My Summer Reading List at

When I was in middle school, I used to read Catholic Digest when I visited my grandmother. Sometimes I’d poach her copies … sometimes I tried to do that before she finished reading it!

It’s my privilege now to work with the fine folks at Catholic Digest, since Today’s Catholic Teacher, where I’m the managing editor, shares the same publisher, editorial coordinator, and art director.

And it’s my privilege today to share my first-ever article for the Catholic Digest website — on one of my favorite topics: reading.

Check it out: Catholic Beach Reads: 16 Page-Turners for your Summer Vacation

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, I’ve listed them all on this Amazon page, so they’ll be easy to find. Note that this is an affiliate page, so your purchase benefits me as a writer.

Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Monday Recap: February 2016


Lent-2016-CRS-Rice-Bowl-and-CM-Meatless-Fridays-702x336Meatless Fridays with CRS Rice Bowl: Rice and Lentil Mash

This Lent, is partnering with CRS Rice Bowl in a special way, sharing the CRS Rice Bowl featured recipes on each Lenten Friday. I sampled Rice and Lentil Mash, a recipe from Laos.

touched by an angel box setNow on DVD: a TV Series that Proclaims God’s Mercy and Love

I reviewed the Touched By an Angel Complete Series boxed set of DVDs, a program with a message of mercy that’s needed even more now than when the show first aired.



bread upon the waterBook Notes: Bread Upon the Water

I reviewed Bread Upon the Water, a story of perseverance that was written for the young adult audience but which will inspire adults as well.




Magnificat Lenten Companion app collageTech Talk: Magnificat Lenten Companion App

If you prefer to use a digital resource for your Lenten prayer and meditation, you’ll definitely want to explore the Magnificat Lenten Companion app for iOS. I examined its many features in my monthly Tech Talk column.


Inheritance album artRejoicing in the Dark Places: Inheritance by Audrey Assad

Praising God when you can’t see the light? Amazingly, it helps more than you might think! The music on Audrey Assad’s new CD, Inheritance, is a gentle reminder that we’re not in this alone.


3 Bean Chili Mac small T CMeatless Friday: 3-Bean Chili Mac

My recipe for meatless Chili Mac is Snow Day food at its best: it’s warm, tasty and fills you up. You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry!

Kiss of JesusBook Notes: The Kiss of Jesus

Catholicmom contributor Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle has written a memoir that views suffering through the lens of faith. I reviewed “The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross.”

At Cook and Count

sesame chicken tenders (2)Sesame Chicken Tenders: Crispy chicken tenders are always a family favorite. These no-fry chicken tenders get a little extra crunch from the sesame seeds, but don’t dry out in the oven thanks to a sour-cream-based marinade.

gnocchi e fagioli 2Gnocchi e Fagioli: Here’s a meatless dish that comes together in about 20 minutes! It’s easy to make and very heart-healthy. You won’t even miss the meat in this simple meal. Add other quick-cooking fresh vegetables to change up the flavor.




lazy duchess (2) cCooking with Kids – Lazy Duchess Potatoes: These potatoes might not look fancy, but they’re fun for kids to make and an easy way to use up your leftover mashed potatoes.


Blueprint- Crumb Crusted ChickenBlueprint Recipe – Crumb Crusted Chicken: This 3-ingredient “blueprint recipe” is a favorite around here and easy to change up by swapping in different varieties of one ingredient!



maple brown sugar chicken C (2)Maple – Brown Sugar Chicken Thighs: The sauce on this chicken has a subtle sweetness. While the recipe’s a little more complex than my usual cooking repertoire (because I’m lazy), this is definitely worth the extra effort. It goes with any of your favorite side dishes.

honey lime fish fillets with spinach garlic bow tiesMeatless Friday – Honey-Lime Fish Fillets: Fish fillets are an easy way to make a Meatless Friday meal. Try this simple and flavorful dish!

At Dynamic Women of Faith

Book Review: 3 New Lenten Resources from Ave Maria Press

Book Review: A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman

Book Review: The Kiss of Jesus by Donna Marie Cooper-O’Boyle

Monday Recap: October 19

Monday Recap-What I've been writing


Ali Series by Christine MarciniakBook Notes: Christine Marciniak’s Ali Series. I interviewed the author of a series of books for teen girls that doesn’t include vampires, the occult or a desolate post-apocalyptic future.

Franciscan Crown FIFranciscan Crown: A Different Way to Pray the Rosary. Did you know that there are many ways to pray the Rosary? Here’s a how-to on praying the Franciscan Crown Rosary.

At Cook and Count:

Roasted Asparagus (3) T CRoasted Asparagus. Cookie sheets are not just for cookies anymore! They’re just the right size to roast vegetables in the oven. Here’s an easy recipe for oven-roasted asparagus.

Greek steak pitas C TOn the Grill: Greek-Seasoned Steak. One of the best steak marinades we’ve tried so far. This works in pita sandwiches or (if you’re not as lazy as I am) for shish kebabs.

Monday Recap: September 28, 2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing


family first missing wmf2015

Family First: Why I’m Not at the World Meeting of Families



The Papal Visit

Tech Talk: Popewatch Apps 



Meatless Friday hold the pepperoni

Meatless Friday: Hold the Pepperoni



At Cook and Count:

lemon garlic chicken thighs CT (3) Lemon & Garlic Chicken Thighs




chili chicken T CChili Honey Chicken




Easy Beef Noodles C TEasy Beef Noodles




sloppy joes (4) T CGame Day Dinner: Sloppy Joes

Monday Recap: June 15, 2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writingThere’s still some Monday left in today. It’s been a busy day around here, what with school getting out tomorrow and all…

There’s nothing new on the recipe front, but just wait until Friday when I’ve got something really special over at Cook and Count!


Weather app logo collegeTech Talk: Whatever the Weather. How long until that thunderstorm comes your way? My favorite weather apps will keep you up-to-date on all those summer storms. Also, you’ll find out where Hubs, AKA The Meteorologist, gets his weather info (hint: it’s not an app!)

Unleashed Book Club: Chapter 1. At, we’re reading Sonja Corbitt’s Unleashed. Various authors host the book club discussions each week. I discuss the connection between hospitality and fear.


CM Sunday Brunch 3Sunday Brunch. Here’s a big bunch of the week’s best articles at I curate this weekly feature.


Monday Recap 4/20

Recap logo Most of the writing I’ve done this past week has been right here! To sum it up:

A short review of Cravings, which I’m working through in an attempt to eat–and be–a little more healthy.

Worth Revisiting is a fun link-up, and I submitted “Be Not Afraid” this past Wednesday.

On Thursdays, I link up at’s Small Success. Don’t miss the cupcake recipe!

I joined in the Catholic Writers Guild’s book blast for Jean Heimann’s Seven Saints for Seven Virtues.

And just for fun, a little riff on razors.

At Cook and Count:

turtle cupcake 3Salted Caramel Turtle Cupcakes–sticky, but so worth it.

Orzo with Garlic, Onions and Thyme–one of my favorite side dishes ever. Just hand me a spoon.

Monday Recap 4/13

Recap logo Maybe I should change my graphic. It’s not morning–not here, anyway. But it’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a Monday Recap!

You can tell it’s spring, because two out of my three articles are on the subject of gardening. Yes, this Black-Thumbed Girl has found some success in that department!


I reviewed Margaret Rose Realy’s new book, A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac.

My Tech Talk takes a look at a few Chrome tools that make my job easier (and a little more fun!)

real housekeeping

At Real Housekeeping:

This unlikely gardener shares how to grow an herb garden in a vintage red wagon, including a great gardening resource.


Monday Recap 3/30

Recap logo






ravioli marinaraAt Catholic Bloggers Network

I shared my recipe for Magnificent Marinara Sauce. It’s terrific with ravioli or tortellini for a quick and simple dinner.

IMG_0708At Cook and Count

What’s cooking? A Jersey-diner favorite: Chicken Francese! This is a bit messy to make, but oh, so worth it!

diaries of joseph and maryAt Dynamic Women of Faith

Here you’ll find my book review of Dennis P. McGeehan’s historical fiction: The Diaries of Joseph and Mary.

Monday Morning Recap

Recap Here’s what I’ve been writing this week at other venues:

My sisters the saintsAt

Triumph of the Cross: My Sisters the Saints Book Club. My thoughts on a favorite prayer and what it means to be like Mary. The Book Club may be ending, but the book’s definitely worth your time.

At Cook and Count:

Lenten Meals 2015Meatless Friday Roundup. All my meatless recipes, all in one place, and not just for Lent anymore.

Pork Paprikas. Not authentic in the least, but it’s one of my older son’s favorites.

pork paprikas (3)

Elsewhere This Week: 2/16/15

Rounding up my posts at other venues for the past week!

birds-featherAt, I reviewed Birds of a Feather by Kaye Park Hinckley. This collection of top-notch short stories is a must-read for Flannery O’Connor fans. Hinckley’s fiction is pure poetry.

What’s It’s an editorially-independent project of Tuscany Press staffed by volunteer reviewers who are eager to share new and classic Catholic fiction. If you’re looking for a good book to read, posts reviews every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.






At Cook and Count, new recipes include a whole bunch of meatless meals (Lent’s coming up) and a special dinner:

grilled veg burrito (3)Father Brice’s Peasant Pasta, a simple and healthy meatless dish.

Pico de Gallo, a go-with-everything-Mexican favorite.

Grilled Fajita Vegetables and Veggie Burritos

Pan-Seared Cod with Mandarin Sauce

Veal Milanese. (It only tastes fancy!)

Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs, because when the weather’s REALLY cold, you want to have the oven on for 45 minutes!