Sunday, November 25, 2012

Les Coeurs de Sainte-Catherine

"In Northern France it is a custom on St. Catherine's day to give heart-shaped cakes to unmarried women who have reached the age of twenty-five.  The idea is to encourage them in their search for love (and a husband)."  ~ Cooking with the Saints

Back in 2008 I posted about the tradition of Heart Cakes on the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Since our oldest daughter was named after this beautiful saint, we have always celebrated her nameday with a heart shaped cake!  This year we just made a simple applesauce cake, in a heart shaped pan, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  However,  any heart shaped cake would work perfectly!

Les Coeurs de Sainte-Catherine 
(St. Catherine Hearts)

  • 1 pkg Spice Cake Mix (I used Namaste Foods Spice Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 fresh apple, grated or chopped (skin left on is okay)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Heat oven to 350˚ F. Grease and flour a 12" heart shaped pan.

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely and then top sprinkle with powdered sugar.

From My Nameday: Come for Dessert: How fortunate are girls named after the glorious virgin-martyrs who battled to maintain their integrity and faith, and in return were divinely protected and rewarded. The virgin-martyrs sacrificed what was naturally good for the sake of God, the supreme Good. Their lives should inspire the faithful, and particularly their namesakes, to pay due homage to God. Nameday prayers on feasts of virgin-martyrs:

Father: Come, O spouse of Christ, receive the crown which has been prepared for you forever by the Lord, for whose love you shed your blood.

All: In your splendor and your beauty, make ready, ride in triumph, and rule.

Father: Let us pray. O God, from whose bounty all good gifts proceed and who in Your virgin-martyr N.... did both give the flower of virginity and the palm of martyrdom, at her intercession unite our souls to You by love so that we may avoid all perils and gain the rewards of eternity. Through Christ, our Lord.

All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

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St. Catherine's Pasta Wheels and Cheese

For the past few years, since seeing Mary's suggestion, I have been serving Wheel Shaped Pasta on November 25th, in honor of the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria and a special little girl in our home who celebrates her name-day.   Here is the recipe I used this year! 

Saint Catherine's
Pasta Wheels and Cheese
adapted from Martha Stewart 

  • 1 pound Wagon Wheel Pasta
  • Salt
  • 3 cups Milk
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon, or Yellow Mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Cheese


Bring water to a boil in a large pot; add salt. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot.

Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.When butter begins to foam, add flour; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt, a pinch of black pepper, cayenne, mustard, and cheese; stir until melted.

Pour cheese sauce over the pasta noodles, stir, and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Pray for Us! 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessed Miguel Pro "Cocol" Sweetbread

November 23 - Optional Memorial of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro

Miguel Pro was a Jesuit priest and martyr during the severe persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico in the early 20th century. He is known for his piety, charity, service and joyful spirit. He often donned disguises to hide his identity from Mexican authorities as he conducted his underground ministry as a priest. He was martyred by firing squad on November 23, 1927 proclaiming "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!) 

As a child he had a precociousness that sometimes went too far, resulting in near-death accidents and illnesses. On regaining consciousness after one of these episodes, and seeing the worried faces of his parents, he immediately asked for some of his favorite Mexican sweet bread, referred to as cocol. From this he acquired his childhood nickname "Cocol." Later while exercising his secret ministry as a priest, Father Pro signed many of his letters "Cocol." It reminded people not only of the treat, but also of the living bread of the Eucharist.

Cocol is an authentic Mexican bread that dates back to the arrival of the Spanish in the New World. The indigenous people were unfamiliar with the types of breads that were important parts of European diets at the time. The native Mexican staple breads were maize-based flat breads. The Spanish introduced the methods of grinding wheat, mixing, and baking bread dough and later on the Mexican people added their own ingredients commonly used at the time. Cocol bread has the distinction of being the oldest bread recipe in Mexico due to this meeting of the Aztec and Spanish cultures.

Cocol Recipe  (From Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ site )
  • 4 c. flour
  • l pkg. active dry yeast
  • l c. anise tea
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter, margarine, or shortening
  • l tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • poppy seeds (optional)
Prepare the anise tea by boiling 1 c. water and 3 tsp. anise seeds. Boil for a few minutes and strain out the seeds. (You can leave the seeds in if you like.) Add the sugar, butter and salt to the tea. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. When tea mixture is lukewarm, add to the flour/yeast. Add eggs. Beat well. Stir in remaining flour and knead to make a stiff dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about ten minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of dough. Cover and let rise for one hour. Punch down. Divide dough into 10 or 15 pieces and shape each into a small ball. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each piece into a circle about three inches in diameter. Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. If you wish, brush the tops with a small amount of butter and sprinkle poppy seed on top of each cocol. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.

Bake some cocol to celebrate the feast of Bl. Miguel Pro and also the Feast of Christ the King which is the same week. 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catholic Aprons {A Perfect Christmas Gift!}

Advent is quickly approaching and Christmas will be here soon... I just realized that quite a few of  the links were no longer working on our Catholic Aprons page.   I spent some time today updating all the Shopping Cart/Paypal codes and even added a LOVEly new design!  Be sure to click over and take a look.

The "Venite Adoremus" Apron pictured above would make a great Christmas gift paired with the Starlight Cookies Jar Mix!  (I just ordered my Advent Apron!)  Or you could even put together a gift basket with your favorite apron, a Catholic themed cookbook (such as Cooking with the Saints, A Continual Feast, or Grace Before Meals - Personally I have my eyes on The Saint Joseph's Day Table Cookbook!), some fun and religious candy molds or cookie cutters, and line the basket with a gorgeous "Silent Night" lace Placemat/DoilyTable Runner (also available here), or Table Topper.  There are so many options to create lovely Catholic gifts for all the "Catholic Cuisine" lovers in your life!

*And THANK YOU to all who have purchased through the links,
it is truly appreciated!  

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey Fruit & Veggie Platters

First of all, thank you to everyone that participated in this year's Saint-O-Lantern Link up!  If anyone missed adding their link, or didn't have enough time, let me know and I can open it up for a few more days.

With Thanksgiving coming up in a couple weeks I thought I would share a fun veggie platter that I made with my kids last year, along with an Caramel Apple fruit platter (inspired by a pin on Pinterest, I couldn't find the original link) from this afternoon.   They were both very easy to make and the kids loved them!  They were gobbled right up!  ;)

Turkey Veggie Platter

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Red, Yellow and Green Bell Pepper
  • Baby Carrots
  • 2 Black Beans (or Black Olives)
  • 1/3 of Celery Stalk
  • Toothpicks


Slice the bell peppers crosswise and then cut each circle in half.  Set aside the bottom part of the green pepper and 1/2" piece off of both the red and yellow peppers to use for the face.  Slice the remaining peppers to use for the body.

Cover a platter with lettuce leaves.   Start with making the turkey's feathers by forming a circle with the cumber slices at the bottom of the platter, followed by semi-circles of the yellow, green and red peppers.   Place the baby carrots vertically above the last row of peppers.

Break two toothpicks in half. Put two of the toothpicks where the eyes will go. Push the black beans onto the toothpick making sure that the toothpick doesn't go all the way through. Cut a triangle out of the leftover bottom from the yellow pepper. Attach with a toothpick below the eyes. Attach the reserved red pepper piece to the left of the yellow pepper "beak".

Cut the piece of celery in half lengthwise. On each piece, carefully slice lengthwise from the end of the celery piece to almost the center. Do this twice on each piece. Place the celery in ice water and place in the refrigerator until the ends curl. (I didn't have time to do this step.) When curled, nestle the un-curled end under the cucumbers.

Serve with hummus or other dip of choice.

Caramel Apple Turkey 

  • 4 Apples (Red and Green)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 1 Candy Corn
  • 2 Chocolate Chips


Pour Caramel Apple Sauce into round serving dish, top with candy corn (beak) and chocolate chips (eyes) and place on platter.   Cut apples into wedges.  Cut one wedge in half to use as feet and arrange the remaining apple wedges in a semi circle. 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.  ~  From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley

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