Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween, Last Year

I got a big bag of Milky Ways last year to pass out to the neighborhood kiddies on Halloween.

It was the first bag of candy I've ever bought in my whole life.


It simply never occurs to me to buy candy, even though I like the stuff as much as anyone.

I've bought some candy bars in my lifetime, but never a whole bag of it. It seemed so indulgent! "It's for the kids," I reminded myself.

When my husband got home his eyes widened to saucers. "Where did this come from?" 

"I bought it."


"Yes, but it's not for us, it's for the Trick-or-Treaters."

His eyes pouted slightly, but he seemed resigned.

I relented. "Well, I guess we could have a piece or two."

"Just to see if it's any good, right?" he reasoned, thoughtfully.




Wrappers flew. Our candy gorging knew no restraint.



We turned off the front porch light before a single Trick-or-Treater came by.

Yes, dear readers, the stash was gone.

To stave off a repeat performance, this year I'm vacillating between buying either two bags or none at all.

What do you hand out for Halloween?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Year of Faith Resources

I am so excited for the Year of Faith!! It starts today and goes until November 24th, 2013, Feast of Christ the King.

October 11th is the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the 2nd Vatican Council, and is also the 20th Anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict has asked Catholics, this year, to read, meditate upon, and prayerfully study the documents of the Council and the CCC. He's made tons of plenary indulgences available for the whole year. This is going to be such a year of grace!

If you want to participate fully, there are several great resources available:


1) FlockNote will e-mail or text you a little section of the CCC each morning throughout the Year of Faith to help you read the whole document in one year.

2) Coming Home Network has a breakdown of both the Bible and the CCC so you can read both in one year. This would be especially wonderful if you could gather a small group of friends to meet once a week to discuss the Scriptures and articles of the Catechism you've read -- for accountability, to strengthen your faith, and build community.

3) The Vatican Website has all of the documents of Vatican 2 available online for free.

4) The USCCB has the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church online for free.

5) CatholicWeb has another breakdown of the CCC to complete it in one year, but this one divides it so that you read a little bit from each section of the Catechism each week. That way, you're not reading solely from Part I for months on end.

Not Free:

1) Fr. Mitch Pacwa has written an excellent book just for the occasion: The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics. If you don't want to "go it alone" when reading the Scripture, this is a wonderful guide tailored specifically for this year, drawing from the Pope's Motu Proprio, Porta Fidei, the Apostolic Letter which called for this Year of Faith. It doesn't go through the entire Bible, but it's a wonderful start. $9.95

2)  The Magnificat has a little Companion book of daily meditations, prayers, essays, and devotionals for the Year of Faith. $6.95

So I hope you will delve deeply into the richness of the Faith this year. Do you have any plans for this year, or additional resources?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Bunch of Things to Do With Sweet Potatoes

Last Saturday my sister-in-law and I went to a county extension agent's experimental plot. They were trying to see how well certain crops grow in our area so they could make recommendations for local farmers. As such, they weren't selling the crops they grew, they just grew them.

We were given the go-ahead to glean as much as we wanted for free.

Typically, gleaning is hard work because you get a little produce here and a little there... the leftovers from a large-scale harvest. But because the crop was entirely unharvested, it could hardly be called gleaning!

In a rich haul, I scored 40+ pounds of sweet potatoes, 20+ pounds of onions and a few hot peppers. I could've gotten a lot more, but was limited by time, energy, containers, and lack of a root cellar.

So because I've got enough sweet potatoes to feed a small village, I looked up what to do with them. I enjoy making sweet potato pies and soufles, but I wanted a few savory ideas.

Here are some of the delicious recipes I found:

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (I made these for dinner last night with salt, pepper, and garlic, and dipped in some ketchup they were delicious!)
Gingered Sweet Potato Carrot Soup
Spiced Sweet Potato Chips (I made these on Saturday, and would recommend making them on parchment paper or a silpat -- a little hard to turn on a lightly greased cookie sheet, but crispy and delicious!)
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
The Mother Lode: 100 Recipes to Make with Sweet Potatoes (about 1/3 of these recipes look amazing, another 1/3 look interesting to try, and the final 1/3 look a little gross to me)

What is your favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes?