Inspired Cookies for a 

Christian Kitchen

As we approach the most Holy Three Days, called the Triduum, I want to reoffer recipes from the CRS Rice Bowls – perfect for Good Friday. Actually, they’re perfect for any day of the year.  

Click to watch Fr. Leo’s Appearance on NBC 4 in NYC.

Along with this recipe, I want to share a faithful foodie cookie idea families can share with children. It came from one someone who attended one of my parish missions. 

St. Timothy Parish Mission – So blessed that our parish missions fill up the churches, making the pastors very happy.

Because I don’t have an exact resource, I want to clearly explain that I didn’t create this recipe. I’m just sharing this recipe with you with great inspiration. In my opinion, inspiration is one of the most important ingredients in cooking. 

I’m always happy when the camera crew lines up to eat the food I cook for different food news segments.

As you and your family participate in the holiness of the liturgies that lead to Easter celebrations, I pray you will always remember how much God loves you. His love will feed you – body, mind, and soul. This food ought to inspire us to live our lives following Jesus to Heaven.  

Icon of the Last Supper.

 


This Week’s Recipe: 
 
Photo from http://foodfaithfellowship.blogspot.com/2011/04/resurrection-cookies.html

The Catholic Review:

Let us Pray:

God of love, give us the Grace to see how the liturgies of Holy Week inspire us to anticipate with great joy the Easter mysteries.  May we be patient with those who may come to church out of obligation or may not fully understand the spiritual depth of these celebrations.  May our joyful presence, non-judgmental faith, and sincere prayers be an inspiration for all Christians and people of good will to live as a peaceful human family.

The Garden of Gesthemane, Jerusalem.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

 

  • What will you cook during these upcoming holidays?
  • Do you have a special Easter recipe with a story that you can share?
  • Did you use any of the CRS Rice Bowl recipes?  If so, which did you enjoy the most?

Your comments and questions are an important part of sharing our message and our meals.  Please leave your comments below

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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, Culinary Confessions, Easter, Lent, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Restaurants, Restauraunt Reviews, Video | No Comments »

Posted April 10th, 2013 | Dinner Discussion, Easter

 

April Showers, May Flowers & God’s Care for the Earth

With the Easter season well underway and signs of new life emerging, it can be easy for me to “rush” past the spring season and jump ahead to summer – warmer weather, a slower pace, and even a vacation or two!

Resurrection of the Lord

But spring’s showers, while not the exciting weather I long for, have an important purpose.  They allow farmers to plant seeds and rivers to be replenished.  Spring gives balance to the natural progression of what the world needs.  Like every season, spring shows us that God knows what the world needs in order to sustain human life.  It represents a harmony, even when the weather is at times turbulent.

When we look at nature, we can reflect on how God’s care for the earth is wonderful, but doesn’t compare to God’s providence and care for us, His children.

For us faithful foodies, we need to see the spring and Easter seasons as times to offer praise to God for providing for us throughout the winter and Lenten season. We also need to offer petition, asking for good weather so that we can reap a fruitful harvest to feed hungry souls.

Missionaries of Charity at the Easter Vigil in 2010, serving the poor and celebrating their faith.

If I sound like a real “nature lover,” it’s because I’ve been considering the words of our new Pope Francis and the inspiration of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. Both of these prophetic voices speak about the power of nature, whose beauty reflects the genius of the Creator, and how we are responsible to care for it.  However, even while we protect the earth and its resources as God’s creation, we cannot deify it as some sort of “divine mother.”   It is important to remember the difference between caring for the earth and worshiping it.

            
In a modern society that often times doesn’t take time to smell the roses, we have this beautiful liturgical season to slow down, consider the beauty of this world, acknowledge the power of the One who created it, and try to live so that we are showing the beauty of our own lives – as God also created us!
A young couple with two small children were able to come to a two day recollection that I offered at St. Callistus and St. Barbara Churches in Orange County. Even though they were busy, they felt it was well worth it to take the time and pause for their faith!
Let us Pray:  Father, help us to better understand the power of this liturgical season. May the new life, springing up around us, remind us of your Providential Care.  Show us how we can be signs of beauty and new life, and protect and aid those farmers who work with Mother Nature to provide food for the world.  May we be blessed with food for our table and food for our souls, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Questions: 
  • What is your favorite season?
  • What do you like or dislike about spring?
  • How do you and your family care for the earth?
  • What’s the difference between protecting nature and worshiping it?
  • How do you explain these differences to your children?

    Your comments help us to keep up our momentum in sharing these messages with you.  Please post your comment below.
Click the picture to hear the introduction to Fr. Leo’s Bite-Sized Theology, a GBM exclusive!
Click to Watch Fr. Leo speak with the Diocese of Springfield, Mass. in anticipation for the evening’s event
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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Easter | 3 Comments »

Posted April 4th, 2013 | Blast from the Past, Easter, Past Emails

 

Resurrected Food

Originally Published April 2, 2008
By now you have already found all the Easter Eggs, indulged in every food you gave up for Lent, and are now preparing for spring!  First, I hope you all experienced the joy of Easter and will continue to celebrate this joy throughout the Easter Season – which lasts longer than just one day a year!
My little cousin in search of more Easter Eggs! (circa 2011)

 

But how do we keep the Easter Season alive and well in our hearts?  One thing we can do is to be more attentive to the Scriptures, especially during the next set of Sunday Masses.  You’ll realize something very impressive that relates to our Grace Before Meals mission.  If you stay attentive, you’ll hear how Jesus, even after His Resurrection, is a BIG FOODIE!  In fact, he seeks “Resurrected Food!”

Now, what could that possibly mean?  Well, I’m just making up a term that describes how food is given a whole new meaning (i.e., a new life) when we consider the purpose of the food.

For example, this Sunday you’ll hear about how the disciples, on the Road to Emmaus, came to recognize the Lord in the breaking of the bread.   That line in the Gospel became such an important verse that people literally find Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration – the type of prayer where people meditate before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance.

This “Road to Emmaus” and the “Breaking of the Bread” are important concepts for many prayer groups – including priestly fraternity prayer groups.  I’m part of an Emmaus fraternity group, composed of a few priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  As part of our spiritual exercises, we gather with several other priests to feed BODY, MIND, and SOUL!

In other words, we gather about once a month to meditate on scripture passages in a type of prayer called Lexio Divina .  At other times, a smaller group of priests shares personal experiences, that is, we sometimes bare our souls to each other and speak from our hearts to encourage one another.   Finally, every meeting ends with a meal, of course!

The Reason for the Season

As priests, we need that Emmaus time to encounter God when we break open the Scriptures; when we break down the walls that keep the Truth from coming into our souls; when we break away from our busy schedules and break out the fancy plates (on occasion) and share a meal – with each other and with Our Lord.

As a family, do you consider yourselves as walking along the road of Emmaus together?  In other words, when you gather around your table, do you talk about things that make your hearts burn with excitement and love?  In this Grace Before Meals movement, I’d like families to consider not just the food they put on the table, but what they talk about at the dinner table.

For that reason, I’d like to highlight a fun feature on our website.  It’s basically a list of dinner questions and conversation starters. [Editor’s Note 2013: This latest version of the website does not have this list of questions and conversation starters but weekly suggestions are made in the “Talking Together” section of the eBlasts]  If you already purchased the book, Recipes for Family Life, you’ll see a section called “Let’s Talk,” which simply covers some fun and interesting topics to engage good and wholesome conversations in your family.  I know that’s the hard part of family meals, but if we can break through that barrier, we will experience food in a whole new light.  Our tag line for this movement sums it up: Stronger Family. Better Food.

That’s my hope and prayer for you and your family in this continuing Easter Season.  I pray that your food takes on a whole new meaning for your family, as it does for the priests in my Emmaus fraternity group. We must imitate the disciples who encountered Christ on that pilgrimage to the table – where He broke the bread and they recognized Him!

 Discovering Jesus and Sharing Your Discovery!  

Families sometimes forget they can also find Jesus at their dinner table if they “break bread together,” like the Emmaus disciples who recognized Jesus.   Family members can do that by doing what the disciples did.  They talked about Jesus, His life, His death, and the mystery of the Resurrection.  Go ahead and not only say Grace Before Meals, but feel free to ask your children some questions about their faith.  And don’t be afraid to share yours with them.

Let us pray: Lord, help our families to find You at this dinner table so that we, like the disciples, can spread the Good News and inspire a burning faith in the hearts of all believers.  We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen. 

 

APRIL 6-7
ST. CALLISTUS CATHOLIC CHURCH YEAR OF FAITH PRESENTATIONS AND MASS
GARDEN GROVE & ORANGE, CA
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

 

APRIL 11
CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
GREAT FALLS, MT
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.
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Posted in Blast from the Past, Easter, Past Emails | 2 Comments »

Posted March 27th, 2013 | Dinner Discussion, Easter, Lent

 

Mary’s Little Paschal Lamb

I want to offer you a brief thought about the Lamb of God for your personal prayer.  It’s the Holiest Week of the year and the food references found in the sacred scriptures are astounding.  Consider the bread and wine of the Eucharist, the oil that anoints Jesus body in the tomb, the fact that Jesus will thirst for us, the Passover supper, and the image of Jesus as the Lamb of God who will be led to the slaughterer.  These remarkable food allusions give the Grace Before Meals movement a reason to pause and reflect on the Eucharist in a most profound way.

Angels in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus is the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.  But we also celebrate the victory of the Paschal Lamb during Easter.  So in our contemplation of the food imagery that surrounds Holy Week, it may be beneficial to first consider why Jesus is called “The Lamb” of God.

Image of the Good Shepherd, Jesus, caring for the lambs.

I was asked to do an interview with the Chicago Tribune about this very topic. You can read some of my thoughts in the article. But as a summary, the lamb is a beloved animal, meek, humble, and so helpful by providing wool, companionship, and yes, food!  The lamb is also an animal that becomes very familiar to the shepherd’s voice.  In other words, lambs are “obedient” to the call of the shepherd.  And if the lamb strays, the shepherd’s job is to follow.  This comparison to Jesus as the Lamb, invites us to become part of the flock by becoming more like Him – meek, humble, and obedient.

Having done the article was a great blessing.  It’s also wonderful to know that secular press is interested in our theological approach to food.  And, after revisiting it myself, the approach makes perfect sense.  This Lamb of God not only feeds the body, but in the Resurrected Body of Jesus Christ, He will feed our souls.  We cannot separate the body and the soul, nor should we try to do that with our food!

Every nourishing meal, eaten with gratitude and humility, and surrounded by family and friends, provides more than bodily nourishment.  We just can’t forget that.

As you prepare for the Easter celebrations, the greatest Christian celebration of all, may you know the joy that Mary experienced when it was revealed to Her that Her little Lamb, Her only child, pure and innocent, has conquered even death itself.

Jesus at the breaking of the bread.
  • How will your family prepare for the Easter celebration? 

  • What’s your favorite part of this season?

  • What’s on the menu? 

Please share your ideas, questions and comments below.  These posts help engage our on-line community and give us ideas for future email blasts. 

Happy Easter Blessings to Come!

National Shrine of the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore, MD.

Let us pray: 

Christ, victor over all, bless us in this most Holy Week with an enduring faith.  May the commercial aspects of this season be put into perspective, and may the community of believers keep You as the center of the celebration.  May the risen Christ have mercy on all of the faithful departed, and bless our families with peace, knowing that with You, we can overcome all, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The suffering Christ who submitted Himself as a Lamb before the slaughter.

 

 

APRIL 6-7
ST. CALLISTUS CATHOLIC CHURCH YEAR OF FAITH PRESENTATIONS AND MASS
GARDEN GROVE & ORANGE, CA
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

 

APRIL 11
CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
GREAT FALLS, MT
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.
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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Easter, Lent | 1 Comment »

From The Feedbag

From the Feedbag normally means that I would answer some questions that people send to me. Thank you for sending me your question and comments. I promise, I’ll try and answer them either personally or in these upcoming e-mails. Thanks also for your patience. I’ll admit, I don’t have the greatest amount of patience, which is why I’m not much of a baker – it takes great patience. Click here to submit questions or comments.

BBQ & Rising from the Dead

 

Me with my baking instructor at Baking Arts in San Francisco.

(Me with my baking instructor at Baking Arts in San Francisco.)

In this e-mail blast, I had to share this story that was sent to me from a subscriber.  It’s about how a priest, Fr. Higgins, witnessed someone coming back to life!

Lourdes, France. Stations of the Cross – the stone that covered Jesus' tomb is rolled back. His tomb is empty! Alleluia.

(Lourdes, France.  Stations of the Cross – the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb is rolled back.  His tomb is empty!  Alleluia.)

The following is the exact text Fr. Higgins posted on his website.

From the Food Network show – grilling up some fajita flank steaks.)

(From the Food Network show –  grilling up some fajita flank steaks.)

“Who doesn’t enjoy a good BBQ with friends?  When I was asked to a young couple’s home for a Young Adult Ministry Home Mass and BBQ, I packed my Mass kit and off I went.  I arrived about 6:00 pm with a hearty appetite and was greeted by about 15 young people. Then the phone rang, and everything changed.  I had to drive about 10 miles to a hospital where there was an emergency call.

Jesus is laid in the tomb, Stations of the Cross, Lourdes, France.

(Jesus is laid in the tomb, Stations of the Cross, Lourdes, France. )

I drove quickly, thinking that the nurse in charge of the ER, Anne, would be waiting for me.  I knew her and her husband and children from the parish.  When I walked in I could see paramedics at the foot of the only occupied gurney there, so I hurried and walked in.  “Sorry, Fr. John, you’re too late. He’s gone,”  Anne said, smiling.  She had a lot of compassion, but also understood that I’d come as fast as I could.  They were removing wires from an older man.  I noticed that he was wearing a Brown Scapular, one of the old cloth ones.  I reached and said “He’s wearing an old fashioned Scapular”.

When I touched it there was a beep from a monitor, then another.  The nurse, Anne, said, “What did you do?” I said, “Nothing!”  She and another nurse jumped to work, reconnecting wires and calling for help.  The Paramedics stood with their jaws dropped.  The patient opened his eyes and said (in an Irish accent)  “Oh, good, Father.  I’ve been waiting for you. I want to go to Confession.”  I nearly fell over.  I’d done nothing but seen and touched his Scapular.

Healing of the sick and raising of the dead statue. Lourdes, France.

(Healing of the sick and raising of the dead statue.  Lourdes, France.)

The next thing I knew, they were working on him.  He didn’t get to go to Confession, but I gave him an emergency absolution as they worked.  One of the Paramedics asked if I was OK and sat me in a chair.

A couple of weeks later, the man came to me for Confession and told me that the doctor couldn’t figure out what happened and had to tear up the Death Certificate he’d already started to fill out.  The Paramedics had come to see him in the hospital and shown him their notes.  At the bottom of the page, they’d written the time and place of his death and then in big bold letters had added “BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE BY GOD.”

Miracles still happen.  And no, I didn’t do it.  It just happened according to God’s will. Why does He intervene in some cases and not in others?  I really don’t know.  I haven’t figured that out yet.  But I do know that God has worked miracles in my life, the most important for me not being what He did for someone else, but what He has done over and over to bring me back from sin and death, through the Sacraments, into His Covenant Relationship.

Copy of the pieta, Our Lady of the Universe Church, Orlando, Florida.

( Copy of the pieta, Our Lady of the Universe Church, Orlando, Florida.)

That man still had to die a natural death to be raised from the dead into eternal life.  The Resurrection Jesus offers all of us is eternal too.  And that’s what we look forward to at Easter. Do you think this is a true story?  Is this even possible?

I am not here to give a solemn “yes” or “no,” but who am I to doubt the experience of a brother priest?  I can say that I’ve experienced similar unbelievable stories!  And our Easter Season is all about people dying and coming back to life.  Our Catholic Faith teaches us about how our entire lives are really directed to one important finale – making sure we end this life on a good note!

Seminarians praying at the tomb of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

(Seminarians praying at the tomb of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, Maryland.)

One of the most impressive things about this blog post is that the priest starts off by talking about BBQ and ends up talking about Eternal Life in Christ.  Maybe Fr. Higgins will never eat BBQ the same!

That's a lot of fajita flank steaks! Could I ever get sick of cooking these, or eating these? Probably, but not anytime soon.

(That’s a lot of fajita flank steaks!  Could I ever get sick of cooking these, or eating these?  Probably, but not anytime soon.)

Let us pray.  Father, we ask You to keep in our hearts and minds the mysteries of the Resurrection.  In times of struggle and temptation, keep our eyes fixed on the eternal life You promise to those who follow You.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Oven toasted ciabatta bread seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper, a light dusting of parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Jesus’ Resurrection.)

Have you heard of fantastic stories like this?  Do you know someone who has received a second chance at life?  If you experienced something like Fr. Higgins experienced, how would you change your life?  Your comments, questions, or concerns encourage us in our important apostolic mission.  Please post your comments below.

What's New

This week’s episode: Dessert Days

What child is not enamored with desserts? Fr. Leo and his guest Br. Leo show how to balance a savory meal with a sweet ending any child will love to help make. Fr Leo shows how we need stability in our lives, balancing desert days with dessert days.

Inquirer.net

Be sure to watch this week’s episode of “Savoring the Faith” on EWTN this Sunday at 8:30pm EST.

Inquirer.net

When Fr. Leo was in the Philippines, his guide and GBM “Assistant” along the way was David Panlilio, who in addition to promoting Grace Before Meals in the Philippines, does video ministry work for OneBillionStories.com. Be sure to check out his article on Fr. Leo and support this great ministry by checking it out at the http://onebillionstories.com/12271/grace-before-meals-from-philippines-fr-leo/.

If you have more time, you can find out more about David and the OneBillionStories.com teams across the world by going to http://onebillionstories.com.

 

 What's New

Saturday, April 28

The Archdiocese of Newark, NJ Presents: Youth Ministers/YouthWork Conference,

Archdiocesan Youth Center

499 Belgrove Dr

Kearny NJ 07032

Contact: Richard Donovan – donovari@rcan.org

Website: http://www.newarkoym.com/index.cfm?load=page&page=232

Sunday, April 22

Diocese of Corpus Christi Youth Spectacular Event (High School)

1213 Terry Shamsie Robstown, TX 78380

Contact: Jaime Reyna –jreyna@diocesecc.org

Website: http://www.diocesecc.org/index.cfm?load=event&event=109

CONNECT WITH US @

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Posted in Easter, From the Feedbag, Grace Before Meals, Savoring Our Faith, Video | 3 Comments »

Happy Eat-ster!

 

Easter Sunday has given you permission to indulge (not over-indulge) in those delicacies that you gave up for Lent. It’s interesting that a Happy Easter has become somewhat synonymous with being a happy eater!

(As usual, I gave up chocolate for Lent.)

(As usual, I gave up chocolate for Lent.)

Here’s a link for one of the simplest chocolate mousse recipes ever!

I firmly believe that food and faith go hand-in-hand! And those who eat well can also celebrate Easter well. In fact, the Scriptures confirm this relationship between a happy Easter and a happy eater!

A Candy Bar "at Gertrude's Restaurant in Baltimore.  Here's a link for the Culinary Confession that I wrote for Gertrude’s.

(A Candy Bar “at Gertrude’s Restaurant in Baltimore. Here’s a link for the Culinary Confession that I wrote for Gertrude’s.)

After the Resurrection, Jesus revealed Himself to His apostles around a meal. Consider the upper room, when Jesus walked through the locked doors, greeted His fearful disciples with the word, “Peace,” and then made the request, “Do you have anything to eat?” (John 20:19). Again, at the road to Emmaus, two friends experienced a supernatural revelation of Christ through the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13). Finally, we see Jesus at the shore preparing breakfast for the disciples who were up all night trying to catch fish, as a reminder that Jesus wants them to be fishers of men (John 21).

Me with some seminarians at the Archdiocese of Cleveland and the crazy/fun youth minister at St. Mary's Church in Hudson, Ohio. This one parish has about 7-8 young men studying for the priesthood – from ONE parish!

( Me with some seminarians at the Archdiocese of Cleveland and the crazy/fun youth minister at St. Mary’s Church in Hudson, Ohio. This one parish has about 7-8 young men studying for the priesthood from ONE parish!)

Yes, Christ is very concerned with food for our faith. That is why He gives us food for everlasting Life!

The back view of the Main Altar of St. Patrick's Church in NYC, on Palm Sunday 2012.

(The back view of the Main Altar of St. Patrick’s Church in NYC, on Palm Sunday 2012.)

In this Easter Season, continue the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection around the table of the Lord, and extend that blessing around your family’s table. Click here for some delicious Easter Celebration Meals.

My little cousin in search of more Easter Eggs!

(My little cousin in search of more Easter Eggs!)

Let Us Pray: Father in Heaven, we thank You for the glorious Resurrection of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. May His rising from the dead give us the Grace to rise above our pettiness, sins, and lack of faith. Teach us what it means to live a new life in Christ, as we sing and rejoice in the victory of the Lamb. Amen! Alleluia!

The Missionaries of Charity at their Easter celebration 2011.

(The Missionaries of Charity at their Easter celebration 2011.)

How did you celebrate Easter with your family? Do you have a special tradition that you’d like to share? What is your favorite Easter menu? Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns that will help us do a better job in serving you? Your responses and posts are very important to us, so please post your comments below.

Signs of New Life!

(Signs of New Life!)

What's New

Listen to my Easter Meditation on Youtube!

(Listen to my Easter Meditation Homily on Youtube)

Click the picture to listen to my Easter Meditation homily I gave this Easter. I address the power of New Life when people seek out and meet Jesus Christ, and reveal why I’m going Easter egg hunting….but seriously, it is very much worth a listen. Leave a comment beneath the video.

Inquirer.net

Be sure to watch this week’s episode of “Savoring the Faith” on EWTN this Sunday at 8:30pm EST.

What's New

Friday, April 13

Respect Life Benefit Dinner @Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Spring Creek Rd., Rockford IL

Contact: Laura Christianson (815) 399-4300 x 381

Saturday, April 14

Respect Life Benefit Dinner @ Elgin Community College University and Business Center Elgin, IL

Contact: Laura Christianson (815) 399-4300 x 381

Sunday, April 15

Fr. Leo’s Grace Before Meals presentation and Mass @ The Spiritual Center of Maria Stein 2356 St. Johns Rd. Maria Stein, OH 45860

Contact : Robin Goettemoeller (419) 925-7625

CONNECT WITH US @

MINIFLIPPING...nuff said.Become a Fan of Fr. Leo and Grace before Meals on Facebook!Follow Fr. Leo on Twitter!Watch Grace Before Meals episodes on Youtube!

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Posted in Audio, Culinary Confessions, Easter, Events, Grace Before Meals, Holiday, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipes, Savoring Our Faith, Video | No Comments »