay on his fast easier there.  He was heading straight for the salad bar when he suddenly spied, "Veggie Pizza on Whole-Grain Crust."  He thought he'd died and gone to heaven.  He turns to the kids and says with obvious delight, "I can have pizza!  It's veggie with a whole-grain crust!"  The kids smirked, knowing how he likes to "push the envelope" when it comes to his fasting food choices.  They all made their selections and sat down together at a table.  Jeff eagerly opened his pizza box and took out that delicious, ooey-gooey pizza.  Wait.  Daniel Fast pizza isn't supposed to be ooey-gooey.  "CHEESE!" Jeff exclaims in dismay.  "I can't have dairy!"  The kids burst into nearly hysterical gales of laughter.  I guess you had to be there, but they said it was absolutely the funniest thing ever.  They said they could hardly stop laughing.  Maybe you'd have had to be in our house the last 18 days dealing regularly with Jeff's self-interpretation of a Daniel Fast for this to have the same humerous impact on you as it did on them, but that was most definitely a bonding moment and great memory that they will be sure to re-tell and laugh over in the years to come...especially every January when another Daniel Fast rolls around!  By the way...Jeff ate every bit of that pizza and enjoyed his "accidental" cheat thoroughly!

So for us, the faithful, we are going to have veggie pizza, but it isn't going to have cheese!  : )

1.  Start with a whole-grain crust. (You can buy one, which I did, or make your own, which is better.  Too many preservatives in this store-bought brand.  I had hoped for an organic sprouted or whole-grain crust, but my store didn't carry anything healthy, so I had to settle for the whole-wheat.  Now that I know that, next time I will plan ahead and either make a trip to Whole Foods or make my own.)

2Spread pizza sauce over crust (Be sure to read to go with an organic brand or make your own with tomato sauce seasoned with Italian seasoning.  I used a sundried tomato pesto, which had a smooth, almost spreadable consistency and a great flavor.)

3.  Top with sauteed zucchini, onion, peppers, spinach or arugula (arugula has a lot more flavor, but some find it too peppery), and mushrooms.

4.  Bake in the oven 8 to 10 min. at 350 until crust is cooked and toppings are heated through.
5.  Lay slices of fresh tomato on top and drizzle your homemade walnut-basil pesto over all (you may need to thin it out with more olive oil and water).  Of course, you can make the toppings any combination of vegetables you like.  I honestly thought this was incredibly good and didn't need cheese at all!  Be sure to add the pesto, it's the ingredient that puts this pizza over the top!

DINNER:  Joey's Lettuce Wraps

You're in for a treat tonight.  These are my favorite wraps from a restaurant I really like back in Canada called Joey's.  I've tweaked them to make them acceptable for the fast, but they are still full of flavor and fun to eat.

1 pkg. soba noodles

1 head butter lettuce, washed and separated into full leaves

firm tofu, cubed (optional...make these with chicken after the fast!)

2 T. sesame oil
1/2 onion, diced fine
1/4 ea. of red and yellow pepper, diced fine
1 can water chestnuts, diced fine
2 c. shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced

2 T. soy sauce (or Bragg's aminos)
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sesame oil
5 T. Hoisin sauce
1/2 t. chili paste (or less if you don't like spice)
(add a tablespoon of either honey or brown sugar and oyster sauce after the fast)

2 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
crunchy rice noodles

1.  Boil soba noodles and drain
2.  Saute tofu and veggies
3.  Add soy, vinegar, oil, Hoisin and chili paste
4.  Put filling in lettuce leaves and top with green onion, peanuts and cilantro.  Roll, eat, enjoy!

Jeff said, "Mmm.  These are good, Hon.  I want some more!" if that is any indication as to how good these wraps are!  He declared it his favorite Daniel Fast dinner!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DAY 17 - Daniel Fast

Latte Love

So I got myself into a bit of dilemma because I found myself in a public setting at a coffee shop where I had to select a hot drink.  I had already planned ahead that I would order a matcha green tea soy latte, but when I placed my order they said they didn't have that drink!  Uh-oh.  I looked at the drinks in the cooler, searching for a bottled fruit and veggie luck.  So back to the counter.  I finally ordered a decaf soy latte without anything in it.  I was prepared for it to taste terrible, but at least I wasn't straying too far off my fast and would be able to socialize around the table.  I took a sip as soon as it was handed to me and got a taste of espresso-tinged foam.

Let me tell you, that was absolutely the best espresso drink I've ever tasted!  I guess that's what two weeks without lattes will do for you!  I savored every drop of that drink...and thought, "I am enjoying this waaayyy too much."  But then I just relaxed and let myself enjoy it.  I've been extremely faithful to the fast and I had done my best to stay faithful even in the choice of that drink.  So no judgment, legalism or condemnation, just sweet sip after sip.

I must add that my normal latte-drinking habits are to order a tall (grandes and ventis are just too much for me), and then nurse it throughout the day, often putting it in the fridge overnight to finish the next joke!  But this latte was done before my meeting was even over...I think that was a first!!

So, on to today's menu:

BREAKFAST:  ABB and half a grapefruit

LUNCH:  Left-over black bean soup with crackers, pita chips or toasted manna bread

DINNER:  Roasted Root Veggies and Soy-Ginger Green Beans

For the veggies, cut them up into bite-sized chunks and put them on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Then drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Roast them at 400 for half an hour until tender and golden-brown.  Roasted root vegetables are amazing.  They carmelize in the heat and turn wonderfully sweet and rich.

I grouped my veggies so I could remember what was what
once they were roasted.  Beginning on the left and moving
right, there are parsnips, sweet potato, yams, rutabaga,
turnips and Yukon gold potatoes.

For the green beans, I steamed them until tender-crisp then transferred them to a frying pan and sauteed them in sesame oil until tender. I sprinkled ginger and sesame seeds on them and sprinkled some Bragg's liquid aminos (very similar to soy sauce only much healthier). Then I gave them a few more stirs until they were well coated.

These beans were so good that even my non-fasting kids
wanted some!  They were having homemade chicken-noodle
soup, bread and caesar salad.  I really wanted a piece of
their buttery bread!

So, we sat down to eat and Jeff takes one look at the root veggies and says, "I don't want that."  No matter what I said I could not get him to take even one bite.  I, on the other hand, could hardly stop eating them, they were that good.  He ate his Yukon gold potatoes and took a piece of the kids' bread with butter.  "Dad!" they all exclaimed, "You can't have bread."  He replied innocently, "Yes, I can have bread."  And they all called him on it:  "Not white bread with butter!"  He reluctantly put it aside after only two bites and ate his beans.  I told him he could have some soup if he was still hungry, meaning the soup we had yesterday.  He jumped up happily and started serving himself a bowl of the chicken noodle.  "Dad!" the kids cried again.  "You can't have soup."  Confidently he returned, "Mom said I could."  I had to intervene then and say, "No, not chicken noodle.  You can have left-over soup from last night."  His face fell.  "I'll pick out the meat," he ventured.  "Nope," I said.  "You can't even eat the broth, it's meat too."  So poor Jeff picked away pathetically at his potatoes and beans...and at 10:00 at night, hungry, made himself a sandwich with sprouted bread and natural peanut butter!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DAY 16 - Daniel Fast

BREAKFAST:  Blackberry Crisp

Surprise!  I have a wonderful breakfast for you today. My grocery store had blackberries on sale, so I bought some.  Usually I don't touch them because they are not only expensive, but they are so inferior to what grows abundantly and free all over this region every August.  These looked not too bad, so I thought I'd try them to add some variety to my winter fruits.  I totally forgot to add them to my smoothie, and when I saw them in the fridge this morning there were a couple that were starting to go fuzzy.  I didn't want to lose them and I knew I had to use them immediately, so my imagination started to churn...and out came Daniel Fast Blackberry Crisp.  Because there is no sugar in it, it's not only okay for the fast it's also good for breakfast...just fruit and whole grains!

Start with a bowl of clean berries...a couple cups will do

Mix in the flour and macerate the berries.
You can also add vanilla or lavender or cinnamon.

Into the food processor goes oats, ground flax, whole wheat
pastry flour, two dates (pitted), and coconut oil.
You could also add nuts, lavender or cinnamon and spice

Sprinkle the crisp over the fruit
(Looks pretty good already, doesn't it?)

Bake it until the fruit is hot and bubbly

Serve it warm with a splash of soy milk (w/ 1/2 t. vanilla stirred in)
Oh. My. Goodness!

Here is the recipe:

1.  Rinse blackberries and drain well.  Pour into a baking dish.
2.  Sprinkle 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or other whole-grain flour) over the berries and stir until macerated (that means starting to get juicy).  Add vanilla, lavender or cinnamon for flavor variations.
3.  In a food processor add 1 c. old-fashioned oats, 2 T. ground flax seed, 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 c. coconut oil (at room temp it is the consistency of butter) and 2 pitted medjool dates (you should have some of these still kicking around).  Pulse until crumbly.  Add cinnamon and spices and/or nuts or lavender for more flavor to compliment whatever fruit you may be using.
4.  Sprinkle crisp over berries and bake at 400 for 15 min. and then cover and bake 15 min. more until fruit is hot and bubbly.  Allow to cool to just warm to allow the juices to thicken.  Serve alone or with soy milk with half a teaspoon of vanilla mixed in and pour it over top.  Amazing.

If you weren't able to buy blackberries at your store or on such notice, try substituting blueberries or even raspberries (although they might be a little tart) or mixing an assortment of fruit together.  It's fine to use frozen fruit, which may have a better flavor than fresh anyway because it was frozen in season. (Think peaches, berries, apples, pears, cherries.  If using apples and pears, be sure to add cinnamon!)

LUNCH:  Hummus, veggies, pita chips

You should have some hummus still sitting in your fridge because I do!  Chop up some veggies into dipping size (celery, carrot sticks, cucumber, sugar snap peas, sweet red pepper, cherry tomatoes, blanched asparagus spears...all your favorites).  Then make your own pita chips.

1.  Open a bag of pita bread and cut through the pile with a serrated knife to separate into quarters.
2.  Brush tops of pita with olive oil.
3.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning and sea salt on top.
4.  Bake at a low heat (200) for about 30 min. until crisp.

Be careful!  These can be as addicting as potato chips, so select a portion to eat and put them on your plate, then put the rest of the cooled chips back into the pita bread bag and PUT AWAY!  Then sit down and eat the controlled portion on your plate!  (Same goes for tortilla chips!)

DINNER:  Black Bean Soup

I love this soup, and so does my whole family.  The original recipe calls for ham, which gives it a smoky flavor, and beef broth for depth.  That's okay...there is still a lot of zing to this soup without the meat products.  I'm going to give you the whole recipe, though, so you can make it after the fast.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup
3 can (15-oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 med. onion, diced
2 c. cooked ham, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
salt to taste
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 whole cloves
1 t. coriander
4 c. water
2 c. beef broth (vegetable broth)
2 T. lime juice

Garnishes:  Sour cream or Greek yogurt, jack cheese, avocado, cilantro

1.  In stock pot, saute carrots and onions until soft.  Stir in seasoning and cook for 1 min.  Add meat, beans, water and broth.  Bring to a boil and then reduce.  Simmer 1 to 2 hours.
2.  Remove from heat.  Allow soup to cool for at least 5 min.  Place 2 c. of soup in blender and blend coarsely.  Pour into second pot.  Continue with remainder of soup until all the soup has been blended and is in the second pot.  Gently reheat and add lime juice.  Serve with garnish of your choice.

This soup freezes well.  Serves 6 to 8.  (When we aren't fasting, we like to serve it with cornbread.)
Although somewhat similar to chili, black bean soup is darker and
thinner than chili and has quite a different flavor
because of the addition of cloves and cumin and
the omission of chili powder.

You're going to need a few items for the meals coming up, so here is a short

Grocery List:
- root veggies (if you haven't picked them up already) [carrots, sweet potato, parsnip, Yukon gold potatoes, rutabaga and beets...whatever you like, but don't be afraid to try something new!]
- green beans (fresh or frozen)
- a head of live butter lettuce (it comes in a plastic container with roots and dirt still intact)
- shitake mushrooms
- fresh basil
- zucchini
- spinach
- water chestnuts (buy them by the can in the Asian section of your store)
- peanuts (shelled, chopped, and not dry-roasted or honey)
- whole-grain flatbread

Monday, January 23, 2012

DAY 15 - Daniel Fast

So taking pictures of everything I cook is becoming a point of mockery among my children!  As soon as I enter the kitchen holding my camera, one of them will start in on me.  I'm so glad I can provide entertainment at home as well as online!

I don't know about you, but I'm actually feeling less and less hungry in between and before meals as I continue the fast.  I guess my body has adjusted to not eating meat and my blood sugar levels must be pretty stable.  Now that I'm feeling full and satisfied on veggies, whole grains and fruit, I'm really not interested in meat at all anymore.  Have I become a vegetarian???  Do I even want to be one?

As I blog away tonight, I'm actually too full!  I find the Mexican-style meals to be the most filling (you'll be making tostadas for dinner).  My daughter made me a bowl of dry popcorn (which I'm also getting quite used to...I like the airy way it crunches when you eat it!), and I wasn't one bit hungry but I ate a bowl anyway sitting here at my computer.  Now why did I do that?


If you're reading this the night before, try it in your crockpot!

LUNCH:  Veggie sandwich with walnut pesto, fresh fruit

My favorite veggie sandwich has avocado,
tomato, cucumber, spinach leaves and sprouts
on Dave's Killer sprouted bread
(and usually goat cheese)

This is one of my favorite sandwiches, but of course I had to omit the goat cheese.  I found a recipe for walnut crema that said it was great on sandwiches, so I thought I'd give that a try.  When it was finished, I found it to taste pretty potent and didn't think I'd like it on my sandwich.  I almost didn't put it on.  In fact, I had taken a couple bites and then thought to myself, "Well, how will I know if I really don't like it unless I try it?"  I'm expecting you to try all these crazy recipes, so how can I not be willing myself?  So I spread some on my next bite.  Hmm, pretty good!  I opened my sandwich and spread it on the remaining bread.  I liked it!  So see what you think.  It's also supposed to be good with veggies, especially stuffed into celery like peanut butter, or heated and served with crackers or toasted pita or stirred into pasta like pesto.

Walnut Crema
3/4 c. walnuts (blanched in salt water)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. diced red onion

1.  Boil walnuts 8 to 10 minutes (reserve 1/8 c. of the water)

2.  Saute onion in olive oil (all 1/4 c.)
3.  Combine all three ingredients in food processor and add reserved water while processing until it becomes smooth and creamy, the consistency of hummus.

I also found a recipe for Daniel-Fast pesto in Rachel Ray's magazine, which substitutes the parmesan cheese with avocado.  I haven't tried this yet, but I am planning to.  I love pesto!  Here is the recipe for that, if you want to give it a try:

Daniel-Fast Basil Pesto
1 T. walnuts
1 garlic clove
1-1/2 T. olive oil
2 c. basil (2 oz.)
1/2 an avocado

Process in food processor until well blended and a lively color of green.  Serve on pasta, with crackers or pita, or on a sandwich.

DINNER:  Tostadas

These are so good!  They're a quick meal as well.  When you're done with the Daniel Fast, try it with shredded chicken and a bit of Mexican crema (similar to sour cream only thinner and less sour).

Spread a couple crunchy corn tortillas with warm refried beans, then top with diced tomato or pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, avocado and cilantro.  I like stirring a dash of cumin and chili powder into the refried beans for flavor.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DAY 14 - Daniel Fast

You are now two-thirds done with the fast.  Next week you'll be eating your favorite foods again.  Are you looking forward to it, or are you getting used to this new way of eating?  In thinking about what I miss most, I've decided meat isn't one of them nor is sugar or junk food.  I really miss my plain Greek yogurt, feta and goat cheese, and lattes.  And every once in awhile I think a cookie might be nice...something not too sweet, though, like tender, buttery shortbread or a chewy oatmeal cookie.  So I must be a dairy girl!  All the creamy things seem to be what I miss most.  Jeff definitely misses meet and coffee.  What do you miss most?

BREAKFAST:  Smoothie

Here's something new I tried...mixing in a bit of matcha green tea.  It's full of antioxidants.  If you use green fruit, like kiwi, you'll get a green smoothie...

I think matcha green tea and soy are a great match-a!
Although I prefer regular milk for coffee lattes
I actually prefer soy milk for green tea lattes

LUNCH:  Cherry-almond salad and pita or crackers with bean spread

Use a spring greens mix or butter lettuce for your salad...the sweet, tender leaves go well with the dried cherries.  Then add some crunchy toasted almonds, smooth avocado and the pomegranate dressing you made for the quinoa salad a couple days ago.  Serve it with this yummy bean spread and whole-grain crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers) or whole-grain pita toasted until crisp.

Rosemary-Garlic Bean Spread
1 head of garlic
olive oil
fresh rosemary sprigs (or dried rosemary)
1 can of white beans (white kidney, navy, cannellini, great northern)

1.  Slice the top of a head of garlic and place garlic on a sheet of foil.  Drizzle olive oil over exposed garlic cloves.  Wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 400 for 30 min.  Allow to cool so you can squeeze the soft, creamy roasted garlic cloves out of the head.

Roasted Garlic
Roast until the garlic is a rich, caramelly color

2.  While garlic is roasting, saute rosemary in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until fragrant.

You can also saute the garlic and rosemary together
and even add onion if you want a little more zip

3.  Drain beans and rinse.
4.  Place beans, rosemary and oil, and 1 clove of roasted garlic into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

DINNER:  Left-over carrot-ginger soup, apple slices with almond butter, "manna" bread

Super-easy dinner!  Just warm up the soup, slice some apples and dip into some almond butter, and then toast a piece of "manna" bread.

What is "manna" bread?  It is a totally sprouted, raw, "live" loaf of bread.  No sugar, yeast, salt or oil.  Very healthy.  It's a very moist bread, more cake-y than bread-y.  I think it tastes much better toasted.  It comes in a variety of flavors...rye, rice, fruit and nut, multigrain, fig and flax, hemp and banana, and more.  I have rye and fruit and nut at home.  I like the fruit and nut the best.  If you try it and like it, you could easily work it into your breakfast rotation for one more option.  Check your grocery store's health food freezer section to find it.
Here is a list of the ingredients:
Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic raisins,
organic dates, organic almonds, organic cashews, organic hazelnuts,
organic cinnamon, organic nutmeg, organic oatmeal

Saturday, January 21, 2012

DAY 13 - Daniel Fast

Are you still hanging in there?  The comments are coming less frequently, so I hope someone is still with me!  For those of you who do leave comments, if you can leave them here on my blog other readers can read them too.  I've been receiving them on Facebook and by email, which I enjoy very much, but others who might enjoy them too can only see them here.  And I do encourage you to leave a comment...don't be shy!  It's what makes blogging fun!  I enjoy your feedback, ideas and comments. It motivates me and makes this blogging thing seem real.


Did you try my granola recipe?  What do you think?  Do you have a recipe of your own that you can share?

LUNCH/DINNER:  Pasta with roasted cauliflower, tomato and tapenade, tossed salad

On Sundays we have our biggest meal in the afternoon and then have a lighter meal in the evening because we have a big gang to feed after church.  For the rest of the non-fasting people in my house, it was very easy to add some diced chicken and either parmesan or feta cheese and some garlic toast on the side.  We were able to eat together with minimal extra work to make two meals and without a noticeable difference in what we were eating.

For the pasta:

1.  Cut 1 head of cauliflower into large florets and boil for a few minutes until just barely tender.  Do not drain, but use a slotted spoon to take the cauliflower out of the water to you can use the same pot and water to boil the pasta.

2.  Spread cauliflower on a cookie sheet and cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, then drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 for about 15 min. until tender and brown around the edges.

3.  While the cauliflower is roasting, boil the pasta.

4.  While the pasta is boiling and the cauliflower is roasting, saute some diced onion or leeks.  Then add about 1/2 c. to 1 c. of tapenade (in the deli section of your grocery store) and some fresh thyme.  At this point you have a choice.  You can dice fresh tomato and add it to the pan, cooking until broken down and saucy.  Or you can use canned tomatoes, or you can use a jar of organic tomato or marina sauce.

5.  Drain the pasta.  Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix it and heat it through, then pour it over the pasta and mix again.

Serve with a tossed salad full of your favorite veggies.

SUPPER/EVENING SNACK:  Tortilla chips with bean dip, guacamole and pico de gallo / Odwalla Superfood smoothie (green juice)

Scoop a can of refried beans into a heat-proof bowl,  stir in a couple of dashes of cumin and chili powder, and heat through.  Serve with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and chips for dipping.  Enjoy a refreshing and nutritious green juice smoothie.  Don't worry, it doesn't taste anything like spinach or grass!  It is very delicious and naturally sweet with an apple-y flavor.  The chips and dip is just as good as nachos but without the very fattening melted cheese and sour cream!  When I eat this, I honestly don't even miss the cheese!

It might be time to replenish the pantry!  Check through this list and see if you need any items.

Grocery List
Fresh produce:
romaine, spinach, arugula
green onion, white onion, garlic
sugar snap peas
sweet potato, yam, parsnip
Yukon gold potatoes
green beans (fresh or frozen)
fruit (apples, grapefruit, lime, banana and any of your favorites)
dried cherries

Dried Goods:
crackers (you should still have crackers left-over, but buy some if you don't)
Dave's Killer Sprouted Bread
grains (i.e., oats, quinoa, sprouted rice, popcorn)
almond butter
walnuts (and any other nuts you like)
whole-grain corn tortilla chips (not fried)
whole-grain corn tortillas
refried beans
black beans
cannellini or white beans
vegetable broth
olive oil (any other oil you like--sesame, coconut, walnut, grapeseed)
soy milk