Wednesday, January 30, 2013

St. John Bosco Sticks

Tomorrow, January 31st is the feast of St. John Bosco. He is best known for starting a school for boys to help keep them off the streets. He first caught their attention by entertaining them with things like juggling and magic tricks. As an educator myself I admire his commitment to educating the entire person, mind, body, and spirit. His advice to the young boys he taught, "Run, jump, make noise, but do not sin!" would make a wonderful motto for any classroom. Learn more about St. John Bosco here.

When I was subbing at a small Catholic school, I quickly learned that everyone's favorite school lunch day was Bosco Stick day. A Bosco stick is a mozzarella cheese filled breadstick. It would usually come with some marinara sauce for dipping.

In my classroom I liked to write the saint of the day up on the board, and read a short bio about that saint. When St. John Bosco day came around, the kid's first reaction was "did they name Bosco Sticks after him!?" I don't know how the Bosco Stick company decided on their name, but in that spirit I decided to try to make my own "St. John Bosco Sticks" to help celebrate this Italian saint.

1 tube thin crust pizza dough
4 sticks of string cheese
Marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes 8 breadsticks

First open and unroll your pizza dough. Stretch it or roll it out so it is more or less an even rectangle. Peel the string cheese in half long ways so you have eight sticks. Place these on one half of the dough. 

 Next fold over the dough and use your hands to seal on the bottom and inbetween each cheese stick.
 Next use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut into individual breadsticks. You will end up with leftover dough. You could re-roll it to make more breadsticks, or just shape into plain breadsticks and bake along with the cheese ones.
 Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes. You will probably end up with some cheese oozing out of some of the breadsticks, but hey that just makes it better! Serve with your favorite pizza dipping sauce. I like marinara, but you could also use ranch or garlic butter.  I made a large batch for a big group I'm cooking for tommorrow and froze them after I baked them.

* Update: Click here for reheating instructions and to find out the origins of the name of the Bosco Pizza Company!

A Prayer for St. John Bosco

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mould them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend ourselves in supporting them against the snares of the devil, in keeping them safe from the dangers of the world, and in guiding them, pure and holy, in the path that leads to God. Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Feast Day Reflections

Today, January 28th, is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. He is the author of the Summa Theologica,  a doctor of the Church, and the patron of students and Universities. You can find out more about St. Thomas Aquinas here.

This day is especially special to me and my family because of my sister.  Around five years ago she fell in love with religious life and the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan. She expressed her desire to join, and away she went. We all wish we could see her more often, but we are extremely proud of her and are so blessed to have a sister in the family. She now goes by Sr. Mary Thoma, her namesake being St. Thomas Aquinas. Of course they have her going for her doctorate in philosophy! You can learn more about the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan here.

A few years ago I made a video about my sister which I thought I would share with you today on the feast of her patron saint. Please pray for her, and for all those who are considering religious life and their families. Enjoy!



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Girly Ballet Cake

 I may not have a daughter yet, but thanks to the dance studio I work for I got to bring out my girly side! Our studio offers dance themed birthday parties, and this time I was asked to make the cake. This was for a five year old girl who loves ballet and the colors pink and purple.

It is a simple vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. Nothing too crazy or complicated, but one of my favorite tricks is to freeze the cake before decorating. This helps control the crumbs and makes any carving you may do much easier. This one is not carved, but I have done a carved duckie cake, and a puppy cake.

Another good trick is to draw your design in the frosting with a toothpick first and then go over it with the piping bag. This way if you mess up you can just smooth it out with your frosting spatula and try again until it looks just right!

A lot of times I just use store bought frosting, but this time I did make some of my own.

Decorator Frosting 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
milk for consistency (less for a stiffer frosting, more for a softer frosting)
   - If you add too much milk you can adjust by adding in more powdered sugar

Monday, January 21, 2013

Edible St. Agnes Lambs

St. Agnes' feast day is today, January 21st! She was a young Roman girl who promised her life to God. Because of her beauty many men wanted to marry her, but she always refused, saying "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse." One of them became so angry when she refused him, he turned her in for being a Christian. She was then tortured and killed for refusing to deny her faith. She was only thirteen years old when she was martyred. She is the patron of young girls, (among other things.) Learn more about St. Agnes here.

In art she is often pictured holding a lamb, as her name is very similar to the Latin word "Agnus" which means lamb.

So today I decided to make a healthy snack of vegetable lambs in honor of St. Agnes. For each lamb you will need:
3 toothpicks cut in half (kitchen shears work well for this)
1 white mushroom cap or 1 cauliflower floret
1 large black olive

Stick four of the toothpick halves into the bottom of the mushroom or cauliflower. These are the legs. Then stick one toothpick half in the top to hold the head. The black olives already have a hole in the middle so you can just slide them on! Serve them as is or with a dip. You could even give them a meadow of salad to frolic on.

While we were making the lambs I read a short bio of St. Agnes, and then afterwards we said a St. Agnes prayer.

Prayer to Saint Agnes
St. Agnes, although you were only a child, you believed that Jesus was always with you; help us to remember that he is also with us, and to remain true to his presence.

 St. Agnes, you refused to give up your faith; help us to be proud of our faith, to love it, to be strong in it, and to give witness to it daily. 

St. Agnes, patron saint of children, watch over the children of the world; keep them safe from harm; be with them in their hour of need; and always pray for them

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kumquat Marmalade

Its that time of year in our house. Time to puree all the leftover kumquats from Christmas and use them or freeze them for later.

What is a kumquat you say? A kumquat is a small citrus fruit. The rind is sweet and the inside is sour. After the seeds are removed it is eaten whole, skin and all.  The season for kumquats lasts from about November through March. In the United States they mostly grow in Florida.

Though we live in Michigan, kumquats have been part of our Christmas tradition since I was little girl. My dad discovered them in the grocery store, and used them to create a "fancy" drink for the kids.

Things really took off when we discovered we could buy 5 and 10 pound boxes of kumquats from We started experimenting with all the things we could do with kumquats. We've made everything from kumquat cookies, bread, and ice cream, to kumquat hot sauce.

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to do much cooking this Christmas, so that left me with a lot of leftover kumquats. My solution? Kumquat marmalade!

- 5 cups chopped and seeded kumquats (I like to use the food processor for this. First cut them in half and take out the seeds, then put them in the processor. It will smell absolutely wonderful when you open the lid!)
-  pulp of 2 oranges
- 5 cups water
- 1 package reduced sugar pectin. ( I like to make my jams and marmalades reduced sugar because I feel the sweetness in full sugar recipes overpowers the flavor of the fruit.)
- 4 cups of sugar

In a large pot combine kumquats, water, and oranges. Cook until reduced by half. (10 cups turns into 5 cups.)

Add one package of reduced sugar pectin and four cups of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil and let it boil for one minute, stirring constantly.

Ladle into sterile jars and seal.  For canning new comers, some canning basics can be found here.

* A few notes. I typically do not process my jars when making jams and marmalade. The USDA recommends processing for at least five minutes. Also, the canning link above says to never boil your lids or they might not seal. I have always boiled my lids and have never had a problem with my lids sealing. Just remember that if you have a jar that doesn't seal to put it in the fridge and eat it first!



Monday, January 14, 2013

Marshmallow Snowmen

Its mid January and here in Michigan we just got our first decent snowfall. My son and I have been waiting and hoping to run outside in our snow pants and boots to make snowmen and go sledding all winter. The snow wasn't good enough for these activities yet, but we did run around and make a few snow angels!
While the snow still eluded us we did a fun craft to make ourselves feel better with something kids love just as much as snow; marshmallows!

Marshmallows (preferably stale ones)
whole cloves
anything else you might have that you can stick into a marshmallow!

Stale marshmallows are best because fresh ones are more spongy and springy, so its a little harder to stick things in them, but if you are making these on the fly, fresh ones will work fine too!

First take three marshmallows and skewer them onto a toothpick. This is the body of your snowman.

Next use the cloves to create a face and buttons, and more toothpicks for the arms. Its that easy! If you are worried about the pointy ends of the toothpicks, simply snip them off with some scissors. You can also draw faces on the snowmen with Sharpies.

The stale marshmallows will never go bad, so you could even hot glue a loop of string to the top to create a Christmas ornament for next year!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saints Matching Game

     My son just recently turned three. That made me very excited because that meant he is now old enough to play board games, and I love board games! I decided to do something extra special for him and make our own memory/matching game with the saints. I had already used the adorable saint pictures from for cupcake toppers on All Saints Day, and thought they would be perfect for this project.

printed saint images - 2 of each saint
1 foam poster board
clear contact paper
designed contact paper
band saw or box cutter

First I printed out all my images and glued them to the poster board. Then I covered that side with the clear contact paper.

Then I covered the other side with the designed contact paper. After I had already bought the contact paper I saw some foam poster board in the store that was holographic and colored on one side, so that would work well too.

The next part was tricky. I tried cutting out the squares with a box cutter but it was hard to get a clean edge. My father-in-law helped me out by using a band saw which was better, but still not quite as clean as I thought I could get it. If I decide to do something similar in the future, I may have to search the craft store for a better material.

After the squares were all cut out I put them in a container, glued the All Saints Day image on it, and labeled it with fabric paint. 

      The game turned out great and my son loves it! We try to make sure he gets Saint Juan Diego when we play. At three years old he has already declared that Juan Diego is his patron saint!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Hello Everyone! My name is Sarah Rose. Thank you for joining me in my new blogging endeavor! I'm a Catholic wife and mother of one with a degree in elementary education. I enjoy cooking, crafting, dance, and the great outdoors. With this blog I plan on sharing family friendly recipes, crafts and activities for all of life's celebrations. For me this ranges from things like Christmas and Easter, to saint's feast days, and just any day you're spending time with your family! I'd like to thank Catholic Cuisine and Catholic Icing for inspiration, as well as my old roommate Jenn for the awesome name suggestion. Here we go!

“If you have to be employed in domestic duties, as for instance in the kitchen, remember that the Lord goes about among the pots and pans, helping you in all things.” ~ Saint Teresa of Ávila ~
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