Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recipes for July ~ Month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood

The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood. (The Feast of the Most Precious Blood, established by Pope Pius IX in 1849, is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of July.) The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the sacraments were brought forth through His Blood.

*Note:  The feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary fall on the 1st and 2nd of July this year.   You can find recipe suggestions in the June Archive post, or under the labels for the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart.

July 1, Bl. Junipero Serra (New):


July 3, St. Thomas the Apostle (New):

July 4, St. Elizabeth of Portugal (New):
  • St. Elizabeth of Portugal (the great-neice of St. Elizabeth of Hungary) is symbolized by a crown representing sovereignty and victory over hardship.  Any of the Crown Cake Recipes in the archives would be perfect for her feast! 

July 6, St. Maria Goretti (New, Hist.):

July 14, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (New):

July 16, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (New, Trad.):

July 22, St. Mary Magdalen (New, Trad.):

July 23, St. Brigit of Sweden (New):

July 25, St. James the Greater (New, Trad.):

July 25, St. Christopher (Trad.):

July 26, St. Anne (New, Trad.):

July 31, St. Ignatius of Loyola (New, Trad.):

Precious Blood of Jesus, save us!
Sanguis Christi, inebria me!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saints Peter and Paul Cupcakes

Tomorrow is the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and since we invited friends over for some Saintly Summer Fun I spent some time this afternoon trying to come up with a snack for all the kids.

My husband suggested making boats/ships for a craft, and so I decided to carry that theme over to the snack as well.   Recalling how those outside of Noah's Ark were destroyed, the ship became an early symbol of the Church with its associations with "The Barque of Peter, the Fisherman."  And although most of St. Paul's missions were accomplished by walking, he also traveled by boat.

Cupcakes and Wrappers:

Any cupcake recipe can be used for these, though my children opted for a "Triple Chocolate" cake mix, reminding us of the Blessed Trinity.

For the cupcake wrappers I used my Cricut with the Cupcake Wrappers Cartridge<.    I love that it cut out a circle of fish all around the cupcake, in addition to the waves. "The fish,  ever-watchful with its unblinking eyes, was one of the most important symbols of Christ to the early Christians. In Greek, the phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God Savior," is "Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter." The first letters of each of these Greek words, when put together, spell "ichthys," the Greek word for "fish" (ICQUS ).   Because of the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the fish symbolized, too, the Eucharist."  ~ Source   

If you don't happen to have a Cricut you can just as easily use blue cupcake liners and add some Candy Fish or Shark Bites around the platter holding the cupcakes.

I also opted to forego using any food coloring in our frosting, and I just plan to tell the kids that the boats are sailing on white water waves, though blue frosting would look pretty too.

Candy Boats and Sails:

To make the boats I just used some Orange Fruit Slices from our grocery store, though when I was looking through the candy aisle so many different candies would have worked great.   My boys liked the idea of molding caramels into the shape of a boat, or using mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  Yum!  I opted for the orange slices since they were the least expensive!

For the sails I decided to use the shields of Sts. Peter and Paul.  I resized them to 2.25" in height, which seemed to work well with a regular sized cupcake.  I printed it out on regular copy paper and made a tiny slit with my x-acto knife, making it much easier to insert a toothpick to be used as the mast.

The Symbolism of the Shields/Sails:

St. Peter's Shield:    Download Document

The Keys are the symbol of St. Peter, the authority of the papacy, and the Church's power to "bind and loose" (Matthew 16:19 and Isaiah 22).  One key represents Excommunication, a locked door to the unrepentant sinner.   The other key stands for Absolution, the open door to the Kingdom of Heaven for the repentant sinner.

St. Paul's Shield:    Download Document

Saint Paul has the sword assigned to him because he was a persecutor of the Church. The book is a symbol of his conversion into the greatest preacher of the Church. The great change in Saint Paul shows itself in this that he afterward speaks of the Word of God and the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).

God our Father, Today you give us the joy of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul. Through them your Church first received the faith. Keep us true to their teaching.

Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, pray for us! 
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Saints Peter and Paul Avocado Soup

I recently had the pleasure of reading a review copy of Brother Victor-Antoine D'Avila-Latourrette's The Monastery Garden Cookbook.  It was was sent to me by Monastery Greetings, a lovely catalog based website that combines hundreds of religious and spiritual gifts from Abbeys, Convents, Monasteries, and Hermitages.  

Anyhow, I already own a couple other books by Brother Victor, including Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and Blessings of the Table, and was excited to be able to add this one to my collection as well.   After talking to a friend and looking through the table of contents, it looks like The Monastery Garden Cookbook is a revised version of his out-of-print book Fresh from a Monastery Garden: An A-Z Collection of Delectable Vegetable Recipes, though I don't own a copy of the older book to compare for sure.

This book contains 200 vegetable recipes, starting with Artichokes and ending with Zucchini and Yellow Squash, direct from Brother Victor's kitchen at Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery, complete with illustrations and descriptions.

With the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul coming up tomorrow, the recipe for Saints Peter and Paul Avocado Soup caught my eye and I decided to give it a shot.    Brother Victor says, "This soup is often served in our monastery during the summer months, especially on June 29, the feast of the great apostles Peter and Paul, foundation stones of the church of God, whose icons are venerated in our chapel."

It was quite simple to make (the trip to the market with all the kids for some Avocados and Leeks was by far the hardest part) and it is chilling in the fridge right now.  I tasted a little bit and it is absolutely delicious!  Here is the recipe in case any of you would like to make it for tomorrow.

Saints Peter and Paul Avocado Soup
adapted from The Monastery Garden Cookbook


3 leeks, white parts only, trimmed and sliced
3 avocados, peeled and sliced in half
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
lemon rind as garnish


Place the leeks in a saucepan, cover with 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook leeks for 15-20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, allow to cool slightly, and then whirl leeks and water in a blender or food processor.  (I used my Vita-Mix.)  Pour the mixture back into the pan or a large bowl.


Tip:  If you'd like to use some of the lemon rind as a garnish, it is probably a good idea to peel the lemon before juicing it for your soup! ;) 

Place the avocados, lemon juice, sour cream paprika, and salt and pepper in the blender or food processor and whirl for about 1 minute.  

Add to the leek mixture and blend all the ingredients well by hand.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve cold and add some lemon rind on the top of each serving as garnish.  

Yields 4-6 servings

The Monastery Garden Cookbook, in addition to many other Catholic Cookbooks, is available at Monastery Greetings.  While you are there, be sure to check out their section on Fruitcakes!  I don't generally care for Fruitcake, but the new Tropical Dessert Cake from The Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe is out of this world, or maybe I should say just heavenly!  We'll be enjoying the rest of it for dessert!

Saints Peter and Paul, Pray for us! 
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Monday, June 13, 2011

"A Multitude of Fish" Cupcakes

Today, June 13th, is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua

One of my children's favorite legends about St. Anthony is that of the "multitude of fish" that rose out of the water to listen to him preach.  So, in honor of his feast day today, and since I had leftover cupcakes from making the peacock for our last Garden Party, I decided to decorate fish cupcakes for this afternoon, as we Celebrate the Saints this summer!
No sooner had he spoken a few words when suddenly so great a multitude of fish, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood. All the fish kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony's face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest.

As he continued speaking, the fish began to open their mouths and bow their heads, endeavoring as much as was in their power to express their reverence. The people of the city, hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it.

Rainbow Fish Cupcakes


  • Cupcakes
  • Various Colored Frosting
  • M&M's
  • White Frosting (I used Marshmallow slices, cut into circles with a icing tip)
  • M&M's

The directions are pretty self explanatory from the picture, but I just frost the cupcakes with various colors of decorating frosting.  I then added the M&M's - 10 for the scales, two red M&M's for the mouth, and one brown for the eye (which was stuck to a small circle of marshmallow, but white frosting would work perfectly as well).   That's it!

Additional suggestions for celebrating the feast of St. Anthony can be found in the archives!

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!   
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The Good Shepherd's Garden Party :: Week Seven

Well, with the celebration of Pentecost, the Easter season has come to an end and we had our very last Good Shepherd's Garden Party for this year, based on The Garden of the Good Shepherd: A Sticker Calendar to Count the Fifty Days of Easter.   This past week's Garden Party was based on the theme "The Heavenly Zoo!"

The Heavenly Zoo Menu Suggestions

Deer Cupcakes
Lucky Lion Lemonade
Beehive Baked Pears
Pelican Toasties
Phoenix-Tail Shrimp

Dove Candy (for Day 50 ~ Pentecost Sunday) 

Decorating Ideas

Peacock Feathers
Water Fountain Centerpiece

First you can head over to Charlotte's blog, Waltzing Matilda, to see the pictures from her family's Good Shepherd's Garden Party ~ Week 7, including her "Lazy Lion Sandwiches!"

These cute little sandwiches would also be perfect for the feast days of any of the Saint's that are symbolized by a lion, including St. Mark, St. Leo the Great, and St. Jerome.  

You can also click over to Shower of Roses to see all of the pictures from Our Seventh Good Shepherd's Garden Party.  Pictured below is our "Peacock Cupcake."

The Peacock is also an ancient Christian symbol of the Resurrection.  It was once believed that the flesh of the peacock never corrupts, so peacocks became the classic symbol of immortality, and representations of them are found on the tombs of ancient Christians as an expression of their hope to follow Christ in His defeat of death. 

Now it's your turn!  How did you and your family celebrate this last week of Easter?  We'd love to see pictures and hear about how you modified our Good Shepherd's Garden Party for your family, or incorporated any of our other ideas (whether you choose daily activities or just one party for the week) into your celebration.   Also, anyone who would like to share food related posts from this year's Pentecost Sunday celebrations are welcome to join as well!

THANK YOU to all of you who joined us in celebrating the Easter season with the Garden of the Good Shepherd!  It has been so much fun, and Charlotte and I have really enjoyed seeing how you all have adapted our plans for your own families!  

To Participate:

1. Create a post about your Good Shepherd's Garden Party or activities for the second week of Easter.  (Or any food related posts for Pentecost Sunday.)
2. Using the linky below, enter the exact link to your post.
3. Add a link your post, referring back to this post so that others can find the party as well!  (Please feel free to include the Good Shepherd's Garden Party Button if you'd like!)
4. Be sure to visit the links and see how everyone else has been celebrating!
5. The linky will remain open until next Monday.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flaming Cupcakes for Pentecost!

For our celebration of Pentecost today I made Tongues of Fire Cupcakes. I came up with the idea when I made these flower cupcakes for Mother's Day a few months back. I thought the "petals" could look like flames of fire if you arranged them a little differently on the cupcake. 

For this all you'll need is frosted cupcakes, mini marshmallows cut in half diagonally and red and/or orange colored sugar. Arrange the marshmallows dipped in colored sugar around the cupcake so they point upward. Go around the cupcake twice. Then for the middle put another dollop of frosting and three more halved marshmallows dipped in colored sugar. My kids thought these were very cool.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Happy Birthday, Mother Church!
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