Monday, April 28, 2014

JPII's Potato Pierogies

 Yesterday was an incredibly exciting day for the Catholic Church! Not only was it Divine Mercy Sunday, but we have two new officially canonized saints! Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II! Both amazing of course, but I'm personally more familiar with JPII. His Theology of the Body made a huge impact on me, helping to shape the way I view the world and increasing my love for our beautiful church  in countless ways.

 Of course we had to do something to commemorate the occasion. I thought I would try my hand at making pierogies, since Saint John Paul II was Polish, and they turned out great!  Everybody loved them except my four year old. Of course getting  him to try something new isn't merely an uphill battle, its more like trying to scale a sheer rock face with no mountain climbing equipment while fighting off the local carnivorous wildlife. Seriously; dough, potatoes, cheese; these pierogies are something that even the pickiest child should love! Though I feel like I've already tried every trick in the book, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I fully intend to make it to the top of this cliff! Maybe JPII should be the patron of stubborn, picky children and their frustrated mothers.

Though I had my own personal challenges at yesterday's dinner, I honestly think that this is a great family meal that most kids and adults would love! I fully intend to make them again, perhaps even reguarly. Not only are they tasty and economical, but you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and cook them directly out of the freezer without thawing. On a weekend or a day off you could even make an extra large batch, freeze them, and then you'll have some quick and easy weeknight dinners ready to go!

With our pierogies we also had some sauteed green beans and an apple pie, which I whipped up quickly using store bought crust and some apple pie in jar that we canned back in the Fall. Everything was just delicious.

And sure, my son got me all frustrated and fed up with his dinner time fuss, but after hearing me talk about how exciting it is to have some new saints, and the priest talking about the canonizations, what it means to be a saint, and how we are all called to be saints at Mass, he turned to me after the homily and said, "Mom, I want to be a saint!" Really, what more can a mom ask for? Isn't that the ultimate goal for our children, regardless of whether they eat their dinner or not?

JPII's Potato Pierogies


4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps salt
2 Tbsps melted butter
1 16 oz container sour cream (2 cups)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsps vegetable oil

Instant mashed potato flakes + ingredients to make them
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer extra sharp)
                                                                                        1/4 of an onion, pureed
                                                                                        salt and pepper


In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, sour cream, eggs, yolkm and oil. Stir the wed ingredients into the flour until well blended. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare 4 servings of mashed potatoes according to the directions on the box.  Add in the cheese and onion puree. (My husband claimes he hates onions, but he loved these pierogies! By pureeing the onions, you add great onion flavor, while still having a nice smooth filling. Could be a great trick for many recipes!). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Seperate the dough into two balls. Roll out one at a time on a lightly floured surface. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or a glass. Brush a little water around the edges, (I just use my fingers),  and spoon a little of the potato filling in the center. Fold over the circles and press to seal the edges. Get a spoon and eat the leftover mashed potatoes.

Place the pierogies on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen all the way through, you can remove them from the sheet pan and store them in the freezer in a plastic bag or other container.

To cook the pierogies bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pierogies in one at time. When they float, that means they're ready! Remove them with a slotted spoon. Serve with sour cream and enjoy!

This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz and the Equipping Catholic Families 2014 Saints Linkup! Check it out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frugal and Faithful Easter Baskets

My secret weapon for an Easter basket that is inexpensive, fun, and focused on faith? You may not believe it, but its the Dollar Tree!

Finding even one Easter item that has anything to do with the holiday's true meaning at your local supermarket is often nearly impossible. But it's surprisingly easy at the Dollar Tree!

Not only do they usually have a nice supply of Bible story themed puzzles, picture books, and coloring books year round, I was also able to find an egg dyeing kit that included stickers and decorations of crosses, stained glass windows, lambs, bibles, and the like. Not only has my son recently really gotten into puzzles, but we plan on dyeing eggs after Easter Sunday so it works out great! Remember that Easter doesn't end on Easter Sunday, but lasts for 50 days!

 In the Easter candy section there were not one, but two different types of religious themed Easter chocolates. And most surprisingly of all, I have found very specifically Catholic stickers there, like ones featuring depictions of different titles and apparitions of Mary. Sometimes next to the teacher school supplies, there are Sunday school supplies as well, which is where I found the stickers. Who would of thunk it! Sadly I couldn't find them this time around, but they've been there before.  Of course you can also get your basics like Easter baskets, grass, and jellybeans as well as simple fun gifts like bubbles, chalk, and jump ropes.

Most of the Dollar Tree items are best suited for younger children, but that's okay for now because a younger child is what I have. There may also be great items at other dollar stores, but Dollar Tree has always been my favorite because everything there is actually only one dollar, while other dollar stores may have things ranging from one dollar to twenty dollars. I think that its important to remember that kids don't really need a bunch of fancy stuff to be happy. Most young kids can find hours of entertainment with the simplest of items. My son has even invented a game called "Spiderland" that requires nothing more than his hands. Of course when you ask him how many legs a spider has he says five! So for this Easter weekend stay focused on God's incredible gift, have fun, and if your baskets aren't ready yet, head over to your local Dollar Tree!

This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz! Check it out!

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