Lent Challenge 2013 Day 43: Bread Alone?

Ah, the Lent Challenge.  Boy, that takes me back.  All of four days ago, we were still fasting and so busy with the Triduum that it took me until Easter Monday to finish the blogging of it all. Just as our Jewish older sibs get rid of all the chometz (every single crumb of leaven) in the house heading into Passover, we thought it would be kind of meaningful to use up all the bread in our house in anticipation of Good Friday.

It's a pot! It's an oven! It's...

Slow Cooker, you’re my hero!

Slow Cooker “Quiche” (prep time:  10 minutes)

8 c cubes of leftover breads (I say “breads” because we used everything we could:  naan, pita, rolls, leftover French bread, etc.)
2 broccoli crowns
1 onion
1 c chopped celery
1 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c parmesan cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c milk (if your “quiche” seems dry, add more milk until it is at least malleable)
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper


Chop broccoli stems in your food processor first, then chop the florets, to make sure they’re all chopped evenly. Then go ahead and chop your onion in there, too.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well-mixed.  Spray your slow cooker liner with cooking spray.  Pour in “quiche” and cook on low 4-5 hours.

This makes an ENORMOUS batch.  It can be halved easily, but as this was an experiment, I don’t know how that would affect the cooking time.


Calzone Catechesis for the Feast of St. Joseph

This is less of a recipe and more of a “how-to,” but feel free to use our recipe for the pizza dough. 

You will need:

1 batch of pizza dough
Shredded pizza cheese
Parmesan cheese (the sprinkle-from-a-can kind.  Yes, it matters.)
A little bit of water
Tomato sauce

Preheat your oven to 425F.  With your kids, divide the dough into eight separate pieces and stretch each piece into a circle.  Say, “This is bread dough, which reminds us that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  But just like we’re forming the dough into circle shapes, St. Joseph, as the foster father of Jesus, had to form Jesus into the good man he was called to be.”

Now ask the kids to think of ways that parents “form” their children:  protect them, teach them prayers, feed them, give them clothes, take care of them when they’re sick… and then discuss how St. Joseph did all of these things for Jesus.  And just like the circles of dough will break if we’re too rough with them, St. Joseph had to be gentle with Jesus.  Then ask your kids, “What are some ways you think St. Joseph was gentle with Jesus?” 

Then say, “One of the things St. Joseph did for Jesus was teach Him how to be a carpenter.  So both St. Joseph and Jesus had wood shavings in their clothes and in their hair.”  Now sprinkle the shredded pizza cheese on the center of each circle.  Then as you sprinkle the centers of the circles with parmesan cheese, say, “They also had sawdust all over the place!” 

Now have the children moisten the edges of each circle with fingers dipped in water.  Say, “Now, we can tell from the Bible that St. Joseph must have died before Jesus began His public ministry.  So Jesus had to take care of His sick daddy and then watch him die, knowing that heaven wasn’t open to him yet, knowing that the Sacrament of Baptism hadn’t been established yet.  How do you think that made Jesus feel?  How do you think Jesus then felt about going to His death on the cross?”

Pierce each calzone with a sharp knife and talk about how much it must have broken Jesus’ heart to see his gentle, earthly father die, knowing He would have to wait to see St. Joseph again.  Then, as you fold each circle in half and pinch the edges together, talk about how St. Joseph would have been wrapped in a shroud just like Jesus was after His death, and both were placed in tombs.  [At this point, put your calzones on a baking sheet and bake at 425F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped.]  Allow them to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. 

Serve with tomato sauce for dipping.  This next part might gross you out, so feel free to  skip it, but my kids figured it out on their own without any prompting from me.  Anyway, feel free to remind the kids of how the blood of Jesus covers all our sins, even the sins of St. Joseph–who was a holy guy but still an imperfect one.  You can also talk about how St. Joseph is highly revered in Italy, especially Sicily, where his intercession is credited from saving the people from famine. 

Speaking of famine and fasting, traditionally, in our archdiocese, the Lenten fasting rules are suspended for the Feast of St. Joseph in recognition of his special status among the Italian people of our area.  Since we’re holding our Lenten challenge to those standards, we really could have had a meat meal for dinner, but much to my surprise, I didn’t really see the point.  When we first started the PreVII Lenten challenge, I honestly didn’t think we could do it the whole Lent.  How could I feed this picky family without all that meat?  Would we give up by the third week in and run to McDonald’s for burgers and nuggets?  But we’re past the Laetare Sunday midpoint of Lent, and it’s only gotten easier.  I went into this thinking, “Oh, I could never do that,” and here we are, thinking that keeping this up during the rest of the year wouldn’t really be all that hard. 

Some things, you just never know unless you try.

The Lent of Beer

First it was beer cheese dip.  Today it’s beer bread.  Well, not just beer bread.  I have to leave Good Friday Soup in the slow cooker for Mr. Mackerelsnapper to feed the kids while I haul buttocks out to my NaPro doctor two hours away (by the way, families, please let your children grow up to be NaPro gynecologists?  Our world is in sore need of doctors who approach women’s health from an actual health perspective, rather than just masking our problems or poisoning us to make us less troublesome to them).  So I gave Mr. Mackerelsnapper the option for me to leave them a loaf of yeast bread, or would he rather just make beer bread?  He volunteered to suffer through the making of the latter, but I just needed to leave him the recipe.  Poor guy.  Those of you following along at home, roll up your sleeves.  This is going to be a tough one. 

Beer Bread
3 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 c white sugar
1 12.5oz bottle of beer
1 T butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Whisk dry ingredients together, then stir in beer until just moistened.  Divide between two greased loaf pans and dot with thin pats of butter, if desired.  Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm.

Phew!  Thought you’d never get through something that difficult, did you?  Did you survive?  Yes?  Then you deserve a beer!