Keeping the Feast springs into summer

Keeping the Feast went on hiatus during the Easter season. It returns for the summer with a focus on savory, splendid dishes created to compliment the saintly feasts of the season as well as the good times that abound with family, our church communities and friends. With a focus on Jersey fresh foods from our farms, fresh and salt waters, this is a wonderful time to celebrate God’s bounty in good company at the table.

Looking back a bit though, the Easter season was sprinkled with terrific  opportunities to gather recipes at parish pot luck socials and fundraisers. It was also a time to share recipes with friends – including Faithful Foodie Jeanne Kysela – director of digital media for the Trenton Diocese – who helped launch the web version of Keeping the Feast a few years back.

In this post, you’ll be able to tap into Jeanne’s marvelous granola recipe, tuck into a splendid meatball recipe from the Knights of Columbus of St. Rose Parish, Freehold, and get a taste for the marvelous zucchini pie so many enjoyed at an International Food Festival in Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune.

We’re starting off with Jeanne’s granola recipe because, well, it’s not only a great snack and desert – it’s really fine for breakfast. It makes a wonderful warm weather treat and will definitely tempt palates in cooler weather too.

Here’s the email she sent about her creation. She’ll tell you in her own words, what inspired her special granola and how she went about it:

I’m making granola… WHAT?

Since when do I make granola. Maybe it’s my mid-life crisis recipe or maybe my body is trying to tell me something. I found myself craving salty-sweet snacks everyday at the 3 O’clock hour. Nothing new, but I found as I get older that the candy bar is making me feel worse than better. I found that the sugar in my current snacks made me more tired than energized. So what could I make myself instead of shelling out $1.00 a day for something that my body no longer likes? Granola.

Yup, granola. How I came to making my own granola – well, you can thank all the grocery brands out there for making their granola too sweet or too salty – too wet or dry for my taste. I made it my mission to crate my own recipe.

I figured, since I love Justin’s vanilla almond butter, I should use that as my binder to hold my granola together. Then, put what snacks I would like to have mid-day into my mix to end those salty-sweet cravings.

I’m not going to lie – it was a process to get it right. I experimented with different dried fruits, nuts and chocolate combinations until I reached my granola heaven. I also had a guinea pig, my husband, to experiment on. Thank God he was a good sport.

So now I have my salty-sweet solution which keeps me satisfied, energized and alert until dinner. I found myself bringing it everywhere. I would have it sometimes for an in between meal snack. That’s the beauty of it. It’s portable and you only need a cup to satisfy cravings. Well, you could get hooked and find yourself eating more – so be careful. I even sometimes have it as a late night snack , he-he-he.

So try the next time you find yourself eating something you know you’ll regret later, try making granola instead. Your body will thank you later, and maybe your husband.

Jeanne Kysela
Mad Experimental Foodie Scientist

Jeanne’s Vanilla Almond Butter Granola

2 cups – Rolled Oats
2 cups – Rice Crispy Cereal (not sugar coated)
2 TBSP – Flax seeds
½ cup – Currants or your favorite dried fruit
½ cup – Sunflower Seeds
½ cup – Sweetened Shredded Coconut
½ cup – Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
½ tsp – Kosher Salt
¼ cup – Light Agave
1 cup – Unsalted Peanuts
10oz. – Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter @Justins (

1. You will need 2 very large bowls to accommodate all the ingredients
2. Cooking spray
3. One sheet of wax paper
4. A large plastic container to store mixed granola

1. Gather all of your ingredients.
2. Spray your bowls and storage container lightly with cooking spray.
3. Add and mix all ingredients, except the Almond Butter, in one of the large bowls.
4. Now split the mix between the two bowls and add 5oz of Almond Butter to each bowl and mix thoroughly.
5. Once both bowls have been mixed, you can combine the two bowls into one large batch in your storage container. As you add each bowl to your container, press it down using the wax paper.
6. Leave the granola to rest for at least an hour in the fridge before eating. The granola will stay up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 1 week not refrigerated.


A savory Feast

The following recipe for Italian Meat Balls in sauce (or gravy as you prefer), was requested for Keeping the Feast after tucking into them at the pasta dinner fund raiser May 3 for the Habitat for Humanity house going up with major help from St. Rose Parish, Freehold and Colts Neck Reformed Church.

The savory recipe was passed on to me by way of Freehold resident Patricia Yoczis. She was kind enough to ask its creator, James Brown, of the Knights of Columbus, for a copy to share with readers. The Knights have been giving an energetic boost to the house raising since the project began and the pasta fund raiser was but one of the efforts they contributed to.

I liked the meat balls so much that Pat sent me home with a container full which made for good dinners for a couple of days. I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.

Italian Meat Balls recipe from James Brown

Recipe makes about 18 to 20 meat balls


1 large onion diced
2 cloves fresh garlic crushed and chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water

Directions: Mix  all ingredients together in a large bowl and shape into medium size meat balls. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, spread light virgin olive oil on a cookie sheet and put the meatballs on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes.  Then combine the meat balls with the marinara sauce of your choosing, then cook over medium heat on the stove until the meat balls are thoroughly cooked.


A Tasty Pie

Holy Innocents Parish in Neptune hosted an International Food Night between Masses on April 18 that featured a wonderful potluck buffet from the very diverse community. It seemed so very appropriate to sample food from around the vast Catholic communion — from the USA to the Philippines, to to the Caribbean and Central and South America and Europe — on a weekend when the Gospel reading was the story of Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to  Emmaus and accepting their invitation to a fish dinner by the sea.

Among the dishes so well enjoyed by those attending, was a lovely zucchini pie by Mary Beth Sheehan who made it from her grandmother’s treasured recipe. It is easy to make and tasty to eat. I enjoyed sitting with Mary Beth, her daughter Hannah, a fifth grader at Holy Innocents School, Hannah’s schoolmate, Grace Dalton, and family friend Sonny Scott as we all shared not only the pie, but specialties from other lands and our own including chicken adobo, Haitan fried port with rice and beans, roast ham from the USA and German sausages and potato pancakes. What a night!

Mary Beth’s grandmother’s zucchini pie


1 yellow onion, diced

3 zucchini, chopped

6 eggs

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup Bisquick

1 block of mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes

Directions: mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, transfer to a large baking pan and bake at 350 degrees until done


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