The Utter Destruction of Death

Stichera from the Presanctified Liturgy of the Sixth Wednesday of Great Lent:

Plagal of the First Mode
Verse 8. Out of the depths have I cried to Thee, O Lord, Lord hear my voice.
With boundless love in your hands, O holy martyrs, ye did not forsake Christ; enduring the various wounds of sufferings, ye laid low the torturers’ impudence. Preserving unbending and unshakeable faith, ye wert translated into heaven. Since ye received boldness before Him, entreat Him to grant peace to the world, and for our souls Great Mercy.

Verse 7. Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
Jesus told those who were with Him when He walked in the flesh by the River Jordan: My friend Lazarus is already dead, given over for burial. But I rejoice for your sake, O friends, for by his death ye shall learn that I know all, for I am God, even though I have appeared as man. Let us go and bring Him to life, so that death may really feel its utter destruction, and the victory I shall win, granting the world Great Mercy.

Verse 6. If Thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee there is forgiveness.
Imitating Mary and Martha, O faithful, let us offer divine works to the Lord as they did, that He might come and raise our minds, which now lie dead in the tomb of carelessness, feeling no fear of God, and deprived of any living action. Behold, O Lord, Who of old didst raise Thy friend Lazarus by Thy coming. Give life to us also, O bountiful One, granting us Great Mercy.

Second Sunday of Great Lent: Saint Gregory Palamas

Gregory_Palamas_Dionysiou

Light of Orthodoxy,
pillar and teacher of the Church,
adornment of monastics,
invincible champion of theologians,
O Gregory, thou wonder-worker,
boast of Thessaloniki,
herald of grace:
ever pray that our souls be saved.

On the second Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate St. Gregory Palamas and the vindication of his teachings on hesychastic prayer by the Church which is considered “a second triumph of Orthodoxy” (having celebrated Orthodoxy Sunday the first Sunday of Lent). From OrthodoxWiki:

“He maintained the Orthodox doctrine that it remains impossible to know God in his essence (God in himself), but possible to know God in his energies (to know what God does, and who he is in relation to the creation and to man), as God reveals himself to humanity. In doing so, he made reference to the Cappadocian Fathers and other early Christian writers.

Gregory further asserted that when the Apostles Peter, James and John witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, that they were in fact seeing the uncreated light of God; and that it is possible for others to be granted to see that same uncreated light of God with the help of repentance, spiritual discipline and contemplative prayer, although not in any automatic or mechanistic fashion.

He continually stressed the Biblical vision of the human person as a united whole, both body and soul. Thus, he argued that the physical side of hesychastic prayer was an integral part of the contemplative monastic way, and that the claim by some of the monks of seeing the uncreated light was indeed legitimate.”

The Hesychastic Prayer
“In practice, the Hesychastic prayer bears some superficial resemblance to mystical prayer or meditation in Eastern religions (e.g., Buddhism and Hinduism, especially Yoga), although this similarity is often overly emphasized in popular accounts.

For example, it may involve specific body postures and be accompanied by very deliberate breathing patterns. It involves acquiring an inner stillness, ignoring the physical senses. The hesychasts interpreted Christ’s injunction in the Gospel of Matthew to “go into your closet to pray” to mean that they should ignore sensory input and withdraw inwards to pray. It often includes many repetitions of the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me[, a sinner].”. While some might compare it with a mantra, to use the Jesus Prayer in such a fashion is to violate its purpose. One is never to treat it as a string of syllables for which the “surface” meaning is secondary. Likewise, hollow repetition is considered to be worthless (or even spiritually damaging) in the hesychast tradition.”

St. John Climacus from Step 6: On Remembrance of Death in The Ladder of Divine Ascent
“And I cannot be silent about the story of Hesychius the Horebite. He passed his life in complete negligence, without paying the least attention to his soul. Then he became extremely ill, and for an hour he expired. And when he came to himself, he begged us all to leave him immediately. And he built up the door of his cell, and he stayed in it for twelve years without ever uttering a word to anyone, and without eating anything but bread and water. And, always remaining motionless, he was so rapt in spirit at what he had seen in his ecstasy, that he never changed this manner of life but was always as if out of his mind, and silently shed hot tears. But when he was about to die, we broke open the door and went in, and after many questions, this alone was all we heard from him: “Forgive me! No one who has acquired the remembrance of death will ever be able to sin.” We were amazed to see that one who had before been so negligent was so suddenly transfigured by this blessed change and transformation. We reverently buried him in the cemetery near the fort, and after some days we looked for his holy relics, but did not find them. So by Hesychius’s true and praiseworthy repentance, the Lord showed us that He accepts those who desire to amend, even after long negligence.”

2015 Lenten Potluck #2: Mock Tuna Salad with Avocado Mayo

I was very bad Tuesday night and neglected to make my potluck dish ahead. That meant all day Wednesday I was trying to plan what to make, and how I’d make it in the very tiny window of time from the time I leave work to the time I get back to the church. I have a mere two hours, and I also needed to stop at the store! Luckily I already had a plan to use up two more avocados, so I just had to figure out what I wanted to cover in Avocado Mayo, a recipe I found at Girl Makes Food.

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Avocado Mayo
I decided to do yet another version of mock tuna using chickpeas, and I even had a little bag of dried seaweed flakes from my last haul at the Asian market.

2015-3-5 Avocado Mayo
For the mayo:
Use a fork to mash two avocados until creamy and smooth. Stir in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, juice of half a lemon, 1/8 tsp onion powder & 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Salt to taste.

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan
For the mock tuna:
I lightly mashed four cans of chickpeas. Of course I bought the cheapest chickpeas I could find, and they turned out to be pretty firm and didn’t mash as well as I would’ve liked. Better to go with chickpeas that are a little more tender if you can. After mashing them, season with salt and pepper (and if you like egg taste in your tuna salad, add gray salt for the sulfur taste).

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan2
Now, depending on how fishy you want the salad, add 1/4 C to 1/2 C seaweed flakes.

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan3
I did 1/4 C. It looked like a lot, but next time I’m upping it!

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan4
Add avocado mayo and stir to coat.

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan5
Add two cans of peas, drained – you can reserve a little liquid in case you want to thin down the mayo in the salad. Turn the salad very gently to incorporate the peas, you want to avoid crushing them.

2015-3-5 Mock Tuna Vegan6
I found an antique bowl that matched the salad beautifully, it belonged to my grandmother 🙂

If I were making a smaller batch of the salad just for myself, I’d use two cans of chickpeas, one can of peas, but the same amount of mayo. I’d get it good and salty, probably use 1/4 C of seaweed flakes again (since I’d have a smaller portion of chickpeas to season), and let the salad sit over night. It should keep from browning if you cover it in plastic wrap with the plastic touching the salad. Although if it’s just for me, I don’t care if it browns a little. Just stir it up and it’s fine. On its own, the salad is both oil free & perfect for a strict fasting day, and also gluten free. Serve with pita bread for those who are gluten full.

Anyway.

2015-3-5 Lenten Potluck
We had way more people than usual at Presanctified Liturgy, and way more food than usual at the potluck.

2015-3-5 Lenten Potluck2
This is just the main table with the savory food, we had another counter filled with sweet stuff.

2015-3-5 Lenten Potluck3
Mjuddara with hummus and salad is a classic Lenten meal, is it not? We also had Sloppy Joe’s made with TVP and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and guess what? The little buns were made using my Tasty Buns recipe! They turned out beautifully, I think they were better than mine! I also tried the pumpkin bread, and a lovely bowl of magenta-colored soup (is there any vegetable more beautiful than the beet?).

I know some of you are also enjoying Lenten potlucks in your own parishes. What are you cooking?

2015 Lenten Potluck #1: Suzi's Blackened Carolina BBQ

Ah, the first Lenten potluck of the year! I was SO looking forward to it, and I even made my dish the night before instead of rushing home with 1 hour and fifteen minutes to try to whip something up. I just needed to throw it in the oven during Presanctified Liturgy. In fact, I was feeling so relieved, I decided I had time to make rolls to go with my pulled jackfruit in Caroline BBQ sauce in case anyone wanted to make a sandwich. Well, just goes to show nothing ever goes the way I plan it, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been… And it started out very promising. I show you:

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ
I started with four cans of jackfruit in brine, drained.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ2
I recommend draining it in a colander because next you need to squeeze out as much of the brine as possible. When you’ve finished squeezing, put the jackfruit in a bowl and begin pulling the pieces apart so it looks like pulled or shredded pork.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ3
For the Caroline BBQ sauce, I modified a random recipe I found googling the other night. Here’s my version:

balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water & ketchup (homemade or store bought),

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ4
maple syrup,

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ5
salt, garlic powder, and a few shakes of black pepper.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ6
Frank’s Redhot Sauce,

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ7
This sauce doesn’t normally call for oil, if we were using pork it would provide its own fat. But we’re using jackfruit, so I added 1 heaping Tbsp of tahini. Because of this you may need to adjust the other ingredients to cover a very mild sesame flavor (you could also add even more tahini and adjust, if you want more fat).

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ8
Whisk.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ9
Add to jackfruit.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ10
Stir to coat.
2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ11
Optional:
On oil days I would saute onions and bell pepper to top my sandwich, but there’s a simple alternative to sauteing or frying.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ12
Just mix it into the jackfruit. Cover and marinate overnight.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ13
So even after running home and making the dough for the rolls, I *still* got back to church early. I spread the jackfruit on a parchment-covered baking tray and popped it in one of our commercial convection ovens at 350 with the fan on low, rolled my dough into cute little rolls (I’ll post that recipe next), and went over to the chapel. I have baked things during Presanctified Liturgy before. It usually works out. This time I could smell the BBQ sauce almost as soon as I stepped out of the chapel. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then I opened the oven.

2015-2-26 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ14
I burned it! I should’ve known even on the low setting those ovens bake everything SO quickly! I just stood there staring at the pan for a long time before deciding to trash it and just be happy I also had the rolls. Next thing you know everyone’s coming to the hall and making comments about the wonderful smell of Carolina BBQ sauce in the air. Well, I had only dumped the charred remains back in my bowl, not in the garbage, and if you can believe it…people still wanted to eat it!

2015-2-26 Lenten Potluck Vegan
So there it is in a little dish on the buffet table – I only put out a portion of it because I figured no one would really eat it, but the dish was empty at the end of the night. So I decided to name this dish after the person most adamant I put it out instead of trashing it 🙂

2015-2-26 Lenten Potluck Vegan2
I’m really trying to keep it light this year, so I had my guacamole and hummus with carrots (I know, I know – anathema). The beautiful medjool dates were my dessert. The soup is lentil curry with potatoes. I also tried a vegetable soup – I don’t remember exactly what was in it, but it was blended and had a great creamy texture and lovely orange hue. I had to only eat half a bowl of each because I also wanted to try the third soup, a spicy lentil chili. I was too full to try the pasta, so I’m hoping it will make another appearance. I also missed out on a salad and a couple fancy-looking breads (didn’t even have room in my tummy for one extra piece of antideron). Oh, and there was CANDY.

Next week I might just have to take only one bite of everything so I can try it all. Also trying to decide if I want to do the jackfruit again and see if I can Not burn it. I bought a bunch of other interesting ingredients from the Asian market the other day, though, so it might have to wait til next year.

Recipe Recap

    Carolina BBQ Sauce

1 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C water
1/2 ketchup
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
a few dashes of black pepper
Frank’s Redhot Sauce to taste
1 Tbsp tahini

In a medium bowl, whisk ingredients together to combine.

    Carolina BBQ Jackfruit

4 20oz cans jackfruit in brine, drained & pulled
1 to 2 small sweet onions, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
Carolina BBQ sauce

Drain jackfruit into a colander. You may wish to give it a little squeeze to get out the excess brine before pulling – pull apart as you would pulled pork. Place jackfruit in a large bowl with sliced veggies. Add BBQ sauce, stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least one hour, but overnight is best.

Spread in a single layer on a large parchment-covered baking tray, and bake at 350 until veggies are tender and jackfruit is browned (in a regular oven this should take 45 minutes to an hour, unless you really want it blackened!). You may want to turn it a couple times during baking. Serve with rolls to make sandwiches (Tasty Buns recipe here)

Clean Wednesday: Spiritual Fast

My dish for the first Lenten potluck of 2015 is marinating in the fridge, but as much as I’m looking forward to the potluck, the thing that’s making me really happy is thinking about hearing Let My Prayer Arise for the first time. And the noise of everyone shuffling around in the chapel trying to find a spot to make prostrations during the Prayer of St. Ephraim. We also have some great stichera that teach us about the true meaning of the fast – that’s the great thing about Orthodox liturgical music, it has real meaning and you can learn so much from it. If you attend all the services for one year and pay attention to the music, you will learn everything the Church believes.

Here are a few stichera to get us through these last few hours before Presanctified Liturgy. I hope you all get to enjoy breaking the fast afterwards (to some degree) with your church family like I will! *Not the fast, the Clean Week/Eucharistic fast 🙂

While fasting physically, brethren, let us also fast spiritually. Let us loose every knot of iniquity. Let us tear up every unrighteous bond. Let us distribute bread to the hungry, and welcome into our homes those who have no roof over their heads, so that we may receive the Great Mercy from Christ our God.

Elias was enlightened through fasting. He mounted the chariot of good works and was taken up to the heights of heaven. Emulate him, O humble soul. Abstain from every evil and jealousy, from every fleeting pleasure, so that ye might be cleansed of corrupting disease, the fires of Gehenna, crying to Christ: O Lord, glory to Thee.

O divine apostles, fervent intercessors for the world, defenders of the Orthodox. Ye possess the authority to entreat Christ our God with boldness. We entreat ye to pray for us, O honorable ones, that we might spend the good time of fasting in joyousness and receive the grace of the consubstantial Trinity. Pray for our souls, O great and glorious preachers.

Clean Tuesday: Pride

Strong words from St. John of Kronstadt this morning, just making a note to myself here!

Crop of vegetables. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other vegetables.

We are told: It is no big deal to eat non-Lenten food during Lent. It is no big deal if you wear expensive beautiful outfits, go to the theater, to parties, to masquerade balls, use beautiful expensive china, furniture, expensive carriages and dashing steeds, amass and hoard things, etc. Yet what is it that turns our heart away from God, away from the Fountain of Life? Because of what do we lose eternal life? Is it not because of gluttony, of expensive clothing like that of the rich man of the Gospel story, is it not because of theaters and masquerades? What turns us hard-hearted toward the poor and even toward our relatives? Is it not our passion for sweets, for satisfying the belly in general, for clothing, for expensive dishes, furniture, carriages, for money and other things? Is it possible to serve God and mammon, to be a friend to the world and a friend to God, to serve Christ and Belial? That is impossible.

Why did Adam and Eve lose paradise, why did they fall into sin and death? Was it not because of one evil? Let us attentively consider why we do not care about the salvation of our soul, which cost the Son of God so dearly. Why do we compound sin upon sin, fall endlessly into opposing God, into a life of vanity? Is it not because of a passion for earthly things and especially for earthly pleasures? What makes our hearts become crude? Why do we become flesh and not spirit, perverting our moral nature? Is it not because of a passion for food, drink, and other earthly comforts? How after this can one say that it does not matter whether you eat non-Lenten food during Lent? The fact that we talk this way is in fact pride, idle thought, disobedience, refusal to submit to God, and separation from Him.

-St. John of Kronstadt

Clean Monday: True Fasting

2015-2-23 St. Nicholas Church Grand Rapids
Although this rule is probably not observed much outside of monasteries, traditionally the first three days of Great Lent are complete fasting days. We have our first meal of Great Lent on Wednesday after celebrating the Presanctified Liturgy. So to honor the “letter of the law” I am going to fast from posting recipes until I can share my first Lenten potluck meal with you. Until then, feed your soul with these beautiful words from a homily by St. John Chrysostom. In this excerpt, he describes true fasting – what, how, and why. It’s a long one, but a good read to kick off Great Lent. Blessed fast to all of you!

Let us not then despair of our safety, but let us pray; let us make invocation; let us supplicate; let us go on embassy to the King that is above with many tears! We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this good intercession.

Therefore, as when the winter is over and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman sharpens his sickle; and the traveler boldly undertakes a long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for the contest.

So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons; and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out on the journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for the contest. For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor, and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveler.

Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on therefore the whole amour of God.” Eph. vi. 12.

Hast thou observed the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict naked. If a soldier, it behooves thee to stand in the battle line armed at all points. How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual amour, and thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares, for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the spiritual amour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with demons. Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as on no side to receive a deadly blow.

Cultivate thy soul.
Cut away the thorns.
Sow the word of godliness.
Propagate and nurse with much care the fair plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a husbandman.

And Paul will say to thee, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” 2 Tim. ii. 6. He too himself practiced this art. Therefore writing to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” 1 Cor. iii. 6.

Sharpen thy sickle, which thou hast blunted through gluttony—sharpen it by fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and journey on.

And how mayest thou be able to do these things? By subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of gluttony is a great hindrance.

Keep down the waves of inordinate desires.
Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.
Preserve the boat; display much skill, and thou hast become a pilot.

But we shall have the fast for a groundwork and instructor in all these things.

I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep, but of real fasting ; not merely an abstinence from meats; but from sins too. For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not crowned unless he strive lawfully.” 2 Tim. ii. 5.

To the end then, that when we have gone through the labor of fasting, we forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, Luke xviii. 12. but afterwards went down empty, and destitute of the fruit of fasting. The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou mayest learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other duties follow with it.

The Ninevites fasted, and won the favor of God. Jonah iii. 10. The Jews, fasted too, and profited nothing, nay, they departed with blame. Isa. lviii. 3, 7; 1 Cor. ix. 26.

Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting contend with a shadow.

Fasting is a medicine; but a medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes frequently useless owing to the unskilfulness of him who employs it. For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the country, and the season of the year; and the corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars; any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing, such exactness is required on our part, much more ought we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into every particular with the utmost accuracy.

I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting, but that we may honor fasting; for the honor of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it.

Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said by what kind of works?

If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!
If thou seest in enemy, be reconciled to him!
If thou seest a friend gaining honor, envy him not!
If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles.
Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties.

For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting. For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what is forbidden. Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes.

Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

Let the mouth too fast from disgraceful speeches and railing. For what doth it profit if we abstain from birds and fishes; and yet bite and devour our brethren? The evil speaker eateth the flesh of his brother, and biteth the body of his neighbor.

Because of this Paul utters the fearful saying, “If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Gal. v. 15. Thou hast not fixed thy teeth in the flesh, but thou hast fixed the slander in the soul, and inflicted the wound of evil suspicion; thou hast harmed, in a thousand ways, thyself and him, and many others, for in slandering a neighbor thou hast made him who listens to the slander worse…

Pizza Week 2015, Day 7: Chili Cheese Chick Dog Pizza

Figured I better get caught up and post my last pizza tonight since it will make me incredibly sad to look at pictures of pizza once Lent starts. TOMORROW. Lent. Starts. Tomorrow!

Well, for some of us, anyway. For Sunday dinner the rest of my family decided to have chili cheese dogs. I love chili-cheese-just-about-anything, so why not just replace the bun with a pizza crust?

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza
So this is just my standard crust, and I used chili for the sauce – nothing fancy, just sauteed onions, refried beans, petite diced tomatoes and some of the juice, and pepper, chili powder, garlic, cumin, and Frank’s Redhot Sauce to taste.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza2
I wasn’t going to buy anymore cheese after picking up a package of Chao yesterday, but today I grabbed these veggie shreds – the purple bag is vegan! It says so right on the bag (green is just lactose free). Normally I’d go with Daiya cheddar, but the stores that carry it around here were closed…and Veggie Shreds are cheaper.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza3
Now, this may not look like a layer of hotdogs, and that’s because it’s a layer of CHICK dogs. This is a great filling for hotdog buns, and it worked very well on the pizza, too.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza4
I like sauerkraut, onions, and mustard on my chili dogs – you can also add pickles!

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza5
And finally, Field Roast Chao slices. This was a real splurge for me, apparently it’s way more expensive in my area, maybe because we just have a couple little health food stores. It was on sale for $5.49, normally $7.39! This is the Coconut Herb flavor with black pepper.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza6
I baked it at 425 for about 20 minutes, and 450 for another 5 minutes or so. The Chao didn’t really melt, it just got soft and, well, sort of translucent.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza7
Still, it went very well with the rest of the toppings. I ate half the pizza at dinner time, and now I’m going to try to finish it off!

I’m going to do a separate post on Chao slices, but I will tell you now why I prefer Daiya to Veggie Shreds. The Veggie Shreds melt SO well, just beautifully, and the flavor is pretty good. But when you eat it, it kind of sticks to the back of your teeth and has an odd texture. I find myself wanting to scrape my teeth after each bite. However they are $2 cheaper than Daiya and can be found at Meijer, super convenient. And the negative qualities seem to make it more Lenten somehow 🙂

Anyway, thank you all very much for celebrating Pizza Week with me yet again. And don’t worry, we still have Vegan Pizza Day to look forward to!

Cherry Amaretto Coconut Bliss and an Everything Cookie

Yesterday I stopped at Harvest Health and found Larry & Luna Coconut Bliss on sale, so I grabbed some for Cheesefare weekend.

2015-2-22 Coconut Bliss Earth Fare
I still had a couple of my Earth Fare Everything cookies left, but it actually was missing one thing…

2015-2-22 Coconut Bliss Earth Fare2
great big chunks of black cherry 🙂

2015-2-22 Coconut Bliss Earth Fare3
I let the Coconut Bliss get all melty next to the freshly-baked cookie and ate a bite of each together. Might have to do the same tonight (THREE HOURS LEFT!). I love Coconut Bliss ice cream, might have to find a way to keep it from melting in my Pascha basket this year.

Pizza Week 2015, Day 6: Daiya Fire-Roasted Vegetable Frozen Pizza

Saturday I decided to be lazy and try a frozen pizza. So….

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza
I grabbed this little guy from Daiya.

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza2
Vegan AND gluten free, it’s not cheap, but neither is vegan pizza in general (unless it’s homemade, of course).

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza3
Here’s what it looks like frozen.

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza4
And here you can compare the final baked product to the picture on the box. Haha, when do frozen foods ever look as good in real life as they do on the box??
2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza5
But you can see there are plenty of veggies,

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza6
I think it would need twice as much cheese to melt properly like on a real pizza, but then I suppose they’d have to raise the price. It still tastes good, it just doesn’t get very melty. I think maybe next time I’d drizzle olive oil on it like I do with homemade pizzas, I think it would help the cheez melt.

Have you tried any store bought vegan pizzas?