Oh Fudge!

P2030010This Christmas, a friend of ours brought us two containers full of delicious fudge.  It was cut already, and not in tiny pieces, either.

We have been enjoying it.  She mentioned we could freeze some, but that it will even make it to the freezer is doubtful.

The most notable days that commemorate fudge (May 12th– Nutty Fudge Day,  June 16th-Fudge Day) are not until late spring, but Christmastime is really an appropriate backdrop for this discussion.

Although it won’t last long around our place, fudge, itself, has been in existence for quite some time.

We know this delicious substance has been around since 1886, but its exact origins are unknown.  At that time, fudge sold for 40 cents a pound out on the east coast.  Some say it started with a batch of caramel gone awry.

Before this, to fudge meant to clumsily adjust or fit together.  Later it evolved into meaning to cheat or trick, or even “nonsense.”  By the time of the caramel adventure, the expression: “Oh fudge” had come into use as a mild explicative for something having gone wrong.  Thus, when the caramel did not come out as planned, “Oh, fudge” was a logical reaction.  Somehow, the name stuck and we still have fudge today.

American fudge seems to be akin to its Scottish predecessor, called tablet.  The Canadians, however, boast the largest fudge slab, weighing close to three tons (2010).




O Antiphons @ St. Anne’s

Adapted from an article on Our Franciscan Fiat

P1250024Since 1980, the Sisters at St. Anne’s have been enhancing their commemoration of the final days of Advent by displaying “The O Antiphons,” beautifully calligraphed by Sr. Elaine.

At that time, before the advent of modern copy machines, Mary Bohlman Mannes, a friend and supporter of St. Anne’s, had them professionally re-produced/printed.

Sunday was the first day of this beautiful liturgical tradition during which we display her beautiful portrayals outside of our chapel.

In case you are not familiar with the “O Antiphons,” they are verses which we recite or sing for the gospel canticle during evening prayer as well as with the alleluia at Mass from December 17th through the 23rd.  On each of these days, we plead for Christ’s coming, invoking Him with a different title.  These are so beautiful and include: Wisdom, Leader of the House of Israel, Root of Jesse’s stem, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of all nations and keystone of the Church, and Emmanuel.

This tradition of using these antiphons on these final days before Christmas is very old.  We aren’t certain as to their exact origin, but references date back about 1,500 years!

The traditional hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” actually is based upon these beautiful, rich, and ancient texts.

Thank you, Sr. Elaine, for giving us such a beautiful visual presentation of them!

May these last days of Advent, in which we cry out “O come…” be a time when our hearts can be more prepared for the Advent that we seek.

Sr. Christina M. Neumann

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Chocolate Stars @ St. Anne’s

St. Nicholas brought, among other things, a bag of “chocolate stars” to Sr. Christina last Tuesday night.

Rather than let them “go to waist,” she decided to make some cookies with our ladies as a “therapeutic baking” project Saturday morning.

20914533_10211463549918135_8869111455869622302_nAfter searching for just the right recipe to correspond with the ingredients we had available and the amount of chocolates to be used, one was selected, residents interested in baking were gathered, and the measuring and mixing began.

It came to be time for lunch, however, and the domestic undertaking had to be relinquished temporarily, with a promise to resume around 12:30 p.m.

When the time came to roll out the cookies, there was a minor obstacle: all the sugar on hand in the activities kitchen had been used in the dough.  The container had not yet been refilled in the main kitchen, and more sugar was needed for coating the cookies before placing them on the sheets.

A trip was made to the main kitchen, however, and the cookie factory could resume operations.

In accord with the recipe, the cookies were baked for 10 minutes, then pulled out and inserted with one chocolate star each before going back into the oven for a few more minutes.

One of the other residents, who was watching TV in the adjoining activity room kept commenting on how good the cookies smelled and asking when they would be served.

IMG_0937Sr. Christina finally gave in and handed him one early, before snack time.  (By the time snacks were being served after reading hour, he was ready for another one.)

* * *

Whether or not you have chocolate stars on hand which you don’t want to have “go to waist,” you might consider this recipe for an attractive holiday treat:



We’d like your feedback

We’ve now been running the St. Anne’s Scoop for juts over three years.

As we mark this anniversary, we’d like to take the time to ask for your feedback.  What do you like most?  Do you have suggestions for future topics?  Is there anything else you could share to help us make this blog the best it can be?

Would you please take a moment to fill out our little form?

Thanks so much!

We’ve been authorized for a matching grant – you can help us out this #GivingTuesday!

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We have some exciting news here at St. Anne’s!
We’ve been authorized for up to $10,000 for a matching grant from the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities!
As we mark #GivingTuesday, an international day for supporting non-profit organiziations, we’d welcome your support towards this matching grant.
If you’d like to make a donation in support of our mission to the vulnerable and elderly in our midst who need our care, you may:
Send it in the mail:
St. Anne’s Guest Home
524 N. 17th St.
Grand Forks, ND 58203
or visit us online to make payment electronically:
Thank you in advance for your support!

Make it Shine with Pickle Brine

When cooking purple potatoes, this past week, we discovered an electrical problem with the little stove-top in our conference room kitchenette.  Actually, the smell wafted all the way out to the front desk area.

When the burner was removed it was very black and in desperate need of a good cleaning.  After soaking it for a long time, there was still plenty of black remaining.

Sr. Christina thought some vinegar might work well, but there was none handy.  However, she was taking out a jar of pickles anyway to have at supper and decided to pour some pickle brine to soak on the burner.

P1080016.JPGWhen this had soaked thus through the evening and over night, a lot more of the black “gunk” was removed.

Little did we know all the wonders of pickle brine!

When doing an online search for uses of pickle brine, one finds a multitude of suggestions:

Pickle brine is suggested as a meat tenderizer as well as for enhancing other foods, such as barbecue sauce and “mac and cheese,” fish, veggies, and salad dressing.  It can be used in homemade rye bread, cocktails, sports drinks, and even pickle soup.  Pickle juice can be used for acidifying soil, cleaning copper, trapping fruit flies, making copper sparkle, killing weeds, stopping hiccups, and curing heartburn.  It can also serve as a laxative and to treat an upset stomach.


Purple Potatoes…Some Special Spuds!

roasted-purple-potatoes-with-tarragon2This past weekend, we had a little surprise visit from our administrator’s (Sr. Rebecca) brother and sister-in-law.  Along with the gift of their mere presence, they also brought us a bag of special spuds – purple potatoes!

We’d never seen the like before.  The visitors assured us that they taste just like any other potato; if you were blindfolded, you’d never know the difference.

Wednesday afternoon, Sr. Christina set to work with one of our residents who loves to “keep busy,” waiting eagerly to see the lady’s reaction when she discovered that they were purple potatoes.  Soon, others in the activity room were being shown the never-before-seen specimen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery Thursday, we have mashed potatoes as part of the lunch menu.  So it is that Sr. Rebecca is planning to cook up and mash the peeled potatoes to see what kind of reaction she gets.

Purple potatoes, though deep violet on the inside, have ink-colored skins.  They are good for baking or mashing, being dry and starchy.

They are rich in a certain antioxidant called anthocyanin which is also found in berries and pomegranates, helpful to the immune system and in preventing some cancers.  Purple potatoes also have energy-rich properties, lots of vitamins, proteins, fiber and antioxidants.  They can help with your blood pressure and prevent blood clots as well.  Purple potatoes have been grown for hundreds of years in areas like Peru and Bolivia.

There are even recipes available for using these pretty little gems, including home-style green beans and purple potatoes, purple potatoes with caramelized onions and shiitake mushrooms, mashed purple potatoes, and roasted purple potatoes and cauliflower.