Eating the Bible: A Return to Eden

This entry is my final entry of my Lenten assignment to cook recipes from Rena Rosser’s Eating the Bible: Over 50 Delicious Recipes to Feed Your Body and Nourish Your Soul. (However, this won’t be the last thing I make from Rena’s cookbook!)

I thought it only fitting to cook the last recipe in the book!

This last entry references Deuteronomy 33:28 “And Israel shall dwell securely alone, Jacob’s blessing, in a land of grain and wine, and the heavens with drip dew.”

Rena titled this Bible study section “A Return to Eden” because it is up to the new residents of Israel to “restore [it] to its original Eden status.” The people are expected to bless the land, rather than the land bless them.

Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent, but that doesn’t mean a halt has to be put on your spiritual education until next year. Continue to live your life so that it blesses those around you.

As much as I would have liked to keep Rena’s recipe true to itself (Red Wine and Barley Salad) for this final blog post, I am allergic to barley so I substituted Israeli Couscous. Publix was out of red bell pepper so I bought a green one (I love the pop of color it brings to the salad though). After changing a few things I then changed even more to suit my personal preferences – I omitted the almonds, feta, and grapes. Having tasted the salad, grapes would be delicious in here – but the grapes in my fridge were questionable and thought it safest to leave them out. I absolutely love the dressing she created and actually tripled it to use as a marinade for grilled chicken to serve along side the couscous.

This recipe would be fantastic to add to your next potluck picnic as an alternate pasta salad!

Red Wine Israeli Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1 C Israeli Couscous
  • 1/2 C diced red onion
  • 1/2 C diced bell pepper
  • 1 C quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp parsley paste (use fresh parsley if you have it)

Steps:

  1.  Bring water to a boil. Add in the couscous and cook covered over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all water is absorbed.
  2. In a bowl combine couscous with onion, pepper, and tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and parsley paste. Note: If you are using fresh parsley do not mix it with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss couscous salad with dressing.

*This recipe is modified from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Red Wine Israeli Couscous Salad

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Eating the Bible: Journey On

Today I am taking a very liberal response to my Lenten call to cook through Eating the Bible: Over 50 Delicious Recipes to Feed Your Body and Nourish Your Soul.

I saw that Rena had a recipe for Trail Mix to accompany her study of Numbers 33:1-2 during which the journey from Egypt to Israel is detailed.

Today, Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, marks the start of Holy Week in the Catholic Church. On Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion. According to the Bible He was greeted by crowds placing palm branches along his path.

I thought that her Trail Mix would be a fun way to prepare for the journey of holy week ahead. During this week we celebrate Holy Thursday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, the Crucifixion of the Lord, and of course Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead.

This week is also the last to survive without chocolate, or whatever other vice you gave up for Lent. So, make a healthy snack and power through!

Instead of Rena’s trail mix I made these Cinnamon Raisin Energy Balls – a healthier way to get your sweet tooth fix and a natural boost of energy.

Cinnamon Raisin Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 C instant oats
  • 1/4 C golden flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 C raisins

Steps:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl combine peanut butter and honey. Microwave for twenty seconds.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  3. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Form into balls.

*This recipe is adapted from Miss Candiquick at http://blog.candiquik.com/cinnamon-raisin-energy-bites/*

Cinnamon Raisin Energy Balls

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recreatedbysrc

Eating the Bible: Iron Men

Tonight’s recipe and accompanying bible verse come from The Book of Deuteronomy.

It is a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity – where you will not lack for anything; a land whose stones are iron, and from whose mountains you will quarry copper. Deuteronomy 8:9

Rena references the Babylonian Talmud during her bible study. It suggests that the reference to “stones of iron” is a metaphor for those who will build the land. According to the Talmud “any scholar who is not as tough as iron is not a scholar.” Those building Israel are its scholars – requiring a strong will and a strong faith.

It is important to remember during the journey of Lent to be “tough as iron” in keeping your Lenten promise, in resisting temptation, and in enriching your belief.

To accompany a verse on iron, Rena created a black bean soup as black beans are rich in iron. I halved her recipe as I only need to feed two of us. If you want to make this a completely vegetarian one-pot dinner simply substitute vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. Rena suggests pureeing the soup to a desired consistency, I omitted this step.

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/4 C chicken broth

Steps:

  1. In a pot saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook until onion is tender. Add beans, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Serve with crusty bread. And provide shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping, if desired.

*This recipe is adapted from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Black Bean Soup

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Eating the Bible: To the Manna Born

And the house of Israel named it manna, and it was like a white coriander seed, and its taste was like a wafer of honey. Exodus 16:31

Manna was a gift from heaven, but it required some work to turn it into something edible. The Torah provided instructions regarding how much manna could be gathered per person per day. Including the limitation that manna could not be kept overnight. This means that you could only gather what was needed for a day.

I think this is where “…Give us this day our daily bread…” comes from in the Our Father prayer. In this prayer we are asking the Lord for only that which we need. We must remember that “this day” refers only to our time on Earth. After reaching the afterlife we won’t need Earthly sustenance.

Honey Coriander Manna Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 C warm water
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 C all-purpose flour

Steps:

  1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg, honey, spices, salt, and butter. Add in the yeast mixture.
  3. Stir in flours 1 C at a time.
  4. Using the dough hook of stand mixer knead the dough until smooth.
  5. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Cover and let rise 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide in half. Knead each loaf again and place in separate loaf pans, or on baking sheets. Cover and let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Bake 30-40 minutes until golden.

*This recipe is adapted from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Honey Coriander Manna Bread

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Eating the Bible: Fishy Business

May the angel who redeems me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply like fish, in the midst of the land. Genesis 48:16

This passage is confusing. Why would Jacob bless his children to multiply like fish? And better yet, why “in the midst of the land?”

One of the references Rena makes in Eating the Bibleis that fish live their lives away from the influence of humans so by association Jacob’s descendants should live their lives without the influence of those around them. I like this explanation as it can relate to keeping Faith. While Lent is a time to renew your Faith it is prudent to remember that regardless of what is happening around you, your Faith must remain unshaken. Like fish, you must live your life apart from worldly influences.

Arrabbiata Tilapia

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tilapia filets
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 large onion, choppped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 C chicken stock
  • 1 C crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley

Steps:

  1. Season fish with salt and pepper. Squeeze with lemon and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat saute onion in olive oil for 4 minutes, season with salt. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and tomatoes to the onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Stir in sugar and parsley. Put fish in the sauce and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, or until fish is cooked. (Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your filets are.)

*This recipe is modified from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner* (Rena served her fish atop a bed of rice. I opted for a side of potatoes because I had a bag sitting on my counter.)

Arrabbiata Tilapia

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Eating the Bible: Clouds of Obscurity

In Exodus chapter 20 God appears to Moses and the Israelites from within/behind a cloud. This begs the question of why God didn’t simply reveal himself.

I remember one morning in Sunday School when I was younger being asked, “What do you think God looks like?” There were the expected pictures drawn of a man with a long beard or drawings resembling the pictures of Jesus popular in the U.S. One boy drew a picture of a cloud and I drew Light (or at least attempted to).

I have never pictured God to be in human form. And I’ve never been able to really describe what I think God looks like. To me, God doesn’t resemble anything of this Earth – God doesn’t have a tangible form. The closest I can come is “Light.”

To accompany this passage Rena created a “Thick Cloud Pavlova” by adding 3 tbsp cocoa powder to the egg whites. As I couldn’t find my cocoa powder (fun fact: it was in the make shift pantry in my laundry room) I decided to use cinnamon to darken the “cloud”. We absolutely love the spice the cinnamon gives to the delicate pavlova. A pavlova is similar to a meringue, the main difference being the cornstarch folded in before baking. The cornstarch creates a marshmallow-like consistency inside of a light and crunchy exterior.

Pavlova Steps

Cinnamon Pavlova

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt. (Use either a hand mixer or stand mixer.) Once stiff peaks are reached slowly add the sugar, vinegar, and vanilla – constantly beating.
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved gently fold in the corn starch and cinnamon.
  4. Pile the egg whites onto the parchment paper, forming a 7″ circle with a well in the center.
  5. Bake undisturbed for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and slightly crack the door. Allow pavlova to cool completely.
  6. Fill the well with whipped cream and fresh berries.

*This recipe is adapted from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Cinnamon Pavlova

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Eating the Bible: The Voice of Wisdom

Tonight’s story comes from the Book of Numbers.  In it, Balaam’s donkey is given the gift of speech to inform him of an an angel along their path. Three times in the story does the donkey obey the angel and stop, and three times Balaam beats the donkey; it is then that God “opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me on these three occasions?'” (Numbers 22:28) God then opens Balaam’s eyes so that he can also see the angel in the road.

The biggest question out of this story is why could the donkey feel the presence of the angel while the sorcerer could not?

It is a question that, reworded, can be applied to your faith. Do I feel the presence of God? Am I obeying Him? This story shows that it isn’t only the powerful who are aware of the Lord. It is a reminder to keep your heart open to His touch.

In Eating the Bible, Rena made Three-Bean Burritos to accompany this story. Using three types of beans signifies the three attempts the donkey made to make Balsaam aware of the angel. And because burro means donkey in Spanish, she thought that burritos would be a good meal choice. I decided to detour from her recipe and create Thee-Bean Nachos instead. (I had a craving for Moe’s nachos…) So for us this week, Mexican Monday happened on Wednesday!

Three Bean Nachos

Three-Bean Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C canned light red kidney beans, drained (liquid reserved)
  • 1/2 C canned pinto beans, drained (liquid reserved)
  • 1/2 C canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • tortilla chips
  • 1 C shredded cheese
  • toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced red onion, sour cream, queso, etc

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a nonstick skillet saute onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once onion is translucent reduce heat to low and add the beans. Gently mash the beans with some of the reserved liquid until you reach a desired consistency. (I opted to keep it pretty chunky)
  3. Place a layer of nachos on an oven proof dish (i.e.: baking sheet, casserole dish, cast iron skillet) top with bean mixture and shredded cheese. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve with desired toppings.

Three Bean Nachos 2

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