#WorthRevisit: Anniversary Special

Hubs and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary today! In honor of the occasion, I have an Anniversary Special: snips from a couple of anniversary-related posts and a bonus recipe.


Funniest moment of our wedding day: (from 2007)

We hadn’t arranged for limos since the church and reception were fairly close. So the guys in the wedding party took the girls in their cars. We never arranged for rides for OURSELVES! After the photo-ops were over, we were almost the only ones left in the church, and we had no way to get to the reception. So we hitched a ride with the neighbor who was responsible for getting us together.

How we met: (from 2007)

Blind date!! My father worked with Hubs’ neighbor. In fact, they’d worked together so long that she knew me first. When Hubs had broken up with his long-term girlfriend, she played Yenta the Matchmaker.

TheKid’s Scathingly Brilliant Idea: (from 2013)

TheKid is a soccer fan. This morning he announced, “Mom, the World Cup is going to be in Brazil next year! Can I go?”


I thought his request was funny, so I was telling Daughter about it. She replied, “I’d love to go! I’d bring my friend. She speaks Portuguese. And I’ll learn how to ask where the bathroom is. I’m pretty sure it’s almost just like Spanish.”

“Right. The last thing I’m going to do is send the two of you and one other teenager to Brazil.”

TheKid, for whom Hope Springs Eternal, had a plan. “Wait! Aren’t you and Dad going to celebrate your 25th anniversary soon?”

christ-the-redeemer-statue-brazil“No. It’ll be 23 in January.”

“Oh. Well, I have an idea! You and Dad can go to Brazil on your honeymoon!”

“And I’m guessing that you and Daughter would be the chaperones?”

“Well, no. We would go to the soccer game, and you and Dad can go visit that big Jesus on the mountain. I thought of everything! It’s a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?”

Recipe for the Very First Meal I Served My Husband

(because when I love people, I cook for them)

This four-ingredient dish is easy to put together. It’s a great recipe to use when the kids want to help in the kitchen, because they can do all the prep work! Note that low-fat cream of chicken soup does not work well in this recipe.

Swiss chicken melt (1)Chicken Swiss Melt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz. each)
1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Spread a little soup on the bottom of your casserole dish. A small offset spatula, like ones used for decorating cakes, is perfect for this.

Place chicken on top of soup. Cover with Swiss cheese slices (if cheese slices are thin, double up!) Spread the rest of the soup over the chicken and cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs over chicken and bake 5 minutes more. Serve over rice, and don’t skimp on the sauce!

Note:  Havarti cheese can be substituted for Swiss.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

What’s for Supper? August 30-September 3


I’m linking up with Simcha Fisher for her “What’s for Supper?” feature. I’ve only got 5 days here, because last week I was late, and I haven’t actually decided what we’re eating tonight. Even though it’s 5:15 PM right now.

cucumber tomato salad (1)c TITLESUNDAY 30: Hamburgers, hot dogs, tomato-cucumber-onion salad, baked beans (my secret recipe for baked beans: for every 15 ounces of canned baked beans, add 3 TBL ketchup and 1 TBL yellow mustard. Stir. Bake 20 minutes at 350.)

MONDAY 31: TheKid was visiting friends, so Hubs and I went to the diner for omelets.

Chicken breasts with Mushroom Sauce c title

TUESDAY 1: Chicken Breasts in Mushroom Sauce based on this recipe from author Jeanne Grunert. I still need to write up how I made it (note “based on” above) and include the nutrition information. This was a big hit.

WEDNESDAY 2: Spaghetti and meatballs. This is our Wednesday-supper tradition because I have folk-group practice on Wednesday evenings, and this dinner is easy to make and to clean up.

Chicken Thighs BBQ rub baked beans c titleTHURSDAY 3: Chicken thighs with barbecue rub, tater tots, salad, baked beans. Next time I’m putting those on sandwiches with a little cole slaw.

rainbow stirfry c title FIAs for tonight, I could make my Meatless-Friday recipe that’s up at CatholicMom.com today…I have everything here to make that happen. We’ll see.

Eat, Drink and Evangelize: A Book Review and a Recipe

catholic drinkie bookIn just one book, you’ll get Church history, Gospel stories, patron saints, prayers, quotes from G.K. Chesterton, social-media advice and recipes for beer. Sarah Vabulas has managed to blend all of this–and more–together to create The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism. And she puts it together in an entertaining manner, with plenty of good humor and common-sense advice.

I definitely get where Sarah is coming from in section 3 of this book (Responsibly and Successfully Building Community.) My own love language is food. I love to cook and bake for people. But while I love recipes, I love her message about evangelization even more (and I think a lot of it applies to food as well as what Jeopardy refers to as “potent potables”).

Sarah is honest and real about the pitfalls of social-media use and all-the-time evangelization that isn’t backed up enough by personal prayer. As an introvert, I am in awe of her ability to

“go out to dinner and strike up a conversation with a neighboring patron, acknowledging his dignity and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my words and actions. This is the call of the New Evangelization. This is how we say ‘yes’ to the Lord in our everyday lives.” (p. 99)

Sarah describes her hobby of homebrewing beer as another way to build community. It can be a group process, which makes the job more fun–and she also finds opportunities to share her faith with her friends during the process. It’s also an opportunity to make gifts for others, sharing one’s own talents and interests while paying attention to what our loved ones enjoy so that we can craft the perfect gift.

spent grain 2 cRegarding the section of the book that includes recipes for homebrewed beer, I do disagree with Sarah’s assertion that you can’t brew 5-gallon batches of beer in an apartment. My older son does this–and he’s the reason I had a container of dried spent grain at the ready to experiment with bread recipes. Spent grain is a by-product of the beer-brewing process, and frugal brewers have discovered that you can use it in cooking. My own experiments in baking with spent grain affirm what I’ve read online–you can’t make the spent grain much more than 10% of your recipe’s total grain content.

Brewing beer actually has quite a bit in common with baking bread, and not just because both of them involve yeast and grain. They also both involve what Sarah refers to as “hurry-up-and-wait activity,” but when you brew beer, you have to wait a couple of weeks to sample your finished product!

spent grain bread (5) CM FII created this recipe for spent-grain bread as an homage to Sarah’s work. If she lived closer, I’d share a loaf with her. There’s a reason many of my bread recipes make 2 loaves: one for the family, one to share!

Spent-Grain Bread

makes 2 loaves

1 3/4 cups warm water
2 TBL butter
3 TBL honey
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup dried spent grain
1 TBL active dry yeast

Add all ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Use the dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough to a floured surface. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Place loaves in prepared bread pans. Cut 2 or 3 diagonal slashes in the top of each loaf. Allow to rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 and bake 35 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

spent grain bread (6)c

Order your copy of The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism using my affiliate link and you’ll support my reading and cooking habit with your purchase–but you pay nothing extra!

Small Success Thursday: New Blog Edition


Shortly after Little Brother was diagnosed with diabetes, I received a message from my friend Katharine Grubb (she’s also an author! You should read her books!)

She was urging me to begin a new project. As if I need more new projects. She wanted me to use the information I was gathering about cooking for my Type 1 Diabetic child and share it with others who could use it.

I knew she was right, but I had to let some things settle in first. Finally, yesterday, I took the plunge and pressed the “publish” button on my new cooking blog.

Cook and Count has the carb-per-serving count for each recipe I feature. I also plan to include Little Brother’s story as well as other things we learn about dealing with diabetes as a family.


I taught FIRST grade the other day when they needed a substitute at school! I used to teach first-grade Spanish, but I had a new batch of kiddos every 35 minutes. All day long is another story entirely, but we had a great day. Best line of the day, after I wrote my name on the blackboard:  “I can’t say your name! It has too many words!”


I’m taking advantage of the better weather (and lack of early-morning ice)–I got to Mass twice this week and the gym once. I’m hoping to do better on both counts, but it’s a start.

Stop over to CatholicMom.com and read about everyone’s Small Success! Share your own in the comments or link to your own blog!

Looking for a Few Good Recipes

You probably already know that I am a recipe addict. There are over 100 cookbooks in my house, which, for the record, is not “too many” by any stretch of the imagination.

WFDI share all kinds of recipes over at Mom’s Fridge, and I’m privileged to share meatless-meal ideas at CatholicMom.com as well. In fact, there is now a core team of four recipe bloggers who make sure there’s a meatless recipe every single Friday, and many other CatholicMom.com contributors will be sharing recipes in the coming weeks as well.

MF logoI am so thrilled that CatholicMom.com has run with the ball on this!

This past Friday, we did something a little different. We’re hosting a Meatless-Friday recipe link party at CatholicMom.com. It lasts the entire week, so that gives you plenty of time to find and share your family favorites. And with just over a month to go until Lent, it also gives you plenty of time to browse these shared recipes and introduce some new ones into your Lenten meal plan.

(And remember, Meatless Friday isn’t just for Lent. Read all about it!)


Small Success Thursday: Sweet & Salty Edition


List three things you are grateful for this week: victories over minutia, victories over the big stuff, blessings which you have received which reveal the breathing presence of God’s grace in your life. Then ask a friend to come and participate too.

This week’s successes include a recipe! Because that’s how I roll.

1. Over the weekend we tried a new snack from Utz:  peanut-butter-filled pretzels. utz pb pretzelsYummy all by themselves, I assure you, but when you bake them into a chocolate-chip cookie, that’s a whole new level of amazing.

2. Despite all the crazy that’s been going on this week, I’ve managed to get to the gym 3 mornings. I’d have gone yesterday, but I was taking Middle Sister on a college tour, and that turned out to be quite the walking workout–with plenty of hills–in itself, and I was glad I had the energy to do it. I’m kind of amazed that I almost enjoy my half-hour on the treadmill, and I think it helps me feel better. Of course, the cookies are kind of canceling out any weight-loss benefits, but one thing at a time.

3. I didn’t get lost on the way home from the college we visited yesterday, even though I took local roads home instead of the highway, hoping we’d find a place for lunch. I can’t believe that even on driving on main roads for 25 minutes, we didn’t get to a Wawa until we hit Philly.

Last week when I linked up to CatholicMom.com‘s newly-resurrected Small Success Thursday, I had no idea that by this week I’d have been tossed into a situation where celebrating a small success (or 3) would be crucial to my sanity. But there you have it. So I’m grateful to Lisa Hendey at CatholicMom.com, along with whomever else was instrumental in getting this started, right when I’d need it.

Go straight here to add YOUR link, or leave comments at the Small Success post at CatholicMom.com!

What’s for Dinner?

I made soup without a recipe tonight and it was fabulous!

I wrote down the recipe so I won’t forget what I did. Here it is: Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup. Had to name it after the seasonings I added! (And I will freely admit adding sage, which I wouldn’t have done, just so all the seasonings in the song were named. Yes, I’m weird like that.)

Soup with some simple dinner rolls made a delicious, easy dinner.

It’s Homemade Cookie Day!

What are you baking?

I made Michelle’s Molasses Crinkle Cookies and let me tell you, these things are fabulous! Or as Little Brother says, “fab-lee-ous!”

They taste even better than they smell, which is amazing.

Go ahead and make some. You know you want to.

This has to be one of my favorite holidays. How can you go wrong with cookies?