Beautiful New Shower of Roses Apron

“When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” - St. Therese

I just finished adding this beautiful "Shower of Roses" apron to our list of available aprons! It would make a lovely gift for anyone in your life who has a special devotion to St. Therese. I would love to add it to my own apron collection!

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Reginette "little queen" Pasta for Our Lady's Queenship

Several past Catholic Cuisine posts have shared ideas for pasta meals based on the symbolism of the pasta shape. There are hundreds of kinds of Italian pastas, and each one has its own special name and each pasta name actually means something.

Mafaldine or malfada, also known as reginette or reginelle (Italian for "little queens") is a type of ribbon-shaped pasta. Mafaldine were named in honor of Princess Mafalda of Savoy which is why they are also called "little queens." The pasta is flat and wide, usually about ½ inch in width, with wavy edges on both sides. The delicately fluted edges remind one of a crown. It is prepared similarly to other ribbon-based pasta such as linguine and fettuccine. On this feast of the Queenship of Mary (August 22) a pasta shape referencing a queen is perfect. It would also be a great pasta to serve up on any of the queen saints' feast days, such as St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Elizabeth of Hungary or St. Helena.

A variety of sauces could be served with this pasta. I chose a sun-dried tomato pesto which highlights the fresh bounty of basil from my August garden. Since August - the month of the Assumption and the one dedicated to the Immaculate Heart - is such a Marian month and is tied to herb harvest in her honor, it was fitting.

Reginette with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

10 sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp grated parmesan
10 basil leaves
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz pasta

In a blender, place the tomatoes, pine nuts, cheese, basil leaves and oil and blend at maximum power. Cook the pasta until al dente in boiling salted water, drain and stir in the pesto.

NOTE: Reginette/Reginelle pasta is not one of the most common shapes of pasta available in grocery stores. But I did find it available from Kroger as part of their HemisFares pasta brand. It is also available online and is specialty stores.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Pray for us!

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Assumption Day and First Fruits

August 15, the feast of the Assumption, is a harvest feast day and associated with "first fruits". We are reminded that Mary goes before us in Faith and also as a first fruit of the Resurrection, of which all the faithful will experience at the end of time (1 Corinthians 15:20-21). In many Catholic counties Assumption Day marks the period for invoking blessings on various "fruits" or fruiting plants - - particularly vineyards/grapes, fruit trees, grains, and herbs.

One idea is to serve "First Fruits" shortcake and topped with whipped cream - symbolizing the clouds of the sky in scenes depicting Mary being raised into heaven. You can use a variety of fruits on packaged shortcake cups.

A very simple idea along the same lines is a fresh fruit tray with whipped cream for dipping.

Grapes are especially associated with the feast of the Assumption. Armenian communities all over the world bless grapes on Assumption Day. Great trays are piled high with ripe grapes and carried to church, where they receive the blessings of the priest. Since grapes so often have this prominence in Assumption feasting we will often have this refreshing grape enhanced salad on this feast day.

Silverglade Spinach Salad
6 cups spinach, rinsed and stemmed
6 ounces cheese, shredded or cut into julienne strips (Cheddar or Jack or combo)
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 slices bacon, fried crisp, drained, & crumbled
2 green onions, sliced thin

To prepare dressing, whisk together vinegar, oil. mustard, and brown sugar. Stir in bacon pieces and onion. Refrigerate. In a large bowl combine spinach, cheeses, and grapes. Toss with dressing. 

O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary, Pray for us. 
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Ice Cream w/ Salted Honey Caramel Sauce on the Feast of Blessed Solanus Casey

Blessed Solanus Casey is known as a miracle worker. One story that I came across happened to feature ice cream. Considering that there is this miraculous story involving ice cream, this frozen treat seems a proper dessert option on his midsummer feast day today. I decided to top it with a honey caramel sauce because he took care of the beehives at the monastery and was known to soothe the bees with his harmonica playing. 

One hot summer day, Blessed Solanus had seen many people at the door seeking his blessing and counsel. One visitor had come to thank him for his help in one manner or another, bringing ice cream cones to celebrate. Called to another situation, Blessed Solanus sat the ice cream in his desk drawer.

About 30 minutes later, one of the friars returned to the monastery from the dentist’s office. He had gone to arrange an operation to take care of a serious infection of his jaw. Before he left, he sought Blessed Solanus’ blessing, which he received. Blessed Solanus did not believe that religious should normally ask for miracles because they should embrace the sufferings God placed before them. But, as the custom of the day dictated, such a major health complication for a novice likely would mean they would have to leave the order. Blessed Solanus took pity on this friar, and in giving his blessing indicated the dentist might be surprised. Sure enough, the infection was gone.

When the friar returned to the monastery, he recounted the good news. He knew it was the prayer of Blessed Solanus that brought him healing. But Blessed Solanus offered a detraction from any attention that might be paid to him, and he initiated a celebration for the friar’s healing by pulling out the ice cream cones he earlier placed in his desk. They were fully intact and as cold as if they had been in the freezer all along.    ~ From OSV article

Salted Honey Caramel Sauce

½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon sea salt

Combine sugar, honey, and water in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; cook until mixture is golden brown and smooth in texture, additional 4-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream, butter, and salt (be careful, mixture will splatter). Let cool. Spoon over ice cream and serve. Sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired.

Sauce can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. Reheat before serving.

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Blessed Solanus Casey Soup & Sandwich

Bl. Solanus Casey, Capuchin friar and doorkeeper who was just beatified in November 2017 will be remembered on the first-ever celebration of his feast day this week, July 30. In the tradition of the Franciscans whose charism is care for the poor, Bl. Solanus had a desire to feed anyone who came to the door of St. Bonaventure monastery in Detroit. "They are hungry; get them some soup and sandwiches," Fr. Solanus was known to proclaim to his fellow friars. In 1929 at the start of the Great Depression Bl. Solanus had the idea to start a soup kitchen down the street from the monastery, where he could send anyone who came to the door looking for food. The Capuchin soup kitchen has a long history of feeding the hungry in that area of Detroit.

A simple soup and sandwich combo would be a fine way to remember the hospitality of this simple man of God. A very simple broth based soup and a peanut butter sandwich would reflect the simplicity of the Franciscan life. Or something cool and refreshing on these often warm summer days such as a cold gazpacho soup and a crispy lettuce, deli meat and cheese sandwich. Mid-summer days are also a great opportunity to take advantage of a fruitful garden harvest with a summer garden minestrone and fresh tomato-basil-cucumber sandwich.

Have it with the family or open your home to friends in the spirit of Franciscan charity or take some sandwiches to distribute to the homeless in your city. Whatever combo you choose, or however you choose to enjoy it, make July 30 a combo soup and sandwich day to remember the generosity and hospitality of this simple wonder-worker priest.
"They are hungry; get them some soup and sandwiches."
Blessed Solanus Casey, Pray for us!
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Blood Orange and Pomegranate Sparkling Sangria

This is a lighter sangria for July, but one with some significant symbolism for the month of the Most Precious Blood. One of the ingredients, blood orange, by name makes it very fitting for a drink to remember the blood of Christ poured out for us. The other unique ingredient to this recipe is the pomegranate arils (seeds). Pomegranates in Christian art symbolize the resurrection and eternal life in Christ. It is fitting as it is through the blood of Christ that we might have eternal life.  As a summer drink, this recipe was a little hard to fulfill since both blood oranges and pomegranates are out of season.  But it is possible to find packaged pomegranate arils in the refrigerated produce section of natural grocers.  I also substituted the blood oranges for regular oranges and then used a bottled blood orange sparkling drink in place of the club soda.  These substitutions made it possible to still make a delicious sangria which included the symbolic elements of blood orange and pomegranate.

Blood Orange and Pomegranate Sparkling Sangria

3 blood oranges (or other oranges if unavailable)
Arils (seeds) from 1 pomegranate
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup simple syrup
1 bottle dry sparkling rosé or white sparkling wine
1 cup sparkling water (use blood orange Italian soda if not using blood oranges as fruit)

To make simple syrup, pour equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan and heat ingredients until dissolved. Cool. Juice two of the oranges. Slice the remaining orange into thin rounds, then cut into halves or quarters for garnish. In a pitcher, combine the simple sugar,  blood orange juice, blood orange slices, pomegranate arils and brandy. Let the fruit marinate for a few hours, covered and chilled in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pour in the rosé and sparkling water. Ladle sangria and fruit into glasses and serve. Makes approximately 6 glasses.

Precious Blood,

Ocean of Divine Mercy:

Flow upon us! 

Precious Blood,
Most pure Offering:
Procure us every Grace! 

Precious Blood,
Hope and Refuge of sinners:
Atone for us!

Precious Blood,
Delight of holy souls:
Draw us!

~St. Catherine of Siena

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Summer Sangria in this Month of the Most Precious Blood

July is drawing to a close, but there is still time to enjoy a classic summer drink - sangria - perfect for the month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood. Sangre means blood in Spanish and the drink sangria took it's name from the red wine used, as it resembled the color of blood. Living in Colorado where there is a spectacular mountain range which extends into New Mexico named Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ), I always think of the word sangre/sangria as associated with Christ's blood.

In addition to the dedicated month there are many saints with devotion and insights into the saving power of the Precious Blood and isn’t it convenient that several of them have summer feast days – perfect days to toast with a sangria and offer prayers through the saving power of the most precious blood.

St. Gaspar del Bufalo (feast: December 28), founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood said, “We must let it be known how the Blood of Christ cleanses the souls and sanctifies them, particularly by means of the sacraments.”

In both the Dialogue and her letters, St. Catherine of Siena (feast: April 29) talks much about the blood of Christ as fundamental to salvation. Her dying words were, “Blood! Blood! Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

The Carmelite saint, St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (feast: May 25) when in a rapture, saw that, “every time a human being offers up the Blood by which he was redeemed, he offers a gift of infinite worth, which can be equaled by no other.” Inspired by her vision, St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi offered the Precious Blood fifty times for the souls of the living and the dead, and then God rewarded her with visions of the multitudes of souls that had been saved from perdition or delivered from Purgatory.

The Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney (feast: August 4), drew on the most perfect way of offering the Most Precious Blood: he asked Our Lady to offer it for him, and said that it never failed to obtain for him the grace or favor he sought.

St. Dominic (feast: August 8), actually had a vision of Our Lady sprinkling devout people in his congregation with the Precious Blood.

St. Maria De Mattias (feast: August 20), founder of the religious congregation of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ had a consuming desire that "not even one drop of the Divine Blood would be lost"; that it would reach all sinners to purify them and so that, washed in that river of mercy, they would rediscover the right way to peace and union among people.

Classic Sangria

2 bottles chilled dry red wine, like Rioja
1 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 oranges, cut into thin rounds & quartered
2 lemons, cut into thin rounds & quartered
3 limes, cut into thin rounds & quartered
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups cold club soda or sparkling water

In a large pot or pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange, lemon, lime slices, and the apples then refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and add the club soda. Serve in glasses over ice.

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“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction of my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church (name a soul).”

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of sinners, especially, (name the soul).”

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