Thursday, October 8, 2015

Let's Celebrate with Advent and Christmas Foods - Talk at Mary Washington University Campus Ministry

On Thursday, October 1, I was invited to give a talk at the Catholic Campus Ministry of Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on Advent and Christmas celebratory foods. The campus 
Mary Washington University

ministry program is headed up by Fr. Christopher Vaccaro a diocesan priest from Arlington, Virginia, and his very capable office staff. He is assisted by Focus missionaries, a group of Catholic young men and women, post college age, who share their Catholic faith with college age students. It is a vibrant Catholic campus ministry at Mary Washington University. About sixty students attended the dinner and talk with at least ten of them responsible for cooking the dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I was assisted in every way needed by this generous group of students, including setting up the equipment for my Powerpoint talk. The talk included more celebratory foods and feast days than is highlighted here.

Little Boy and Girl Bread Doll Treats for the Feast of St. Nicholas - Grattimanen

The talk featured Advent and Christmas celebratory foods beginning with the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6, and ending with Epiphany. The pictures below are examples of cake pops for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, and "St. Lucy Eyeballs" for the Feast of St. Lucy, December 13.
Cakes Pops for the Immaculate Conception

A simple Christmas Cake in the center and St. Lucy Eyeballs on the left and far right

Cake Pops to Celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on both ends of the table

A Christmas Dessert, Mexican Wedding Cookies

The evening ended with everyone sampling the desserts I had prepared,
Below is a picture of a Twelfth Night Cake which I did not make, but included in my presentation, so the students could view this attractive and tasty dessert served on the feast of the Epiphany.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Blessing of the Animals, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

October 4 is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order, 1181 - 1226.  His gentle nature and love of  God's creation has thought to have drawn animals to him in a peaceful and loving way. There are many legends, one which even tells of St. Francis subduing a wolf that was bothering the towns people of Gubbio, Italy. For more details of the story go to,

Many parishes offer a simple ceremony called the "Blessing of the Animals" on October 4 or a nearby date. Ann Ball, r.i.p., in her cookbook, Catholic Traditions in Cooking has recipe for "Doggie Delights"! For those of you who are dog lovers, the recipe is included at the bottom of this post. I have made it before myself for friends' dogs. I hope you will give it a try!

Doggie Treats

Doggie Delights found in Catholic Traditions in Cooking, p. 128.

      • 1 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup yeast and garlic powder
      • 1/2 cup oil
      • 6 - 8 tablespoons of water
      • 1/2 jar (1 1/4 ounces) sliced dried beef, chopped fine
    • Make a stiff dough of the first four ingredients. Add the chopped dried beef. Roll between two pieces of waxed paper till thin, about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares with a sharp knife. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until treats are hard. Cool and store in a closed container. Taste test yourself! Cats usually like them, too.
    • *Yeast and garlic powder may be purchased at a health food store. This is an excellent source of vitamins and helps to repel fleas. 
    • Yield about 2 dozen