Recipes for Christmas

Denver Catholic Staff

Looking for a new festive snack to try this year? We’ve got you covered! Here are three of our favorite, easy-to-make recipes as chosen and shared by some of our staff. 

Italian Knot Cookies

6 eggs 
1 ½ cups of sugar 
2 sticks butter 
½ cups orange juice 
1 tsp. Vanilla 
1-2 tbsp. orange rind/zest 
5 tbsp. baking powder 
6 cups flour

Mix baking powder with flour and set aside.

Beat all other ingredients together. Fold in flour mixture. 

Roll into “worms” with hands and tie into a simple knot. 

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Once cookies have cooled, mix warm water and powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frosting should spoon easily onto cookies, and top with nonpareils before the frosting dries 


1 ½ cups of water 
½ cinnamon stick  
2 oz. of “piloncillo” or ½ cup of brown sugar  
3 cups of milk 
1 tablet (3 oz.) of Nestle’s Mexican Hot Chocolate “Abuelita” 
¾ cup of Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour 

Add ½ of cinnamon stick and the brown sugar (or piloncillo) to 1 cup of water in a saucepan and set to low/medium heat.  

Allow to simmer until the piloncillo or sugar has melted, then add 3 cups of milk.  

Before the milk starts boiling, add the Mexican chocolate tablet and allow a few minutes to dissolve, stirring from time to time.  

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl pour ½ cup of water and mix with the Maseca corn flour until you get a very creamy mixture.  

Once the chocolate has completely dissolved, slowly pour the corn flour mixture into the saucepan while stirring, to make sure there are no clumps.

Turn the heat to medium-high until the Champurrado starts boiling then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, stirring constantly.   

After boiling for approximately 20 minutes and achieving a thick texture, remove from heat and let it cool slightly. You can enjoy your Champurrado hot or at room temperature! 

Festive Pesto Spread  

12 7 oz. containers of store-bought pesto with basil (Buitoni is best because some other brands are too thick and the consistency will need some extra olive oil.) 
6-8 Roma tomatoes (depending on size) 
1 5 oz. container of shredded parmesan cheese 
1 Baguette 

Empty the pesto containers into a mixing bowl that you can cover later and put in the fridge. 

Dice tomatoes into pieces no bigger than the tip of your pinky finger. Be sure to remove seeds of the tomatoes before dicing. Combine tomatoes into the bowl. 

Pour about half of the container of parmesan cheese into the same mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients together with a spoon. 

Add more cheese or tomatoes as needed so all three ingredients seem evenly proportioned.  

For best results, cover the spread and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Just before serving, slice the baguette on the diagonal into ¼ -inch to ½ – inch thick slices. 

Serve bread next to your pesto spread and include a condiment spreading knife for guests to spread the portion they want on their slice of baguette. (Bring extra spread. You will likely need to refill the serving dish.) 

COMING UP: Five tips for reading the Word of God

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Sunday, Jan. 24 marks “The Sunday of the Word of God,” instituted by Pope Francis last year and to be held every year on the third Sunday of Ordinary Time. This may strike us as odd, as we might think to ourselves, “but isn’t the Bible read at every Sunday Mass?” Certainly so. Not only that, but every daily celebration of the Mass proclaims the Word of God.

What’s different about “The Sunday of the Word of God,” however, is that it’s not just about hearing the Bible read on Sundays. As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notes, it “reminds us, pastors and faithful alike, of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the word of God and the liturgy: ‘As Christians, we are one people, making our pilgrim way through history, sustained by the Lord, present in our midst, who speaks to us and nourishes us. A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the Risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. For this reason, we need to develop a closer relationship with Sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, inflicted as we are by so many forms of blindness.’” This gives us a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on the Sacred Scriptures. 

There are two means by which God Divinely reveals truths to us: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. As such, the Bible is not merely a human document, nor simply a collection of amazing stories that call us to do heroic things, or a collection of wise sayings. Rather, the Scriptures are “inspired.” St. Paul has a beautiful teaching about this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” By “inspired” we mean that God is the principle author of the Bible.

Certainly there were different men who physically wrote the words on the papyrus. Yet these men were influenced by the grace of inspiration to write, not just their own words, but God’s. And so the Scriptures are a mysterious congruence of Divine and human authorship – the human writers capably made full use of language, literary forms, creativity, and writing style to communicate their message, yet they did so under the grace of Divine inspiration. This means that while they wrote in such a way that they had full freedom to write as they wanted, what they wrote was also, “to a tee,” exactly as God wanted written. God is the principle author of the Bible, the human author its secondary writer. Such inspiration is how, despite the various human authors, events, and historical and cultural contexts behind the 73 Biblical texts, we’re still left with only one story since they all have the same one primary author. 

Given that the Bible is the written word of God, I’d like to offer a few “tips” for reading the Bible, since it certainly cannot be read like any other text. 

1. Pray! We must pray before opening the Scriptures for enlightenment from God. We must pray after reading in thanksgiving to God. And we must pray throughout reading in order to encounter God in Scripture and apply it to our life. Of course, the tried and trusted practice of praying the Scriptures is Lectio DivinaThe Ladder of Monks by Guigo II is the ancient resource for Lectio Divina, while a helpful book to get you started is Dr. Tim Gray’s Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina

2. Remember that you are in no rush. The important point is encountering Christ in the Scriptures, not racing through them. Speed reading isn’t reading, after all, much less when applied to the Word of God. It’s not about getting through the Bible, but encountering Christ therein. That may be a few chapters at a time or may actually be only one verse that you pray with. Whatever the case, slow and steady wins the race, as Aesop reminds us. 

3. We have to read the Scriptures regularly, daily if possible. We read in Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Meditating day and night. A good way to start would be to read one Psalm a night as a part of your nightly prayer. Ever better would be praying that one Psalm with your spouse, if married. 

4. Do not worry about starting on page one and reading from cover to cover. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the text. We all know about Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Moses and the Plagues. But how many understand animal sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus or its purity laws? It’s very easy, starting from page one and flipping straight through, to lose sight of the story of salvation history. Start from page one if you’d like, but don’t feel like you can’t start with whatever book (especially the Gospels) that you find yourself drawn to. 

5. Come take classes with the Denver Catholic Biblical School! In chapter eight of the Book of Acts, we read of an Ethiopian Eunuch reading from the Prophet Isaiah. When the Deacon Philip asks him if he understands what he’s reading, the Eunuch responds, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” This is what we at the Biblical School are here for – to guide you in your encounter with Christ in the Sacred Scriptures. We’re in the middle of our Scripture classes already for this year, but we always start new classes in the fall every September. And in the meantime, we have plenty of things still coming for this year – a class on Catholic Social Teaching that begins on Jan. 27 a lecture series for Lent that starts on March 1, a conference on the Sacred Heart being offered on May 15 and Aug. 28, and a six-week class on St. Joseph in the summer starting in July. We have something for everybody – just reach out to us!