Posted November 27th, 2013 | Faithful Foodie, Prayers, Thanksgiving, Video


 Fried Chicken for Thanksgiving?

(Willie Mae’s Scotch House world famous fried chicken.)

Last week, I honestly (and humbly) admitted that I don’t prefer the traditional Thanksgiving turkey for the main meal.  Instead, I prefer fried chicken! Perhaps it’s because one of my most memorable Thanksgivings with my family was the one where we ate fried chicken instead!

My stuffed turkey, Thanksgiving 2012, just to clarify that I do make it for my family!


The story goes that our family was in the midst of travels.  With other personal disruptions to the family schedule that year, my parents went to the store too late to get a turkey.  In the 70’s, grocery stores had limited quantities of things, and it required early purchase planning.  Now, with technology to raise more and more turkeys, there’s always enough – if not too many turkeys to the point of waste.  But, that’s another problem.  Back to the story: while filled with dismay, my parents tried to give their kids a happy Thanksgiving without a turkey.  Instead, they chose to give us something they knew we all loved:  mom’s fried chicken!  Somehow, this particular Thanksgiving fried chicken tasted so much better. Perhaps, it was because it was intentionally prepared with an attitude of gratitude.

Grandparents with the grandchildren, Christmas 2012.

Now, whenever I eat fried chicken, I think of that happy childhood Thanksgiving memory.  Nostalgically, I recall the simple dining table graced with my immediate family and maternal grandparents. The chicken tasted so good! We ate our desserts in front of the TV watching the Sound of Music.  I fell asleep on the couch, content, peaceful and happy.  At that simpler time in life, there was no shopping rush to get to.  And, even without Turkey, I had so much for which to be thankful!

Instead of turkey, how about a Filipino roasted pig, called Lechon?

And since we’re talking about thankful fried chicken experiences, I’d like to share a fried chicken specialty restaurant that I found while on my travels.  Welcome to Sneaky’s!   Here’s a quick video about them which you can share with your family and friends – especially those who would be more grateful if Thanksgiving was celebrated with friends, like the ones I found at Sneaky’s!


The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates a day for giving thanks. However, for those who faithfully celebrate the Eucharist (the Greek word for Thanksgiving), which is the Body of Christ, we can have a celebration of giving thanks everyday!

Or, how about Peking crispy duck instead? In some cases, people will say, “turkey, chicken, duck – it’s all bird; it’s all the same.




Special Holiday Deal at

home of Fr. Leo’s GBM products:



Let us pray:


O Gracious God, we give You thanks for Your overflowing generosity to us. Thank You for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank You for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank You for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to Your love. We ask Your blessing through Christ Your son. Amen.


A little “shrine” dedicated to the late founder of Willie Mae’s Scotch House, home of world famous fried chicken. Not sure if she was Catholic, but her devotion to the Blessed Mother is evident.

Below are copies of prayers from the website:  Perhaps your family can select one of these prayer to grace your family gathering, for tomorrow’s feast, or every day of the year!




From Celebrating Faith: Year-round Activities For Catholic Families, by Mary Cronk Farrell.


O God, source and giver of all things,

You manifest Your infinite majesty, power and goodness

In the earth about us:

We give You honor and glory.

For the sun and the rain,

For the manifold fruits of our fields:

For the increase of our herds and flocks,

We thank You.

For the enrichment of our souls with divine Grace,

We are grateful.


Supreme Lord of the harvest,

Graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil,

In union with Jesus, Your Son,

As atonement for our sins,

For the growth of Your Church,

For peace and love in our homes,

And for salvation for all.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.



By Walter Rauschenbusch, from Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors.


O God, we thank You for this earth, our home;

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,

For the salt sea and the running water,

For the everlasting hills

And the never-resting winds,

For trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank You for our senses

By which we hear the songs of birds,

And see the splendor of the summer fields,

And taste of the autumn fruits,

And rejoice in the feel of the snow,

And smell the breath of the spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;

And save our souls from being so blind

That we pass unseeing

When even the common thornbush

Is aflame with Your glory,

O God our creator,

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.



From Songs of Our Hearts, Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, edited by Cecilia A. Moor, Ph.D., C. Vanessa White, D.Min., and Paul M. Marshall, S.M.

This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve on another and to walk together in God’s gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.


November 30- December 3

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Posted November 21st, 2013 | Food for Thought, Menu Inspiration, Recipe, Recipe-Turkey



 Talking Turkey Truth

It’s obviously that time of the year, so let’s just talk turkey truth. 

I don’t like turkey!

I get the honors of cutting this big bird!

There, I said it!  Mea culpa!

The process of thawing, the care to prevent microbes from turning into sickness, and cooking a non-fatty and flavorless bird, which is so easy to overcook because people are worried about undercooking this popular food – well, it just baffles me!  Why couldn’t the pilgrims and Native American Indians decide on steak instead!


Steak with Advieh seasoning.

Although I have clearly lodged my turkey protests, that doesn’t mean I won’t eat it.  In some cases, I enjoy it, especially if the bird is highly flavored from a long time brining or deep-fried in peanut oil.  But pound for pound, I prefer an easier way of cooking turkey.

Oven-roasted chicken sitting on beer cans.

My recommendation is: get a smaller turkey or a large chicken to cook as the center piece de resistance!  But to feed the hungry crowds, prepare turkey breasts instead!  I use this catering technique of cooking and carving turkey especially for my large family gatherings.  We retain the tradition of a cooked turkey, beautifully presented – and delicious enough.  


See turkey, beautifully presented.

But we’ve noticed that people go for the turkey breasts, because they’re easier to eat, they taste better (it has  bacon for goodness sake), and then we get to keep the pretty poultry on display for family pictures.  And my Filipino American family LOVES taking family food pictures!

Keeping your turkey and trimmings easy will keep your Thanksgiving stress free.  It will help you stay focused on what’s most important on that day.  Giving Thanks!  

And if I do say so myself, this recipe will honestly make you say, THANK YOU, GOD! 

A young man, visiting the Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans, for a midday moment of prayer.

 Food for Thought:


  • What’s your favorite way to cook turkey?
  • What’s your favorite side dish?
  • Do you have a simple Thanksgiving recipe to share with our members?  


Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments HERE. 

Let us pray:


Father in Heaven, thank You for this time of preparation for the upcoming holy days.  May we do so peacefully, not frantically.  May our efforts bring about the Grace that comes from a faithful family gathering, one that recognizes that You are the giver of all good things, and that we are called to share these blessings with others – especially those in need.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 This Week’s Recipe: 


Bacon- Wrapped Turkey Breast


November 26

Harrisburg, PA
November 30- December 3
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Posted November 13th, 2013 | From the Feedbag, In Memory, Media, Prayers, Recipe, Video



 Meaningful Messages, Faithful Filipinos


Sunset Philippine Beach – while it’s a tropical paradise, the people in the Philippines live in trust that God will protect them from nature.

The devastating news of the deadly typhoon in the Philippines has turned the world’s attention, support, and compassion to the Pacific island nation.  Many people have called, e-mailed, and sent me messages on Facebook and Twitter to share their prayerful concern for me and for my family.  Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.

My immediate family lives in America and are – thank God – safe from the storm’s effect. However, I have relatives still living in the exact vicinity where the typhoon hit.  It will take several days, no doubt, before we will know of updates, especially since the storm followed the earthquake, just a few weeks ago.  We are all praying and hoping they are ok, even though we realize their lives are certainly changed forever.

Interior of one of the oldest churches in Bohol.

It’s reported that Typhoon Haiyan was the one of the worst storm the Philippines has faced in its history, taking the lives of an estimated 10,000 people.  The difficulties increase with relief efforts hampered by limited access to reach those areas most in need.

Filipino children.

It’s easy to feel helpless.  But we can never give into feeling hopeless. Already nations – even nations at war – are pledging support.  Perhaps, we can do our share as well, in order to bring a little hope to the people most in need.

We first ought to pray that the people in the Philippines never lose hope.  The Filipino people have a profound faith that has helped them survive.  Also, we can send our financial help to reputable groups that are specially trained to provide the proper care for such emergencies.

While the Philippines naturally grows so many fruits and vegetables, the storm-affected areas have made food very scarce for the locals.

Please be careful to give only to reputable agencies.  For me, I will make my donation to CRS, as I know they have the infrastructure to bring aid to those in need.  Finally, we can use this time to humbly reflect in our own lives, recognizing our vulnerability, our dependency on God.  And we can also take this moment to grow in the virtue of hope in order to persevere – no matter what storms may come our way.

Filipinos praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

On behalf of my family, thank you for your concerns.  Your meaningful messages give us hopeful reminders of the faith that endures all things.

 Food for Thought:

  • How do you try to help when hearing such difficult news?
  • When you want to donate to a cause, how do you test the legitimacy of the agency?
  • Have you ever volunteered for emergency services in times of need?

 Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments below. 

Let us pray:


Father in Heaven, thank You for faith, especially when difficulties and tragedies come our way.  Bless the Philippines with strength to rebuild.  Console those who are most in need.  Protect the emergency responders.  Thank You for the generosity of those who want to help.  While we may feel “helpless” in our direct ability to help those in need, may we never feel “hopeless” in that You can bring about even greater good in the midst of life’s worst storms.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

The miraculous Black Nazarene statue of Our Lord carrying the Cross.

 Check out where Fr. Leo has been featured this week




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This Week’s Recipe: 




November 14

Dallas, PA
November 16
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Posted November 6th, 2013 | All Souls Day, Dinner Discussion, In Memory, Prayers, Recipe



All Soul’s Food


Mount St. Mary’s cemetery

If there is one month that can be described as “reflective,” for me that would be November. It may be the darker and chillier days on the East Coast or the fall colors, but they both reflect a change of the season, and for this seasonal change, a shift to the natural dormancy of our surroundings.  All in all, it reflects life. 


For me, the reflective days of November, however, point directly to the liturgical seasons.  The beginning of November signals that the liturgical year is soon coming to an end.  We begin the month of November remembering All Saints in Heaven, while hoping and praying that All Souls of the faithful departed will soon experience the victory over sin and death.

“Pietá” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC.

In the Catholic Church, the month of November is dedicated to remembering our beloved dead.  It’s not morbid, but hopeful.  It’s certainly sad to remember people who we love and who have died, but our faith tells us our tears will eventually be turned into joy.  We just have to remember a few things: Heaven is real.  God is real.  God’s mercy for the forgiveness of our sins is very real.  We have to ask for that mercy!

In a commercialized world that more and more seems to honor physical beauty above all things, we can easily forget that we have a soul.  This e-mail blast offers a simple reminder:

  • to feed your soul with healthy foods;
  • to exercise your soul with acts of charity;
  • to pray for souls that are hurting;
  • to love and honor the soul, which is eternal;
  • to realize the body – while God’s gift – won’t last forever;
  • and, of course, to pray for the souls of those who have passed on.
At a recent event for St. Michael Archangel Parish in Livonia, Michigan. This couple will feed their married soul with our most recent book, Spicing Up Married Life.

I strongly and honestly believe that if we prayed more to see people’s souls – rather than constantly paying attention to their physical appearance, financial status, or popularity – we would shift our focus to our relationships with people.  For example, I’ve met popular people with very troubled souls.  At the same time, I’ve met people with many difficulties in life, but because of their faith their souls are at peace.  These faithful people are calm on in the inside despite the challenges around them.  Their secret to this peace in their soul is a life of faith well lived! 

Mother Theresa Statue, Basilica of the National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

Today and this month, I pray our Grace Before Meals movement can inspire you to pay closer attention to your soul, the soul of your family, and the souls of the faithful departed. Please help us spread this good news about our souls by passing on this e-mail; encouraging family, friends, and parishioners to sign up for these weekly e-blasts; and also to pray for our movement! 

At an event at a parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

 Food for Thought:

  • How do you describe the reality of the soul to your family or your children?
  • What’s the best “soul food” for you – and I’m talking physical and spiritual soul food?
  • Have you had a chance to visit and pray at a cemetery this month?  When you go, what are some of the reflective thoughts you’ll have about the deceased person?
  • What’s your favorite month?  And do you also think November could be described as “reflective?”

Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments below.

Let us pray:


Father in Heaven, You gave us an immortal and rational soul.  In our soul is stamped the image of Your beauty.  Help us to never forget to take care of our soul – feeding it, strengthening it, and making it the very place where peace and love begins in our lives.  We remember always the souls of the faithful departed, and we entrust their souls to Your loving mercy and forgiveness.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The American Military Cemetery, Assisi, Italy

This Week’s Recipe: 




November 9

November 14
Dallas, PA
November 16
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Posted in All Souls Day, Dinner Discussion, In Memory, Prayers, Recipe | 3 Comments »