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.
|On a Faithful Foodie Mission|
Before getting into our Dinner Discussion for this week, we at Grace Before Meals want to extend our heartfelt joy for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis I!
Pope Francis I, We promise to remember you every time we gather around the Lord’s Table, and to keep your intentions in our prayers.
God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Pope Francis I Your servant, the pastor of Your Church.
Now, for this week’s Dinner Discussion I would like to share some of my Lenten experiences. It’s been a pretty good Lent for me so far. I’ve been keeping up with most of my Lenten observance, but at the same time, keeping quite busy giving missions and spiritual retreats.
This season has been a fantastic opportunity to share our Grace Before Meals message of faith, food, and family, in different parts of the country through the itinerant preaching of “Parish Missions.” I’m grateful that we are “packing the house,” so to speak, with record crowds from all parts, seeking the message of faith.
Missions are a necessary way to communicate the good news to all parts of the world. While the traditional understanding has been to go to different countries and evangelize people of different religions, many priests are finding it necessary to proactively spread the Christian message to people in our own countries – even in our own parishes or local communities.
While most people in America have heard of Jesus Christ many people do not know him well, evidenced by many surveys that speak about a great misunderstanding of the Church’s role. Church, for many people, is not always a good experience. People are bored, upset about various news stories of their priests or community, or confused about some Church doctrine. They may not feel at home in a certain community or may be at a point of even questioning God.
That’s why parish missions are so important. They provide unique perspectives, different voices, and deeper experiences of prayer, teaching, and community. We are proud to say this happens when people from our parish go out on missions! We give parishes an opportunity to celebrate, pray, laugh, learn, and in some cases even eat some gourmet goodness together!
Giving missions is hard work. Committees have to plan in advance, and preparations must be made in order to make sure that people in parishes are not only aware of the mission, but that they are going to come. At my missions, I tell people to bring family, friends, and even non-Catholics. I don’t want the mission to be me preaching to the “choir” but to people from all walks of life. After all, a “missionary” is someone who is “sent” to all parts to give an invitation to the banquet of the King (Matthew 22:2).
We still have a few weeks of Lent. If you have never been to a parish mission, or if you are in a parish that needs some revival, renewal, and an experience to deepen your faith, I encourage you to speak with your pastor about bringing in a mission preacher. While many people ask for missions during the Lenten or Advent Season, I also encourage it during the Easter and Christmas seasons, or during “ordinary time.” During less festive seasons, mission work gives parishes something to do that is often times lacking: CELEBRATE!
Sure, we need to pray together, endure the Lenten pilgrimage together, but I certainly believe that the best way to respond to all of the “bad news” is to celebrate our faith, enjoy each other’s company, and feast as a family. That may be one of the more unique approaches to my parish missions. I encourage people to laugh, express their joy, and use this to combat all of the negativity in the world. I’m certainly no stand-up comedian, but we do have some rip roaring laughs. The cliché is worth repeating, “there’s nothing more funny than the truth!”
As God looks at our Lenten experience, the unique time of our church’s history with the conclave, and hears the cries of the poor; I pray that we will be able to experience God’s Good News sent to all parts of the world – most importantly, sent to your heart and soul.
A new season of Savoring Our Faith has arrived and now airs Sundays at 5pm EDT. We are excited for this season and hope that you can watch it each week on EWTN. Check out their schedule HERE.
Also, if you subscribe to Sirius XM Radio, you should tune into The Catholic Channel every Thursday at 1pm to catch Fr. Leo’s weekly radio show, “Entertaining Truth” with Tom Leopold, former writer for “Seinfeld” and “Cheers”. And if you don’t subscribe, then you may want to consider it, because these guys are funny!
Your responses, comments and questions are so helpful to our cause. Please post your comments below.
Let us Pray:
Father in Heaven, in this holy season, we ask for the grace to hear Your word as it really is – GOOD NEWS! May all of our family, friends and fellow parishioners know that You walk with our Church in Her pilgrim way, but also – and most importantly – You walk with us each day, providing us the nourishment through the Eucharist and in Your Holy Word to guide us safely to the banquet of Heaven. We pray for missionaries and the “mission” of Grace Before Meals and all of those served by this apostolate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bean Cake for CRS Rice Bowl
Recently, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) teamed up with Grace Before Meals to create a little video in preparation for Lent, which officially begins TODAY with Ash Wednesday! This collaboration features me cooking with Joan Rosenhaur, the Executive Vice President for the United States. Together we made a Bean Cake from Burkina Faso, which is located in the western part of Africa.
The video highlights the important work done by CRS through the CRS Rice Bowls. I’m sure you’ve seen these little boxes before, a Lenten tradition, in which people put in money as part of the Lenten practices. Instead of purchasing something that we really don’t need, like a cup of coffee, dessert, candy, or what have you, you simply put that money into the box. You’ll be amazed at how much we spend on things we don’t need. The money from the boxes builds up and collectively, it can make a difference in the lives of so many people around the world – people who are hungry, in need, or learning how to be self-sustaining!
Besides the charitable affects of the CRS Rice Bowls, I really enjoy and encourage the “experiential” aspect of the program. Each bowl has recipes and stories from people from all different parts of the world. The recipes give users the chance to have a small “taste” of the different culture. It also gives participants an opportunity experiment the recipes and to hear the stories of the people who eat these meals. It’s also a real Grace Before Meals opportunity for the family, providing the opportunity for conversation about our global human family, developing compassion, or simply learninging more about our faith through food.
And, may I add, these recipes are low cost, interesting to make, and delicious to eat!
As you begin the 40 days of Lent, make it special by “interacting” with the CRS Rice Bowl Program. You’ll find your spiritual life, compassion, and knowledge about our human family grow with each recipe and story.
Remember, in preparation for St. Valentine’s Day we will also be announcing the drawing of the winner for a Grace Before Meals gift bag. So stay tuned for next week’s email blast and enjoy a blessed Saint Valentine Day with the special love in your life – God and your spouse!
Fr. Leo talks about “Spicing Up Married Life” on CBS Baltimore
Fr. Leo hits up his native Baltimore’s news station, WJZ, to share information about his book “Spicing Up Married Life” with the “Coffee With” crew and gets into a colorful discussion about marriages, meals, recipes and conversations for couples. Check out the video and if you want to see even more, be sure to check out the web extra at baltimore.cbslocal.com.
One last chance to enter our Valentine’s Day Contest!
Considering Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, it is the perfect time to share a meal with the one you love. Why not make it special by making it together and taking the time to talk about your love! For one more day, you can receive a 10% discount on your total purchase and be entered for our Valentine’s Day Gift Set, which includes a signed copy of Spicing Up Married Life, the ingredients for one of the recipes featured in the book, and a wine/beverage pairing as recommended by wine expert John Buechsenstein. Just use the promo code VDAY13 before midnight tomorrow to be entered. Click the banner below for more details!
For more information on how you can participate with the CRS Rice Bowls, click HERE. Leave your comments below.
Let us pray:
Gracious Lord, accompany us on these 40 sacred days of Lent. May our efforts, as well as those of CRS Rice Bowls, bring us to a level of discipline, compassion, humility and holiness. Bless our efforts for praying, fasting and almsgiving, and make us true instruments of your peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGORI CATHOLIC MISSION
Food for People on a Difficult Adventure
My typical “Faithful Foodie Adventures” share great food finds from my travels. However I want to write about a different kind of “adventure” this week – one that brings challenge and fear instead of excitement and joy. Besides having no place to call your own, or a comforting place to lay down your head, one of the biggest fears for the population considered “homeless” is the uncertainty of their next meal. While their journey is a difficult one, we can offer them many different points of hope along the way.
This past week, Our Lady of the Fields Catholic Church in Millersville and the House of Hope hosted over 60 homeless people in a program called Winter Relief. For the past nine years, Our Lady of the Fields has provided guests a place to sleep, shower, clean up, eat home cooked (and quite delicious) meals, and most importantly, experience God’s love without a forced, preachy, or judgmental message.
Volunteers at Winter Relief get a sense of holiness talking with the guests that comes from the Corporal Works of Mercy – especially feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. There is an immediate understanding that homelessness has no quick fix or simple solution, but that helping them is as easy as opening your door and caring for them. Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta gives a saintly example of the positive impact this kind act can have on the world.
To partake in this Faithful Foodie Adventure, you need only help in some way – big or small. The efforts at Our Lady of the Fields show the world its truly living the Gospel holiness by extending the sacramental life to a tangible act of love in a big way. However, a famous quote from Blessed Mother Theresa suggests even small acts make a difference as long as you “do small acts with great love.”
Last week, I included from my trip to New York a photo of couple Mark and Jennifer, Jennifer as Mark’s girlfriend. Well, I got the following email from Mark himself:
So congratulations to the happy married couple, who will receive a copy of Spicing Up Married Life as a ‘wedding’ gift! Maybe they can teach about true love at their pizza school, using Spicing Up Married Life as their curriculum guide! Also, the proper link to their website is www.pizzaschool.com, so be sure to check them out!
Your questions, comments and postings, help inspire our readers with ideas and encouragement. Join the conversation and post your comments below.
Let Us Pray:
Father, in this winter season, we pray for all adversely affected by the weather – especially the homeless. While it’s easy to make judgments and assumptions about the people who find themselves in this situation, help us to see first the fact they are children of God. And while we may decide not to give them money or to take them into our homes as a guest, may we have the strength and lived faith to at least greet them, look them in the eye, treat them with dignity, and offer them a sincere prayer. Make us true instruments of the Corporal Works of Mercy, we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Never Lose Hope
This is a very busy week, preparing for the launch of the new book Spicing Up Married Life, as well as preparing for a celebration for my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. And, in my family, if it’s worth doing, then we will do it BIG!
Mom and Dad-young love at heart!
But there’s always time to answer some of the questions that come our way. The questions this week are important ones because they speak to the heart of Faith and food matters. Can we replace things in our faith, as we can substitute ingredients in a recipe? Although there are ways to do this with food, it doesn’t translate well in our faith.
For example, vibrant songs and really good preaching cannot replace the Sacrament of Eucharist but must be seen as an extension to it. This lesson is important for all faithful foodies to learn, and these questions help spell out an approach to making sure the recipes for our faith and family meals are closely understood and celebrated!
One of my mega-bite burgers-a perfect food example that has easily substituted ingredients, but at the end of the day, it’s still a burger.
Dear Father Leo:
My adult daughter recently told me that she had tried to attend different Catholic churches but that the sermons never were inspiring or uplifting. She found the Mass boring. She therefore tried a very large Christian church in her neighborhood. She found it to be exactly what she was searching for. The sermons were very inspirational and brought the message of Christ into the reality of her daily life. She then was connected to a group that met each week for Bible study. She has never shown so much enthusiasm in discussing the Bible. And she tells me that she never misses the Sunday service!
Young men on a discernment vocation camp, praying before the Eucharist-an irreplaceable part of the Catholic Faith.
Although I tried to teach her about our faith as a child, sent her to Catholic High School, and took her to Sunday Mass each week, she also told me that she never really believed in the Eucharist. It breaks my heart to think of this. Please give me any and all advice you can.
A Heart Broken Mom
Dear Heart Broken Mom:
First, never lose hope. This situation is unfortunately very typical, simply because some people feel they aren’t being “fed” at Mass. The Mass, for those who understand it, offers the Word of God and the Eucharist. While that should be enough, it is understandable (on a human level) that people crave a vibrant community, faith education-especially about the Scriptures- and want to feel inspired and experience joy. Let’s admit it: some churches need to work on these things, and I’m very sad that your local parishes didn’t provide this for your daughter. So don’t feel like it’s your fault, as your daughter’s decision is just a natural reaction to something missing in her life. Families need to bring these needs to the parish priests, church staff, and lay ministers. At the same time, families need to proactively seek out organizations and events outside of Mass that will give children a fuller picture of Faith-outside of the one-hour Mass obligation.
Huge Crowds of the young faithful who participated in one of the Steubenville summer retreats this past summer. Parents are encouraged to get their kids involved in these or similar programs to enhance their experience of church outside of Sunday Mass. Check out my homily at one of these masses.
While it is important for you to be grateful for the fact that your daughter continues to go to a Christian Church, you also need to learn more apologetics and lovingly (and patiently) share this information with your daughter. The Eucharist is a profound Faith reality that your daughter will eventually have to confront-after all, unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will have no life in us.
I recommend that you do a little more learning and teaching about these essential aspects of Faith, called apologetics, a lot less worrying, and engage in more loving conversations with your daughter about Faith. And the best way to have this discussion is a delicious dinner. While you cannot (yet) agree on the Everlasting Food of Heaven, you can at least try to reach your daughter’s heart and mind by going through her stomach.
At a high school youth rally in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Dear Fr. Leo:
I was looking at your Easter pasta and asparagus recipes, and I am wondering what ingredient I can substitute for the wine in any recipe. There are Catholics who can no longer consume alcohol, and I am dating one of them! And by the way, I love your cooking show!
A presentation at Black Ankle Winery in Maryland-top-notch wine!
I’m glad you like the show. Coming soon:-all-new episodes, including some filming that I’ll be doing in Rome! Now on Wednesdays at 6:00PM EDT on EWTN.
Filming for the show.
As for using a white wine substitute, I recommend a combination of a ¼ cup of chicken broth, 2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp of water, and ¼ cup of ginger ale or non-alcoholic beer. While it will never have the deep flavor that comes from wine, it will have some mellowness and tartness to give a richer flavor to sauces and reductions. Bon appétit!
Wine-tasting on one of our faithful foodie excursions!
|Let us pray: Father in Heaven, I pray for all those who send emails and questions to me, those who are part of our movement, and in a special way, those who are separated from the Faith. May our work in the new evangelization be a source of community, inspiration, and vibrancy for all those who hunger for God. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.|
Your questions, comments and responses are very encouraging. They tell us that our message is making an impact. Please leave your comments below.
Event: Spicing Up Married Life Pre-Release Event at St. John’s Regional School in Frederick, MD
Tonight, Fr. Leo gave families from St. John’s Regional school a special treat by cooking one of his new dishes from his latest book, Spicing Up Married Life, called Bacon and Butternut Squash Creamy Brandy Penne Pasta, and giving out the first copies of the book to the general public in anticipation for Saturday’s release date.
Event: Fr. Leo to Appear on FOX 45 on Friday, September 21!
Fr. Leo will also be seen on Baltimore FOX 45 Morning News this Friday, appearing at 9:45am to talk about the book and his mission to save marriages and families with faith-filled lessons and delectable meals for two. He will also be appearing on a radio show on Q1370 with Maynard Edwards and Shari Elliker later that afternoon.
Event: 40 Days for Life Kickoff Rally
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012.
Fr. Leo will be among the speakers kicking off the 40 Days for Life rally event this Saturday as hundreds of people will gather to support those who need it most: the unborn. Fr. Leo will be speaking at 11am and will have his new book available to commemorate the release, while encouraging couples to place their love for one another in God. So come kickoff 40 Days for Life this Saturday.
Location: Calvary Chapel, 8064 New Cut Road, Severn (Baltimore/Annapolis)
Event: The 50th Anniversary of Carlos and Fe Patalinghug (Fr. Leo’s Parents)
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Of course, Fr. Leo and his family have a most special celebration to commemorate Saturday as his parents will celebrate 50 years of marriage. It is through their example in faith and love that inspires Fr. Leo everyday to share the “recipe” for a strong marriage: faithfulness, sacrifice, selflessness and of course, good food. We congratulate them on their milestone and pray for many more years together.
Fr. Leo is going back to Great Falls, MT to speak at the Montana Catholic Conference September 28-29.
Click here to find out more: http://gracebeforemeals.com/montana-catholic-conference
All the while, Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville, MD is offering their second church wide “date night” and will have Spicing Up Married Life books available for any couple who would like to take advantage of free babysitting and a romantic evening with your spouse, whether dating, engaged or married. Check out the Catholic Review Article at http://www.catholicreview.org/article/home/parish-national-efforts-fortify-marriages-through-date-nights
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