On the Fourth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me Four Calling Birds. Four Gospels calling the faithful to the Word of God and the life of Christ. No two gospels are exactly alike because each was written at a different point in time, from a different perspective.

It is only fitting that the 4th Day of Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Innocent share the same day. We all know the story from the Gospels of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. Many are familiar with the flight into Egypt and the slaughter of the children. The events are prophesized in the Old Testament. The Gospel of Matthew tells us of their fulfillments. The connection between the Feast and the Gospels are undeniable.

Although the actual date is unknown, on December 28 the church honors those children who were said to be massacred in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. These babies were the first true martyrs in Christ before Christianity was known to man. The story of Jesus is about the presence of God’s healing mercy in human history. His mercy entered into a world of conflict and exposes the violence of evil. Alongside the Nativity story and our joyful song that God is with us is heard another terrible song: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

When evil is allowed to rise to a position of power, it is the weak, the voiceless, the most innocent among us who suffer most. Yet one voice crying out can be heard and have a rippling impact. For it is that one voice that can grow to be many for the sake of our children. Children should never be allowed be used as Pons in any political struggle. Hate and division are taught, not born. Children should never be taught such ugliness. Not ever.

Family Feast of Innocence
Skillet Pork Chops with Sour Cream Gravy
Simple Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Herb Broccoli

National Chocolate Candy Day
Creamy Fancy Fudge

Skillet Pork Chops with Sour Cream Gravy
Pork Chops
4 (4 oz) boneless Pork Chops
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1-1/4 teaspoon fresh Thyme
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Strip thyme leaves from sprigs, finely mince and scatter over the pork chops. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add pork chops to the pan, sear each side until nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops from the pan; tent to keep warm. Make the gravy.

Creamy Gravy
3 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1-1/4 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-1/2 tablespoons Sour Cream
Parsley for garnish

Reduce the heat to medium low, add the butter to the skillet. Once melted, scatter flour over foaming butter; whisk to combine. Cook the roux mixture for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly

In a slow steady stream while whisking constantly, add chicken stock to the pan. Continue to whisk until smooth, and lump-free. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.

Let the gravy cook over medium-low heat about 3 minutes to thicken. Return the pork chops to the pan; turning to coat in the gravy.

Cover and let cook for about 9 minutes, until pork chops are cooked through. Remove from heat. Add sour cream to the gravy; stir to combine.

Mince a little parsley, scatter over the chops for that finishing touch of color.

Simple Buttery Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs Russet Potatoes
1/4 cup Milk
4 tablespoons Butter
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Peel potatoes, if desired. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large pot with just enough water to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle water with a little salt if desired.

Bring potatoes to a full boil. Lower heat to maintain a rolling boil without boiling over. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Drain well. Return potatoes to the pot, dry potatoes of excess moisture over low heat, about 2 minutes, shaking pan to keep potatoes from sticking.

Heat milk in the microwave or in a small pan. Add half of butter, one tablespoon at a time, blend until melted into the hot milk.  Set aside.

Using a masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Pour warm buttery milk over the potatoes. Whip until smooth. Transfer mashed potatoes to a serving bowl. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with a little coarse black pepper if desired. Serve and enjoy.

Garlic Herb Broccoli
6 cups fresh Broccoli Florets
3 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Herb Seasoning Blend
1 pinch Sea Salt
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper

In a Dutch oven, bring 1/2-inch of water to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover and cook for about 3-1/2 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain and return broccoli to the pan.

While the water is coming to a boil and the broccoli is cooking, peel and finely mince the garlic cloves, set aside until ready to use.

Once the broccoli has cooked, add minced garlic and olive oil to the pan. Toss to coat well. Season with Herb Seasoning Blend, salt and a little cayenne pepper. Toss and warm gently over low heat.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy.

Today is also National Chocolate Candy Day. Seems fitting enough – what child does not love chocolate candy? As a child, my father made the most amazing fudge from a recipe found on the side of a jar from Marshmallow Crème. It is so simple, so creamy and oh so chocolaty. Who could resist?

Creamy Fantasy Fudge
3 cups  Sugar
3/4 cup  Butter or margarine
1 small  (5 oz.) can Evaporated Milk
1 (12 oz) package Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
1 jar  (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Crème
1 cup  chopped Walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Lightly butter the foil.

Note: A 9-inch square pan will yield thick chunks of fudge. If a less thick piece of fudge is desired, use a 9 x 13-inch pan.

Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in 3-qt. saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 5 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234F, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate, stir until the chips have completely melted. Fold in marshmallow crème; continue to fold and stir until no streaks of marshmallow cream remain. Add nuts and vanilla; mix well.

POUR into prepared pan; spread to cover the pan completely. Work quickly as the fudge will set up in no time. Cool completely at room temperature.

Use foil handles to lift fudge from pan and transfer to a board. Peel off foil before cutting into squares.

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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