Recipes for December ~ Month Dedicated to the Divine Infancy




The Month of December is dedicated to the Divine Infancy.

"Mary wraps up a small bundle of clothes for the use of her little Son, and then, going to the crib, she says with tears in her eyes to her sleeping Child, 'O my Son, and my God! Thou hast come from heaven to save men; but hardly art Thou born when they seek to take Thy life.'" ~ 2010 Catholic Calendar


December 3rd, St. Francis Xavier (New, Trad.):


December 6th, St. Nicholas of Myra (New, Trad.):
December 7th, St. Ambrose (New, Trad.):



December 8, The Immaculate Conception (New, Trad.):

December 9th, St. Juan Diego (New):


December 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe (New, Trad.):


December 27th, St. John the Apostle (New, Trad.):


December 28th, The Holy Innocents (New, Trad.):

December 31st, New Year's Eve :

MORE RECIPES FOR ADVENT:

Throughout Advent :


First Sunday of Advent ~ Stir-Up Sunday :
Second Sunday of Advent :
Third Sunday of Advent :

St. Andrew's Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen.

Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day (30 November),
ending on Christmas Eve

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Scones for St. Andrew's Day

The following recipe was submitted by Lori, from Busy with Blessings, for the upcoming feast of St. Andrew.  


This is a special day in our home. My honey choose Saint Andrew as his Confirmation patron saint. He said he did so because he loved Saint Andrew’s zeal for the Lord. He chose to follow Jesus and was strong in doing so. I pray for God to continue to strengthen my honey through the intercession of Saint Andrew.

Last year, on the feast of St. Andrew, the kids and I had fun making St. Andrew Scones.  Then we had a nice tea party!

St. Andrew Scones

1/3 c. butter
1 3/4 c. flour
3 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. currants or raisins, optional
4 to 6 tbsp. half and half or milk
1 egg, beaten
sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 1 egg, currants and enough half and half so dough leaves the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick; cut with round cookie cutter or glass.


We marked each scone with an X in rememberance of him dying on an X shaped cross.


Place on ungreased cookie sheet; brush with beaten eggs and sprinkle with sugar.


Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes remove immediately. Serves 15. Split scones and serve with butter, jams and jellies.

The children enjoyed playing with the extra dough while the scones baked.


Thank you Lori!!   

Also, don't forget to start the St. Andrew Christmas Novena tomorrow. "It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked!"


St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
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Fishers of Men - Celebrating St. Andrew

St. Andrew, a fisherman from Bethsaida, was the first Apostle called by Jesus. Andrew was already a follower of John the Baptist, and he recognized Jesus as the Messiah when John baptized Our Lord in the Jordan River. He introduced his brother Simon to Jesus. The two brothers became apostles of Jesus and "fishers of men."

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. ~Matthew 4:19


Enjoy an easy and symbolic treat on St. Andrew's feast day - November 30. Set out a bowl or basket of pretzel "fishing rods" (any stick variety will do, whether thin sticks or rods). Accompany this with a smaller bowl of peanut butter, cheese dip, cream cheese spread (anything that will stick to the pretzel sticks) and a bowl of gold fish crackers. Commence fishing by dipping the pretzel sticks in the peanut butter (or other dip option) and then catch a “fish” from the fish bowl as the crackers will stick to the rod of peanut butter. We have had a lot of fun with this little fishing activity. It’s a great way to reflect on St. Andrew’s roll as fisherman - first of fish, then of men.

St. Andrew, Pray for us.
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La Tire de Ste. Catherine

The following recipe was submitted by Josee Bergeron for the upcoming feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria! Thank you Josee!


Making la tire de Ste. Catherine is a French-Canadian tradition that began when St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, made these sweet candies each year on November 25th to attract young students to her school. These taffies were so popular that eventually young maidens began making them on the feast of St. Catherine and gave them to the single men around town in order to display their cooking skills in the hopes of finding a husband. Making this taffy is such a fun activity for kids. It's so exciting for them to watch the brown taffy turn bright golden as it's being pulled and then eating it while it's still slightly warm. What a wonderful way to celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria!

Here is my family's traditional recipe for la tire de Ste. Catherine:

La Tire de Ste. Catherine

Ingredients:

1 cup molasses
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. baking soda


Directions:

1.  Grease a cookie sheet with plenty of butter.

2.  Combine all the ingredients, except the baking soda, into a large heavy bottomed pot.


3.  Bring the mixture to a boil and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.


4.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 250F (for soft taffy), or 260F (for hard taffy).

5.  When the mixture has reached the desired temperature, remove the pot from the heat source and add the baking soda. Stir the mixture. The baking soda will react with the mixture and make it swell, this is why you don't want your pot to be too small.


6.  When the baking soda is mixed in well, pour the mixture into the well buttered cookie sheet and let it cool enough to handle.

7.  Butter your hands well and tear off a piece of the taffy. The piece can be as big or small as you want. A handful is a good amount to start with.

8.  Begin pulling the taffy as follows: Pull the taffy out into a line. Fold the taffy in halve and then give it a twist. Pull it out into a line again. Continue doing this until the taffy turns golden. This part is a lot of fun for the kids to do!


9.  When the taffy is golden in colour you can cut it into chunks and then wrap it in wax paper. Or you can simply eat it. Yum!


St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us! 
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Hungarian Cinnamon Bread

For the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary today, we made a traditional Hungarian bread called kalacs. I originally found the recipe on Allrecipes and decided to try it as written although the original commenter said that the filling can be altered to suit your taste.

Kalacs (Hungarian Cinnamon Bread)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 C. warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • melted butter for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  1. Place flour, white sugar, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. In a bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, warm milk, and vanilla extract; pour into the flour mixture. Using dough hook attachment, mix on low until the flour is moistened and a dough forms, then increase speed to medium, and continue kneading until smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured work surface, and divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/3 inch thick rectangle. Brush each square with melted butter. Mix together cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the two rectangles.
  4. Roll each firmly into a log, pinch the ends closed, and tuck them underneath. Place each into a greased, glass loaf pan. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven until loaves are golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.
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Scottish Shortbread

A friend of mine first introduced me to Scottish Shortbread years ago. She had the most beautiful pan given to her by her mother-in law with a Scottish thistle design on the bottom of it (similar to this one) that transferred the loveliest motif to her cookies. 

Since then, I have searched high and low for an authentic recipe and these two have been the best so far although I'm not sure if the addition of vanilla in the second recipe would discount it from being authentic.

Scottish Shortbread I

2oz. white sugar
4 oz. butter
6oz. flour

Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the flour and pat into a pie plate or round cake pan. Prick with a fork all over and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.


If you don't have access to a kitchen scale, try this one:

Scottish Shortbread II

2 sticks of butter
2 C. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. white sugar

Pat into a small jelly roll pan (I used a small cookie sheet and the dough didn't reach the edges of the pan), prick all over and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then lower to 300 for 30 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

I like to score my shortbread right when it comes out of oven and then let it cool completely before trying to cut the pieces completely. You can dust with powdered sugar if desired.

St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!
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Italian Fare for Feast of Mother Cabrini

One the aspects of celebrating the liturgical year that we really enjoy is having an opportunity to experience some cultural variety by incorporating ethnic foods into a meal. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini's feast day is celebrated in the US on November 13. Though she ministered in the United State as a missionary sister to the Italian immigrants, St. Frances Cabrini, was born in Lombardy Italy. So her roots are in Italy where she was born, particularly the town of Sant'Angelo Lodigiano in Lombardy.

This northern area of Italy is known for rustic cuisine characterized by less use of olive oil, pasta and tomato sauce and more use of butter, rice, corn (for polenta) and cheeses for cream sauces. For Mother Cabrini's feast day we are going to be trying a little regional fare.

Asparagi al forno
1 lb. asparagus
Salt and pepper
3 T. butter
1/2 C. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Clean asparagus, trimming off the woody ends if necessary. Place in a pan of lightly salted boiling water. Cook for 8 minutes over a medium heat. Drain and place the asparagus in a buttered baking dish. Add pinch of salt and black pepper. Drizzle melted butter over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 6-7 minutes, until golden.

Polenta
2 C. medium grind polenta/cornmeal
6 C. water (or light chicken stock)
salt

This dish is mainly associated with northern Italy and is a beloved element of the now celebrated “cucina povera” - meaning the “humble food” of Italian cuisine. Bring salted water to boil in large pot. Add cornmeal by sprinkling it by hand over water in pot. Stir constantly with whisk. Reduce heat. Continue stirring with wooden spoon. Cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Serve hot with ladle or turn onto wooden board and cool. Then cut into slices or squares and serve. Can be made in varying amounts, just keep the ratio of 1 part polenta to 3 parts water. Can be served plain with butter or topped with any pasta/tomato sauce, mushrooms, etc.

Chicken Breasts Lombardi
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, quartered
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6-8 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 C Marsala wine (substitute 1/4 grape juice, 1 t. brandy for each 1/4 C. Marsala)
3/4 C.chicken stock
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten chicken breasts to 1/8-inch thickness. Dredge pieces lightly in flour. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet. Place several pieces of chicken in the pan, careflul not to crowd. Cook approximately 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. When browned, place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat browning with remaining chicken, adding butter each time. Reserve drippings. Saute mushrooms in the same pan with 2 additional tablespoons butter. Stir wine and chicken stock into the pan, scraping to deglaze the pan, and cook for about 10 minutes until sauce is reduced by 1/3. Spoon sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and sprinkle over chicken. Bake for 10 -15 minutes. Pin It

Decorating with Heraldry

Heraldry has been defined as the art of blazoning, assigning, and marshalling a coat of arms. I mention it because I recently explored the website, World of Heraldry, which contains a wealth of images for coats-of-arms depicting St. Martin of Tours. Apparently St. Martin is one of the most popular saints used in heraldry. We used the shield images for several feast day crafts and decorations. Catholic Cuisine contributors in the past have used a coat-of-arms to make decorative picks for cupcakes or other treats (Pope Benedict's Coat of Arms Cupcakes).


We did the same today for our brownies, using the variety of images of St. Martin of Tours from the heraldry site. We thought that they really looked like heraldry banners. There are many other saints in the coats of arms on the site. It would be a great place to look when you want to liven up a cupcake or other treat for a feast day.

Upcoming November saints that have images on the heraldry site:


St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)




St. Catherine of Alexandria (November 25)



St. Andrew (November 30)

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Saint Martin's Bags - Goodies for the Children

Il-Borża ta' San Martin, or St. Martin's Bags, are a festive tradition in Malta on the feast of St. Martin of Tours. Children are given these bags full of treats associated with the feast. The cloth bags have drawstrings at the top and are filled with fruits of the harvest.

Common contents of the bags include:
~almonds
~walnuts
~hazelnuts
~chestnuts
~oranges
~tangerines
~figs
~apples
~pomegranates



It might also contain St. Martin's bread (Weckmanner in Germany). We just used what we had on hand - peanuts, cashews, and dried fruit. The bags are easy to make. This one is a light muslin, decorated with a goose - symbol associated with St. Martin.


A poem about the bag of treats to recite:
Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.


Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I very much love Saint Martin.


At our St. Martin feast day celebration with our local support group today, a friend of mine made "beggar bags" for all the kids. They were crumpled, brown paper bags signifying simplicity and poverty. The picture on the bag shows St. Martin with the beggar. They contained nuts, fruit and a cookie.

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Recipes for November ~ Month dedicated to the Holy Souls




"Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. As a reminder of our duty to pray for the suffering faithful in Purgatory, the Church has dedicated the month of November to the Holy Souls. The Holy Souls are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. They are certain of entering Heaven, but first they must suffer in Purgatory. The Holy Souls cannot help themselves because for them the night has come, when no man can work (John 9:4). It is our great privilege of brotherhood that we can shorten their time of separation from God by our prayers, good works, and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."


In addition to praying for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, here are a few ideas for celebrating the feast days in November, from the archives:


November 1, All Saints Day (New, Trad.):



November 10, St. Leo the Great (New):

November 11, St. Martin of Tours ~ Martinmas (New, Trad.):





November 13, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (New):
  • Heart Cake (Since the "heart" is one of the symbols for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini)


November 16, St. Margaret of Scotland (New):





November 16, St. Gertrude (New, Trad.):
  • Lily Sandwiches (The lily is one of the symbols of St. Gertrude. Other symbols include: Crown and Heart)



November 17, St. Elizabeth of Hungary (New):






November 18, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (New):

November 19, St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Trad):
(See November 17th)


November 21, The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (New, Trad.):

November 25, St. Catherine of Alexandria (New, Trad.):


Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of Christ the King (New):


Other:

We pray for the dead every time we eat if we pray the After Meal Blessing:

We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, Who livest and reignest forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

O Mother Most Merciful, Pray for the Souls in Purgatory!

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