Monday, February 23, 2009

Quick and Easy Mardi Gras King Cake

Here is one more recipe for making a King Cake tomorrow. I am sure it won't be quite as beautiful or delicious as this one, but if your life has been anything like mine lately, quick and easy might just be necessary!

  • One package ready-to-bake canned cinnamon rolls (8 rolls) with icing (This can be doubled to make a larger cake!)
  • Green, Purple, and Yellow decorating sprinkles/sugar crystals


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Open canned cinnamon rolls and separate into individual rolls. Take one individual roll and unroll it to full length. Fold full length of dough in half. Twist (or braid) rope and place on cooking pan. Twist (or braid) second rope and place on the cooking pan end-to-end with the first rope. Continue adding twisted sections of dough until you have made a complete circle. Using your hands, gently move circle of dough into an oval for a more traditional King Cake shape.

Place King Cake into 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove King Cake from oven when it is nice and golden brown.

Before the King Cake begins to cool, spoon a generous amount of icing over the top and sides. Immediately after icing your King Cake, sprinkle the icing with a combination of the purple, gold, and green crystal sprinkles.

Note: You could also use this recipe to make mini king cakes! Follow the directions above, but instead of connecting each of the individual cinnamon rolls together, form the twisted (or braided) roll into a small circle pinching the ends to close. Also, be sure to place the "cakes" far enough apart so that they do not touch on a greased cookie sheet or baking pan.

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King Cake for Mardi Gras

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Pancake Day. It is the last day of an unofficial period called "Carnival" which began after Epiphany.

A well know celebration of "Carnival" (which comes from the Latin word carnelevare meaning "taking away of the flesh") is the famous Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The traditional dessert for the day is a King Cake.

King Cakes are made of a cinnamon filled dough, and baked in an oval shape. The cake is topped with a delicious glaze and then sprinkled with colored sugar. The three colors of the sugar are Purple, Green, and Gold (representing Justice, Faith, and Power). A plastic baby (a gold coin may be used as well) is baked inside the King Cake, and the tradition is whoever receives the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party.

The following recipe and photo was shared by Melissa on her lovely blog Bountiful Blessings. Thank you Melissa!

King Cake


1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour unsifted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1" plastic baby doll Directions


Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.

Colored sugars

Green, purple, & yellow paste
12 tablespoons sugar

Squeeze a dot of green paste in palm of hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the paste and rub together quickly. Place this mixture on wax paper and wash hands to remove color. Repeat process for other 2 colors. Place aside.


3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 - 6 tablespoons water

Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. If icing is too stiff, add more water until spreadable. Spread icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows consisting of about 2 rows of green, purple and yellow.

Cake is served in 2" - 3" pieces.

Any leftovers could be placed in the freezer to be served on Laetare Sunday as a foretaste of Easter!

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Ash Wednesday Beans

I've now made this dish for two Ash Wednesdays. It's the perfect start for the beginning of Lent. I found this recipe in Celebrating the Faith: Lent and Easter in the Christian Kitchen by Laurie Navar Gill and Teresa Zepeda, printed by Emmanuel Books (I highly recommend the whole series). Mrs. Gill’s reasoning behind this dish: “This is a tasty dish, but in my opinion, canned black beans with their purplish liquid are fitting for this day of sackcloth and ashes.” She even slips a tiny teaspoon of ashes from the burned palms after it is all cooked. It doesn’t change the taste, but provides another Lenten reminder.

I highly recommend this cookbook, especially if have special food needs and can’t seem to find inspiring meatless meals that don’t incorporate cheese (or wheat or eggs). But the cookbook has more than abstinent menuse. There are also other Lenten ideas, bread recipes, Holy Week and Easter Season recipes.

We found this meal tasty, and even better the next day, and I only made a few changes. The spices and veggies reminded me of tacos, so I served this with taco shells and brown rice (this year I might serve with polenta). It serves 8, so I reduce the recipe to fit my family. I've shared my adaption below, although I didn't change the measurements:

Black Beans and Rice

3 cans black beans
1 green pepper, thinly sliced (I omit)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced (I omit)
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinkly sliced
1/2 cup picante sauce (or tomato salsa)
1/2 cup water (or vegetable stock or white wine)
white wine (optional)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
a few dashes Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for pan
Cooked brown rice

In a family size skillet, heat olive oil and then saute carrots for 3 minutes. Add peppers, onions, garlic, celery, picante sauce or salsa, water or stock, and spices, mix together and cover. Depending on liquid amount and desire of flavor, add 1/4 cup or so of white wine for flavor. Cook for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse beans, add to skillet, cook 5 more minutes. Serve over rice and/or in taco shells with a salad.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shrove Tuesday pancakes

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday, or "Pancake Tuesday" because traditionally, fats, eggs, and butter in the house had to be given up for Lent, and pancakes, or waffles call for all these ingredients, so this was a great way to use them up before Lent began. The money not spent on dairy products was then collected and donated to the church.

Fluffy Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup softened butter

1) In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk, vanilla and softened butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2) Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until the second side is golden brown. Pin It

Friday, February 13, 2009

St. Valentine's Day - A Celebration of Heroic Love

St. Valentine's day is a commercial dream, with its greeting cards and chocolates and big sparkly gifts for those you love. I'm not one to shun any reason for chocolate consumption! But, in celebrating this Feast in my home, I wanted to show the children that St. Valentine was not the patron saint of chocolate consumers, but rather a martyr who would offer his life out of love for Our Lord. This was the connection I wanted to make to St. Valentine's day.

Tradition holds that there are actually three martyrs named Valentine associated with February 14, Valentine of Rome, Valentine of Terni (whom some scholars believe to be the same person as Valentine of Rome) and another Valentine of Africa of whom not much is known. One thing is certain about all three of these men, they died out of heroic love for Our Lord and His Church.

There are differing traditionally held beliefs associating St. Valentine's feast with that of romantic love. Some believe that it was an attempt to "baptize" a pagan ancient Athenian celebration of the god Zeus and Hera's marriage. Others tie the the day to an ancient Roman feast that had tones of romance called Lupercalia, which took place on February 15. Another connection is made through the observation that birds naturally choose their mates in the second week of the second month - February 14.

For the Feast, I wanted to tie in the connection to the martyrdom St. Valentine underwent. The most traditionally held story is that St. Valentine was a priest, and possibly a bishop around the middle of the 3rd century. He was imprisoned for his faith and refused to convert to the pagan religion. While imprisoned, he converted one of his jailers and stories relate that he cured the jailer's daughter of blindness writing to her the very first valentine, a note that said simply, "From your Valentine."

Red is the color that is symbolic of martyred saints, and also of love. The vestments worn today (for those Masses following the traditional Church calendar **see note below**) are red. My meal tonight would be red in honor of the martyr and his heroic love!

Baked Red Snapper

~ 2 pounds red snapper fillets [NOTE: Cod is a much more inexpensive option here! Red Snapper is great if it fits your pocketbook. Choose a mild, white fish. 2 pounds generally feeds about 6 (adjust for teens!)]
~ Tony Chacheres original seasoning - you can find this in your grocery store on the seasonings aisle, but any seasoned salt will do in a pinch
~ 1 stick of butter (or...1/2 stick of butter and 2 tablespoons good olive oil)
~ 1 cup (1 small/medium onion) - diced
~ 1 cup celery - diced
~ 1 cup bell pepper - diced
~ 2 garlic cloves - minced
~ 1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce (I used a 15 oz. can in my meal because we like extra sauce)
~ 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
~ 1/4 cup of white wine (Optional: substitute water)

Rinse fish and pat dry. Sprinkle with a little Tony's seasoning and keep cool. In a large microwaveable casserole dish, combine butter, diced onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic cloves. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add worcestershire and tomato sauce and microwave for 5 minutes more. Remove and add wine and stir. Add the fish fillets, covering each fillet with sauce. Microwave for:
3 minutes for thin fillets
5 minutes for thick fillets

The fish should be flaky. Let the dish stand covered for 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

This recipe is originally from a cookbook entitled, "Tony Chacheres Microwave Cajun Country Cooking". It is no longer in print.

Roasted Red Potatoes

12 - 14 small red potatoes
Good Olive Oil

Rinse potatoes, but leave skins on. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle chives, salt, and pepper over potatotes. Toss to cover all potatoes. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, tossing potatoes once or twice to ensure even browning.

Some other foods to consider for a martyr's feast incorporating as much red as possible:
**Red wine
**Roasted Red peppers
**Strawberry Shortcake
**Red Velvet cake

...and for tonight, we're having some of Charlotte's incredibly addictive and sweet Valentine Dots. I hope it's ok with Charlotte if I share her delicious Valentine treat with you!

You'll need:
1 bag of pretzels. I used the heart shaped small pretzels
1 bag of Hershey's Kisses, some plain chocolate, some white chocolate striped
1 bag of Valentine colored M&M's

Set the oven to 200 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer and add a Hershey's kiss on top of each pretzel. Place them in the warm oven. Let them bake for about 8 minutes. The plain chocolate Kisses won't melt completely, they'll get shiny. The white chocolate Kisses will melt quickly. Remove from oven and press an M&M in the top of each soft Kiss. Let them cool and enjoy!

I must warn you, these are extremely addictive!

May your St. Valentine's day be filled with a heroic love for Our Lord!

****A Note: After the revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969, the feast of St. Valentine was removed and replaced with the celebration of Saints Cyril and Methodius for February 14. Catholics who follow the traditional Roman calendar still honor the martyr, St. Valentine on February 14. Pin It

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Strawberry Syrup for Valentines Day

This post was written by past Catholic Cuisine contributor Amy.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and if you are like me, it might just be sneaking up on you a little too quickly! This is a real simple and yummy treat you can give your family on Valentine's morning. While the syrup is cooking you can cook your French toast, using your cookie cutter in the shape of a heart! If you aren't worries about calories, either, top it with some homemade whip cream.

This is a syrup I have been making and tweaking for years. It is finally right where we like it. It is great for those who are trying to watch their sugar intake, as it does have nearly the amount of sugar as regular syrup!

Amy's Strawberry Syrup

  • 2 large bags of frozen strawberries (about 5-6 lbs)
  • ¼ cup butter all cut up
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar (you can add more according to your taste)


Cook strawberries, butter, and powdered sugar (use powdered instead of regular sugar as this will help thicken the syrup) in large pot for 3-5 minutes on high stirring constantly, until all butter melts and syrup starts to form.

Turn heat to medium-high, stirring only occasionally, until all the strawberries are cooked through. Then take a potato masher and mash the strawberries to your hearts content (depending on how chunky you want it!). This syrup is great on pancakes, crepes, French toast, or your favorite breakfast treat! Hey, it is probably great on ice cream too!

You can substitute any frozen fruit for the strawberries, such as blueberries in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes! You just may not want to mash berries such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mary's Immaculate Conception

I apologize for the fact that I am posting these recipes after the feast day (or almost after). I wanted to get pictures before I posted them. I think you'll find, however, that these dishes would be wonderful for any feast of our Blessed Mother.

When I planned my menu for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I decided to prepare the roasted chicken and cauliflower, simply because of their French origins. But when I pulled the whole menu together, I realized I had the makings of a white meal. I normally try to plan my menu for each dinner with colorful foods -- a green or yellow vegetable, maybe an orange or red fruit, a white or red meat and maybe a green salad. This meal, however, was almost devoid of all color, representing our Blessed Mother's immaculate conception, which she declared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.

I am not posting my recipe for mashed potatoes, or French bread, since I imagine you already know how to make mashed potatoes and possibly have a recipe for French bread. You can find my French bread recipe here. I didn't manage to get the cake made, mostly because there was mass clamoring in my house for chocolate chip cookies, but I often make this cake for Mary's feast days. You could also make these pretty French cookies. With their rosette appearance, they make a perfect Mary cookie.


Lemon Roasted Chicken
Roasted Cauliflower
Mashed Potatoes
French Bread
Butter Brickle Cake

Lemon-Roasted Chicken
serves 6 to 8

12 small pieces or 6 large pieces bone-in chicken
2 lemons, each cut into 8 wedges
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 t. dried oregano
4 T. olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.
If using large pieces of chicken (breasts) cut each in half crosswise
(this allows them to cook more quickly).
Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces and place in a large bowl.
Add lemons and garlic cloves to bowl, squeezing each lemon piece slightly.
Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with 3 T. olive oil.
Toss with salt and pepper.
Drizzle rimmed baking sheet with remaining tablespoon
olive oil and smear with your hands.
Place chicken pieces on sheet, skin side up,
arranging so pieces don't touch.
Place lemon pieces and garlic cloves
on top of chicken pieces randomly.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.
Test for doneness and serve when juices run clear.

Roasted Cauliflower

3 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced in eighths (I cut mine like apple slices)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 T. water
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.
Drizzle large rimmed baking sheet with 1 t. olive oil
and smear with your hands.
Place onion, garlic, and cauliflower in a large bowl.
Drizzle with 2 t. olive oil.
Mix mustard and water and pour over vegetables.
Toss with salt and pepper.
Place on baking sheet and spread out.
Bake at 450° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown,
stirring occasionally.
Taste and season again if needed.

Butter Brickle Cake

2 cups flour
11⁄4 cups sugar
1 T plus 1/4 t. baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup milk
1⁄2 cup shortening
11⁄2 t vanilla
3 egg whites, room temp.

1⁄4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T half & half
2 T hot water
1 - 1⁄2 t vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.
Add milk, shortening and 1-1/2 t. vanilla.
Beat at medium speed until well blended.
Add egg whites, beat 2 minutes.
Pour batter into greased and floured 13”x9” pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick.

Melt butter in heavy saucepan.
Cook over low heat until butter is golden brown.
Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, half & half, water and vanilla.
Beat with a whisk for 3 minutes, or until smooth.
Spread evenly over top of cake.

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A Grotto for Our Lady

Our Lady of Lourdes
"Fruity Pebbles" Grotto

  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 10.5 oz. pkg. mini marshmallows
  • 13 oz. box Fruity Pebbles Cereal (about 8-1/2 cups)


Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan and grease lightly.

In a large pan, melt butter. Add marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted

Add cereal; mix well. (Grease your spoon or spatula before mixing.)

Place cereal mixture into pan. Top with parchment paper and press mixture firmly into pan. Remove parchment and allow mixture to cool.

Before completley cooled (read: still pliable), lift cereal bars from pan using foil handles, and cut into 18 squares (or rectangles). A pizza cutter works well for this task.

Use four squares for the back wall of the grotto and one square cut in half for the floor. Build up the walls with all but four of the remaining squares. Mold three squares into the roof and cut the last square in half to add to the sides of the roof. You may need to play around with it a little bit and trim the edges if you'd like.

(This idea was originally suggested in a thread at 4Real. I also posted other ideas for celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes here.)

Our Lady of Lourdes ~ Pray for us!!
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A (Blue) French meal for Our Lady of Lourdes

"'Cordon Bleu' is a French term, literally translated as 'blue ribbon'. The main dish for today's feast day is Chicken Cordon Bleu and for dessert we will have Crepes with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Dessert Crepes

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt until smooth.
Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. Using a serving spoon or small ladle, spoon about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Top with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.
These recipes can be found at

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Blueberry Muffins for Our Lady

An easy way to celebrate any of the Blessed Virgin Mary's feast days is by incorporating the colors that symbolize her into our meals for that day. The color white symbolizes Mary's purity and blue is the traditional color of her mantle and/or sash.

Since the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is coming up on February 11th, I thought I would share a yummy recipe for Blueberry Muffins that we are planning on including in our celebration. (This recipe was adapted from one I found over at All Recipes.)

These muffins would also be great for any Saturday morning breakfast, since Saturdays are devoted to Mary.

Blueberry Muffins for Our Lady


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
I prefer increasing the blueberries to 3 cups, though I didn't have enough in my freezer for our latest batch. They were missed!

Crumb Topping:
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray muffin pan with Pam or other non-stick spray or line with muffin liners.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in large bowl. In a 2 cup measuring cup, place vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and enough milk (just over 2/3 cups) to fill to the 2 cup mark. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. (Note: The batter is extremely thick.) Fill muffin cups right to the top for oversized muffins.

To make the crumb topping: mix together 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 3 Tbs butter, and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with a fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

This recipes yields approximately 12-16 extra generously sized delicious muffins.

Our Lady of Lourdes ~ Pray for Us!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Saint Agatha Rolls

From Catholic Culture: St. Agatha died in defense of her purity, in Catania, Sicily, where she was born. After Quintanus, the governor of Sicily, tried in vain to force her to consent to sin, she was imprisioned for a month with an evil woman. He then turn from sensuality to cruelty and had her breats cut off; but that night Agatha was healed by St. Peter. She was then rolled over sharp stones and burning coals, and finally taken to prison where she died while praying. Her name appears in the Roman Canon.

In iconography, Saint Agatha is often shown carrying her breasts on a platter, though later artists thought the breasts to be either bells or loaves of bread, leading to the custom of blessing bread on Saint Agatha's feast day and her patronage of bell makers.

Saint Agatha Rolls from a recipe found at


1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened


Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in mixer and knead for 7 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12 inch circle, spread 1/4 cup softened butter over entire round. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Roll wedges starting at wide end; roll gently but tightly. Place point side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.

Prayer to Saint Agatha

Oh St. Agatha, who withstood the unwelcome advances from unwanted suitors, and suffered pain and torture for your devotion to Our Lord, we celebrate your faith, dignity and martyrdom. Protect us against rape and other violations, guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity. Oh St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that we who venerate your sacrifice, may receive your intercession. Amen
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun and Fancy Folds - Napkin Folding for Feast Days

Napkins, a functional part of every meal, can be folded into fanciful forms to become a joyful addition to your table and feast day meal. There are numerous napkin folding styles that could be used to represent symbols of saints or liturgical seasons. Especially for those days when you don’t have the time to prepare any feast oriented foods to serve, this can be an easy and appealing way to dress up the feast day table. Folding napkins need not be a time consuming chore, but a quick and enjoyable experience with dramatic results. It’s a great hands-on project for the children. When getting started it's helpful to know that cotton and linen napkins hold a better crease. Polyester blends require less care but do not hold a crease well.

Take today for example – the Feast of the Presentation or Candlemas. Need a last minute addition to help the feast day have some visual appeal? – there are several different napkin folds reminiscent of tapers or candles:

Pictured here are the “Candlestick” or “Candle” style on the left, and Nightlight” on the right. You can link to a tutorial of the “Candlestick” here and “Nightlight” here.

This idea – which, for lack of a better description, I have been referring to as liturgical napkin folding, holds much promise . There are so many ideas and there is much that could be done with it if you are so inclined. Even if there is not a particular shape we can fold to fit the feast day as a symbol, there are many folds that will enclose a favor that can be used to tuck a holy card, or flower, or other seasonal token inside to remind us of the focus of the feast day. Another simple idea like varying the napkin colors, even if not folded at all, can tie in the liturgical seasons - Purple in Advent and Lent, Red for Pentecost, the Passion, or Martyrs’ feasts, White (or Gold) for the feast of Our Lord, Blue (or White) to honor Our Lady’s feasts, Green in Ordinary Time. You can also stick to simple folds or rolled napkins and dress those up with napkin rings that tie into the feasts and seasons. I have lots of ideas and will be sharing those with you in upcoming posts.

****And I know I am posting this late this afternoon, so if you don’t see this in time for Candlemas don’t fret, the candle napkins would be perfect again tomorrow, February 3, for the feast of St. Blase.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Candle cake for Candlemas

Fisheaters have an excellent commentary on the feast of Candlemas, it is worth a visit to read it all, I've just quoted below on the significance of candles:

Now, before Simeon gave this prophecy to Our Lady, he referred to her Infant Son as the Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and because of this, light and candles play an important role before and during the Mass, hence the most common name for this Feast -- "Candlemas."

On this day, there will be a Blessing of the Candles and Procession. The symbolism of the candles is described by Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB, in his "Liturgical Year":

The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee, always considered as the emblem of virginity, signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.

The candle blessing -- one of the three principle blessings of the liturgical year, the others being the blessing of palms and ashes -- will be given by the priest wearing a purple cope. He will pray 5 prayers over the candles placed near the Altar. The candles are sprinkled three times while the Aspérges me is sung, and then they are incensed and distributed. When we take a blessed candle from the priest's hand, we kiss the candle and then the priest's hand, just as we do on Palm Sunday when we kiss the palm and then the priest's hand when receiving the blessed palms.

During the Distribution, the Nunc Dimittis -- the Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32) -- is sung:

Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord,
In peace, according to Thy word:
For mine own eyes hath seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
A light to reveal Thee to the nations
And the glory of Thy people Israel.

Latin Version: Nunc Dimittis

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine
Secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, Et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

I've just posted our Candlemas craft activity, the idea orginally coming from Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda. for anyone looking for a craft and a recipe.

Quick and Simple Candlemas Candle Cake

In typical fashion, I've wanted something easy but eye-catching for the children, so this is what I've come up with.

I bought a jam and cream sponge roll. Placed it vertically on the plate.

Made up a fairly thick batch of icing...using icing sugar, butter and water. (vanilla essence for flavour may be nice)

I bought a fruit stick and stuck it in on the top.

Some red candy strap...folded over and using sissors, cut into the shape of a flame.

The strap is folded over the stick and pinched together on the sides.

All done! Very simple and fuss free.
My youngest child's baptismal day is Candlemas, so this cake is for her!

Happy Feastday!
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Candlemas Crepes

I would like to thank Jessica for extending me the invitation to be a contributor of this lovely blog. I admire all of the women who contribute here, and appreciate being invited to offer my own family's traditional recipes for honoring all of the celebratory days on the Catholic liturgical calendar.

February 2 is the Feast of Candlemas -- the Presentation of Our Lord, traditionally known as the Purification of Mary. According to, "In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another 'epiphany' celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or 'Candlemas,' was of great importance."

To celebrate Candlemas, my family enjoys these cream-filled crepes. Crepes are traditionally eaten on Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday "to celebrate renewal, family life, and hopes for good fortune and happiness in the future," according to I think that the crepes look like a swaddled baby, and visually remind us of Mary's First Sorrow, when she and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple and Simeon prophesied that Mary's heart would be pierced by her love for her Son. As we enjoy these sweet cream and berry crepes, we can remember Mary's sweet sorrow as she both loved her infant Son, yet knew that the future would bring great sorrow.

Candlemas Crepes (Sweet Cream and Berry Crepes)
serves 6 (12 filled crepes -- two for each)

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. lukewarm water
4 large eggs
4 T. butter, melted
3 T. sugar
pinch salt
baking spray or a bit of butter for the crepe pan
1 bag frozen mixed berries, thawed
4 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
4 T. powdered sugar
4 T. juice from the sweetened berries

Sprinkle thawed berries with 4 T. sugar.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Make crepes:
Place flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, 3 T. sugar,
and pinch salt in blender.
Blend until well whipped.
Pour batter into a container with a pouring spout (if your blender doesn't have one).
Heat non-stick crepe pan (omelet pan) over med. high heat.
Spray with baking spray or lightly butter.
When pan is hot, pour two tablespoons batter into pan
and rotate pan until the bottom is coated with a thin, but not paper thin, layer.
Cook until the top is set and the bottom is lightly golden browned.
Flip, using your fingers, or a spatula.
This might take a few times to get it right,
if you've never made crepes before.
Just sacrifice a few for practice.
After turning, cook until the other side is lightly browned.
Remove from pan and cool on wax paper.
Place wax paper between each finished crepe.
You may have a little more batter than you need for this recipe,
depending on the size of your pan.
You can make them and freeze them or just pitch the extra batter.

Crepes can be made hours, or even days ahead,
refrigerated, and then assembled at the last minute.
Or you can make them just before assembling, like I did.

Whip whipping cream with mixer,
adding powdered sugar and berry juice until soft peaks form
(the berry juice is really just for pink color -- this step can be omitted if you don't care about the color).

Place two crepes on each plate.
Place 2-3 T. whipping cream down the center.
Roll crepe, and place the seam on the bottom.
Repeat with other crepe.
Spoon several spoons of berries and juice across both crepes.

Repeat with five more plates.

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