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 in Events, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe | 1 Comment