Holy Saturday- Easter Basket Blessing, a church tradition

The Holy Saturday Easter Basket Blessing is a traditionally Polish occurrence,and our Roman Catholic church is performing this at 12:oo Noon today at mass. 

The alter of St. Augustine of Canterbury church with the Easter "food " baskets ready for the blessing.

The alter of St. Augustine of Canterbury church with the Easter “food ” baskets ready for the blessing.

I’ve checked to see what is included in a traditional basket for blessing.  We will be driving to Mendoker’s bakery in Jamestown this morning, for small Easter cakes to put in the basket. We have everything else. 

Slice of ham, ( symbolizes the Resurrection, Christ’s victory over death), Bread loaf or Rye bread slices,  ( symbolizes the Bread of Life) salt, ( Prosperity & Justice)  pepper, (bitter herb of Passover), horseradish , (The Passion of Christ) cheese , candle, basket ribbons, and a linen cover. ( My linen closet has a pretty selection of Easter theme colors. ) 

I’l take a picture of our basket that we’re making up and post at a later date!!

Here are some of the Easter baskets.  Ours is the white basket with the pink and white plaid linen.

Holy Saturday Easter "Food" baskets to be Blessed by our priest.

Holy Saturday
Easter “Food” baskets to be Blessed by our priest.

The alter of St. Augustine of Canterbury church with the Easter "food " baskets ready for the blessing.

The alter of St. Augustine of Canterbury church with the Easter “food ” baskets ready for the blessing.

Here is information from another website called Polish Easter customs and Polish music, religious: 

traditional Polish Easter basket for the 
Easter Blessing (Święcenie pokarmów)
  The tradition of preparing a special Easter basket to be blessed by a local priest has been practiced by Poles throughout the ages. It is reported that as many as 95% of all Polish families continue the custom today. The custom is also maintained throughout Polonia and has even been embraced by those not of Polish descent.
 
  It should be noted that the Easter basket is first lined with a linen or a lace napkin which extends beyond the ‘basket’s rim and covers the food placed inside as the basket is carried to and from church. The food is later uncovered for the blessing. Here is a list of items that are traditionally included in the Polish Easter basket and are an integral part of the Polish Easter blessing:
 
  • Eggs, colored or plain (jaja, pisanki): Hard-boiled eggs symbolize new life, a basic theme of the Easter celebration.
  • Bread (chleb): The “staff of life”. In some cases, special loaves marked on top with a cross are baked for the occasion. The importance of bread as a symbol of life cannot be stressed enough.
  • Meat and sausage (mięso, wędliny): kielbasa, a slice of ham or roast meat are usually included. Meat symbolizes the resurrection, Christ’s victory over death.
  • Horseradish (chrzan): Horseradish represents one of the bitter herbs which foretold the Crucifixion. It is also an acknowledgement that in life one must accept the bitter with the sweet.
  • Vinegar (ocet): A small container of vinegar stands for the bitter wine that Jesus was given while hanging on the cross.
  • Salt (sól): Salt is an important food preservative that has always been essential for survival through Poland’s long winters. Like bread, its importance cannot be overstated.
  • Pepper (pieprz): Like horseradish, it is one of the bitter herbs of Passover.
  • Easter cakes (babka, mazurek, placek, chalka, sernic): The forty-day period of self-denial is over, and it is once again time to enjoy life’s sweetness!
  • Wine (wino): A small quantity of wine is sometimes included. Wine represents Christ’s blood shed on the cross.
  • Easter Lamb (baranek wielkanocny): Usually made of butter (but is can be made of almost anything) is added last where it prominently guards over the other precious items in the basket. The lamb, representing the sacrificial Pascal lamb, usually wields a red banner with a gold cross proclaiming victory of life over death.
  • Box twigs (bukszpan): This is an evergreens shrub with tiny green leaves used for decorative purposes. Sprigs of pussy willows are also very popular.

Well, I can cross this off of “my bucket list”.  Next year , if I have the day off, I’d like to do this again.  Growing up, My mother would speak about it, saying, she did not have time to cook a whole meal and bring it down to the church.  She had a misconception of what the basket consisted of.  Thanks to the world wide web, and  a conversation with a staff member, I learned this year that it was not a entire meal, but a sampling of foods each representing something about Jesus Christ’ Passion.  She said that the food that they bring are the Kielbasa, loaf of bread, the horseradish, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, butter, and these things they eat for lunch that same afternoon.

I shared with my mother that Pat rick and I made up a basket for the blessing, and she seemed not interested.  She said the Polish church did that.  That’s what makes this world go round.   We are all individuals  that can make up their own mind what new experiences to try.

Here's our Easter "Food" basket that was blessed.

Here’s our Easter “Food” basket that was blessed.

Today is Friday and meatless day

Who wants to swing on the tire swing?

Who wants to swing on the tire swing?

For those of you who are Christian, this is a time of Lent! One of these things means the process of fasting,abstaining from meat on Fridays of Lent.

Fast and fabulous cannelloni bean salad

Into a medium sized bowl:

1 can cannelloni  beans. (high in fiber,good for you) rinsed and drained

Fresh cut-up vegetables of choice: or what you have on hand in yor vegetable drawer of fridge.

Handful ofcherry tomatoes, cut in half

Cucumbers,sliced, then cut each slice into fours

Celery, 1 stalk, cleaned with vegetable peeler, and cut into small pieces

Bottled salad or marinade, ( I used balsamic olive oil marinade).

Mix all together.

Next, I opened up a can of tuna with vegetables, mixed with, mayo,

And added some chopped black olives.

Cold brown rice salad:

Saute one or two strips of a red bell pepper and 1 stalk of celery chopped in a small

Skillet with 1 tablespoon of canola oil (lower in cholesterol).

Boil in medium size sauce pot, a bag of brown rice, 1 cup. To directions on box.,boil for 10 minutes,in this case, (success boil in bag brown rice),serves 4.

Mix into the drained brown rice,the previously sautéed chopped red bell pepper and green celery, add the spices that you prefer.

Spices: lemon pepper seasoning,1/4 teaspoon, celery seeds,salad dressing, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar,

Two Root Coulis- Using Celery, the youth and beauty food

I’ll have to say that this book is my “bible ” of sorts when it comes to health. Whenever I have a few spare moments , I read a section or two and bookmark recipes to try; I even underline important nutrient information.

Two Root Coulis- With celery

1 celery root (about 1 lb ,peeled and chopped

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 carrots , peeled and chopped

2 cups vegetable broth

Place potatoes in medium saucepan, add cold water to cover.  Bring to boil, cook until tender ( 15 minutes).  Drain and mash using a food mill, electric mixer, or hand-held masher.

In a second saucepan, combine celery root and carrots.  Add cold water to cover.  Bring to boil and cook until tender (about 15 minutes).  Drain. Combine the two mixtures.  Puree’ ( with blender).  Serve vegetable or pasta. 

Variation : Substitute parsnips ( a close relative) for carrots. ver hot steamed veg

Note: A coulis is a thick puree.

From the Super zfoods book, by Frances Sheridan Goulart.

Marchman Corn bread using a Cast Iron SKillet

March 19, 2013

Winter just does not want to leave us yet. Yesterday parts of the Northeast New Jersey had snow accumulating from 1 to 3 inches, and the lower part had the freezing rain.  Well, we finished at work more than an hour and half later than usual and with freezing rain coming down on top of the snow I decided not to drive home and stayed overnight at a Hotel.  It was quite nice.  Relaxing and watching TV on a newer model with HD ( High Definition) was a plus.  

Plans for appointments in the morning had to be canceled for a family member.  Enjoyed a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon, yes , I Indulged ( as long as only every once in a while) fresh orange and juice. Finished with a cup of hot tea.

Once I checked out of my hotel room, I drove to Home Goods, my little luxury,  to walk around and see housewares displayed so cleverly in different bright  colors.  Who needs  a cow shaped hand soap dispenser?  I do. I like to take photographs of the local dairy farm, it is fitting to place this in the kitchen along with a timer of same theme.  Polka Dots on linens , I thought would be a fresh change for the warmer months with  latest” in- style “color for spring being  green,  pillow cases with   green polka dots fit into my decor.  I always like to stroll down the aisle and check out the utensils, slotted spoons, spatulas being my favorite skillet tool.

Marchman Cornbread

Serves 6

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP sugar

1 cup milk

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons oil (no cholesterol brand)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Find your mother’s or perhaps your grandmother’s cast iron 10 inch skillet and pour 1 TBSP oil into it. 

Pop it into the preheating oven so it will be sizzling hot when the batter is ready(wait until it is). 

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.   Add oil and mix well. 

Beat eggs and milk together and add to mixture in large bowl.   It may seem runny but don’t worry.  POur batter into the hot skillet and set your timer for 15 minutes, or until the top is a lovely light brown.  Cut in generous wedges, douse with butter. Yum. 

Recipe by Josephine Marchman Nash ,

” This Little Higgy Stayed home”  cookbook .

Sunny Simple Sunday

This is St. Patrick’s day weekend.  For Sunny Simply Sunday theme blog, I’d like to share some photos that I took with a theme of green in color.  Sounds easy enough. There’s a variety to be had besides the obvious green grass, and green shamrocks (for St. Patrick’s day)!

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We were visiting Philadelphia last March, and strolled into a shop that had these miniature pottery “shadow boxes”.  This place was an Ecuadorian shop, artifacts from Ecuador.  I was fascinated by this tiny kitchen scene with miniature bowls, and a tiny green table and little green shelves to match.

Magic Gardens- Pat waves along the mosaic stairway.Grace By the Tiled Arches in the Magic Gardens, 1022-1026 South Street.

On this day, we first visited the ” Magic Gardens” on South Street. The property belongs to a pottery/sculpture artist who transformed his piece of property and townhouse into a work of art, using many pieces of broken pottery and  glueing in whole items such as pretty patterned plates, and teacups, words added into  the tile such as ” A brief history of the future” and I remember walking around inside this piece of fiction,”

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In keeping with my green color theme , here’s another picture from the “magic Gardens” , the word Change in big letters and pieces of mirror are glued to this area of wall.  I had fun with this.  Can you see an image of a woman?

Magic Gardens- Tile word, " Changing, and a mirror image.

Aren’t these pretty.  The entire building, is mosaic tile.  Can you see old bicycle tires immersed into the pottery walls on the left.  The row of blue bottles is very pretty interspersed with upside down green bottles.

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There are many more photographic images that I collected of this wonderful place, a feast for the eye.  So much to see. I’ll save for another day.

Happy Simple Sunday everyone. Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Recipe Corn Casserole

The best Corn Casserole

Serves 6

1 can ( 16 oz ) yellow cream style corn

1 cup biscuit mix

1 egg, beaten

2 Tablespoons salad oil

1/2 cup milk

1  can (4 or 5 oz) green chili peppers, drained and cut

6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese ,sliced

Directions:

Combine first 5 ingredients, mixing well.  Spread half of the mixture in greases 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan.

Cover with green chili peppers and sliced cheese.   Spread remaining batter over all.   Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes in 400 degree oven or until browned.

By Harriet Lang Worsham of the cookbook ” This Little Higgy Stayed Home” .

Happy Sunday everyone!  I’m counting the days until the official start of spring. One thing is certain,  my ” sock-liner” socks have just been put away because I don’t expect to see any cold temperatures into the 20 degrees range from now on.   Bring on Spring!!! Easter will be here in just four weeks.

Saturday Evening Supper menu:

Turkey and Cheese  Pie

Frosted Cauliflower

Honey Biscuits ( No recipe)

Turkey “n” cheese Pie

This is a ” Made over ” entrée!  Original recipe was beef “n” cheese pie.

To lighten the recipe , I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.  For those on low-sodium dietary restrictions, use garlic powder instead of garlic salt.  As We do not care for onions, we omitted the onions.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds ground beef ( I substituted ground turkey)

1/3 cup chopped onions or 3 to 4 tsp instant minced onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 8 ounce can cut green beans ,drained

1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes

 1/4 tsp garlic salt 

1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls ( substitute what you have on hand, we had honey biscuits, which were sliced in half and placed on the bottom of the glass pie dish).

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

paprika

1 8 ounce can ( 1 cup) tomato sauce with mushrooms ( I used plain tomato sauce, you could add a small can 4 oz. size  of cut mushrooms , stems and pieces. 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.   In large fry pan , brown your meat, onion, and green pepper; drain fat.  Stir in tomato sauce, green beans garlic salt and salt.  

Simmer while preparing crust. Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles in ungreased 9 -inch pie pan. ; press over bottom and up sides to form  the crust.  Sprinkle with paprika, parsley and remaining cheese. 

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. 

Refrigerate left-overs.  Makes 5-6 servings.

Frosted Cauliflower:

1 large head of cauliflower ( or frozen cauliflower)

boiling salted water

salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/4 cup shredded  ” low-fat” sharp cheese

Precook cauliflower for 12- 15 minutes in boiling salted water

Or Steam in the top of a Steamer  pot 

Drain and place in an ungreased shallow baking pan.  Sprinkle with salt. 

Combine mayonnaise and mustard.  Spread over cauliflower.

Top with cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, ir until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 4. 

Tip:  Cauliflower may be reheated by wrapping in aluminum foil and baking at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 

References:

Recipes adapted from this cookbook that I purchased at a library/ town sale.

“Home Cookin for the King of the Road” 1976  ( from issues of Road King Magazine – which is the first time I’ve heard of. ; )

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