Monday, January 31, 2011

An Afternoon Tea for Candlemas

The Feast of the Purification is also called Candlemas or Candle Mass Day. It is observed each year on February 2nd. This feast commemorates the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, which took place 40 days after his birth as Jewish law required. It is also called Candlemas day, since the blessing of candles takes place on this feast.   Last year my family enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea, inspired by Alice at Cottage Blessings on this feast day.

   Here are a few pictures of what was included in our tea, 
while we read from the Gospel of Luke (2:22-40): 

~ White Cocoa with Pure Hearts ~
For this tea, I decided to serve White Cocoa topped with Whipped Cream and Strawberry Marshmallow hearts (instead of tea), representing the purity of both Mary and St. Joseph.

~ Water ~ 
With a pair of turtledoves perched on the handle!

~ A Pair of Turtledoves ~
Using a lovely Tasha Tudor Dove Cookie Cutter (a gift from my sister-in-law), I made Dove Shaped PB&J Sandwiches.

~ Holy Simeon's Arms ~
These mini pretzel's symbolize arms folded in prayer.

~ Piercing Swords ~

I couldn't seem to find the cocktail swords that I know I have around here somewhere, but swords can always be found in my boys bedroom! ;)

~ Anna the Prophetess ~ 

Since I didn't want to go to the store to search for the Mallomars that Alice suggested, especially since I was already serving plenty of cookies, Captain suggested using Black Olives. (The black symbolizes the fact that Anna was a widow.)

~ Edible Candles ~
These were really quite easy and fun to make, not to mention delicious! 

All-powerful Father, Christ your Son became man for us and was presented in the temple. May he free our hearts from sin and bring us into your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Breadsticks for the Feast of St. John Bosco

The following breadstick recipe was submitted by Erin Yerian, for today's feast of St. John Bosco. It would make a great addition to an Italian dinner in his honor.  Thank you Erin!

Here is our St. John Bosco treat for the day. We had the idea from the story of St. John Bosco and the dog Grigio.   (You can read the story, taken from the book All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, here:  Saint John Bosco and the Gray Dog)

We just shaped extra pizza dough into bone shapes and baked according to the recipe. My bread machine pizza dough recipe is as follows:

3/4 t. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oat bran
2 t. yeast
1 3/8 c. water
3 T. olive oil
dash honey

Shape into pizza or breadsticks (bones) as desired and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Pin It

St. Brigid's Oaten Bread from Ireland

Last year, on the feast of St. Brigid, my family enjoyed the delicious St. Brigid's Bread found in the archives.  Another option for her feast day is this authentic Irish recipe for St. Brigid's Oaten Bread, from Travel Ireland at

"Saint Brigid was known to travel the countryside, blessing households as she went ... accompanied by a white cow with red ears. You should make her feel welcome, just in case she passes by - placing bread and fresh butter on the outside windowsill, together with corn for the cow, usually does the trick. Also remember to lay out some rushes for her. These are to kneel on while blessing the household.

One was also advised to make fresh butter for Saint Brigid’s Day , maybe not a practical idea in modern times. You might, however, be willing to prepare a special dinner for Saint Brigid’s Eve. And remember that Saint Brigid’s Day was also a day for those who have to give food to those who haven‘t.

In many regions a special oat bread was baked for Saint Brigid’s Day - Saint Brigid’s Bread.  [You’ll find the recipe below] – but remember that ideally this should have been blessed by a priest and then shared."

I made a loaf of this bread yesterday and it didn't last long! Next time I think I better double the recipe.

St. Brigid's Oaten Bread


1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, in small pieces
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal (old fashioned)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a baking sheet.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add butter bits and cut in with knife until mixture is crumbly. Add oats and mix well.

Beat the egg with the buttermilk in a separate bowl.

Make a "well" in the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and mix all with a fork until the crumbs hold together. Form the dough into a ball and knead (on a floured surface, about 20-25 times). Add flour if the mass is still too sticky to work with.

Form the doughball into 8-inch round and transfer it to the baking sheet.
Score a deep cross into the bread but do not cut through.

Bake for fifteeen to twenty minutes, or until medium brown and a tester comes out clean.

If you have children, don't forget to pull out a picture book (The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of KildareBrigid's Cloak with the study guide in Catholic Mosaic, or Saint Brigid and the Cows) to read to them.  While listening to her story, they can color Charlotte's beautiful St. Brigid Coloring Page while you enjoy a warm cup of Irish Tea.  At least that is what our family will be doing on her feast day this week! 

St. Brigid of Ireland, Pray for Us! 

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Irish Potato Pancakes

The feast of St. Brigid of Ireland, Abbess of Kildare, is coming up on February 1st.

"To honor St. Brigid, you must turn to dairy products, for she is the patroness of dairy workers. Choose a recipe that calls for buttermilk and butter and, of course, the potato. Pancakes are the traditional food in almost every country for celebrations, and Ireland is no exception." 
~ The Cook's Blessing

I ended up having a few extra peeled potatoes this morning,  so I decided to test a recipe for "Irish Potato Pancakes" from a great little out-of-print cookbook by Demetria Taylor, The Cook's Blessing.  The pancakes were simple enough to make and loved by my whole family.

Irish Potato Pancakes


2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup freshly grated raw potato
2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix and sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat eggs slightly in large bowl; stir in buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing just until blended (batter will be slightly lumpy). Stir in grated potato, butter or margarine, and vanilla.


Ladle batter, a scant 1/4 cup for each pancake, onto greased heated griddle. Bake 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles cover the top and underside is golden; turn; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Serve at once, with plenty of butter. Sprinkle generously with sugar, as the Irish do.

Makes 3 dozen 4-inch pancakes.

Note:  This dish, also referred to as Boxty Pancakes, can be served on Shrove Tuesday and All Hallows' Eve.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pre-Spring Cleaning

I just wanted to let you all know that Catholic Cuisine will be "under construction" for the next couple days, or so, as I work on updating the template.  Thank you for your patience! Pin It

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Altagracia

This afternoon my family enjoyed a (tea-less) "Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Altagracia," inspired by yet another one of Alice's amazing Liturgical Teas.  This one is is based on the Novena prayer to Our Lady of Altagracia, which was translated by Helen from the original Spanish!

~ Our Mother's Hand's ~

Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our 
  Look at us here, prostrate in your presence, desiring 
to offer you this novena as a testimony of our love 
for you and in thanksgiving for the innumerable
 favors that we have received from your hands.

For this activity, the children made:
  "Our Mother's Hands" Stained Glass Windows

~ The Love of our Hearts ~

You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our 
needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to
 learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to 
offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, 
dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively 
to our supplications. Amen.

For this activity, the children all created "love notes" to our dear Mother Mary. I gave them each a large red heart shaped doily (I picked up a pack of 16 from the Dollar Store), a smaller white heart cut out of copy paper, and a pile of stickers.

~ Three Graces Tea Menu ~


1. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, 
all pure and Immaculate from your Conception! We
 beseech you to bless us, your children, with the grace
 to love the purity you practiced and to preserve the 
innocence of our children. Hail Mary…

2. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, 
admirable model of Christian mothers and wives in the
 humble house of Nazareth, we beseech you to bless our 
homes, making them flourish in the holiness of
 matrimony. Hail Mary…

3. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, 
you received into your arms the Holy Infant who died 
for us on the Cross, we give you all of our
 sufferings, so that at the hour of our death we may
 die with the name of Jesus on our lips and in our
 hearts, and fly to heaven with the help of your 
maternal arms. Hail Mary …

"The Novena specifies the three graces we request from Our Lady, and the menu offerings of the tea reflect them in a simple way."

1. Love of Purity ~ White ranch dip represents purity and will go well with the vegetables in the next menu offering.  This reminds us of the perfect purity of the Holy Family.

2. Home Blessing ~ This next offering reminds us of the humble home of the Holy Family in Nazareth, and we ask for a shower of blessings upon our homes, making them flourish in the holiness of matrimony.  Since Our Lady of Altagracia is patroness of the Dominican Republic, Alice suggests "we remember "Home Blessings" with produce that grows in this, her chosen homeland: snap peas or pea pods. When you break open the side of the pod, the peas inside look like a family in their house. "

3. Maternal Arms ~ In the last supplication we ask for the grace of flying to Heaven with the help of Our Lady's maternal arms.   For this offering Alice suggests serving small twisted pretzels.  She says, "The original German pretzels were meant to represent arms crossed in prayer, but I think they would make a wonderful maternal embrace for these purposes"

I also served a bowl of White (Our Lady's Purity) Pretzels (Maternal Arms).

~ Treats for Our Lady of Altagracia ~

For a delicious dessert in honor of Our Lady of Altagracia, Alice suggests serving caramelized bananas over coffee ice cream since the chief exports of the Dominican Republic are coffee, sugar and bananas.

Directions:  To carmelize the bananas, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the bananas in half and sprinkle with butter and brown sugar. Bake about 7 minutes or so. If this is too difficult, use plain ripe bananas over coffee ice cream--or even vanilla ice cream with bananas and a drizzle of coffee syrup.

The next treat I made was a crown of stars for the "beautiful lady with golden skin and a crown of stars."   ~  excerpt from A Gift of Gracias: The Legend of Altagracia   I placed our little hand painted Our Lady of Altagracia doll in the center.

Our Lady of Altagracia's Chocolate Stars
Melt and mold Yellow Chocolate according to directions using a star chocolate mold

Our Lady of Altagracia Orange Smoothies
You can find the recipe from this delicious drink in the archives.

Final Prayer 

Holy Virgin of Altagracia!

From your hands and your maternal heart we receive 
each day the sustenance that you give to us from Our
 Father in heaven. 
You are our defense in danger,
 our indispensable help in our necessities and our hope in the sacrifices required of the Christian 
Through your Immaculate Heart we desire to pay tribute
 to God with a hymn of thanksgiving for all the 
benefits you have distributed.
 We promise you, Oh Mother, gratitude and fidelity.
 You will always reign in our homes and in our town, 
where all venerate you as Our Lady and Mother, you who
 make all virtues increase and thrive. 
We are honored to be called your children.  We hope to finish our lives serving God and you until 
we reach the highest grace possible, the grace you
 will help us to attain, the great gift of heaven
 itself.  Amen.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Galette des Rois for Epiphany

There are so many traditions and customs associated with this wonderful feast day. In our family, none of them was really favored more than any other so I decided to basically just pick a traditional food to go along with our house blessing. Since some of my husband's ancestors came from France, I am attempting to make a Galette des Rois which is an almond paste filled puffed pastry topped with a gold paper crown and containing a hidden feve or favor.

This is a picture of a beautiful galette from a French bakery's website
I say attempting because I haven't made it yet but I started assembling the ingredients and making my homemade almond paste when I discovered that having never used almond paste before, I have no idea what "the right consistency" is. I will post pictures once it's done. It's done now and aside from a little oozing from a part that wasn't sealed properly, it baked up very nicely!

Here is my galette along with our tiny little bits of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Here is the recipe I am using which is a variation of one I found on Allrecipes:

Almond Paste
1/2 C. unsalted slivered baking almonds
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. white sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/8 to 1/4 C. water (to make consistency of paste)

Galette des Rois
1/4 C. almond paste
1/4 C. white sugar
3 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 tso. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbl. all purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 dry kidney bean or coin
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbl. powdered sugar for dusting

1. Thaw frozen puff pastry according to package directions.

2. Place almond paste into a food processor or blender with about half of the sugar and process until well blended. Add the butter and remaining sugar and process until smooth. Blend in one egg, vanilla, almond ext., flour and salt. Set aside.

3. Preheat the overn to 425 degrees. Butter a baking sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry into an 11 inch square. Keep the pastry cool, do not knead or stretch. Use a large pie plate to trace an 11 inch circle on the dough using the tip of a sharp knife. Place the circle onto the baking sheet. Repeat with second sheet.

5. Mound the almond filling onto the center of the pastry on the baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inch margin at the edge. Add the bean or coin into the filling if you want. Place the second sheet on top and press down the edges to seal. Seal edges very well or filling will ooze out during baking (Ask me how I know!)

6. Beat the remaining egg with a fork and lightly brush the top of the galette. Use a knife to make a criss cross pattern in the egg wash and then prick several small slits in the top to vent steam while baking.

7. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not open the oven until the time is up or the patry will not fully puff. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Return to oven for an additional 12-15 minutes or until top is a golden brown. transfer to a wire rack.

8. Serve warm or cold. Place a gold paper crown on top. Make sure to tell everyone about the bean or the coin.

According to this website, there is a purpose to the crown that most people don't understand:
Oh, one last thing about the crown—you’re not supposed to keep it. If you win, you can pocket the trinket, but when you get the crown, you’re meant to place it on the head of your chosen king or queen. It’s a lovely tradition, but one I’ve never seen honored. Everyone I know who’s won, has plunked the crown on his or her head, gloated over winning and dug into the galette.

I think we will let whoever finds the feve have the privilege of crowning our Holy Infant statue.

You can find some crown templates here! Pin It

Monday, January 3, 2011

Colonial Brown Bread

A convert to Roman Catholicism, Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was foundress of the American Sisters of Charity, which was the first sisterhood native to the United States. She was the first person born in the United States to become a canonized saint on September 14, 1975.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's feast day is January 4th. In honor of her colonial heritage, here is the recipe I have used for Colonial Brown Bread.
It's a huge family favorite!

Colonial Brown Bread

2 C. buttermilk
2 C. whole wheat
2/3 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5 loaf pan.
In large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour in buttermilk and stir until all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed. Spoon into pan. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in the loaf comes out clean. Serve warm. Store leftovers wrapped in plastic in fridge. Toasts well!

Makes 1 loaf.
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Most Holy Name of Jesus

Why not start out the New Year with a healthy snack?...
In the Most Holy Name of Jesus!

I just used a boxed mix that I had on hand,
just adding water.
How easy is that?
"If you think the name 'Jesus' continually,
it purges your sin and kindles your heart;
it clarifies your soul, it removes anger 
and does away with slowness.
It wounds in love and fulfills charity.
It chases the devil and puts out dread.
It opens heaven, and makes you a contemplative.
It puts all vices and phantoms out from the lover."
~Richard Rolle~

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recipes for January ~ Month Dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus

The Month of January is dedicated to
the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

"For there is no other Name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." ~ Acts of the Apostles 4:12

"Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in My Name, He will give it to you." - Gospel of John 16:23

January 1st, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God (New) and Circumcision of Our Lord (Trad):

January 3rd, Most Holy Name of Jesus (New):
  • There aren't any recipes in the archives at this point for this particular feast, but all the suggestions from the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary could easily be modified using any of the symbols of Jesus: the Chi-Rho symbol, the IHS symbol, Ichthys, and the Cross.

January 4th, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (New):

January 6th, Epiphany of the Lord (New, Trad.)
(In the United States this feast is celebrated on the first Sunday following January 1st):

January 13th, Baptism of Our Lord (Trad.)
(On the New Calendar, this feast is celebrated on the Sunday following January 6th):

January 17th, St. Anthony, Abbot (New, Trad.):

January 21st, Our Lady of Altagracia:

January 21st, St. Agnes (New, Trad.):

January 24th, St. Francis de Sales (New):

January 25th, Conversion of St. Paul (New, Trad.):

January 28th, St. Thomas Aquinas (New):

January 29th, St. Francis de Sales (Trad.): See January 24th

January 31st, St. John Bosco (New, Trad.):
*Here is a picture of the above recipe, which I recently made for my family, substituting red peppers for the green.  It is a favorite! 

Blessed be the most holy Name of Jesus without end!
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