Happy Friday, friends! Today is Mother Teresa's birthday! She's set to be canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta on September 4, so this morning I teamed up with my good friend Chantal (of Shining Light Dolls fame) to throw an epic Indian-themed party! We've got a fledgling group of Catholic moms in Chicago (sound like you? join us!) that started online and is growing fast, and we had yet to plan a get-together, so this was a wonderful opportunity to meet some new people. It was actually pretty easy to put together, and I've got lots of ideas to help you start planning yours. What better way to add to the festivity of a long weekend at the end of summer than to celebrate a new Saint?
Agnes Bojaxhiu was born into a Catholic family in Yugoslavia in 1910. At 18, she joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin and took the name Teresa, in honor of St. Thérese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila. She was sent to India and worked as a school teacher. Later, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, an order which became known throughout the world for its work to help the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003.
A new Saint Teresa Shining Light Doll is also being released just in time for the canonization, so each child at our party received a doll, as well as a copy of Chantal's fantastic new book, Saints on the Go, which features Saint Teresa (among many others)! Would you like one for your child? We're giving away 3, so enter at the bottom of this post to win!
It was a beautiful day, so in addition to the things listed below, we had a lot of end-of-summer fun in the back yard, and a big baby party in the living room.
On to party planning! This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be.
- Marigolds are a symbol of celebration in India, so why not craft your own out of pipe cleaners and tissue paper?
- Easy as can be: print a coloring sheet (scroll down for a printable!) and provide crayons and colored pencils!
- Pray together! Mother Teresa would love it. We used the simple, short prayer from the novena to St. Teresa here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/mother-teresa-novena/
Food and Drinks:
- If you have an Indian grocery or bakery anywhere near you, you can pick up beautiful traditional desserts, as well as snacks and other things from their frozen section.
- Mango Lassi - Like a milkshake. Easy, kid friendly, and healthy!
- Classic Samosas - Want a little challenge? Make these from scratch (we opted for frozen to save time)!
- Indian-spiced Hummus, with slices of naan (I found it at Costco!) and raw veggies for dipping.
- Chai tea with milk and honey (decaf for kids, great iced or hot).
- Mango lemonade and/or pineapple coconut water.
- Chicken Tikka Masala with rice (scroll down for the recipe!)
To enter to win the doll and book, comment on this post letting me know how you are planning to celebrate the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta with your families! Extra entries for visiting Coppertop Kitchen and Shining Light Dolls on Facebook. Good luck!!
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Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
While there are lots of Indian foods that would have been more authentic than this (this dish actually originated in London, not India), it's hard to beat a kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing meal that still has a bit of Indian spice. And I really mean a BIT. I took out every hint of spicy the original recipe had to offer. You're welcome, kiddos!
3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
For the sauce: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir together until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomato paste and garam masala and stir together, cooking for another minute until it all blends together. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the chicken.
Preheat broiler to high, and place a rack in a foil-lined baking sheet. Spray the rack with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, cumin, and coriander. Sprinkle evenly over the chicken breasts, and rub the spices in slightly so they stick. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, ginger, and garlic. Using tongs, dip the chicken in the yogurt mixture and coat well. Lay the chicken on the prepared rack and broil until cooked through, about 7-9 minutes per side. Chicken will be slightly charred on both sides. Remove to a cutting board and let cool for a minute or two, then cut into 1-inch cubes.
Add the cream and cilantro to the sauce, stirring to combine, and then stir in the chicken pieces. Serve with basmati rice.