Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter, Divine Mercy and Våffeldagen - a Seven Quick Takes

Happy Easter to you all!

- 1 -
I love that we will get to say this for 50 days! Prior to starting to live along with the liturgical calendar I was only aware of the church celebrating Easter for - oh, I don't know - maybe a week or so after the actual date. But now this will be the first year where we try and hold space for the season for all 50 days. One of the ways that I've considered doing this is by greeting fellow believers with "Happy Easter!" all Eastertide long. So far, it doesn't sound too weird to anyone I've wished it to this week, but I'm thinking that next week I might start to get some strange looks... that is if I don't chicken out by then.

- 2 -
In any case, Easter was lovely! So much so that my children decided they would rather look at the beautiful church than the camera...
We had my sister and her family over, as well as another guest, but it still wasn't enough to take care of The Ham. Once again, I overbought (though not in the same way as I did at Thanksgiving - a story for another time) and brought home a ham that could feed 10-12 people. Which wouldn't be too bad if we were feeding 10-12 people. But, really, we were feeding 5 (the kids hardly made a dent here). Oops. So that got me looking for ways to use the ham...

- 3 -
And while poking around the internet looking for hamspiration I came across this tremendously yummy looking recipe for Monte Cristo waffles...
Yummmmmmm...... (photo from The Kitchn)
... which triggered my memory about eating waffles for dinner for the Annunciation. Bingo! A way to use the ham and live liturgically! I love it.

- 4 -
This year we celebrate the Annunciation on April 4th. Back in January when I was planning our Liturgical calendar I didn't know any better, so I didn't catch that this was actually not the normal day that we celebrate it. It's normally celebrated 9 months before Christmas on March 25th - but this year that day was also Good Friday. Laura from Mothering Spirit wrote an achingly beautiful piece on this overlap of days here. I shared it on Facebook (since I could - Lent was finished on Holy Thursday night, after all) but I feel it's so worth reading, it deserves a second shout-out.

- 5 -
So someone might ask, why waffles on the Annunciation? Well, because Kendra does it. (Obviously. That's why we do anything around here. ;) ) But in addition to that, the tradition comes from Sweden and anything that comes from Sweden has a small piece of my heart. Still confused? Here's the deal: in Sweden, March 25th is called Vårfrudagen (literally, "Our Wife day" or "Our Lady's day") but if you say it quickly/mumble it a bit, it can sound a bit like Våffeldagen (literally, "Waffle day"). So there you go. Våffels till Vår Fru. Var så god.

- 6 -
When sharing all this with my younger sister she asked if I had seen the Alton Brown episode on waffles. I hadn't. But then I looked it up and YouTube...

Skip the opening bit. It's too corny for words. But would you believe that, in a way, we even have the Catholic church to thank for waffles?! Look for the bit with the nun (about a couple minutes in) to get the lowdown.

- 7 -
This Sunday is also Divine Mercy Sunday. Paul and I have been praying the Divine Mercy Novena, and I think the Divine Mercy chaplet has become one of my most favorite prayers. To celebrate we will either have this cake from Better Than Eden or these Divine Mercy Sundaes from Catholic Icing. If you'd like to read just a wee bit more about Divine Mercy Sunday, click on that link from Better Than Eden above. And if you've made it this far in my 7QT, I welcome your vote! Cake or ice cream?

Head over to This Ain't The Lyceum for more 7QTs, and again... happy Easter! :)

Seven Quick Takes logo

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Triduum thoughts

Triduum = Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday - the last three days of the holiest week of the year.
Holy = sacred, set apart
This week...

... Well, this week has certainly been "set apart" but not at all in a sacred sense. Maybe it's the weather, the sick kids, or just that end of a long Lenten season that doesn't ever feel like it will end... But whatever it is, I have had the hardest time keeping to those Lenten promises that I made back in February. Life's "stuff" has kept me from my devotional, anger has been rearing its ugly head, and I've been tempted like never before to just open up Facebook and vent about it/scroll away. I'm not at all proud of myself.
I feel like I'm not alone in this though. Just chatting with the woman who does my hair today, we commiserated that this week has felt like the hardest in the whole of Lent. And after reading this from Whole Parenting Family, and this from Fountains of Home I'm encouraged that even some of the Catholic mommy bloggers I admire the most are having a rough-go of it. No one is getting off easy here.
It also occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, this could be a spiritual attack. I mean, wouldn't it just make sense that the devil would pull out all the stops to attack and distract and discourage Jesus's followers during this holy week? The devil doesn't have to distract those who don't care. And as Carolyn from Svellerella so eloquently put it, "especially during the holy days of the Easter Triduum, everyone the world over is saying the same prayers, contemplating the very same events in Jesus's life, all while offering our own prayer."

Well, with God's help, I'm not going to let discouragement keep me from continuing to honor God with what I can offer - my life, my little sacrifices, my self. And I'm certainly not going to let discouragment separate me from God's love and the knowledge that I am secure in my relationship with Him.  Easter happened for such a time as this. I pray you won't either.
May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless us all as we seek to honor Him with all that we do. And may God be especially honoured when we give grace to ourselves and others when what was planned does not come to pass - when we are merciful as the Father is merciful. Amen?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday - the tastiest day of Holy Week (thus far)

If every Sunday is a little Easter, then we shall consider this Palm Sunday (2016) a practice run for the Easter feast - because whooee, did we eat some good food today!
Whole wheat apple pancakes with homemade whipped cream, straweberries and (empty) mug of tea
Clearly, I am no photographer. And I'm usually not one to take pictures of my food either, but there's just something about making food myself, with real ingredients, that makes the little girl in me want to hold up a picture and proudly say, "LOOK! I DID IT MYSELFS!" So that is exactly what I'm doing here. (Don't worry. I've already given myself a gold star on my sticker chart too. :) )

So, the food. Breakfast was warm and cheery - what with the strawberries and cream and all - but it was rainy and cold all day today. Got rained on on the way into church. Rained on on the way out. And when it came time to make dinner, it was still raining and I wanted something warm and comforting again. As I was digging through my recipe book I found the Sunday Night Stew from the Pioneer Woman and I remembered that we had some leftover colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage) from St Patrick's day that we needed to eat. (Really, who has leftover mashed potates?! This should be a crime against humanity - but blame my kids. Right now, they're on a potato strike). The colcannon recipe comes via, and all of my tweaks are written in below. Hope you love it as much as we did - or at least as much as the hubs and I did, as the kids ate none of it! (Silly kids.)

Print Recipe

Rainy Day Beef Stew with Colcannon

Irish colcannon (mashed potatoes & cabbabge) and beef stew come together for a comforting and hearty cold-weather meal.

Source: Pioneer Woman and

Serves: 4


  • STEW
  • 4 tsp Olive Oil
  • 12 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 pound Beef Stew Meat cut Into chunks
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock or Broth, more if needed for thinning
  • Several Dashes Worcestershire
  • 14 tsp molasses
  • 2 whole carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 whole rutabega peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 12 pounds russet potatoes peeled and chunked
  • 8 Tbsp. butter plus more for serving
  • 14 medium head green cabbage cored and thinly shredded
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 13 cup heavy cream
  • Chives finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Salt and pepper stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown half the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes. (Turn it as it browns.) Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate. Add the rest of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate. Set the meat aside.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, stirring it to coat it in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook for two minutes, then add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for two more minutes.
  3. Pour in the beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and molasses. Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
  4. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add the diced rutabega and carrots to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be very thick, but if it seems overly so, splash in some beef broth until it thins it up enough.
  5. When the carrots and turnips are tender, stir in minced parsley (if using). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve piping hot in a bowl with colcannon, letting the juice run all over everything.
  7. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water by 1"; bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. My test is to pierce a chunk with a fork and lift - if the potato was tender when piercing and if it falls off the fork on its own, then you're good to go.
  8. Drain, remove to a plate and set aside. Return pan to medium-high heat, and add butter. When melted, add cabbage, and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add milk, and cream and bring to a boil; add back the potatoes, and using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until smooth and evenly incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and decorate with chives.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

Friday, March 18, 2016

Slow Changes for a Seven Quick Takes

- 1 -
When I first met my husband, we corresponded back and forth by email. Back then all his emails had the postscript: "Change is inevitable, except from vending machines." And hasn't that just been the truth. These last few weeks I've definitely felt the tides shifting, all these little changes that are adding up into signs of bigger things. For instance, the little girl is using her potty more and more. I can almost see the finish line ahead - no more diapers! (for her at least)
Now if we can just get her to stop wearing undies on her head...
- 2 -
And the little dude has been sleeping better. Still up at night... maybe once... maybe twice - but I realized yesterday that it hasn't been a 3-or-4-times-a-night kind of night for a while now. That realization totally took me by surprise because the funny thing is, even though I've been waking up less, I'm feeling just as tired (and sometimes, more so) than when I was getting up more often. Someone with more education/experience will need to tell me why this is so - because it just doesn't make sense to me.

- 3 -
The little dude is also walking better! One of the ladies in the Lenten devotional group that's been meeting at my house commented, "He's walking just like me!" So, I guess it's less "drunken sailor" and more "elderly with a knee replacement"? That's progress, right?

- 4 -
The devotional group has been a wonderful place of encouragement for me too. I told the ladies recently, "I really hope you've found this to be worth your time!" because it's not like any other group I've been a part of, or done.  There is no strict "Bible study" that we are doing... I just knew I needed some women to process this devotional with - and I'm really encouraged by what we're doing together, so I hope they are too!

- 5 -
I also feel like I'm getting a grip on this "liturgical living" thing... which is to say I'm doing less "2 days in advance" planning, and more "1 week ahead" planning. (Except when it came to covering the crosses in our house in purple. That happened 2 days after Passion Sunday. Don't tell the Pope!) I guess until feast days and solemnities become actual traditions in our house, this is the best one can expect.
Credit to Catholic All Year for the prayer-print & the info about draping crosses in purple.
- 6 -
The St Patrick's day tea party (also à la Catholic All Year - gosh, where would I be without her?) was a lot of fun, me thinks! 5 girls and one little dude all running around... except when they were making crafts...

eating food...
What? You don't serve your kids raw potatoes with your Irish soda bread?
or watching the movie about St Patrick! I got some nice chat time in with my friends too. For dinner that night, we had colcannon and sausages (aka "bangers and mash" - though mash is usually just mashed potatoes), and the obligatory Guinness.  Lovely day!

- 7 -
That just leaves St Joseph's day, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and, hold on, I think I'm forgetting one... oh yes, EASTER! Definitely looking forward to that one. Don't be surprised if you don't hear anything from me until then.

Head over for more Quick Takes at Kelly's This Ain't the Lyceum. You can tell her I sent you. (Though I doubt that will win you any favors. ;) )