August 22: Queenship of Mary “Queen Cake”

2 mysteries of the Rosary that tie perfectly into today’s celebration (which is the fifth Glorious Mystery!):

1. The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of Mary, which we celebrated a week ago! I love how these two celebrations line up together so closely.

2. The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation. Elizabeth greets Mary with the title “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43), which in my humble opinion, has got some queenly significance to it!

1 reason to go with “Queen Cake,” and 3 ways to dress it up:

1. My whole liturgical eating began with the feast of the Epiphany back in January. I made these cinnamon rolls as a “King Cake,” and they were a hit in our home! My husband and I even talked months later about wanting to eat those cinnamon rolls again and again…but we really liked the idea of saving them for a special feast. I must admit that we are happy that we don’t have to wait until January to have them again–there’s another feast to enjoy them, and it’s lovely that they are about 7 months apart! But you can make them a little different by doing these things:

A. Add blue food coloring to your icing.
B. Don’t like food coloring? Add blueberries on top!
C. Instead of putting a baby in your cake, place a little statue of Mary or a Marian medal in your cake! The winner can keep it (and maybe have to make the cake next year!)




Ingredients

Dough
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups whole milk, warm
½ cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
5 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Filling
¾ cup butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon honey

Preparation

1. In a large bowl, whisk together warm milk, melted butter, and granulated sugar. Make sure the mixture is warm, not hot.

2. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the warm mixture and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

3. Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour to the milk mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

4. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

5. Generously butter 2 smaller pans or one larger pan and set aside.

6. Make the filling: in a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Mix well, then set aside.

7. Remove the towel and add an additional cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Stir well, then turn out onto a well-floured surface.

8. Knead the dough lightly, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough just loses its stickiness and does not stick to the surface.

9. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about ½-inch (1 cm) thick. Fix corners to make sure they are sharp and even.

10. Spread filling evenly across dough.

11. Roll up the dough, forming a log, and pinch the seam closed. Place seam-side down. Trim off any unevenness on either end.

12. Cut the log in half, then divide each half into 7 evenly sized pieces, about 1½ inches thick.

13. Place about 7 cinnamon rolls in each cake pan, one in the center, six around the sides.

14. Cover rolls and place in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

15. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

16. To prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add honey.

17. Remove plastic wrap or towel from rolls. Bake the cinnamon rolls in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. While still warm, drizzle evenly with frosting.

Mary, Queen of Heaven and of Earth, pray for us!

August 21: Saint Pius X Focaccia Bread

4 things you may not have known about this pope-turned-saint:

1. He was born in Italy, but his parents were Polish. Think of all the combos you could do for a whole feast!

2. He made miracles happen IN his lifetime, specifically curing children from awful conditions and diseases.

3. Have you read his Oath Against Modernism? Yay or nay, you should give it a read.

4. He is known as “Pope of the Blessed Sacrament,” which led to a bread recipe in his honor!

1 way to jazz up your focaccia in honor of today’s saint:

1. Traditionally, I poke holes all around the focaccia, but I only made indents in the shape of an X this time; then, I placed rosemary in those spots so that the X popped out beautifully.

Ingredients
Dough
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 ⅓ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons yeast

Toppings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preparation

1. Combine water, olive oil, honey, salt, flour, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix well and knead the dough until it is elastic.

2. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise once for 1 hour in a warm place, until the dough has doubled.

3. Preheat oven to 375˚F.




4. Remove the dough from the bowl and stretch the dough into a circle.

5. Place the dough into well-oiled cast iron pan. Cover with towel or plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

6. Poke the top with your fingertips, ideally in the shape of an X.

7. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper.

8. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Notes
Adapted from Rie McClenny

Saint Pius X, pray for us!

August 20: Saint Bernard Nursing Cookies

The 1 thing you’re probably shocked St. B is the patron of:

1. He is the patron saint of nursing mothers!

Yes, and it ties perfectly into his devotion to the Blessed Mother! In a vision, Mary sprays breast milk on St. Bernard while nursing Jesus. Why? It was her response to his prayer, “Show me that you are a human mother.”

1 tip for this recipe:

1. I usually end up freezing most of the dough, which is great because husband and I can pull it out whenever and enjoy cookies anytime.

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats
1.5 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup brewer’s yeast

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
3. Add eggs and mix well.
4. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
5. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
6. Stir in oats and chips. Scoop onto baking sheet.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Saint Bernard, pray for us!

Notes
Recipe adapted from Noel Trujillo

August 19: Saint John Eudes Cognac Stawberries

3 things about another (and probably new to you!) St. John:

1. A French saint, he had zealous devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.

2. He was the founder of two religious orders, one specifically for prostitutes who wanted to escape that lifestyle.

3. “All that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties.” -St. J.E.

Ingredients

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Cognac
1 pound strawberries, halfed and cut into hearts

Lemon zest, 1 lemon

Preparation

1. Combine sugar and cognac. Stir in strawberries.

2. Refrigerate until cold, about 20 minutes.

Notes
Adapted from Rachel Ray

August 16: Saint Stephen of Hungary White Yam Bites

2 fun facts about this saintly king of Hungary:

1. Born a pagan, he is the first canonized saint of his country. He was baptized around the age of 10.

2. He married Saint Henry’s sister; I love when saints’ worlds collide!

2 tips for this recipe:

1. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt (and leftover blessed herbs!)

2. Flip regularly so that you don’t burn one side of the potatoes!

Ingredients:
1 white yam, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Paprika, to taste
Salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Heat skillet with oil on medium-high. When oil begins to sizzle, add in thinly sliced potatoes.

2. When you begin to notice the potatoes turning golden, flip them. Repeat.

3. When you have reached the crispiness level you desire, remove from skillet and sprinkle paprika and salt onto potatoes. Enjoy!

Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us!

August 15: Assumption Blueberry and Blessed Thyme Sorbet

1 fun story about St. Thomas the Apostle and the Assumption:

While preaching the Gospel in India, Saint Thomas received tried to return West for departure of Mary from her earthly life; he did not make it until the third day after she was laid to rest. Approaching her tomb, he was astounded to see her radiant living body ascend! She tossed her belt to him as a sign of hope, and Thomas made haste to announce to the forlorn apostles that she, too, was risen from the dead.

Ironic, huh? The one apostle who had doubted Jesus rising from the dead and had to touch His side is now the one to give physical evidence of Mary’s Assumption!

1 tip for this recipe:

1. If freezing overnight, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it sit out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.

2. I used thyme to taste, so every few seconds after blending the sorbet, I would stop to taste. I probably would have added too little if it weren’t for that!

Ingredients
Frozen blueberries (12-18 ounces)
Fresh thyme, to taste (and blessed, of course!)
1/4 cup honey

Preparation
1. With a food processor or blender, blend the blueberries, thyme, and honey until thoroughly combined. Pour into a rectangular loaf pan and smooth into an even layer.
2. Freeze for 2 hours, or until frozen but still soft enough for scooping.

August 15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lemon and Blessed Sage Chicken Thighs

2 other Biblical figures who were assumed into Heaven:

1. Enoch
2. Elijah

3 tips for this recipe:

1. This recipe almost tastes like guilt-free fried chicken, so go ahead and batter the chicken in the flour mixture ahead of time–it will be crisp and brown on the outside, soft and tender on the inside!

2. Feel free to sprinkle even more sage on top of the entire dish when you are ready to serve; great sides would be mashed potatoes or rice.

3. If you don’t have a pan that is oven-proof, just keep your pan covered for an hour on the stove top.

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
2 lemons
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh sage, blessed and chopped!

Flour mixture:
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Heat a heavy pan (one you can put in the oven) on medium heat.

3. Combine all flour mixings in a mixing bowl. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour; place each piece.

4. Brown your chicken for 7 minutes on each side.

5. Meanwhile, clean your sage and chop it (herb scissors are the best!). Slice one lemon; mince garlic.

6. Set brown chicken on a plate and set aside. Lower your heat to medium/low or low.

7. Add butter and melt. Use a spoon to scrape the browned bits in the pan to deglaze. Once butter is melted, add garlic and sage. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pan. Add 1/4 cup of water. Then lay half the lemon slices on the bottom of the pan.

8. Return the chicken to the pan, and top with the remaining lemons.

9. Place in oven for one hour.


Notes
Recipe from Diana Reis

August 15: The Assumption Watermelon, Blessed Rosemary, and Feta Salad

One great quote to meditate upon when it comes to the uncertainties of the Assumption:

“Let them search the scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die; they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried. More than that: John journeyed to Asia, yet nowhere do we read that he took the holy Virgin with him. Rather, Scripture is absolutely silent [on Mary’s earthly end] because of the extraordinary nature of the prodigy, in order not to shock the minds of men. . . . Neither do I maintain stoutly that she died. . . .

“Did she die? We do not know. At all events, if she was buried, she had no carnal intercourse. . . . Or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible with God and he can do whatever he desires” – Epiphanius

1 Tip for this recipe:

1. I would actually recommend sprinkling feta on top of the salad. We tried mixing my husband’s, and the feta was slightly soggy before we had time to bless the meal.

Ingredients:
4 cups of chopped watermelon, chilled
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, blessed (!) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste

Preparation

1. Right before dinner goes on the table, toss all ingredients together, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you have to do this early, chill until ready to serve.

August 14: Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe Two Crowns of Martyrdom Polish Salad

Most people know St. MMK for his imagine in a concentration camp…or the long with a long beard. But here’s a younger saint in the making!

1 story behind the 2 crowns St. Maximilian accepted from Our Lady when he was just 12 years old, and 2 ways these crowns were worn by the patron saint of the 20th century:

1. “That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”

1. St. Maximilian Kolbe longed to be a soldier, but instead he became a Franscican priest (the white crown).

2. He was arrested, sent to Auschwitz, and saved the life of a father and husband (who went to his canonization!).

1 tip for this recipe:

1. It looks easy. (Okay, real talk: it looks like burger toppings). But when my husband and I gave it a try, we were shocked at how all the flavors came together! Add some oil or vinegar if you need an extra kick…but be ready to be amazed at what a little dill can do for you!

Ingredients:

3 medium tomatoes
2 small white onions
salt
pepper
dill

Preparation:

1. Wash tomatoes and cut into thin slices.

2. Peel onions and cut into thin slices.

3. Lay tomato slices side by side on a platter. Place one onion on top of each tomato slice. Continue to make layers of tomatoes and onions until all are used up.

4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh dill.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!

August 14: St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe Pierogi

Five things you should know Maximilian Kolbe for:

1. He was a baby baptized by the name of Raymond; he was a saucy lad until his Mother (ahem, our Blessed Mother) came to him at the age of 12.

2. He longed to be a solider, but had poor health; he did travel as a missionary to India and Japan.

3. His primary objective in missionary work was to spread the message of the Militia Immaculatae. To do this, he also ran a radio station and had a publication going.

4. He was a well loved Franciscan priest.

5. JP named him the patron saint of the 20th century.

Exhibit A for Tip #1

4 tips for this recipe:

1. You are able to make this army of a recipe…and then freeze them! They are great snacks and are well loved by even the youngest members of the family.

2. We usually roll these out on our counter, but you can use a cutting board of your choice!

3. In step 7, a few lumps in the flour are okay!

4. Serve with sour cream or caramelized onions for extra flair.

Ingredients:
½  pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2  pounds red or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed
Salt
4  slices cheddar cheese
1  large egg
1  cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
3 ¼  cups flour, plus more for board

Preparation:

1. Place the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is cooked and browned (but not crispy), turn off the heat; let the bacon sit in fat.

2. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan; and add cold water (to cover) and 1 tablespoon salt.

3. Bring them to boil over high heat, then lower heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes break apart easily but are not falling apart.

4. Drain the potatoes, and place them back in the pot.

5. Add the cheese, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Taste, and season with salt if necessary.

6. When the potatoes are boiling and cooking, beat the egg and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt together with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Let rest for a few minutes, then beat in the milk. Add the flour in thirds, stirring well, until you have a sticky dough.

7. Flour your cutting board with 1/2 cup flour, spread it in an 18-inch circle and turn the dough out into the flour. Lightly knead the dough, rolling flour in it as necessary, until it is mostly smooth and well floured, about 5 minutes. Pat it into a 1-inch-thick disc, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

8. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8-inch-thick. (If you like a more delicate wrapper, roll it a little thinner.) Punch out wrappers with a small round cookie cutter/ smaller cup.

9. Hold a wrapper in one hand, and place 1 to 1 1/4 tablespoons potato filling in it, pressing on the filling slightly to spread it nearly to the edge of the wrapper. Bring the edges of the wrapper up, as if folding a taco, and pinch one end closed.

10. Stabilize the pierogi on the outstretched fingers of one hand. Use your other hand to pinch around the pierogi’s top to seal the dumpling into a half moon, pinching the wrapper snugly against the filling to prevent an y air pockets from forming. Use the thumb of the stabilizing hand to block the filling from squishing out as you pinch. (If you have air pockets, they may cause the pierogi to explode while boiling.)

11. Place finished pierogies on a lightly floured surface and serve.

Notes:
Recipe from Francis Lam

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!