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7 Quick Takes Friday Christmas Dinner!

It feels like just yesterday I was advocating that we take joy from the beautiful browns and earthy colours that November is dressed in and here we are already in December with six days of Advent already spent.  I actually did not have to think deep and hard to come up with what to write about this month as what to my wondering (and imaginative) eyes should appear but a turkey dressed with mashed potatoes and all the delicious sides that we go to bed dreaming of on Christmas Eve.

This led me to wonder what a Yuletide feast would look like if the many contributors of Catholic Sistas were to put one together using their favorite recipes and tips. Well dear readers – sit back and drool enjoy whilst I parade  an incredible seven part meal before your very eyes.

Quick Take one the appetizer:

bacon wrapped figsWe have, of course, the many and varied appetizers  that every good feast should begin with. I am going to treat you to one I was introduced to last year that I absolutely adored. It would make a lovely addition to the standard cheese board and crackers that so  many of us have for guests to snack on while we wait on the main entree to emerge from the oven. Now don’t judge until you have tried them. Here are three recipes for bacon wrapped figs. One is gluten free from Betty Crocker (Mind all 3 recipes are actually gluten free) the other is made with brie cheese and the recipe is from Aldis and the last is from Kraft. I will admit I was very very,very leery about trying this appetizer but I was ready to consume the whole plate after my first taste.

Quick Take Two the soup:

bouillabaisseFor some the sit down dinner with family and friends is not complete without a course that includes soup. I, for one, had NO idea there were so many kinds of soup until I started looking for a recipe for a bouillabaisse to add to this feast that we are sharing with you today.  I have only had bouillabaisse once and as many of you probably know the main ingredient of this classy soup is seafood aka fish – shudder. Again – as with that bacon wrapped fig – I was in love at the first taste. So here is a treat for you to check out. But if this is not something you could possibly see on your table I have a more simple soup to add to the menu. This soup also lends itself to being served in mugs a great option if one is having a more casual dinner gathering.

Quick Take Threethe Salad and dressing choices:

saladContinuing with the casual dinner theme one can just opt for a lively plate of crunchy veggies sliced and paraded on a plate with various dips which guests can munch between sips from their mugs of soup. However – if you are going for that sit down theme we at Catholic Sistas would like to share this delicious salad dressing that can top any combination of lettuces you choose to serve up. Feel free to toss some finely chopped green onion to this recipe and serve over your favorite green salad. Tossing in some dried cherries or dried cranberries can add a festive stark to a simple green salad.

Quick Take four –  the main entree or the center piece of the feast:

turkey with rubIn my case this is typically turkey although a number of Catholic Sistas shared that their family does something different such as a ham or pernil – which is a roasted pork shoulder. One Sista also shared a tip regarding cooking your turkey. As she said “cook it fast and hot” for a juicier outcome. But even if you plan to cook it fast and hot what if when you open that fridge to pull out the table’s guest of honor – you discover it has been forgotten in the freezer.

Yes – I am speaking of experience and, before you snicker, I’m sure I am not alone! Thankfully a good friend rescued me that one and only holiday that I did this. (I’m not going to admit to doing this more than once – I assure you!) So should this ever happen to you – be sure to book mark this page as it will be your savior! (Trust me it REALLY works!)

Now – if you have not been tricked by the crazy frenzy so many of us succumb to the past 48 hours of Advent and remember to take out the bird in time to lovingly baste it all day… another Sista has shared this rub with us. (It reminds me of how my university Venezuelan friends made their delicious turkey dinners!)

Turkey breast rub

Blend  in a small bowl and rub over the turkey the following spices:

  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons each of: dried oregano, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and dried sage,
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme,
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

This makes enough to cover at least 1 medium turkey and 1 turkey breast and can be stored in a tight container for up to 3 months.

Quick take Five the sides: cranberry sauces from scratch:


If by the time you have come to contemplate whether the cranberry sauce should be whole or jelly and you are feeling tempted to go the canned route and yet you just know that aunt so and so will be giving you the stink eye as she eyes the clearly canned version of cranberry sauce no matter how decorative the plate its on is… take a peek here and here for some ideas on how to dress up the canned cranberry jelly and hopefully fool that critical relative who never misses a trick!

Giving a nod to the website that had this lovely photo on their site here is their delicious cranberry sauce if you are trying to live the paleo lifestyle or have friends doing the same. You will also find six other paleo recipes fit for a Christmas feast on this site.

Quick Take  Six: Stuffing:


There are so many different spins on stuffing whether you are buying boxed or making it from scratch. Stuffing can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be. With our family having four members now needing to be gluten free for health reasons I have even added a gluten free recipe that we will be trying this year.


Quick Take Sevendespite being absolutely stuffed at this point we must address the  DESSERT!


Well dear readers – here we are stuffed beyond stuff and now we are facing the dessert table. What would our Ink Slingers proffer you with regards to sweets? I must admit in this area our slingers do not seem to have much of a sweet tooth though one is after my own heart and bakes lovely decorated cookies to share with friends and neighbors. I will tell you though that were you to grace my dessert table you would face an assortment of delectable sweets. They would range from orange cranberry loaf to chocolate cheesecake. There would  be chocolate covered peanut balls, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks along with apple pies baked from scratch, cherry pies and lemon bread. Sometimes I think the dessert table in our household  sags more heavily than does the entree table.

Hopefully you have enjoyed our holiday feast and have perhaps found a few recipes you will enjoy making part of your Christmas traditions. We at Catholic Sistas pray you have a blessed Advent Season and I look forward to seeing you in January in time to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

We are excited to link up to the new host of #7QT, Kelly @ This Ain ‘t the Lyceum. Go visit Kelly for more cool Quick Takes!


7 Quick Takes Adrienne Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri Testimonials

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 10

We are once again bringing you a short interview with one of our ink slingers for this week’s 7 Quick Takes. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about our Sista Adrienne. She shares a little of her faith journey, her new homeschooling experience, and whether or not this Texas girl puts beans in her chili (I’m not telling, you have to keep reading to find out).


Are you a cradle Catholic who never strayed, a poorly catechized Catholic and/or lukewarm Catholic who came to understand the faith later in life, a revert, or a convert?

I was baptized as a newborn and received all of my sacraments in a timely manner. My parents made sure we never missed mass, even while on vacation. I went to CCD classes and was in the youth group at my parish. I gained a loyalty to the Catholic faith, though all I could tell you was that God loved me. I married in the church, to a non-Catholic Christian. I had and still have no doubt the Lord led us together, despite our faith differences.

It was after the birth of our first child that I finally felt compelled to figure out what divided myself and my husband. I had to learn what the Reformation was. I had heard all of the typical charges against Catholicism (it’s unbiblical!, they worship Mary!, they trust in the saints for salvation instead of Jesus alone!, they try to earn their salvation!, purgatory isn’t in the Bible!, the Lord’s supper is just a symbol, as is baptism! It’s a cult!), and honestly, I didn’t know what the Church taught about these things, nor did I know what the anti-Catholics’ position was against these.

I had a lot to learn.

I could have just listened to the Evangelicals and trusted them to teach me about Catholicism. But, oh. I would have been at such a loss! Thankfully, I was stubborn enough to learn first instead of leave first.

Through countless hours over many years, I became catechized in the Catholic faith, and I came to understand the opposition. I grew through stages, “All that really matters is that you’re a good person,” to “All that matters is that you love Jesus, denominations are all equal,” to finally “Christ gives Himself to us every day in the Eucharist, through the institution He established such that we could proclaim his death until He comes again.”


What is your favorite prayer?

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, o prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

This is my favorite prayer because I get to call on God’s favorite warrior to defend myself, my family and our world. While God doesn’t need a warrior in St. Michael, He chose to make a warrior in him. I am so thankful I am nurtured by a faith tradition that tells me the Church is bigger than the people here on Earth, and that the saints in Heaven are my fellow Christians to call upon, made possible by their perfect union with the Omniscient and Omnipresent One and Holy God and my being baptized into the Body of Christ.


What inspires you when you write?

I feel inspired to write when I have something to explain. I write for who I was those years ago, not knowing squat about squat and needing a springboard for learning my faith.


What kinds of books do you most enjoy to read?

I enjoy reading the Bible, the writings of the Early Church Fathers and Catholic apologetics books. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. I also love re-reading materials I have read in the past because I always understand something new that went over my head previously.


If you homeschool, what is your favorite part of homeschooling and what is your greatest challenge?

We just started homeschooling this year. My favorite part is incorporating the faith in so much of my children’s education. Religion is about truth. Truth isn’t to be an extracurricular activity, it should be the curriculum. So, while reading, writing, ‘rithmatic are important in education, I believe knowing the truth about our souls, about God, and about the afterlife are the most important, since the afterlife is infinite and involves our Creator and our souls.
The greatest challenge is keeping the preschooler occupied.


Do you put beans in your chili or not?



What do you find most attractive about your husband?

His loyalty is most attractive, coupled closely with his discipline. When he learns a new hobby he practices it incessantly and develops in a month’s time what takes others a year. He has concentration like no one I know (praying the kids get that one!). He works hard, but isn’t a work-a-holic. He has a great balance of work and play in life.

For more Quick Takes, please go visit Jen at Conversion Diary and let her know we sent you.

7 Quick Takes Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri Michelle

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 9

Welcome once again to 7 Quick Takes, Sistas style! Here we give you a chance to get to know the ink slingers behind the blog posts. Today I’m pleased to share more about our wonderful Sista Michelle. Michelle is a wife and mom, a faithful Catholic, she loves to cook, volunteers in her parish, and so much more. Keep reading to learn more about our wonderful sista.


Are you a cradle Catholic who never strayed, a poorly catechized Catholic and/or lukewarm Catholic who came to understand the faith later in life, a revert, or a convert?

I am a cradle Catholic who went to Mass every Sunday with my family and who went to Catholic grade school, high school, and a Catholic college for one year before transferring to another college. Even given those experiences I was poorly catechized. As I got into my 20s and began having children I felt the need to connect with my faith. I wanted my children to be raised in the faith but I also am a very logical person and wanted to know why I believed what I believed and I needed to make sure all I was taught was true. When we first got the internet at home in 1999 I had an insatiable appetite to learn. I studied not only my faith but many other Christian faiths as well as many other faiths. Ultimately what I learned and discovered led me right to the Catholic Church. I still have an insatiable appetite for learning about my faith. I can’t seem to get enough! I know that there is so much to learn that I will never be done. I will always ask questions and always search for the answers. Thankfully though I know that I am in the right place to find those answers … Christ’s Church.


What prayer or prayers do you turn to when you start writing or when you need guidance during the writing process?

Before I write, whether it is for the Catholic Sistas website or a letter to a friend, I ask God to send me the Holy Spirit to help guide my words. I always want whatever I am writing to be written with love, kindness, thoughtfulness, and holiness. The times I fail are always the times I don’t ask God for the guidance of His Spirit.


What volunteer activities are you involved in?

I volunteer with the Youth Group at our church. I am an adult leader there, helping with the weekly meetings, going on retreats with the teens, and I have been fortunate to go on mission trips with them as well. I also lead the Right to Life group in our parish. I am the liaison between our local pregnancy resource center and our church. I try my hardest to help wherever I can, especially when it comes to the poor,the homeless, and the needy.


If you like to cook, what are some of your favorite recipes to make?

I love to cook! At our house we try a variety of dishes, including many ethnic dishes. I can’t say that there is any one particular dish that I like to cook. Mainly I like to please my family and introduce them to new foods. We have tried Indian, Cuban, Mexican, Italian, German, Irish, Somalian, Jewish, Asian, and so many more! Of course, we also have some basics we fall back on, but overall we love to experiment with different foods.


How many kids do you have?

I have 10 children and am expecting my 11th child. The ages of our children are 19, 17, 14, 12, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3, 9 months, and 4 months in utero. We have 12 babies in heaven. While being open to life has not always been easy, it’s always been the best decision we have ever made for our family.


How did you meet your husband?

I met my husband when we were sophomores in high school and we both worked at McDonald’s for our first jobs. He was the biscuit boy and I was the salad girl. He asked me out one night and we’ve been Mike and Michelle ever since. After our first date I told my sister that one day I was going to marry him. Less than a year out of high school I did.


What do you find most attractive about your husband?

Besides seeing the love in his eyes for me and our children I find his smile and his humor the most attractive. He always makes me laugh and we have so many inside jokes and memories that keep us giggling all the time. Our children think it’s funny and weird that we can read each other’s minds and always know what the other is thinking. I also find my husband’s sense of honor very attractive. He is an amazing police officer who is highly respected by those he works with and those who come to know him. He strives to do the right thing to not only bring honor to his profession but to his family as well.

Our friend Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary, usual host of 7 Quick Takes, was recently admitted to the hospital and is in need of our prayers. We just got word that she has been discharged and is home. But as with any serious condition, she is still in need of prayers. Please pray for her, her unborn child, and for the rest of her pregnancy to go well. Prayers also for her doctors as they monitor her condition.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host — by the Divine power of God — cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

This week 7 Quick Takes is being hosted by Hallie Lord at Moxie Wife. Go on over to her blog, say hi, and check out a plethora of 7 Quick Takes posts.

Domestic Church Erika Ink Slingers Recipes

Fun Food: Smokey Critters and Mutant Mac ‘n Cheese

20120613-175708.jpgWithout fail, the munchkins get hungry at least three times a day… Sometimes in an effort to make eating more fun, I’ll snatch ideas from Pintrest. Of course, I’m very similar to my mom in that I can never seem to leave a recipe alone. So here is an adaptation from a Pintrest fun food that I think tastes much better.

First, gather the appropriate number of Lil’ Smokies (depending on the number of mouths you’re feeding), a box of Mac ‘n Cheese, a can or bag of peas, some extra cheese (Parmesan, shredded, velveta, etc in appropriate portions), and your children. ;First, I set water to boiling (including the liquid from the can of salt-free peas), as per the instructions for the Mac ‘n Cheese. While the water heated, I dumped some dry macaroni on the clean counter and handed my children a little smokey. I gathered several in front of me and began pushing pieces of dry macaroni into the smokies. My children and I chose to create bugs with ours. So, three fairly straight pieces on the lower portion either side formed legs, while two others were placed ;on the arbitrary front for antennae. Simon even requested that at least one be a spider, so I increased the legs to a total of eight for that one. Since we had just found a large stag beetle, we also made one in that design with very curved macaronis being his pinchers. My designs obviously turned out better than the efforts of my 2 and 4 year old, but they were pleased to participate.
20120613-180445.jpgOnce the water began boiling, the remaining dry macaroni were added to the pot and the critters were gently dropped in the water as well. It is necessary to ensure that the boiling nor the stirring involved ;not be too vigorous. Even with a modicum of care, some of our critters lost appendages during the boiling process. ;A few moments prior to the noodles being well-done and too soft, I fished the critters out with a slotted spoon to set aside. Then I drained the noodles as per box instructions. I then continued making the Mac ‘n Cheese according to instructions 20120613-180758.jpgding the cheese mixture). I then added the drained peas ;(if using frozen ones, I’d have boiled them with the noodles) ;to the pot as I continued to stir the Mac ‘n Cheese. I also added a few handfuls of shredded Colby-Jack and grated Parmesan cheeses to the pot. Once the mixture had attained the proper consistency, I laddled out portions for my children, topping with their critters. ;

The beauty of this meal is that there is a decent portion of several food groups present: dairy, meat/protein, starch, and vegetable. It also takes less than twenty minutes if using a box of Mac ‘n Cheese. Since the critters are present I was able to get my vegetable-only daughter to eat some meat. Also due to the critters, my carnivorous son ate peas and Mac ‘n Cheese. What a wonderful compromise! ;


BirgitJ Domestic Church Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Meatless Fridays Recipes

Meatless Fridays: Quick 3 Ingredient Meal



Hmmmm…it’s Friday and the troops are hungry, but I’ve simply been too busy to worry about that…that is until the rumbling bellies distracted me from other matters!

I need a quick solution and have three ingredients:
  • Frozen ravioli – generic from Walmart
  • Pasta sauce – large from Sam’s
  • Parmesan cheese – yep, the green shaker type – the hard block for grating is waiting for a more glamorous meal.



This is going to be quick and simple!

  •  Pour enough sauce to cover the bottom of an 8 x 13 pan.
  • Layer in the ravioli and pour on remaining sauce.




Evenly sprinkle any spices you usually use to ‘enhance’ jar sauce. (OK, I know that’s more than three items but I’m not counting optional ingredients.) No need to mix…I said it was simple!



I used:

  • Pepper
  • Minced garlic (Tones)
  • Italian Spices (Tones)
  • A bit of brown sugar (it reduces acidity from the tomatoes)



 Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.

A quick taste, to make sure it’s ‘top chef’ fixin’s. Cover with aluminum foil and it’s off to a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.



Bless us, oh Lord, and these Thy gifts,

Which we are about to receive,

From Thy Bounty,

Through Christ, Our Lord.