Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sword and Miter Cookies for the Feast of St. Thomas Becket

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Cantebury, who was martyred for the Catholic Faith in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.   You can read more about this amazing saint here.

According to My Nameday-Come for Dessert, St. Thomas a Becket is symbolized by "a sword through a mitre."  Since I was already baking sugar cookies for my children to decorate this week, I decided to try and make them each a "Sword and Miter Cookie" in honor of today's feast day using the Miter & Cross Cookie Cutter from the St. Nicholas Center.

(If you don't happen to have this wonderful little cookie cutter, they wouldn't be too hard to cut out by hand.)  

St. Thomas Becket
Sword and Miter Cookies


1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

* I used the cut-out cross from the miter and then added a strip of dough to form a sword, which was then placed underneath the miter. 

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely and decorate.   (I used Wilton's White Cookie Icing to outline the Miter.)

O God, for the sake of whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of his petition. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

St. Thomas Becket, Pray for us! 
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange Link-Up

With Christmas just days away, I thought it would be fun to host another link-up here at Catholic Cuisine, so we can all exchange Christmas Cookie Recipes.

To participate, just post the recipe(s) on your blog, add the button above and link back to this post (though not required for participation), and then add the link to your recipe below.   This link-up will be open until January 1st.

I pray that you are all having a Blessed and Fruitful 4th week of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Our Lord!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

O Antiphons :: Incorporating an Old Monastic Tradition in the Home

There is an old monastic custom of providing special treats, representing each of the O Antiphons, leading up to Christmas. According to Father Saunders:

"At the Benedictine Saint Benedict Abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they were in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the "O Antiphons" was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases "Keep your O" and "The Great O Antiphons" were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the "O Antiphons" have been part of Western liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose.[2] If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Therefore Jesus, whose coming Christians have prepared for in Advent and whom they have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to them: "Tomorrow, I will come." So the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to their Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion."

This has been a tradition in our home since my oldest children were very young and they look forward to it every year.   It is such a fun way to teach the children about them and increase their excitement and anticipation as Christmas gets closer!  I've posted our special treats and activities for the past few years at Shower of Roses, but I thought I would combine all of the "food" related treats into a post here at Catholic Cuisine.  You can find even more ideas in Jenn's O Antiphon post in the archives. 

December 17th

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, serve a book shaped cookie to each person.  You could use a book shaped cookie cutter, create your own template, or even make Bible Cookies out of Fig Newtons!

(Lacy at Catholic Icing, expanded on this idea, cutting off one side and adding a piece of fruit roll-up for a ribbon.  Super cute!) 

Updated to add: Bible Cookies for the Year of Faith

If you are feeling really ambitious, you could even bake a book shaped cake, like Anne's from the feast of St. Gregory, and write the above O Antiphon prayer on the "pages."

December 18th

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

In past years, my family has usually made our Gingerbread houses this day, emphasizing the word "house" in this Antiphon.  You can purchase kits, or bake your own using the Fox Run Ten Piece Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter Bake Set.  Charlotte recommends using melted white chocolate instead of the royal icing that comes with the kit!

If you would rather avoid the kit, or baking your own gingerbread cookies to build a house, you can also make Gingerbread Graham Cracker Houses.  Honey Maid has even come out with Gingerbread Flavored Graham Crackers for a limited time!  

Another option would be to let your children decorate Gingerbread House Cookies using the cute Wilton Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter, or perhaps even a cake with the Wilton Stand Up House Pan

Looking at the rest of this O Antiphon, you could always tie in "Moses in the burning bush."  A couple options can be found in the Jesse "Tea" for Advent including Ten Commandments Cookies!

December 19th

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

There are so many root vegetables that can be used for this O Antiphon.   You could make a Hearty Beef Stew and serve a Carrot Cake for dessert.

Root beer is another perfect option for this O Antiphon!

In the past I usually would purchase our Christmas poinsettia (O Root of Jesse/O Flower of Jesse) on this day, and read The Legend of the Poinsettia to our children.   This year I am planning on making Poinsettia Cupcakes!    To make these, all you need to do is decorate cupcakes with some triangles of red fruit roll-up, attaching small yellow candies to the top with a bit of extra white frosting.

Another option would be to serve Poinsettia Cookies.  If you don't have a Poinsettia Cookie Cutter, a Star Shaped Cookie Cutter would work as well.

December 20th

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Since this is initially a monastic tradition, and on this night, the monk in charge of the wine cellar would provide a special bottle of wine. We usually have a special drinks with dinner. Costco has a great package of delicious fruit spritzers which our family enjoys.

I also usually serve a Marie Calendar's Key Lime Pie, which is quick, easy and delicious.   If you'd like to make one from scratch, here is a recipe.

Key Lime Cookies or Key Shaped Cookies would also work great!

December 21st

O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Last year, my family enjoyed "O Dayspring Ice Cream" inspired by a Blue Bunny recipe.

"O Dayspring" Ice Cream

6 small tangerines, peeled
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
6 teaspoons orange marmalade

Place six freezer safe dessert plates in the freezer 30 minutes before serving. For each serving, gently pry segments of a tangerine apart. Place on dessert plate in a "spoke" like circle.
Place a 1/4 cup scoop of vanilla ice cream in center of tangerine "spoke"; top with 1 teaspoon orange marmalade. Repeat with remaining tangerines and serve immediately.

Charlotte's family enjoyed Texas Sunrises (Tequila Sunrises without the Tequila) last year, and they look like so much fun!

Texas Sunrise

8 ounces chilled orange juice
3/4 ounce grenadine syrup
Cracked or shaved ice (optional)

Put orange juice in glass.
Add the grenadine.
Let it settle on the bottom or stir, as desired.
Add ice (optional) if desired.
Makes one serving.

There are also lots of snacks that could tie in "Dayspring" (Sun) including Sun Chips, Sun Cups or Sun Drops.   For a cookie option, how about some fun sun shaped cookies.  You could even use a glass to create round cookies, cut them in half before baking and then decorate with a sunrise using frosting!)

If you'd rather not serve a dessert, what about a Sun Bean Dip?

Sun Bean Dip:
1 can refried beans, topped with 1 package cream cheese mixed with 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, and then topped with cheddar cheese.  
(The recipe calls for green onions, diced tomatoes, and olives on the very top after it bakes, but I omitted them for the "Sun")
Add chips around edges of dip to form rays, after it has baked.  

Of course, a glass of orange juice or orange slices cut horizontally would work just perfectly as well. 

December 22nd

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

There are all sorts of ideas for crown sandwiches, cakes and cupcakes in the archives.  You could also bake and decorate some crown shaped Christmas Sugar cookies or even make "Crown" Shaped Rice Krispie Wreaths!

December 23rd

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

This would be a perfect day to make a Chocolate Nativity Scene to decorate a Birthday Cake for Baby Jesus!

Another fun option would be to bake a set of Nativity Cookies using the Fox Run Eighteen Piece Nativity Cookie Cutter Bake Set.

Before I go,  don't forget about the O Antiphon Chocolate Coins!  You could always make one set for each person in your family and place them next to their dinner plate each night!   I had hoped to make a couple other versions (in Latin and Spanish) but I just haven't had the extra time.

You can also listen to the O Antiphons beautifully chanted in Latin here or purchase An Advent Processions Based on the Great O Antiphons Pin It

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Santa Lucia Day Link-Up

If any one would like to share recipes and/or pictures from your St. Lucia Day celebrations, please add the links below!  

You can find other ideas for celebrating this feast day here

Happy St. Lucia Day!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe

I just realized that I never added the Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which our family enjoyed last year, here at Catholic Cuisine! In fact, it wasn't until just now, after seeing my own post linked on another blog, that I even remembered having this tea... In my defense, I was 9 months pregnant (due on Dec 25th) and just days away from delivering! It is so hard to believe that our little "Rose" will be a year old on the 15th!   Anyhow, here is the post in honor of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe tomorrow!

Inspired, once again, by Alice's amazing Liturgical Teas, we enjoyed A Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Some of my children had made Tilmas at last weeks Homeschool Craft Day, but those that didn't worked on making theirs while the others colored and cut out Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego Paper Dolls as I prepared the tea and we all listened to Fresh Flowers in Winter: The Story of Saint Juan Diego.

Here is what was included in the menu:

~ Aztec Chocolate ~

Mexican Hot Cocoa with Mini Marshmallows, while praying for the many innocent lives that were sacrificed by the Aztecs.

~ St. Juan Diego's Sombrero ~

Pringles with a little round of string cheese
My children LOVED these and they were so easy!

~ Tepayac Hill ~

I forgot to pick up Guacamole or Potato Salad as suggested and so I resorted to using a package of Idahoan Instant Baby Red Mashed Potatoes. It worked. :)

~ A Woman Clothed with the Sun ~

Instead of Alice's Recipe, I made Pampered Chef's Touchdown Taco Dip:
1 can refried beans, topped with 1 package cream cheese mixed with 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, and then topped with cheddar cheese.
(The recipe calls for green onions, diced tomatoes, and olives on the very top after it bakes, but I omitted them for the "Sun")

~ A Mantle of Stars ~

46 stars to represent the 46 constellations that would have appeared in the sky on the night of Our Lady's December 12th apparition to St. Juan Diego.

I found these star cookies at Target. I also ran across Star Marshmallows, Star Candies, and even Star shaped Baby Food Puffs, so there were lots of options!

Also, this was A LOT of Cookies -- almost all went back in the package to save for Christmas. Next year I think I will serve only 12 for Our Lady's "Crown of 12 Stars."

~ Crescent Moons ~

Crescent shaped biscotti!
If I make this tea again, I would probably substitute these for small crescent shaped croissants filled with chicken salad or something, though the biscotti was perfect for dipping into that hot cocoa!

~ Supporting Angels ~

Since I used the Lindt Angels for our Jesse Tea, I purchased these for this one. Aren't they so cute! My girls were especially thrilled and have been "saving" theirs! ;)

~ Praying Hands ~

Praying Hand shaped tea sandwiches, pointing towards the baby Jesus!

~ The Tilma of Roses ~

My children *LOVED* these!!
I did fold them up after taking photos and before serving, and let the children unfold them to find the "roses."

~ Bishop Zumarraga's Miter ~

These miter cookies were leftover from the feast of St. Nicholas and made such a great little addition to the tea!

~ Crushed Serpents ~

~ "Build Me a Church" ~

~ Roses from Heaven Punch ~

For the punch I just used a bottle of Raspberry Spritzer
and added scoops of Raspberry Sherbet.

There were quite a few sweets included in this tea, so I postponed serving the "Build me a Church" and the Roses from Heaven Punch until the next day, which ended up being the perfect time to read The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie de Paola and Our Lady of Guadalupe by Father Lovasik.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

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