Posted November 12th, 2014 | Menu Inspiration, Recipe

 Fresh Berry Yogurt Parfait



I’m filming a new season of Savoring Our Faith for EWTN. This time, there’s a wonderful twist.  This season, I share the faithful foodie message with people around the country and around the world.  I could be coming to a city near you! 

At Steubenville Atlantic in Halifax Canada.
These traveling shows are an opportunity to showcase how food and faith are expressed a little differently depending on where you’re eating or praying.  Granted, we are all called to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith, and the Holy Communion is a sacred sign of our communion.  But, there are nuances from location to location.  These episodes are a combination of travel tips, personal profiles, exploring religious sites, restaurant reviews, and a cooking show all wrapped up in a half hour episode.  
My team while in Little Rock AR for a Savoring Our Faith episode.
The places we visit are in conjunction with my traveling Grace Before Meals apostolate.  I film episodes the same days that I’m giving parish missions, talks or other presentations.  Talk about multi-tasking!  That means you’ll see Savoring our Faith in Little Rock, AR; San Diego, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and even possibly filming shows while I’m in the Philippines! 
Me with some of the special guests at our San Diego Episodes, Members of our US Military serving in Coronado.
With each new episode comes new recipes, highlighting the local cuisine. Recipes will be truly tasty and faithful to the local flavors.  Remember, you can always download recipes from our own website HERE.  You can also access more recipes from the EWTN website as well.  
To give you a little highlight, I’ve provided a recipe for one of the episodes devoted to healthy consciousness of students for an episode highlighting the John Paul the Great University near San Diego California.
Click for the Fresh Berry Yogurt Parfait recipe as featured in the upcoming season of Savoring Our Faith


Our next taping will be in Phoenix, Arizona in December. I’m giving a parish mission at Our Lady of Perpetual Help from December 7-10. You’re invited!  Click here for more information. To film in the Phoenix area, we need your helpful suggestions!
Timmerie and Charles from John Paul the Great University sampling one of the dishes before tasting the dessert.

– What’s the most beautiful (or your favorite) church, shrine, or place to pray in the Phoenix area?

– What’s your favorite restaurant in the Phoenix area, especially if it’s owned by people of faith, well-known for unique cuisine, or has a special story worth sharing with our viewers?

– When you think of food from Phoenix, what do you suggest I learn and cook for TV?

Your responses are not only helpful for our film crew, it’s especially encouraging to our Grace Before Meals team!  Please post your comments below.

Let us pray:

Father, bless our efforts to strengthen families and relationships through Your gift of food and the family meal.  Bless also our efforts to produce these new TV shows and the work of EWTN. May these shows reach people in all parts of the word to inspire faith, communion with each other, and most importantly, communion with You in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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Frying Rice & Grilling Ray Rice
Click for my Grandfather’s Garlic Fried Rice Recipe.

To cook fried rice well, allow it to dry by keeping it in the refrigerator, uncovered.  Drying the rice is essential before attempting to fry it in oil, whether using sesame seed or peanut oil.  Add the right amount of seasoning, choice of meats, veggies and viola – you have the perfect fried rice. The variety of flavors and ingredients is your choice, but let it dry out first. If you avoid this step, you will get a clumpy and greasy mess.

Due to the popular demand for this once-in-a-lifetime trip, Fr. Leo and Gus will be adding a second bus. Register now for this incredible trip!
This cooking tip has been helpful for me as I try and figure out my thoughts regarding Ray Rice.  [Yes, I make food connections with just about everything.  That’s just how my mind works, ok?!?] The incriminating viral video of the popular football player physically knocking out his then-fiancée-now-wife in a hotel elevator is a horrible display of ugly anger. The world wide attention and insipid commentaries is just as ugly.  What we have here is one big mess!
Former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice and his wife Janay during the press conference following the arrest.
Unfortunately, some of the comments show parallel impatience of people trying to fry rice without first drying it out. In other words, the people making useless and judgmental comments are skipping an important step:  patiently discerning when to “cook” Ray Rice, his life and his career.
Patient discernment would first make us consider the following questions:
– “What were they arguing about that would make a public figure lose his temper to the point of violence?”
– “Is there a double standard because Ray Rice is such a popular person?”
– “What can we say about how his wife seemed to be the aggressor before she became the victim?”
– “What did his parents teach him about respecting women?”
– “Would the manly-minded feminist rights movement find my last question offensive, implying that women can’t take care of themselves?”
Further, I’d like to know, “Who appointed the National Football League as the arbiter of moral judgments over a couple’s personal relationship?”
You see, it’s all so confusing, and there are more questions than answers.  In other words, when we make quick judgments over this type of news story, are we being impatient in our fact finding?
Other questions have to be asked:
“Why did his beaten fiancée marry her attacker?”
“Is love so blind or willing to forgive their enemies and persecutors?”
There’s more to this story than a sports figure.  This spectacle speaks to our humanity and how we deal with our relational struggles.


This is the LAST week, so click for information and call now to reserve your spot for this extraordinary food and wine retreat.
Frying rice and grilling Ray Rice require a similarly delicate process of patience and discernment.  Let me be clear, what Ray Rice did is horrendous;  the fiancée should have seriously reconsidered marrying him.  And yes, all of the media’s talk about this topic is just nauseating.  Yet, these sensitive topics provide an opportunity for people to talk with God in prayer before posting uninformed opinions on the internet.
I’d recommend that families, especially children who are sports fanatics, talk about these issues without trying to give an “easy answer” or a decisive judgment.  If we try to bypass the step of patient discernment, we will just get a mess on a plate.  We will get what we deserve.

Let us pray:

Father, we pray for couples experiencing challenges. We pray for an end to domestic violence and for more patient discernment as we try to use these news headlines to educate our children about the real meaning of marriage.  Keep us focused on the grace and not the “train-wrecks” of society, lest they become the only model of relationships that unfortunately form our conscious.  Help us to remember how your Son Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it means to love one another, without violence and always with forgiveness.  We ask this in His most holy name.  Amen.

Jesus came to forgive us our sins.



(1)  How are you using this headline news to teach your children?
(2)  What advice would you give to anyone experiencing domestic violence?
(3)  Do you think that men are a “stronger” gender, and how does that affect the conversations about women’s equality?
(4)  Do you have any other fried rice tips?
We appreciate your responses. Please leave your COMMENTS HERE.





Sioux City, IA 

9/20/14 – 9/22/14




River Falls, WI


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Safe Travels & Feast Day Foods

As Fr. Leo continues his retreats and travels, our team at GBM wanted to share a prayer for travelers as the summer vacations roll on and the school year approaches. With special intentions, we pray for those who are away from loved ones that they may return safely.

Dear God, we ask you for your blessings and protection on all those who are traveling, whether for business, for vacation, or for other personal reasons. We trust in your will, and hope that our loved ones may return to us safely and in good spirits. For those who have lost loved ones, we pray for their consolation and that they may find their hope and joy in you. Finally, may they be fed in body, mind and spirit on their journeys, so that they may be nourished and able to do good in this world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Leo during his travels in the Southwest during a retreat. For more pictures, videos, updates, check out Fr. Leo on Facebook, Twitter and on!

Interestingly enough, there is a book on EWTN’s website called “Feast Day Cookbook” by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, published in 1951. Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the recipes they share for today’s feast include Pilaff and a Spiced Grape Jelly. Be sure to check out the link for more recipes and neat information on Feast Days and meals, as feasting is an important part of the Catholic faith, the Grace Before Meals movement and cookbook.

Click to read this classic Catholic cookbook, courtesy of EWTN.

[Excerpt from Feast Day Cookbook]

August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration

The origin of this Christian festival has been attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator who flourished in Lower Armenia during the fourth century. He is said to have substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called “Vartavarh” (the flaming of the rose) and the old name was retained, in that region at least, to designate the Transfiguration, because “Christ opened his glory like a rose on Mount Thabor.”

In Armenian villages the day is still celebrated with unusual ceremonies in the course of which peasants lead to the church a sheep with decorated horns, on each tip of which is placed a lighted candle. Flowers, fruit, and sheaves are also brought and laid before the altar.

Following this ceremony a fair usually takes place; there are races and games, and a crown of roses is the customary prize. During the feasting that follows is likely to appear.

3 cups cracked wheat
6 cups stock
4 cups minced cooked lamb
1/2 cup melted butter

Soak the cracked wheat (cracked barley may be substituted) overnight. Drain the wheat, mix with the meat, and salt to taste. Place in a large kettle, add about half the stock (water and bouillon cubes may be used, allowing one cube for each cup of water), and heat slowly. Cook for about an hour, stirring almost constantly and adding stock as necessary. Serve in hot, deep plates, pour melted butter over each serving, and dust with pepper and cinnamon to taste.

The Feast of the Transfiguration was slower to be observed in the Western Church and is not mentioned until the ninth century. It was made universal by Rome on the day when Hunyady gained his victory over the Turks on August 6, 1456. It is now the titular feast of the Church of St. John Lateran, and on this day the Pope presses a bunch of ripe grapes into the chalice at Mass or uses new wine.

Also in Rome raisins are blessed on the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Greek and Russian Churches too conduct a special ceremony for blessing grapes and other fruits. Since the grape is given so much prominence on this feast, we may give the following recipe:

Spiced Grape Jelly
8 lbs. Concord grapes
2 sticks cinnamon
2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon whole cloves

Wash, remove from stems, and drain the grapes. Put half of them in a preserving kettle, add the vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves and then the rest of the grapes. Cook gently for about fifteen minutes or until soft. Strain through a jelly bag without pressing so that the juice remains clear. Take 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice, boil to the proper consistency for jelly, pour into hot glasses and cover with 1/2 inch of paraffin.

Do you have any recipes or adventures to share?
Are you or a loved one traveling, and if so, where to and for how long?
Any recipes that you like to make on feast days?

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Posted July 9th, 2014 | From the Feedbag, Recipe, Recipe- Dessert

Cookies fit for a Pope

This week, I wanted to share a recipe and an article sent to me by some GBM fans (or as I refer to them, ‘fams’ since it just seems fitting that you are part of the family). I always appreciate hearing from each of you, as the movement is truly for all to partake in. So if you have a delicious family recipe you want published, advice for family life, a great experience at a restaurant or an adventure you want to share, send them to me at

The recipe I’d like to share is from Gloria Piantek, who had these cookies madde and presented to now Saint Pope John Paul II. Click on the following link for the recipe or watch the video she made by clicking the image below.

Click to watch Gloria’s video to show you step by step how to make the cookies.

I also wanted to share an excerpt from an article written back in 2002 by Sean Wright called “Intimate Dining with Family – And Jesus”. It was published by the Archdiocesan paper The Tidings in Los Angeles. He shares about his ‘Roman feasts’ with his son DeForeest and just how beneficial that time was for them, both in learning and in appreciating time with one another.

Intimate Dining with Your Family – and with Jesus

By Sean M. Wright

…My former wife, Kelly, had come up with having Roman feasts when DeForeest was yet a toddler.  He was so taken with ancient Rome after watching episodes of I, Claudius, that Kelly made this kind of meal as a fun and educational follow-up.  It worked.  DeForeest was reading the histories of Tacitus and Suetonius by the age of eight.  Our son now knows more about the first five Roman emperors than most Americans know about the first five US presidents.


DeForeest placed four pillows on either side of the bed, with the board in between, to suggest a triclinium, the couch on which Romans reclined for their meals.  Leaning on our left arms facing each other, we said grace, talked about his schoolwork, my writing, the latest news, and – well – the stuff that gives a shared meal a happy intimacy.   


Reclining at table is civilized, inducing diners to savor, not gobble, their food.  Reclining at table is a touchstone with our forebears, it being the usual way in which Romans, Jews, Greeks, North Africans and just about everybody of consequence ate meals 2000 years ago.  Reclining at table is relaxing.  Servants stood to eat at a high-standing table in the pantry so as to be ready at their masters’ beck and call.  Reclining at table is therefore a distinguishing mark of freedom. For this reason alone people all along the Mediterranean borrowed the custom from the otherwise detested Roman conquerors.


Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

DaVinci’s famed fresco to the contrary, Jesus and his apostles celebrated their last Passover Seder while reclining, so close that St John describes himself as leaning against Jesus.  There, Jesus explained Scripture to His apostles, sang and prayed with them.  It was in this manner that Jesus first gave Himself to His friends [the editor added the word “before” here] imparting Himself in bread and wine become His true body and blood.

For their followers in the Faith, the apostles continued the intimacy they had known at table with Jesus through their proclamation of whatever Scriptures they had at hand. They eventually offered a prayer of thanksgiving in remembrance of what had occurred at that last supper with Jesus.  In the breaking of the bread and in the sharing of the cup, the same Lamb of God came into their midst – body, blood, soul and divinity… 

We thank Gloria and Sean for sharing with us food and faith, and we hope to hear from more of you as we try and bring more families back to the dinner table. God bless!



  • Do you have any recipes that you make for large gatherings or occasions?
  • What is dinner time like for you and your family?
  • Have you ever seen the Pope in person? When and where?

Please post your comments HERE, as these help our movement learn and grow.  

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God Is (Isaiah 12:2)

God is. Simply put, to say the least. But what a big statement! What, or more accurately, who is God to you? There is no answer that can encompass the entirety of God, for He is entirety and then so much more. But the Prophet Isaiah has a pretty good answer for us to consider:


Watch the promo video for Steubenville Youth Conferences 2014

I will be at 3 Steubenville Youth Conferences this year, and as you may have guessed, the theme is “God Is”. This weekend, I will once again be going to Steubenville On The Bayou, at the Houma Civic Center in Houma, LA, then I will be at Steubenville Atlantic (in Canada) (7/4- 7/6/14) and Steubenville Main Campus 5 (7/18-7/20/14). And what wonderful opportunities to come together with so many young people ready to be set on fire with love for God in their faith.

I will be giving more than giving a talk, but will also be leading the entertainment like last year, and am looking forward to the fun waiting to be had. More than just talks and musical performances, there is a true unity felt among the crowds of young people and adults, all brought together in the love of God.

The theme of “God Is” should provoke you to think about what that means to you. Is it a statement, or is it the start of a sentence? Even the most devout would benefit from seeking to find out more about who God is in their lives. I highly encourage you, your children or any young person you think would benefit from the experience to try and make it out to one of these conferences. There is a full listing HERE.

The third episode for Epic Food Fight: Fr. Leo makes Blessed ‘Milk & Honey’ Salad

Also, you can check out my Epic Food Fight video, preparing Blessed ‘Milk & Honey’ Salad by clicking the picture above. Check it out and let us know what you think! Finally, I want to encourage anyone interested in joining me for pilgrimages to Napa Valley (11/9-11/14/14) and the Holy Land (2/1-2/12/15) to register soon. The deadline for Napa Valley is July 7, so call Corporate Travel Service at 313-565-8888 x 122 to register today.

I’ll hope you are excited for the journey ahead to seek who, what, or that God is. God is.


  • What does the Steubenville Conferences’ theme “God Is” mean to you?
  • Have you been to a Steubenville Conference before? How was your experience?
  • Have you ever engaged in a conversation about who God is with a non-believer? What happened?

Please post your comments below as these help our movement learn and grow. 


Let us pray:


God, may we come to seek you are in all things, for you are all that we desire and you provide all that we need. May we trust that you are here with us always, and that you know what is best. May we surrender our hearts, our fears and our ambitions to you, so that you may do with us what is most pleasing to you. We love you always, and ask your blessing on all people, whether young or old, rich or poor, big or small. May many come to love you more through these conferences and in the work we do for your glory. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.  

This Week’s Recipe:




6/27/14 – 6/29/14




Houma, LA

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Inspired Cookies for a 

Christian Kitchen

As we approach the most Holy Three Days, called the Triduum, I want to reoffer recipes from the CRS Rice Bowls – perfect for Good Friday. Actually, they’re perfect for any day of the year.  

Click to watch Fr. Leo’s Appearance on NBC 4 in NYC.

Along with this recipe, I want to share a faithful foodie cookie idea families can share with children. It came from one someone who attended one of my parish missions. 

St. Timothy Parish Mission – So blessed that our parish missions fill up the churches, making the pastors very happy.

Because I don’t have an exact resource, I want to clearly explain that I didn’t create this recipe. I’m just sharing this recipe with you with great inspiration. In my opinion, inspiration is one of the most important ingredients in cooking. 

I’m always happy when the camera crew lines up to eat the food I cook for different food news segments.

As you and your family participate in the holiness of the liturgies that lead to Easter celebrations, I pray you will always remember how much God loves you. His love will feed you – body, mind, and soul. This food ought to inspire us to live our lives following Jesus to Heaven.  

Icon of the Last Supper.


This Week’s Recipe: 
Photo from

The Catholic Review:

Let us Pray:

God of love, give us the Grace to see how the liturgies of Holy Week inspire us to anticipate with great joy the Easter mysteries.  May we be patient with those who may come to church out of obligation or may not fully understand the spiritual depth of these celebrations.  May our joyful presence, non-judgmental faith, and sincere prayers be an inspiration for all Christians and people of good will to live as a peaceful human family.

The Garden of Gesthemane, Jerusalem.



  • What will you cook during these upcoming holidays?
  • Do you have a special Easter recipe with a story that you can share?
  • Did you use any of the CRS Rice Bowl recipes?  If so, which did you enjoy the most?

Your comments and questions are an important part of sharing our message and our meals.  Please leave your comments below

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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, Culinary Confessions, Easter, Lent, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Restaurants, Restauraunt Reviews, Video | No Comments »