Thursday, March 30, 2006

bookshelf: Catholic Matters by Fr. Richard Neuhaus

This is going to be a quick bookshlef b/c I'm tired (looong week at work) and it's Emily's bedtime. But the masses (re: friend in Germany :)) have been clamoring for something new, so here it is.

Just finished Catholic Matters Fr. Neuhaus' (aka the Corner's unofficial chaplain) new book. It's basically a review of Catholicism post Vatican II and an evaluation of certain Church positions, politics, his conversion story from Lutheranism to Catholicism and then to the priesthood, some of the theological arguments between Catholicism and 'old line' Protestantism...things like that. It also includes his "Rome diary" from last year's conclave and other events during the Death of JP II and election of B XVI. So that's very interesting.

Fr. Neuhaus writes in a clear, engaging style as he covers all these various and sundry poitns, and each chapter could very well stand on its own as a short essay. very engaging and though-provoking, he looks at the Church today and sees promise, not just the endless defeatism so many others have expressed. As he calls JP II "John Paul The Great" throughout the book, you can guess why I like him. But it's a well-written, engaging, and intelligent work about what it means to be a "Catholic American." Be sure to get your hands on a copy--makes good 'end of Lent' reading.

I'm also working on St. Therese's Story of a Soul . I bought the "study copy", which includes all three manuscripts (the one she wrote to her sister, Pauline (Mother Agnes), which is more of a true autobiography; the second, to her sister Marie, also a Carmelite, focusing on her "Little Way", and the third to Mother Mary Gonzaga, which is more theological reflection). Very good, very emotional (lots of italics--reminds me a lot of the writings of Queen Victoria) and a fantastic window into the mind of this very popular saint. As she was my Confirmation saint, I thought it was very odd that I hadn't read more about her other than the two books I had. So I've started (almost finished) this one, and then I'm reading Fr. Bro's St. Therese , from my favorite, Ignatius Press, which looks really interesting. Anne Catherine Emmerich's book is also almost completed.

All right, that's it for now. More coming when I've caught up on my sleep...promise!

Monday, March 27, 2006

torn over immigration

I gotta tell you, I'm torn on the illegal immigration argument that's going on in the States. One part of me says, "hey, my relatives got here the legal way, and our family was split up for awhile, but we got through it and nobody broke any laws" (except maybe the mafia relations, but that's another story). But then I see websites like "Justice for Immigrants", which is, apparently, the "official" bishops' website for immigration policy. And I read it and I think, OK, so I know we're supposed to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger and all that, but why have laws otherwise? Is it a sin to tell people they've got to come here legally? That they can just wander across the border and expect us to throw them a parade?

I don't know. Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

You can never have too many bears....

I probably shouldn't be surprised that the Sierra Club is nutty (since i am a Republican) but as Catholic, I find some of their statements just morally horrible. Besides their support of the Cairo Conference's intiatives in the 1990s, which John Paul the Great and the Church vehemently opposed, these statements from their website make my blood run cold:

Under Population :

"Families should not have more than 2 natural children and adoption should be encouraged";

"...that state and federal laws should be changed to encourage small families and to discourage large families";

"that laws, policies and attitudes that foster population growth or big families, or that restrict abortion and contraception, or that attempt to contrict the roles of men and women, should be abandoned."

HOWEVER, later in the website...

"our work is not about controlling women's lives."

Huh? Well according to the Gospel of the Sierra Club, my family is really screwed. There are three of us.. my dad has two mother is one of eight, and has a brother with seven kids (that must really get the Sierra Club going) and two of her sisters have three children (the others are OK, because they only have two, you know). My married cousins are a mixed bag; one has apparently reached her child limit, since she's got a stepdaughter and a toddler, and the other has three kids, so that's just unacceptable So who are we supposed to get rid of here? Because kids are horrible! (BTW, do these statements remind anyone else of the witches in the Dahl book The Witches ?)

This is, quite simply, the kind of stuff you just can't make up.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Catholic Charities in Boston

I'm sure we've all heard about the debacle in Boston where Catholic Charities has decided to stop its adoption service since the state requires them to consider placing children with "same-sex couples" as well, which as we know is against Church teaching, since, um, we don't believe there are "same-sex couples" and if they are, then they're not living in a way the Church feels children should be raised.

No one forces anyone to go to Catholic Charities for adoption. If you are a same-sex couple and you want to adopt, then just don't go there. this is really easy. But because of the crazy world we live in, Catholic Charities has decided to pull out of the whole thing b/c they don't want to get slapped with a lawsuit, which the Church in Boston, as we know, does not need . So the institution that placede some of the hardest-to-place kids in the Boston area isn't around to do that anymore. How close to the line of Church and State can we come without the State dictating to the Church what it can and cannot do, even when it goes against the Church's convictions? It's like telling Catholic hospitals they must give out birth control, even when the Church is strongly against the practice.

Not a good precedent, kids. Not a good precedent.

real internet:)

OK so I have real internet now and don't have to use Panera's anymore, which was good for surfing but not so much for posting. :) So let's get a few things going on....

From yesterday's Dayton Daily News , a letter to the editor about something we've covered a million times, but should probably do again because apparently no everyone got the message.

This letter writer thinks that if we let women and married men into the priesthood, we would not have any more problems with sexual abuse in the church and everything would just fan-tastic.

(Banging my head against the wall)

OK, let's review: first of all, someone show me a denomination that hasn't had a minister abuse a child. You can't do it. Child abuse, as abhorrent as it is, happens across all religious lines, all marital lines, all gender lines. It can happen anywhere and the perpetrator can be anyone. you're telling me that women and married men have never abused a child? Not to be really rude, but have you been living under a rock? You can't tell me that if we added married men and women the problem would magically vanish.

As for married men--that is a choice made by the Western Church. Men in the Eastern churches are allowed to get married. If, however, the U.S. decided to lift the ban on celibacy, that doesn't mean that all priests would get married. They would have to choose if they wanted to get married while in seminary, and if they chose to get married, they would not be eligible for positions in the hierarchy (meaning that those who were bishops, cardinals, and, bien sur , the Pope, would remain celibate). Read Catholicism for Dummies for more on this--a great book. But with priests still been killed and tortured and found "missing" in many parts of the world, celibate priests are a good thing to hold onto, since they don't have to worry about their wives or children been taken hostage with them, or worry about their families welfare if they are killed. It's dangerous to be a priest in many, many parts of the world today.

And women? Never gonna happen. Stop wishing for it. Jesus did not pick any female Apostles. He could have but He didn't. If women wish to serve God in a consecrated way, become a nun. Besides which, the sacramental character of the church forbids women to be priests. The priest stands in persona Christie (a fancy way of saying 'in the place of Christ' or 'in the person of Christ') in the Mass. A woman can't do that. it's not a question of qualification or worthiness or whatever. It's just the way it is. And if you really wanted to be a priest, which requires obedience to the Church, then you're not being obedient right here, are you?

But enough on this...let's just hope that some people get this stuff...eventually...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

going least for a bit

I am beginning the process of moving (YAY!!) tomorrow, and I will not have internet for who knows how long once I'm in...hopefully we can get the software up and running ASAP. Back to dial-up....sigh. Oh well. It's something. And there's wi-fi at the Panera nearby, so we're all good. Be sure to peruse the site and read some new stuff, like my Passion review and the Dems' new game plan for the 2006 midterms...we're going to be Catholic now!!

Also be sure to read NR's the Corner ( for good stuff every day...always new and very, very amusing.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog intermittently until Saturday when I move the computer over there...we'll see.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Passion review

Hah! I found it! Here it is... note: this is totally unedited and unrevised...I didn't even read it before I posted it here, so it is my comments unvarnished from the first time I saw it.

February 26, 2004

OK, I am just going to write whatever comes to mind…but here are some of the impressions I have, fresh out of seeing this incredible work by Mr. Gibson and crew:

1) The violence is not, as you may have been led to believe, in surmountable and over-the-top. The violence is there, to be sure, but it doesn’t really hit you until you see it through the eyes of Mary, or John, or the apostles. The violence serves to show us how much He loved us. The scourging is not twenty minutes of constant pain…there are flashbacks to happier times, and the focus switches from Jesus to Mary, and back again. Whenever the pain seems to be too much, Gibson gives us a flashback to better times. There is even humor in the movie…though very little. (Jesus is building a table, and Mary says it’s too high. Jesus says that there’ll be tall chairs to go with it. To this, Mary says “it’ll never catch on.” The other “funny” part is when Barabas is released to the crowd, and you see that he’s a few marbles short of a bag. That’s kind of funny…but not really.)
2) The message is superb. It should be required viewing for the entire human race. It is just superb. Jesus’ love overflows every scene, and the message of love and forgiveness permeates the entire film. You cannot leave this film without being staggered by the sheer weight and enormity of God’s love for us, His children. It is overwhelming. You want to run to a church and thank God for sending His Son to us. You are overcome with gratitude.
3) It brings the entire Passion and Jesus’ message to life. You see everything in vivid detail—not gory detail, but vivid detail. You really understand the sacrifice of Jesus. I have never seen the Stations of the Cross as vividly as I did tonight. You feel like you are there, with Jesus and His Mother, watching everything unfold. It is a tremendous feeling.
4) You want to be a better person after watching this film. You want to pray, and live better, and be better, just to thank God for doing this for us. It is an amazing thing. I left the theater feeling lightheaded and like I was going to faint. The weight of God’s goodness and glory is overwhelming.
5) As for the finer points of cinema, it is a wonderfully done movie in its own right. The music is so powerful and fits perfectly, a mixture of orchestral strings and a full adult chorus, with strong voices that heighten the emotion to an unimaginable pitch. The acting is stupendous. Maia Morgenstern as Mary is masterful in every scene, but especially when she runs to Jesus as He falls under the weight of the cross and says, “I’m here.” She is the perfect Mother of God. James Caviezel, as Jesus, is nothing short of amazing. He is just beyond words. He is the perfect Jesus. While you’re watching it, you’re thinking, that’s Him. The actors who play Pilate, his wife, Claudia, Mary Magadelene, and the apostles are also so tuned-in to their roles that you hardly notice they are acting. The scene between John, Mary, Mary Magadalene, and Claudia during Jesus’ flogging is so well-balanced and so highly charged with energy that it will make you weep. Wonderful acting, just wonderful. The scenery is beautiful, the costumes are accurate, the characterizations and screenplay are beyond wonderful. All of this, as well as Gibson’s magnificent directing, make this a truly wonderful film that is well worth the viewing and moments of discomfort, just for the true beauty and luminous qualities of the film.
6) No one can come out of this movie hating anyone. The idea of anti-semitism is ridiculous. If anything, this movie makes you want to stand up and say, “I love every single person in this theater as my brother or sister in Christ, and I will pray for all of you every day for the rest of my life.” This movie makes you realize how much Christ loved us, that he was willing to undergo that horrible death that you just watched for us. To save us—all of us.
7) As a Catholic, I watched this movie somewhat differently. I noticed that each of the stations of the Cross was done in loving detail, bringing them gloriously to life. I saw saints and a Pope of the church brought to life, including Veronica and Simon of Cyrene. The movie, I think, presents Catholic Marian doctrine in clearly enunciated terms: this is what true holiness is. Mary always leads us to her Son, and the movie shows how she does, indeed, bring all believers to His feet. All of the apostles in the film call her “Mother”, as we all should do. She is the mother of all believers. The movie is also intensely biblical, even beginning with one of my favorite Bible quotes, from Isiah 53, the text that is read on Good Friday.
8) Watching the film makes you see the real humanity of Jesus and His mother. You see Jesus as a man who has gone through everything a human can go through: abandonment, pain, betrayal, anguish, total desolation, even close to despair in the garden. He is tempted by Satan, who is always present. He wants to get out, but He knows that God’s will is the greater goal. He is the perfect model for us. Mary is seen as a woman who has lost her husband, who watches her innocent son be beaten, tortured, reviled, and eventually killed, all for the sake of others. Her pain is tangible and so painful. She has endured everything a person can endure…they both have. The film brings out their humanity and their pain so beautifully. This is what makes you weep. Mary is a mother, first and last. Jesus is her son, and she watches Him die so that others may live. The scenes between Mary and Jesus, especially while Jesus is carrying the cross, and He says, ‘see, I make all things new,” is especially was here that I really cried, tears running down my face. You can’t help but cry. It is such a powerful moment.
9) The languages and subtitles add to the reality, and you actually learn something…I learned that the word “gubernatorial” (as in, the election of a governor) is actually derived from Latin, which I didn’t know before. Who says Latin is a dead language?

Overall, this is a tremendous film. The violence is not as bad as you imagine. It can’t be. Everyone has it so built up in their heads that it can’t possibly be as bad as you imagine. Run and see it. You will feel so overwhelmed with the love of God, and His mercy and justice, and you will love everyone you meet. The movie is intensely powerful. What a wonderful tool for conversion. This, my friends, is what Christianity is all about.

Go watch it. Seep in its message. I hope that it makes you a better person, and I hope, if you are not religious, that it makes you be so. It is a profound message it is sending…a message of forgiveness, love, and mercy. It is a film of hope…the movie ends with the Resurrection, Jesus sitting, alive, clean, free of blood, in the tomb, and then He rises and you see the nail mark that goes through his hand, and the film ends. It ends with hope and redemption. That alone is a thrilling moment. This is a film about love and mercy. May its message reach you, and I hope that you find its message as comforting and profound as I did.

(I went on to see it three more times in the theater, since most of my friends were wimps and wouldn't see it alone. :) It is much, much better if you can watch this movie in a nice, quiet, dark room as to totally absorb the atmosphere)

Lenten Books

For Lent, I'm deviating a bit from the usual, and I'm reading

-- The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerick. Fans of The Passion (of which I am a loud and enthusiastic one) will recognize this book as a major source for that film. Barnes and Noble published its own edition (that's the one I'm reading) so it's much easier to find now.

--still Letter and Spirit's coming...

--some more of B XVI, including his way of the Cross reflections from last Good Friday.

Also, you must watch The Passion preferrably several times. It is, simply, one of the best films ever and demands being watched, especially during Lent. I've waxed poetic about this before, and if I can find my original review I'll be sure to post it here. But it is fantastic. Watch it. Learn from it. Don't be afraid of the violence because it's really not that bad, and we all know that Crucifixion was not a garden party. James Caviezel is incredible. Go buy it so that you can always have it on hand whenever you're having a bad day and need to be reminded that Christ went through a heck of a lot for all of us.

Update: The Bishops speak!

And they speak clearly!

Readers of the below post will have read about 55 House Dems trying to assert their Catholicity while at the same time being pro-choice and holding on to their right to disagree on certain issues, namely abortion, with the church. But the Bishops have said, 'nuh-uh.'

Cardinals Keeler of Baltimore, McCarrick of D.C., and DiMarzio of Brooklyn have said that there is no wiggle room and that they are "duty-bound to work against 'the destruction of unborn human life.'" They added that they will work with them on other issues affecting the "poor and vulnerable" but that abortion is "gravely immoral" and they're not movin'.

Woohoo! Thumbs-up for the bishops. About time. :)

(material from the Washington Post 3/11 edition is used above)

"We're Catholics! Really!"

Once again, the Democratic Catholics ( cringe ) in Congress have decided that, since it's an Election Year (it's always an election year, anymore), it's the right to to re-establish their Catholic credentials. 55 House Democrats issued the "Statement of Principles", which, in part, talks about their pride in being "part of the living Catholic tradition--a tradition that promotes the common good." Hmmm. While this might have flown in the days of Cardinal Bernadin, who tried to elevate matters such as economics, war and poverty to the same moral level as euthanasia and abortion (which isn't done), it's a tougher job now. Not as hard as it should be, but harder.

The document talks about "work [ing] everyday to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being. We believe that government has a moral purpose." Of course they're not talking about saving babies fromt he abortionist's forceps, or stopping Oregon's assisted suicide law; they're talking about more touchy feely stuff, like "helping the poor and disadvantaged...and making sure that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country." OK, yes, that's part of Catholicism, nay, all Christianity, too. But it's not the big fish.

On the big fish? They write that they do not "celebrate the practice of abortion". Instead, they envisions a world where "every child belongs to a loving family." Well that's great. We'd all like that. So let's just kill them before they're born if a "loving family" isn't going to happen? And how do you know that, anyway? So while saying that they dont' "celebrate" the practice, they "acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas." So they're going to talk to American Catholics about them being good Catholics while acknowledging that they're not good Catholics? In speaking about the "primacy of the conscience", it makes me think that someone along the line failed to instruct them on how conscience is formed. The Church doesn't hand out "suggestions". It tells you what is right and what is wrong. failure to follow the Church on what constituents "grave sin" doesn't make you a cool forward thinker. It makes you wrong. Abortion is a "grave sin". Economic injustice is not. While it is not condoned, at all, economic injustice, such as a minimum wage that you may feel is too low, is not the same as killing a baby. It's not the same as condoning euthanasia. Unless you're willing to adopt the essential tenets of Catholicism, you're not Catholic. You're just someone who shares a lot of Catholic beliefs but not the big ones. It would be like being Jewish and saying, "well I keep kosher and I go synangogue, but you know I think the 'Jesus is the Messiah' idea might have some merit."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

For Fun: The Pope's iPod

Even B XVI has an iPod now....

The gift – a 2GB model – was given to recognise the pontiff's first visit to the radio station's headquarters. It was the station's 75th anniversary.

"We don't have a huge gift to give to the Pope, but we do have small signs of our work to give him", Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's general director, told the Catholic News Service.

On receiving the iPod, the Pope reportedly remarked: "Computer technology is the future."

As well as a number of Vatican Radio shows, the iPod contains music by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. if I download that playlist, does that get me some graces? I love Beethoven but Stranvinsky seems a bit post-modern for this pope...maybe I'm reading too much into it.

So you disagree with the boss, eh? Maybe we should find another profession....

The Buffalo News has this interesting piece....whatever happened to priestly obedience?

In a rare public dissent, 19 Catholic priests have denounced the Vatican's opposition to gay marriage and allowing homosexuals into the priesthood.
The clerics signed an open letter that ran last Sunday in Montreal's La Presse newspaper.

The priests said the church was invoking "natural law" to make its case against homosexuality, arguing that slavery was also once considered "natural."

"What we are saying is that human nature is constantly evolving," Claude Lemieux, one of the signatories, told the Associated Press by phone Tuesday. "We believe this position is closer to that which is shared by our parishioners."

The letter questions whether the church has "the last word on the mysteries of political, social, family and sexual life."

"In these matters," the letter says, "the official teaching of the church has shown itself more than once to be wrong."

The letter was in response to the position against gay marriage by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Recent guidelines of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education also restated opposition to the ordination of priests with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies." But the Vatican said there would be no crackdown on gays who are already ordained.

Canada last year legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, a move many clerics of all religions opposed.

There are roughly 13 million Catholics in Canada, about 43 percent of the population, and nearly half live in the French-speaking province of Quebec. In 2004, Quebec legalized gay marriage.

I mean, if you can't get the clergy to oppose something that is clearly against everything they claim to profess and believe....who can you look to?

So B XVI might let women do more, eh? Believe it when I see it...

From the 3/3 USA Today ...liberal daydreaming? I'm wont to think so....

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday he will consider increasing women's "institutional" role in the church but reiterated that they would remain barred from the priesthood, Italian news agencies reported.
The pontiff made the comments in response to a question by a clergyman during an audience with Rome's parish priests, the Apcom and ANSA agencies said.

Benedict said he would begin reflecting on the possibility of giving "institutional" recognition to women after noting that women's "charisma" had always played an important role in the church, the agencies said.

He mentioned Mother Teresa and Saint Catherine of Siena, among others, and did not say what type of institutional roles he had in mind.

Mother Teresa started her international order in the Indian city of Calcutta in 1950 and became a global icon of humanitarian causes before her death in 1997. Saint Catherine, who lived in the 14th century, cared for the sick and was consulted by the Vatican about the affairs of the Church.

Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, unequivocally backed a male-only priesthood, arguing that Jesus chose men as his apostles.

In one of his few concessions, the late pontiff formally permitted women to serve at the altar, approving a practice that was already widespread in the United States and western Europe.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Popcorn time: Walk the Line

Just saw the movie Walk the Line on DVD, and I've got to tell you, probably the second best movie I've seen this year ( Cinderella Man and Narnia: LWW are tied for first). But it's a really close second. Simply a great film, with great acting and the music is awesome. Joaquin Phoenix (as Johnny Cash) and Reese Witherspoon ( as June Carter) perfectly fit their roles and make them three-dimensional characters that you spend the whole movie rooting for as they exchange snappy dialogue, great songs, and memorable screen moments. A few of my favorites: June in the water with Johnny after he tries unsuccessfully to free a tractor; Johnny's proposal to June on the tour bus; and June's pivotal role in helping Johnny overcome his addiction to pills. While both of them sing and act admirable, I've got to say that I enjoyed Witherspoon's performance on a deeper level--she had so many aspects of personality to probe and a variety of different facets of her acting personality to use, from June's comedy routines in the beginning of the film to the determination and affection she shows John as she sticks by him through his recovery.

I wasn't a Cash fan before this film, so I didn't know any of the music, but I loved the songs they chose for the film, and the singing was great. I was also impressed that Phoenix and Witherspoon both learned their characters' instruments (the guitar and autoharp, respectively) well enough to play them in the film. The script is poignant, witty, funny, and always moving, and there is a strong sense of direction and story guiding this film, which makes the story flow well without feeling rushed or chopped up or directionless, like so many biopics (see last year's The Aviator for a prime example of directionless). It is an absolute crock that this film wasn't nominated for best picture, because it is truly the best (or second best) American film made this year. Lat time I checked, I thought that was important criteria for best picture nominees. But I guess this year the Academy overlooked all the films that made audiences feel good about themselves and society and chose the films that do the opposite. Oh well. I'm pretty confident Witherspoon will win for her role in Walk the Line and it will be very well-deserved.

the Snickerdoodle cake recipe

OK, again, this is not a specifically Catholic post, but what the heck. I've made this cake for Christmas parties and birthday parties and people are always asking for the recipe so I though I'd post it here for any and all to print and try at their leisure. I can't take credit for's from Anne Byrn's book The Cake Doctor , which you can find at any bookstore and is definitely worth getting. Enjoy the recipe!

One note: this is an easy cake to make but you need at least an hour and twenty minutes because the cake has to cool for 40, and then the icing has to set somewhere cold for 20. It only cooks for about 25 minutes. So set aside ample time ( a lesson I still have to learn when making this!). And you've got to make the frosting--it's easy and adds so much to the cake's flavor.


--solid vegetable shortening (crisco) for pan (you can also use an unflavored non-stick spray, but the flour will be harder to set)
--Flour for dusting the pans
--1 package (18.5) plain white cake mix (NO PUDDING ADDED MIXES--your cake will be way too wet)
--1 c. whole milk
--8. tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
--3 large eggs
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
--2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
--Cinnamon buttercream frosting (recipe follows)

1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Generously grease 2 9" round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening and dust with flour. Shake out excess flour and put pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place the pans in the over side by side.

3. Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 27-29 minutes. Remove from pans and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Then run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. (You can also use a plate for this if you only have one cooling rack). Allow them to cool completely, 30 minutes.

4. Make the buttercream frosting. (I've found the frosting spreads much better if you make it 5-10 minutes before the cakes are done cooling so it doesn't have time to harder)

5. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, ontop of the first and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

6. Place the cake, uncovered, in the fridge (or cold garage!) until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Cover with waxed paper and store in fridge for up to 1 week. Can be frozen for up to 6 months, but thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.


Makes 3 1/2 cups, enough for a 2 or 3 layer cake. 5 mins. . prep

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 3/4 confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk (you can add another tablespoon if the frosting is too thick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy (30 seconds). Stop the machine and add confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend on low speed until the sugar is incorporated (about 1 minute). Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy (1 minute). Blend in up to one tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

2. Use to frost the top and sides of a cake of your choice.

for plain buttercream frosting, omit the cinnamon and add another teaspoon vanilla

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lent what are we all giving up?

Went to Ash Wednesday Mass yesterday, partially because I always do, and partially because I had to sing. :) I managed to get 95% through my first day of fasting (I didn't have to before my surgery b/c I had to sort of eat all the time in order to keep on weight) but I fudged it after Mass and had some chocolate. :) hey, what do you want? It was my first time really doing it. And I didn't have any meat or eat beetween meals.

The Mas was nice--my favorite part was the homily, when our pastor said, "Today is not a holiday. Sunday was a holiday. Yet there are more people here tonight then there will be on Sunday all month." Ahh, truth from the pulpit. :)

I haven't really decided what to give up for Lent yet...I'm moving so it's not like I can totally give up buying things, which is sort of what I was thinking about. But I thinking I'm going to try to start wokring on being more "fiscally responsible"--I still haven't quite figured out what exactly that means but I'm working on it. :) I've got 40 days. I've also started more bible reading, so that should count for something.

Bleg: are all Fridays of Lent fast and abstinence, or just no meat? I can't find it in my books, which is shocking. Any clarification would be awesome.