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Crafts Domestic Church Hannah M. Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year

Celebrating Lent with A Homemade Candle

Candlemas is coming up on February 2nd! There are three occasions that are celebrated on this day: the presentation of Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple, and Mary’s purification. Traditionally, you can bring candles to mass on that day and have them blessed by your priest. What could be more special than having a blessed candle that you made yourself?! Well, I’ll tell you what could be better: A blessed candle that you made yourself that also is used to help keep yourself on track this Lent! Lent begins on February 13th this year- and we all struggle with sacrificing something we love- whether it be food, coffee, or a television show we enjoy watching. During this Lenten season when you’re having a tough time you can light your candle and pray instead of eating that cookie or flipping on the television!

This year I decided to abstain from coffee. I searched high and low for a small trinket to represent coffee and had a tough time. I found a small teapot charm, which would work just fine, but then the idea hit me. Why don’t I just put my candle in a coffee mug? So I went to Starbucks and got a couple coffee mugs on clearance so instead of reaching for a cup to pour my coffee in, I can light my candle.

I attached a Saint Paul medal (who is my saint for the year) and a cross to one of my candles so I say a little prayer then light it for the rest of the day and it serves as both a prayer candle as well as a delicious scent for my whole home!

Supplies:

1. Candle wax- I used soy wax, but you can use beeswax or paraffin as well. When choosing your wax, make sure that it isn’t “tapering” wax. We aren’t making tapered candles; we are making container candles so you’ll want to get wax that can be used for molding or container candles.

2. A container to pour your wax in to for your finished candle. I used a small mason jar and a coffee mug for mine- you can use almost anything you want, as long as it’s not plastic. 😉

3. Something to melt your wax in. I used a cooking pot and a glass measuring cup- they sell containers specifically for melting wax, or you can use a double boiler. I didn’t have a double boiler so I used a metal cookie cutter to raise my measuring cup off the bottom of the pan.

4. Wicks. It’s best to get pre-waxed and pre-cut wicks for easy crafting. You can also buy rolls of wicking as well as wick bases and dip your own.

5. Something you can use to twist the wick around and keep in place- I used a pencil.

6. A dab of hot, tacky, or super glue.

7. A thermometer- A candy thermometer works great.

8. Optional supplies include: fragrance oils, colorant, ribbon, saint medal, crucifix or cross and something representing what you’ll give up for Lent this year.

 

Here’s whatcha do:

1. Melt your wax to around 165 degrees. It’s really important that you monitor the temperature of your wax and never let it exceed 300, because it can catch fire around 350 degrees. If your wax catches fire- do not use water to extinguish it- use baking soda or a lid.

2. Put a dab of glue on the bottom of your wick base and secure to the bottom of your container. (I like to have this done before the wax is ready to be poured)

 

3. Remove wax from heat and thoroughly stir in coloring and fragrance.

 

 

4. If you have something representing what you are sacrificing for Lent, put it at the bottom of your container. You can also put in a crucifix or saint medal for a special meaning.

5. Pour in your melted wax, leaving a little bit of room at the top.

 

6. Take a pencil or other object and twist the wick around it until it sits flat on the top of your container. Make sure the wick is completely centered for a safe and even burn.

7. Do not move your candle while wax is still melted. Let sit overnight, or around 6-8 hours to allow the wax to fully harden.

8. Decorate your container with ribbon or other decorations for a personal touch.

Enjoy!

 

Don’t forget to practice candle safety- and always blow it out before leaving the house 🙂
Categories
Conversion Hannah M. Ink Slingers Sacred Scripture Testimonials

The Challenges of a Non-Catholic Family

My husband and I decided to hold off on telling our families that we were becoming Catholic until we were 100% sure it was something we wanted to do. We wanted to make sure that nothing anyone would say to us would sway our decision, and that if anyone had an argument against the faith we were fully prepared to defend it. My family was supportive (but still not very understanding) of our decision, as they always are, but my husband’s family was a slightly different story.

His dad doesn’t know much about Catholicism at all so he didn’t have much to say. My mother in law had a little more on her mind though. She told us she was, “worried for the souls of our children.” She also said that she was confused about why her son would turn to Catholicism because he was, “raised better.” She had (and still has) all of the misconceptions about the faith that most people do. Even my husband and I had these misconceptions before we did some investigating! My mother in law believes that Catholics worship the saints and Mary (which just isn’t true) and she came at us with the quote, “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” For a Protestant, of course this translates to Catholics worshiping saints and the Blessed Mother- and when the concept of intercession is explained, it almost confuses them even further! Although it’s completely understandable that she has these concerns it is still frustrating to have family members who aren’t totally supportive.

This Christmas season was especially difficult for us as far as our faith journey is concerned. Some of our family members treat Christmas as if it is just a time for gifts and drinking. There are still certain people who we haven’t told that we are becoming Catholic. We had to have some private (and almost secretive) worship time with just my husband, our two small children and myself since we were visiting family for the holidays. I started to feel guilty for, “hiding” our faith in a sense. I didn’t know why it was so difficult for me to be openly Catholic around my family! There are other decisions I make that my family doesn’t agree with which I’ve never had a problem being open about, but for some reason our faith was a different story.

I did some reflecting and praying until I was finally able to figure out why it was so difficult to be open with people. My family is full of extremely intelligent people, who are very research and science based. If you can’t touch it, it probably doesn’t exist. My parents believe in a, “higher power” but not in, “The God of the Christians” in their words. If I get in a discussion with my parents about a controversial topic like breastfeeding, or circumcision – I always go in having at least one piece of hard evidence that the decision I’m making is the right one based on scientific research. When it comes to our decision to enter the Church though – all I have is faith. I think it’s almost embarrassing to me in a sense that I believe so strongly in something I cannot see or feel. When Catholics receive the Eucharist, he or she is able to feel the physical presence of Christ; but even the idea of the Real Presence is something that takes faith.

I began searching for Scripture that referenced what I had been struggling with. Some of what I read was a bitter pill to swallow, but I definitely found what I needed.

 

“If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.

If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.”

~ John 15:18-20

 

I found this passage from John to be comforting- I meditated on it for a while before moving on. What I read next was from the Gospel of Matthew, and these words were a little tougher to understand.

 

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

~ Matthew 10:34-39

 

After the first read, this passage doesn’t come across so great. It sounds like Jesus is saying He only came to Earth to purposely divide families. Upon further meditation, I realized that it’s actually a very comforting thing to know. Jesus is telling us, once again, to live in the world and not of the world. He is giving us comfort in knowing that following Him will grant us eternal salvation no matter how hard it may get. Jesus knew that those who chose to follow Him would have to fight extremely tough battles. He prepares us for the battles that we all have to fight against non-believers, and some of us against our families. He reminds us to love Him above anything we can find in this world, including our fleshly parents and siblings.

While it was hard for me to think about always putting Jesus before people I live with here on Earth, I feel that these pieces of Scripture have definitely given me the strength I need to be openly Catholic – even if it means enduring harsh battles with family and friends. God will always be there and I know that He, as well as the Church, will guide me in all aspects of my life and ultimately help me get to heaven.

Categories
Domestic Church Hannah M. Ink Slingers Meatless Fridays Recipes

Pasta in Pumpkin Sauce

Happy Friday to all of you! Here’s a meatless meal for pasta in pumpkin sauce, just in time for autumn, (which starts tomorrow by the way, and just so happens to be my birthday as well!) Either way, make sure you keep this recipe around because it’s delicious. The best part about this recipe, is that it is great with or without meat! Sometimes I’ll add in some chicken and it’s great. It’s good enough to stand on it’s own though, too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 can of pureed pumpkin. NOT pumpkin pie mix! Pure pumpkin.

-1 half pint of whipping cream

-1/2 cup vegetable broth

-1 clove of garlic, through garlic press or very finely chopped

-About 5-6 cups of your favorite pasta (without chicken) and 4-5 cups if you are adding chicken (the amount of pasta depends on how “saucy” you like your pasta.)

-Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.Cook pasta

2.Meanwhile, combine pumpkin, whipping cream, vegetable broth, garlic, salt and pepper over medium-low heat.

3. Stir until thoroughly combined, and leave on heat until warm, stirring often.

4. Combine pasta and sauce, enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Yep! It’s that easy 🙂

Categories
Meatless Fridays Recipes

Waldorf Salad

I have a bit of a confession to make: I have never actually eaten this. But don’t fear, I’m not going to send you in to your kitchen to prepare something that tastes like sticks dipped in mud. I have made this for my husband many times, and he assures me that it’s a recipe that needs to be shared! It’s crisp, sweet, and a perfectly filling salad! (Or so I’ve heard!) I don’t like yogurt, which is the reason I haven’t enjoyed this dish before, but if you like that creamy goodness then I definitely suggest you try this salad!

Since my husband is the only one eating this I usually only make half the recipe. It gets him 2 decent sized servings. It doesn’t stay fresh for a super long time, so if you’re only making this for yourself then I suggest only making half.

 Here are the ingredients:

1. 2 cups of cooked brown rice, cooled

2. 2 cups of cubed, golden delicious apples. (This is about 2 apples)

3. ½ cup of celery, halved and chopped

4. ¼ cup chopped onions, pushed through a garlic press

Note: Alright, I know this sounds strange. But I don’t like chunks of raw onions so I press it through a garlic press. If you don’t have a garlic press, then try to just chop the onions as small as you can. The onions add a lot of flavor but are best really small so you don’t get a chunk of onion in your mouth!

5. 1 bag of mixed walnut and dried cranberries – about 1 cup

Note: I like to use the mixed bag, usually a, “salad topper” bag for this recipe. It usually has more flavor than just plain walnuts and plain dried cranberries. (You know, they coat it with sugar and all that good stuff.) But, if you don’t have a bag then use ½ cup of chopped walnuts, and ½ cup of dried cranberries. I sometimes like to candy the walnuts if I remember to beforehand! 

6. ½ tablespoon lemon juice

7. ½ tablespoon lime juice

8. ½ cup mayonnaise

9. ¾ cup vanilla yogurt

Here’s how you make it:

1. Make the rice and set aside.

Note: I almost always forget to make the rice ahead of time, so I make it and stick it in the freezer to cool down faster. You do NOT want to mix everything together if the rice is still warm. It will cause the yogurt/mayonnaise mixture to become warm and melt a little. Yuck.

2. Chop apples (don’t peel) and toss with lemon and lime juices in a medium bowl.

3. Add celery, onion, walnuts, cranberries and rice. Mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise and yogurt until well blended.

5. Stir in yogurt mixture to the other ingredients until well mixed.

6. Serve over fresh salad greens… or don’t! It’s good either way.

Enjoy!

Categories
Meatless Fridays Recipes

Vegetable Tofu Lasagna (Don’t Fear the Tofu!)

If you like food then you’ll love this lasagna. Not only is it absolutely scrumptious but it’s also better for you than traditional lasagna with meat and tons of cheese. Ok, well this has some cheese in it, but if you’re counting calories then just leave it out and it’s still just as delicious! This is an adaptation from some book I borrowed from someone, somewhere. I really wish I could remember where the original recipe came from! I usually write down my favorite recipes on 3×5 cards and then make changes as I see fit.

When I made it to take pictures for this post, it was really late at night since the day just kind of got away from us and we didn’t eat dinner until 9:00 at night. Actually, we didn’t eat dinner until 10:30pm because I completely forgot that this little dish takes a while to bake. If you’re looking for a super quick meal, then don’t pick this one because it bakes for an hour and fifteen minutes! The prep isn’t too bad, but trust me it’s well worth the wait.

My point though, is that when I made the lasagna for this post, I didn’t add in some things that I usually do. The pictures will be missing a few things, but even making it the way I did it turned out amazing. If you have a meat loving husband (or are one yourself) don’t fear, because this dish will definitely satisfy anyone on a meatless night.

“Tofu! Ahh!” I promise it’s not that scary. When I first started cooking with tofu I didn’t really know much about it, or what to do with it. Check out the tips below for a little info on tofu.

The stuff you need to have:

 1. 1 cup finely chopped onions

2. 1 clove of garlic, minced

3. 2 zucchini, thinly sliced

4. 1 8oz package of mushrooms

5. 1 tablespoon olive oil, or your cooking oil of choice

6. A dash of salt and pepper

7. 1 jar tomato-alfredo pasta sauce. H.E.B. brand is my favorite, but you can really use any type/flavor that you want.

8. ¾ package medium-hard tofu. Don’t be afraid of tofu! I gave you a couple little tofu tips below.

9. 2 eggs

10. About 12 non-boil lasagna noodles

11. 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese

12. Parmesan cheese for topping.

How you make it:

 1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Heat oil in a large pan

3. Add onions and garlic; sauté about 3 minutes, stirring continuously.

4. Add mushrooms, zucchini, salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until they’re slightly cooked, stirring occasionally.

5. While veggies are cooking, mix together the tofu and eggs in a bowl

6. In a 9×9 inch baking dish, spread ½ cup sauce on the bottom.

7. Layer the lasagna like this:

3 noodles
1/3 tofu and egg mixture
1/3 veggie mixture
1/2 cup of sauce

-Shredded cheese

You can use your imagination for the cheese, since I didn’t actually put any on this time.

Continue this pattern until all of the tofu/veggies are used up. Finish with noodles on top,       followed by the rest of the pasta sauce. Make sure that the sauce is fully covering the noodles so they don’t burn!

8. Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered. If you like, top with parmesean cheese for the last 15 minutes of baking. Wait about 20 minutes after removing from oven to serve!

Enjoy!

Tips:

1. When shopping for tofu for this dish, make sure you don’t get silken or soft. A medium-hard, or firm tofu works best in this recipe. Silken is best for soups, while firm tofu is better for heartier meals.

2. When you get a package of tofu, it will most likely be in just a big square. Just eye what ¾ of the package looks like, take a knife and just slice it! Mash it up with a fork a little bit before throwing the eggs in, then mix until well blended.

3. Counting calories? Skip the cheese. I put cheese on half of the lasagna since my husband loves it, but skip it for myself.

4. I love the tomato-alfredo sauce in this lasagna. If you can’t find any, try making your own! Just get a jar of tomato pasta sauce, a jar of alfredo and mix the two together!  

 

If anyone likes bell peppers and wants to tinker with the recipe, I’ve always been curious what it would taste like with some sautéed bell peppers thrown in. If you decide to be adventurous and try it that way please leave a comment and let me know how it tastes!