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The Daniel Fast

When Chicky came home for Christmas break, one of the first questions she asked me was if I’d like to do the Daniel Fast with her.

Never heard of this?  Well, you can read about it on Susan Gregory’s blog or in her book, The Daniel Fast

Basically, this is a 21-day fast based on what Daniel, a prophet in the Old Testament, ate during one of his fasts.  During the fast, you are encouraged to stay away from all processed food and eat only a vegetarian diet.  Dairy, sugar, and caffeine are strongly discouraged.

Is it any wonder that it appealed to me?

You know my history.  I’ve been on two ten-day juice fasts in the past.

Plus, all of my daily runs to Starbucks were starting to catch up with me.

Chicky wanted to start before Christmas, but I advised her not too.  The glorious food that would be set before us during the holiday would be too much to deal with emotionally.

So, we started as soon as we got home on the 27th.

Chicky made a long list of the food we would need, and off she went to the grocery store.

Thus began our journey.

In her book, Susan included quite a few recipes, along with daily devotions and other information.

As the days have progressed, my focus has shifted from something I originally set out to do for health reasons to the proper mindset of drawing nearer to God.

I have to admit that the first three days were very difficult.  Although I expected this, having done fasts before, I was surprised at how strong the desire for sugar was.

However, I can honestly say that by day 5, I could walk past the box of chocolate covered cherries that Santa brought me and not even drool.

One of the biggest challenges has been the cooking aspect.

As you may have surmised, I do not enjoy cooking.  The thought of coming up with meal ideas makes me want to run to a corner and cry.

Chicky took care of this chore for the first few days.  I had immersed myself in lesson planning and had little time or interest.  In fact, I’d just as soon go without food than cook.

Chalk it up to laziness.  Honestly, I’m not super-needy in the food department.

However, Chicky does like to eat.  Thus, she cooked.

One night, she made cabbage rolls, and oh my word.  They were divine!  Though she did not care much for the taste of the cabbage, I adored the dish.  I grew up eating cabbage rolls (with meat though), so I have always loved the taste of this vegetable.

Another night, she made stuffed green peppers…

Oh my gosh, but they were sooooo yummy!!

One day, she declared that she was done cooking.  She’d had enough.  So, I took over.

One night I made cabbage soup, using the leftover cabbage from the rolls Chicky made…

I am a soup/stew kind of gal, so naturally my attention was also drawn to the Basic Black Soup recipe.

Now, I love Panera’s black bean soup, so I knew I had to try this recipe.

I don’t know if my cooking skills have improved or if the recipe is that good, but oh my goodness.  The soup was heavenly!

It was one of those nights when I was multi-tasking…watching football…making lesson plans…and I could not resist the pull of that soup.

I kept going back for one more spoonful.

And another.

The longer that soup sat, the thicker and tastier it got.

There was just enough left for two servings, which I saved for Chicky and me to have the next day.

She cautiously tried it and, to her surprise, actually liked it.  A lot.  So much so that she asked me to make it again.

Folks, that is saying something.

So, last night, I made a double recipe.  I had three college kids and one teenager (Rooster) in my house.  Everyone except Rooster ate some (he’s very picky).

It was a huge hit.

Several people have asked me for the recipe, but I knew I could not share it because of copyright issues.

However, I left a message for Susan on her blog, and she quickly and graciously granted me permission to post the recipe here!

So, here it is…


Basic Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper (use precaution when handling)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, including liquid
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

1.  Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat; add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

2.  Add celery and jalapeno pepper and sweat for 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Place 1 can black beans and 1/2 diced tomatoes and all the water in a large saucepan (if using immersion blender) or blender.  Puree until smooth.

4.  Combine the puree, the remaining beans, and tomatoes with the onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeno in the large saucepan.  Stir in cumin and then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as desired.

5.  Cover pot and simmer over medium heat until well heated; reduce heat to low and adjust the lid to release steam while simmering for 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings

Gregory, Susan. "Daniel Fast Recipes." The Daniel Fast. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers,
     Inc., 2010. 130. Print.

A couple of my thoughts…

If you don’t know how to sweat vegetables, google it. That’s what I did. It’s very simple. All you basically do is add them to the pot, turn down the heat to the lowest setting you can, and let them sit there, barely sizzling, for the time prescribed in the recipe. Don’t put the lid on the pot. This will steam them. Sweating does something to the flavors of the vegetables…makes them better, from what I read.

Also, as I said before, this soup gets better the longer it sits. It really thickens up into a hearty soup, and by sitting, the flavors have time to really permeate throughout the soup.

There are a number of recipes on the Daniel Fast’s web site.  Click here to check those out or just to read other information about it.

Chicky and I haven’t finished the fast yet.  We’re starting day 13.  She won’t be able to do all twenty one days because she has to return to college on Monday (boo).  I’m not sure what she’s going to take away from this experience.  Everyone fasts for different reasons or with different goals.

I’m still figuring out what I’m supposed to carry away from my experience.

One thing I have become aware of is that I am beginning to enjoy cooking again.  I think I’m starting to chop my veggies using the same technique as TV chefs.  How’s that for putting my TV viewing to good use, eh?

“Real” food actually tastes pretty good.  Fruits have become sweeter now that I don’t have my taste buds trained to respond to processed sweeteners.

I’m really enjoying my waistline, which seems to be getting smaller.  It probably hasn’t shrunken as much I think it has, but I feel better knowing I’m putting better stuff in my body.  I can tell that my thighs aren’t as jiggly.  My pants are fitting better, and this makes me happy.  Those who know me in person would scoff at this, but when you’re petite, you feel every extra bit of fat you accumulate.

Mentally, I’m in a good place.  God is drawing me nearer.  I need this…especially right now as my life is about to get crazy with the advent of my teaching certification classes.

And so day 13 begins.

I wonder what’s for dinner tonight…

3 Responses

  1. The soup sounds good; I’m going to print it out and try it out! Thanks for the reminder (either you or whoever wrote the recipe) to be careful with the peppers! Don’t want to have trouble taking my contacts out again! That was NOT a pleasant experience!!!
    Your waistline is getting smaller? How is that even possible?

  2. wow… what a challenge… I applaud you for doing this… & love that you are doing it with Chicky…

  3. Good for you…it helps to have someone to do it with 🙂

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