St. Sebastian Fruit Skewer Arrows

On January 20 we remember St. Sebastian, early Roman martyr. He was sentenced to be shot to death by archers. His body was riddled with arrows and he was left to for dead, but survived and was later clubbed to death. He is the patron of soldiers, athletes and archers. The arrow symbol is associated with him for this persecution that he suffered.

Other saints who have arrows for a symbol are:
  • St. Frances of Rome (March 9) - art depictions of her holding arrows
  • St. Thomas the Apostle (July 3) - was martyred by spear, though arrows and stones are also often pictured with the spear as his symbols
  • St. Philomena (August 11) - the two anchors, three arrows, palm and ivy leaf found on the tiles of her tomb were interpreted to represent method of martyrdom
  • St. Ursula (October 21) - an arrow is the symbol of her method of martyrdom and pictured either holding an arrow or with an arrow in her chest
  • St. Edmund (November 20) - symbol is crown this two arrows, symbol of his martyrdom
Readers often ask for healthy feast day options and also ones that are simple. Hopefully this is an idea that fits both those request criteria. Fruit skewers can be made in just a few minutes. A variety of fruit can be used - blackberries, blue berries, raspberries, melon balls or cubes, grapes. And strawberries with their "tipped" ends make a nice pointed end of the arrow, so place it as the final fruit. You can also leave the pointy skewer end free.  We cut feather end (fletching) out of construction paper and taped on the skewer.

St. Sebastian, Pray for Us!

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St. Anthony of Egypt Bacon Strips

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Egypt (also know as St. Anthony the Great, St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Anthony the Abbot). He is considered the father of western monasticism. He is also the patron saint of domesticated animals, and Saint Anthony is often depicted standing next to a pig, which he is said to have healed. That is one of numerous explanations as to how St. Anthony has become associated with pigs. The feast has traditionally been associated with bring their animals to the church to be blessed, for good health and fertility.

His feast day is a very good excuse to eat bacon, which is always a treat at our house and always welcome for any occasion. It is simple and always enjoyable. While today's feast is a Friday this year and many families would be going meatless - think about him this weekend and enjoy a treat then. Any excuse to "pass the pig."

St. Anthony, Pray for Us!

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Hermit Bars to Remember the Hermit Saints

Old-Fashioned Hermit Bars are a classic New England cookie that are spicy and sweet thanks to addition of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. There are several variations, but the basic cookie/bar is full of spices and dried fruits (usually raisins). Origin of the name for these spicy bars is not known - and several theories exist, including that they look like a rough brown hermit's robe. Regardless of the origin, the name is intriguing as it evokes the idea of the hermit saints - those who isolated themselves from society to live a life of asceticism. There is a tradition of holy hermits (Eremites, "inhabitants of a desert" from the Greek eremos). Several well known hermit saints have January feast days: St. Simon Stylites (January 5) and St. Paul, the first Christian hermit (January 15) and St. Anthony of the Desert (January 17), father of Western monasticism. And while a life of asceticism would not include indulgent sweets, in this week of two great hermit saints, you can still enjoy some hermit bars or cookies. 

Old-Fashioned Hermit Bars  

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar 
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2/3 cup chopped raisins (or other dried fruit, ie cranberries)
1 cup powdered sugar
5 tsp milk

In bowl combine together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and continue to mix. Gradually add the flour and spices mixture until just combined. Stir in the raisins.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes.  While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375° and grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

After chilling shape it into a ball and divide in two. Shape each half into a log, 12 inches long and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between the logs. Press down lightly on the tops of the logs with your fingertips to give them a slightly squared-off shape.

Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes, or until the edges are just barely crisp.

While bars are cooling, combine the powdered sugar and milk until smooth but not too runny. Drizzle over the baked logs while they are slightly warm.

Allow the icing to firm up then cut into bars.

[Variations on the hermit cookie genre can include drop cookies or flatten the dough in a baking dish for brownie style.]

There are so many hermit saints of the Church, that Hermit Bars can be a feast day item throughout the year. 

St. Paul, the Hermit - Pray for Us!
St. Anthony of the Desert - Pray for Us!
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Catholic Cuisine Aprons

Our beautiful aprons are high quality and make a perfect gift for any Catholic foodie friends!

All of our aprons are embroidered, not screen printed, giving them a rich, elegant, look! Our durable 100% cotton-twill aprons, with soil-release finish for added stain protection, provide ultimate full length cover and comfort. Designed with two large pockets and 1" wide neck and waist ties, with adjustable neck strap, they measure 22”W by 30”L.  

All aprons are shipped directly from our supplier.

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An Advent Appetizer for Feast of Immaculate Conception

This simple appetizer with its combination of ingredients: goat cheese, pomegranates, thyme, and honey - holds symbolism for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Advent season. It is a yummy flavor combination, too, with the tangy sweetness of the pomegranates contrasting to the tartness of the goat cheese. Just top your favorite cracker and enjoy.

The pomegranate is often depicted in paintings of the the Madonna and Child. It's availability during the months around Christmas also make it a great food for the Advent and Christmas season.  While suggested for today, it is actually a fitting appetizer for anytime during the Advent or Christmas season.
Madonna of the Pomegranate ~ Sandro Botticelli

The four ingredients all have a symbolism or connection to make them fitting for this feast:
Pomegranate – fruit that is a symbol of the hope of eternal life through Christ the Word made flesh White (goat cheese) - symbol of Our Lady’s purity/Immaculate Conception
Thyme – herb that is a symbol of Mary’s humility
Honey – a “locust and honey” nod to St. John (2nd Sunday of Advent)

Pomegranate & Thyme Goat Cheese Log

4 oz. goat cheese log
~ 1/2 cup of pomegranate arils
fresh thyme sprigs

Allow the goat cheese to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften. Add pomegranate arils to top and sides - gently pressing in to hold. Strip the thyme leaves from the stem. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the cheese log. Drizzle with honey. Serve with crackers.

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St. Jerome and the Lion Cupcakes

At the end of each September, I love turning our leftover Michaelmas Cupcakes into the face of a lion for the kids to enjoy while we read the legend of St. Jerome and the Lion. You can find many options for today's feast listed in our September Book Basket over at Shower of Roses.

I shared this idea here in the archives many years ago but my children all agree that our newer lions look so much better. Here are some pictures from recent years!

Our 2015 Cupcakes • Original post at Shower of Roses

Our 2016 Cupcakes • Original Post at Shower of Roses

Our 2018 Cupcakes • Original post at Shower of Roses
Saint Jerome and the Lion from our out-of-print copy (The Neumann Press, 2000 Edition)
of Legends of Saints and Beasts by Ann Marie Jauss originally published in 1954.
+ + + 

"So valuable to heaven is the dignity of the human soul that every member of the human race has a guardian angel from the moment the person begins to be." - St. Jerome

The feast of the Holy Guardian Angels is coming up in a couple days! 

St. Jerome, Ora Pro Nobis!
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Our Annual Michaelmas Cupcakes

Our Annual Michaelmas Cupcakes ūüó° 
#michaelmas #devilsfoodcupcake #stabitwithasword

Saint Michael the Archangel, Ora Pro Nobis!

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