From The Feedbag

Wow! What a Response!

Greetings fellow GBMers. Now that you have had time to share a grand meal with your families (we hope), we thought we would take the opportunity to share with you some news on here at Grace Before Meals.

First, we have received such an incredible and overwhelming response to last week’s request for taste testers for Fr. Leo’s new book, Spicing Up Married Life. Due to the number of people who want to try some of Fr. Leo’s cooking, we have to officially close the submission deadline a day early, as we must now sift through them all and decide who will get the chance to help us make sure Fr. Leo’s recipes are as good as can be. We have even decided to double the number of testers from 12 to 24! Once we make our decisions, our “chosen ones” shall receive an email notification by the beginning of next year, possibly sooner. There are just so many to choose from, so keep your eyes open and your stomach ready for some good cooking.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(A similar expression of Fr. Leo’s joy at the number of people who want to try his recipes.)

For those who will be selected, you will receive an email with the recipe and chapter questions, which we ask you to look through and give feedback before cooking. And then when you cook, we will simply ask for you to let us know how everything went and your input. And if necessary, Fr. Leo can reimburse up to $25 for groceries per chosen couple. Remember, these recipes are intended for couples, whether dating, engaged or married, so this is one best saved for a romantic evening without the kids.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(One of Fr. Leo’s Thanksgiving dishes. And just think of how lucky his family is, as they always gets to taste test his meals!)

But WAIT! We have been so impressed with the enthusiasm many of you have shown that even if you do not get chosen, all people who have submitted requests to be taste testers will receive a discount on Fr. Leo’s new book, Spicing Up Married Life. Once the release date is set and we open up pre-order sales, we will contact you with more information, so stay excited! Your chance to taste the new recipes will come soon enough!

Speaking of new items, in addition to the new book, we will be launching a number of new features on the website in the coming year, including a new shopping cart feature which will have an exclusive variety of new merchandise, so you’ll finally have more ways of sharing Grace Before Meals with your friends and family outside of wearing that slimming black apron. If there are certain types of apparel or kitchenware you would like to see, post your comment below and let us know what you want to see.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(Well, that is a shopping cart, but not quite what we have in mind.)

Also in the works is an awesome, top-secret new YouTube project that goes outside of the kitchen and into the dorm room, so stay tuned! And with the new website features, we hope to start implementing some website changes, so don’t be alarmed if something seems different. These and more are planned heading into the new year, which is only a month away!

For us avid churchgoers, we have entered Advent, and for the Catholic Church, that has meant the New Mass! While it may be weird saying different prayers than we’re used to, it is such a great way to bring us closer to our roots and the how these prayers were intended to be prayed. Life Teen has a number of great videos to check out in case you would like a further explanation on the new Roman Missal and why the changes were made. Just go to http://ismasschanging.org/ and choose your video preference.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(They have videos for parish leaders, parents, high school teens and even middle school teens. Click the picture to check them out!)

And one more video to check out is the new “Catholics Come Home” campaign. With the beginning of Advent, national ads were launched across network and prime time TV, with the chance to reach over 250 million viewers! This is the first time in history the Catholic faith has reached out on such a large media scale. So be sure to check out www.catholicscomehome.org/advent and support our faith as we seek to reach those in need.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(What an appropriate scene for the Advent season. Click the picture to see the video for “Catholics Come Home”.)

As we head into our final month of 2011, we have a few more events coming up, including:

1) St. James Parish in Boonsboro, MD this Friday, December 2.

2) St. John Neumann’s Catholic Church in Reston VA on Sunday, December 4.

3) Back to back presentations on December 10 and 11, the first at St. John Neumann Church in Columbia, SC and the second at St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill, SC.

4) A trip to Malmstrom Airforce base for training exercises out in Great Falls, MT. (!)

Come out if you can and support us with your presence and prayers. And be sure to check out gracebeforemeals.com/events on a regular basis to see if Fr. Leo is coming out your way.

And with these bits of news, we thank God for the opportunities we have to share food, love and faith with one another. May we keep His love freely and share it with one another, especially as we look to celebrate the Advent season. If you have any questions or feedback, such as what types of items you would like to be made available to support the movement or ways to improve our website and newsletters, please leave a comment below and let us know ways to help grow our movement and strengthen families with food and faith.

Let us pray:

Dear God, we thank you for this holiday season and the chance to celebrate our Lord with family, friends, and food! Please bless our movement as we seek to strengthen families by bringing them together and to glorify you with the love that is shared. Please bless our upcoming year and the projects we take on, all for your glory. Guide us to you, O Lord, that you may be pleased. Amen.

Watch Grace Before Meals episodes on Youtube! Follow Fr. Leo on Twitter!become a Fan of Fr. Leo and Grace before Meals on Facebook!

Mount St. Mary's University: Proud Sponsor of Grace Before Meals

Posted in Grace Before Meals, Mass, Prayers, Taste Tester, Video, What's On the Table | 1 Comment »

From The Feedbag

Wanted: Taste Testers for Fr. Leo’s New Book of Recipes

***NOTE: I realize this is not a normal “From the Feedbag” E-mail Blast, but I had to share some of our fun and exciting news.  I’ll get back to answering some of the great questions you all send to us at gracebeforemeals.com in future blasts.***

First, being the day before Thanksgiving, I want to thank each of you for supporting us and keeping up with our movement. I am so thankful for my family, friends and each of you, along with this great opportunity to help strengthen families and relationships through tasty food…that’s what Thanksgiving’s all about! As we spend time with our loved ones, we pray for safe travels and true thanks for the Lord our God for his many blessings in our lives, which includes the delicious food we eat, but more importantly, the people in our lives we have to share this meal with.

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.) 

(Couples from Westminster, Maryland who won a dinner date night prepared by me.)

And now, after so many months (OK, years actually), I finished writing Spicing Up Married Life – a book of recipes full of romantic dinners for couples.  Sounds intriguing, right?  If you’re dating, engaged, newlyweds, or celebrating golden-year anniversary marriages, this book is geared to help strengthen your relationship.

To summarize, it has 12 chapters so that a couple can celebrate a monthly (not annual) anniversary.  Each chapter contains a bite-sized theological essay about relationships and marriage vows.  Questions for dinner conversation, recipes, and a prayer round out each chapter, so couples can have meaningful meals that inspire them to love God and each other more faithfully.  Needless to say, I’m very excited about this book and what it can do to help couples find deeper love around the dinner table.

(Tom and Teresa Green of Westminster, Maryland. This is one of the parish's couples who helped me teach Marriage Preparation. You may also recognize them from the Throwdown! with Bobby Flay episode! They were the "test family" on the episode. I've had many meals with them and great conversations about strengthening marriage through faith.)

(Tom and Teresa Green of Westminster, Maryland. This is one of the parish’s couples who helped me teach Marriage Preparation. You may also recognize them from the Throwdown! with Bobby Flay episode! They were the “test family” on the episode. I’ve had many meals with them and great conversations about strengthening marriage through faith.)

Now that I’ve told you about the book, I also want to invite you to be a part of the process.  Here’s an invitation to be a Grace Before Meals recipe tester!

If interested, we need to hear from you by next Thursday, December 1, 2011. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Click here to email the Project Manager with “GBM Taste Tester” in the subject line.  In your email, let us know if you’re in a relationship (dating, engaged or married for any number of years).  Let us know that you want to try out one of the chapter’s recipes!
  2. (When I was in Guam, I did a presentation just for married couples and had a long-time engaged couple help make the meal.)

    (When I was in Guam, I did a presentation just for married couples and had a long-time engaged couple help make the meal.)

  3. Tell us about your cooking experience. What type of cook are you? Novice? Moderate? Experienced Chef?  Tell us if you have any food allergies, or if there’s a dish or food item you’re interested in testing.
  4. When our team receives all of the requests, we will select 12 recipe testers – one for each chapter.  We will then send you a recipe and ask you to prepare the meal by a certain date.  Cook the recipe exactly as it’s written.  However, if there is a typo or if you have questions about measurements or portion sizes, you can give our team a call to clarify how best to proceed.  Once you’ve made the entire meal, give us your HONEST feedback. In some cases, I will even help pay for your dinner date!  But, you have to be honest with your comments and experience.
  5. (Intimidating! Hearing the judges’ impressions of the two different plates of food – Bobby Flay's fajitas or mine? Well, you know how that turned out. Prayer pushed our fajita to victory!)

    (Intimidating! Hearing the judges’ impressions of the two different plates of food – Bobby Flay’s fajitas or mine? Well, you know how that turned out. Prayer pushed our fajita to victory!)

  6. Once we receive your feedback and process all of the comments, we’ll keep your name and contact information on file in order to include your name in the acknowledgements of the new book.  Just let us know how you want your name to appear. We may even use some of your written comments in the book as well!
  7. When the new book is printed, you’ll be the first to receive an official signed copy as our way of saying thanks for participating in our movement’s efforts to strengthen relationships..

(Participating couples at a Grace Before Meals event at St. Patrick's Church, Bellefontaine, Ohio, January 2011.) 

(Participating couples at a Grace Before Meals event at St. Patrick’s Church, Bellefontaine, Ohio, January 2011.)

Now, I know many people will ask, “When can we expect the book to be in stores?”  That depends on how fast we get the recipe testers’ feedback, the publisher contracts signed, and the book layout finalized.  We want to make this a special gift book for couples, so it may take a few months.  But, don’t worry; those who participated in the test kitchen will certainly be sent the first books, hot off the press!  And those who subscribe to our website will be the first to know about pre-orders through our E-mail Blasts.

Consider this “From the Feedbag” a little invitation letter to all of you – especially those interested in being a recipe tester for one of my unique recipes specifically designed for couples.

(You could be taste-testing one of these romantic dinner creations from me, but made especially for your spouse!)

(You could be taste-testing one of these romantic dinner creations from me, but made especially for your spouse!)

Let us pray:

God, grant our movement the grace to persevere in spreading the Good News to all families, and especially to encourage loving relationships for couples.  May our efforts bear great fruits that feed hungry souls, and also inspire servants to feed those who need God’s love through a blessed meal.  Keep us focused on feasting on Your goodness that You share with us at every Mass.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Happy Newlyweds – they know if they find God, they find love!)

(Happy Newlyweds – they know if they find God, they find love!)

DON’T FORGET to tune in to the new show, Mass Confusion on CTV, set to air this Thanksgiving at 8:30pm. The show stars my good friends, Greg and Jennifer Willits of the popular radio show, “The Catholics Next Door,” on SiriusXM 129.

If you have any questions or comments, and want Fr. Leo’s perspectives, feel free and let us know.  Fr. Leo is happy to try and answer as many questions as possible in future emails.  We will always keep you anonymous.  But, your questions help us better understand how our movement can be of service to you.  We consider your questions and comments important dinner conversation, so please post your comments below.

Watch Grace Before Meals episodes on Youtube! Follow Fr. Leo on Twitter!become a Fan of Fr. Leo and Grace before Meals on Facebook!

Mount St. Mary's University: Proud Sponsor of Grace Before Meals

Posted in Food for the Body, From the Feedbag, Grace Before Meals, Holiday, Prayers, Recipe, Special Religious Theme, Spicing Up Married Life, Taste Tester, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments »