St. Anthony's Sermon to the Fishes Cupcakes

I thought I shared these cupcakes a couple years ago, but it looks like I only posted them over at Shower of Roses along with a few other ideas for the feast of St. Anthony. I'm planning to make them again today for the children to enjoy after we read St. Anthony's Sermon to the Fishes by Abraham a Sancta-Clara, an Augustinian monk who lived from 1607–1680. You can find the poem here

These cupcakes are so quick and easy to decorate. I simply used some Fluffy White frosting and created little peaks on the top of each cupcake so the fish and other sea creatures (I used Scandinavian Swimmers from Trader Joe's) could peak out of the whitewater to listen to St. Anthony's Sermon!

They are a great (and artificial dye free) alternative to the "A Multitude of Fish Cupcakes"

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us! 

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French Vanilla Fleur De Lis Cake

The Nordic Ware Fleur De Lis Bundt Pan is perfect for so many feast days, including today's feast of St. Joan of Arc since the fleur de lis is one of her symbols.

These pictures are from a couple years ago, but the girls are planning to pull it out this afternoon to bake another cake for dessert this evening. This cake is simply a French Vanilla Cake Mix baked in the Fleur de Lis Bundt Pan and then dusted with powdered sugar. If you have a favorite from scratch French Vanilla Cake recipe please share it in the comments below!

The Story of St. Joan of Arc • St. Joan of Arc from  Naturally Catholic • Nordic Ware Fleur De Lis Bundt Pan

St. Joan of Arc, pray for us! 
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Lily Pasta Santa Caterina

April 29 (new) and April 30 (traditional) are the feasts of St. Catherine of Siena. Last night I ended up serving Pasta Santa Caterina for dinner. This time I made it with lily shaped pasta (Capanelle, also referred to as gigli or riccioli, translates to little bells or bellflowers) from Trader Joe's, since I had given some to our children in this year's family Easter Basket.

The lily symbolizes purity. Its stoic structure, pure white color, and delicately sweet aroma attribute to qualities of royalty, purity, and chastity. It is the symbolic flower of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is sometimes depicted with other saints (including St. Catherine of Siena) who possess these qualities. A lily among thorns represents the Immaculate Conception as the purity of the Virgin is preserved among the fallen nature of the world. Legend says that the lily originated from Eve’s tears when she and Adam were banished from the Garden of Eden. Another legend claims that lilies sprang up from the ground when drops of blood fell to the foot of the Cross. During the Easter season, many churches line their altars with Easter Lilies to signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life.

This pasta would also be perfect for tomorrow's feast (May 1, St. Joseph the Worker) since the lily is also one of the symbols for St. Joseph.

Pasta Santa Caterina

  • 2 lb. ripe tomatoes 
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic minced
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I omitted this and it was still great) 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. gigli pasta 


Peel tomatoes, remove seeds and dice.

In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients except the pasta.
Marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, until tender. Drain thoroughly, and transfer pasta to a heated serving dish. Add the sauce and toss.

Serves 8 to 10.

St. Catherine of Siena, ora pro nobis! 

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Lady Kisses for Lady Day

The solemnity of the Annunciation is also known in some places as Lady Day. When I first saw these little bite-sized Italian cookies called, baci di dama or "lady’s kisses", I thought of them as an option for this day - Lady Day. I can imagine them being Our Lady's kisses - kisses Our Lady would have bestowed on her sweet son. The name originates from the cookie’s resemblance to two lips holding together like a kiss. These Italian cookies are common for feast days in Italy - especially St. Joseph. Most years St. Joseph's feast day and the Annunciation are a week apart, so making double at that time could cover both feasts. Though this year the feast is abrogated to April 9 because its traditional date fell on Palm Sunday. 
The outer cookies are delicate and usually made of almond or hazelnut flour. The hazelnut version is from the city of Cuneo (where Nutella comes from), and the almond ones are from the town of Tortona.  There are some different variations of the recipe available. This is adapted from the Martha Stewart recipe. 
Our Lady's Kisses
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, fine
2/3 cup almond (or hazelnut) flour
3/4 cup unbleached wheat flour
pinch of salt
2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat 7 tablespoons butter with sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon zest, then both flours and salt; beat until a dough starts to form. Transfer to a work surface; knead until a firm dough forms, 1 minute.

Scoop 1 level teaspoon of dough; roll into a ball. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing balls 1 inch apart. Place in freezer about 15 minutes, until firm.  Melt chocolate and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Let cool until thick and spreadable.

Bake cookies until domed and light golden, about 16 minutes. Let cool completely. Spread 1/2 teaspoon chocolate mixture on flat side of one cookie; sandwich with flat side of a second. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let chocolate set before serving.

I found this litany poem by G.K. Chesterton which speaks of a kiss and the mystic rose – a reference to Mary (as are all the symbols in this poem). So beautiful and definitely brings to mind the image I was imagining between Mother and the Child Jesus. 

A Little Litany by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven—and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.

Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.

Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.

Or risen from play at your pale raiment's hem
God, grown adventurous from all time's repose,
Or your tall body climbed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.

Note: I also think these little cookies would be fitting for the feast of St. Mary Magdalene (July 22) as she is believed to be the woman who washed with her tears, anointed with oil and kissed the feet of Christ. She is often depicted kissing Christ's feet. Lady Kisses could represent her as well.

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Peacock Fruit Platter for Easter

The peacock has long been a Christian symbol of immortality and Christ's resurrection. From ancient times the peacock represented immortality which came from a belief that the flesh of the peacock did not decay.  For this reason the symbol became associated with the Resurrection of Christ with the early Christians and peacocks are found adorning the walls and tombs of the catacombs. In addition, the “multitude of eyes" on the beautiful fan tail, suggested the all-seeing eye of God and that of the Church.

As we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in the Easter Octave, the peacock can serve as a visible reminder of His rising from the dead. This fun fruit platter is made up of kiwi slices, grapes, and blueberries "feathers" surrounding a half pear for the body. Beak and legs were cut from a red bell pepper and the eyes are cut from the pear.

Additional past Easter ideas from Catholic Cuisine which incorporate this ancient symbol can be found here:
Easter Symbols: Handcrafted Candy for Easter!
The Good Shepherd's Garden Party: Week Seven

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Cloved Ham - Good Friday

Planning on having ham this year for Easter dinner? Ham has been a traditional part of many Easter meals, so if you are serving it this Easter consider adding a little Good Friday prep to your ham baking by doing the "cloving" on that day.

Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum), which is a tropical evergreen. They have an almost pungent aroma as well as a sweet and spicy flavor and are commonly used to flavor ham for baking. The word, clove, has an interesting etemology which I think links them well to this idea. They resemble small nails or tacks and their name comes an alteration of Middle English clowe, borrowed from the Old French clou de girofle (nail of clove) , from Latin clāvus (“nail”) for its shape. 

A clever idea could be to "clove" the ham on Good Friday in anticipation of cooking it on Sunday for Easter.

On Good Friday as we contemplate Chist's passion and crucifixion, we can think specifically of those nails that held him to the cross. As you place the clove "nails" in the ham, you could reflect on those wounds He received. 

To clove a ham: 
  • Using a sharp knife, score ham by making diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern, about 1/4 inch deep. Do not score the meat itself, just the fat and any skin. 
  • Place whole cloves in centers (and points, optional) of diamonds.

Cover and keep refrigeratorated until ready to cook on Easter. 

Golden Clove Glazed Ham 

8 - 10 lb. bone-in cooked ham (shank end or butt end)
Cloves, whole
   For Glaze:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground

Directions:Bake covered at 325 for 2- 2 1/2 hours. Make glaze by adding ingredients to sauce pan. Mix and simmer 30 minutes to reduce. After the ham has cooked for 1 1/2 hour, brush the surface with some of the glaze. Then put it back into the oven, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. During that last hour continue glazing every 20 mintues.  This gives it a nice golden glaze. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes. To serve, transfer ham to a serving platter. Slice. Discard the cloves.

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Saint Brigid's Lake of Beer

Lake of Beer

I should like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I should like the angels of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.
I should like excellent meats of belief and pure piety.
I should like the men of Heaven at my house.
I should like barrels of peace at their disposal.
I should like for them cellars of mercy.
I should like cheerfulness to be their drinking.
I should like Jesus to be there among them.
I should like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I should like the people of Heaven, the poor, to be gathered around from all parts.

Happy feast of St. Brigid of Ireland! 

This picture was from our 2015 All Saints Party. You can find recipes and ideas for celebrating the feast of St. Brigid in the archives here at Catholic Cuisine and over at Shower of Roses.

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