On the way there, we stopped in the charming town of Gouveneur, NY for lunch. We had a picnic with the hummus and bread we'd packed and then stopped by a coffee shop for some caffeine.
We were able to be there for Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesday. Before we left we decided we'd better go soon since this would be our only opportunity to go to a mid-week Lenten service at the monastery. It is only a four and a half hour drive for us. I definitely think we should go more often. We are planning to go for Pentecost weekend this year (the feast day of the monastery is the day after - Holy Spirit Monday) and again in July for Liza's nameday (July 18th - Grand Duchess Elizabeth).
There is a women's skete nearby the monastery also named for Grand Duchess Elizabeth that will be celebrating their feastday that day. I hope we can make it a tradition to attend the services at the skete for Liza's nameday. As a side note, I also highly recommend their handmade skin cream. I bought the natural cream for Liza (ingredients are olive oil, water, beeswax, and vitamin E). It healed the baby eczema she's had on her hands for months! It healed with just a few treatments. The only other treatment I'd used was coconut oil, which did not do much, but did make her hands a little softer. This one really took away the bumpiness and redness.
Yesterday I made a big pot of Mjaddrah. I learned the recipe when I was in the Holy Land, where I spent five months volunteering at the Orthodox school in Bethany. I don't always measure, but here is approximately how I made it.
Mjaddrah (Lentils and Rice)
1 cup rice
1 cup lentils
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. cumin (I've used whole seeds and ground - both are good)
2-3 onions, sliced
olive or other oil
Add the rice, lentils, and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiled, add salt (maybe ½ tsp), cover, and simmer.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are starting to brown. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add cumin and some salt, and keep cooking them while you continue to stir. After about 20 minutes or so, you should have nice caramelized onions and the rice mix should be done.
Serve the caramelized onions over the rice and lentils. It goes very well with a salad with crunchy lettuce.
|The girls performing during their 75th anniversary last year|
|Me with some of the girls who live at the school|
|The chapel built over a stone found during excavations that reads "Here is where Martha met Jesus and he told her of the Resurrection"|