Blessed and Broiled Fruits
As you know I’ll be going to the Holy Land for a culinary adventure of a life time! On this unique pilgrimage, we will discuss and dine on the God’s goodness. As you know, Chefs for Peace (Christian, Jewish and Muslim chefs) will be cooking for us, giving us opportunities to learn about biblical foods and explore ways on how we can bring peace to our world – one meal at a time. You have ONE more week to sign up – so act now! Click here for the registration form and contact information.
One idea about biblical foods that comes up quite a bit is determining what exactly is the forbidden fruit? While we have to see that a literal fruit was forbidden, we also have to recognize that the fruit symbolized sin – especially disobedience. Sin, disobedience to God’s command, is a forbidden fruit. And yes, disobeying God’s commands can harm us. In some cases, kill us!
The Scriptural concept of “fruit” is not limited to the edible, generally sweet, and juicy produce from plants, vines or trees. For God, it’s more about what we do – it’s the product of our lives that can feed a hungry soul.
Our Grace Before Meals team works very hard to encourage people to bear good fruit in their lives. As such, they can feed the soul, which yearns for the Blessed Fruit that hangs from the Tree of Life. It’s the only remedy we have to combat the destructive poison that comes, even when we nibble, on the forbidden fruits that grow like weeds all around us.
To complement our discussion on fruits, I have a great recipe idea for you, which can be used for many different types of fruits. In this case, I’m using fresh figs, compliments from parishioner’s fig tree.
Let us pray: Father in Heaven, You provide us with the best of foods for the soul. Help us to avoid the temptation of eating and digesting the forbidden fruits of our lives. Keep us always hungry to receive the Blessed Fruit of Mary’s womb, and to approach the Supreme Meal of Grace with humbled and contrite hearts. Through the name of Jesus, our Savior and God. Amen.
|A picture of Jesus praying Grace with his Holy Parents, Joseph and Mary.|
- What’s a unique way that you prepare fruits?
- How do you explain what is a forbidden fruit to your family?
- What “blessed fruits” do you or someone you know produce?
Your comments help motivate us to keep doing what we do. Please leave your comments and questions HERE, and know that we appreciate you being a part of our growing Grace Before Meals family.
Corn Tortilla Soup
This summer I visited the Bodega Bay area in California. It offers such a different feel from the rest of state that it reminded me how guilty I can still be of stereotyping at times. Stereotypes in general aren’t helpful, so I’m happy to say that this beautiful coastal part of the world really humbled me. It made me realize (once again) how big our world is. While I’ve traveled quite a bit to spread the Good News and our Grace Before Meals movement’s message, I haven’t even scratched the surface.
I shouldn’t be surprised, though. God who made the world reflects His deeply mysterious and beautiful presence in and through His creation.
|Natural rock formations high above the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.|
It’s amazing to drive from a serene coastal area complete with foggy mornings and chilly evenings in July, then drive just about one hour to the almost Tuscany-like Italian terrain and weather of Napa Valley. Go a different direction and you’ll encounter Giant Redwoods. Or drive in yet another direction and see the mountain view from a historical lighthouse still in use today!
|View of Castello di Amarosa in Napa Valley.|
And talk about diversity? We stopped in San Francisco for a visit and came across goats being used to eat through overgrown weeds and brambles. Not exactly what I thought I’d see in a big city – but then again, stereotypes shouldn’t apply.
|What looks like a difficult task for landscapers, these “hired” goats find this an urban smorgasbord.|
Yes, God continues to humble me through my traveling ministry as an “itinerant preacher.” He reveals His beauty through nature. It is our job to preserve it and celebrate it. And, of course, one of the best ways to celebrate God’s glory is through food!
|Statue of St. Francis of Assisi located at the Franciscan Winery in Santa Barbara, Ca.|
To help get through some of the chilly evenings at Bodega Bay, I made a tortilla soup using leftover nachos. Our group already had our share of these as a snack, and over a period of days, the chips lost their crispy crunch. But I didn’t want to waste the chips, even if they aren’t very expensive food. So, in the spirit of not wasting, and in the spirit of trying to be more like God – who can create something remarkable out of nothing – I let the creative juices flow, and voilà: creamy tortilla soup. The creamy deep flavors of a familiar snack, but elevated with white wine, cheese, and fresh cilantro. It’s hearty, sophisticated, and breaks the stereotypes of how to eat regular store-bought (and leftover) nachos!
|Creamy Corn Tortilla Soup|
Check out this week’s episode of “Savoring Our Faith”:
Mother’s Day Menu
Moms feed their children from the moment they are conceived in the womb, which is where life begins! With breastfeeding, a mom continues to naturally give her child sustenance by giving of herself. And even after a child has learned to fend for themselves, there exists an instinctual desire for a mother to feed her children. I think of my own mother who insists I eat something each time I visit home – even when I’m not hungry!
Mothers also have an ongoing concern about whether or not their children are being fed spiritually. A regular practice of our faith will let her know she has accomplished this task. By living our faith well, we can also show to our moms we have put ourselves in God’s hands. For a mom, that’s the best place for her children. The second best place however, is around the dinner table with her.
In my book, Grace Before Meals: Recipes and Inspiration for Family Meals and Family Life, I dedicate an entire chapter to moms. The bite sized theological essays, conversation starters, and recipes, help husbands and children show their gratitude to mothers by making them a special breakfast in bed.
So to make this a special Mother’s Day weekend, be sure to do something special for mom, like making her the suggested menu in my book, and going all together as a family to church.
CLICK HERE for a few recipe ideas to help celebrate Mother’s Day.
Recipe for the marinated fresh fruit:
SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY DEAL:
For the rest of May, as a way to celebrate mothers, receive a 10% discount and be entered to receive free GBM swag by using the promo code:
Also, if you share with us your favorite memories as a mom or memories with your mother, you could be featured in our next eBlast and Facebook page to help others see the shining examples of good people that are a part of this movement.
Let us pray:
Father in Heaven, you gave us our moms as a sign of your love for us. May we always be grateful for this gift. May we cherish the dignity of women, and especially those who made great sacrifices to bring life into this world. Protect all mothers from anxiety for their children, and may our prayers for moms be a sign of our gratitude and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Trabuco Canyon, CA
|A Tribute to the Heroes, the Helpers and the Hurting|
This week America experienced tremendous challenges and pain. These difficult times can either melt us into more compassionate people or mold us into people full of anger.
In the midst of the pain, suffering, confusion and sadness, I’ve heard many different people giving some very good advice to help us get through it all. One piece of advice I heard was to look for the heroes, the helpers and the hurting. In other words, we can sometimes be trapped by our own fear, pain, confusion and sadness. And while we have to pay attention to our own feelings – especially negative ones – we can’t dwell on them. We also need to pay attention to the big picture.
Looking at the big picture helps us to see the inspiring efforts of heroic people and gain encouragement from their selflessness. These examples can warm our hearts, melting away rough edges and brokenness.
By looking at the bigger picture, we also see how these challenges can either mold us into better people with softer and more loving hearts, or hardened hearted people who seek revenge and destruction – like these terrorists. The environments in which we live have that molding effect. We therefore have to make sure we put ourselves in good places and with good people who can mold our hearts into something good.
What better way to describe this reality than through food! Take, for example, a hard cheese like parmesan as an analogy of our own hearts. When heated, it becomes soft, and less prone to being broken. The melted cheese can also be made into something useful, beautiful and of course, delicious to feed the hungry when put over something curbed.
Like this cheese, our own hearts are vulnerable to being broken. But the heat of challenging times, like hearing these tragic events, can actually create an opportunity to “soften” our hearts, melting away the edges, and making us more moldable. These tragic events can either help us to experience more compassion or more hate – depending on who, or what, it is that molds our hearts.
Hopefully you can see how challenging times melt us, but also shape us. It may be a “cheesy” analogy, but it makes sense. The scriptures tell us that we are like clay in God’s hands. In faithful foodie language, it may be more like melted and molded goodness!
Let us pray:
Father in Heaven, we pray for peace in our world, consolation for those who mourn the death of loved ones, courage for those who now face physical and emotional struggles, and thanksgiving for the heroic actions that are trying to bring about a calm and peaceful resolution to the problems in our world. Keep our families safe, and may these moments fill our hearts with the warmth of compassion in order to mold it into the heart of Your Son, Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Your comments and questions are so important to our movement. Please post your comments below. And, if you have other questions, post them here or contact our project manager.
Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Prayers In Light of the Boston Marathon Tragedy
After Monday’s tragedy in Boston, MA at the Boston Marathon, where 3 people were killed and over 31 were taken to the hospital with injuries, the entire team at Grace Before Meals wishes to prayerfully extend our deepest condolences and support to the victims’ of this terrible tragedy and their families, especially as Fr. Leo travels to Massachusetts this weekend for the Diocese of Springfield Women’s Conference. As Cardinal O’Malley urged, ” In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.”
Whenever I speak at different venues, I try and encourage parents to make sure veggies are treated with respect. After all, the main reason most children don’t enjoy eating their veggies is because we don’t prepare them well. And, similarly to “nasty veggies,” children can also resist faith – thinking it’s boring or difficult to swallow. We need to learn how to plate, present and most importantly prepare both vegetables and faith in a way that will get our kids to digest the truth (and the food) that is served at every family dinner.
To help you get started here’s a quick recipe for Bacon Brussels sprouts – because nothing keeps spring veggies savory like adding some bacon! This recipe celebrates the “springy” taste of Brussels sprouts – which you can actually get year round – while making it appealing to more finicky eaters. Bacon’s cured saltiness helps to balance some of Brussels sprouts’ pungent flavor. Parboiling and then stir frying the sprouts in a high heat creates a char that can help to eliminate some of the obnoxious smells that come when boiling these mini-cabbages. This process also elevates the dish’s taste while retaining a bit more textural variety.
|Bacon Brussels sprouts as a side dish with roasted potato chips and filet mignon, pepe verde (with green pepper corns).|
Bacon Brussels Sprouts:
Serves 2 for side dishes
|I used left over sprouts and added it to some linguine, sautéed it in olive oil, garlic and dusted with parmesan cheese – which made for a fresh, healthy and delicious spring pasta.|
Let us Pray:
Inspire us Lord with desire to feed our children – whether they are our own biological children, or our “spiritual children” – with the good things in life. Give us creative ways to make the “bitter truth” of our faith more palatable, not masking the truth, but to help them digest it more easily. Keep our Grace Before Movement strong by encouraging our members to share their ideas, questions and comments so that we can continue to dialogue about the things that matter most to them. And, finally Lord, bless each member of our movement with Your Grace – before, during and after each meal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Please keep us encouraged by posting your comments below! And, if you have other questions, post them here or contact our project manager.
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