Feast of St. Lucy, December 13th
January 4, 2012

by Haley

Even before I became Catholic I’ve always loved St. Lucy’s Day. The Feast of St. Lucy (whose name means ‘light’) takes place during the darkest time of the year and is a bright spot during the dark, cold days of Advent. This brave saint was an early 4th century martyr from Sicily. When St. Lucy refused to wed a pagan and, desiring to remain a virgin, gave away her dowry to the poor, the man who wanted to marry her turned her in for being a Christian. Her eyes were plucked out and yet God restored her sight miraculously (this is why she is often portrayed holding her eyes on a plate and why she is the patron saint of the blind). When her torturers tried to burn her, her body would not burn and when they attempted to drag her to a brothel, her body was immovable. She was finally martyred when stabbed in the throat.

We named our baby girl after St. Lucy because of her courage, purity, and love for Christ. Also our baby is really cute:

See? Anyhow. Daniel made a Santa Lucia Bread Crown, a traditional Swedish way to celebrate St. Lucy’s Day. He modified a recipe from Cooking with the Saints which turned out just fine, but he says that next year he will just do a similar style braided crown using cinnamon roll dough. This recipe wasn’t as sweet and moist as it could have been.

Santa Lucia Crown

Crown Ingredients:

1/2 c. warm water

2 tsp. dry yeast

1/2 c warm milk

1/2 c sugar

4 TBSP softened butter

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg

4. c. flour

3 eggs

Icing Ingredients

1 c. powdered sugar

4 tsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

Pour 1/4 of the warm water into a large bowl. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Add the other 1/4 cup of water, milk, sugar, butter, salt, spices, and 2 cups of the flour and blend. Add 2 eggs and remaining flour.

Knead on floured surface approx 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl and cover until it doubled in size (approx. 1 hr).

Punch down dough and remove to floured surface. Separate dough for top of crown (1/3) and the larger bottom of crown (2/3). Divide the 2/3 of dough into 3 pieces, roll them, and braid into a rope, form circle and pinch ends to seal. Set on greased baking sheet. Repeat braiding with the remaining 1/3 of dough. Cover braids and let rise 1 hour, or until they double.

Beat remaining egg and brush onto bread. Bake at 375 for 15 min and remove smaller braid. Cover larger braid in foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Combine ingredients for icing and ice the cooled braids after stacking them.

Beware that sneaky toddlers don’t stick their fingers in the icing.



St. Anthony of the Desert
January 17, 2011

Sorry for the long absence! Our household spent most of Advent and some of Christmas suffering from a terrible cold virus and sinus infections. We’re finally recovered and getting back to normal life. We have photos and information about the feasts we celebrated between St. Andrew’s Feast and now but haven’t organized them yet. I thought we might as well go ahead and share our St. Anthony’s Feast instead of getting farther behind and we’ll catch up on December and early January later.

St. Anthony of the Desert was an Egyptian saint born in the year 251. Although born to wealthy parents, St. Anthony gave all of his possessions away at the age of 18 and lived a life of prayer as an ascetic in the wilderness for the remainder of his life. He is celebrated as the Father of All Monks and much of what we know of him is recorded in a biography by Athanasius of Alexandria.

In order to honor his ascetic life, a simple meal seemed appropriate. Daniel boiled turnips and sweet potatoes to be mashed and sauteed the turnip greens with spinach, onion, garlic, and sausage from a local farm.



St. Andrew
November 30, 2010

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew. Fisherman, brother of Simon Peter, friend and apostle of Christ, evangelist, and martyr. Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist and, according to John the Evangelist, was the first disciple called by Christ. After Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, St. Andrew went out to preach the Gospel. He travelled as far north as the Black Sea (which is why he is patron saint of Russia and the Ukraine) but was finally martyred in Achaea, Greece.  Ancient sources say Andrew was bound, not nailed, to a cross.  Iconography from the middle ages shows his cross to be raised in the shape of an X, hence the familiar “St. Andrew’s Cross” on the Scottish flag.

For today’s feast we made fish in remembrance of St. Andrew’s first profession. I don’t know exactly what kind of fish Andrew would have caught. But I read that tilapia are still caught in the Sea of Galilee and they’re an easy fish to find at the grocery store so we went with that. Then I found this Middle Eastern recipe for fish with tahini sauce and adjusted the proportions. Here are the ingredients for the sauce:

We also had couscous and sautéed greens from our garden. Spinach, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, and parsley.

Here’s the final product. Note the Advent candles and wreath in the background. More on that later.

I found this prayer on the interweb:

O glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, St. John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, St. Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.