Mac n Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls

The other day I was looking at a box of Daiya brand Cheesy Mac, one of my favorite brands of boxed vegan mac n cheese. I noticed in the nutritional info it claims one box makes about three servings. THREE servings?! No way, I definitely eat the whole thing every time!!! Granted, I may be a glutton, but… Luckily I found a way to stretch one box of cheesy mac into several servings: Mac n Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls.

I stuffed 8 crescent rolls with Daiya mac n cheese, but after doing some calculations I could’ve actually done about 48 stuffed crescent rolls! (I just only had one can of dough at the time, and was forced to eat the leftover cheesy mac on its own) This is very simple to do, and very tasty. My non-vegan dad was kind of upset with me because he only got to try one on his lunch break, and by the time he came home from work I had eaten the other seven.

Did I mention you shouldn’t look to me for dietary advice?

Mac n Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls | Orthodox and Vegan
Mac n Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls
1 can vegan crescent roll dough, 8 servings*
1 pkg Daiya Cheesy Mac, prepared according to instructions
1 Tbsp margarine, melted
garlic powder, pepper to taste
optional: Tofurky deli slices

Preheat oven to 375.
Add a couple dashes of pepper and garlic powder to your prepared Cheesy Mac, stir and set aside.
Open crescent roll dough, and roll out on work surface as you normally would. Place one tablespoon of Daiya Cheesy Mac near the top center of the crescent roll dough (the wide end), and carefully roll into crescent shape – you will most likely need to fold in at least one side to keep the Cheesy Mac from coming out. Place on baking tray. Repeat until all crescent rolls are complete.
Generously brush rolls with margarine, and sprinkle with garlic powder to taste.
Bake crescent rolls 10-13 minutes, until golden brown.

If using deli slices
To bulk up the snack – and the flavor – cut four vegan deli slices (meat substitute) in half. Fold each half in half. Place in at the top center of the crescent roll dough before adding Cheesy Mac.

*Since each box of Daiya Cheesy Mac makes three 1 Cup servings, or 48 tablespoons, you should be able to fill 48 crescent rolls. Adjust margarine and deli slices accordingly.

I was really excited to find out some Meijer and Pillsbury brand canned dough is vegan. What’s your favorite surprisingly vegan item?

How to Make Prosphora (Bread of Holy Oblation)

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan

Thought I’d update this old recipe and step-by-step instruction for baking Holy Bread (Prosphora) for use in the Orthodox Church, according to the tradition of my Antiochian parish. There are various traditions, so check with your priest and ask his preference. The full recipe is at the bottom.

By the way, what is prosphora??? Prosphora is a Greek word meaning “offering”. Prosphora bread is made for use in the Eucharist in Orthodox Christian churches.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
We use all purpose bleached flour – Yes, it’s OK to use bleached flour, you can read more about that HERE. We use rapid rise yeast, so it isn’t necessary to dissolve it in water before adding it.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Just showing this because I thought the graphic was funny 🙂

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Starting out with 2 C of water

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Looking a little dry. Time for another 2 cups of water, slowly added while the machine is mixing.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
One thing I hate about adding water is the dough starts to separate again, or gets some weird texture and looks like it’s ruined. Every time I added water, I had to step away from the machine because I started having a little panic attack. It seemed like it took forever for the dough to get back to “normal”.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Finally the dough looks okay. It’s smooth and soft, but very firm, not dry. Turn it out into a large floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it can rise.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
I like to take pictures of my fist punching the dough, that’s my favorite part.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Now we tear off equal portions to be rolled out, the size will depend on your parish tradition.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
We use a tin to cut a perfect circle – old coffee tins work well.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
We do two layers just like we do with our Artoklasia bread.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Now for the seal. Isn’t this a cute little loaf? It’s made from scraps.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
This is a very clear seal.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Press down very firmly. I like to give it a wiggle, too…but I was also told I had to work FASTER! Or while you’re working on the next loaf, your first loaf might start to puff up and the seal won’t look as awesome.

Orthodox Bread of Holy Oblation

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
He’s good at this.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Poke holes in the corners of the Lamb (the center part of the seal) and in a few places around the edge of the loaf to keep the seal from rising and getting distorted as it bakes. We used a chopstick, but you could use a wooden skewer or toothpick.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
I need to buy some seals of my own. Stamping the bread with a seal is an ancient tradition. St. John Chrysostom, who lived from 347-407, mentioned it in his writings, noting that all the bread was “sealed”. Probably with a cross.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Bake the bread until just barely golden brown. It should sound hollow when you knock on it.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Here’s a finished loaf. Let’s talk abut the meaning of the symbols. I’m just learning this myself, I was told to read The Prothesis from The Order of Preparation for Divine Liturgy from the red service book (I don’t know if there’s some official name for the book, but that’s what we all call it). First, notice the IC XC NIKA in the small squares on the top & bottom, and the large square in the center of the loaf. IC XC NIKA is an abbreviation which means “Jesus Christ conquers.”

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Typically the large center square is the Lamb, cut out and used for Holy Communion. Then the small square on the top is removed in honor of the living, and the one on the bottom in memory of the dead. Then other portions are removed in honor of various other things.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
This triangular piece is for the Theotokos. Theotokos is a Greek word that means God-bearer, or Birth-giver of God. In the year 431, the Council of Ephesus decreed that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. So she not only gave birth to his human nature, but also to God Himself.


The Greek letters mu & theta are an abbreviation for “Mother of God.” Looking closely at the triangle, you’ll see it’s formed by kind of stacking the theta on the mu. Hovering on either side are the spear and the sponge (you can see those more clearly on the picture of the seal itself).

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
The 9 small triangles on the right represent the 9 ranks of commemorations:

1. Michael & Gabriel, and all the angels of heaven
2. Baptist John and all the Prophets
3. Apostles
4. Hierarchs
5. Martyrs
6. The Holy Ascetics
7. The Unmercenary Healers
8. Sts. Joachim and Anna, and the saints of the day
9. Saint whose liturgy we celebrate (St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil)

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
And these little guys that fill in the empty spaces are not only ornamental but functional. They keep air bubbles from forming. Neat! But from there, or elsewhere, other portions are removed in honor of the Archbishop, Bishop and every order of clergy.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Each portion is usually cut from a separate loaf, using five loaves total. The remaining bread is used for the antidoron – yet another Greek word, it means “instead of the gifts,” and it is a blessed bread not used for Communion. Customs vary, but generally it’s distributed to anyone present, including non-Orthodox (the lamb being reserved for Orthodox Christians since it’s in the Eucharist). Technically, though, you should not take a piece after Liturgy if you already had one after receiving communion (doesn’t seem like many people keep this rule anymore!) or you at least should not take more than one piece for yourself each time.

Prosphora (Holy Bread) Baking | Orthodox and Vegan
Just in case anyone thought this was fancy sandwich bread 🙂

Prosphora/Holy Bread
5 lbs all purpose bleached flour, plus extra for dusting surface
1 packet quick rapid yeast
1 tsp salt
2 – 5 C warm (mildly hot) water, or as needed

Put 5 pounds of flour, yeast, and salt in large commercial stand mixer bowl. Briefly mix to combine dry ingredients, then add 2 cups mildly hot water and continue mixing. Add water as needed until a soft, but very firm, dough has formed.

Turn dough out into a very large floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draft-free spot until doubled in size – approximately 2 hours.

Preheat commercial convection oven to 325 (you may need to use higher heat for a standard oven). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper and dust them with flour.

Punch the dough.

Tear off equal portions of dough to roll out on a floured surface, the size will depend on the tradition in your parish. After rolling out the dough, you may choose to use a tin to cut it into a clean circle shape.

If making two-layer bread as we do: Place bottom layers on lined and floured baking sheets.

Wet the top of the bottom layers of dough, one at a time, then place the other layer on top.
(At this point some people let their loaves rise a second time, for about 30 minutes. We didn’t do that, but since we rolled out all the loaves at once, they probably did rise for about 10-15 minutes while they waited to be sealed.)

Dust the loaf tops lightly with flour, and be sure to flour your seal regularly between loaves.
Press the seal down very firmly, giving it a gentle wiggle during release.

Poke holes in the corners of the Lamb (the center part of the seal) and in a few places around the edge of the loaf to keep the seal from rising and getting distorted as it bakes. We used a chopstick, but you could use a wooden skewer or toothpick.

The bread should be a light golden brown (very light). Knock on the bread to see if it sounds hollow. If so, the bread should be done. Allow it to cool on racks.

After our bread is cooled we bag it up in very large freezer bags, 2 loaves to a bag, and they’ll keep in the freezer for several weeks. Let the loaves thaw overnight at room temperature (although you can defrost in the microwave in an emergency).

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

20131129 tahini chocolate chip cookies9

This recipe for chocolate chip cookies with tahini is inspired by cookies my sister brought home from St. John Chrysostomos Greek Orthodox Monastery in Pleasant Prairie, WI. At the time, I found one recipe for tahini-based chocolate chip cookies online. It used vodka instead of water, but since I usually make booze flavored and booze soaked desserts for feasts, I decided to switch out the vodka for water during the fast.

The tahini works as a great replacement for butter, and the taste is surprisingly mild (if noticeable at all).

20131129 tahini chocolate chip cookies7
Drop onto a greased cookie sheet by the spoonful. After I bake mine for about 8 minutes, I stick them under the broiler briefly to give them a little color. They don’t brown like regular cookies.

20131129 tahini chocolate chip cookies8
The recipe made about 32 medium sized cookies. When I used 1 C of sugar there was a very faint taste of tahini, but when I used 1 1/2 C and couldn’t taste the tahini at all, it seemed too sweet. I think 1 1/4 C might be perfect.


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

2 C flour
1 to 1 1/4 C white sugar*
1/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tahini
2/3 C water (or unsweetened non-dairy milk)
2 tsp vanilla

1 C vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, add tahini, water, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet. You may add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, if dough seems too thick. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop onto a greased cookie sheet by the spoonful and bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Then place cookies on top rack under the broiler just until they begin to brown slightly on top. Place on wire rack to cool.

*1 1/4 C sugar was pretty sweet for me, but cutting the sugar to 1 C means there’s a faint taste of tahini.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

A friend asked if I could make Lenten brownies for him. I know a few years ago I made vegan brownies with bananas, but I cannot find the recipe anywhere! Looking over a few classic brownie recipes, though, I realized this is one of the easiest desserts to veganize, and these vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies were born 😀

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
I replaced the butter with peanut butter, and egg is replaced with banana. I was also able to cut down on refined sugar thanks to the natural sweetness of the bananas. For my friend, I kept them extra “healthy” (I mean, they’re still brownies) by using chopped dates in place of chocolate chips. I’ve tried this recipe with a gluten free flour mix and it worked just as well, although the brownies were a little fudgier – is that a bad thing?? Nope.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Bake until beautiful 🙂

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
I didn’t even get to try one whole brownie because they were promised to another, but…I cut off a piece to make a nice, even square. And it was wonderful.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
3/4 C natural peanut butter
8 squares unsweetened chocolate*
1 1/2 C sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
optional: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc

Preheat oven to 325.
In medium saucepan, heat peanut butter on low for approximately 5 minutes. Add chocolate and stir until completely melted. Add sugar and stir to incorporate. Add mashed bananas and vanilla, and stir until incorporated. Add 1 C flour, stir to incorporate. Removed from heat and fold in optional ingredients.

Pour batter into a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes.

By the way, these are perfect for a strict fasting day since there’s no added oil!

*1/4 C vegan chocolate chips can be used in place of unsweetened chocolate squares. Since chocolate chips are sweetened, I’d recommend cutting the sugar to 1 1/4 C unless you eat like John Travolta in Michael.

Life Hack: Vegan Nacho Cheez

Vegan Nacho Cheez Sauce | Orthodox and Vegan
Have I told you how much I LOVE tahini sauce?! It is simple to make, includes few ingredients, and is quite versatile. The variation I use for vegan nachos is my favorite. I pay about $7 for a 32oz jar of tahini, enough to make approximately 25 large plates of nachos! It doesn’t really taste like cheese*, but it does taste pretty wonderful.

*UPDATE* So a friend of mine made his own little variation based on my recipe and had some friends totally believing they were eating a very non-vegan cheese sauce! SO THERE.

Lenten Tahini Nacho Sauce
And the rest of the ingredients for the nachos are just as simple: finely chopped veggies – I prefer bell pepper, onion, and tomato, and sometimes fresh garlic. Black beans and corn would also be great. Simply drizzle the tahini sauce over the chips, add toppings…

Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
and bake!

Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
The sauce thickens and keeps the toppings from falling off.

Lenten Recipes: Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
When the sauce begins to brown you know it’s done.

Lenten Recipes: Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce | Orthodox and Vegan
Tahini Nacho Cheez Sauce
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
Lemon juice, salt and garlic to taste.
Add water until desired consistency is reached.

Additional seasonings recommended for nachos:
Frank’s Redhot Sauce
black pepper
cumin
smoked paprika
chili powder
turmeric for color

Now, you can use this sauce as a dip (or eat it with a spoon, I won’t judge!), but for vegan nachos:

Preheat oven to 400.
In a small bowl, stir together tahini, water, and lemon juice. Season to taste with spices and hot sauce, adding turmeric for color if desired. Finely chop toppings of choice.
On a baking tray or large oven proof plate, arrange tortilla chips in a single layer. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with toppings.

Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until tahini sauce thickens and begins to brown.

Oh, and this sauce is also perfect for chili cheez fries! What’s your favorite way to spice up tahini sauce???

Pizza Week 2016, Day 2: Tomato Basil VioLife on Ultra Thin Crust

Vegan Tomato Basil VioLife Pizza
Tonight’s pizza: the lazy woman’s Tortilla Pizza, smothered in Tomato Basil VioLife cheese, topped with thinly sliced onion and tomato, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Tortilla pizzas remind me of the ultra thin crust pizzas I had in Rome, it made it easy to eat an entire pizza yourself. In this case, I ate two! To get a nice crunchy crust, I placed the tortillas under the broiler, turning every so often until both sides were nice and firm, and just starting to brown.

When the tortillas are firm enough that you could add the toppings and stick your pizza straight on the rack without fear of it falling apart, it’s ready! I skipped the sauce and went straight for the cheese since the cheese has a tomato flavor anyway. And I didn’t use any seasonings because the basil really comes through beautifully.
Besides having a wonderful flavor, the olive oil helps the cheese melt. VioLife isn’t the meltiest vegan cheese out there, but under the broiler it gets bubbly and soft. I only put two torn up slices on the first pizza, but on the second pizza (pictured) I did four. Yes, I’m admitting to eating six pieces of this cheese in one meal. It’s that good.

How is your Pizza Week shaping up?

Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg

It’s here, guys – Pizza Week is HERE!!! And I got started bright and early with a breakfast pizza. Now, I have to admit I lied yesterday when I finished my VioLife post by saying I was off to get my pizza crust started. I went to a party, came home and slept on the couch, got up at 3 to clean the kitchen, and made the dough around 3:45am. I didn’t realize I was almost out of flour, and the only yeast in the pantry…expired in 2010! But I decided to try it anyway, maybe it was still okay………

Well, this morning I checked my lump of dough safely set aside in the draft-free oven. It was REALLY cold in that oven! And the dough hadn’t risen at all. But I was not deterred, I would just have a flatbread pizza, simple as that.

Vegan Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg and VioLife Cheese
And if you don’t mind my saying so, I think it turned out pretty darn well. In fact, it is beautiful.

Anyway, you can use your favorite crust recipe or a store-bought crust, or try my old favorite recipe from a vintage TimeLife cookbook. As for the toppings…

Vegan Breakfast Pizza
Crust of choice
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped onion (to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped bell pepper (to taste)
One serving VeganEgg, prepared scrambled
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Garlic powder, to taste
VioLife Prosociano (Parmesan), or other favorite vegan cheese

Preheat oven to 500.
Saute onions and bell pepper in oil just until tender. Set aside.
Prepare scrambled VeganEgg, seasoned with salt and pepper.

If you’re using a homemade pizza dough, oil your pizza pan, roll out the dough to desired thickness, and place dough on greased pan. If you’re using store-bought, just stick the crust on the pan 🙂 Lightly drizzle crust/dough with olive oil and spread evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with sauteed veggies and scrambled VeganEgg.

Bake for 5 – 10 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven and immediately top with shaved Prosociano. If you’re in the US, we don’t have VioLife yet 🙁 But you can use your favorite vegan parm, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, or just skip it!

But seriously…as soon as VioLife is available here, you MUST try the Prosociano. It’s a hard cheese with a great salty, nutty, and slightly sharp flavor. I’m going to be so sad when it’s gone, who knows when I’ll be able to get my hands on more??? If you’re ever in Greece or the UK, I recommend pulling an I Love Lucy-type move to smuggle it home – put a hollow prego-belly on under your shirt, and fill it with VioLife.

More pizza to come all week, more VioLife reviews, and a proper VeganEgg review coming soon!!! Until then, enjoy your breakfast pizza!

Pizza Week 2016, Day 1: Breakfast Pizza

It’s here, guys – Pizza Week is HERE!!! And I got started bright and early with a breakfast pizza. Now, I have to admit I lied yesterday when I finished my VioLife post by saying I was off to get my pizza crust started. I went to a party, came home and slept on the couch, got up at 3 to clean the kitchen, and made the dough around 3:45am. I didn’t realize I was almost out of flour, and the only yeast in the pantry…expired in 2010! But I decided to try it anyway, maybe it was still okay………

Well, this morning I checked my lump of dough safely set aside in the draft-free oven. It was REALLY cold in that oven! And the dough hadn’t risen at all. But I was not deterred, I would just have a flatbread pizza, simple as that.

Vegan Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg and VioLife Cheese
And if you don’t mind my saying so, I think it turned out pretty darn well. In fact, it is beautiful.

Anyway, you can use your favorite crust recipe or a store-bought crust, or try my old favorite recipe from a vintage TimeLife cookbook. As for the toppings…

Vegan Breakfast Pizza
Crust of choice
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped onion (to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped bell pepper (to taste)
One serving VeganEgg, prepared scrambled
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Garlic powder, to taste
VioLife Prosociano (Parmesan), or other favorite vegan cheese

Preheat oven to 500.
Saute onions and bell pepper in oil just until tender. Set aside.
Prepare scrambled VeganEgg, seasoned with salt and pepper.

If you’re using a homemade pizza dough, oil your pizza pan, roll out the dough to desired thickness, and place dough on greased pan. If you’re using store-bought, just stick the crust on the pan 🙂 Lightly drizzle crust/dough with olive oil and spread evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with sauteed veggies and scrambled VeganEgg.

Bake for 5 – 10 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven and immediately top with shaved Prosociano. If you’re in the US, we don’t have VioLife yet 🙁 But you can use your favorite vegan parm, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, or just skip it!

But seriously…as soon as VioLife is available here, you MUST try the Prosociano. It’s a hard cheese with a great salty, nutty, and slightly sharp flavor. I’m going to be so sad when it’s gone, who knows when I’ll be able to get my hands on more??? If you’re ever in Greece or the UK, I recommend pulling an I Love Lucy-type move to smuggle it home – put a hollow prego-belly on under your shirt, and fill it with VioLife.

More pizza to come all week, more VioLife reviews, and a proper VeganEgg review coming soon!!!

Vegan Potato Nachos with Tahini Sauce

Vegan Potato Nachos with Tahini Sauce
I love these vegan nachos because they’re beautifully colorful and very simple to throw together. Sometimes when I buy potatoes, I bake a bunch of them all at once and throw them in the fridge to use as needed. For these nachos, you can use whatever kind of potato you want, big or small (sweet potatoes might be a little odd, but you could work with them!). I used purple potatoes, and the results are stunning 🙂

Vegan Potato Nachos
baked potatoes, sliced
tahini nacho cheez sauce
favorite toppings

Preheat oven to 425.
Place potatoes on a small baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle with about half the tahini sauce, and sprinkle on your favorite toppings. Drizzle remaining tahini sauce over the toppings. Bake at 425 until tahini sauce has thickened and is lightly browned (around 10 – 15 minutes).
Alternatively, you can make the nachos on a microwave safe plate and nuke for a minute or two, until the sauce has thickened.

Serves 1 to 2

These are great with a side of bean dip and guacamole, and you can make it a meal for 4 by adding a big ol’ bowl of Spanish rice.

These nachos are oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day.

St. Phanourios and Phanouropita (Recipe Included)

Today we commemorate St. Phanourios, and people all over the world will be baking Phanouropita in his honor.

The icon of St. Phanourios is framed by smaller images of the saint enduring torments for the Faith

The icon of St. Phanourios is framed by smaller images of the saint enduring torments for the Faith

A feast of gladness hath shone with splendour today, the new festival of Phanourios, the much-contending and noble of spirit. For he contested in unknown times and was of no reputation, and all men were ignorant of his name and of his temple. But when godless tyrants held sway over illustrious Rhodes, and were digging up the suburbs which lay in ruins, his temple and icon were revealed, shining brighter than the light. And when by the ruler’s permission, the Saint’s church was built again, it was shown to be a fountain of miracles by Christ God, Who is truly wondrous in His Saints.

-Doxa of the Praises for the Feast Day of St. Phanourios, Plagal of First Tone

On August 27 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate St. Phanourios the Newly-Revealed Wonder-Worker of Rhodes.
The icon of St. Phanourios was discovered by a group of nomadic pagans as they pillaged the island of Rhodes in Greece in about the year 1500. Although the icon was found amid the ruins of an ancient church with a group of rotted icons and other artifacts, this icon of St. Phanourios was found to be in perfect condition, and as if newly painted. The icon was left behind by the pagans, who saw no value in it, and finally reclaimed by a group of monks that had been waiting off at a distance.
No more was ever learned about St. Phanourios than what is depicted on the original icon – the scenes of his contest and martyrdom. Because of the way the saint was discovered, and due to his name (which literally means “revealed”), it became a custom for the people to seek the intercessions of St. Phanourios when looking for a lost item. If the lost item is found, a Phanouropita (Phanourios cake) is baked as a thanks-offering, blessed by the priest, and shared with friends and family.
In some areas it is also the custom for women to bake a Phanouropita when they want St. Phanourios to help them find a husband, or for a mother to find a husband for her daughter.

The Phanouropita is usually blessed at Vespers the evening before the Feast Day, or at the end of the Liturgy. We didn’t have Vespers or Liturgy, but my parish does have Orthros Tuesday – Friday. St. Pimen has rank in the HTM menaion, but I found St. Phanourios in the additional services in the back of the book, and that is what we used.

Phanouropita
Father did the blessing just before the dismissal, it’s very short – takes maybe a minute or two.

Phanouropita 2
Traditionally a candle is placed in the cake for the blessing.

Phanouropita 3
Rather than frosting the cake, it is dusted (or in this case, loaded) with powdered sugar. There are a few variations on this recipe, but most are very simple, Lenten recipes. The one I used is below. It was my first time making Phanouropita, and it turned out beautifully.

Phanouropita
1 C light olive oil, or other mild vegetable oil
1 C sugar
1 C orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C coarsely chopped walnuts

Optional: sesame seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9″ baking dish or bundt pan*. (*If garnishing with sesame seeds, use parchment paper instead of greasing)
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon & cloves). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat oil, sugar, orange juice and zest until they are emulsified (well combined, it should look sort of creamy). Now slowly begin stirring the flour mixture into the liquid mixture. Once all the flour is incorporated, gently stir in the walnuts and raisins.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*To garnish with sesame seeds, line baking dish with parchment paper. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sesame seeds. Pour batter over seeds, then sprinkle with another tablespoon of sesame seeds.

I used an 8″ glass baking dish for my cake, and it took about an hour to bake.

Blessed Feast to you all!