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.

Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter

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Honey butter. Normally I’d think it gross for one to say that they could just eat butter, alone… by itself. That is until I made honey butter. I’ve been slathering this onto every carb I can think of.

Of course, I’m responsible for bringing dinner rolls to Thanksgiving so this is a legitimate excuse for me to “taste test” multiple batches and “practice” my recipe for Thanksgiving.

Well I’ve made an easy, delicious Martha Stewart recipe [found here] and I’ve also perfected this gluten free recipe for myself [found here]. Of course I’ve made about 3 batched of this delicious honey butter as well. Tis the season…

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Any way, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, not only because I enjoy baking and taste testing… but because, like this snow, my seasonal depression has come early. I know it sounds ridiculous to some people… sadness being equated to the sunniness of the weather…. But when you grew up in a place where it was only cloudy 5 days out of the year? How can you expect me not to get depressed during a season when the sun seriously won’t make an appearance for weeks at a time?

If anyone has any tips for dealing with seasonal depression that don’t involve tons of baking and carb consumption please leave them in my ask! Otherwise, enjoy your holiday. [and these pictures of my delicious food].

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[pleased with how the gfree rolls turned out. they’re even husband approved.]

Favorite Banana Bread

This is my own gluten free recipe, but you can substitute the gluten free flour for regular, if you prefer. Either way, it’s great with a cup of coffee!

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Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose, gluten free flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips [or chunks, i use a mix of both]
1/3 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas

Sugar Plum wanted to help in the kitchen… and by “help” I mean she wanted to sit on the floor and grab her feet in my presence.

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I like to freeze my bananas over night, and then thaw them the next day. They don’t look very appetizing after this process…. but its easier than mashing them with a fork. Personally I feel this technique gets you a more intense banana flavor.

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Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine Dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients such as the extract, bananas, applesauce, etc.
Spray 2 loaf pans with coconut oil or PAM.
Pour mix into pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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This is by far my favorite g-free banana bread recipe and I hope you enjoy it too!

Note: If you do not plan to eat this within 1-2 days, I highly recommend refrigerating it. I microwave refrigerated pieces for 20 secs in the microwave, covering the slice with a paper towel. Enjoy!