September 8: Nativity of Mary Vanilla Cupcakes

6 ways to celebrate Mama Mary’s birthday:

1. Dessert.
2. Pray the rosary with your family.
3. Say a special prayer to her parents, Anne and Joachim.
4. Pray a litany that is dear to your family in her honor.
5. Buy flowers for the occasion.
6. Open up all the curtains, blinds in your home and let natural light shine into your home, in her honor.

Note: Today’s feast is trumped by the Resurrection (since today is a Sunday), but it is okay to still celebrate! Besides, our lady always points us towards Christ, and I am sure she actually likes having the attention off of her a little–what an amazing mother!

I had never made cupcakes from scratch before, and this recipe I found was simple, easy, and delicious!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preparation and Recipe, thanks to Food Network!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the
oven.

2. Line one 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

4. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the melted butter and then the vanilla.

5. While mixing slowly, add half of the flour mixture. Then add all the milk, followed by the remaining flour mixture; take care not to overmix the batter.

6. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin tin.

7. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, rotating the tin about halfway through baking time, 18 to 20 minutes.

8. Cool the cupcakes in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on the rack completely. Frost and decorate as desired.


Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

September 6: Blessed Claudio Granzotta 3-ingredient Banana Pancakes

The three interesting careers of this up-and-coming saint:
1. Sculptor
2. Italian solider
3. Franciscan friar

To celebrate the three careers (and for an easy breakfast!), let’s have 3 ingredient pancakes!

2 tips for this recipe:

1. Serve with berries for an extra flavor! Or maple syrup. 🙂

2. Because we have a toddler in the home, we made ours on the smaller side, so they didn’t take longer than 1-2 minutes to cook on each side; if they’re bigger, you may want them to cook 2-3 minutes.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 bananas
1/3 cup of flour

Preparation:

1. Combine all three ingredients until smooth.

2. Pour pancake batter onto a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Cook until you see bottom of pancake becoming golden; flip and cook the other side.

Blessed Claudio, pray for us!

September 5: Saint Teresa of Calcutta Easy Chicken Curry

3 things you may not know about Saint Teresa:

1. She was born with the name Agnes; she took the name Mary Teresa in honor of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (a picture of her can be found in the room she lived out her life in)

2. She’s actually from Macedonia, not India.

3. She received her “calling within a calling” as founder of the Sisters of Charity at the age of 36; and she chose the design of their habit based off of those who had the lowest, most degrading of work (those colors were their uniforms!).

2 tips for this recipe:

1. Serve with rice or naan (this is my favorite naan recipe these days!)

2. If you have someone like my husband in your life, someone who really loves spicy food, you can add dried red peppers in at the end to a smaller portion of your curry–everyone wins!

Ingredients

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon curry powder
28 oz crushed tomato
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

Preparation

 1. Season chicken on both sides with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Turn temperature on stove to medium-high. In a good-sized pot, melt the oil in the pot, then add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften.

3. Add garlic and ginger and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.

4. Add paprika, garam masala, and curry powder, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the spices fill the air with their amazing fragrance.

5. Add the crushed tomatoes and the chicken; stir to combine. Let curry sit and stew for at least 45 minutes, or longer!

6. Before serving, add the yogurt to the curry. Enjoy!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

September 3: Saint Gregory the Great Easy-As-You-Want-It Pizza

Just a handful of reasons why “the Great” is attached to this man’s name:

1. He was a Benedictine monk who had NO desire whatsoever to be a higher-up in the Church, let alone pope. He even hid from the people! But, when hiding in a cave, Gregory was found because a column of light shone upon his hiding spot! God really, really knew that the Church needed Greg at the time.

2. He was strict and uncompromising, readily purging those who had no business being in the Church (something to give us hope today?). Really fitting, given that his name in Greek means “watchful, alert.”

3. He was the first pope to send missionaries to Britain.

4. He adopted Latin in place of Greek in the Vulgate; so, he’s one of the reasons why Latin is the language of the Church!

5. Gregorian chant, anyone?

The big tip with this recipe:

1. Having a pizza seemed fitting, and I had planned to do a Greco-Roman one, given #4 above, but my husband pointed out that Gregory was *great* and did all kinds of things…so why not have a pizza with all the things? (Anything for hubby to have green chile and Italian sausage on his pizza, amiright?)

But, I had to agree with him. Make your pizza as great as you want to! Here’s what we did for ours, because it was one of those evenings where easy was going to win:

Ingredients

Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
Trader Joe’s pizza dough
2 cups of four cheese blend

On half the pizza:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup feta (topped after cooking)

On other half of pizza:
1/2 cup sausage
1/2 green chile
1/4 cup corn

Preparation

1. Take pizza dough out of refrigerator at least 30 minutes (60 is better!) in advance.
2. Preheat oven to from 475 degrees
3. Use a teensy bit of olive oil on your baking sheet, and then stretch dough out on sheet pan.
4. Spread pizza sauce evenly; leave room for crust.
5. Scatter your toppings.
6. Bake in lowest rack of oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us!


August 30: Saint Jeanne Jugan French Onion Soup Noodles (Recipe from Mother Thyme!)

3 reasons to get to know Saint Jeanne:

1. She was born in revolutionary France and saw suffering in her own home and on the bloody streets around her.

2. She’s the founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, but the chaplain reassigned her in one of the most deamning of positions, where she served with love for almost 30 years (most of the sisters in her order didn’t know she was the founder!!)

3. Her mission was to care for the most rejected in society, particularly the forgotten elderly who badly needed care.

2 tips for this recipe:

1. If it had not been a Friday, I totally would have added chicken thigh. Next year when we celebrate her, add on all the chicken.

2. We went with the cheeses we had in the house, but there are lots of good options: Swiss, Parmesan, Havarti, you name it!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet onions (about 1 large, peeled and sliced)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces egg noddles
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, your choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Prepation

Recipe can be found here.


Saint Jeanne Jugan, pray for us!

August 29: Beheading of Saint John the Baptist Lettuce Wrap Bar

The big reason why this is an important feast to celebrate:

1. John the Baptist is dying as a martyr, defending what is good, true, and beautifully–in this case, marriage.

6 easy (and fairly lazy) filling ideas for your wraps:

1. We’re using up leftovers here, and so we’re gonna enjoy the North African meatballs from yesterday served a little differently.

2. I’ve also got about 1 1/2 cups of chicken; I’ll shred that, and then we can serve it up with whatever sauces we have on hand in the refrigerator–BBQ, Goyza, Greek yogurt, salad dressings, you name it!

3. Use up leftover veggies by shredding or chopping them.

4. Feeling extra bold? Chop up some fruits or add raisins/cranberries for some sweetness.

5. And for the crunch-lover in me: add some crunch with smashed chips, or toasted walnuts for the healthier kick.

6. I have a head of cauliflower to grind up–that will be a tasty, pun-intended filling too!

Preparation

1. Combine ingredients to your liking; serve on a platter to be a little extra for the feast.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!

August 27 and 28: Saints Augustine and Monica North African Meatballs

“Gus, I wanted a family photo…Gus, are you sailing away?!”

2 geographical facts for you about this mother-son duo:

1. Everyone says “St. Augustine of Hippo”–but at your next trivia night, don’t let that fool you! Augustine was born in Thagaste, but he tried his hardest to convert the people in Hippo. Now you know.

2. Monica was such a devout that she followed Augustine all over, even when he went scampering off to Milan a time or two! Try as she might, her son did leave her on the shore crying one time!

2 tips for this recipe:

1. Thanks to Kendra Tierney, who shared this delicious recipe, we decided to have a heavier meal than just wine-soaked pears. 😉 I did make some alterations to it, but you can serve this kind of recipe to your liking–personally, I wanted burgers, but we didn’t have any buns in the house. The sky is the limit!

2. Serve with veggies or couscous; our couscous came out a little watery, but it was perfect for the feast! We have named it “Monica’s weeping couscous” and may keep it around for future feasts.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef and/or lamb
1 medium onion, grated
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons coriander
Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

Preparation

1. Turn skillet onto medium-high heat on stove.

2. In a large bowl and using your hands, combine all the ingredients together. Like with hamburgers, don’t over mix your ingredients.

3. Shape into meatballs.

4. Add a little bit of oil to skillet; cook meat until it has reached 160 degrees; this should take about 12-15 minutes, so flip meatballs occasionally for even brown sides.

Saints Augustine and Monica, pray for us!



August 27 and 28: Saints Monica and Augustine Wine-Soaked Pears

2 reasons this recipe works for these 2 saints:

1. In his Confessions, Augustine shares that when she was a little girl, his mother Monica had a little obsession with wine, bringing her little wine glass with her from house to house. She was eventually scolded by one of her serving maids, and that ended the affection for wine.

2. One of the most famous scenes from Confessions describes Augustine stealing pears with his friends–not because he was hungry, but just for the sake of stealing. This pear-theft incident was a major turning point in his life.

3 tips for this recipe:

1. The longer you let the pears soak, the more flavorful they will be. At the least, give them half an hour.

2. Serve with creme fraiche, ricotta cheese, or something else for a little bit more flair!

3. Save remaining liquid for another use, such as making mulled wine. As my husband said, “It tastes like Christmas.”

Ingredients

2 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
1 peach, sliced
1 lemon, juiced and quartered
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
2 pears, peeled, halved, and cored

1. In a medium-sized pot, combine wine, water, peaches, lemon juice, lemon pieces, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves; bring to boil over high heat.

2. Add pears, reduce heat to a simmer, and place lemon and peach pieces on top of pears to submerge them in liquid.

3. Cook, covered, until pears are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes.

Saints Monica and Augustine, pray for us!

August 24: Saint Bartholomew Chili Cheese Potato Skins

2 things this O.A. (original apostle) is most often known for:

1. Bartholomew, patron saint of tanners, is often depicted with a large knife and holding his own skin.  He was flayed alive.

2. He is usually identified as Nathanael (John 1:45-49, John 21:2).

Ingredients
3 russet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 can 12 oz kidney bean, drained and rinsed
1 can 12 oz diced tomato, drained and rinsed
1 cup roasted green chile
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, to serve
fresh cilantro, chopped, to serve

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.

2. On a baking sheet, place 3 potatoes; using a fork, puncture holes all around the
potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the potato gives when you press into it.

3. In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, and stir until golden.

4. Add the garlic and ground beef, breaking up the meat into the onions and garlic.

5. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.

6. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, and green chili peppers, and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

7. Once the potatoes have cooled, place one on a cutting board. Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Cut off one of the ends of the potato. Using a spoon, scoop out the
insides of the potato making sure not to scoop out too much or the potato skin will be too thin. With the remaining potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and cut off both of the ends and scoop out the potato.

8. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, place both ends. Place three of the skins alongside one potato end and place the other 3 potato skins alongside the other end.

9. Brush the potato skins with the rest of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

10. Scoop the chili into the potato skins and packing it down into an even layer. Sprinkle the cheese over the potato skins. Bake for 5 minutes until melted.

11. Top with sour cream and cilantro.

Notes
Recipe from Julie Klink

Saint Bartholomew, pray for us!

August 23: Saint Rose of Lima Tallarines Verdes (Peruvian Pasta)

4 key things about Saint Rose:

1. She was a Third Order Dominican inspired by the life of Saint Catherine of Siena.

2. Saint Rose was the first Catholic to be canonized in the Americas—the first to be declared a saint.

3. She also had a special devotion to the Child Jesus and to his Blessed Mother (which is the big reason you’ll see her depicted in art with baby Jesus).

4. When she died at 31, the ENTIRE city of Lima turned out for her funeral.

1 way to dress up this pasta for next year:

1. St. Rose’s feast day happened to be on a Friday this year, but next year, add steak on top of the pasta! My husband and I first came upon this dish at the Peruvian restaurant by our old home, and it is an exceptional combination! But, the noodles by themselves are just as delicious.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup diced red onion (from 1 small onion)
5 ounces spinach
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup ounces queso fresco, crumbled, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Fresh juice from 1-2 limes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta

Preparation

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add spinach and basil; cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer spinach and basil to a fine wire-mesh strainer; cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

4. Add spinach and basil, queso fresco, milk, walnuts, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

5. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

6. Toss spaghetti with spinach mixture, adding cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

7. Garnish with additional basil and queso fresco. 

Notes
Recipe from Paige Grandjean

Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us!