Welcoming Mary to the Table


At our house, the great Marian feasts of December – The Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8 and the Dec. 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – whizzed by in a flurry of activity. We managed to make Mass on both days but weren’t able to set aside time for celebration in the home.

Hopefully when the Octave of Christmas settles in, there will be time to catch up on some foods that can be associated with those feasts and enjoy them. One idea for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception that really caught my eye this year turned up on http://www.catholicculture.org

The website suggested an all white dinner as a visual way to focus on the purity and stainlessness of Mary’s soul. I think kids might really be enchanted with this idea especially because it could feature so many kid-friendly foods: mashed potatoes; white rice; white bread; white cheeses and crackers and pasta with Alfredo sauce.

This sure isn’t something I would put together every day – the cholesterol count must be phenomenal – but for a special treat, I bet the kids would love it.

I’m offering my recipe for mashed potatoes as a side for your favorite main dish.

 Auntie Lo’s Special Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients: 5 pound bag Yukon Gold potatoes; 1 large sweet onion, diced small; 4 tbsp butter or substitute – we use Smart Balance – 1 pint light cream; two cans good quality chicken broth; salt and pepper to taste

Directions: cut the potatoes into quarters and boil them in a large, covered kettle for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in 1 tbsp butter or substitute until they are translucent and set aside. Drain the potatoes and begin mashing them immediately with an old fashioned potato masher, adding the other ingredients as you go. Serve piping hot.

My love for Mexican food translates well to an celebration of Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 Some suggestions from  a web site devoted to her — www.wf-f.org/Guadalupe.html — decorating the dinner table with small potted poinsettias (a flower native to Mexico) and beginning the meal with a Marian prayer.

Everyone “building their own tacos” at dinner is another child-pleasing concept. The Guadalupe site recommends starting with purchased taco shells and a bowl full of meat filling (hamburger seasoned with oinions and chili powder — mild, medium or spicy according to family tastes, a bowl of shredded cheese, another of shredded lettuce.

For a novel twist on a Christmas week morning, I like the idea of serving a sweet breakfast in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

This recipe – so good I don’t even want to think about it until I can fix it up and eat it – is adapted from MexGrocer.com

Breakfast tortillas

Ingredients: 4 soft wheat flour tortillas warmed; 1 mango cut in cubes; 2 sliced bananas; 1/2 pineapple cut in cubes; 8 sliced strawberries; 2 tbsp. raw sugar; 1/4 cup fresh orange juice; 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint; 1 cup plain granola; 2 tbsp. coconut; 2 tbsp. toasted sliced almonds; 8 oz. Pina Colada yogurt

Directions: Sprinkle the fruits with raw sugar and orange juice; mix the granola with coconut, almonds and yogurt; divide the mixture between 4 warm tortillas and top with the fruit; fold over the end and roll up.

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