Honey Arnold Palmer - Refresher for St. Bernard Feast Day

The "Arnold Palmer" drink is a mix of half tea and half lemonade served chilled over ice. It is also called half-and-half. It is one of our family's favorite drinks, especially in the summertime. I came across a honey sweetened version on the National Honey Board Website. The inclusion of honey seemed a natural to add to the mid-August feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, as he is a patron of bees and beekeepers. There are other beekeeper patron saints but this one falling on August 20, seems particularly fitting since this time of year we are looking for ways to beat the summer heat and add refreshment.

I have adapted the recipe as follow:

1 part - lemon juice
1 part - honey
2 parts - water
4 parts - unsweetened tea

For honey-lemon syrup/lemonade:
1 part - honey
2 parts - water
1 part - lemon juice (fresh squeezed or concentrate)
Combine ingredients in sauce pan over low heat. Stir until dissolved. Cool.

Mix honey-lemon mixture with 4 parts tea for the half and half.  Add more tea or water to taste.  Stir, refrigerate, and serve over ice. May need to stir again while drinking as honey settles to bottom if left too long. Garnish with lemon or mint if desired. Relax. Enjoy.

ETA: Apparently, August 20 is also National Lemonade Day - I had no idea. How convenient to have suggested a lemonade drink already. The honey-lemon/lemonade portion of this recipe is very tasty on its own and I recommend it as well. 

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St. Bernard of Clairvaux Dijon Chicken

St. Bernard (August 20), mystic and Doctor of the Church, was a main propagator of the Cistercian reform and the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy. He was born in Fontaines-les-Dijon, France in 1090.

Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France. The region is world famous for its Burgundy wine and its mustard. It had become a recognized center for mustard making by the 13th century. The creation of Dijon mustard as we know it  is credited to Jean Naigeon, who revolutionized the original mustard recipe by substituting verjuice (the sour juice of unripe grapes) for the vinegar traditionally used in the making of mustard. This resulted less acidic mustard with a smother flavor. 

To make Dijon mustard, ground black or brown mustard seeds are pressed and steeped in verjuice, or more recently in white wine. At one time, any product called Dijon mustard had to be made in the Dijon region of France. Other products could be called "Dijon-style mustard" or simply "dijon mustard" with a lowercase "D".  Today, however, the term Dijon mustard has become generic, so any mustard using the basic Dijon recipe can be called Dijon mustard.

Our family has a Dijon mustard based chicken recipe that has been a favorite for 30 years. It seems a fitting feast day meal for the eminent St. Bernard who hails from the Dijon area.

Dijon Chicken

1/2 cup butter 
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh or jarred)
2-3 T. dried parsley flakes
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cut in strips

Heat oven to 375°F.
Melt butter in small saucepan with minced garlic. After garlic has sautéed, add mustard and mix.  Let cool and whisk mixture to combine until creamy. Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley in shallow bowl or pan.  Dip chicken into butter/mustard mixture, then dip in bread crumb mixture to coat both sides. Place in glass 9x13 pan. Bake uncovered 25 - 30 minutes, until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux is the author of the Marian prayer, The Memorare, which you may want add to your feast day meal prayer.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

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A Lion Lunch for St. Mamas

I first learned about this obscure, to me, saint when we visited Spain a couple years ago. In the Basque region, near my relatives' town, there is a cave containing prehistoric paintings – Santimamiñe Cave. These cave paintings date from about 13,000 BC and include a range of animals such as bison, horses, deer, goats and brown bears.

The cave's name comes from a nearby chapel of Santimamiñe, which in the Basque language means San Mamés or St. Mamas (also St. Mammes), to whom the chapel is dedicated. I had not heard of him before, but the guide shared that he was a 3rd century martyr, often pictured with a lion. 

He was orphaned at a young age – his parents killed for being Christians. He was a shepherd who was known to preach to the animals in the fields. It is told that St. Mamas was tortured for his faith by the governor of Caesarea and was then sent before the Roman Emperor Aurelian, who tortured him again. An angel then freed him and ordered him to hide himself on a mountain near Caesarea.  St. Mamas was later thrown to the lions, but managed to make the beasts docile. A lion is said to have remained with him as companion and protector. Accompanied by the lion, he visited Duke Alexander, who condemned him to death.

In Cyprus, there is the legend that he was a hermit and when soldiers were sent out and captured him, while on the way back to town, St. Mamas saw a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped on the lion's back, and rode it into town. That is how he is often depicted in icons. 

He is the patron of Langres; babies who are breastfeeding; protector of sufferers from broken bones and hernias.

Pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela brought his cult into Spain and he is more well known there. A statue depicting San Mamés and a lion can be found in the Casa de la Misericordia in Bilbao, which was once the convent of San Mamés and whose current chapel holds a relic of the saint. The stadium that is home to the Athletic Club de Bilbao is called San Mamés Stadium, and players of that club are called the "lions of San Mamés" because their stadium was built near there.

So his feast day (August 17) can be a time to learn a little more about a saint that might be new to your family, too. Since St. Mamas is closely associated in pictures with a lion it is a feast day idea. Additionally, it was a medieval belief that the lion slept with its eyes open. For this reason, they also became a symbol of watchfulness. I came across this lion themed recipe and thought it would be a fun, savory lunch idea for children to add the the other lion themed recipes on Catholic Cuisine. It is made from spiral noodles in a red sauce, surrounding a circle of colby jack cheese. Add olives for the eyes and nose, with cheese triangle ears and pepperoni strip whiskers. Who can resist a pasta lion?

Other saints who are depicted with a lion are St. Mark, St. Jerome, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Paul the Hermit, St. Onuphrius, so this idea could be used at other feast days.
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Infused Water - Refreshing Drink for Summer Feasts

Infusing your water with fruits, herbs, or veggies not only adds flavor to the water, but also adds essential vitamins and nutrients that help your body.  It is a great way to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated on a hot, late summer day. They can be helpful for getting children to increase their daily water intake. And they are pretty, too. 

Making your own is more cost friendly and healthier than purchased waters. So join in making some feast day themed waters with a hint of summer flavors for our August saints. 

Making infused water is very simple. Just add desired fruit, veggie, or herb or combination to a pitcher of water with ice. Muddle mixture a bit if you want to increase flavor and let steep for at least several hours, up to 24, depending on how strong you want the flavors.  For some mixtures you can pour directly from pitcher, for others you may want to strain ingredients first to remove small floaters. As long as you keep the water refrigerated, the fruit should stay fresh. And you can keep refilling the picture as you drink the water but, it will dilute the flavor each time you refill.  It should last several days before you need to remake with fresh fruit.

One way to make infused water is with a single ingredient. Citrus is a great, no lose option for adding a touch of flavor to water, so it can be a good one to start with.

St. Dominic – Orange

In her recent post for Catholic Culture, Jenn Miller alerted me to the connection of St. Dominic (August 8) to the orange. So orange infused water would be perfect for his feast day.  

You can also make infused waters that combine a variety of fruits, veggies or herbs.

St. Maximilian Kolbe – Coconut Strawberry or Blueberry Orange

Infused waters are simple, no frills refreshers and considering that St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14) died in a concentration camp it is a simple, non-extravagant treat for an austere remembrance. St. Maximilian had a vision of Mary – she offered him two crowns – red for martyrdom and white for purity and asked which one he would accept.  He chose both. Making a coconut strawberry infusion represents the colors of the two crowns that he was shown and accepted.

Blueberry orange infused water incorporates blue for his Marian devotion and formation of the Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration. Orange trees and their blossoms are symbolic of purity, chastity and generosity so the addition of oranges for St. Maximilian represents three strong characteristics of this saint who gave his life to take the place of another prisoner.

Assumption – Blueberry Lemon

As mentioned since blue is a universal color associated with Mary, the blueberry is a great fruit to use on Marian feasts. The lemon is a symbol of fidelity in love, and, as such, is often associated with the Virgin Mary in art. A lemon blueberry infused water would be a refreshing addition to this Marian solemnity.

Saint Rose - Raspberry, Rose, & Vanilla

The rose is closely associated as a symbol for St. Rose of Lima (August 23) but could be used, too, for St. Clare (August 11) as she has a rose story. The vanilla bean and raspberries of this recipe don't necessarily represent anything about the saints but were a infused water combination I found with rose that sounds delicious.

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St. Peter in Chains Feast Day Bread

"Liberation of St. Peter" by Murillo

"On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists." ~Acts 12:6-7

The feast of St. Peter in Chains was a feast day commemorated on August 1st to recall St. Peter's miraculous release from imprisonment and the dedication in the 4th century of the church Pietro in Vincoli - St. Peter in Chains in Rome . The church holds the reliquary containing the chains of St. Peter.
The feast day is no longer on the current liturgical calendar but definitely one that can be recognized. I think the imagery of chains is very vivid - one that makes an impression, so would be good to talk about and discuss with our children. 

This feast was also called "Lammas Day" or "Loaf Mass Day" because this day was offered as thanksgiving for the wheat harvest, used for the bread that becomes the Eucharist. Florence Berger discusses the connections between the liturgical year and agrarian life.

Bread is the most common product made from wheat – it is used to celebrate in all cultures and is symbolic of life and abundance.  We have discussed its significance in past posts here; Staples of Our Feastday Celebrations Part One: Bread and Bread – A Staple of the Liturgical Year Celebrations.  So making a bread of some sort to commemorate this day would be appropriate. And shaping it into links to form a bread chain uses that vivid image to a dramatic culinary advantage. Use any bread or pretzel recipe, such as the one suggested by Jessica in her St. Peter’s Keys post or even a pre-made refrigerator dough in a pinch.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups flour
1 egg (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add the sugar and salt.  Mix in the flour and knead until the dough is smooth.  Roll out dough and form into desired shape - in this case into links. Connect the links to form a chain. Brush the dough with a beaten egg for a golden finish if desired. Bake in a preheated oven at 425˚F for 15 minutes.

Another idea that came to mind with the chain shaped dough was to place it along the outside ring of a pizza crust so the pizza would be circled in chain. A dinner idea for the feast day. Blessings to all!

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Because of the symoblism of this feast and since St. Peter is their patron, The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has asked all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
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Jésuites - French Almond Cream Pastries

Celebrating the Jesuits with the French almond cream pastries called Jésuites.

Jésuites are so called because of their triangular shape that resembles the hat worn historically by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). This week we celebrate the feast day of the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola (July 31). Particularly with our current pope who is also a Jesuit (the first such pope in history) it is a great time to pay tribute to the Jesuits and enjoy a delicious French pastry as well.

How to make Jésuites:

Any frozen puffed pastry (Pepperidge Farm and Dufour are the brands most commonly found in US grocers)

Let pastry sit out for 40 minutes to thaw enough to work with. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Frangipane (almond cream)
Frangipane (pronounced FRAN-juh-pan), also called almond cream, is a classic filling for French puff pastry treats.

¼ C. butter, softened
¼ C. sugar
¼ C. ground almonds
1 egg (+ 2 egg yolks if you want it creamier)
a few drops almond extract (or vanilla extract, or rum, or amaretto)

Cream butter and sugar, add almond powder. Whisk well until light. Then beat in egg (and extra yolks if desired for creaminess). Add a few drops of extract. Refrigerate until needed. 

Combining cream & pastry
Peel layers of puff pastry apart.  Cut away the edges of the pastry to make a circle. The circle should be about 10" across so may need to be rolled out more if not large enough.  Cut into quarters then each quarter in half again.
Dip a pastry brush in water and moisten the tops of two pastry triangles.
Pile on the frangipane in the middle of one pastry triangle - add about 1/4 cup (leave edges bare).
Carefully place the other triangle, wet side down on top of the one with filling. Trim away any dough that overlaps. Transfer to baking sheet. Press around edges to seal.

1 egg white
2 T. powdered sugar
Slivered almonds

Whisk together egg white and powdered sugar. Brush on top of each pastry. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top.
Bake the Jésuites at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 325 and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the pastries are golden brown and puffy. After removing from oven dust with powdered sugar if desired. 

This is a symbolic addition to the feast days of any of the Jesuit saints - and there are a lot! A few are listed in the "filed under" section.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

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Lace Cookie Bowls for St. Anne

As mentioned in the previous Florentine Lace Cookie post, there are numerous saints associated with lacemaking. Those saints who are listed as patrons of lacemaking and or lacemakers includes:
  • St. Anne
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria
  • St. Crispin
  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. John Regis
  • St. Luke
  • St. Therese
  • Bl. Zelie Martin

Since today is the feast of St. Anne, I am offering a variation on the lace cookies - Lace Cookie Bowls. These delicate and tasty edible bowls are great for fruit or ice cream.

Follow recipe for making the florentine cookie dough from earlier post. In the previous recipe for smaller cookies, small balls were formed. In order to make the lace cookie bowls you need to form much larger balls of dough - approx. 2 inch in diameter.   Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 2 or 3 to a tray as they will spread a lot.

Place in preheated oven - 350 degrees. Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes until they can be handled. They need to be cool enough to remove from tray but not yet have hardened. While still soft place over a small inverted bowl and press down to form bowl shape.  Let cool until hardened.

Filled with ice cream these are a refreshing treat for a mid-summer feast day. While we used chocolate because it was what I had on hand, another great ice cream choice would be spumoni, which includes both a red (cherry) and green (pistachio) color - the colors associated with St. Anne.  Or any red/green combination - like strawberry ice cream with a sprig of mint or green tea ice cream with fresh raspberries on top. There are many fun and refreshing combinations in those colors.


Dear Saint Anne, we know nothing about you except your name. But you gave us the Mother of God who called herself handmaid of the Lord. In your home, you raised the Queen of Heaven and you are rightly the model of homemakers. In your womb came to dwell the new Eve, uniquely conceived without sin. Intercede for us that we too may remain free from sins. Amen.
St. Anne, Pray for Us.

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