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Domestic Church Hannah Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Meatless Fridays Recipes

Fantastic Fish Tacos

These tacos were inspired by a meal with a very good friend at a BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse in Indiana.  They are delicious!  I owe my sister-in-law thanks for introducing my husband and me to fish tacos.  She made a version using frozen battered fish a special sauce and traditional taco toppings like lettuce and tomatoes.  Those tacos opened the door for this recipe since we had tried and enjoyed his sister’s, my husband was more than willing to try my variation on the theme.

I made these for the first time almost two years ago and they have been a recurring player on our household menu ever since.  That says a lot as I’m not one to repeat recipes – much to my husband’s dismay!

For this dinner you will need these ingredients:

Coleslaw
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2-4 tablespoons chipotles in adobo (start with less, add more to taste. It can get spicy!)

Fish
4 fish fillets (white fleshed like cod or tilapia)
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup oil (I use palm or expeller pressed coconut as they are abe to withstand the heat)

flour tortillas

Optional ingredients include thinly sliced green onion, avocado, and wedges of lime.

 

 

Combine the ingredients for the coleslaw. I will sometimes add a little water (about a tablespoon) if the mixture seems too dry. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together either on a plate or in a shallow container. Heat the oil in a pan to 350 (quick tip: oil is up to heat when the end of a spoon is placed in the oil and starts bubbling within 30 seconds.) Dredge the fish in the flour mixture and fry until golden brown on either side. Place on paper towels to drain and on to a cookie sheet in a heated oven to keep warm.

Chop the fish into slices and then construct your taco: fish, coleslaw and if you’ve opted for the fancy fixin’s now is the time to add the sliced onion, avocado and a squeeze of lime.  Grab a napkin and a cold beer (unless you’re pregnant like me at which point you can look longingly at your husband’s beer and have yourself a littel club soda).  Enjoy!

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Faith Formation Hannah Ink Slingers Novenas Prayer Saints

Ite ad Joseph – Go to Joseph

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in
you all my interests and desires.
O Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine
Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged herebelow your
heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposesnear your heart.  Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Amen.

Ite Ad Joseph was written in gold above the St. Joseph’s altar in our parish and for many months the words above were my near daily prayer.   Novena after novena for countless intentions.  First I sought work while my husband finished grad school, then we prayed anxiously for the return of my fertility which had inexplicably disappeared after our daughter died, for strength as my husband and I spent four and a half months apart while he completed training for the Air National Guard, and finally for him to find a job that would put his years of schooling to good use.

In all counts, St. Joseph came through.  I had temp jobs to hold me over until I was offered a position that paid well enough for us to set money aside to pay off school loans while my husband was still a student, we made it through that long separation, my husband was offered a job that suits him to a T, and best of all we’re expecting!

St. Joseph is not spoken about often and we hear very little of him in the Bible.  What we do hear shows us how honourable he was and how fully he allowed God to govern his life.   We first encounter Joseph shortly after the Incarnation when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy.  He would have wondered how this could have happened.  He knew Mary was a good and holy woman but inexplicably here she was, pregnant and unmarried.   He decided to put her aside quietly.  He is then visited by an angel and learns the nature of Mary’s pregnancy.  Once Joseph knew that all was right with God he was prepared to care and provide for Mary and Jesus.

We know that Joseph took the responsibility of caring for them very seriously.  When Herod was preparing to massacre the Holy Innocents, Joseph was again visited by an Angel who informed him of the danger and instructed him to flee to Egypt.  The flight to Egypt would’ve been long and arduous and Joseph would have needed to reestablish his carpentry trade in a new location in an area where he did not know the language, customs or anything other than this is where God wanted him.

When the danger had passed, it was again to Joseph that the Angel appeared.  Though Mary and Jesus were more perfect, he was the one God had put in charge.  He was the head of the household.

St. Joseph is the patron on many things, Carpenters (obviously), Canada (and as such dear to this Canadian girl’s heart), and A Happy Death since he died in the arms of Mary and Jesus.  Most importantly he is the Patron of the Universal Church.  After all, who better to protect the Church than he who protected Mary and Jesus on earth?

Taking all these things into consideration it is easy to see why we are told “Go to Joseph”

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Domestic Church Hannah Ink Slingers Recipes

I Love You! – Or – Homemade Samoas

This recipe is gluten free and dairy free if the chocolate you use falls into those categories.

I sent them to work with my husband yesterday and none came home.  The couple I kept for myself were pretty delicious as well!  You can easily swap a regular shortbread recipe for the base if you prefer.  I just wanted to experiment with coconut flour and it was a success.  Enjoy the step-by-step photos that follow the recipe.

Topping

  • 1½ Cups sugar
  • ½ Cup water
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice or 1Tbsp vinegar
  • ½ Cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 Cups toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13 pan with coconut oil.

Toast coconut flakes on a cookie sheet until lightly browned.  Stir often to prevent burning.  (this can also be done on the stove top in a frying pan).

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Cream butter, coconut oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla. Add almonds followed by flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.

Pat dough into a 9×13 pan and bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Move to wire rack to cool.

Bring sugar, water and vinegar to a boil.  Cook until sugar just starts to caramelize.  Whisk in coconut milk, vanilla and salt.  Mixture will bubble up when cream is added so add it slowly and stir like crazy!  Stir in toasted coconut.

While base is still warm to the touch, spread topping over base.  When cooled to the touch, cut into squares or shapes.  Dip the bottoms into chocolate and drizzle melted chocolate over each square.  I melted my chocolate over a double boiler and then added a little more chopped chocolate to cool it quickly to prevent it from blooming.

Categories
Faith Formation Fatherhood Hannah Ink Slingers Loss Motherhood NFP and contraceptives Prayer Respect Life Rosary Vocations

Babies are Always Welcome

My Husband and I recently announced our second pregnancy. You can read more about our first daughter here, but long story short, she died two days after birth. It has taken us twenty (20) months to get pregnant again and we are over the moon. So too, it would seem, is everyone who hears our happy news! It has been a struggle since losing Rita and there were many days where getting out of bed was an accomplishment.

From the moment I saw the two lines on the test (more in that in a moment) I’ve felt as though the sun has come out again. Joy has returned to my life. A close friend of mine spent 6+ years dealing with secondary infertility after the birth of her daughter and is now due in April. Back in August when she found out she was expecting she informed me that she was offering up her joy for me. That has really stuck with me and it has given me strength on dark days. I’ve been trying to do the same for others now that my joy has returned.

A few months after Rita came and left us so quickly, I began to wonder why my cycles hadn’t returned. I went to a Creighton Instructor and learned the nitty gritty of that particular charting method. I was always aware of my cycles but my husband and I are of the belief that unless we have a very grave, life shattering reason to abstain, we will be open to life so I never charted. Besides, you could’ve set a clock by my 30.5 day cycle. Seriously!

As such, it became more and more of a concern as six, ten, fourteen months passed with no cycle and no help from the Creighton Instructor beyond: “You’re stressed.” In cooperation with my family doctor (I was so sad to leave her behind when we moved across country!) we realized that as I’d believed all along: I was not under too much stress, I was on too much thyroid medicine. I came off the medicine for a month and at that point (when the shakes and heart palpitations had all but disappeared) I started taking half the dose I’d been on previously.

Within two weeks my cycle had returned but the first few were anovulatory. I was using both the Creighton model and a Clear Blue Fertility Monitor and soon things seemed to become regular. Of course, that happened just as my husband left for a four-month long Air National Guard School way down in Mississippi. Life continued on. I was working full-time and we were saving all our pennies to be able to pay of his student loans, as he had just finished grad school before heading to MS. He came home, got a job in Massachusetts and we headed east.

I started a new cycle just days before we moved. (Fun times eh?) A little over a month later, I was in a MOOD! My husband finally asked if it was PMS that was causing me to be *Oh-so-nice* to him. I snapped out a maybe which got his attention…

“What do you mean ‘maybe?’ When are you due?”

“ Could’ve been last Friday, might not be for another week I don’t know!”

“Are you going to take a pregnancy test?”

“NO! I’m not pregnant! I’m sure I didn’t ovulate last month! All signs point to crazy!”

*End of discussion – lights out – I went to bed*

The next afternoon, I found out from a wonderful friend that she had organized several ladies to say a 54-day Rosary Novena for me to conceive. As I read the little email from her a voice in the back of my head – you may have heard from Him at various points in your life – whispered that I should take a pregnancy test. My first thought was “Yeah, Right!” (That’s the only double positive that makes a negative!) And then I heard the whisper again. “Take a pregnancy test.”

So I trotted myself upstairs and decided that since I was pretty sure that this too would be a negative result I was going to use one of the internet cheapies I’d been going through like candy the past few months. I wasn’t going to waste the last expensive brand name one from the package I’d bought the month before. So I did my duty and dunked the little stick. The positive line showed up right away but no control line…great…a dud! So I decide to whip out the big guns and grab the Brand name test. By the time I’d dunked it and counted to fifteen the control line had shown up on the original test. Not a dud. Positive! Within seconds the Brand name test showed the same result. Positive!

I still don’t know why it took so long and I won’t know until the day I face my Maker. I do know that it is much easier to trust that rain is good when you are standing under a rainbow.

I hope to hold on to this joy.

The joy of those in our life who’ve heard has been, at times, tangible. More than one person has said that they could not be happier if it were they who were pregnant or their grandchild on the way. It is my hope that the people who are so happy for us now will remember that joy years from now when, God willing, we announce a fourth, fifth or sixth pregnancy. It is my hope, but I’m not holding my breath! I have always believed that a baby is a blessing no matter the circumstance surrounding their birth, but I see that in such a clearer light now. My prayer now is that all eyes be opened to the truth of that statement. Babies are a blessing, no matter the circumstances surrounding their birth.

Categories
Current Events Hannah Ink Slingers NFP and contraceptives Respect Life Uncategorized

God vs Overpopulation

“And God blessed them, saying : increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and all living creatures that move upon the earth.”

Genesis 1:28

I recently travelled to Mississippi (for the first time) to visit my husband who is temporarily stationed there. On the second stretch of my journey, a flight out of Charlotte, my seatmate was looking for conversation.

He started with the usual litany: Are you coming or going? Have you been here before? What brings you down south? Are you married? Any kids?

My husband and I recently decided that when asked if we had any children we would answer honestly “We had a daughter but she died.

We did not make this decision lightly as the answer is unavoidably personal and makes many people uncomfortable, however, we felt it was necessary because she did exist and we hope that it will be a positive witness for being open to life. (I’ll do a separate post for this one day soon.)

I answered my seatmate honestly and continued, saying, “We hope she was the first of many and that we’ll have another one soon.” He callously told me that I might change my mind once I got one home.

*Cue the Holy Spirit*

I managed to not punch him in the face and in fact responded –I think – quite gracefully with, “I doubt it as my husband is the eldest of eight and I’ve wanted ten kids since I was little. There is no such thing as too many babies.”

“Except in places like China where they are overpopulated and overcrowded,” was his reply.

“Well,” said I, “My husband has been to China and though the cities are in fact quite populous, there are vast stretches of open countryside. Furthermore, I’m actually Canadian and we have the second largest country in the world with the population of Mexico City.” (around 36 million in case you were wondering)

At this point he changed the subject.

Still the thought of overpopulation danced in the back of my head. Children are not products that can be made and destroyed in response to supply and demand. They are living breathing human beings with eternal souls. Every child that comes into being is a direct act of God. To even entertain the idea that overpopulation is possible would be to say that it is possible for God to err. The problems we face in third world countries are due to poor distribution of resources and the problems looming ahead for the western world are due to a lack, not of resources, but of new people.

In 1797, Thomas Malthus published “An Essay on the Principles of Population” in which he predicted mass starvation – by the year 1890 – as Earth’s population increased exponentially and food production remained the same. Paul Ehrlich forecast a similar fate in his book “The Population Bomb” published in 1968 wherein he claimed that millions if not billions of people would be dying of starvation by 1995. In 1994, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology said that farmers were using less than half of the world’s arable land and land conversions for urban development would use up less than 2%.

Fred Pearce has written books on what he calls the coming population crash you can read a little about his thoughts here. (be aware that this is a secular link)

From 1960 to 2009 average world fertility rates plummeted from almost 5 to 2.5. In countries, such as Japan, where the fertility rate is 1.2 in 4 generations they will have only one tenth of the population they have now. That’s 90% shrinkage.

The necessary replacement rate (to maintain a population) is 2.1 and many Western nations have fallen below that benchmark. Once a population’s fertility rates fall below a certain point it has been seen historically that that culture can never recover. Check out www.overpopulationisamyth.com and the Population Research Institute (www.pop.org )

While the world at large seems to have bought into the overpopulation myth, we as Catholics are called to be open to life. Have you ever had to deal with strangers (or family and friends) who feel your fertility rate is a cause for world panic?

“Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.” -Mother Theresa