Monday, December 31, 2012

Corn Flake Wreaths

The following recipe for Corn Flake Wreaths was submitted by HI Cookery, and is similar to the Rice Krispy Wreaths we have shared in the past.   I especially love the suggestion of  replacing the red candies with three purple and one pink for Advent.  Thank you Highlander and Islander! 

We have at least two wreaths in our home during the holidays: an Advent wreath with purple and pink candles and a Christmas wreath hanging on our front door. Another wreath, made out of corn flakes, is a sweet centerpiece on our table when we entertain. It is inexpensive and quick to make as an alternative to cookies and fruitcakes. A corn flake wreath is a festive food and a delicious dessert at holiday parties and potlucks. Make one (or many minis) for a Merry Christmas!


(Adapted from Kellogg’s)

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring (we used Wilton brand Kelly Green color food gel)
  • 6 cups corn flakes cereal (we used Kellogg’s brand)
  • red tube frosting (we used Wilton brand icing tube)
  • round red candies (we use M&Ms or Red Hots)

Have a sheet of wax paper and a pat of margarine or softened butter in a bowl ready on the work surface before assembling the corn flake wreaths. In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the green food coloring until thoroughly mixed. Add the corn flakes cereal and coat well.

Using margarine or butter, grease fingers and quickly shape the cereal mixture into mini wreaths or one large wreath on a sheet of wax paper. Let cool and transfer the wreath(s) to a platter or round cake board. With a little amount from a tube or red frosting, dot one side of a red candy and place randomly on the wreath. Attach a bow with a toothpick (optional). Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

  • For an Advent-style wreath, replace the red candies with three purple and one pink candle.
  • Try this recipe with rice cereal instead of corn flakes.
  • Eat…drink…and be merry! Highlander and Islander wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

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Ave Maria Toast

For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we made a simple snack to celebrate Immaculate Mary.  This simple idea would be appropriate for any of Our Lady's feasts, including the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on January 1st! 

Ave Maria Toast

In separate bowls each, I dyed a small amount of whipped cream cheese (whipped definitely spreads smoother than block or regular cream cheese) pale blue and golden yellow with food coloring. I spread some white whipped cream cheese onto some toast. Using snack size ziploc bags, I piped an "A" and an "M" onto the toast in a design inspired by Catholic Emroidery's Ave Maria design.

I think it turned out lovely and the kids enjoyed eating it after they colored Charlotte's Immaculate Conception coloring page. I am sure many of you could come up some with wonderful ideas to add to this or tweak it for other feast days.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Martyr's Crown :: A Cake for the Feast of St. Thomas Becket

"Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered...the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith...All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown." 
~ St. Thomas Becket

In addition to being an excellent choice for the various feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and many other saints who were kings or queens here on Earth, the crown also symbolizes the martyrs, who have been victorious over sin and death and have been crowned saints in heaven.   

For today's feast of St. Thomas Becket, a (middle) name-day for two of our sons, I decided to bake a cake in a "crown" shape pan to celebrate.  The following recipe for Easy Persimmon Cake is my mom's recipe and has been a favorite of mine since childhood.   Persimmons are rare in our area, and my grandparents, who would always send a big box of persimmons to my mom each year, have both passed away, but I was so excited to find some persimmons at Costco this past week!  I'll be making some persimmon cookies soon...  

A Martyr's Crown Cake for St. Thomas Becket
Easy Persimmon Cake

  • 1 pkg Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • Water
  • 3/4 cup Persimmon Pulp
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 3/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

Place cake mix in a large mixing bowl;  add eggs and 1/3 cup LESS water than called for on package of cake mix.   Add spices and persimmon and mix as directed on package.  Stir in nuts.  

Pour into a greased 2 qt ring mold or tube pan. (I used my Fleur de lis Bundt Pan, though I would love to buy this Cathedral Pan for next year... It would be perfect for St. Thomas Becket!) Bake at 350˚F for 45-55 minutes.  Cool.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Note:  You may also use a 9"x13" pan; bake at 350˚F for 35 to 40 min; or two 9" round pans for 25-30 min. 

"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."
~  Revelation 2:10

St. Thomas Becket, Pray for us! 

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eagle Brownies

One of our sons celebrates a name-day on December 27th, the feast of St. John the Evangelist!  I've posted the directions in the past for the Eagle Cake we often make to celebrate this feast day, but this year I thought I'd share a few pictures of this year's version, made with brownies.  

It was a little harder to get out of the 9" square pan (next time I need to remember to line the pan with parchment paper) but the chocolate frosting disguised all the imperfections.  ;)  We used a black M&M for the eagle's eye, some yellow frosting for the beak, and 1 orange spice drop (cut in half) for the feet.

"The Eagle when accompanying St. John the Evangelist is an emblem of the spiritual character of his Gospel, but when the King of Birds accompanies St. Prisca it refers to the legend that an eagle held watch over her body until it was buried after her martyrdom. When a figure bearing an eagle's head, or a four-winged eagle, or a male saint with an eagle is depicted, it always represents St. John, not in the character of a simple Apostle, but as the Evangelist."  ~ How to Distinguish the Saints in Art by Their Costumes, Symbols and Attributes

St. John the Evangelist, Pray for Us! 

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Footprint Cookies on St. Stephen's Day

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

Having some cookie dough already made up in the fridge and knowing that tonight our Christmas book was Stephen's Feast, I decided to make some footprint cookies in honor of St. Wencenslaus and the miracle of his footprints on this special day. I used this template to cut out the shape of the cookies. My first thought was to fill them in with icing and topping them with red and yellow sprinkle sugar.

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather.

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

But then they looked less like footprints and more like sprinkled blobs. That was when I decided on the outline of the shoe print. The sprinkles represented the warmth felt in holy King's steps. I used a simple cookie icing recipe that called for light corn syrup. I was out of light corn syrup so I substituted with honey.

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.

Cookie Icing

1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 tsp. milk
2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Stir together sugar and milk. Add honey and extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick add more honey or milk.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Catholic Cuisine's Christmas Baking Link-Up

Are you ready for Christmas?  It's been a busy week in our home, since we had a My Favorite Things: Sound of Music Birthday Party for our 3 year old on the 15th and a Winter ONEderland Birthday Party for our 1 year old on the 19th!   We decorated these St. Nicholas Cookies inspired by the picture book The Baker's Dozen earlier this month, but we are just now starting our Christmas baking!

I thought I would take a little break from the kitchen to post a link-up for all of our visitors here who would like to share their own Christmas baking from this year!

To participate, just post the recipe(s) on your blog, link back to this post, and add the link to your recipe below. This link-up will remain open until January 7th.  For inspiration, here is the link to our 2010 Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange Link-Up.  Additional ideas can be found in the archives.

May you all have a very Blessed Christmas!  

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Nativity Butters

My children love making homemade butter in a mason jar so much that we decided to do it for Christmas this year too. Instead of making an Easter butter lamb, we used our nativity chocolate molds to make butter molds for Christmas dinner. 

 All you need is a mason jar, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Be prepared for your arms to get a little sore, but it only takes about 10 minutes of shaking the jar to get butter.

We used the same recipe for our homemade butter...

 Homemade Mason Jar Butter

 Pour heavy cream and a few pinches of salt (and honey or lavender or other flavoring) into the mason jar filling it up 1/2 way or less. 

Screw on the lid very tightly. Start shaking and shaking. Now shake some more. At some point after about 5-10 minutes the cream will have gotten very thick. 

Keep shaking and soon it will separate into a soft butter ball and liquid buttermilk. Transitioning to this point is the hardest part as you will feel like it's a whipped firm mass and not even shaking anymore. Keep shaking though, you are almost there.

 Shake a few more minutes to thicken up the butter ball. Then pour the buttermilk out. Save it in a jar for using later for pancakes, biscuits or baking. 

Then we spread our butter into the nativity molds and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours. 


What a lovely addition to our Christmas dinner table.

Hope you have a blessed Christmas!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gluten Free Christmas Pancakes

This post was written by past Catholic Cuisine contributor Amy.

Updated to add the link to our favorite coconut flour, for those who asked!

Since learning about Sweet Pea and Lily's gluten intolerance we have had to really change the way we eat.  One of the things we would really miss was pancakes.  After scouring the internet for a good recipe we came upon Elena's Pantry.  She has a ton of great recipes.  My daughter and I have tweaked it, however, and we thought we would share it with you.

These pancakes are great for just normal days but you can also dress them up for the holiday's with fancy syrup (like mine here) and whip cream!  So I am going to share with you an alternative to your Christmas breakfast!

Gluten Free Pancakes

6 eggs
3/4 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups coconut, almond or a mix of both flours (We use: Gluten Free Mama, Mama's Coconut Blend Flour)
approx. 1/4 - 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

In food processor pulse together the eggs and agave nectar or (real) maple syrup.  I have tried it with honey instead and I have to be honest I didn't really care for it.  It gave it a really strong honey flavor the agave and maple are nice and smooth and sweeten it without overpowering it.  Once combined add baking soda, salt, and flour.  Pulse until well combined.  Check the consistency and depending on how thick you like your pancakes you can add as much milk as you like.  We use the almond or coconut milk because Sweet Pea is also lactose intolerant (poor baby), so you could use cow's milk if you prefer.  The key is, if you make them too thick they won't cook in the middle and that is just gross.  You want it maybe a tad milkier than you would make your regular pancakes.


Cook in a pan with melted coconut oil over low to medium heat, until bubbles start to appear on the top.  This could be pretty fast, so be careful!  Flip.  I press them down a but after a while.  This will give you a hint if they are done enough.  But don't do it too often.  You want them to be fluffy!

Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.

To keep warm if you are making a lot, place on a plate in the over at 170 degrees F with a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering them.  I don't even pinch it down, just set it on top.  This keeps them from drying out.

Makes about a dozen pancakes. Pin It

Friday, December 14, 2012

The 2012 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! 

Prayer to Saint Lucy

Saint Lucy, your beautiful name signifies light. By the light of faith which God bestowed upon you, increase and preserve this light in my soul so that I may avoid evil, be zealous in the performance of good works, and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin.  By your intercession with God, obtain for me perfect vision for my bodily eyes and the grace to use them for God's greater honor and glory and the salvation of all men.  Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. Amen.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Our Lady of Guadalupe Festa!

Last night I shared our Celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe over at Shower of Roses.  I thought I would add it here as well, so you can all see this year's variations on our past Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.   Also, here is a link to the beautiful Mananitas Recording from the Sister Servants! I'll be back later to post this year's Santa Lucia Day link-up.  Be sure to take pictures to share!

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!  

We have dear friends visiting from out of state for the rest of the week, but I wanted to hop online and share a few pictures from this year's celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe!   In addition to reading the two books pictured above, we enjoyed another Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The kids helped set up everything while we anxiously awaited their arrival this afternoon!

Our Lady of Guadalupe by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
Our Lady of Guadalupe Pop-up by Francis Serrano

All ready and waiting for our guests to arrive! 

.: Aztec Chocolate :.
(not quite) Mexican Hot Cocoa (but it is organic!) ;)
Remembering the many innocent lives that were sacrificed by the Aztecs

.: St. Juan Diego :.
Gingerbread Marshmallows for our Mexican Hot Cocoa

.: St. Juan Diego's Sombrero :.
 Pringles with a little round of string cheese

.: Tepayac Hill :.
This year I decided to skip the food for this item and create "Tepayac Hill" with an upside down bowl, some Our Lady of Guadalupe Fabric, and a statue of Our Lady as a centerpiece for the table.

.: A Woman Clothed with the Sun :.
Sun Taco Dip
2 cans 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.  Surround with chips to create the sun's rays.   (Before serving, I did pop it in the oven to melt the cheese.)

.: A Crown of 12 Stars :.
Peppermint Dipped Pretzel Snowflakes Stars

.: Crescent Moons :.
Crescent rolls

.: Supporting Angels :.

Chocolate Lindt Angels 

.: Praying Hands :.
Praying Hand shaped tea sandwiches

.: The Tilma of Roses :.
Tortilla and Cream Cheese with Tomato and Turkey Roses

.: Bishop Zumarraga :.
... leftover from St. Nicholas Day! 

.: Crushed Serpents :.

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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Monday, December 10, 2012

Napkin Poinsettias for Our Lady of Guadalupe

The following post was submitted by Eliana Murphy for the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Thank you Eliana! 

One year, to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we made red napkin poinsettias using a tutorial similar to this one:

Or you can use directions from this site:

1. Lay the napkin out on a clean flat surface. Fold all four corners to the center of the napkin, forming a smaller square. The square should look as if it is quartered by an "X."

2. Fold all four new corners to the center of the napkin, creating an even smaller square. Again, the square should be quartered by an "X."

3. Press two fingers to the center of the X to hold the folds in place. Flip the napkin over so you can see the smooth back of the square.

4. Fold all four corners in so your square is even smaller. The square should be quartered by an X.

5. Place a glass or other heavy object onto the middle of the X to hold the flaps down as you do the next step.

6. Reach underneath one corner of your square. Pull a fold flap from the center of the underside of the napkin and gently tug it out to form a petal. Repeat with the other three corners.

To make the yellow center, we used dried yellow roses we had saved, but you could use yellow tissue paper, a yellow pompom, or an artificial rose.

Additional ideas for celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in the archives

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Candy Cane Coffee Cake

I wanted to make Jessica's beautiful Candy Cane Coffee Cake as a special St. Nicholas Day treat this year but also had some crescent rolls left over from Thanksgiving to use up. So I decided to combine the shaping of that treat with the recipe for her Cherry Cheese Coffee Cake.

I opted for strawberry pie filling since I'm the only one here who likes cherry and only ended up using half a can. I made the cream cheese filling just like the recipe called for but didn't use all of it on the candy cane. I used two rolls of crescent rolls. The first one and a half I used to make the shape of the candy cane and then the other half, I used for the stripes. You can see the stripes better in this pre-cooked photo. It was delicious!!!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Strawberry Santas

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!  I was excited to receive this submission from HI Cookery earlier this evening,  since I had hoped to make these cute little treats, but wasn't able to find decent Strawberries in our area.  Aren't they darling!  You could easily pipe a cross on the hat/miter or in place of the buttons.  You can also use a slice of banana in place of the whip cream for the head/face! 

December 6: Feast Day of St. Nicholas

Make Strawberry Santas

for the Feast of St. Nick!

They’re healthy and cute

and can be made quick!

Strawberry Santas are a great last-minute idea for a seasonal snack and creative Christmas cuisine. Our friend Lisa L. had sent us an Internet image this past weekend suggesting we try these tiny treats. And then while at Whole Foods Market the other day, we even saw them being sold in the gourmet dessert display case! We just couldn’t resist preparing our own Strawberry Santas at home for a ho-ho-ho-holiday blog post and for a fast, fun and festive food on the Feast Day of St. Nicholas.


  • Strawberries
  • Whipped cream (we recommend Cool Whip brand frosting)
  • Mini chocolate chips, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chocolate or black tube frosting or dark nonpareils (for the eyes)
  • Red pearl nonpareils (we used a round 4 millimeter nonpareil) (for the nose)


Wash and dry the strawberries. Slice the leaves off and let the strawberry sit on the flat end. Slice a bit off the pointy end of the strawberry.

Fill a pastry or plastic bag with whipped cream. Use a star tip to form the head/face. Top with the strawberry piece for the hat. Use a small round tip to pipe the buttons and a little ball on top.

Finish the face with eyes by putting in two mini chocolate chips. Add the red pearl nonpareil nose. Arrange on a serving platter and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  • Regular whipped cream is soft and can melt easily so we recommend a stronger and more stabilized whipped cream product, like the new Cool Whip Frosting, or even sweetened whipped cream cheese.
  • Strawberry Santas can be prepared as pops by putting a stick in the bottom of the fruit. Or they can sit atop cupcakes or cookies as a base.
  • Santa hats can be made out of strawberries, too. Simply slice the leaves off and pipe whipped cream around the bottom and a ball on the top tip.

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St. Nikolaas Koekjes

The following recipe was submitted by HI Cookery in honor of today's feast of St. Nicholas! Thank you Highlander and Islander! 

December 6: Feast Day of St. Nicholas

Children traditionally leave out a plate of cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to thank him for delivering gifts and to give him some sweet sustenance for his nightlong journey around the world before returning to his home in the North Pole.

In Holland, there are special cookies named specifically after the legendary gift-giver Santa Claus: St. Nikolaas Koekjes. These crisp cookies contain nuts and seasonal spices. In the tradition of Santa Claus/St. Nikolaas, and in the spirit of giving, we baked these cookies for a crowd at Christmas parties and for the Feast Day of St. Nicholas.


(Adapted from 1001 Cookies Recipes by Gregg R. Gillespie and

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ – ½ cup walnuts, chopped


In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In another bowl or mixer, cream the shortening with the sugar.

Stir in the sour cream until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture. Blend to make a dough. Add the nuts.

Transfer the dough onto wax paper. Shape into a log with a diamter of 2 inches. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Slice the log about ¼ inch thick. Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Allow the cookies to cool to a crisp. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen.

  • Other nuts may be substituted for the walnuts in this recipe.
  • After refrigerating the dough overnight, we firmed it up in the freezer for around 30 minutes for easier slicing.
  • During this commercialized Christmas season, even Santa Claus/St. Nicholas knows that the greatest gift of all is Jesus! Thanks to Islander’s brother for gifting us with the “Kneeling Santa” ornament in the final food photo above. “Kneeling Santa” is inspired by scripture (Philippians 2:10-11).
  • Read more about “Kneeling Santa.” There is a sermon from The Interim and a prayer/poem from the Santa Lady sites.

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