Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2015

When life gives you beets...Make chocolate cake!

Today's produce  box from the farm co-op arrived today. I unpacked lettuce, green beans, squash, blueberries, cherries, peaches, eggs, and beets. About those beets... I am just not a fan. I have tried. I roasted them. I boiled them. So what else can I do with beets? I can make chocolate cake!

With the help of Google I found this recipe for chocolate-beet cake. As far as I am concerned, chocolate covers a multitude of sins and this was a wonderfully moist, fudge-like chocolate cake. The recipe called for topping it with creme fraiche and poppy seeds, but I just made a sauce from a few of the fresh cherries I had. It was lovely!

I feel a little guilty about using my vegetable to make chocolate cake. But I did use cherries to make a salsa to serve with grilled chicken so I guess it evens out. In any case, I think everyone in my household is now looking forward to finding beets in our farm co-op box if it means chocolate cake is on the menu.



Eat your vegetables!

Pope Francis asked us to receive his encyclical, Laudato Si', with an open mind.  We need humility to accept God is the Creator and we are the created. We need enlightenment to see all life is a gift but human life is uniquely made in the image of God. Because of our exceptionalism we need wisdom to be good stewards of life on earth.

The entire encyclical is a call to conversion which means each of us needs to take an honest look at our lives and lifestyle to see where our relationships with God, with other people, and with nature need improvement. This evaluation must be based on reason, not emotions. For example, many of us want to do our part and recycle and we feel good when we throw our paper, glass and plastics into the  big blue recycling bin. Yet, this article in the Washington Post shows how our emotional need to do something and be "green" may lead us to misguided efforts that accomplish little and may actually harm the environment. Pope Francis points out in

Laudato Si'

I have finished my first, albeit quick, reading of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si'.My first thought is no one should draw any conclusions about this encyclical unless you read it yourself. There are enough phrases and ideas that can be cherry picked to support diametrically opposed ideologies and media news outlets are already doing so. This encyclical is not wed to any ideology. This is not an encyclical about climate change though climate change is discussed. It is a statement about the reality of Man and his place in the world. Such truth transcends politics.

The overarching  theme is that as human beings we are in a relationship with God, in a relationship with each other, and in a relationship with the natural world. These relationships are intrinsically interconnected and any distortion of one of these relationships will distort the others. They cannot be addressed in isolation from each other.

The Pope reminds us we are called to be good stewar…

The Saga of Anna's Promise

I am going to admit that I sometimes buy a bottle of wine because I like the cutesy name or the clever label or the pretty bottle. Likewise, I am a sucker for roses named for people or places or ideas that are special to me. Which is why I bought the rose pictures above. This is Anna's Promise, named for one of my favorite Downton Abbey characters. 
The fact that I am now seeing my first blossom on this rose seems like a miracle. I am not sure naming a rose after a character who always seems to be facing a traumatic experience is a good idea. I ordered the roes online and it arrived as a seemingly healthy bare-root rose with no leaves but several very thorny canes. I promptly planted it in a large pot with quality soil and gave it a good feeding. Alas, Virginia had an exceptionally long winter which subjected this poor rose to multiple snowfalls and numerous freezing nights.
I waited and waited for signs of life after the temperatures warmed. All of my other roses were sprouting …

Lord, to whom shall I go?

Here is my contribution to the discussion of #WhyRemainCatholic instigated by Elizabeth Scalia.

Essentially, I believe the Catholic Church is who she says she is: the one, holy, catholic apostolic church founded by Christ. I trust the words of Christ when he declares that He will found his Church upon the Rock of Peter. Peter and his successors hold the keys to the Kingdom. That which they pronounce bound on earth will be bound in Heaven. That which they pronounce loosed on earth will be loosed in Heaven. (Cf. Matthew 16:17-20) I have a lot more to say about this so head on over to Catholic Stand and read the whole thing!

Gardening Lessons

I come from a long line of gardeners. I have happy memories of spending time in the garden with both of my grandmothers. Sometimes we were tending vegetables that would eventually end up in cans or frozen so that the fruits of summer could be enjoyed long after its warmth had faded into the cool gray of winter. Even as a child I found this self-sufficiency very satisfying. I still always have a pot of something edible growing. This year it is jalepeno peppers and lots of different herbs.

My real passion, however, has been growing flowers. My goal is to always have something blooming from spring through fall. Most of my plants are perennials so it is fun to welcome them back each year. The daffodils are first. Then the peonies. Eventually the azaleas begin to bloom. Early spring also features the bleeding hearts, amsonias,   and wisteria. I supplement with a few annuals, especially those that either reseed themselves like morning glories or allow me to gather their seeds in the fall f…

Why I want my grandchildren to remain Catholic

Madonna and Child by Parmigianino, 1525

Elizabeth Scalia has challenged Catholic writers to expound on why they remain Catholic. I will probably join in that discussion more directly in the next few days but first I wanted to combine this theme with another that has cropped up among Catholic authors--the Benedict option (Saint, not Pope Benedict). The Benedict option suggests that the future of Catholicism will be small enclaves of faithful believers who withdraw from the world in order to nurture and grow the faith.

In my latest article at the HLI Truth & Charity Forum I address why not only will I remain Catholic, but I pray that my grandchildren and their children and their children will remain Catholic as well. I cannot withdraw from the world when there is work to be done and battles to be waged to protect my grandchildren's religious freedom and spiritual future.

While being faithfully Catholic may have created some social hurdles for my children, there was never a real th…

A Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything May Not Be for Everyone.

The Miracles of St. Ignatius by Peter Paul Rubens
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, SJ. There is so much wisdom here that I always come away with a valuable insight. Yet, I hesitate to recommend this book freely. My problem is not with Ignatian spirituality. My difficulty lies with Fr. Martin's application of this spirituality. As always, the devil (quite literally) is in the details.

For example, I found Fr. Martin's discussion of an Ignatian approach to prayer to be inspirational. The idea of bringing everything to God, holding nothing back, and of taking quiet time to listen to God's response caused me to slow down. It is similar to the reminder to pray a Rosary, not just say a Rosary. The difficulty comes with the lack of discussion of discernment. Fr. Martin speaks of our desires as urgings from God that we should listen to rather than resist or dismiss. He leaves the poorly catechized reader with …