Because He’s Worthy

I pulled into the garage, parked the car, and nearly collapsed into hysterical laughter. “How was Mass?” My husband asked. Then, seeing me draped over the steering wheel, he said, “well, at least you can laugh about it…”

It was our daughter’s name day, and our nearby parish (we attend two different Catholic churches; one is close, and one farther away) had an evening Mass after dinner time. My husband had to cut the grass, so I thought perhaps the girls and I could spend some time with Jesus.
Ohhhhh boy did that turn out differently than I expected. It started when, instead of being 10 minutes late, we were actually 20 minutes EARLY. No problem, I thought. Daily Mass is usually pretty quick, and we have plenty of books to occupy the toddler.
Well…today books could not hold her attention. We had everything from attempted nakedness (thankfully I stopped her!) to poorly-chosen toys crashing loudly to the floor and BOTH girls screaming simultaneously. The toddler also thought it would be a great idea to redecorate the pews with the tape that was supposed to indicate which seats were closed off for social distancing purposes. “Rosie. STOP.” I hissed over and over again, missing most of the lovely sermon and desperately trying to keep my mind on Jesus. The kicker came when, shortly before the Consecration (the most important part of the whole Mass), she slipped off the kneeler and fell, biting her lip in the process.
You already know what happened next. Great wailing and gnashing of teeth, and my dragging the crying toddler into the vestibule (like the entryway) with the baby on my front in the Ergo carrier. We had to stay out there (though thankfully the doors were open!) through the Consecration until it was time for Communion. What is the POINT?! I thought self-pityingly, looking at Jesus. I can’t pray, I can’t stay focused, when they ARE quiet for all of 30 seconds, my mind starts wandering…Why do this, especially when it’s not a Sunday? Why not just leave right now?
Then I realized that the reason has nothing to do with me and my perception of whether we’re having a “good Mass” or not. Rather, it’s because He’s worthy. As a Catholic Christian, if I believe that God loves me so much that He died on the Cross for me, and that He comes down from Heaven every day under the appearances of bread and wine, if I believe He is closer to me than I am to myself…then the only thing that matters is doing what my loving Father asks of me, because I want to love Him. HE is the reason. Had I packed up and left early, I would have missed receiving Jesus, and also the very kind help of a young lady who spent the whole of Mass after Communion (her first opportunity in months!) walking the now-loopy toddler around the vestibule so I could have some quiet prayer time. What a grace.
Of course, we headed straight home, and everyone went to bed pretty quickly; I don’t pretend it wasn’t stressful, and didn’t feel completely insane. Of course, I won’t be taking both girls to daily Mass every day, especially when I know that they or I need more sleep, or are sick.
Nevertheless, we will keep going when we can, and my husband and I will keep trying to bring up our children to love God.
I remember hearing a story about an elderly Jewish man who belonged to a particular branch of Judaism that denied the immortality of the soul. Despite believing that his soul would cease to exist upon his death, the man was a devout practitioner of his faith, and did his best to keep the Mosaic law. One day, someone asked him “why? Why do this if eternity does not await you?” The devout man replied, “because He’s worthy.”
Indeed, God is worthy. Even when everybody is screaming.

A Storied Recipe

  1. It seems to me that, for those who cook at home, some recipes seem to “grow” stories. That is, for my family at least, some recipes are not just random things pulled from a cookbook or from the Internet. Whenever I make particular dishes for someone new, I must tell the story of this dish: where it originated, memorable times when it was attempted and served, and important events surrounding said dish. “Pamperedchefbraid” is one of those meals.
  2. This particular recipe has been adapted from an original one given to my sister and me when we were girls. Allow me to explain: Around the time we were 10-12, we were part of a library club called Girls with Entrepreneurial Minds and Spirits, or GEMS, (why yes, we were homeschooled–why do you ask? 😉 ) and the goal of this club was to encourage young girls who wanted to start their own businesses. Once a month, a local women who owned her own business would come give a presentation on her particular field, challenges she faced, etc. One month, the guest presenter was a consultant for a kitchenware-based MLM. I remember nothing of that meeting except making and taking home the recipe for a fancy-looking chicken-filled pastry of sorts. Guess who had a short attention span even then…
  3. The dish was actually really tasty, so my mom decided to recreate it at home. Originally, the recipe called for about 27 different kitchen gadgets, along with the ingredients, and was made with prepackaged crescent rolls.
  4. Now, for those of you who know my mother, you know that her food motto (and now mine, too) is “can I make it myself to make it cheaper/healthier?” Thus entered the swap of homemade pizza dough for the crescent rolls. There is also a distinct lack of gadgets (aside from a knife and a pizza cutter) in this adaptation. #largefamilylife #whostolethecheesegrater?
  5. We decided we liked my mom’s simplified version better than the original, and so it went into our meal rotation, known simply as “pamperedchefbraid.” Yes, all one word, because 3 year olds.
  6. Fast forward about 15 years, and I had met Mr. Underhill, the man who is now my husband. At this point in our courtship, we were beginning to talk of the future and, since he is Polish, I realized that the best way to his heart would be through his stomach. Thus, the first time he came to dinner, I made this for him. He didn’t exactly propose to me on the spot, but let’s just say that, 3 years and 2 children into our marriage, I still make this about once a month. It’s tasty, looks impressive, is actually pretty easy, and is good for using up little bits of things in the fridge. Without further ado, here it is.
  7. “Chicken and broccoli braid”:

Ingredients:

1 pizza’s worth of homemade pizza dough, or half a loaf’s worth of bread dough. I like sourdough pizza crust.

1/2 c. Of mayonnaise (I like avocado oil mayo for nourishing fats)

1 c. Of shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

At least 1/2 c. Of shredded cooked chicken

About 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables, whatever you have. If using peas, they can be frozen.

1-2 cloves of minced garlic, or 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder

Mix together all ingredients except for pizza dough. Roll out dough on GREASED baking sheet or pizza stone. Dough should be in a rectangle about the thickness of thin crust pizza. Short edges should be at top and bottom. Spread filling mixture over middle third of dough, lengthwise. Filling should be spread to each end of dough. It should look like you have a vertical column of filling. Then, using a pizza cutter, cut left and right edges of dough into fringe worthy of Dr. Quinn’s jacket. Starting at one end of the dough, fold one strip from each side to the middle so they overlap. Repeat down the sides of the dough. Pattern will look like a braid. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Please let me know if the directions make sense! I can always add pictures.

Linking up with Kelly. 🙂