Well, technically, we haven’t done day one yet, but I did most of the prep work this weekend, so it’s close enough! First off, I want to put out a reminder that fasting is not just about the food. Nobody in your church or in heaven is going to be watching you with a checklist so they can evaluate how well you did on your fast! This is between your heart and God’s.
The real reason that I’m writing these blogs is not to saddle my readers with rules and recipes, but to make the planning part of the fast easier so that you can focus on what’s really important. I am trying to keep the recipes and plans simple. Most of them will still require a small amount of prep time. I encourage you to use this planning time to remind yourself that these 21 days are a time that is different, and use that as a launch pad for your thoughts and prayers through the week . I will be choosing some biblical prayers to focus on as the 21 days progress, which I will share with the meal plan. If you have scriptures of your own that you have chosen to meditate on, you are invited to share them in the comments.
Without further ado, here’s the basic meal plan:
oatmeal with raisins, almonds, and flaxseed
quinoa salad with red onions and bell peppers
piece of fruit (clementines for us)
1/4 c. whole nuts: almonds, walnuts, or pistachios
optional: whole grain, unsweetened, yeast-free crackers such as Wasa crackers
vegetarian southwestern chili
(To be posted tomorrow. See advance preparation below.)
Oatmeal: Buy plain, whole oats. One cup at a time, grind up half of the oats in a blender. This will make your oatmeal creamy. Add raisins, sliced or chopped almonds, and flaxseed, if desired. I recommend mixing up a large container at once, then you can quickly scoop out a serving of the oatmeal mix in the mornings.
Cooking instructions: Mix 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. You may add a dash of salt if you like. (Make sure the bowl is about twice the size of the uncooked serving.) Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. Stir, then let stand for a minute or two before eating.
Hot water method: Add boiling water to the dry oatmeal mix, then let stand 10 minutes, or until the oatmeal is soft enough to eat.
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
1 small red onion
1 bell pepper, or portions of red, green, and yellow bell peppers
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch of fresh parsley, or 1 Tablespoon dried parsley (change measurement as desired)
salt and pepper to taste
Ahead of time, pour 1 cup of quinoa in a medium saucepan, fill the pan with about 2 1/2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. (I actually did more than this so that I have a large amount of quinoa already made for other meals.) Reduce to low heat and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15-20 min.,stirring occasionally. Fluff with a fork. Let the quinoa cool or refrigerate it overnight. Dice the onion and bell peppers and mix them into the quinoa with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Chill in the refrigerator; serve cold.
For the chili:
I will be posting this recipe tomorrow, when I actually cook the meal. For now, if you plan to make this meal using dried beans, it is important to soak the beans THE NIGHT BEFORE you cook them. For ours, I am soaking one bag of dried black beans and one bag of dried small red kidney beans. Rinse the beans and sort out any unusable bits, then put them in a large bowl that is at least twice as big as the dry beans and cover them with water up to about two inches above the level of the beans. Soak for at least 8 hours.
***NOTE: If you live in an area with “hard” water, use filtered or distilled water to soak the beans! Otherwise, they will not cook at all! (Frankfurt and Wiesbaden people, this applies to you.)***
Suggested Prayer to Start Out the Week:
Daniel 2:20-23 (ESV)
20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
I chose this prayer in particular because the majority focuses praising God, then it ends with an acknowledgement of wisdom, vision, and direction. As I begin this fast, I want to keep my sight upward instead of just inward, and my hope is that God will use this openness to reveal some of his vision for our church, our ministries, our family, and myself as I go forward.
Best wishes to you all as you start this journey, and I will post another blog tomorrow to add more meal plans!