Catholic Culinary Confession: 

 One World Cafe

As we continue our journey in the Lenten Season, I know that we make a big fuss about “fasting” on Fridays before the Easter Celebration.  To help us with eating meatless meals, I offer you a unique faithful foodie adventure about One World Café in Baltimore that I wrote in collaboration with the Catholic Review Newspaper’s Culinary Confession. If you bring a copy of the article with you, this vegetarian restaurant will even give you a discount on your final bill!  So go support this deliciously healthy and Lenten-friendly restaurant, owned and operated by two sisters, and a local parishioner!

The sisters who own and operate One World Café. Executive Chef Susan Novak is a parishioner of St. Thomas Aquinas in Hampden.


In the Book of Daniel, because they didn’t want to break their Jewish dietary restrictions, the prophet Daniel asked the prison guards to give the Jewish servants only vegetables instead of the food from the king’s table. This allowed them to keep within Jewish tradition, but I think they must have also known something parents have always encouraged: eating vegetables is good for you! And sure enough, at the end of their trial period, these “faithful foodies” were much healthier – truly a sign of Godly living.

Now I know that when it comes to going to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, it can worry some meat lovers. Will I be satisfied? Do they just serve salads and veggies? Admittedly, I also find it difficult to enjoy a “forced upon” diet, especially if it comes with a moralizing, or what some might call “tree-hugging” or “animal-protecting” attitude. I don’t need to feel guilty just because I like steak.


But rest assured, while One World Café certainly caters to veggie lovers, I was very satisfied by the food and comfortable with the casual and friendly service. I was also edified to hear the sisters who own One World were subscribers to the Catholic Review.

The One World atmosphere is eclectic. The front room is a true college-hipster hangout. Bright painted walls give a modern vibe for an area that serves as a bar for alcoholic beverages, coffee, and pastries. Wi-Fi invites the earphone-wearing laptop crowd for homework or hanging out. The main dining room, by contrast, is a bit bare, but clean. Diners were equally eclectic, encompassing seniors, college students, and families with young children. However, street parking and stairs down to the dining room may be inconvenient for some patrons.

The staff was primarily young and bohemian-fashioned with tattoos and piercings, especially the, I have to admit, ominous-looking bartender, who turned out to be very kind and well-mannered. Our waitress was informative and patient with my many food preparation questions.  I sensed no meat-lovers guilt trip. The staff seemed content simply to serve good-tasting food. And, to their credit, the food was quite good.

With a combination of vegetarian and vegan foods (no animal products or dairy), I sampled familiar flavors, including a Philly cheese steak (less), packed with caramelized vegetables and a well-marinated seitan (“wheat meat”) that produced the texture of tender beef. The baked non-chicken parmesan used densely breaded tofu that looked and tasted like layered lasagna, served with a tasty but, in my opinion, unnecessary side of linguine marinara. A Greek-inspired veggie gyro, a tasty variety of vegetables wrapped in pita, was served with a traditional tzatziki sauce. The creamy mushroom soup was hearty and comforting. They even offered vegan desserts that still felt rich and decadent.

The food portions were generous, especially considering the moderate pricing. These dishes, personally created by chef-owner Novak, left me feeling satisfied.  For me, the most creative dish was the Maryland-inspired crab-less cake, made with shredded zucchini. Combining it with traditional binders gave the cake the texture of back fin crabmeat.

My experience of One World Café gave me a new perspective and respect for plant-based menus. Hunger satisfaction and a non-preachy approach to healthy eating makes One World Café a great restaurant for more than vegetarians and Friday meals during Lent.

Culinary Confessions - One World Cafe
Culinary Confessions – One World Cafe
  • Do you have a favorite meatless recipe?

  • How is your Lenten Practice going?

Your comments help encourage us and our movement. Please post your comments here!

Let us pray:  


Father as we continue this Lenten tradition of abstaining from meat on Friday, help us to hunger for the Body and Blood of Christ.  May this discipline remind us of what we can do without, and how we cannot do without You.  Sustain our Lenten observance and help us to become more the people You want us to be.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.




MARCH 10-12



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Posted February 20th, 2013 | Events, From the Feedbag

I’m pleased to announce Julie Miller of Indianapolis, IN as the winner of our gift bag filled with a few goodies, including a bottle of wine paired with a Spicing Up Married Life recipe.

Now that Valentine’s Day has passed TV commercials and advertisements will no doubt be promoting the next big holiday – Easter!  As usual, the world will want to skip Lent and show only the “fluffy” aspects about Easter devoid of the Christian message of the Resurrection and the conquering of sin and death.

The High Altar. St. Stephen Church, New Orleans, LA.

For Catholics, Christians, and everyone who believes in God, we can relish our liturgical seasons and realize that when God is present, we can celebrate love for each other every day – not just February 14th!  And even though Easter is still a long ways away, with God we can still celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord each Sunday, and indeed at every Mass.

Christ conquers the temptation of Satan in the desert.


But, as timing had it, I didn’t really have a good chance to delve into the cultural issues surrounding Valentine’s Day or provide a catechism about the happy feast day. I talked a lot about Valentine’s Day on my weekly Radio Show, “Entertaining Truth” on SiriusXM 129, the Catholic Channel. But instead of giving some catechism about that happy feast day, our Grace Before Meals movement offered a drawing for a “Valentine Day gift.”



While our team is very excited about this opportunity to share with our subscribers, I can’t believe I almost missed an opportunity to catechize about Saint Valentine. Thank God one of our subscribers, Fr. Coyle, a missionary priest in the Philippines, sent me an e-mail to offer the perfect reminder, fraternal correction, and catechism notes.  And even though we’re sending this information a week late, remember, God’s love is not limited to one day of the year.

Dear Father Leo,

Greetings again from Bacolod City.

Central to your wonderful ministry as a priest is the strengthening of marriage and the family. But you are missing a golden opportunity to make that more effective by promoting ‘Valentine’s Day’ instead of ‘SAINT Valentine’s Day’.

The Irish Carmelite Friars (OCarm), who were given relics of St. Valentine by Pope Gregory XVI, have a shrine in his honor at their church in Dublin. They have a webpage devoted to him. The page includes a link to  the Liturgy for the Feast of St. Valentine.

I have been trying to promote awareness of St. Valentine for some years now on my blog, finding the material of the Carmelites very helpful, e.g., here and here. I’ve also tried to promote him on Misyon, the online magazine of the Columbans in the Philippines of which I’m editor.

A diocesan priest martyred by the Emperor Claudius in 269 or 270 for officiating at weddings: surely a witness desperately needed today when marriage is under attack and when so many priests have led people astray.

Let’s put the SAINT back into SAINT Valentine’s Day!

God’s blessings

(Fr) Sean Coyle

Thanks Fr. Coyle, for the brotherly reminder to include holiness in our human love, i.e., SAINT Valentine! More importantly, thanks for giving me a chance to share your wonderful and insightful e-mail and encouragement to all of our subscribers.  It’s great to know of your missionary work in the Philippines and the faith you share with me in our “digital missionary world”!

An icon of St. Valentine.

CORRECTION from Last Week’s eBlast: The title of last week’s blog mistakenly refers to CRS Rice Bowl as “Operation Rice Bowl”, which is an outdated title for the program. Be sure to check out Fr. Leo’s video in case you missed it.

  • How did you celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?
  • If you got a copy of the new Book Spicing Up Married Life, which of the recipes have you tried, and what do you think of these tasty treats?

Your comments encourage our movement and help us to keep our topics timely and relevant.  Please post your comments and share your questions here.

With Lent we have an opportunity to meditate on the Cross of Christ, which will always lead to a meditation on His Resurrection.
Let us pray:  

 Through the intercession of St. Valentine, may we continue our Lenten Pilgrimage, offering ourselves as “witnesses” (i.e., martyrs) of God’s love.  May our remembrance of the commemoration of St. Valentine keep us focused on the true source of love, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.




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Posted February 13th, 2013 | Events, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe

Bean Cake for CRS Rice Bowl


Recently, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) teamed up with Grace Before Meals to create a little video in preparation for Lent, which officially begins TODAY with Ash Wednesday! This collaboration features me cooking with Joan Rosenhaur, the Executive Vice President for the United States. Together we made a Bean Cake from Burkina Faso, which is located in the western part of Africa.

CRS Rice Bowl: Having Fun Making Simple Meals
CRS Rice Bowl: Having Fun Making Simple Meals
(For the Recipe, click HERE)

The video highlights the important work done by CRS through the CRS Rice Bowls. I’m sure you’ve seen these little boxes before, a Lenten tradition, in which people put in money as part of the Lenten practices.  Instead of purchasing something that we really don’t need, like a cup of coffee, dessert, candy, or what have you, you simply put that money into the box.  You’ll be amazed at how much we spend on things we don’t need.  The money from the boxes builds up and collectively, it can make a difference in the lives of so many people around the world – people who are hungry, in need, or learning how to be self-sustaining!

Children around the world need our help! This brother and sister are from the Philippines. During a family visit there we made it a point to do some charitable donations.



Besides the charitable affects of the CRS Rice Bowls, I really enjoy and encourage the “experiential” aspect of the program.  Each bowl has recipes and stories from people from all different parts of the world.  The recipes give users the chance to have a small “taste” of the different culture.  It also gives participants an opportunity experiment the recipes and to hear the stories of the people who eat these meals.  It’s also a real Grace Before Meals opportunity for the family, providing the opportunity for conversation about our global human family, developing compassion, or simply learninging more about our faith through food.

A former graduate student at The Mount who cooked CRS Rice Bowl Recipes for the Wednesday evening college student gatherings in 2009.

And, may I add, these recipes are low cost, interesting to make, and delicious to eat!

One of my favorite things to do is to explore the markets of different countries.  Here, I’m in South America cooking with some exotic fruits.


As you begin the 40 days of Lent, make it special by “interacting” with the CRS Rice Bowl Program.  You’ll find your spiritual life, compassion, and knowledge about our human family grow with each recipe and story.

Culinary Students from the City College in San Francisco with prepared foods I purchased for them to give to the homeless.  It’s always so rewarding to give to those in need.

Remember, in preparation for St. Valentine’s Day we will also be announcing the drawing of the winner for a Grace Before Meals gift bag. So stay tuned for next week’s email blast and enjoy a blessed Saint Valentine Day with the special love in your life – God and your spouse!

My parents, who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on September 22, the day that I released the book Spicing Up Married Life.


Fr. Leo talks about “Spicing Up Married Life” on CBS Baltimore


Fr.Leo on WJZ speaking about Spicing Up Married Life
Fr. Leo hits up his native Baltimore’s news station, WJZ, to share information about his book “Spicing Up Married Life” with the “Coffee With” crew and gets into a colorful discussion about marriages, meals, recipes and conversations for couples. Check out the video and if you want to see even more, be sure to check out the web extra at


One last chance to enter our Valentine’s Day Contest!
Considering Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, it is the perfect time to share a meal with the one you love. Why not make it special by making it together and taking the time to talk about your love! For one more day, you can receive a 10% discount on your total purchase and be entered for our Valentine’s Day Gift Set, which includes a signed copy of Spicing Up Married Life, the ingredients for one of the recipes featured in the book, and a wine/beverage pairing as recommended by wine expert John Buechsenstein. Just use the promo code VDAY13 before midnight tomorrow to be entered. Click the banner below for more details!  


  • What is your favorite Lenten Recipe?  
  • Have you ever used the CRS Rice Bowls and if so, do you remember how much you actually collected?  
  • Have you ever used one of the recipes?  If so, which is your favorite?


For more information on how you can participate with the CRS Rice Bowls, click HERE. Leave your comments below.


Let us pray:  

Gracious Lord, accompany us on these 40 sacred days of Lent. May our efforts, as well as those of CRS Rice Bowls, bring us to a level of discipline, compassion, humility and holiness.  Bless our efforts for praying, fasting and almsgiving, and make us true instruments of your peace.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.




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Posted February 6th, 2013 | Dinner Discussion, Spicing Up Married Life

Competitive Family Members

I’m writing this E-mail Blast immediately after the Super Bowl and the Raven’s victory.
(At the Raven’s Stadium for Fund Raising Event 2011)

While John’s team won, the Harbaugh Family is the true winner.  The intense pressures of raising a family are magnified by competition.  To have two sons compete for the title of Super Bowl World Championship and stay brotherly is a miraculous accomplishment of great parenting and a strong family.

In the culinary world, I remember a similar competition between the two Voltaggio Brothers for the title of Top Chef.  I was fortunately invited to the screening party for the final episode.  And while Bryan Voltaggio didn’t win, I sensed in him a feeling of victory as his brother Michael claimed the prize.

(Top Chef runner-up, Bryan Voltaggio at his after-party.)


The Voltaggio mother was credited by both sons as the reason for their skill and drive.  They saw in her a good example and both wanted to do her proud – no doubt this is the same motivation for the two Harbaugh brothers.  Their accomplishments are a testament to the drive, discipline, determination, and the equal love Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh have for both of their sons.       

While raising a family is difficult, relationships can get more complicated if and when a child feels like they are not loved “as much” as a sibling.  Sibling rivalry is bound to happen at some level of family life.  Consider Jacob and Esau’s sense of competition, or the rivalry amongst the disciples, as seen in Mathew 18:1 when they asked who would be the “greatest” in Heaven.  But a rivalry doesn’t have to ruin a family.

There may be days when one sibling acts more lovable than the other, but parents have a great responsibility to raise each child with the same amount of love – even if it requires that one child occasionally gets a little more attention (or discipline) than the other.

(Some of my nieces and nephews. While they certainly compete, they also do what they can to build each other up.)
Competition in the case of the Harbaugh’s or Voltaggio’s is taken to a whole new level. But the classiness of the people who raised them can become a great example for all parents and all children – especially if the siblings can get through the competition without destroying their family love for one another.      

Even though I joke around that my parents love me best (I’m the priest for goodness sake haha), I know my parents love all their children equally.  Similar to how God treats His children, parents have to see each child as an individual, recognizing different temperaments while making sure there are concrete signs of equal love to each child in the family.


(One of my many family gatherings.)


Here are some tips to help parents that may have to deal with competitive kids:

  1. Pray for each one of them with an individual prayer.
  2. Create a list of each of your children’s strengths and weaknesses in character.  This will help you and your spouse determine discipline and praise for that specific child.
  3. Try not to compare one child with the other.  For example, it is less helpful to say “You should be more like your brother or sister.”  That kind of language can be discouraging, as each child is different.  Instead say things like, “how can you behave better so that I don’t get as angry with you?”  Or, “what actions can you take so that you get into less trouble?”  This will respect their individuality and help them to be their best version of themselves.
  4. Make equal time for one-on-one relationship building opportunities. In other words, while it’s important for the family to do things together, I see wisdom in a parent spending equal quality time with each child.
  5. Encourage your children to share good qualities about their siblings on a regular basis.  Whether it’s during Grace Before Meals or in private conversations, it’s important for families to be proactive in encouraging one another.

Raising a family is hard. It gets even more complicated when the children become competitive.  Disordered competitiveness breeds jealousy, unhealthy rivalry, and can tear the family apart. Parents will sometimes need some life coaching to help them get through unique difficult situations, but it is important to remember that children are not only competing with one another, but they’re also competing for the greatest victory of all:  your love for them.



 For all of you who have received Spicing Up Married Life and want to share it with others, please leave a review on Amazon for others to share in. Your review may help provide insight to those seeking ways to strengthen their relationships in or out of the kitchen. We would love to know what you think of it as well, so please post today!


Me on the field at M&T Bank Stadium

FYI: On my weekly radio show, “Entertaining Truth” each Thursday at 1:00pm EST on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129, me and my co-host Tom Leopold will develop this discussion even more.  We will also try to give people a perspective on how to approach their post Super Bowl Blues or Rejoicing!

At the Sirius XM Studios in NYC

Finally, Valentine’s Day is only one week away.  Order your copy of Spicing Up Married Life as a perfect gift for you and your spouse.  Enter the promo code VDAY13 for your purchase and receive a special 10% discount.  Order by February 11, 2013 and receive it in time for Valentine’s Day. 


When you make a purchase with that code and respond to the questions below, your order automatically enters you into a drawing for a special gift from me, including a signed copy of Spicing Up Married Life, a bottle of wine, paired with one of my recipes from the book, ingredients provided. So leave your comments HERE!

  1. How do you handle sibling rivalry in your family?
  2. Have you seen how unhealthy competition destroys family?
  3. Who were you rooting for this in this past Super Bowl and why?
  4. How would you handle the pressure if you were the parents of the two competing sons and coaches?
Let us pray:  
Father, may competition bring out the best in us.  May we learn how to deal well in our relationships so that, imitating Your equal love for all, we may help Your children to be raised with a great sense of love, kindness for each other, and true family support.  May families be victorious in that they remain close to each other in good times and in bad, and even in the wins and losses.  God bless the Harbaugh family!  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen!


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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Spicing Up Married Life | 5 Comments »