“Chey Chad, Chere’s Some Challah Chistory.”

Allright, my fellow goyim, get your phlegmy throats ready for a challah-va-good gift idea! First, for those of you who don’t know, it’s not cha-lah, like “cha cha.” If you say it that way, I am going to be hard pressed not to slap you silly. It’s hah-lah, but you’ve gotta put some cough into that first “hah.” Challah is that delicious, fattening, tastes like Heaven bread that we used for St. Ambrose Honey Buns. I’ve always secretly feared that it was probably more than a bit of a shonda for the Irish papist to use challah dough for things other than nice, braided loaves on special occasions. However, since reading the Challah page at My Jewish Learning, I discovered that this rich dough can take different shapes for different occasions: round for the new year, a hand for Yom Kippur, two straight loaves for sabbath, and so on. Also, as every mid-Atlantic person knows, a diner is only as good as its challah french toast, so using that bread for that purpose seems to be okay. I think? What do I know. I’m sure I’m offending somebody over here, but if we can’t connect over the commonality of needing to eat food–especially food as good as challah–then is there really any hope for humanity?

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D’oh!

Today is our first Little Flowers Girls Club meeting since I got sick. I’ve been so down that I haven’t had much time to run around. I want to give each club family an Advent/Christmas present, but getting to a Catholic shop is no easy feat living out here in the far eastern branch of the Bible Belt. It’s too late to order anything online. I needed an idea. Here’s what got sent to my feeble brain. I made a triple batch of challah dough (see the St. Ambrose link). It’s on its second rise as I type. Once I’m done here, I’m going to roll that monster dough blob out into eight loaves, filling each with some butter & cinnamon sugar before rolling up to bake. Then I’m going to give each family a loaf with the following kids-can-make-you-breakfast-with-practically-no-help-from-you recipe.

Little Flowers Challah Breakfast Bake

Bethlehem means “house of bread!” Jesus is the Bread of Life, who came to us at Bethlehem!
Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
Grease an 8”x11” baking pan.
Tear this loaf up into little pieces about the size of your thumb and place them in a big bowl.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat 4 eggs. Mix 2 cups of milk into the eggs.
Pour the egg-milk mixture into the bread bits and stir until all the bread is wet.
Pour the egg-milk-bread into the greased baking pan.
Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar, if you like!
Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.
Now you have to wait, just like we wait for Jesus to come to us at Christmas!
In the morning, remove the plastic wrap from the pan. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm & share it with your family!
If you use a microwave-safe pan, you can microwave this for 7-10 minutes, turning every 3 minutes (if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable), until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

I’ve made this before for our family using leftover challah (yeah, there is such a thing–occasionally). It’s especially awesome for our Sunday morning breakfasts, when we’re rushing to get out the door for Mass and PREP, but we need to leave room in the schedule for the pre-Eucharist fast (a friend of mine who is a convert from Judaism calls Catholic fasting “barely even slowing”–heh). Make this in the microwave, and it’s like you have a fancy breakfast without any of the real work. Kind of reminds me of those old Rice Krispie Treat commercials, where the mom comes out of the kitchen all covered in flour, wiping fake sweat from her brow…

Oh, yeah, Friday dinner… it’s stuffed shells. No meaning other than it’s a busy day and we needed something from the slow cooker. The recipe is just the one on the back of the pasta box. We used jarred sauce. That’s as good as it’s gonna get, people.

Advent blessings & Christmas joy, to you from the Mackerelsnapper Family!

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About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to CatholicMom.com and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at erinmccolecupp.com .

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