Wednesday, July 31, 2013

St. Ignatius Cupcakes

~Happy Feast of St. Ignatius~
Our family loves this story of a brave Spanish soldier, who longed to be a knight.  In fact, his story inspired our cupcake decor!
After surviving a shot in the legs with a canon, he read the Bible and the lives of the saints while he recovered for months in bed.  Deciding he wanted to give his life to God, he made a pilgrimage to Montserrat, Spain, where a statue of the Virgin Mary still stands, carved by St. Luke.  There at the altar, he left his sword and all of his riches, deciding to devote his life to God.  
(Hence, the sword-shaped toothpicks came in handy for cupcake decor:)  
He went on to be a soldier for Christ and helped protect the teachings of the Church as part of the counter-Reformation in the 1500's.
He started the Society of Jesus, known as the "Jesuits."
is the greek translation for the Holy Name of Jesus which became the symbol for the Jesuits.  Our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, is a Jesuit so how neat is that?
St. Ignatius of Loyola is also know for writing the well-know Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
Your favorite cake/cupcake mix
Chocolate frosting
Icing for writing
Sword-shaped toothpicks 

Bake the cupcakes according to instructions and decorate according to the symbols of St. Ignatius above.
Enjoy learning about another great saint!
"Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow his grace to mold them accordingly." ~St. Ignatius Loyola~

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shell Cakes for St. James

Today we celebrate the feast of St. James the Greater, which happens to be a "nameday" in our home!  In the past I have always made Tarta de Santiago or Coupe Saint-Jacques, but this year I decided to try out my new cookbook and madeleine pan and make madeleines Shell shaped cakes. (Cockle and Scallop Shells are symbols of St. James.)

They turned out great and I'm looking forward to trying some of the other recipes soon.  In fact our son's baptismal anniversary is coming up next week, which might be the perfect opportunity to try out the "Vegan Coconut Milk-Cinnamon" though he is really intrigued by the "Bacon and Chocolate!"  We might have to make both... This should be fun!

Basic Madeleine
adapted from We Love Madeleines

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra for Dusting the Pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Eggs, At Room Temperature
  • 1 Egg Yolk, At Room Temperature
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted and Cooled to Room Temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Powdered Sugar for Dusting


In a small bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until the batter is thick enough to ribbon and lighter in color.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture.  Carefully fold in the flour mixture using a rubber spatula, until just combined.

In a small bowl, whisk one-third of the batter into the melted butter, then fold the butter mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.  Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour.

Preheat over to 350˚F with the rack positioned in the center.  Grease a madeleine pan with melted butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each mold three-quarters full.  Bake until the madeleines are golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.

When the madeleines come out of the oven, immediately turn them out onto wire racks and let cool.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Happy Feast of St. James! 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chocolate Graham Scapulars

+Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel+
Here's a simple idea to help celebrate!

This is all you need!
(No, I take that back. Our Lady is really all you need...To lead you closer to Jesus, of course!;) But here's a few more things you might need to make these treats...
Chocolate Graham Crackers
Marshmallow Creme
Various colors of icing
Spread graham crackers with marshmallow creme and decorate with preferred scapular pattern.  The basic designs are obviously easier to make:)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, please pray for us!
Enjoy more information about this feast day here.
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Watch the weather on St. Swithin's Day

A sweet sister in Christ sent me a link, a few weeks ago, to this feast day recipe at Catholic Culture.

July 15, the feast of St. Swithin, is, apparently a day to watch the weather. It is said of this very popular English saint:

Saint Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain, for forty days it will remain; Saint Swithin's Day, if thou be fair, for forty days 'twill rain nae mair.
Saint Swithin's connection with the weather, and particularly with the rain, doubtless comes from the legend that in his humility he asked to be buried outside his cathedral, where passers-by would step over his grave and raindrops from the eaves would fall upon it. 


Rain or shine, it would be a lovely day to bake a summer cake in honor of this memorable saint (and as July 15 is also the feast of St. Bonaventure, you have a doubly good reason to celebrate). The thought, however, of baking an spiced apple cake (as the recipe at the link suggested) in the middle of July, when apples are hardly in their prime in the Midwest of the United States, did not sound quite right to me. Thus, I turned St. Swithin's cake into a delicious shortcake-like cake with wild blueberries on top. It could not be an easier cake to bake, with the aid of baking mix, and for me, a one-pound bag of frozen wild blueberries. Blueberries are in season in much of America right now, but my bushes are not producing well this year, so a bag of frozen berries did the trick. (If you choose to use fresh berries, your baking time should be quite a bit shorter so set the timer for about 30 minutes and then check it every five minutes or so until it's done.)

My family enjoys any fruity cake, warm from the oven, with just a drizzle of cold heavy cream, but it would be delightful, as well, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a squirt of sweetened whipped cream. It would be a wonderful coffee cake for breakfast, at tea time, or for dessert.

I modified the recipe to accommodate my frozen blueberries, but refer back to the original recipe if you'd like an apple cake, and remember to shorten your baking time if you use unfrozen (fresh) berries.

St. Swithin's Summer Cake
(will it rain or will it shine?)

2 cups biscuit mix*
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb. frozen wild blueberries, thawed 
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine biscuit mix and 1/3 cup sugar. 
Combine eggs and cream; stir into biscuit mix with fork. 
Spread dough in bottom of greased 8-inch springform pan. 

Pour thawed blueberries on top of the dough, spreading to an even layer, but avoiding touching the pan if possible. 
Sprinkle with sugar. Pour melted butter evenly over all. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes, testing just before timer goes off. 
Cool slightly and remove sides of the pan. Serve warm, cut into wedges with cream or ice cream.

*I use this recipe for a foolproof homemade version of standard Bisquick -- just a quick whirl in the processor and I store it in a glass jar.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

4 More Festive Foods on the 4th {and a link-up!}

I mentioned that we were still trying to decide what to make for this year's 4th of July celebration earlier this week when I posted 6 Patriotic Treats for Independence Day.  I thought I'd share what we ended up making, as well as a link up for any other American readers who would like to share their 4th of July celebrations! 

.: Star Spangled Berry Cake :. 

.: American Flag Cupcakes :.

We have been reading about Our Flag this week, from the sweet Little Golden Book, and the girls were very excited to help create this year's Flag Cupcakes.  Since we were using all the berries on the cake and brownies the girls decorated the cupcakes with white frosting with white & red sprinkles and blue frosting with white stars!  I thought it turned out great, even if we were short on stars...  Just think of it as the Flag of 1822! ;) 


.: Red, White & Blue Berry Brownie Torte :.

Recipe can be found here: Red, White & Blue Berry Brownie Torte

.: Flag Fruit & Marshmallow Kabobs :. 

Directions: Thread 4 blueberries, 2 mini-marshmallows and 2 raspberries on each of five 10-inch wooden sticks. On the remaining seven sticks, thread 4 raspberries and 3 marshmallows to create this all-American treat.

To Participate:

1. Create a post about your 4th of July Food Creations.
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 link-up as well!
4. Be sure to visit the links and see how everyone else celebrated!

God Bless America! 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

6 Patriotic Treats for Independence Day

Last year our children had so much fun helping create treats to take to the 4th of July party we were attending.  We are still trying to decide what we will make for tomorrow, but I thought I'd repost these here in case any of you are still looking for ideas too!     

.: 4th of July Ice Cream Cones :.

Sugar cones dipped in melted white chocolate and rolled in sprinkles
Served with Vanilla White or Strawberry Red Ice Cream
(these were a hit with the kids AND adults!) 

.: Red, White and Blueberry Trifle :. 

White cake, blueberries, whip cream and strawberries
layered in a trifle bowl!  So pretty and easy!


.: Red Licorice :.

(leftover) Red Licorice wrapped in bundles with these free Printable Napkin Rings (inspiration found here)

.: Sparkler Pretzel Rods :.

Pretzel Rods dipped in melted white chocolate and decorated with sprinkles

.: Red, White, and Blue Berries :.

Strawberries (washed and dried completely) dipped in melted white chocolate and blue sprinkles

(I ran across this idea online, and it looks like Charlotte made them this year too, along with all their awesome t-shirts!  One of these years we need to try painting t-shirts.  I love how theirs turned out, especially the patriotic cupcake for that cute-as-can-be-god-daughter of ours!) 

.: United States Flag Cupcakes :.

White Cupcakes decorated with whipped cream, sliced strawberries and blueberries (as an alternative to last year's flag cake

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

From his 1791 Prayer for Government, recited in parishes throughout his diocese. Archbishop John Carroll, SJ

Happy Independence Day! 

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