09 December 2012

A "Feast-ive" Weekend

What a lot got packed into this weekend! Yesterday, of course, was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and today was both the second Sunday of Advent and the feast of St Juan Diego! If I had unlimited time, energy, and resources (ha!), we would celebrate every feast ever, but as it is we do our best to celebrate the big ones and the ones that have a special meaning to one or more family members: name days, special patrons, etc.

Saturday morning, I baked lemon-blueberry sweet rolls: blue for Mary, lemon for the bitterness her Son's suffering caused her, sweet rolls because they look like roses (one of her flowers). Mmm! Even Matt, who isn't always fond of sweet citrus, pronounced them good. They were pretty simple, too; if you would like to give them a try for the next Marian feast (Our Lady of Guadalupe, on Wednesday), the recipe is at the end.

Saturday afternoon was a little bit crazy, beginning when Little Bear and I showed up at the university music department for what I thought was my little sister's studio recital, but which turned out to be the winter gala concert of all the city youth ensembles. Oh no, a baby at the symphony concert? The dirty looks were something fierce when I slipped in--late, of course--and took a seat in the very back, intending to just listen to my sister's pieces and then run out before Little Bear could disturb anyone. To my surprise and delight, he loved it: he sat on my lap watching the musicians for an hour and a half without making a peep! Sure, I played with him a bit to distract him once or twice, but he was soooo good.

He made up for it at mass that evening, but we won't get into that.

Mass was also exciting because I found out as I was leaving the concert that my sister had been at rehearsal when the rest of the family went to mass that morning, and could she come with us? Little Bear, realizing that there was an extra person in the car, decided that the best course of action would be to scream at the top of his lungs all the way there and all the way back. What fun.

This morning we celebrated the Second Sunday of Advent at mass, moved the wise men a little closer to the crèche, and reveled just a bit in the knowledge that I'm not worrying about Christmas decorating just yet. I have a feeling that this may come back to bite me, but we are giving it a try, for this year at least. The wise men seem to be acquiring a retinue, or vanguard, or something... a porcelain cat and a ceramic ptarmigan have joined their trek to Bethlehem. We will see if they pick up the grizzly bear on the desk as they pass it next weekend...

Matt has a particular devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego, so we will be sure to celebrate her apparition on Wednesday; tonight, because I was too tired to be more creative, we made nachos for dinner and pretended that it was real Mexican food! Wednesday will be better, I promise; if not real Mexican food, at least real food period.

Credit where credit is due: the idea for these sweet rolls came from The Pioneer Woman, although I didn't use her recipe.

Lemon-Blueberry Sweet Rolls
Combine 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast and 2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Heat 1/3 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk until just warm (about 115*F) and beat into the flour and yeast. Beat 3 minutes (if using an electric mixer) or 10 minutes (if by hand). Add as much of 2 1/2 cups flour as you can get the dough to take, kneading until thoroughly combined in a firm dough. Let rise covered until it doubles, about an hour.
When risen, divide in half and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes before rolling out first ball into a rectangle 1/4" thick. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle liberally with lemon sugar and blueberries. Roll up like a jelly roll and cut into rounds. (I got 10 out of one ball and 12 out of the other). Bake in ungreased 8" or 9" round cake pans at 375*F for 20 minutes or until tops are golden. Drizzle with lemon glaze and serve warm.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar with 3-5 teaspoons lemon juice. Mix with your fingers (really!) until it reaches a consistency and lemony-ness that you think your family will like.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and up to 3 teaspoons lemon juice. Drizzle in water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

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