Tag Archives: Lent

Lenten Meals: White Bean Pita Pockets

Today is the Feast of The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Since this is a day of celebration, the Bishop has given the OK for us here in STL to partake in meat if we want as a day of celebration is not one for fasting and abstinance. (I am sure other Archdioceses have done the same but you might want to check.)

Today’s recipe is meatless and comes from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I made this last night and it was muy delicioso!! If you have a well-stocked pantry, you may not have to shop for much.

Southwestern White Bean Pita Pockets

1.5 T lime juice, divided
4 t EVOO, divided
0.5 t ground cumin
0.25 t salt, divided
0.25 t ground red pepper (I used cayenne)
2 15 ounce cans of white beans, rinsed, drained and divided
0.5 c diced plum tomato (I used roma)
0.25 cup diced red bell pepper
0.25 cup diced, seeded, peeled cucumber
3 T diced red onion
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 pitas, cut in half
4 boston lettuce leaves
0.25 cup crumbled queso fresco (I omitted this totally)
4 lime wedges

1. Combine 1 T lime juice, 2 t oil, cumin, 1/8 t salt, red pepper, and 1 cup beans in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

2. Place remaining 1.5 t lime juice, remaining 2 t olive oil, remaining 1/8 t salt, remaining beans, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno in a bowl; toss to combine.

3. Spread about 3.5 T processed bean mixture inside each pita half. Place 1 lettuce leaf, about 3/4 cup tomato mixture, and 2 T cheese inside each pita half. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

(I actually found it to be tastier to omit the pita totally, and spread the processed beans on the lettuce and top with the tomato mix and roll it all up to munch.)

I paired this with couscous last night and it was quite the hit here. Hope you enjoy!!

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 family, food, Friday, frugal, Lent

Big Girl Panties

I went to the dentist a few weeks back for a teeth cleaning. Now, I know that sounds pretty mundane, but hear me out. The last time that I was at the dentist for a cleaning was when Clinton was in office. I kid you not. What prompted this visit was that I was having some problems with a crown on a tooth on which I had a Root Canal in the late-nineties. Turns out the porcelein had cracked and all sorts of nasties were getting in there. That tooth was the cause of my sometimes funky breath and large chunks of food that would lodge in my mouth. One new crown in and my pockets $500 lighter, later, I decided that I needed to take better care of my teeth. What was keeping me from the dentist all of those years? Fear.

When I was younger, we didn’t have dental insurance and dental care was done kind of randomly. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the dentists were butchers, but they weren’t very kind. Looking back, I realize my experience was exaserbated by the fact that I need the equivalent of a horse tranquilizer before I begin to feel the effects of anesthetic, so when I was younger, I was not totally numbed for dental fillings… great memory to have, right? (true story here: When I was in high school, I dislocated my elbow inline skating. I was taken to the ER and the proceeded to pump me full of morphine so they could pop it back into place. But here’s the thing, I wouldn’t go under… I just became loopier and loopier. At one point I started singing “Yellow Submarine” and then speaking to everyone in German (my second language.) But they still couldn’t do anything to the elbow because I could still feel. The resident didn’t feel comfortable about giving more morphine, so I headed into Surgery instead.)

So, I asked around for some dental referrals and I decided to check one of them out. You know how they give you the big stack of papers to fill out, medical history, insurance info, next of kin, etc., etc. Well, on one of the forms there was this question:

“Have you experienced dental anxiety? If so, how did you get over your anxiety?”

My answer: “I just had to. I had to put on those big girl panties and get over it.”

Now I will tell you, my dentist did find that pretty funny. The result of my check-up: I just needed a deep cleaning and I had 2 small cavities, both in Wisdom Teeth. Now, deep cleaning did result in my needing copious amounts of novocaine but at least I didn’t start singing “Beatles” Songs…

My dental experience did get me thinking: How many of us are shying away from things that we should be doing because we are refusing to put our big girl panties on?
Is there someone you care about and an apology is owed and both of your egos are getting in the way? Pull them on and apologize.
Are you tired of being rolled over by friends or family members? Pull them on and tell them how you feel.
Have you been afraid of trying something new because you don’t want to fail? Pull on your training pants! Ha, no really, pull on those big girl panties. We are made to perfection, we are not made to be perfect.
Has it been years since you’ve been to Confession because a priest yelled at you or otherwise hurt your feelings in the past? Guess what? He is not the Church. He is a man within the church. Find out what the church stands for… not what the men within her do. Oh, and pull on those Big Girl Panties and talk it out. Find that awesome priest that you connect with and have a chat.

How nice would the world be if we all pulled on our big girl panties (or underoos) and dealt with the crap that life throws at us, instead of hiding in our stinky diapers?

What are your thoughts on wearing big girl panties?

Pax Christi!

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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