Advent, Joy and Our Lady

On this the third Sunday of Advent, we are filled with Joy and the coming of the Lord. This is a turning point, as we light the Shepherd’s Candle and recall the great joy they must have felt when hearing the angels announce that the savior was born.

On the first and second Sundays of Advent, our focus was on Bethlehem and preparation for the birth of Christ. On the third Sunday, we turn to the future, to the promise of His second coming and our joyful anticipation. The spirit of the liturgy throughout Advent is one of expectation and preparation for Christmas and His Triumphed Return. On this Sunday we are filled with the same joy as the shepherds on that perfect night.

In 2014 Pope Francis reaffirmed the third Sunday as the Sunday of Joy. He urged the faithful not to fret about all they still haven’t done to prepare for Christmas, but to instead be filled with the joy of the season and all the good things life has given us. These are not be material possessions, they are spiritual blessings. Joy is not happiness. Happiness depends on external conditions, joy does not. Joy can be present even in the midst of sadness, pain and suffering. We are reminded that we have a choice. Let the struggles of life steal our joy or rejoice in the knowledge that we are loved.

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Lamb of God
Let Yours blessings come upon us
As we light the candles of this Advent wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a symbol
Of Christ’s promise of eternal salvation.

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Light the first Purple Candle (Hope)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
In the darkness and in the light, Holy is Your Name.
We place our hope in you, Oh Lord,
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Lord

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Light the second Purple Candle (Peace)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord; God of all creation.
Let your light shine on those who dwell in darkness.
Let the earth receive her King
And fill our hearts with Your everlasting peace

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Light the Pink Candle (Joy)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord; God of all creation.
Let our heats be glad as we wait in joyful hope
For the coming of our Lord
Give us a heart, O Lord, that seeks You always

Response: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Today is also the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531 in a small village near Mexico City a middle-aged man named Juan Diego was on his way to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady. It was then that a woman dressed as an Aztec princess appeared to him. She told Juan to tell the bishop to build a chapel in the place where she stood. At first the Bishop resisted, saying he wanted proof that the woman was in fact Our Lady. Juan returned to the lady, and requested a sign. She agreed, instructing Juan to fill his cloak with roses that had somehow bloomed in the snow and bring them to the Bishop.

Juan did has he was instructed. On December 12, 1531 Juan was granted a second audience with the Bishop. When Juan opened his cloak, hundreds of roses fell to the floor. The Bishop sank to his knees when he saw that inside the cloak was an image of Mary. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

To celebrate the third Sunday of Advent and in honor of our Lady of Guadalupe, this delicious meal seemed perfect. May God be with you always. Enjoy!

Skirt Steak Tampiqueña Platter
Spicy Broiled Skirt Steak
Cheese Enchilada Verde
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
Refried Beans
Spicy Guacamole
Pico de Gallo

Skirt Steak Tampiqueña Platter
Verde Sauce
3 fresh Tomatillos
1 Garlic Cloves
1/4 whole White Onion
2 Jalapeño Peppers
Salt to taste
Olive Oil as needed
1/3 cup Mexican Crema
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Celery Salt

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil. Place the Tomatillos, onion and Jalapeño in the heated pan for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and continue cooking until the Tomatillos are slightly browned.

Place the Tomatillos mixture into a blender. Season with salt. Blend until smooth.

Empty mixture into a small bowl. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with Celery Seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: If fresh Tomatillos aren’t available, it’s okay to use commercial Tomatillo Salsa Verde. Taste the salsa, and doctor as needed to bring a brightness in flavor with more spices or peppers.

Spicy Broiled Steak
5 tablespoons Hot Chili Sauce
2-1/2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoons Salt
1-1/2 lbs Skirt Steak

In a small bowl, combine the chili sauce, lime juice, pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.

Line a broiler pan with foil. Place skirt steak on pan and brush the steak with the chili sauce mixture on one side. Turn the steak over and lightly brush the other side. Let rest on the counter for about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the steak soaks in the spices prepare touches for serving the Tampiqueña. When ready, finish the steaks.

Heat broiler. Broil steak about  6 inches from the heat, for about 3 minutes. Turn the steak over and brush with additional chili mixture. Continue to broil another 2 minutes or until done to your liking.

Remove steak from broiler. Tent and let meat stand for 5 minutes before serving.

For Serving Tampiqueña
8 Flour Tortillas
1 Lime
4 whole Pickled Jalapeño Peppers
1/2 whole Yellow Onion
1/2 cup Queso Fresco, Cotija or other Mexican Cheese, crumbled

On a flat griddle warm tortillas. Keep warm in tortilla warmer until ready to serve.

Cut lime into wedges. Set aside until ready to use. Slice half on an onion into thin rings. In a small, dry pan, lightly roast Jalapeño Peppers along with the onion rings. Shake pan for even browning. Hold in pan off heat until ready to serve.

Crumble cheese into a small bowl. Cover and set aside.

When the steak is ready to serve, top steak with the grilled onions, then drizzle some of the Salsa Verde mixture. Place steak on a large oval serving platter. Garnish the serving platter with limes and jalapeno. Serve alongside warm tortillas, remaining Salsa Verde mixture and crumbled cheese. The steak can be topped any way you like or wrapped in the warm tortillas like a burrito.

Cheese Enchilada Verde
1-1/2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
2-1/2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Queso Fresco, Cotija or other Mexican Cheese, crumbled
1 can Green Enchilada Sauce
8 Corn Tortillas
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses. Moisten with a little enchilada sauce to help bind the cheeses together. Set aside.

Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce into a casserole dish, just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Warm tortillas to make rolling easier. Spray a griddle pan with a little cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Brush tortilla with Enchilada Sauce. Place brushed side down on warm pan. Brush top with Enchilada Sauce. Flip over and heat until soft and playable. Remove from pan. Stack tortillas on a plate until ready to fill.

Place about 1/2 cup cheese down the center of each tortilla. Fold/roll to hold cheese in place. Place filled enchiladas, seem side down, in the prepared casserole dish. Pour sauce over enchiladas to moisten top.

Bake in the oven until cheese has melted and everything is heated through, about 10 minutes. If desired, immediately sprinkle some shredded jack cheese over enchiladas and allow the residual heat to melt the cheese.

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 cup White Rice, Long Grain
2 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Spicy Tomato Juice
Salt to taste

In a deep-sided skillet over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Once foamy add rice. Stir continuously until rice starts to turn a light golden color.

Add chicken stock, tomato juice and salt to taste. Stir to blend.

Cover skillet, lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.

Fluff rice just before serving.

Super Easy Mexican Refried Beans
1 can Refried Beans
1 tablespoon Bacon Drippings
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning

Heat a small amount of bacon dripping in a skillet over medium heat. Spread refried beans out in the skillet, reduce heat to low heat.  Stir and season, cook until hot. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Spicy Guacamole
8 oz Guacamole
1 Roma Tomato
1/2 Red Onion
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 Serrano Pepper
1 Lime, juiced
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste

Spoon guacamole into a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Seed and mince Jalapeño and Serrano peppers. Mince red onion, set aside. Seed and dice tomato. Add peppers, onion and tomato to the guacamole. Slice lime in half, squeeze juice over guacamole.. Season with cumin, chipotle chili, Cayenne and a little salt. Stir to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

1 Roma Tomato
1 Jalapeño Pepper

Chop tomatoes and slice Jalapeño. Wrap and set aside.

When ready to serve, sprinkle top with chopped tomatoes and a few Jalapeño slices.

Homemade Pico de Gallo
6 large Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
3 Jalapeño Peppers, chopped
2 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Lime, juice only
Salt to taste

Cut tomato in half lengthwise, rinse out the seeds and pat dry with a paper towel. Dice tomatoes and place in a large, non-reactive bowl.

Cut half of a red onion into nice pieces. Add to bowl with tomatoes. If desired, add more onion based on your personal tastes.

Rinse a handful of cilantro including stems. Pat dry with paper towels. Chop most of the cilantro, retaining a few leaves to garnish finished dish if serving as a dip.

Cut stem-end from the Jalapeño Peppers and discard. Split peppers lengthwise, exposing the membrane and seeds. Remove if mild Pico de Gallo is desired. For truly spicy salsa, keep some or all of the seeds. Dice peppers and add to the bowl.

Peel and finely mince garlic cloves. Add to the tomato bowl.

Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the mixture. Combine all the ingredients. Let sit for at least 1 hour for natural flavors to develop. Taste and salt as needed.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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