Sancta Lucia Martinis

This recipe in honor of St. Lucy was submitted by Kim Loney. Thank you, Kim! 


Here is my non alcoholic version of the SANCTA LUCIA MARTINIS!

The idea came from Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour by Michael P. Foley. The book contains "saintly" alcoholic drinks for every day of the liturgical year.

Sancta Lucia Martinis 

Ingredients:



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Gaudete Sunday and Our Lady of Guadalupe Cake

The following cake was submitted by Anna, from Regina Coeli Baker, "to put together two great feasts, Gaudete Sunday and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The cake inside is white and orange cake, filled with cranberries and white chocolate ganache. The image of Our Lady is totally edible, hand modeled and hand painted. The cake is covered with homemade white chocolate marshmallow fondant. " You can find additional cakes decorated by Regina Coeli Baker here. Thank you, Anna!



Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us! 

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St. Ambrose and the Bees Honeycomb Cake


The feast of St. Ambrose, patron saint of beekeepers, bees, and candlemakers, is celebrated on December 7th. Here is a recipe for Honey Bun Cake baked in a Honeycomb Cake Pan in honor of St. Ambrose, the honey-tongued doctor.


St. Ambrose and the Bees Honeycomb Cake
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Cake:
  • baking spray for cake pan
  • 1 package (18.25) oz plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

Filling:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

Sugar Glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Note: I only used half of the glaze after baking the cake in the Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake Pan. This cake can also be baked in a 13-by-9 inch baking pan. 

Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake Pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat pan with non-stick baking spray. Set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.

Tip: If using the Honeycomb Pan, don't fill the pan more than 3/4 of the way full, otherwise you may end up needing to remove a scoop or two of batter while it's baking to prevent it from overflowing! ;) 

Add the filling. Drizzle the honey on top of the batter, then sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans if desired.


With a dinner knife, swirl through these ingredients blend them slightly. Place the pan in the oven. 

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 38 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.  


For the glaze, place the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and stir until the mixture is well combined. 


Flip the Honeycomb Cake onto serving platter and pour the glaze over the top of the hot cake. 

Note: If you used a 9x13 pan, leave the cake in the pan and pour the glaze over the top of the cake, spreading it to the sides with a spoon. 

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes more before serving warm. 

Saint Ambrose and the Bees from Brother Wolf, Sister Sparrow: Stories about Saints and Animals



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Super Simple St. Andrew Snack


This is a really quick and easy snack for the feast of St. Andrew,  the apostle (November 30). More than likely you have ingredients around the house that will work and it takes just a minute to make. Take two straight sticks, like pretzels or celery (or carrots, peppers, cucumber), dab a bit of peanut butter (or cream cheese or other spread) in middle and stick together to form an X shape. That shape is referred to as St. Andrew's cross or Saltire. According to tradition St. Andrew was crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata). 

And don't forget the St. Andrew Novena or Christmas Anticipation Prayer that starts this day also. This beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas.


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 the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.


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St. Clement's Honey Clementine Vinaigrette Salad

Clementine Vinaigrette 

Ingredients:
3 clementines
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions: 
Juice two of the clementines. Save the third Clementine for the zest (and Clementine segments for salad). Add the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and pepper to the juice. Slowly stir in honey and oil until thoroughly mixed. Zest the third Clementine and add to mixture. Serve over salad of baby spinach, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and clementine wedges.

 Pope St. Clement, Pray for us!


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Christ the King Cookie Crowns


The Feast of Christ the King is a moveable feast. It is celebrated on the final Sunday of the liturgical year, which is the last Sunday before Advent begins.

Decorating crown shaped cookies is a fun activity for children to celebrate this feast! You can use store bought cookie dough, or make your own, and if you don't happen to have a crown cookie cutter, just cut out your own crowns freehand or using a printable template. Here is Charlotte's simple recipe from her Cookie Masks for Mardi Gras:

Cut-Out Cookie Dough

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Tbl. Vanilla or almond
  • 1/4 Tbl. butter extract
  • 1 3/4 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and flavorings and mix well. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to batter and mix well. CHILL 3-4 hours or overnight before using.

Roll cookies out approximately 1/4 inch thick. Bake cookies at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes. This dough keeps well in a covered container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Decorate with Cookie Icing and sprinkles.

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Acorn Treats for St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Another idea for the November 18 feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, that capitalizes on her connection to oaks (du chêne means “of oak”), is to make some acorn treats. There are a variety of cute autumn themed treats that are made to look like acorns. This one is made with donut holes, frosting and chocolate sprinkles (jimmies).

Donut Hole Acorns 

Ingredients:
Donut holes (glazed)
Chocolate frosting
Chocolate sprinkles
Pretzel sticks

Directions:
Soften the frosting (or Nutella) for 10 seconds in microwave. Dip donut hole in the chocolate. Then immediately dip in sprinkles to coat. In place of the chocolate sprinkles crushed nuts could be used. Stick a piece of pretzel in the top for a stem and let it cool/harden.

This one is made from chocolate kisses and mini vanilla wafers.

Acorn Candy Cookies 

Ingredients:
Mini vanilla wafer cookies
Chocolate candy kisses
Butterscotch (or chocolate) chips
Chocolate frosting

Directions:
Smear a small amount of frosting onto the flat bottom of a candy kiss. Press onto the flat bottom of the vanilla wafer. Smear a little more frosting onto the flat bottom of a butterscotch chip, and press onto the rounded top of the cookie. Repeat with remaining ingredients.  I have also seen these made with Nutter Butter bites instead of the nilla wafer minis.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pray for us!


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Trail Mix Variations for Rose Themed Saints

Last month I posted an idea for making a trail mix with a rose theme using this candy mold for mini roses.  
St. Elizabeth of Hungary variation which includes grains for the symbol of bread

The mix, which I made for St. Therese's (The Little Rose) feast day, would easily fit a variety of other feast days associated with the theme of roses. There are several saints associated with roses or have rose stories and a few feast days are coming up soon. While all would still have as a base the candy roses, I've compiled some ideas for ingredients which could be added to or substituted for other ingredients in trail mix recipes to make them more fitting symbolically for some of the other "rose" saints.


Our Lady of Guadalupe or St. Juan Diego (December 12, December 9)
Variations to add a Mexican flare:
~pecans - native to Mexico
~pine nuts - from Pinyon trees native to Mexico
~chocolate chips (or cocoa roses in addition to pink/red ones) since cocoa bean domestication originated in Mexico
~dried papaya, mango, or banana


St. Elizabeth of Hungary or St. Elizabeth of Portugal (November 17,  July 5)
Variations which include grains (since both of these saints stories are associated with bread and roses falling from their cloak):
~wheat chex
~rye crisps
~puffed wheat

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18)
Variations associated with the midwest and with the Native American tribe she ministered to:
~dried berries, seeds, and nuts - recalls typical food of the plains tribes
~corn nuts - corn is associated with Kansas where the spent time with the Potawatomi tribe

Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)
Variations associated with Our Lady because of color or virtue of purity:
~dried blueberries - blue color associated w/ Our Lady
~coconut flakes - color symbolizes purity, Immaculate Conception
~white/light nuts like blanched almonds, cashew, macadamia - purity

St. Rose of Lima (August 23)
Variations to add Peruvian theme:
~dried papaya
~cancha - dried corn (is a Peruvian dried corn snack - recipe - or corn nuts could be used)
~cashew - nut native to S. America

St. Rita of Cascia (May 22)
Variation idea:
~figs or fig pieces (There is an old tradition that associates a miracle of roses and figs with St. Rita.)





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St. Rose Philippine Duchesne "Oak" Cookies


St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was born in France in 1769 and entered the Visitandine convent when she was 19 where she lived until it was shut down during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. Following the revolution, along with foundress St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat, she was a prominent early member of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and founded the congregation's first communities in the United States. She spent the last half of her life teaching and serving the people of the Midwestern United States, and had a particular dedication to the people of the Potawatomi tribe who named her Woman Who Prays Always.

Because the French word for “oak” is chêne (and du chêne means “of oak”), symbols of oak leaves and acorns are often seen in Sacred Heart schools in America to recall the name of the woman who pioneered Sacred Heart education in the New World. 
Oak shaped sugar cookies make a nice tribute to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne for her feast day, November 18. These were made using this Ann Clark oak leaf cookie cutter, but there are a variety of oak leaf cutters (& acorn ones) available for sale and any could be used as a symbol for this saint.  Any traditional rolled sugar cookie dough would work for this recipe. This is the sugar cookie recipe I use. Make frosting in desired colors. Since she has a fall feast day, I included autumn colors. Make leaf veins in the frosting with a toothpick. 

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pray for us!

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St. Martin de Porres Broomstick Snacks


On November 3, the Church honors and remembers Saint Martin De Porres, the first black saint of the Americas, who would become well known for his humility and help of the poor and in hopeless causes. He is often depicted with a broom, and even affectionately referred to as the "Saint of the Broom," because he considered all work to be sacred, no matter how menial.

These broomstick snacks are often suggested as a snack for Halloween, but I think they make the perfect healthy treat for the feast of St. Martin de Porres. They could be made for Epiphany also as a nod to the legend of La Befana.

The pretzel and cheese broomsticks are very simple to make. Take a cheese stick and cut into thirds. Peel small sections of the cheese portion from the bottom up about 2/3 to make the broom straws. Insert a pretzel stick into the solid end of cheese. Tie a piece string of chive around the broom straws and snip. I would say that step is option of you don't have chives on hand - or you could peel a full length piece of string cheese and use that as a tie.

St. Martin de Porres, Pray for us!


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St. Simon (& Jude) Saw Cookies


St. Simon, the apostle (who shares tomorrow's October 28 feast with St. Jude) is often pictured with a saw in paintings or on statues.  It is one of his chief symbols since he was said to have been martyred by being cut in half with a saw.  As we recall this feast day of St. Simon the Zealot, sugar cookies decorated like saws are a good way to illustrate that symbol. Use the sugar cookie recipe of your choice or this one published in past at Catholic Cuisine which is the standard one I use.


This is the cookie cutter that was used.


I made a decorator frosting and tinted it brown and grey to replicate the colors of a saw.

Cookies are always a fun way to incorporate saint symbols. Enjoy.


St. Simon, Pray for us!

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Classic Polish Cucumber Salad for St. John Paul II


There are two foods that I associate with going to visit my relatives on the farm where my Polish American father was born and raised - and Mizeria, cucumber in a creamy dill dressing, is one.  It was a staple. From most Polish families you will hear the same. As a classic Polish salad side dish it seems very fitting for the feast day of St. John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła), October 22. And it is super simple to make - a bonus for a busy day.

Mizeria - Polish Cucumber Salad

Ingredients
  • 1 large cucumber 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Directions
Peel cucumber(s).  Slice cucumber very thinly and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle slices with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to pull the liquid. Drain water from the salted cucumbers and gently squeeze to expel any remaining water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  

Mix sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill in medium bowl.  Toss cucumber slices in mixture. Allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Taste, season with salt and freshly ground pepper as needed and serve.  Garnish with dill if desired. Serves 4 but is easily doubled or tripled. 

St. John Paul II, the Great, Pray for us!


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Buffalo Hot Wings - St. Gaspar del Bufalo


Born (and baptized) in Italy on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1786, Gaspar Melchior Balthazar del Bufalo was named after the three Magi who visited the Christ child.  The feast of the Epiphany is celebrated as a manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi. This was a perfect name for a man who would spend his life to bring the Word of God to others, constantly on the move as a missionary.  St.Gaspar was the Founder of the Missioners of the Precious Blood and his feast is observed October 21.

I confess… whenever I see the name of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, I always think of the bison that roam America’s plains or the hot wings originating in Buffalo NY. So I like the idea of actually having Buffalo hot wings (or buffalo burgers?) on his feast even though St. Gaspar's family name has nothing to do with either of those “buffaloes”.

I have included a typical hot wings recipe or you can cheat like I did and just buy them ready-made from your favorite wing stop.

 

Buffalo Hot Wings

Ingredients
20 -25 chicken wings
2 cups vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup melted butter
1 (3 ounce) bottle Louisiana hot sauce (Frank’s)

Directions
Disjoint and cut the chicken wings into two pieces and discard the tips. Rinse and pat dry. The wings must be completely dry in order to fry properly, since there is no batter or breading.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or a large deep pan to 350°F.

Add the chicken wings a few at a time to the hot oil. Do not allow the oil to cool as the chicken is added. Deep-fry for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Drain well by shaking in the fryer basket or place on metal rack to drain.

Blend melted butter with 1/2 bottle of hot sauce for medium-hot wings. Add additional hot sauce for hotter wings or additional butter for milder wings.

Combine the wings and the hot sauce in a large container. Let stand, covered. Serve. 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Side notes for additional feast days: 

My son thought that wings would also be a great meal for the feast of St. John Paul II because of this well-known quote:  “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” St. JP II, FIDES ET RATIO Encyclical

Wings (hot or BBQ) are always a good option on the angel associated feast days as well. 
*     *     *     *     *     *     *

St. Gaspar del Bufalo, Pray for us!

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Our Lady of the Pillar Rice Cake Sticks


Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar) 
First Marian Shrine 
 Patroness of Spain 
Feast Day: October 12


Our Lady of the Pillar is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary from her appearance to the Apostle James the Greater in 40 AD, as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro River in Spain. He was disheartened with the lack of converts to Christianity.  Mary miraculously appeared before him atop a pillar accompanied by angels. She assured St. James that the people would eventually be converted and their faith would be as strong as the pillar she was standing on. She gave him the pillar as a symbol and a wooden image of herself and instructed him to build a chapel on the spot. The wooden image is enshrined at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza. 

Several years ago, Anne shared a beautiful pillar cake, made from a swiss roll cake which is in the archived posts.  It is lovely. I also had an idea for a simpler, no baking involved pillar for her feast day. These rice cake sticks or rolls, make nice pillars - either on their own or as a place to set an image of Mary (as is included in the above photo). It is a snack idea that provides a fun way to open a conversation about our lady under this title and the symbolism of the pillar.
As an added note: In the United States the feast is also tied to Christopher Columbus and our Columbus Day holiday. When Columbus embarked from Spain on his journey, to find a sailing route to India, he placed the three ships under Mary's patronage. As the weeks dragged on with no land in sight, the sailors grew restless. Columbus' journal indicates he invoked Our Lady under this title, declared that if they did not see land by her feast day they would turn back. On October 12, 1492 the navigators spotted indications of approaching land - one of the islands of the Bahamas.

Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us!
Nuestra Señora del Pilar, ruega por nosotros!

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White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake

While today's feast celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary.  This idea adds drops of fruit sauce to the top to create a visual rosary. 

White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake


Ingredients

1 graham cracker crust
12 oz. cream cheese (1 1/2 pkg.), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


Fruit sauce (prepared puree or pie filling could be used instead)

1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries, etc.)


Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sauce:
In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and cornstarch . Stir in water and add berries. Cook over medium heat whisking frequently, until mixture reaches a boil. Allow mixture to gently boil about 5 minutes whisking constantly and reducing temperature slightly if necessary to reduce splattering, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove seeds (skin, etc.), set aside.

Cheesecake:
In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg and egg white. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Set mixture aside. Melt white chocolate with cream in a double boiler until melted and smooth, Add melted chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the crust and spread evenly. The idea I had seen for adding shapes to the top of a cheesecake suggested using a clean medicine syringe. Fill with fruit sauce and begin to pipe small circles in a rosary pattern over cheesecake. It was more challenging than I thought to get uniform drops. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy move it through the center of each circle to connect “beads”.  Melted chocolate chips were used to make a cross. 



Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate for about 6 hours until fully set.


Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

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Beautiful Cookies for Our Lady's Many Feast Days

These cookies were submitted by LaDawn Wilson in honor of Our Lady. Thank you, LaDawn!


With Mary's birthday, Our Lady of Sorrows, and soon Our Lady of the Rosary feast days in such close proximity, I could not get her out of my mind. (Thank goodness, right?). I have been working with sugar veil and finally figured out how to get it out of its mold without it ripping. It is true what they say about sugar veil, Find a spot in your home where it works. Trial and error, for sure.

The trinkets are just fondant I sprayed with edible gold. The background on the fleur de lis was stenciled with the same spray.


I highly recommend Sweet Ambs site for sugar veil tutorials and buying information. She also mentions Haniela's tutorials, which have been extremely helpful.

You can find additional ideas for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in the archives. 

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St. Francis of Assisi Tonture Cupcakes

(Tonsure: Latin tondere, "to shear") 

Tonture is the custom of shaving part (or all) of the hair of the head, derived from monastic observance in the fourth and fifth centuries. Shaving the whole head or leaving an outside ring of hair on scalp (representing a crown of thorns) became common for clerics in the sixth and seventh centuries.  Though used by many early religious orders, most associate this hair style with the Franciscans, especially St. Francis.  The idea of cakes and other treats that resembled a ring tonture have been posted here at Catholic Cuisine in the past for St. Francis feast day, October 4.

Tiny Tonture Cakes - baked donuts
Tonture of St. Francis Cake - bundt cake
Another Tonture Cake - Poor Man's Cake

This is another variation idea made with cupcakes and is very easy and quick to pull together. Make cupcakes as directed using a yellow or white cake. Pipe chocolate frosting around outer edge of each cupcake to form a tonture. The raised nature and the ability to make it look curly or wavy add to the appearance as hair and is set apart from the lighter color of the cupcake.

Serve for the feast of St. Francis or one of the other typically tontured saints.

St. Francis of Assisi and all the Franciscan saints, Pray for us!


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Trail (of Roses) Mix for the Little Flower's Feast

This summer I came across this cute candy mold for mini roses. I knew it would be fun for a variety of feast days.  They are cute for decorating cakes or cupcakes or just offering plain to snack on.  But The diminutive size reminded me of chocolate/baking chips and the idea of a rose themed trial mix came to mind. I had seen a Valentine themed trail mix recipe, with reds and whites added to the nuts. Based on St. Therese's shower of roses, I changed it to a "trail of roses".

The mix, which I made for St. Therese's (The Little Rose) feast day, would easily fit a variety of other feast days associated with the theme of roses. These are some saints associated with roses or have rose stories (several of which are upcoming this fall and winter):

St. Rita of Cascia (May 22)
St. Elizabeth/Isabel of Portugal (July 5)
St. Rose of Lima (August 23)
St. Therese  (October 1, traditional October 3)
Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)
St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18)
St. Juan Diego (December 9)
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)

Trail mix is easy to make and easy to transport, so is a great snack on the go. It is (overall) healthier and an alternative to typical baked or sweet treats for a feast day. I did not use specific measurements, but rather just eyeballed good proportions for each ingredient. Use the ingredients you like and seem fitting for the feast day. I kept it to pinks, whites and lighter colored nuts. The part taking the most time (but still super easy!) was making the candies. Use the manufacturer's instructions. Melt candy melts - I used pink but red or white could be used as well - and pour into molds. Allow time to solidify. It was helpful to place the molds with candy in the freezer for 15 minutes, which allowed the candy to release more easily from the hard plastic molds. 

Trail of Roses Mix


  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Rose candy (made with candy molds)
  • Peanuts, roasted & salted
  • Sunflower seeds, roasted & salted
Other possible ingredients for this theme: dried currants, dried cherries, cashews, sliced or blanched almonds, pine nuts, puffed rice cereal, rice chex

Authors note: I will be putting together some specific additional mix combos for the specific rose feasts and adding those here. 


St. Therese, Pray for us!


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Blackberry Mint Sparkler

As you can tell, I love the legend of blackberries associated with the Feast of St. Michael. It makes for so many fun ideas for foods and treats to celebrate the feast of the Archangels, September 29. I have included beverage ideas for feast days before, as I think they are a simple and generally healthy way to celebrate the feasts. Sparkling water always adds a flair of festivity to the mix. So here is a refreshing blackberry infused sparkling water recipe that would be a great way to remember St. Michael this year.  And if you want to go even simpler, just use a lime flavored sparkling water and add blackberries. So easy!

Blackberry Mint Sparkler

Ingredients
20 ounces chilled sparkling mineral water
1/4 cup blackberries
2 sprigs mint leaves
1 lime, 1/2 sliced plus juice of other 1/2
2 T. agave sweetener (or adjust to suit your taste)
ice

Directions
In a small bowl mix together lime juice and agave.
Muddle a few mint leaves in liquid.
Pour into 2 glasses.
Add lime slices and blackberries to each glass.
Top with ice.
Add sparkling water, stir, and serve. 

St. Michael and all the Archangels, Pray for us!


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Angel Food Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting


Angel food cakes or cupcakes are always a good go-to option for the feast of the Archangels (September 29) or the Feast of the Guardian Angels the following week (October 2). This recipe which includes a buttercream frosting flavored with blackberry puree makes the treat an especially fitting one for the feast of the Archangels.  The blackberry addition recalls the legend of the blackberries associated with St. Michael's feast day.

Jessica has posted in the past about her wise and thrifty idea for making a batch of cupcakes and using a portion for one feast day and the other portion(s) for saint's days that follow closely after.  I do something similar by only baking half a batch. A typical cake mix makes 24 cupcakes but if you only make half at a time then you have 12 cupcakes which is usually more reasonable for a family dessert for one day. I just measure out half of the cake mix and add half of the additional ingredients. Some recipes call for 3 eggs and those are good boxes to make in 1/3 batches (8 cupcakes). Anyway, with angel food cake mixes, the only other ingredient is water so it is very easy to split the mix and add half the water. Continue to make batter as directed. Scoop batter into lined cupcake tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until top is dark golden and any cracks feel dry and not sticky.  Cool and frost with buttercream frosting.

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 stick butter, softened
3 ounces fresh blackberries, pureed and strained
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
food coloring, if desired

Cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add blackberry puree and mix until combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency. The puree makes the frosting a pretty pink so if you want it more purple add a little blue food coloring and mix until blended to a solid color. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Frosts approximately 12 cupcakes. Add blackberry to top if desired.
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Blackberry Tartlets For Michaelmas

According to an old legend, when St. Michael cast Lucifer out of heaven, the Devil fell on a blackberry bush and cursed and spat on the blackberries thereby rendering them sour after September 29.  Consequently, people would eat blackberries on Michaelmas but not after. Catholic Cuisine has offered a variety of blackberry inspired ideas over the years for St. Michael's day. This is a simple to make, bite-size appetizer or snack that would add the blackberry theme to a Archangel/St. Michael feast day.

Blackberry Tartlets

Ingredients
1 sheet pastry puff, thawed 
1 (8 ounce) package of brie, rind removed
blackberry jam (or puree)
blackberries

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Thaw pastry puff as per directions.
  • Cut pastry puff sheet into 20 equal squares (I rolled out the sheet with a rolling pin so that it would be slightly larger before cutting)
  • Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Press each square of the pastry dough into the bottom of each muffin tin. Be sure to press the crust all the way up the sides.
  • Place a small chunk of brie in each tin.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • If puffs have risen too much push down gently with spoon to form indent. 
  • Let the pastries cool for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. Add a small spoonful of blackberry jam (or puree) and top with a fresh blackberry.



St. Michael and all the Archangels, Pray for us!

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Gemelli Pasta for all the Holy Twins

Today I am adding another idea to the pasta for feast days collections. Gemelli is a pasta that is a single s-shaped strand twisted into a spiral. To the eye it appears as twin tubes twisted around one another.  The name derives from the Italian word for "twins" because it looks like twin tubes. Gemelli is ideal for lighter, smoother sauces which will cling to the twists, such as pesto or butter/oil sauces. It is also common in pasta salads.

Because of the connection to twins, gemelli is an ideal pasta to use on the feast days of any twin saints, of which there are a few: 
  • Sts. Cosmas and Damian (whose feast day is today - September 26)
  • Sts. Crispin and Crispinian (October 25)
  • St. Scholastica (February 10) and St. Benedict (July 11)
Also, the name Thomas is from the Aramaic name Ta'oma' which meant "twin" (Didymus in Greek). So St. Thomas the Apostle is often referred to as the twin and this pasta would fit his feast day (July 3) as well. 

There are a variety of recipes for using gemelli. Here is a simple one to try.

Gemelli with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, & Arugula

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound small cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup firmly packed baby arugula leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound gemelli
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, finely shredded

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the garlic and the 1/4 cup olive oil and let stand for 20 minutes to allow the garlic to infuse the oil. Strain and discard the garlic. Add the tomatoes, sea salt and pepper to the oil.

Rinse the arugula and dry thoroughly. Add the arugula to the serving bowl with the other ingredients and toss to mix well. Cover the sauce and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours before using.

Cook the pasta in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and transfer the pasta to the bowl with the sauce. Toss well, adding up to a few tablespoons of the cooking water if needed to moisten the sauce so that it coats the pasta well.

Divide the pasta among warmed shallow bowls. Top with the cheese, dividing it evenly, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Chai Cupcakes for Mother Teresa's Canonization


Chai Cupcakes topped with Vanilla Buttercream and sprinkles... Our girls tested the recipe last Sunday and they'll be making them again this weekend for the canonization of Mother Teresa!



Download FREE printable Mother Teresa Cupcake Wrappers & Toppers over at Shower of Roses.


Chai Cupcakes
(recipe: How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set it aside.

Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat it until creamy. Add the sugar and beat with the butter on high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the oil and vanilla extract, beating on medium speed for another minute. With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients. Pour in the milk. Add in the other half of the dry ingredients and mix them on medium speed until the batter is combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake until the tops are set, about 16 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.


How Sweet It Is shares a recipe for Brown Butter Chai Icing, but this was the first time my girls had made buttercream on their own so they decided to make a simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and sprinkle additional Chai Spice mixture on top.

Vanilla Buttercream with Chai Spice Sprinkles

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.

Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

For the sprinkles: Combine 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. Sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes.




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