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Holy Smoking the Competition

Posted: November 04, 2015 | Author: Fr. Leo

On November 9th, Sister Alicia Torres of the Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Chicago will compete on the Food Network's hit show, "Chopped!"  I'm so excited and happy for Sister and our Catholic Foodie World!  Win or lose, I'm hoping Sr. Alicia brings the "Holy Smoke" to her competitors. A couple months ago, I actually interviewed Sr. Alicia and other members of her community for my own TV show, Savoring our Faith, every Thursday at 5:00pm EDT on EWTN.  Be sure to keep in prayers all of those who work to bring God's blessings through food!

Sr. Alicia Torres (third from left) was featured on my show "Savoring Our Faith" and will be on "Chopped!" on Food Network! Click on the picture for the story on Chicago Tribune.

Speaking of "Holy Smoking Competition", this past weekend I had the chance to visit good friends of mine - the Baldwin Family - some of whom are Board members for The Table Foundation. A few years ago, they started a little competition as amateur smokers.

Where the Smoking Competition took place. 


Now, a few years later, it has turned into just one more opportunity to bring family and friends together for some faithful foodie fun.  Even more impressive, some of the children participated with dessert making and even by experimenting with different ingredients.  It goes to show that food has a way of bringing people together. A little competition, such as the Baldwin "Smoke-Off" helps bring about the blessings of family friendly fun!

There were so many delicious contributions, such as a liqueur-infused glaze for grilled wings.

These glazed wings were awesome!

I enjoyed the fun and delicious Halloween treat of a rolled puff pastry filled with pulled pork BBQ - which they called "bursting intestines."

"Bursting intestines" purposefully sounds gross, but was quite tasty. 

I was very impressed with one of the young Baldwin's trying out his hand in preparing a smoked salmon.

A young Baldwin tried his hand at smoked salmon, and honestly, it was impressive!

And one of the neighbors produced some smoked oysters - a Maryland favorite!

Smoked oysters - such a Maryland treat.

But, for me, one super simple and delicious recipe was the "Millionaire bacon".

Click for the recipe for the Millionaire Bacon!

Let us Pray: 

Father in Heaven, in this month of November, help us to turn our attention to focusing on providing family opportunities for togetherness.  May you inspire families to seek and offer forgiveness to each other.  Although family competitions can have a positive effect of bringing some fun, may we never "compete" against each other in a negative way so as to bring about jealousy and dissension.  Lord, I also ask in a special way that you bless Sr. Alicia and her community of Our Lady of the Angels Mission as they provide food for hungry souls.  If she wins, Lord bless her with more positive attention to her mission so that she can do an even greater miracle in your name, and multiply food as You did to win over people's hearts and minds to Your Love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Food for Thought:

(1) What's your favorite smoked meat recipe?
(2) What's your favorite Food Network show?
(3) How can you use good food and friendly family competition?

Here's a fun video blast from the past of my nieces and nephews in a family friendly cooking competition!


Interested in going to Italy for a special adventure? Here are some of the upcoming pilgrimages for you to consider for next year:


Trip #1: Roman Holiday Retreat for Married Couples to Italy with Fr. Leo, Teresa Tomeo Pastore and her husband, Dcn. Dominick Pastore. (May 12-21, 2016)

Click for more information and online registration.
Trip #2: Taste of Italy with Fr. Leo, Fr. Ryan Elder, and Dcn. Mark Westrick (August 15-26, 2016)
Click for more information to register today!