Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lemon Ginger Dressing

In a measuring cup whisk together: 1 dash of granulated garlic, 2T freshly grated ginger, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram, 1/2 tsp. dried badsil salt and pepper to taste, 1T green jalapeno sauce, 1/4 C vegetable, oil, 2T sesame oil, 1/4 C lemon juice. Very mild flavor and this dressing goes great with Asian food.

Sichuan Orange Chicken

Sichuan Orange Chicken
3 tbsp hoisin sauce2 tsp grated zest plus 3/4 cup juice from 3 oranges4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly3 tbsp oil1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced3 garlic cloves, minced2 tsp grated fresh ginger1/2 tsp red pepper , 1T garlic chile sauce

Whisk hoisin, zest and juice together and set aside.Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet and over medium high heat.Add half the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.Remove to a plate, add another tbsp of oil to the pan and cook remaining chicken. Remove from pan.Add last tbsp of oil to skillet and add peppers, cook for about 3 minutes.Add garlic, ginger and pepper flakes and cook about 30 seconds.Add hoisin/juice mixture and simmer 3-5 minutes.Add cooked chicken, chile garlic sauce and accumulated juices back to pan and toss to combine.Stir to coat, season with salt and pepper if needed, and serve with rice. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts before serving.

Peppermint Bark

Buckeye Bars

This recipe can be found at: The only change I made was melting the chocolate and cool whip on the stove top.

Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Reliquary of St. Andrew at Patras.

SAINT ANDREWApostle(† First century)
Saint Andrew was one of the fishermen of Bethsaida, and was the brother of Saint Peter. He became a disciple of Saint John the Baptist. When called himself by Christ on the banks of the Jordan, his first thought was to go in search of his brother, and he said to Peter, “We have found the Messiah!” and brought him to Jesus.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feast Day of Saint Saturninus

SAINT SATURNINUSBishop and Martyr(†ca. 70 A.D.)
Saint Saturninus was a contemporary and a disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ; he came to Palestine from Greece, attracted by the reputation of Saint John the Baptist, which had echoed even to the northern Mediterranean region. He then followed our Saviour, heard His teaching, and was a witness to many of His miracles. He was present in the Cenacle when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost upon the Mother of Christ, the Apostles and Disciples assembled in the number of 120. (Acts of the Apostles 1:15) He departed to teach Christianity under Saint Peter’s authority, evangelizing the lands east of Palestine, and going as far as the region of the Persians and Medes and their neighboring provinces. He cured the sick, the lepers, and the paralytics and delivered souls from the demons; and before he left, he gave written instructions to the new Christians concerning what they should believe and practice.

November Daring Baker Challenge

This months challenge was a carmel cake with carmel buttercream frosting by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater Our hosts this month were Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food ( and for gluten free help with the recipes Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( The cake was excellent but the frosting was a bit too sweet for me. I really liked making the carmael syrup, it was a fun process to watch. I made cupcakes instead of a cake.


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)

2 eggs, at room temperature

splash vanilla extract

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350FButter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.Sift flour and baking powder.Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted

4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup

Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)(you heat

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saint Catherine Laboure

SAINT CATHERINE LABOURÉVirgin, Visionary(1806-1876)
Saint Catherine Zoé Labouré was born in a small village of France in 1806, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer who had at one time wanted to become a priest, and his very Christian wife. Catherine, the ninth of the eleven living children, lost her mother when she was only nine years old and had to abandon school to go to live with an aunt, accompanied by her younger sister. Two years later she was recalled to take charge of the household, because the older children had all left, one to become a Sister of Saint Vincent de Paul, the others to marry or seek a living elsewhere.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feast Day of the Miraculous Medal

The Miraculous Medal comes directly from the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother; it is a gift from heaven which has never ceased to effect marvels of grace throughout the entire world. This medal is a very simple and very efficacious means to benefit from the protection of Mary in all our necessities, both spiritual and temporal.
On November 27, 1830, in a residence of the Daughters of Charity, at the Chapel of the Rue du Bac in Paris, the Most Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré (1806-1876) for the second time. On this day the Queen of Heaven was seen with a globe under Her feet and holding in Her hands, at the level of the heart, another smaller globe, which She seemed to be offering to Our Lord in a gesture of supplication. Suddenly, Her fingers were covered with rings and beautiful jewels; the rays from these streamed in all directions...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Infant Caps

Just some infant caps that i made.

Turkey Birthday Cake

For the cake:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions:1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray an oven safe bowl with cooking spray. .2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill the bowl with batter. I baked for over 30 minutes and just kept testing with a toothpick, for doneness.Cool for 2 hour and them remove from bowl. I frosted with this chocolate frosting that i use for my checkerboard cake. The frosting is excellent, not to sweet, the flavor is great. For the feathers on the bottom i used Stella Doro cookies( breakfast treat) spread some icing on them and then dipped in sanding sugar. For the next "layer" of feathers I used the Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies. I used the same method , a bit of icing and the sanding sugar and for the last layer of feathers I used Madeline with icing and sanding sugar. I decorated with peanut M&M's.

Feast Day of Saint John Berchmans

SAINT JOHN BERCHMANSJesuit Seminarian(1599-1621)
Born in 1599 in Diest, a town of northern Belgium near Brussels and Louvain, this angelic young Saint was the oldest of five children. Two of his three brothers became priests, and his father, after the death of John’s mother when he was eleven years old, entered religion and became a Canon of Saint Sulpice.
John was a brilliant student from his most tender years, manifesting also a piety which far exceeded the ordinary. Beginning at the age of seven, he studied for three years at the local communal school with an excellent professor. And then his father, wanting to protect the sacerdotal vocation already evident in his son, confided him to a Canon of Diest who lodged students aspiring to the ecclesiastical vocation. After three years in that residence, the family’s financial situation had declined owing to the long illness of the mother, and John was told he would have to return and learn a trade. He pleaded to be allowed to continue his studies. And his aunts, who were nuns, found a solution through their chaplain; he proposed to take John into his service and lodge him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jalepeno Corn Bread

We tried this cornbread tonight with the chicken tortilla soup. I would not buy this product again. It was pretty much flavorless, other than a hint of pepper. I was not crazy about the texture at all, way to grainy. I purchased the product on sale and was very interested in trying it. I would not buy the product again, even on sale. I enjoy homemade cornbread, I will stick to homemade.

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Fire Roasted Tomato

We tried this recipe tonight: the only difference I made was adding about 2 C of crushed blue organic corn chips to the soup for about 10 minutes prior to serving to thicken it. Overall the recipe was ok. I would not be in a huge rush to make this again.


This was a project from Oriental Trading Co.

Paper Plate Snowman

Feast day of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria, by Callisto Piazza, c. 1540. Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.

SAINT CATHERINE of ALEXANDRIAVirgin, MartyrPatroness of Students and Young Girls(† Fourth Century)
Catherine was a noble virgin of Alexandria, born in the fourth century. Before her Baptism, she saw in a dream the Blessed Virgin asking Her Son to receive her among His servants, but the Divine Infant turned away, saying she was not yet regenerated by the waters of Baptism. She made haste to receive that sacrament, and afterwards, when the dream was repeated, Catherine saw that the Saviour received her with great affection, and espoused her before the court of heaven, with a fine ring. She woke with it on her finger.

Monday, November 24, 2008


For each turkey I used 1 McVivities digestive biscuit, 1 plain donut hole , 7 candy corns, 2 mini chocolate chips and vanilla frosting.

Feast Day of Saint Joohn of the Cross

Sepuchral Chapel of St. John of the Cross in Segovia, Spain. Designed and fabricated by Talleres de Arte, a sacred art workshop founded by Rev. Felix Granda. Image courtesy of Granda Liturgical Arts.
SAINT JOHN of the CROSSDoctor of the Church(1542-1591)
Saint John of the Cross was born near Avila in Spain. As a child, he was playing near a pond one day. He slid into the depths of the water, but came up unharmed and did not sink again. A tall and beautiful Lady came to offer him Her hand. “No,” said the child, “You are too beautiful; my hand will dirty Yours.” Then an elderly gentleman appeared on the shore and extended his staff to the child to bring him to shore. These two were Mary and Joseph. Another time he fell into a well, and it was expected he would be retrieved lifeless. But he was seated and waiting peacefully. “A beautiful lady,” he said, “took me into Her cloak and sheltered me.” Thus John grew up under the gaze of Mary.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Six Mile High Granola

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 cups mixed nuts( I used cashews, peanuts, pistachios, almonds and walnuts)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup dried currants
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar, and cook until melted. Stir in honey, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and water. Add remaining ingredients, except dried fruits, and toss. Arrange in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool on sheets. Transfer to a bowl, and add dried fruits. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Brownie Peanut Butter Bites

These bites were super simple. Prepare brownie mix as directions on package state. Next fill mini muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degree F. As soon as the bites are taken out of the oven press a peanut butter cup in the center of each.

Feast Day of Saint Clement I

Saint Clement, by Tiepolo

SAINT CLEMENT I of ROMEPope and Martyr(†100)
Saint Clement is a Roman of noble birth, the son of the Senator Faustinian. Saint Paul speaks of him in his Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 4, assuring that Clement had worked with him in the ministry of the Gospel, and that his name was written in the Book of Life. Later Saint Clement was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter himself. He succeeded in the supreme office to Saint Linus, the immediate successor to Saint Peter, and the Liber Pontificalis says that “he reigned nine years, two months and ten days, from 67 to 76, ...until the reign of Vespasian and Titus.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Martha Stewart's - Cookie of the Day

I just added a new widget!

Feast Day of Saint Cecilia

Saints Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiburtius by Botticini

SAINT CECILIAVirgin, Martyr(†177)
It is under the emperor Alexander Severus that this young Saint, one of the most fragrant flowers of Christian virginity and martyrdom, suffered for the Faith she had chosen; to choose it was at that moment as certain an end to earthly felicity as it is a guarantee, at every epoch, of the eternal felicity of those who remain faithful to it. Cecilia was the daughter of an illustrious patrician, and was the only Christian of her family; she was permitted to attend the reunions held in the catacombs by the Christians, either through her parents’ condescension or out of indifference. She continually kept a copy of the holy Gospel hidden under her clothing over her heart. Her parents obliged her, however, despite her vow of virginity, which most probably they knew nothing of, to marry the young Valerian, whom she esteemed as noble and good, but who was still pagan.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Broccoli

In a tall stock pot place 2-3 T olive oil. Next add 1 medium onion diced, a dash of granulated garlic, salt and pepper , oregano, parsley and a few dashes of crushed red pepper. Sautee until onion is translucent. Add 1 large can of clam juice, the juice from 1 can of clams and about 1 cup of white wine, boil for a few minutes. Meanwhile heat water for pasta and cook until al dente, the last few minutes of cooking the pasta add 1 bag of frozen broccoli. Drain and add to stockpot. Add 1 c grated Parmesan cheese, drained clams and toss over medium heat to blend thoroughly. Serve with additional grated cheese.

Basic Beer -Cheese Bread

Pecan Pie Muffins

I have had this recipe saved for months and today I finally tried it. The taste just like the pecan tassies my mom and I would make every year for Christmas, except these were much quicker. We really enjoyed these tonight for dessert.


2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 C butter

2 eggs

1 C sugar

3/4 C flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 C walnut meats

Do not preheat the oven. Melt the chocolate and the butter.

Beat the eggs and add the sugar. Add the chocolate and butter

and beat. Add flour and baking powder and beat. Add vanilla

and walnuts. Bake in a greased 8" dish. Place in oven and bake

at 300 degrees F for 55 minutes. This recipe was from the Saxon

math 3 lesson 62 or 63. The brownies were alright, not very sweet.

Tuna Cones

3 small foil pouches tuna in water
1/2 C mayonnaise
4-5 large green olives , in brine
2T dill pickle relish
Mix above ingredients well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Fill 6 flat bottom ice cream cones with tuna mixture and enjoy.
The kids really enjoyed these!

Feast of The Presentation Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Date 1534-38
Author Tizian

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to God, His divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some among the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the in the Temple, to be brought up in quarters attached to the Temple, attending the priests and Levites in their sacred ministry. There were special divisions in these lodgings for the women and children dedicated to the divine service. (III Kings 6:5-9) We have examples of this special consecration of children in the person of Samuel, for example. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25 ff.) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sundried Tomato Crusted Chicken, Acorn Squash and Baked Potatoes

For The acorn squash: I baked it in the oven cut side down for 1 hour at 350 degrees, flip over place a pat of butter on each piece and bake for another 20 minutes.

For the baked potatoes: Tonight I washed 6 good sized red skinned potatoes, pricked them each a few times with a fork. I wrapped each potato in aluminum foil and placed the potatoes in the bottom of the wood stove for 1 hour( 45 minutes would have been plenty) Time and temperatures vary, it depends how hot the stove is.

For the chicken:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.In a food processor, make coarse breadcrumbs from 4 cups, cubed hard crust bread. Pulse breadcrumbs with 1 C sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, a dash of granulated garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow dish. In a separate dish whisk 2 eggs and a bit of milk. Dredge thin, boneless, skinless chicken breast first in the egg and then in the breadcrumb mix. Fry chicken in a skillet in batches for a few minutes on each side. Place in the oven 15 minutes to cook through.

Cranberry Soda Bread

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and dust it with cornmeal. Measure the oats into a bowl, then stir in the buttermilk, honey, and oil. 2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and make a well in the middle. Pour the liquid into it and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls together in a shaggy mass. 3. Let the dough rest for 3 minutes. Turn it onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough for about 30 seconds. 4. Next, divide it in half and form each half into a football shape with rounded ends. Place the loaves on the baking sheet with plenty of room between them and cut a shallow slit down the center of each. 5. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden and crusty and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Cool before serving. Makes 2 loaves.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

2 c. cranberries

1C orange marmalade

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. cloves

2 6.1oz mandarin oranges, well drained

1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1T dried lemon peel

Rinse and drain cranberries. Pick out stems and any soft cranberries.Over medium heat, combine cranberries, orange marmalade, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to pop. Reduce heat to simmer and add oranges , walnuts and lemon peel. Cook an additional minute and then remove from heat. Garnish with orange zest. I like to serve this at room temperature or cold.

No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water

1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoons salt
Thoroughly grease an 8 ½" x 4 ½" pan. It’s important to grease the pan well, as this bread tends to stick otherwise. To prepare the dough: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer set on high speed works well here. At the very end of the beating time, the dough might begin to clear the sides of the bowl and form a rough clump. Even if it doesn’t, it should be fairly cohesive and dough-like, not batter-like. Scoop it into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it won’t fill the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. To bake the bread: Bake the bread for about 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 195°F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired; this will keep the crust soft. Cool the bread completely before cutting it. Yield: One 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf

Feast day of Saint Felix of Valois (1127-1212)

Statues of Saint Felix of Valois and Saint John of Matha, Charles Bridge, Prague.

Saint Felix was the son of the Count of Valois. His mother carried him to Saint Bernard at his monastery of Clairvaux, to offer him there to God, when he was three years old; she kept him, however, under her own care and took particular care of him, permitting him, still young, to distribute the alms she was pleased to give to the poor. When the exiled Pope Innocent II sought refuge in France, the Count of Valois, father of Felix, offered his castle of Crepy to the Pontiff, who often blessed the young child whom he saw being trained in virtue. One day when Felix gave away his own habits to a poor beggar, he found them that evening neatly laid on his bed; and he thanked God for this sign of His divine goodness, proving that one loses nothing when one gives to the poor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars

1/2 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening Sticks, plus additional for greasing
• 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup Jif® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 salt
• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 4 cups miniature marshmallows
• 1/2 cup Smucker's® Chocolate Sundae Syrups Ice Cream Topping

1. HEAT oven to 350ºF. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with shortening.
2. COMBINE brown sugar, 1/2 cup shortening, peanut butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
3. MIX flour, baking powder and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed. Beat until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Press into prepared dish. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown. Do not overbake. Cool 2 to 3 minutes.
4. PLACE peanut butter in microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 1 minute. Pour over cookie base. Spread to cover. Cover with marshmallows. Drizzle chocolate syrup over marshmallows.
5. RETURN to oven. Bake 5 minutes or until marshmallows are light brown. Do not overbake. Loosen from sides of dish with knife. Remove dish to cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut with sharp greased knife into 2 x 2-inch bars.

Yield: 2 dozen bars

Today is the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She was born in Pressburg Hungary, 1207; died in Marburg, Hesse, Germany, November 17, 1231; canonized by Gregory IX in 1235; feast day formerly on November 19.

Her husband Count Ludwig IV of Thuringia is also popularly esteemed a saint but died at age 27. One of her three children, Gertrude was beatified.

In the Life of Saint Elizabeth, Dietrich von Apolda relates that one evening in 1207 the minnesinger Klingsohr from Transylvania announced to the Landgraf Hermann I of Thuringia that a daughter had been born to the king of Hungary that night, who should be exalted in holiness and become the wife of Hermann's son.

Indeed Saint Elizabeth was born that night, the daughter of Queen Gertrude of Andechs-Meran and Andrew II, two years after he was crowned king of Hungary. Her lineage also included Saint Hedwig, another married saint, who was her aunt.
At her baptism she was carried to the church under a canopy of the richest cloth to be found in the country. From her earliest days she was the delight of her parents. It is said that her first word was a prayer, and almost the first thing she did was an act of kindness to the poor. Even when she was only four, her sweetness of character was such that people in other countries had heard about her.

At the age of four she was sent 350 miles from home to Wartburg Castle near Eisenach, Germany, as the betrothed of the 11-year-old Count Ludwig IV of Thuringia and Hesse. His father, the haughty and powerful Duke Hermann I of Thuringia, cousin to the German emperor, dispatched an embassy to the Hungarian court where, with full protocol, the child-fiancee was handed over to be educated by Hermann's wife Sophie as Ludwig's future bride.

Elizabeth and Ludwig had a wonderful relationship built upon their childhood friendship full of shared sorrows and fired by passionate devotion to each other. When Elizabeth was six, her mother was assassinated and Ludwig comforted her. Soon afterwards Ludwig's elder brother died and, about 1216, the insane Duke Hermann died violently while under the ban of the Church. Suffering and sympathy in their youth bound Elizabeth and Ludwig as a couple. And Elizabeth had further suffering to come.

She loved to visit the sick and the poor. No road was too rough or day too stormy to keep her from going on some errand of mercy to a wretched cabin. Because Wartburg Castle was located on a steep rock, which the ill were unable to climb, Elizabeth even built a hospital at its foot and often fed and cared for the patients herself.

In church one day she saw a large crucifix. So full of love for Christ was she that she took off her crown, thinking it inappropriate for his servant to wear a crown of gold and jewels while He wore a crown of thorns.

She provided for helpless children, especially orphans, founded another hospital with 28 beds, and fed hundreds of persons daily, in addition to making provisions for others throughout the kingdom. Ludwig's family and their peers began to criticize the young princess for associating with the common folk, but she bore their insults patiently without ever replying in anger, probably because Ludwig supported her in this work.

When Ludwig returned from his knightly training, his family tried to dissuade him from marrying her. They urged him to send her back to Hungary. To his credit Landgraf Ludwig would not listen to his mother's and household's slanders against Elizabeth. He defended her and married Elizabeth in 1221.

When they married Elizabeth was only 14 and Ludwig, 21. Everyone remarked what a handsome couple they made. He was tall, good looking, and manly. Elizabeth was young, beautiful, and sweet in every way. They understood each other well, and were very happy together.

What was intended to be a marriage of convenience, a uniting of two powerful families, was actually a marriage of tender love and mutual affection, in which both found tremendous joy and peace. (It is said that Ludwig never forgot to bring Elizabeth a present after one of his journeys--not necessarily identifying married bliss with gifts .)

The year after their wedding (1222) their son Hermann was born; in 1224 Sophie, and in 1227 another daughter Gertrude. (Hermann died as Landgraf at age 19. Sophie married the Duke of Brabant, Henry II and lived to age 60. Blessed Gertrude became Abbess of Altenburg.)

Saint Francis died six years after they had married; Elizabeth was influenced by one of his friars--Brother Roger, who shortly after her wedding told her about Francis and Christ's message to him. He urged her to seek release from her marriage vows, so as to be free to serve Christ. Elizabeth desired to surrender herself utterly, in an all-absorbing love. That she did not do this was probably the restraining influence of her confessor--Master Conrad of Marburg, who had been appointed to this post by Pope Gregory IX.

Conrad, a learned, able and insensitive man, whose harsh methods of guiding her spiritual life have been sharply criticized, may be forgiven his ruthlessness because he was an irreproachable ascetic himself and scrupulous in the performance of his duties. He moderated her ambition to be a mendicant and lessened her generosity to the poor. She took a vow of obedience in all things, but those related to spousal rights, to Conrad in front of her mother-in-law and her children in 1225.

As a child she was unequalled in her devotion: devotion to the Church, obedience and complete dedication to virtue. As a woman she was pious and almost obsessed with the spirit and letter of the law of love and its precepts. With her there were no half measures, no restraint, no compromises, no appeasement. It was all or nothing. That Christ must come first was impressed upon her when, during Mass one day, she was admiring her husband and looked up at the bells of the Consecration to see Blood pouring from the elevated host. So, she devoted herself to meditation on the things of God, and acts of charity with the blessing of Ludwig.

Her servant Irmingard, during the canonization process said that Conrad had forbidden her to eat or use anything which she did not certainly know had been produced without injustice. For this reason Ludwig had allowed her to observe a particular rule of diet. She disciplined her body by fasting and scourging and made her servants chastise her on Fridays and fast days.

Though she arrayed herself in purple and gold to please her husband and his court, underneath these costly robes she wore a horsehair shirt. When her husband was away she put on humble garments and sat with her maids to spin wool. She continued to refuse to wear her jewelled coronet when she entered a church. She longed to suffer as Christ did; hence her self-denial, poverty, sacrifice, and penance. Nevertheless she was spontaneous and mischievous. Often before a party she would do penance. Yet she appeared cheerful and happy, when it was time for gaiety.

When she was home she ate little. One day Ludwig returned to find she had taken nothing but bread and water at her meals. He asked her to take better care of her health. She told him to taste the water left in a glass from which she had been drinking. To his great astonishment he found that it tasted like the very best wine.

Elizabeth was not satisfied with giving money and food to the poor. She knew that God wants us to sacrifice ourselves as well as our treasure. So she herself waited beside sickbeds, cooked the meals, cleaned houses, milked cows, and even dressed the sores of her patients. One day she carried into the castle a small child suffering from leprosy, and laid him on a couch. In horror at the sight, the ladies called Ludwig to show him what his wife had done. Ludwig looked at the poor leper, but saw instead the Christ Child Himself!

One day, while returning from the woods in the middle of winter, Ludwig met Elizabeth carrying food in her mantle. She opened it to show him that she bore, not bread, but the most beautiful red and white roses. At the same time he noticed a beautiful cross in the air over her head. He took one of the roses, and went on his way. It is said that he kept the rose for the rest of his life.

It's seems unfortunate that Ludwig kept the rose for so short a time. Their idyllic marriage lasted only six years. In 1227, Ludwig was called with the knights of Christian Europe to fight the Turks in the Holy Land. Before leaving he promised to send back his signet ring if anything should befall him.

He left for the Fifth Crusade but died of the plague in the seaport town of Otranto near Brindisi, Italy, before leaving Europe and just 18 days before the birth of his daughter Gertrude. Shortly after her birth, messengers came with Ludwig's ring to Elizabeth, who grieved piteously. When she heard the news, Elizabeth is said to have run crazily throughout the castle shrieking, "O Lord my God, the whole world and all that was joyful in the world is now dead to me! But Thy will be done!" But there was worse to come (some of the details are uncertain).

Ludwig's relatives, who had never liked her ways, accused her of mismanaging the estate because of her great charity. She was forced to leave Wartburg, probably by her brother-in-law Heinrich, regent for her young son, who may have wanted Ludwig's estate. She was put out of the castle in the depths of winter on a wet night with the baby at her breast. The people of Eisenach were forbidden to shelter her or her children, so for a time she slept in a pigsty. Poverty didn't seem to really bother Elizabeth, rather she embraced it as God's gift.

An old woman she met, while crossing a stream on some stepping stones, pushed her into the water and said: "There! That's where you belong. When you were a princess you wouldn't act like one. I wouldn't stoop to help you either!" That was the thanks she received, she who had done so much for the poor--why should we expect gratitude?

In any case, she suffered much until she was taken away from Eisenach by her aunt Matilda, abbess of Kitzingen, who gave shelter to Elizabeth and her children. She next visited her uncle Eckembert, bishop of Bamberg, who put his castle of Pottenstein at her disposal. She travelled there with her son Hermann and the baby Gertrude, leaving her daughter Sophie with the nuns at Kitzingen.

Eckembert had plans for her remarriage, but she refused to consider them. She and Ludwig had pledged never to remarry. When Emperor Frederick II proposed marriage to her, she refused saying that she had promised to serve God and Him alone for the rest of her life. Eckembert locked her up in a keep, where she continued to pray confidently and humbly. (Nothing is said of how or when she was released.)

Ludwig's body was returned to Elizabeth according to most accounts and buried in the abbey church at Reinhardsbrunn. On Good Friday that same year, in the church of the Franciscan friars of Eisenach, she became a member of the third order of Saint Francis. With her hand on the altar of a chapel, she renounced, "her family, her children, her own will, and all the pomps of the world." Her confessor, Conrad, had intervened to prevent her from also renouncing her dowry and the property that remained to her.
Some say that that the returning Crusaders reproached her brother- in-law and wanted to wrest his property from the hands of Heinrich, but Elizabeth refused to allow it.

Heinrich finally did return Elizabeth's dowry with which she later founded a hospital with her life-long friends Guda and Ysentrude. Others say that she was restored to Wartburg, but insisted that all revenues be turned over to the poor.
Elizabeth had developed a love of poverty from the Friars Minor but had been unable to act upon it while she was Landgraeffin. Once her children had been provided for by relatives, and she was free to live in Marburg, she lived for a time in a tiny house at Wehrda. Returning to Marburg, she built a small house just outside, and devoted herself to caring for the sick, the aged, and the poor at a hospice she founded there.

Christian charity for her was not simply philanthropy; it bore the wounds of the love of Christ and conformed itself to the special conditions of life with Him. The love of Christ for her implied the love of His Cross and the bearing of it after him. She adopted a little orphan who was chronically sick. Day and night she tended him, washing him, and changing his clothes. Filth, suppuration, and mucus soiled her noble hands, but it never bother her for in tending the littlest, she cared for Jesus.

She begged door to door for food for herself and others, until Conrad of Marburg, still her confessor, stopped her from begging, divesting herself of all her goods, giving more than a certain amount in alms, and exposing herself to diseases such as leprosy. Nevertheless, he was a hard director.

He overshadowed the closing years of her young life, treating her ruthlessly and, at times, brutally. She admitted how much she feared him. But his methods did not break her spirit: with remarkable humility she submitted to his harsh discipline and obeyed.

Conrad forbade her the joy of seeing her children. When she thought she had given up everything, he forced her to part from the two friends she had known and loved since she came to Germany from Hungary at age four, replacing them with a lay brother, a pious unattractive young woman, and a harsh irritable noble widow--cruel women who reported all she did to him. The loss of all she held dear--her family and friends--was compensated by Our Lord and his Blessed Mother who appeared to her frequently bringing her the sweetest consolations.

Conrad would slap Elizabeth's face for disobeying his smallest command and sometimes beat her with a rod that left its mark for weeks. After each chastisement Elizabeth arose strong and unhurt, in her words, like grass bent by heavy rain.

Until her health failed Saint Elizabeth was tireless in serving the wants of those in need: the princess who made garments for the poor went fishing to get them food and cleaned the homes of the sick. One day a Magyar noble arrived at Marburg, and at the hospice he found Elizabeth at her spinning wheel in her plain gray habit of the Order of Penitence. He asked her to return with him to the court of Hungary and leave her life of hardships, but Elizabeth would not go.

She led a life of exceptional poverty and humility, though some say that the usurper allowed her to come back to the castle four years before her death, and that Heinrich also recognized her son's succession to the title of landgraf.

She died at Marburg on November 17, not yet 24. She is certain to have heard the angelic choirs ineffably singing the resurrection at her death and seen the hands of light stretched out eternally towards those who willingly suffer expiation. To be poor is generally a sign of honesty. To know how to be poor is a sign of modesty. To want to be poor is a sign of virtue. To sacrifice everything, including oneself, to the poverty of others is a sign of holiness.

More beggarly than the beggar, this king's daughter chose to follow the painful road the underprivileged toil along. More initiated than the initiated, this innocent girl knew what many of us still refuse to know--the promise, the gift of God: for in hearing the pleas of those suffering from fever, she knew who it was that was asking her for a drink.

Her relics were translated to the Church of Saint Elizabeth in Marburg, where they remained as an object of popular pilgrimage until 1539, when the relics were removed to an unknown place by the Lutheran Philip of Hesse.

Soon after her death, miracles were reported at her tomb. So numerous and wonderful were they that she was canonized just years after her death. Her father, mother, three children, and many relatives were present at the canonization to hear the Voice of God, through His Church, declare her a saint. She has ever since been one of the most beloved saints of the German people (including this Austro-German American woman who took her name--but vacillates between Elizabeth of Hungary and the mother of John the Baptist) (Ancelet-Hustache, Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Condenhove, J. Delaney, S. Delaney, Encyclopedia, Martindale, Melady, White)

In art, Saint Elizabeth is depicted as a queen with a double crown surrounded by beggars, to whom she gives food and clothing, or combs their hair. Sometimes she is shown (1) carrying a pitcher and loaf; (2) carrying bread which turns to roses in her lap; (3) with three crowns at her feet, beggar under her mantle; (4) crowned, pitcher in one hand, bird on the other, beggars and cripples in the background; (5) with angels bringing garments to her to give to the poor; (6) crowned among her women spinning for the poor; (7) with a loaf and fishes; (8) in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary; (9) crowned, kneeling before the bishop (her confessor Conrad), who hands her a palm branch, behind him Saint Francis holding shears; (10) girt with the Franciscan cord, she kneels before Saint Francis of Assisi (Roeder).

St.Elizabeth of Hungary is the patroness of bakers, beggars, confraternities engaged in good works, countesses, the falsely accused, the homeless, nursing services, Sisters of Mercy, charitable organizations, lacemakers, widows, and young brides.