Caprese Salad with Tomato Rose for St. Rita


This clever idea was shared by my friend, Alexandra, who put a novel twist on the Rose Garden Tea Sandwich. These lovely tomato roses are the centerpiece of an Italian Caprese inspired salad. Caprese is a combination of flavors, textures, and freshness: ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar. In this version the slice of fresh mozzarella is layered with a basil leaf and then drizzled with balsamic vinegar and topped with the lovely tomato rose. Focusing on the Italian origin of the Caprese salad with the rose tomato variation this would be a perfect addition for the feast of Italy's St. Rita of Cascia (May 22) who is often pictured with roses and has a rose miracle story. Or could be for one of the Italian Roses - St. Rose of Viterbo (September 4) or St. Rose Venerini (May 7).


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Divine Mercy Cinnamon Rolls


Last year I made these heart shaped cinnamon rolls with whipped cream and berries to serve on Divine Mercy Sunday along bacon, scrambled eggs and orange juice. They were so easy to make and I'm planning to serve them again this year!

Divine Mercy Cinnamon Rolls 

What you need: 
  • Ready-to-Bake Cinnamon Rolls (Last year I used the Jumbo Rolls from Trader Joe's. This year I'm planning to use homemade Cinnamon Roll dough.) 
  • Whipped Cream
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Blueberries


Directions: 

Take each pre-sliced cinnamon roll and completely unroll it. To re-roll it into the shape of a heart, simply roll up both ends at the same time until they meet in the middle. Pinch the bottom to form the "point" of the heart. Bake as usual.

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Organic 6-Grain Waffles for the Annunciation



The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25th. The main food associated with this feast is waffles. You can read more in Jenn's post on Lady Day Feasting in the archives. A couple years ago we made these delicious Organic 6-Grain Waffles using a Belgian Waffle Maker and topped them with Marionberries and Maple Syrup!  This year my girls are planning to make the thinner Swedish style waffles using our heart shaped waffle maker and may try the recipe Charlotte shared for Annunciation Waffles which can also be found in the archives.

Organic 6-Grain Waffles 
with Marionberries & Maple Syrup

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 3 tablespoons Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Organic 6-Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix 
  • Marionberries (optional)
  • Maple Syrup (optional)

Directions: 

Place milk, egg, and oil in a medium bowl, stir with a wire whisk until smooth.  Add pancake mix and store until the large lumps disappear. Do not over mix. Let stand for 1 or 2 minutes to thicken while you heat waffle iron.  Be sure to spray waffle iron with pan spray so your waffles don't stick before cooking. Enjoy! 

Note: I purchased a 5 pound bag of the mix made by Central Milling Company (for a great price!) at our local Costco. It can also be found over at Amazon




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Cannoli Bites for Solemnity of St. Joseph


This recipe is a different take on a classic Italian feast day treat; simpler than the traditional cannoli but with similar flavors.  Making cannoli is a big process and it to great way to get the flavor of cannoli without the work. Use a pre-made pie crust, flavor it a little, cut into small circles and make mini cups to fill with the cream.

Cannoli Bites

Ingredients:
Cannoli cups:
1 refrigerated pie crust
3 tablespoons coarse natural sugar (Turbinado)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
dry white wine

Cannoli Filling:
16 oz whole milk Ricotta cheese, strained
4 oz Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions:
For the cannoli cups - Heat oven to 400°F.  Thaw pie crust. Unroll the crust onto a lightly floured surface. Brush lightly with wine and sprinkle the top of each crust with the sugar and spice mixture. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and spices are pressed into the dough.



With a 2 – 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out circles and lightly press them inside a greased mini muffin cup to create a pastry cup.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Cool.


For Filling  - In a mixing bowl, blend together Ricotta and Mascarpone cheese to mix well and remove lumps. Add sugars and vanilla and mix in. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

After mini shells/cups are cool, remove cannoli filling from refrigerator, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a tip (or you can use a large resealable bag and cut the tip off one end). Pipe filling into cups and sprinkle with chocolate chips and dust with powdered sugar. 


For best results serve within 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.  Makes approximately 20 cannoli bits.

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Pray for us!


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St. Patrick’s Day Potato


The St. Patrick’s Day Potato from See’s Candies is a fun treat for the feast of this great Irish saint! According to the ingredient list, the “dirt” is actually cocoa powder and cinnamon, the white “potato” inside is delicious nougat with walnuts, and it’s topped with a few pine nuts representing the “eyes of the potato.”


Pick them up at the store if you have one in your area or order them online while you can
Only available seasonally!


These photos were from last year's celebration. You can find links to our St. Patrick from Naturally Catholic (pictured above) and the free printables for our Blessed Trinity Shamrock "Glory Be" Prayer Poster over at Shower of Roses. Scroll through all St. Patrick's Day posts here

Find additional recipes for St. Patrick's Day in the archives here at Catholic Cuisine!

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St. Joseph and St. Patrick Cakes

The following cake was submitted by Anna, from Regina Coeli Baker for the upcoming March feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph. You can find additional cakes decorated by Regina Coeli Baker here. Thank you, Anna!


I decorated this cake for the 150th Anniversary of St. Benedict Parish. It is a cluster of four Parishes, St. Benedict, Sacred Heart, St. Patrick and St. Joseph. 

 

 

The statues of Saints were totally edible and built on ice cream cones. Flowers are hand modeled with fondant. Topper and arches in pastillage. Tailor made cakes for every saint. Chocolate with Chocolate filling for St. Benedict. Red velvet with cream cheese filling for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Green with almond filling for Saint Patrick. White cake with rum buttercream for St. Joseph. Also a yellow cake tier with dulce de leche filling. Covered with buttercream.


St. Patrick, pray for us! St. Joseph, pray for us!

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St. Brigid's Hearty Healing Beef Stew



I wish I had a great lake of ale for the King of kings, and the family of heaven to drink it through time eternal. I wish I had the meats of belief and genuine piety, the flails of penance, and the men of heaven in my house.  ~ St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid is the patron saint for numerous things including cattle and dairy work. She was said to be the best mead and ale maker in all of Ireland, as well as an excellent cook. One way to celebrate this Abbess from Kildare is to enjoy a steaming bowl of Irish Beef stew… made with Ireland’s own Guinness Draught!

Many miracles have been attributed to St. Brigid that involve physical healing. Another great recipe to serve on her feast day is the following nourishing and delicious Hearty Healing Beef Stew adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks The Healing Kitchen: 175+ Quick & Easy Paleo Recipes to Help You Thrive.  I love beef stew and finally have a new favorite (grain and nightshade free!) recipe to replace my old favorite which is no longer on the list of foods I can eat.

I modified the original ingredients (serves 4 to 5) from The Healing Kitchen to make enough stew for our family of nine:

Hearty Healing Beef Stew

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (This time I used 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I am out so I used 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon) 
  • 2 (1-inch) pieces fresh orange peel
  • 8 cups Beef Broth 
  • 1 - 15 oz can Sweet Potato Puree
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 8-10 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (the first time I used 1 bag of Trader Joe's Carrots of Many Colors) 
  • 1 head of celery, chopped
  • 1-2 bunches of kale, chopped

Directions: 

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and brown on all sides for 8-10 minutes total, but avoid getting a crust on the outside.  (Make sure you scrape up all those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of your pot to give your stew a deep, rich flavor!)

Stir in the onion, thyme, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.



Add the broth, sweet potato puree, and wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a  lid, and cook for 1 hour.



Add the carrots and celery to the pot and return the stew to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 40 minutes. Add the chopped kale, submerging it in the liquid, and cook for 25 more minutes, until wilted and tender.  

Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and orange peel before serving. 


For the feast of St. Brigid, our girls enjoy baking "St. Brigid's Cross Dinner Rolls" to serve alongside the stew for the rest of the family who aren't on a grain-free diet. I love how they turn out!



Prayer to St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid,
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.

May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.

Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
Amen.

St. Brigid Doll from Catholic Folk Toys

You can find additional recipes and ideas for celebrating the feast of St. Brigid in the archives here at Catholic Cuisine and over at Shower of Roses


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Melt-in-your-mouth Maple Candy to Celebrate Canadian Saints


The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada. Aaahhh, the taste of maple. Is there anything better or more Canadian? I always loved these melt-in-your-mouth candies made from maple syrup, but had never tried to make my own. Following this recipe from Epicurious as a guide for the candy making process, I gave it a try for the feast of Canada's St. Andre Bessette today.

St. Andre was a Brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and as the doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal,  St. Andre humbly devoted his life to prayer, serving the Lord and comforting the sick and afflicted.  His responsibilities were to answer the door, to welcome guests, find the people they were visiting, wake up those in the school, and deliver mail. Brother Andre joked later, "At the end of my novitiate, my superiors showed me the door, and I stayed there for forty years."

St. Andre is commemorated in most of the world by an optional memorial on January 6. His memorial is celebrated in Canada on January 7. I know it is too late for most to probably make these for today, but since tomorrow is his Canadian feast might be an option. But, next week St. Marguerite Bourgeoys optional memorial is January 12. St. Marguerite founded the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Montreal, and was also instrumental along with her teaching nuns, in helping to establish the Canadian city of Montreal.

Candy cold shape/symbol considerations:
  • A cross since St. Andre was a brother with the Congregation of Holy Cross. 
  • The cross is also good for St. Marguerite as depictions show her wearing a large cross as part of her habit.
  • He also had a great devotion to St. Joseph so any symbols associated with St. Joseph could work, too for St. Andre. 
  • Also a door since St. Andre was called "God's Doorkeeper." 
  • Maple leaf molds are the traditional one for these candies and since we are talking about Canadian saints that works well. 

Maple Syrup Candy 

Ingredients:
2 cups pure light-grade maple syrup, (Grade A Golden Delicate)
A few drops of vegetable oil or butter

Directions:
Set some candy molds into a jelly-roll pan. Set aside.  [I used this cross on oval candy mold from CK Products.]

Pour the syrup into a large pot. Add a few drops of oil. (Boiling maple syrup will foam up; the oil keeps the foam down. Buttering the rim of the pot also helps.)


Boil carefully over high heat, without stirring, until the temperature of the boiling syrup is 28°F/17°C above the boiling point of your water (212°F/100°C at sea level). [Since water boils at different temperatures in different elevations, if you don’t know your exact boiling point do this step before boiling syrup - To determine boiling point of water in your location fill a pot partially with water. Bring to a boil, and note the temperature of the boiling water with a candy thermometer. ]

Remove from the heat and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir or disturb the candy at this point; if the thermometer is attached to the pan, leave it there during the cooling period.

Stir evenly until the liquid loses its gloss, starts to become opaque, and begins to thicken. (This is the tricky part; if you stir too long the thickened syrup will “set up,” or harden, in the pan. If this happens, add a cup of water, and reheat slowly to dissolve the sugar, then start over. But if you don’t stir long enough, the sugar may not “set up” in the molds at all.) [I had to do mine a second time to get the timing right since it did start to set up in the pan for me the first time – practice…] 



Carefully spoon/pour the candy into the molds. It’s helpful to have an assistant spread the syrup in the molds while you continue to pour the mixture into the other molds. Allow the candies to cool, remove from the molds, place on a rack to dry for a few hours, and enjoy.

St. Andre Bessette and St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pray for us. 


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Epiphany of the Lord

Epiphany Cupcakes from last year's celebration!

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is celebrated either on January 6 or, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. (source)

The word Epiphany means “manifestation.” As such, the object of the Church on this feast is not only to commemorate the historical arrival of the Magi with their gifts for the new-born King, but moreover to adore the same Christ Who continues to reveal Himself to us today.

It is an ancient custom to bless the home on Epiphany followed by a festive meal. The current year and the legendary initials of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar) are marked above the outside doorway with blessed chalk; crosses are placed between the initials and year: 20+C+M+B+17. The initials C-M-B are also interpreted as the Latin phrase “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means “Christ bless this home!”


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Alphabet Soup for the Saint Educators


With the upcoming feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4), it seems a good time to feature an idea for those saints associated with education.  A hearty vegetable meatball soup is a good one for a winter evening and adding in alphabet pasta is a way to recognize teaching saints. We have several saints this month associated with education, who are patrons of students or teachers or who were teachers themselves, like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who opened schools, trained teachers and prepared textbooks for use in the schools.

  • St. John Neumann (January 5) is credited with  establishing the first system of parochial in US and opened 100 schools in eight years in Philadelphia while bishop.
  • St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (January 12) established an order of teaching sisters in Canada and opened the first school in Montreal. 
  • St. Francis de Sales (January 24) is a patron of educators.  
  • St. Angela Merici (January 27) founded the Ursuline Order, the first religious order for women dedicated exclusively to the education of girls.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) is the patron of universities, Catholic schools and students.  
  • St. John Bosco (January 31) ran a school for boys and is the patron of youth. 

The saints associated with teaching are numerous and their feast days can be found throughout the year. To find out feast days for other education related saints such as, St. John Baptist de La Salle (April 7), St. Rose Venerini (May 7), St. Mary MacKillop (August 8), St. Madeline Sophie Barat (August 25), St. Gregory the Great (September 3), St. Teresa of Calcutta (September 5), St. Theodore Guerin (October 3), St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18), and more...

You can check out these patronage lists:
http://catholicsaints.info/patrons-of-students/
http://catholicsaints.info/patrons-of-schools/
http://catholicsaints.info/patrons-of-teachers/
http://catholicsaints.info/saints-who-were-teachers/


Meatball Vegetable Alphabet Soup

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup alphabet pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef or chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) pureed tomatoes
1 cup chopped kale (optional)
2  Tbsp tomato paste2 tsp Italian spice
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 °F.

In bowl, combine mayonnaise, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and ground meat; mix well. Shape into bite-size balls and arrange on 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake meatballs in oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, rinse, drain and set aside.
In large saucepan, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and Italian spice; bring to boil. [I added chopped kale as an option since it is considered a "brain food" and this is a soup for educators.] Reduce heat and simmer, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add pasta and meatballs. Reheat and serve.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and all patron saints of teachers, education, and students, Pray for us. 


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