Many of our readers and authors here at Epic Pew are parents, and we all know that “Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. ” (CCC 2226.) In my home, we spice up the faith by sprinkling it into our daily lives in fun ways that get kids involved with the feast days of the Church. One of the ways we do this is by finding recipes that match the feast days, and using them as a teaching tool. Whether these recipes are actually affiliated with the feast, or simply remind us of a particular saint, here are fifteen fun recipes to start your family off on celebrating the Faith with food!
1. St. Lawrence
Might be a bit morbid, but St. Lawrence’s feast day (August 10) is the perfect day to break out the grill and teach your kids about this cheerful saint who was grilled alive. You could make burgers, steaks, or hot dogs, but if you’re looking for lighter fare that’s not too exotic for kids, these lemon-dijon grilled chicken breasts from Simply Scratch are delicious!
2. St. Hildegard of Bingen
Nun’s Puffs, also called Nun Farts (your ten-year-old boy will love that name) are a simple and beautiful marriage of a French crêpe and a muffin. If you want to celebrate her feast on September 17th, play some of her music and whip up a quick batch of these puffs, courtesy of Olga’s Flavor Factory, to fill with syrup, jam, or whipped cream.
3. St. John Paul II
Paczki are the more suave and attractive older brother of the doughnut. These Polish treats are filled with creams, curds, or jams, and would definitely have been enjoyed by our favorite Polish pope, whose feast day is October 22nd! Traditionally fried, this recipe from Jenny Can Cook is baked, for a little less fat without sacrificing the amazing flavor!
4. Feasts of the Archangels (September 29th) and/or Guardian Angels (October 2nd)
Could there possibly be any other recipe to try for these feasts? Of course, if you’re short on time, you could whip up a box mix from the store, but why not try a homemade recipe like this one from Chew Out Loud? You could serve as-is or cover it with whipped cream and fruit, all while telling your kids all about the amazing angels God made to protect us and serve Him.
5. Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th) gave St. Juan Diego roses to prove her divine motherhood, and you and your favorite mom can serve your kids these way more edible roses as a sign of nerdy Catholic motherhood. They might not be very Mexican (though the other rose bread recipes on Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun could theoretically be filled with frijoles refritos or Mexican-style spiced chicken) but they’ll definitely win you mom points.
6. St. Philip Neri
There’s never been a saint more joyful than Philip Neri (May 26th) and there’s no food on earth more joyful than sugar cookies! However, most parents probably don’t have the time for all the chilling, mixing, and rolling of traditional sugar cookies, which is why these sugar cookie bars from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe are a lifesaver! Soft and not too sweet, with creamy homemade frosting on top, these bars could delight both the Apostle of Joy and your own mini-apostles-in-training. Pro-tip from someone who makes these a lot? A few drops of almond extract in the batter take these cookies to heavenly levels.
7. St. Francis of Assisi
After the sugary goodness of those cookies, I figured it was time for a healthy recipe. St. Francis of Assisi (October 4) was a big fan of lentils, which are low-calorie but very filling. No need to survive on Mac-n-Cheese for weeks on end, mom and dad! This recipe for Hearty Lentil Stew, from Kitchen Stewardship, honors the poverty of the saint with a recipe that could also work as a Lenten supper.
8. Good Friday and/or the Feast of St. Benedict
Legends abound as to the source of Hot Cross Buns. The one I heard as a child was that when St. Benedict (July 11th) was served a poisoned roll by his enemies, he blessed it and a cross appeared on the top of the roll. In the Middle Ages, monks would pass out rolls, with crosses cut into them, to the poor and starving that came to their door. These are also traditionally eaten at Good Friday, albeit without the gooey and delicious frosting. No matter where they come from originally, The Pioneer Woman has an incredible recipe for these 110% not poisoned buns.
9. Three Kings Day/Epiphany (January 6th)
What’s more traditional for this feast than Kings Cake? Made of sweet, yeasty dough, filled with spicy cinnamon, and dusted with colored sugar representing the gifts of the Magi, this cake is a well-worth-it labor of love. Traditionally, a plastic baby is hidden somewhere in the dough, and the finder of this toy is said to have good luck– but, if you have small children, you can leave this choking-hazard-in-the-making out. You can get the recipe here, at Brown-Eyed Baker.
10. St. Faustina Kowalska
Because there aren’t any really Divine Mercy themed treats, I figured I might as well put up another Polish dish that’s sure to please a crowd. This beef stew is simple, but hearty– perfect for the cooler days around October 5th, the saint’s feast day. Recipe, in Polish and English, here, courtesy of Happiness is Homemade.
11. St. Matilda
The patron saint of big families, St. Matilda (March 4th) probably didn’t whip up these cookies for her kids (being queen of Germany doesn’t leave much time for baking) but she probably enjoyed one of the early iterations of this ancient recipe. Pfeffernüse, pronounced fef-fur-nuss-ah, are sweet and spicy like gingerbread, and are rolled in powdered sugar for an extra sweet finish. When I make these at Christmas, my younger brothers snap them up lightning fast! Get the recipe here, at chow.com.
12. St. Anthony the Abbot
On the morning of January 17th, wake your kids up to the smell of bacon to celebrate the patron saint of pigs. Start out with your favorite pancake mix or recipe (a good recipe is here at Chocolate and Chai) and some cooked bacon strips, then follow the directions at stepable.com. Even though he’d never have eaten any while living in his cave, St. Anthony would totally approve of these treats.
13. St. Patrick
You could make shamrock cookies on March 17th, or you could be really cool and make a nice Irish stew. Though usually made from lamb, this recipe from Simply Recipes uses the milder flavor of beef. Serve with biscuits or a simple Irish soda bread to sop up that yummy, yummy broth. Over dinner, tell your kiddos the story of the famous saint who converted Ireland, but totally didn’t drive any snakes out of it.
14. St. John the Baptist
If we were really being true-to-life here, we’d make locusts with honey, but since we’re trying to appeal to kids here, this nice, cold Grasshopper Pie from The Pioneer Woman will just have to do. This recipe uses creme de menthe liquor, though you can replace it with a few drops of pure peppermint extract and some green food coloring for an alcohol-free treat for the kidlets (keep the alcohol on hand for mom and dad, though!) This classic chocolate-and-mint pie is a fitting tribute to the “greatest man born of woman.”
15. Our Lady of the Rosary (for a crowd!)
Objectively the singlemost Catholic dessert ever invented, the cupcake rosary is perfect for feeding your whole homeschool group, or maybe just the unofficial family reunion at your daughter’s First Holy Communion. Start with 59 (for just the beads) to 65 (for the beads, cross, and centerpiece) of these great chocolate cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and then decorate away! General instructions here at Real Life at Home.
Are there any recipes you’ve found that match your favorite feast or saint? Sound off in the comments!