2015 Pascha Basket: Part 2

It’s hard to post during Holy Week! I’ve started to work on all the homemade stuff for my Pascha basket, I’ve got two things down and many more to go. So far…

One ingredient coconut butter: start with plain shredded coconut. Blend, blend, blend. It smells heavenly, and I can’t wait to taste it.

And one batch of raw macadamia nut cheese. It’s not pretty yet – I’m putting it in this glass dish to chill, then hopefully moving it to a more appealing mold. This picture, though, shows how nicely the macadamia cream firmed up after about 36 hours hanging in a nut milk bag.

I have a tiny 1/2 C of pine nuts fermenting right now for a second cheese, and I’m about to start a batch of cashews. Then I’ll need something to eat them with.

Will you have any homemade specialties in your basket?

2015 Pascha Basket: Part 1

Yesterday I had to make a stop at Harvest Health, so I figured I might as well start grabbing things for my Pascha basket. One cool thing about Orthodox Easter (besides everything) is the candy is usually half off by the time we celebrate. Unfortunately that does very little for vegans 🙁 But I did find some gummy candies on sale at HH. No chocolate bunnies or anything.

It’s okay, though, because I’ve found some great recipes for homemade peanut butter cups, and I’m going to make my infamous booze-soaked chocolate cake. I also have macadamia nuts and pine nuts for making fancy vegan cheese (hoping to get it fermenting Saturday). Since I don’t break the fast with the usual stuff, I just like to splurge on things like $5 bags of marshmallows or whatever.

What plans do you have for your basket this year?

Light from the Light

This is just me bragging about my Pascha candle. In our parish on Holy Saturday everyone gets a skinny little taper to “take light from the Light”, and we carry it outside and then come in and blow it out and throw it in a bin. Last year my sister and brother-in-law wanted to keep the flame going through the whole Liturgy like they do at their home parish (they live out of state), so we grabbed a bunch of the used candles and kept passing our flame from candle to candle throughout the service. At the end, I got a big red votive and lit it, and my sister brought it home for me. She placed it on the mantle. I happily went to gaze upon it first thing the next morning…and found it burned out. Personally I think someone blew it out on purpose (someone who didn’t know better), but no one admitted to it.

this year I was given what was left of last year’s Paschal candle, the one that burns behind the altar all year. That’s it on the right. I was so pleased, I decided to use it for the procession on Holy Saturday. So. One nice thing about the skinny tapers is they have a wax guard. My big Paschal candle was too fat to fit in the wax guard. Every time I moved, hot wax poured down the side and all over my hand. Luckily after the first couple coats of wax I couldn’t feel it too much anymore. When we got inside and turned the lights up for the Liturgy, I saw wax all over my leggings, jacket, and gorgeous vintage dress. Gaah. But it was worth it. But I was sick of getting burned, so I got a red votive and passed on the flame. I had to leave the votive at church overnight and pick it up the next day after Agape Vespers.

By then there was a ton of hot melted wax. I ended up driving home with the candle in my lap, hearing the wax splashing around every time I had to make a turn. Then when I was *almost* home, the driver in front of me slammed on his brakes, and I had to slam on mine…and hot wax spilled out and onto my leg. How do people do this every year??? But I did manage to get it home and keep it burning.

This is from Friday night. You can see the flame is way down at the bottom of the votive on the right, and a there’s a new votive on the left. They last just less than a week each, so to keep the flame going all year is a big investment. Has anyone done it? Do you just let it burn out at the end of the year and start over with a new flame? I have 5.5 days to decide whether or not I’ll try to keep mine going all year.

I found This Website about taking the Holy Light. It’s a little different than the way we do it in Antiochian parishes, but it’s neat to read about what they do at in Greece. I like the part about “The less devout, dressed in their Easter best, gather outside smoking and chatting.” He also mentions the difference in Easter dates. Last year I blogged about it, you can read that post HERE.

Pascha 2014: Spicy Italian Qrunch Burger Stuffing

Okay, I guess I should get to what I made for Pascha. For some reason this year I felt like I didn’t have time to do anything. Part of the reason could be because I decided at the last minute to get my hair done in a beehive and, including driving time, it took up a precious two hours of my Holy Saturday afternoon when I’m usually doing most of my cooking and baking. And I still hadn’t done my shopping! So Sunday morning before Agape Vespers I found myself just grabbing things to throw together. One of my ingredients: Italian Qrunch Burgers. I love Qrunch burgers, and I had not had one all during Lent. And the Italian ones kind of taste like spicy Italian sausage (not the same texture at all, but just the flavor). So. Preheat the oven to 425.

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I cut four slices of sourdough bread into cubes. I didn’t let it get stale or anything, I didn’t have time for all that. Plus I like my stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer) to be nice and soft.

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Next I added finely chopped onion – you can pretty much do as much as you want. I did about 1/4 C. Drizzle with olive oil, about 1 to 2 Tbsp. Stir to coat.

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Add 1/2 C vegetable broth. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and savory to taste. Stir it up again,

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then add two cooked Italian Qrunch burgers, chopped (I used the toaster method to cook mine).

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Put the stuffing in a baking dish and bake at 425 for 20 to 30 minutes,

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or until the stuffing firms up and begins to brown.

More Pascha recipes coming soon!

Pascha Basket

Well, my Pascha basket wasn’t as fancy as, say, the ones shown on OrthodoxNorthwest, but I do have fun finding random things for it each year.

201356 Pascha basket
This year I was thrilled to discover the Michigan-made “Teta Foods” brand. Teta is another way of saying “grandmother” in Arabic, and this garlic spread is amazing.

I realize most people don’t think of mustard when they think of breaking the fast. I bought it because I would never normally spend so much on even my favorite condiment.

I’m looking forward to trying the dark chocolate with sea salt, and the Righteously Raw chocolate beverage. I was disappointed with Emmy’s Granola, though. I was kind of dried out and really hard. It made a nice treat for Jack.

The more traditional Easter candy is for my little nephew, and the Fre wine (wine with “alcohol removed”) is for my prego sis. I am in the process of enjoying the Johnny Walker Black Label myself.

Saturday I waited as long as possible to head over to Little Africa and get a takeout box (and a half) filled with my favorite stuff. The salad doesn’t hold up too well sitting out for three hours, maybe I’ll skip that one next year. Also, next year I’d like to spring for a nice needlepoint basket cover, and maybe an open basket instead of my pic-a-nic basket.

What did you have in your Pascha basket this year??

when East doesn’t meet West: two Easter dates??

1Resurrection IconAs my non-Orthodox friends celebrate Easter today, some people may wonder: Why do Orthodox Christians celebrate on a different date? The answer can be very long and complex, but I will give a short answer and just provide some links at the end so you can do your own research, if you so desire.

Short answer: We’re on the old Julian calendar, and pretty much the whole rest of the world is on the Gregorian calendar. The date of Pascha/Easter depends on the date of the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. But the date of the vernal equinox is different depending on which calendar you use (March 21 in the West, April 2 for us).

Okay, so this year the vernal equinox was Wednesday, March 20, according the Gregorian calendar. There was a full moon March 27, and so Westerners are celebrating Easter today, the following Sunday, March 31. BUT…using the Julian calendar, the vernal equinox cannot occur until after April 2. Our Jewish friends will be celebrating Passover from March 25 to April 2 this year, after which we’ll see the next full moon April 25. So Orthodox Christians will celebrate Pascha, the New Passover, the following Sunday, May 5.

Phew. I hope I explained that correctly.

On another related note, people have mentioned to me before, they thought there was some sort of pattern in the number of weeks between Western Easter and Orthodox. I’m not big on numbers, but I do love lists. So, I looked back 100 years and made this list to show the dates of Orthodox Pascha, Western Easter and the number of weeks between the two (if any).

Date of Observance of Pascha and Easter
1913: Apr 27, Mar 23 – 5 weeks
1914: Apr 19, Apr 12 – 1 week
1915: Apr 4, Apr 4 – same
1916: Apr 23, Apr 23 – same
1917: Apr 15, Apr 8 – 1 week
1918: May 5, Mar 31 – 5 weeks
1919: Apr 20, Apr 20 – same
1920: Apr 11, Apr 4 – 1 week
1921: May 1, Mar 27 – 5 weeks
1922: Apr 16, Apr 16 – same
1923: Apr 8, Apr 1 – 1 week
1924: Apr 27, Apr 20 – 1 week
1925: Apr 19, Apr 12 – 1 week
1926: May 2, Apr 4 – 4 weeks
1927: Apr 24, Apr 17 – 1 week
1928: Apr 15, Apr 8 – 1 week
1929: May 5, Mar 31 – 5 weeks
1930: Apr 20, Apr 20 – same
1931: Apr 12, Apr 5 – 1 week
1932: May 1, Mar 27 – 5 weeks
1933: Apr 16, Apr 16 – same
1934: Apr 8, Apr 1 – 1 week
1935: Apr 28, Apr 21 – 1 week
1936: Apr 12, Apr 12 – same
1937: May 2, Mar 28 – 5 weeks
1938: Apr 24, Apr 17 – 1 week
1939: Apr 9, Apr 9 – same
1940: Apr 28, Mar 24 – 5 weeks
1941: Apr 20, Apr 13 – 1 week
1942: Apr 5, Apr 5 – same
1943: Apr 25, Apr 25 – same
1944: Apr 16, Apr 9 – 1 week
1945: May 6, Apr 1 – 5 weeks
1946: Apr 21, Apr 21 – same
1947: Apr 13, Apr 6 – 1 week
1948: May 2, Mar 28 – 5 weeks
1949: Apr 24, Apr 17 – 1 week
1950: Apr 9, Apr 9 – same
1951: Apr 29, Mar 25 – 5 weeks
1952: Apr 20, Apr 13 – 1 week
1953: Apr 5, Apr 5 – same
1954: Apr 25, Apr 18 – 1 week
1955: Apr 17, Apr 10 – 1 week
1956: May 6, Apr 1 – 5 weeks
1957: Apr 21, Apr 21 – same
1958: Apr 13, Apr 6 – 1 week
1959: May 3, Mar 29 – 5 weeks
1960: Apr 17, Apr 17 – same
1961: Apr 9, Apr 2 – 1 week
1962: Apr 29, Apr 22 – 1 week
1963: Apr 14, Apr 14 – 1 week
1964: May 3, Mar 29 – 5 weeks
1965: Apr 25, Apr 18 – 1 week
1966: Apr 10, Apr 10 – 1 week
1967: Apr 30, Mar 26 – 5 weeks
1968: Apr 21, Apr 14 – 1 week
1969: Apr 13, Apr 6 – 1 week
1970: Apr 26, Mar 29 – 5 weeks
1971: Apr 18, Apr 11 – 1 week
1972: Apr 9, Apr 2 – 1 week
1973: Apr 29, Apr 22 – 1 week
1974: Apr 14, Apr 14 – same
1975: May 4, Mar 30 – 5 weeks
1976: Apr 25, Apr 18 – 1 week
1977: Apr 10, Apr 10 – same
1978: Apr 30, Mar 26 – 5 weeks
1979: Apr 22, Apr 15 – 1 week
1980: Apr 6, Apr 6 – same
1981: Apr 26, Apr 19 – 1 week
1982: Apr 18, Apr 11 – 1 week
1983: May 8, Apr 3 – 5 weeks
1984: Apr 22, Apr 22 – same
1985: Apr 14, Apr 7 – 1 week
1986: May 4, Mar 30 – 5 weeks
1987: Apr 19, Apr 19 – same
1988: Apr 10, Apr 3 – 1 week
1989: Apr 30, Mar 26 – 5 weeks
1990: Apr 15, April 15 – Same
1991: Apr 7, March 31 – 1 week
1992: Apr 26, April 19 – 1 week
1993: Apr 18, April 11 – 1 week
1994: May 1, April 3 – 4 weeks
1995: Apr 23, April 16 – 1 week
1996: Apr 14, April 7 – 1 week
1997: Apr 27, March 30 – 4 weeks
1998: Apr 19, April 12 – 1 week
1999: Apr 11, April 4 – 1 week
2000: Apr 30, April 23 – 1 week
2001: Apr 15, April 15 – same
2002: May 5, March 31 – 5 weeks
2003: Apr 27, April 20 – 1 week
2004: Apr 11, April 11 – same
2005: May 1, March 27 – 5 weeks
2006: Apr 23, April 16 – 1 week
2007: Apr 8, April 8 – same
2008: Apr 27, March 23 – 5 weeks
2009: Apr 19, April 12 – 1 week
2010: Apr 4, April 4 – same
2011: Apr 24, April 24 – same
2012: Apr 15, April 8 – 1 week
2013: May 5, March 31 – 5 weeks

And into the future:
2014: Apr 20 April 20 – same
2015: Apr 12 April 5 – 1 week
2016: May 1, Mar 27 – 5 weeks
2017: Apr 16, Apr 16 – same
2018: Apr 8, Apr 1 – 1 week

Of note, after celebrating together for the fifth time in 10 years in 2017, our Easters will not coincide again for another 17 years!

For further research, check out:
GM Arts You can see the date of Easter going out to 2049. If you scroll down under the first few charts, you’ll find links to charts showing the dates of Western or Orthodox Easter going all the way back to 1583.

World Council of Churches More detailed info about the difference in calendars.

Farmers Almanac for the 2013 full moon calendar.

About.com‘s Catholic explanation of the difference in dates.

And I simply googled to see when Passover will be observed this year.

I know a lot of people think we should all be on one calendar together, and I agree. But I think it should be the old calendar, all year round, for religious holidays. It may not be as accurate, but I like the idea of being on a different time when we leave the world and enter the Church. Of course, I don’t get to make the rules.

Anyway, no matter when you celebrate it…Christ is Risen!!