“Sensational” Stuffed Shells and Seder Foods

Hi, fellow Mackerelsnapper! If you’re looking for a quick seder reference for your Holy Thursday, this might work for you. Azizen Pesach!

Mrs. Mackerelsnapper, OP

Happy Passover to our Jewish friends & family! Today we celebrated this Good Friday with our Little Flowers Girls Club. Our virtue of the month is Wisdom, and our saint is St. Edith Stein, a convert from Judaism. What better way to get to know her (and how she felt led into the Catholic faith) than to take a look at the types of foods her family would have had on their seder plate when they celebrated the Passover?

First we had a quick refresher of what Passover means and why our big brothers & sisters in the faith celebrate it. We also reviewed that this was the meal Jesus shared with His disciples when He gave us the Eucharist. As I explained each symbolic food to the girls, I asked them to “find” how that same symbol shows up in our faith life as Catholics.


  • First we made the…

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Feeding the Hungry (and Allergic)

I’ve had customers at my job eat peanuts in front of me and then complain to HR when I politely excused myself. I’ve had a close relative serve me tree nuts on my birthday–twice. As someone with a life-threatening allergy, I openly admit that Franciscan Mom’s compassion in this piece brought me to tears. I so often face near-mortal indifference to my allergy that when someone puts compassion for this situation into words, it means a lot. Thank you, Franciscan Mom.


To the mom who was so apologetic about mentioning her daughter’s dairy allergy to me at dinner the other day:

Do not feel as if it is an imposition on me to tell me what I need to know in order to safely feed your daughter.

With a bit of advance notice and an opportunity to bounce ideas around with you, I can come up with safe alternatives. I don’t want you to have to feel like you need to send “special food” with her wherever she goes. (Or, at the very least, when she comes to dinner with us.)

tomato pieIt is both a corporal AND spiritual work of mercy to honor someone’s medical dietary needs.

The corporal part is obvious. I think the spiritual part falls under the category of “comforting the sorrowful.”

When your child has special dietary needs, it’s tough on parents. By comparison, I have it…

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Fish and Cabbage? Much better than it sounds.


On Friday, Mr. M came home early enough to treat us to our very own fish fry. The only problem was, in spite of fasting for the pre-dinner part of the day, we still weren’t hungry enough to finish all the fish that got fried up.

“Should we throw this out?” asks Mr. M after dinner.

What do you think I said? Pffft. Darn right we kept the leftovers! This is, after all, the leftover Lent. So today we had fish tacos with Honduran slaw. Now, back when Mr. M was just my boyfriend and was doing a summer research project out in San Diego, he introduced me to the concept of fish tacos.

Fish tacos? Ew!” I said.

“No, they’re really good! They have this sauce on them, and they’re full of shredded cabbage–“

I gave him a look sort of like this:

No caption necessary.

A few years later, we were a married couple visiting San Diego, and he took me to Rubio’s. And thus, Mr. M made me a believer in fish tacos, cabbage shreds and all. Since we’re out here on the east coast, Rubio’s is not an option, so we are forced to DIY. Those are quite good, but tonight we shook things up a bit. A family in our co-op is leading us on a tour of Spanish-speaking cultures, and at our last meeting, she had the kids make a Honduran feast: roast pork, some kind of salsa made with ground-up pork rinds (speaking of surprise YUUUUMMMM!), tortillas, tortillas, and more tortillas, and to get your veggies in….


Honduran Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, peeled, cleaned & shredded

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1/2 c water

1 T sugar

Combine ingredients and let sit for about an hour before serving. Use as a filling, delicious taco/burrito stuffing.


On the other stove burner…

… I have my fiction writing.  I think most of you know by now that my newest novel, Don’t You Forget About Meis scheduled for a November 1 release date. In the meantime, to celebrate, I’m practically giving away my 2006 novel, Jane_E, Friendless Orphan:  A Memoir.  

Jane_E, Friendless Orphan:  A Memoir

Yes, for the low, low price of $1.99, you can get a PDF ebook version.  The people on Amazon and Goodreads seem to like it.  Here’s hoping you will, too!  This offer is good through October 31, 2013.  In the meantime, if you haven’t already subscribed to my author page, I invite you do to so!

Review: Sons of Cain

Hey, Mackerelsnapperites!  I have a review of Sons of Cain by Catholic author Val Bianco over on my author page.

Go check it out, then check out Sons of Cain for yourselves!

St. Clare rocks!

I have some fun stuff about the book trailer we filmed this weekend, over at my author blog.  Check it out!

Yesterday’s 7QT over on my author blog

Here are seven thoughts on the death of our good old dog, Willow:  pro-life issues, faith vs. works, and do all dogs really go to heaven?

I’m also searching for a mid-1980s era CYO boy’s basketball shirt.  If you live in the PA/DE/MD/NJ area and have one of these, let me know?  If you don’t, say a prayer to St. Anthony.  I need to find one by next Saturday, June 1, to use in the filming of my book trailer.

That was the calm, cool, professional prayer request.  Now allow me to go all kinds of “SQUEEEEEEE I HAVE TO MAKE A BOOK TRAILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!”

Review: The King’s Gambit by John McNichol

The King's Gambit

Check out my author blog for a review of the Catholic YA novel The King’s Gambit by John McNichol.  Good stuff!



First: Talk to me about veiling. Why do you? Why don’t you?

It’s been an issue on my heart for many a year now. I tried it for a while, somewhat subtly, starting first with scarves worked into my hairstyle, then just using at least a headband, then making sure I was at least wearing earrings as a sign of womanly obedience… and now I’m lucky if I’ve gotten a shower before Sunday Mass. I know it’s a symbol of humility, covering the glory of my messy, roots-showing hair. I know I should cover my hair because the angels are present when the Eucharist is consecrated and all that… but. I attend daily Mass as well, usually in jeans and sometimes in my pajama sweats, because that’s the only way to get the garden watered and the four pets fed before we leave and get three children there in time, and that’s even with 2/3 of them crying over something or other. A lacy mantilla with jeans? Um…

But. The older two are the only children available to serve at the altar in our parish at daily Mass. I’m okay with that (they’re serving Mother Church, not fructifying the sanctuary, just like a nurse serves at a delivery but doesn’t get the mother pregnant). If I veil, they’ll want to, and there’ll be no hiding it then. We’re already the only family that regularly attends daily Mass. I’m an introvert. I’m not sure I’m put together for answering yet more questions from well-intentioned acquaintances who already think we are weirder than weird. Will I have to justify why my kids are veiled and serving at the altar?

But. I’m in choir, and I’ve already gotten one “Wow, a scapular? Haven’t seen one of those things in years!” when mine was sticking out after a hurried shirt-change on the way to practice. I’ve also been asked to cantor. Am I ready for that much more on top of it all? See above, re: introversion.

Second: Kassie aka Mom and 8kidsandabusiness both gave me different blogging awards. It’s humbling and exciting… and I honestly don’t know what to do with them! I see others have their blogging awards posted constantly on their blogs, and I would know how to do that if I were still coding HTML from scratch, but I’m not, and I’m so overwhelmed that I’m about to cry from frustration or hormonal imbalance or from just long-term overwhelmed-ness… Anyway, I wasn’t ignoring the awards out of, um, ignorance towards you personally but out of ignorance of blogging. Can anybody hold my hand and pass me a tissue?

Third:  If you’d like to read an instance of me being at peace about something, visit my writing blog, Will Write for Tomato Pie.  However, that site is in need of attention from someone who knows what she’s doing, and these days, that someone doesn’t seem to be me.

So, it seems today’s theme is feeling/being called but not being equipped. Like, at all.

In honor of this being one of my few rants, please enjoy this picture of our new dog, Sigma.


National Grilled Cheese Day

It’s the first meatless Friday after the Octave of Easter. What better way to celebrate than by participating in National Grilled Cheese Day.


I don’t know why it’s today or how it came about. I do know that I love me some grilled cheese.

On a far more grim note, please take a moment to visit twitter’s #gosnell tweets. I’m @erinmcop.

“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Set it loose. It will defend itself.”

–St. Augustine