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.
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
The “Besh”t Chef’s Gumboo
Who is your favorite chef? There are many to choose from. But, recently, I met a chef who’s one of my all-time favorites-not just because he can cook so darn well-but because he’s on a mission of bringing people back around the family table.
|Chef Besh signing his newest book, with his wife Jennifer and one of the “Besh Boys” aka one of his sons.|
Meet world-renowned Chef John Besh!
By Providence, my dear friend Msgr. Nalty knew a friend of a friend who knew Chef Besh. You know my friend as the do-rag wearing priest that assisted me during the episode of “Throw Down with Bobby Flay.” (By the way, this show is also re-airing on Thursday, October 25 at 9:30am ET/PT.) I heard of the Chef’s new book, My Family Table, which makes a plea for people to return to the family dinner table-a message near and dear to my own heart.
|Msgr. Nalty with his super fancy chef coat, Chef Besh, and me-the little cook in the kitchen.|
Since the good Monsignor knew that I would be in New Orleans, he sent an email to the chef’s assistant asking if we could meet up with him at one of his restaurants. It was a “Hail Mary” pass. Never would we imagine his response: a personal invitation to share a meal with his family at his own family dinner table.
It was of great comfort to meet him, his lovely wife, his impressive children, and his own mom and dad-who recognized me from my show (which airs every Sunday at 8:30pm EDT on EWTN).
|Chef Besh with his parents, wife, and children, although one was missing because he was part of his Catholic High School Retreat Team.|
It was like one big happy family talking about faith, family, and food, of course.
One of his sons was showing just how tall he was growing-compared to me, of course.
OK, now here’s the part where you all get a little jealous. The meal was so delicious! While very familiar-the appetizer was crab salad with a variety of fresh greens, roasted beats and a light but creamy dressing, and the entrée was a healthy portion of gumbo and white rice -the cooking technique, subtle flavors, and perfectly textured ingredients were easily detected. A seasonably delicious meal served with reason and meaning.
No ordinary salad, but a combination of unique greens, lump crabmeat, and a deliciously light cream dressing.
Honestly, it took great restraint for me not to ask for a to-go container to bring on the plane the next day.
When we look up to great chefs or anyone famous, for that matter, do we try to see past the stardom in order to recognize the humanity (both good and bad) in the person-and, more importantly, try to love them for who they are as God’s child? While I only met Chef Besh for just a few hours, I saw him in his own element. It was easy to see his human goodness, especially through his loving family. While his food was quite impressive-OK super delicious-the way in which he lives his life of faith filled me with great inspiration. I pray that someday I can return the favor and serve him the food that comes through my hands but ultimately comes from God’s Eternal Banquet.
|Gumbo and rice-perfectly and deliciously cooked.|
While my gumbo never compare with Chef Besh’s , I recommend his new book and his version of gumbo.
Click here for the recipe: www.chefjohnbesh.com/recipe/seafood-gumbo
|Look at all that perfectly cooked goodness in Chef Besh’s gumbo!|
In this featured section, I offer talking points for you to share with family or with the GBM family. Your responses, questions, or even random ramblings encourage us to continue the work of our movement. Please post your comment or question below.
Who is your favorite chef and why?
Have you ever met anyone famous and changed your impression-either for good or for ill?
What do you think makes a person great?
And to promote upcoming Grace Before Meals events, we will feature this new section to let you know of opportunities to hear Fr. Leo’s talks, taste his food, and grow together in your love for God and family!
Event: Palmer Catholic Academy Fundraiser
Date: September 14, 2012
|Fr. Leo will be cooking his famous Fushion Fajitas and will speak on the importance of family meals and prayer together. Proceeds will benefit the Palmer Academy’s new gymnasium!|
|Location : Our Lady Star of The Sea Cultural Center 545 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Bch, FL 32082
Contact : Karen Shields 904-273-0475
NEXT WEEK: Fr. Leo ramps up the anticipation for the release of Spicing Up Married Life by appearing at St. John’s Regional School at 8pm on Wednesday, September 19 to cook an exclusive recipe from the new book.
And on September 22 at 11am, the day of the book’s release, he will be appearing with many other Catholics at the “40 Days For Life” Kickoff Rally, so come support a great cause and be among the first people to get your copy of Spicing Up Married Life!
On occasion, our Grace Before Meals movement will send out some “Blasts from the Past,” not only because the messages are still relevant today, but it also helps us remember how far we’ve come!
A Special September to Remember
This week, I wanted to call to mind today’s Feast of The Beheading of John the Baptist by remembering the anguish I felt when leaving my family to go to the seminary out in Rome over 18 years ago. As you will read, it was one of the worst days of my life, but it has led me to so much more than I could ever have imagined as a priest, with the opportunity to meet and help families, couples and individuals from around the world. I thank God for his mercy on me and the lessons I’ve been able to learn and share.
Which brings us to exciting news about Spicing Up Married Life, my newest book for couples, whether dating, newly-wed or celebrating their golden anniversary. For those of you who have not heard (I know, I know. I’ve been talking about this for a few years now), we have submitted the final layout to the printer and we are gearing up for a September 22 release, my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary!
(Spicing Up Married Life: Releasing on www.Gracebeforemeals.com on September 22, 2012.)
To promote its release, some may have heard me mention on a radio interview that we would like to offer a 10% discount to all those who register on our site for the newsletter and blasts.We are very excited to share this message and delicious recipes for all couples, whether young or old, especially in today’s world in which the sacrament of marriage is under attack. So stay tuned to upcoming blasts that will offer more news on the book’s release and a new look for September! May God bless our endeavors.
Losing your head or your soul?
Originally Published August 29, 2007
It was a terrible day, perhaps one of the most difficult days I had as a young man. The date was August 29, 1994. I felt as if my comfort zone was stretched to the limit. Thoughts of loneliness and sadness filled my head with swimming confusion. I had to put a smile on my face, but inside I was hurting pretty bad. What was this terrible day? It was the day I left my home for the seminary in Rome and would not be allowed to return for 2 years.
A little dramatic? You betcha. It was hardly a prison sentence, but Filipinos tend to be a bit dramatic – especially when it comes to saying goodbye. But that’s how I felt on the day I left my family, friends and all that was so comfortable to me. Although I could never deny the interior excitement I felt about living and studying in the Eternal City, the painful “weaning” process of leaving my loving and supportive family was no piece of cake. It kinda felt like my family – a unified body – was somehow being separated.
I remember that day and that particular feeling of separation because it was the Feast we celebrate every August 29, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist!
Despite the daunting and unusual reason for celebrating, I was actually consoled by it. It providentially reminded me of the cost of being a follower of the Lord. Find me a saint who was not willing to make sacrifices and be a martyr for God, and I’ll show you a false prophet. John was true to his words to the point of being willing to die for his faith. Others would follow, in particular a group of Carmelite Nuns who also lost their heads – but not their souls!
As a young 24-year-old seminarian wanting to become a priest, I needed a heroic Feast day like John’s Beheading to remind me that I should be willing to make some sacrifices and endure some homesickness for the sake of the Kingdom.
I am sure by now you can tell that I’m slightly dramatic when it comes to some of my spiritual thoughts. I think most people are. If we want to grow in our faith, we need to see how God teaches us through small things, such as times when families have to say goodbye for a while, and experience the sadness of separation. I think of parents saying goodbye to children leaving for school, military families who experience deployment, and even here at the seminary – young men who decided to break up with girlfriends or leave the comforts of a high-paying jobs because they were called to discern the Lord’s will! It’s strangely beautiful to see this type of sacrifice. At the very least, it’s inspiring. That is why we celebrate August 29, no matter how difficult it may be.
Today’s Feast day reminds me that we’re called to be heroes! That happens in small ways, not just in big ways. When a parent does not give in to worry, but instead trusts that God will watch over her child leaving home for the first time; when children going off to college don’t sell their souls to a false sense of liberal education, which I sometimes call “libelous” education; when a teenager avoids the wrong pressures of peers, even if he gets cut off from the rest of the group; when a priest takes it on the chin for preaching a difficult truth from the pulpit! They’re all heroes – albeit less dramatically than St. John the Baptist – but we all have to start somewhere – like leaving home for the first time.
After dealing with the sadness of homesickness, I began to realize that God sometimes calls us through difficult experiences to get us to trust him more. I still admit that leaving my home for Rome was one of the worst days of my life. But ironically, a close second worst day came when I left the seminary to go back home. The seminary became my home, and my classmates became brothers. Again, it was very difficult to say goodbye to them. Although inside I was excited to return to the US to preach the Good News, I couldn’t help but call to mind my “first worst day,” and the Feast celebrated on August 29!
My “last supper” before I left my family was breakfast. My last supper in Rome was a pizza, in particular a zucchini pizza. I thought of an interesting recipe to combine the two. A zucchini pizza omelet! This gives me a tasty combination of the 2 worst days of my life! Not such a bad life, huh? For the recipe [click here].
In the midst of struggles and challenges of this day, let’s remember the cost of discipleship. We all may not be heroes in dramatic ways, but following the way of Christ and trusting him in small ways is a good place to start. In moments of challenge, we turn to God and ask for His blessing to help us remember that life isn’t just “physical” existence, it’s also spiritual existence.
Let us pray:
God our Father, You called John the Baptist to be the herald of Your Son’s birth and death. As He gave His life in witness to truth and justice, so may we strive to profess our faith in Your Gospel. Grant this through Christ our Lord! Amen.
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