Posted December 31st, 2007 | Recipes
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz collards, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 drops hot pepper sauce
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the black-eyed peas and water, and let them soak overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, bring the beans and the liquid to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 50 minutes.
  4. Transfer the beans and liquid to a 3-quart nonstick baking dish.
  5. In saucepan, add the oil, and warm over medium heat. Add the onions, green peppers, and mushrooms, and saute for about 5 minutes
  6. Add the garlic and collards.
  7. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the collards are just wilted, stirring occasionally,.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. To the black-eyed peas and liquid, add the collard mixture, tomato sauce, ketchup, molasses, honey, mustard, parsley, and hot pepper sauce.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.

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Posted December 30th, 2007 | Uncategorized

It’s finally here!

The dates and cost for our Italy Pilgrimage from Sicily to Rome with stops in Palermo, Agrigento, Siracusa, Mt. Etna, Taormina, The Amalfi Coast – Messina, Sorrento, Pompeii, and a General Audience with the Holy Father in Rome!

I’m calling this a “Feeding Your Faith Tour” operated by the highly professional NAWAS International Travel, Inc., with me as your Host and Guide!

Many people in my past pilgrimages have left wanting to return to Italy or to some other spiritual destination with me and through NAWAS. Others have left saying that this trip “changed their lives!”

I guarantee you the beauty of this country, from the landscape, the practice of their Faith, and THE FOOD will satisfy some of your greatest hungers!

The cost of this trip is $3,750.00 per person, which includes round-trip airfare, accommodations in first class hotels, continental daily breakfasts, private motor-coach and tour escort, admission fees, porterage, hotel taxes and service charges, and $100,000 automatic flight insurance. Needless to say, in the midst of Italy’s busiest travel dates, this is a pretty darn good deal!

Here’s the “bad news” I am limiting the number of pilgrims to 35 people ONLY. In past trips, I usually accept up to 50 pilgrims, but this trip will be a bit more specialized, so I want to make sure each participant gets a full experience. Therefore I will reserve only 35 spaces.

Actually, I already have 8 people on the waiting list who have expressed serious interest in participating, so realistically, there’s only about 27 spots available. If you’re interested, send me an email ASAP at and let me know if you want to reserve a spot.

Very soon NAWAS tour company will make available colored brochures for you to review, complete and send back with the proper deposits. I will even send you another copy so that you can keep on to begin your scrap book!

I want to get this information out to you as soon as possible, so please pray about this pilgrimage and let me know ASAP!

Another little “caveat”: Since my pilgrimages are real experiences of our faith, we do have to “walk the talk” and therefore, I ask that if you are interested in coming, please be sure you are healthy enough to do the walking with me. It’s really the only way you will see Italy as the Italians see it.

In the meantime, I pray that you will all enjoy the New Year’s Eve Celebration. Don’t forget that January 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation, or a Holy Day of “Opportunity” as one priest friend describes it! It’s a great start to a New Year – Feasting on the Lord’s Goodness and the Communion of the Saints!

I look forward to hearing from you all about reserving your space with me on this Feeding Your Faith Pilgrimage!

(Note: you can read about Fr. Leo’s latest pilgrimage in our twelve post series in earlier blog posts-riz)

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Posted December 26th, 2007 | Past Emails

Click Here to read last week’s email blast, “The Grace Before Meals Family”

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Posted December 25th, 2007 | Uncategorized

On this most beautiful day, may you and your family experience the Joy of Christmas!

It’s a strange tradition, but for the past several years I somehow got roped into cooking for the whole family at my brother’s home in Arnold, Maryland.  It started off with one or two dishes for this Christmas Day Evening event, but it has now turned into even more – a buffet with 4-5 main entrees!  But, no complaints from me as cooking is just the perfect way for me to “relax!”  Strange, but true!

Tonight’s menu will include a cola based marinade for pork tenderloins, garlic and apple stuffed roasted chickens, a hearty beef stew in a red wine reduction, and shrimp in congnac cream.  Of course we will also have salad, garlic whipped mash potatoes, and a fusili pasta with vodka sauce. 

In our family, we just keep the Christmas celebration going with non-stop dinners and celebrations.  Afterall, Jesus deserves the biggest party of all!

I just celebrated a Christmas Dawn Mass for a local parish church and now am on my way to my brother’s home to start up those stove burners and to get cooking.  I recorded that homily and will post that to the site as soon as I am able.

Please know of my prayerful blessings to you and your family this Christmas Day and may the Feast Day fill our hungry souls with the Bread from Heaven placed in the manger.

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Posted December 21st, 2007 | Uncategorized

I’m finishing up another mission here in San Diego, at the parish of St. Jerome near the Southern Border. It has been a busy week of preaching, sacraments, and getting to know people and spreading the word about Grace Before Meals.  This parish in San Diego is a wonderful parish made up of many Filipinos and Spanish Speakers.  I was invited to preach the last days of a “Novena of Masses” prior to Christmas, called “Simbang Gabi.”  After each Mass, a group of parishioners provide a family meal.  I obviously LOVE the idea, and the food was rather tasty too! 

I return to Baltimore tomorrow – the Saturday before Christmas. Can you imagine just how busy and crazy the airport will be?  Please pray for the safety of all travelers, and most importantly that we keep our peace and our cool in this holy season of Joy! 

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Posted December 20th, 2007 | Recipes

Ingredients for Cake: Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box of vanilla pudding (3 ¾ ounces)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of dark rum

Instructions for Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, and line pan with pecans. In a large mixing bowl, combine other ingredients and use a blender on medium speed to incorporate the ingredients. Blend for about 2 minutes for a smooth consistency. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for about 1 hour. Cake will “crack” when it’s done, and also “spring back” when touched.

While cake is baking, make the rum cake glaze following these simple instructions.


  • 1 stick of butter
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of dark rum

Instructions for Rum Glaze:
In a large saucepan, combine butter, water and sugar. Cook over medium heat, and bring to boil, constantly stirring. Remove from heat, and slowly stir in the rum (ATTENTION: Be sure to remove from heat as the rum vapors are flammable). After rum glaze is well-mixed, pour over the cake after it has cooked about 5 minutes.

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