Category Archives: meatless

My 2012 Goals

It’s said that if you put your goals into writing, you actually manage to accomplish them. I am taking a page of blog-speration from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (and if you aren’t reading her blog, you should be!) and here are my 2012 goals:


Spend less, bring in more– I am still working my Thirty-One business and I am hoping to expand more. I have a pretty good sized display kit, so I am really going to try to stop the excess shopping. I have kicked my previous retail demons, and since we are living in such a great climate, I can play outside with my kids rather than head to the den of temptation (aka the Mall.)

Get that emergency fund established. Enough Said.


Determine and Perfect my Blog Niche– Right now I write about a whole gamut of ideas and I have been thinking of trying to streamline it a bit more, to focus.

Begin actually writing my YA novel– instead of just planning and re-planning and re-planning

Write an ebook– I talked to a friend a few years back about writing a book and this might be the right platform for it!

Become Self-Hosted– It might run me about $10/ month for blog hosting, but it might earn me a bit more cred.

Health and Wellness

Kick Sugar– for good this time

Start Jogging again– There is this pin on Pinterest that really reflects my feeling towards running. But a second hand double jogging stroller is less expensive that a gym membership, and the loop around the Rose Bowl Stadium is about 3 miles (just about 5K.) Spend less.

Work on my flexibility– there is a Bikram Yoga place near us, but I might just get a few Yoga DVDs instead. Again, spend less.

Personal Mental Wellness

Get my budding friendships established– Make some “momma-only” dates with the ladies that I have met here

Meet other Spiritually focused At-Home Moms at our Church– there is not a mother’s type ministry at our Parish, so I think the Holy Spirit has been kind of pushing me to start something… Maybe Mass Readings at the Park or something.

Get out once a month for some alone time– Just a date with me and a coffee cup

Re-establish Friday Night Date Night– for a bit, DH and I were having Friday Night Dates at home and they need to come back. Maybe even take some Tango lessons…


Actually finish reading Anna Karenina and The Lord of the Rings.

Work Crossword puzzles again.


I have decided to let my Etsy Shop go to the wayside. I started listing my baby hats, longies/soakers and fascinators at the peak of their popularity and I don’t like the extra pressure of having the shop stocked.

I will continue to work of my lace knitting techniques. There are some BEAUTIFUL patterns for lace shawls out there and I’d love to try them out. Plus I have some new blocking wires that I can’t wait to use.


Let’s see how far I can get on that list this year! What are your goals for 2012?



Filed under books, challenge, family, finance, ladies, meatless, monday, New Year Goals

Thursday’s Tasty Treat: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

We had this for dinner Wednesday night. I wish I could say that this was my own personal recipe, but it’s not. It’s from the November issue of Good Housekeeping and it’s from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. But it’s yummy and fits with with squash theme.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Makes 12 appetizer servings (or 6 meal servings)

2T. unsalted butter
2T olive oil
4c. chopped onions
2T. curry powder
5 lbs. butternut squash
1.5 lbs sweet apples (McIntosh, Gala, etc)
Kosher Salt and Pepper
2c. apple juice or cider
1 loaf french bread (baguette)
Goat Cheese, room temp

1. IN a 7-8 Qt. Saucepot, heat butter and oil on medium-low until butter melts and is foamy. Add onions and curry powder; cook 15 minutes or so until onions are tender, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot as needed.

2. While onions cook, peel squash (to aid in peeling, microwave squash for 30 sec or so. Then peel), cut in half, discard seeds. Cut squash into 1 inch chunks. Peel and core apples, cut into 1 inch chunks.

3. To pot, add squash, apples, 2 c water, 2t salt and 1/2t pepper. Heat to boiling on high, reduce to med-low. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until squash and apples are very soft.

Now at this point you need to puree your mixture. I used a hand immersion blender to do the job. If you don’t have one you can use a food pro or blender and puree in batches and return puree to pot.

4. Add 1c. apple juice or cider and 1t. salt.

5. Serve with crusty bread and goat cheese (optional)

Here are some pics of the girls enjoying the yumminess. I may have to start calling the Dragonfly Cinderella though.
                                             Brigid and soup


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Filed under food, frugal, meatless, recipes, Thursday

Lenten Meals: Nina’s Black Bean Patties

OK. I know it’s not Friday and technically I owe you two Lenten recipes because I didn’t post one last week but cut me some slack, hey?

This recipe was inspired by my friend, Nina. She made black bean patties for her family one night from a blogger recipe. Her family wasn’t too keen on them, so she brought them to my house to make sure that they tasted OK and that it was just her family and not the actually patties. We loved them. I kept asking her for the recipe and so one Friday, decided to Frankenstein up some black bean patties of my own, based on what she told me was in the ones she made. I did eventally ask Nina for the recipe which you can find here.

Nina’s Black Bean Patties


1 medium sweet potato, shredded

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 small onion, chopped

1 handful cilantro

1/4 cup walnuts

1 egg

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 T cumin

1 T coriander

2 t cinnamon

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 t salt

1 t pepper

breadcrumbs (amount will vary, use enough for your patties to hold shape.)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Add all ingredients, except breadcrumbs, to a food processor with blade attachment. Pulse until a uniform paste develops.

3. Remove bowl from your food pro and transfer paste to another bowl if you’d like (remove the blade.)

4. Slowly add in breadcrumbs until the mixture comes together and can hold a shape.

5. Take a palmful of mixture and pat into a patty shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. (mine made about 6 patties)

6. Bake at 350 deg until the tops look dried and a little cracked, about 15 minutes.

7. Top with Mango Salsa or Salsa Verde and serve with a  delicious side of your choice. (I served with a Quinoa Pilaf.)


Quinoa Pilaf


1/2 c chopped onion

2 carrots, chopped

1 c quinoa, rinsed

2 c veg broth

2/3 c walnuts

1/4 c parsley (or cilantro)

Heat oil in saucepan over med-high heat. Cook onion in oil for until translucent. Add carrot and cook 3 minutes. Add quinoa and veg broth, bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and fluffy. In a bowl toss together with walnuts and parsley (or cilantro.) Serve hot or at room temp.


Mango Salsa

1 mango, peeled and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 jalepeno, seeded and diced

1 T lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Salt and pepper to taste


Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well. Cover and chill until use.

It is the season of Lent. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under Catholic, dairy-free, eco-friendly, family, food, Friday, Lent, meatless

Lenten Meals: Black Beans and Rice

OK, I have been so bad about posting and I have no excuse other than: random snow and one last snowman to build, parenting, making Easter dresses, hosting book club and having a traveling husband. But please, no pity! This recipe is easy-peasy. I usually just use canned Black Beans, but you can sub dried beans, as long as you pre-soften them by your favorite method. If you are a huge Sir Mix-A-Lot Fan, you can use Red Beans instead of Black Beans…

Black Beans and Rice

1 T butter or oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1 T cumin
1 T coriander
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt

Enough Cooked rice for the family
Sour Cream
Diced Green Onion (or regular onion)
Hot Sauce

1. In a large skillet, heat butter (or oil) over medium heat. Add the “Holy Trinity” (celery, green pepper and onion) and garlic. Cook until veg are soft and onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep things from burning.

2. Add the tomatoes, beans, liquid (water or broth) and spices to the skillet. Using a potato masher (or other similar instrument) mash about half of the beans. Bring the saucy mixture to a simmer. Cook until everything is nice and hot.

3. Serve over rice. Top with sour cream, onion and add some hot sauce for a little more of a kick.

It is the season of Lent. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under Catholic, family, food, frugal, Lent, meatless

Lenten Meals: Falafel

I adapted this recipe from the blog “CrockPot 365.” The major difference is that I bake my falafel rather than cook them in the CrockPot, I might have monkeyed with the spices a bit as well. Falafel are traditionally fried and I am sure that someone used to traditional falafel would just roll their eyes at this version, but my family LOVES them.

Falafel are usually served with Tahini based sauces, but we love Tzaziki and that is our go-to dipping sauce for this dish. I’ve included that recipe, along with a recipe for Tabbouleh Salad as well. I am planning on making this for dinner this coming Friday (March 11) so I will get a photo up not long after then.


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, rough chopped
1 T dried parsley
3 cloves garlic
1t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1/4 t cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
juice from one lemon
1 egg
1/2-3/4 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray

2. Add all ingredients, except breadcrumbs, to a food processor with the blade attachment. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender in a pinch. If no blender/ food pro, smash the beans with a fork and mince the onion before stirring in the other ingredients.) Process until it has a paste-like consistency.

3. Gradually add breadcrumbs, stirring between, until the mixture begins to come together and can hold shape. For me, it usually takes closer to 3/4 of a cup but it depends on how wet your mixture is. If you’ve added too many breadcrumbs, add water by tablespoons until it softens.

4. Using your hands or a #30 scoop (1 T volume) shape the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place each ball on the parchment lined or sprayed baking sheet. Repeat until the baking sheet is full.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the falafel balls look dried and are slightly brown on the outside.

6. Serve with cucumber slices, tomato slices, lettuce slices, red onion slices, tzaziki and pita bread. Couscous, Brown Rice or Tabbouleh Salad make great side dishes.
Tzaziki Sauce

2 cups plain greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (if you love garlic, as we do, add more cloves to taste.)

Combine all three ingredients. Chill until serving time.
Tabbouleh Salad

2 bunches parsley
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes
2 peeled cucumbers
1/2 bunch green onion
1/2 c. bulgur, rinsed (If you can’t find bulgur, quinona makes for a great gluten-free substitute!)
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and pepper
dried mint (to taste)

1. Wash parsley 3 times, discard stems. Wash lettuce. Drain parsley and lettuce in colander in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

2. Chop parsley, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and green onion until very fine

3. Combine with bulgur, lemon juice, rind, olive oil, salt and pepper. add mint to taste.

4. Chill until serving time.

Lent begins this Wednesday! I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under dairy-free, food, Lent, meatless

Lenten Meals: Ratatouille

I first became enamored with Ratatouille after watching the Pixar Film of the same name. Strange, I know. The Mister and I are not fans of eggplant (aubergine) so I was wary about this dish, but it has since become a favorite in this house. In the Winter, when fresh zucchini is harder to find/ pricey, feel free to substitute frozen. Also, I use canned tomatoes for the convenience but fresh ones taste heavenly (especially when they come from your own garden!) I usually serve this over quinona, but it tastes great over brown rice as well (and I am sure white rice… noodles might be too heavy for this dish, but you can try!)


2T olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 medium mushrooms, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 can diced tomatoes in italian spices, drained
1 can (14 or so ounces) vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1T dried parsley
1T dried basil
Cooked brown rice or quinoa
Shredded parmesan (omit for vegan option)

1. Heat oil in a dutch oven, add garlic and dried spices and cook until fragrant. Add onion and cook until translucent.
2. Add tomato paste and broth. Scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan while everything heats.
3. Add the eggplant, zucchini, squash, pepper and mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the diced maters, turn down the heat after about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve over rice or quinoa, topping with shredded parmesan.

(If you want to cook this in the crock pot, put everything in the crock pot and set it on low for 4-6 hours.)

Next time I make this, I’ll add a picture here.
If you have a meat-free recipe that you’d like to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Leave your name and location for the props that are sure to come (I’ll only use first names on the site!)

Pax Christi!


Filed under dairy-free, food, Lent, meatless, vegan

It’s that time of year: Lent

Ash Wednesday is March 9th 2010 and that day marks the beginning of the Lenten season for Catholics and some Protestant denominations. As a Catholic, our family will mark that day by fasting and attending Mass where we will receive ashes and the reminder that we came from dust and to dust we will return.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent which is 6 weeks of fasting/ abstinence, prayer and charitable giving that continues through to The Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.) During this time, some people fast from their favorite foods, others from FaceBook or other leisurely pursuits, others add to their spiritual lives rather than subtract from their worldly ones. But for many parents and caregivers, the season of Lent brings about another quandary… what, besides Mac and Cheese and Fish Sticks, can I serve my family on the Fridays of abstaining from meat? Well, hopefully I can help out there.

I love to cook. I mean it. There is something about looking into the great unknown of your pantry or refrigerator and coming up with a dish for your family. Some are great hits… others great misses, but they are all fun to make. It wasn’t always like this though. When I was first married, I couldn’t cook a lick (hehehe, Pun intended!) and the Mister did most of the cooking, but as time progressed, I started to see cooking as scientific and I was hooked. It didn’t help that we started watching “Good Eats” pretty regularity. My In-laws soon gave us subscriptions to “Bon Appetit” and “Cooking Light” and the rest is history.

Starting today and continuing through the Lenten Season, I will post meat-free (and sometimes dairy-free) recipes that I have tried and found success with in my family. Some will have pics, others will not all depends on what’s going on in the CCM household! You will also have the chance to send me your favorite meat-free recipes and I will be glad to post them! I have found that the Lenten abstinence from meat allows my family to try some veggies that they might not otherwise, saves the family some cash that we can then donate and is overall healthier for us all. So, look for the tags “Lent,” “meatless,” or “dairy-free” and I hope you have a prayer-full Lent.

(P.S. For my friends and family who have wondered about my weight loss… many of these recipes are weekly offerings in our house.)
If you have a meat-free recipe that you’d like to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Leave your name and location for the props that are sure to come (I’ll only use first names on the site!)

Pax Christi!

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Filed under dairy-free, Lent, meatless, vegan