Fasting Bread

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The tradition of fasting definitely has some deep Catholic roots. In Croatia, there are currently visionaries who claimed to have been visited by the Blessed Mother. I was lucky enough to have been able to visit the place where there have been sightings and visions of Mary. We stayed with locals, and according to the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje, it is very important to offer up a fast every Wednesday and Friday, specifically for world peace. During our stay there, we depended entirely on what our host family provided for us to eat and on Wednesdays and Fridays, it was bread and water.

If you just google “Catholic Fasting” you’ll notice that the minimum requirement for a fast is that you give up 2 regular sized meals and replace them with 2 smaller snack, but you still get to have dinner. The more intense version is to only eat bread and water all day. If you intend to only eat bread and water, “you’re going to pass out if you only consume a loaf of wonder bread” [quote from my beloved Mariology professor in college] The bread needs to be hearty, and it must contain protein as well as other sustenance for one to be able to fast on it all day.

So, combining both my knowledge of Mariology and Medjugorje, I was able to come up with a recipe for “fasting bread”

What you need:
-3 c. whole wheat flour
-3 c. white flour
-1 c. oats
-1 pkg dry yeast & 1/2 c. warm water
-1 apple peeled and chopped
-1 egg
-2 TBS honey
-1 TBS cinnamon
-2 TBS olive oil
-1 TBS salt
-2 cups very hot water
-1 c. walnuts

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In a medium sized bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Cover with a plate and wait a few minutes until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine the flours. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Mix a bit.

Reusing the now empty medium bowl, combine Salt, Sugar, Butter, Oil, Raisins, Nuts, 1 beaten egg, and the two cups of very hot water. Pour this over the yeast mixture. Mix/knead the dough, adding flour and or water as needed.

Knead the dough until it comes clean from the bowl. Cover with a plate or towel and let it rise ten minutes. (I often skip this step and the bread still tastes fine) Knead it again until it has spring to it. Place in well greased bowl and cover, letting it rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on room temp.

Form into desired shapes. This will make two large or three medium loaves.

Place in greased pan. Brush the top with remaining egg (if you did not use it in recipe) and sprinkle with sesame seeds, oats or poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until done and golden brown.

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This also makes a yummy snack on non-fasting days as well! Yummy with cream cheese and a slice of apple.

Apple Bars with Maple, Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my variation on FitFoodieFinds recipe! As you know, I’ve already posted several apple recipes. Luckily, with the discovery of the past 3 recpies, I can say my apple repertoire has officially expanded! I love this recipe not only because of the fresh chunks of apples it call for, but because it calls for  my homemade applesauce as well! [not to mention this batch, was made gluten free!]

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Wet Ingredients:
-1 cup of applesauce
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg [large]
-3 TBS coconut oil [partially melted]
-1/2 cup, unsweetened almond milk

Dry Ingredients:
-1 cup all-purpose, gluten free flour
-1/2 cup oat flour
-1/2 white rice flour
-1/2 cup coconut sugar
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly chopped

Frosting Ingredients:
-8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
-6 oz. plain greek yogurt
-4 TBS maple syrup
-a lil’ bit of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon

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In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients, EXCEPT for the apple chops.

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I didn’t have oat flour, so I took a 1/2 cup of steel cut oats, and blended them in my nutribullet.

Next, add all of the wet ingredients to your dry ingredients in a stand mixer. alternate between speeds 2-4 until ingredients are all fully incorporated. Then add you apple chunks, folding them gently into the batter.

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Spray a 9×11 pan with coconut oil, or some other non-stick spray. Pour mixture into your pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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For the frosting: mix all ingredients in mixer on high, until light and fluffy, and all ingredients have been fully incorporated. Do not smear this delicious frosting on your bars, until they have completely cooled.

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Final touch: sprinkle some of that brown sugar on top, and add a little bit more cinnamon! The brown sugar may start to melt on top, depending on how cool your bars and the frosting are.

[For a more guilt free version: you may forego the brown sugar…]

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I recommend keeping these bars in the fridge if they are not all to be consumed in a day! Enjoy!