Monday Recap: October and November 2016

The beginning of November got away from me, so I’m including 2 months’ worth of articles in this edition of Monday Recap. It’s the first Monday of the month, so I’ve gathered up links to the work I’ve done in other spaces.


coloring-book-notes-logoColor and Pray: At Play in God’s Creation Coloring Book

A review of a different kind of coloring book: At Play in God’s Creation is an invitation to prayer and creativity.

Review of "The Perfect Blindside" at

Book Notes: The Perfect Blindside

My review of Leslea Wahl’s novel for teens, “The Perfect Blindside,” featuring an unlikely couple who team up to solve a mystery and find something more.


Meatless Friday: Burrito Bowls

Faster and cheaper than takeout: I break down the veggie burrito bowl for your Meatless Friday dinner.

Courtesy of Holy Spirit Radio.

Tech Talk: Spirit in the Morning Radio with Gary Zimak

Catholic evangelist Gary Zimak launched a new morning radio program this week! Here are the details on how you can listen, no matter where you live.


Book Notes: Rosa, Sola by Carmela Martino

Rosa, Sola by Carmela Martino deals with the sensitive topic of infant loss and brings up questions about living out the Works of Mercy. I discuss the book with the author and interview key characters.


Book Notes: YOU, a Theology of the Body study program for teens

YOU, a new Theology of the Body study program for teens from Ascension Press, that challenges and engages teens in the discussion of a difficult subject.


Book Notes: Journey to the Cross by Shane Cloonan

My interview with teenage author Shane Cloonan about Journey to the Cross, a picture book for children that’s perfect for Advent and Christmas reading.


Book Notes: Who Does He Say You Are?

My review of Who Does He Say You Are? by Colleen C. Mitchell, a book inviting women to put themselves in the places of women in the Gospels.


Meatless Friday: Cod with Caper-Mustard Sauce

Here’s an easy way to dress up plain baked fish fillets with a 4-ingredient sauce. This dinner takes just minutes to make but looks and tastes fancy enough for company.

Book Notes: Two Guidebooks for Young Adults

My review of two guidebooks that will make great gifts for the young adults in your life, with tips on keeping the faith in college and finding a faithful spouse.


Earthquake Topples Benedictine Basilica

The Benedictine Monks of Norcia, who released a chant album honoring the Blessed Mother last year, have suffered the destruction of their monastery and basilica in this year’s earthquakes in central Italy.


Book Notes: Ornamental Graces

My review of Carolyn Astfalk’s newest novel, Ornamental Graces, and interview with four of the novel’s supporting characters.


Book Notes: Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta

I had a hard time putting down a new Advent devotional by Heidi Hess Saxton. Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta offers food for thought and prayer for any reader who is devoted to this fascinating saint.

Biographical Book Notes

Capsule reviews of 6 biographies: no tell-alls here, but books that will inspire you in the spiritual life.

Courtesy of

Pray the Year: Liturgical Resources for Families

My interview with Jonathan Sullivan, the creator of “Pray the Year,” a free email service providing liturgical prayer resources for families. Sign up today to receive the Advent email from “Pray the Year!”


Book Notes: Prayer in the Catholic Tradition

How many ways can a Catholic pray? “Prayer in the Catholic Tradition” covers the history and how-tos of Catholic prayer.


Advent Wreath Linkup 2016: A Celebration of Advent Wreaths

Join our Advent wreath linkup! Share a photo of your family’s Advent wreath on your blog, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Don’t forget the hashtag: #adventwreathcm

At Catholic Underground


At Cook and Count


Romanian Chicken Paprika


Cookie Time: Giant Orange Ginger Oatmeal Cookies


Chicken with Red Wine and Onions

At Dynamic Women of Faith

Book Review: Catholic Coloring Books for Prayer, Reflection and Relaxation


Book Review: Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta

At Midwest Review of Books

Full Cycle cover

At The Ruth Institute

Monday recap 2016 edition

Monday Recap: October 3, 2016

It’s the first Monday of the month, so I’ve gathered up links to the work I’ve done in other spaces.


shrimp-fra-diavolo-for-2Meatless Friday: Date-Night Shrimp Fra Diavolo. My recipe makes just enough for a fancy dinner for two!

seven riddles to nowhere

Book Notes Goes to Middle School: 7 Riddles to Nowhere. Are you wondering if 7 Riddles to Nowhere is appropriate for your middle-schooler? I asked author A.J. Cattapan some insider questions about the book.


Intercessory Prayer Gets Behind the Wheel. Emergency vehicles don’t have to be the only things that move you to intercessory prayer while you’re driving. Any car on the road can be a reminder to pray.


Book Notes: Works of Mercy Coloring & Activity Book. I reviewed the Education in Virtue Works of Mercy Coloring & Activity Book, which will appeal to parents, catechists and Catholic-school teachers who’d like to supplement their children’s religious instruction with fun and worthwhile educational activities.


Book Notes: 2 Coloring Books for Prayer from Pauline Books & Media. I reviewed two new coloring books for adults. Pauline Books & Media publishes “Our Lady’s Garden” and “Windows into Christ.” How can you incorporate prayer into the coloring craze?


Book Notes: Feeding Your Family’s Soul. Has family dinnertime gotten lost in the shuffle of your busy family schedule? I reviewed a new book by contributor Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle that aims to give family dinners pride of place.


St. Jerome, Doctor & Curmudgeon. On September 30the Church celebrates St. Jerome, patron of librarians, scholars, students, translators…and grumpy people. I shared how St. Jerome’s story gives me hope.

At Cook and Count

Giant Double Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom

Giant Double-Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies

Cheesy Potato packets by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom

On the Grill: Cheesy Potato Packets

Pork Lo Mein by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom

Pork Lo Mein or Stir-Fry

Pork Scaloppine by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom

Simple Pork Scaloppine

Roasted Broccoli  by Barb Szyszkiewicz @franciscanmom

Roasted Broccoli


Monday recap 2016 edition


This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Monday Recap: April 2016



Easter ham and cheese bakeCooking with Kids: Easter Ham and Cheese Bake. I shared a frugal recipe that kids can help prepare for the non-Meatless Friday after Easter. Catalogue Book Club Part II: Seasons of the Church Year (#32-44)We discussed Part Two: Seasons of the Church Year (#32-44) from The Catholic Catalogue, by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating. Reading this book has convinced me of the need to make sure that the observations of both the daily and the seasonal aspects of Catholic life take place on a family level, not just a personal one

four keys to everlasting loveBook Notes: The Four Keys to Everlasting Love. My review of The Four Keys to Everlasting Love by contributors Dr. Manuel and Karee Santos. The book is an excellent resource for marriage prep, but it’s not just for engaged couples or even newlyweds.


AmorisLaetitia WOF for FIAmoris Laeticia, The Joy of Love. A roundup of early commentary on the latest papal exhortation, as well as a link to the document itself.

blue eyed dollBook Notes: Blue-Eyed Doll. I reviewed Blue-Eyed Doll, a fascinating historical novel that transports the reader to 1920s California, where students collected dolls to exchange for dolls from students in Japan.


Catholic emoji FITech Talk: Texting and Tweeting with Catholic Emoji. Just for fun, I tried out the new Catholic Emoji app for iPhone and iPad. Those new emoji from Apple? Try to find real Rosary beads in there. Catholic Emoji has you covered.

hope unfoldingMother’s Day Book Notes: Hope Unfolding. I reviewed Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truths for the Momma’s Heart. It’s a perfect Mother’s Day gift for any overwhelmed mom.

At Cook and Count

cilantro citrus chicken 2cCitrus-Cilantro Chicken



roast pork orange pan sauce C (1)Roast Pork with Orange Pan Sauce



three way tacos CThree-Way Taco Topping




chesapeake bay shrimp CMeatless Friday: Chesapeake Bay Shrimp


At Dynamic Women of Faith

blue eyed dollBook Review: Blue-Eyed Doll by Deanna K. KlingelThis fascinating historical novel transports the reader to 1920s California, where students collected dolls to exchange for dolls from students in Japan, and follows the collectible dolls into World War II and its aftermath. Don’t miss Ruth Mary, the gutsy main character–she’s terrific.

Note: All links to books are Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my website with your purchase!

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: January 2016

Monday recap 2016 edition

Here you’ll find what I’ve been writing in other spaces: my roundup for the month of January 2016.


true radianceBook Notes: True Radiance. I reviewed True Radiance by Lisa Mladinich, a book that helps readers learn to rely upon and cooperate with grace in the second half of life.



50 Million Names for FITech Talk: 50 Million Names. For families looking for simple ways to honor the more than 50 million unborn babies who were never given the chance at life after Roe v. Wade, I found a website that offers ideas for action, prayer and sacrificial giving.

A Single Bead by Stephanie EngelmanBook Notes: A Single Bead. I reviewed Stephanie Engelman’s new novel for teens, A Single Bead, which challenges the reader to lay aside the idea that a prayer or a sacramental can be a “magical” thing.



IMG_0053Bless Your Home for Epiphany. I shared how my parish has continued the custom of blessing homes at Epiphany.


meatless-friday-redesignMeatless Fridays: A Year of Mercy Resolution. Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? I encourage you to consider observing Meatless Fridays all year ’round during the Year of Mercy.

At Cook and Count




beef veg lo mein (1) T C smallBeef and Vegetable Lo Mein



3 Bean Chili Mac small T C3-Bean Chili Mac



Ckn Crescent Casserole (4) T CCrescent Chicken Pot Pie



slow cooker chicken paprikas T C R(2)Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikas

At Mercatornet Book Reviews

A Single Bead by Stephanie EngelmanA Young Adult Novel with a Message of Hope: my review of Stephanie Engelman’s A Single Bead.

Monday Recap: 11/30/2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

I didn’t get much writing done last week, since we were busy celebrating Thanksgiving and traveling and visiting and cooking a turkey here so we could have leftovers–that sort of thing. I pretty much took 4 days off work, which meant I was buried in email today, but it was definitely worth it.

At Cook and Count

fish tacos (4) c t for FIFast Fish Tacos

diabetes lunch (7) T C

Packing Lunches for your Diabetic Child: It seems like the easiest thing in the world to pack a lunch. But two years ago when my younger son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, those little everyday things felt like huge obstacles. Here’s how we figured out a way for him to know how many carbs are in his lunch and snack.

Monday Recap: October 26, 2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

Here are links to what I’ve been writing this week in other spaces. Most of my writing happened here last week.


Small Success dark blue outline 800x800I hosted Small Success Thursday: Substitute Edition. It’s not too late to link up and share YOUR small successes!



At Cook and Count:

shrimp pad thai 6 T CShrimp Pad Thai. A new recipe, based on one I found at Pad Thai is not hard to make at all, and has a delicious fresh flavor.

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: 10/5/2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

There’s been a lot of writing going on this week!


PreK4 God Bless Our PopeA Catholic School Welcomes Pope Francis




1Progressive Dinner: Granma’s Rolls

Ranch TunaMacaroni Salad FI



Meatless Friday: Ranch Tuna Macaroni Salad



Saints for All Occasions FISaintly Greetings: Saints for All Occasions Cards



Stay with Me coverBook Notes: Stay With Me by Carolyn Astfalk (look for a longer review of this book on Saturday, right here!)






At Cook and Count:

Sally Magic Chicken T CSally’s Magic Chicken


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