7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 90)

July 23, 2010 | 50 comments

— 1 —

Would somebody please tell me how to operate this newfangled internet thing? Because evidently I don’t know. This was impressed upon me when I checked Patrick Madrid‘s blog earlier this week to see a video of me on there. Umm…I didn’t realize that other people could see that. I’d created a Youtube account to post my blogging video, and I’d just uploaded this new one to get feedback from my husband and a couple friends. We decided that it was okay but not quite “there” yet (if nothing else, I mispronounced Peter Kreeft’s last name), so I didn’t publicize it. “I don’t need to delete it from my account, seeing as how nobody else can see it anyway!” I thought ominously.

This explains a lot, though. I kept getting emails from people with usernames like atheistpimp88 saying “U R VIDEO IS THE WORST CRAP IV EVR SEEN.. YOU SUCK!!!!!” but I thought that they were just anti-banana-suit. Now it makes more sense.

— 2 —

To summarize in case anyone’s not clear:

Video offering serious apologetics advice: did NOT mean to post
Video involving a banana suit: DID mean to post

— 3 —

This is one of the more random questions I’ve asked lately, but: What happened with Tertullian? I know I’m about 18 centuries late on this, but I’ve been wondering about that lately. I read some of his writing from around 200 and it seemed so solid — and funny! The smack-talking in Prescription of Heretics is priceless. Where did he go wrong?

UPDATE: I just came across this post, which has some interesting thoughts on the subject.


— 4 —

The other day my four-year-old daughter was walking like she was injured or something. All the kids were playing in the back yard, and she kept dragging around with her mouth hanging open, eyelids drooping, and a pained, half-dead look on her face. She was clearly imitating something, but we couldn’t figure out what it was. I guessed “drunk Frankenstein”; my husband was thinking “angry zombie.”

She answered the question for us when she turned to her sister and said, “Look! I’m ex-o-cising!” It turns out that she was thinking of the times she’s seen me come up the street while returning from jogging. (I told you I am not an exercise person!) My husband may never stop laughing about this.

— 5 —

One thing that has been surprisingly nice in the book-writing process is to change Word’s page-numbering format to include a prayer for each page. So here’s what my page numbers look like:

Whenever I see it, it really does remind me to say a quick prayer. (And, yeah, if there were a Venn diagram of with circles for “Catholic, ” “Writer” and “Nerd, ” this take would have to be right at the center.)

— 6 —

I’d been having trouble keeping up with my Liturgy of the Hours prayers, so I finally just got a subscription to the Magnificat. I love it! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Magnificat is a booklet that’s sent out each month that has brief morning and evening prayer for each day. It also includes daily Mass readings, biographies of saints, topics of reflection for spiritual growth, and a writeup about a classic work of art at the end of the issue. And for those of you with fancy phones, they also have an iPhone app now. (Alas, I presume there is nothing for my $30 Samsung flip phone.)

It is truly a delightful way to keep up with daily prayer. I highly recommend it!

— 7 —

What is your favorite potluck dish?I need to find some good, easy recipes to take to friends who have just had babies and some other folks who might be in need of an extra meal. Some preferences:

  • Not too spicy or exotic (needs to be kid-friendly)
  • Not terribly heavy on pasta or other processed carbs
  • Freezable
  • NO CILANTRO (for more on that, see #4 here)

I’d love to hear any suggestions! My current repertoire includes chili made with Wick Fowler spices, chicken rice broccoli casserole, and, uhh…hastily-given gift cards to local restaurants that deliver.

Below is a Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!



  1. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    We have a casserole we like with rice. It's rice (white or brown), frozen mixed veggies, cut up chicken, your favorite low sodium cream of soup water and then you melt cheese (low sodium if you want/can find it). My other suggestion would be to put boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot with cheddar cheese soup, salsa and low-sodium taco seasoning and let it ride and pair it with taco shells or use it as enchilada filler. My kids hate spicy and they love it (granted we use mild salsa).

  2. daisy

    Love my magnificat as well. My mom used to get it for me as a college student and back then, even though I was an eager Catholic, I still sucked at discipline and it mostly got unused, sadly. Now that I've matured a bit, I decided to try it again to use as a spark to reignite my spiritual life..and it was just the thing.

  3. Leah

    Hi Jen!

    Sorry you video leaked without your meaning to let it out, but I will say I enjoyed seeing it.

    As an atheist myself, I found the magic picture metaphor to be spot on. No matter which side of the divide you're on, it's easy to feel like you're trying to reason with crazy people. Thanks for the outreach.

    You might be amused by this cartoon which is also about Magic Pictures.

    –Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    P.S. This is a guide to making YouTube vids private. There are some sneaky ways to see part of a private video, but I think most people aren't going to put in that much effort for so little reward.

  4. Claire

    I will leave the internet advice to those who understand how the internet works. Me, I'm lucky when I can get a message to post. ;o) I am sorry you received such vicious replies. I am beginning to believe that anyone who treats us badly, is rude, etc..has been placed in our path so we can pray for them. I find it very hard to pray for these people, but God did tell us to pray for our enemies…"I'm trying Lord".

    Out of the mouths of 4 year olds. I'm still laughing over your daughter mimicking of you when you run.

    I love those page numbers. Wouldn't it be nice if the publisher would be able to do the same in your book?

    Lastly, thank you for the IPhone App to the Magnificat. The atmosphere at work has been horrible lately (need to pray for people) and I forgot my copy of, "Introduction to the Devout Life" (which I can also thank you for leading me to read). I needed something to remind me to pray and stay the course.

    Unfortunately, I do not have any favorite potluck recipes. I too am not fond of processed/carb dishes (well, they taste good, but I try not to eat them) and I have not yet found good recipes. I'll be interested in seeing what other readers provide for recipes.

    God Bless, Jen. Thank you for this blog.

  5. thefederalist

    About the "potluck meals": if you're going to provide a meal for someone after a baby or a surgery or some other distracting event, use disposable containers to deliver it. Save the recipient the added distraction of having to clean and return it, and you the hassle of wondering when you'll get it back.

  6. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    # 1,I completely understand about the computer frustration! I am a rookie at this internet gig. I just started my blog in May when I resigned from my job to become a full-time mother to our two pre-school daughters. I am still trying to figure it all out!

    #4, now that is something my five year old would do! I showed it to my husband and he laughed out loud. It has been so hot and humid in SE Virginia, we broke down and bought an elliptical off as Craigs List. I love it!

    #7,Slow-Cooked Country Ribs
    Preheat oven to 200 degree
    Cook for six hours

    Country-style pork ribs
    Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

    Line a 9 X 13 dish with aluminum foil. Place ribs and pour the sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Serve with streamed fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. My girls love this meal!

  7. Tami Boesiger

    #4 is priceless. I LOVE it!

  8. Babs

    Of all the worthy things you post that I could reply on, cilantro really gets my goat. Soon I expect to find it in ice cream and breakfast cereal. There seem to be no limit to the places it can pop up.

    wv: wartch. I need to wartch out for it when I eat out.

  9. The Sojourner

    Do you have a different patron saint for every page?

    I might have to ask St. Jude to adopt my novel…

  10. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    TOO funny, your daughter's imitation!
    Well hey, better active and half dead rather than sedentary, right?
    VERY quick main dish that looks nice too: Use Bisquick recipe mix for "drop biscuits" but add a little more mix and roll out like a long rectangle.

    Brown some bulk sausage (or just ground beef if sausage is too spicy for your tastes) and drain.

    Spread meat down the center of the dough and roll up as per a "jelly-roll". Tuck ends under to seal. Poke a few small slits in the top
    and bake at about 400* until golden brown.

    Include your favorite gravy and a side dish (salad and corn nicely).

    Note: Even though the roll is beef-filled, this tastes better with a light colored gravy. We often make "poor man's gravy" to go on top…4 T butter, melt…remove from heat…stir in 4 T flour …return to heat and slowly stir in 2 C of boiled water w/4 chicken bouillon cubes…bring to boil, stir, then lower heat and stir some more.

  11. Stephanie Y.

    I too have a Samsung flip phone that looks straight out of 2003. No shame.

    My favorite recipe as of late for the crock pot is this bean bake by Rachael Ray. It's super easy and the flavor is amazing. Plus it's really just beans, a little bacon and onions, so it's not bad for you either. And there's no cilantro.

  12. 'Becca

    The amazingly easy, nutritious, cheap Honey Baked Lentils are my answer to nearly every, "What should I cook?" question except, "What should I cook in this oppressively hot weather?" They can be baked in a disposable foil pan if you add a little extra water.

    When you are making new-mom meals on a hot day, one option is to make a lot of burritos, wrap them in waxed paper (which you can label, so you could make a variety of spicinesses), and freeze.

  13. Susan Thompson

    I recommended Magnificat in a comment to you quite a while ago. Ha! I knew you'd like it!

  14. Milehimama

    For potlucks, my mom ALWAYS bought some links of Hillshire farm sausage or polska kielbasa, cut it into 2 inch pieces, brushed with BBQ sauce and broiled. Then she made us kids stick a toothpick in each piece.

    The plate was alwasys empty when we brought it home.

    Little meatballs in some kind of sauce are always a hit, too.

  15. Maggie Dee

    Your daughter imitating you made me laugh out loud. When I was a kid we use to laugh at my Mom exercising. Now my kids are laughing at me punching imaginary people while doing TaeBo. 🙂

    We received a Magnificat when our family converted this past Easter. I loved it! Now I know what I want for my birthday this year, a subscription. Thanks!

  16. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Okay, so I messed up my link entry. I, Christine at Domestic Vocation, who cannot follow simple directions, am the one responsible for the "What I Did on My Summer Vacation."

    Sorry, Jen. I'll try to pay attention next time.

  17. Monica

    Loved the venn diagram reference. Very funny!

  18. Dakotapam

    We Lutherans have a similar publication called Treasury of Daily Prayer and an iPhone app called Let's Pray. Also wonderful, and my day goes better when I remember to actually USE it!

  19. Famous J

    You're already inundated with casserole suggestions, but here's another one: King Ranch Chicken


    We usually make the "Old School" version. For the chicken, we get one of those rotisserie birds they seem to have in all grocery stores these days. Freezes very well, not too terribly carb heavy.

    The fancy-pants version could give you ideas for improvement, but we've gotten rave reviews on the plain version.

  20. Katie Alender

    LOL about your daughter!

    Okay, two words for you: treadmill desk. I just rigged mine up this week and I've walked about 20 miles since Sunday. The perfect exercise option for the writer/blogger/internet addict who hates going outside. Or leaving the computer.

    Perhaps a treadmill will (metaphorically) fall from the sky!

  21. Missus Wookie

    #7 I do a pasta casserole that gets rave reviews and is good hot, warm and cold 🙂

    Big bag Pasta
    Broccoli florets
    jar marinaded in herb/oil artichoke hearts
    protein in chunks – haloumi cheese you've diced and dry fried briefly to just brown, cold chicken/turkey,
    drained tinned salmon broken up into smaller flakes/chunks.
    other things you've got that you think would go well…

    such as
    sliced cherry tomatoes with any
    green beans as well as broccoli
    leftover bacon crumbled in with the chicken
    olives with the haloumi
    parsley sprinkled over the top

    Boil small spirals or similar sized fork easy pasta as usually people don't want to twirl with paper plates for some reason – if I'm doing this at home I do use long noodles.

    While that is boiling, steam broccoli florets cut into bite sized chunks (Or toss into pasta water for the last few minutes).

    Drain pasta keeping a cup of water in case you need it for the sauce.

    Tip in the broccoli, the jar of marinaded artichoke hearts, the protein chunks and mix together. Depending on the amount of oil in the jar you might need a bit of water to coat all noodles.

    This tastes good the next day too.

  22. Elizabeth@GoodnessAdded

    I really liked your video Jennifer. Funny though when I was watching it I assumed you were right and thought to myself "Oh, is that how you say Peter Kreeft's name. I have saying it wrong". I am sure he appreciates you liking his work anyway.

  23. Liesl

    I love Magnificat! Our priest orders them for us for our Bible Study, and I love having it at daily Mass and to just have some guided prayer and reflection throughout the day. I really love the saint biographies! So glad you got a subscription!

  24. Anonymous

    Here's my new "I'm so good at delivering meals I even include a dessert" dessert:

    (Make in a disposable pan if you need. I make it in a pie dish that's about 10" in diameter. Cook it a bit longer and it's more like a slice (can't remember the US for that word).

    2 peeled and chopped apples
    2 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup SR flour
    2teaspoons vanilla or lemon juice

    Mix dry, add wet, stir, add apple.
    That's it.

    350 for 25 minutes. If you want a more cakey texture turn off the oven and leave it for five or ten.

    This is so easy I let my kids help… And you can substitute blueberries or whatever you think.

    Took me longer to type this than to make it.


  25. Amity

    My favorite meal to take to new moms: a big pot of hippocrates soup, chunky instead of pureed and with the addition of lots of cut-up chicken, a loaf of sliced whole wheat bread, and a bag of oranges or apples. Google it – it is an excellent healing soup, delicious, fast to make, and easily customizable to different palates and budgets.

  26. Anonymous

    two recipes –
    crustless quiche (Swiss cheese with spinach OR Cheddar with broccoli OR Cheddar with cauliflower). Make as you usually would, but pour the mixture directly into a (disposable) foil pan that you've sprayed with cooking spray rather than a pastry crust. After it's backed, let it cool, cover w/foil and freeze.

    The other is DEElicious and a family favourite during the cold months. "Sausage-Sweet Potato Bake" from the "More-with-Less Cookbook" published by the Mennonite Central Committee, 1976.

    Brown in skillet: 1 # bulk (pork) sausage, break up large pieces and drain off fat. (We like the addition of sliced onions cooked with the meat.)

    In a 2 qt. casserole (or disposable foil pan)arrange:
    2 medium raw sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
    3 medium apples, peeled and sliced (I usually keep the peel on the apples)
    sausage/onion mixture

    Combine (I mix this in a jar by shaking & getting no lumps) and pour over:
    2 T. sugar
    1 T. flour
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt (I don't add this)
    1/2 cup water

    Cover and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes until potatoes and apples are tender. Serves 4-6 and is GREAT as leftovers.

    (A note in the cookbook says you can use canned sweet potatoes, but I've never done that.)

    You may want to make two recipes, because your family will want to eat this when they smell it baking. 🙂


  27. Julia

    Hotdog cornbread.

    Mix a double batch of cornbread, using a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to sweeten. Add one box frozen corn. Chop up one pound of hot dogs. Bake.

    This is ridiculously popular and easy. Tastes like corn dogs but with no work!

  28. Kris Livovich

    We take over baked potatoes. You bake enough for two per person in the family, and include just about every topping you can think of. Our family enjoys: cheese, cream, peas, chopped ham or cooked mexican chorizo, black beans, chopped tomatoes and lettuce just to name a few. The kids love making their own potato and the adults have leftovers for the next meal.

  29. Emily

    I LOVE Magnificat. It was so instrumental in me discovering my vocation! And some days when I don't have time to say the full office it's so handy. Just LOVE, LOVE it. I wish it was in all the pews instead of the missalette things.

  30. Gina

    I love the page numbering idea!

  31. abroadermark

    I've been telling the story of your daughter "ex-o-cising" to all my friends. So funny!!

  32. Robyn B. @Leave the Lights On

    Dude, you live in Texas, so you need to put tacos on your list. And in Texas, apparently, tacos always have soft flour tortillas, always contain either ground beef or scrambled eggs (the latter are called "breakfast tacos" and are apparently only eaten at actual breakfast time), and are always served with tomato salsa. (I moved from a place with just as many Mexican people, but apparently from a different culinary part of Mexico because the above description of tacos was foreign to me when I got here. Where I'm from, tacos usually have hard shells and can contain almost any meat, but never eggs. Instead, you get your scrambled eggs in a breakfast burrito, preferably smothered in pork green chili. And you can get a breakfast burrito at any time of day or night.)

  33. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    Jen, You're the only one in the world who makes me belly laugh at 1:00 am. 🙂

    I have an easy tasty super kid-friendly recipe that I like to take to families with new babies: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/02/easy-chicken-recipe-better-than-chicken.html

    I usually also take some oven baked potatoes and a fruit or veggie to go with it. (And usually cookies, too.)

    p.s. Still can't believe you're writing for ENVOY!!! It's THE best Catholic magazine around!!!

  34. Holly

    I linked with your Linky thing and accidentally linked it to my main blog. Is that going to cause a problem? I even spelled the name of my blog wrong. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I'll try again next week…maybe 🙂

    Scattering Agates (A.K.A. Agages)

  35. Anonymous

    Some casseroles are nice and comforting and some are a very scary combination of high-sodium ingredients. One other thing you might consider is a trip to Trader Joe's. Their frozen pasta dishes are really good, often have vegetables and can be sauteed in 7 minutes. A couple of those and a bagged broccoli coleslaw gives a new Mom more options.

  36. a consecrated virgin

    Interesting link about Tertullian—he was brilliant (and also VERY funny at times), but he really is a tragic figure in a number of ways. I don’t mean this unkindly, but I always think of Tertullian when I meet “ultra-conservative” Catholics who tend not to trust the bishops to lead the Church properly, or who regularly attribute the worst of motives to the clergy in general, or who would rather miss Mass than attend a liturgy with music that doesn’t meet their aesthetic standards, ect. In my mind, Tertullian’s life serves as a cautionary tale of the danger of adhering to any strict “orthodoxy” which would us against the visible Church that Christ founded.

    Incidentally, Tertullian was one of the few Church Fathers whom we know didn’t believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. When Mary’s perpetual virginity became sort of a hot issue later on in the fourth century, the writer Helvidius appealed to Tertullian to support his argument that after the birth Jesus Mary had other children the normal way. However, St. Jerome felt comfortable summarily dismissing Helvidius on this particular point, simply because of the fact that Tertullian died outside of the Church.

    Re. potluck dishes:

    My mom’s favorite potluck “recipe” is simply making a plate of oranges cut into wedges. It’s simple, easy, healthy, and kids love it.

  37. Anonymous

    I used to make up a bunch of breakfast burritos and freeze them. It's easy – eggs, cheese, sausage, hash browns with a little picante sauce on top. Roll up in a flour tortilla, wrap and freeze. They can be taken out at any time and reheated in the microwave or oven.

    Jen G

  38. Catholic Poet

    I just subscribed to Magnificat — for both myself and my husband. I first found an old copy at Goodwill, of all places, and fell in love with the beautiful cover art and rich content. I am counting down the days until Aug. 1 when I can actually start using it.

  39. Peter and Nancy

    Melt sandwiches and a green salad or fruit salad are my go-to meal. If I know there are also kids in the home, I will do fruit kebabs on wooden skewers — they love it!

    You can use healthy wheat breads or rolls, and pop some turkey or ham, along with swiss or cheddar cheese inside. Wrap them individualy in foil and bake until they're warmed through — the foil allows the new mom to throw them in the fridge to heat up later, if needed. If it's a big family, you can do a long loaf of bread (or two!) and leave it to the parents to cut it up into the appropriate-sized sandwiches for their kids.

    For vegetarians, I make pesto-tomato-mozzerella melts. Yum!

  40. Elizabeth Mahlou

    I think the idea of a prayer per page is marvelous! (It will be hard to typeset, though, unless you put it into the footer, because typewritten pages and typeset pages are of differing lengths.)

  41. Catherine

    Probably too late on this one, but my fav potluck dish is chicken drumsticks (baked or fried).
    They're fairly cheap, and potlucks tend to be low on main dishes/meats so they always get gobbled up 😀

  42. Monika

    The only casserole I make is the "Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust" from Veganomicon. I don't want to post the entire recipe since it's a book, but basically it's sauteed cauliflower, mushrooms, leeks and carrots in a white sauce with tarragon, thyme and marjoram; covered with a pie crust with chopped olives. I make it unvegan by using regular milk and butter instead of soy milk and margarine, and it's so, so good.

  43. Mommy, M.D.

    One of my favorites is chicken enchiladas. It keeps and reheats well. Burrito Pie is always a hit.

    For dessert I sometimes take an ice cream pie. Put almost a whole package of Oreos (Or Cameos, or shortcake cookies, or graham crackers) in the food processor and make crumbs. Mix with some melted butter and bake 10 minutes or so, until it sets up a bit. Stir some softened ice cream a bit to make it smooth, fill the crust with the ice cream, and freeze. I like cookies and cream with oreo crust, dulce de leche with cameo crust, strawberry with shortcake crust, or chocolate with oreo crust. you really can't go wrong.

  44. Courageous Grace

    Asparagus Egg Bake (my MIL's recipe). Layer canned asparagus, sliced hard boiled eggs, and thick white sauce w/ cheese, repeat, then top with cracker crumbs mixed w/ a little butter.

    We use canned asparagus because fresh is just a bit too crunchy for this dish.

    Cook @ 350 for 30 minutes.

  45. cathie

    Easy dish that most everyone loves.

    Slider Casserole

    1 pkgs flat crescent roll sheets
    1 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef
    1 pkg onion soup mix
    2 cups shredded cheddar

    Heat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13 pan with non stick spray. Line with layer of crescent roll dough. Brown ground beef, rinse, then stir in dry onion soup mix until flavors are melded.
    Top crescent roll dough with ground beef mixture. Then, top mixture with layer of cheese, then pickles, then mustard, then ketchup. Finally, place the final layer of crescent dough on top.
    Bake about one half hour until dough browns a little.

  46. Melissa

    Haha to your number four…reminds me of a couple weeks ago (when my new baby was still on the inside) when my 3-year-old son waddled side-to-side down the hallway, then turned back to announce, "I'm walking like I have a baby in my tummy!"

  47. Anonymous

    Dream Dinners has a book has great freezable recipes. They're similar to Once A Month cooking, but without the cooking. You just assemble the meals.

    Swiss Chicken is my favorite.


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