Meatless Fridays, Week 1

Thank to all you awesome people, we raised $5500 for the Sisters of Life this first week. I’m excited to see what we can do next week.

Welcome to Week 1 of my “Blogging for Babies, Meatless Friday Recipes”! As promised, I have three recipes for you: one fast, easy, and kid friendly; one allergen friendly; and one “a little bit fancy.” To be honest, though, all this week’s options are super easy. They had to be, as I needed to cook and photograph them all yesterday during naptime!

Before I give you the recipes, I have one exciting piece of news. Last night, a generous friend donated all the money we needed to reach our adoption fundraising goal. Which means from here on out, every dollar left in my Venmo tip jar will go to the Sisters of Life, an amazing community of religious sisters dedicated to upholding the sanctity of life and helping women facing unplanned pregnancies! Thanks to more donations that came in last night, we already have almost $800 there for them! To add to the tip jar, you can scan the Venmo code at the bottom of this page with the Venmo app on your smart phone or just use my Venmo name: @Emily-Chapman-33.

I am so excited to do this for the Sisters and the mothers they serve. Thanks for being a part of this effort with me!

Fast & Easy: Tortellini with Brown Butter, Walnuts, & Sage

Serves: 4; Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 10 minutes

This is as fast and easy as it gets—store bought tortellini made ever so slightly fancy with a nutty brown butter sauce. If that is too fancy for your kiddos, just set aside their portion of the tortellini and top theirs with olive oil and shredded parmesan. Toby managed his “grown up” version just fine last night, although he did note, “Dis has stuff on it.”

I served this with roasted broccoli, but any roasted vegetable or even just a salad, would work just as well for a side dish.


  • Fresh or Frozen Tortellini, 20 ounces
  • Walnuts, chopped fine, .25 cup (once chopped)
  • 8 Tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • Fresh Sage, .5 ounce package (about 36 small to medium sized leaves)
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
  • Parmesan, .25 cup shredded
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper


  1. Fill a medium or large pot halfway, with water and a couple pinches of salt; bring to a boil; once boiling, add tortellini and cook according to package directions; drain; return to pot and cover to keep warm;
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop sage;
  3. In a medium skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat; once butter is melted, add chopped walnuts and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until the solids have turned a golden brown and the foam has mostly settled (about 3-5 minutes); pour into a bowl and set aside;
  4. In the same medium skillet, melt remaining 6 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat; once the butter has melted, add crushed garlic cloves and chopped sage leaves; continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until the solids have turned a golden brown and the foam has mostly settled (about 3-5 minutes); remove garlic cloves from pan and discard;
  5. To the pot of tortellini, gently stir in both brown butter sauces (one with walnuts and one with sage);
  6. Serve with freshly shredded parmesan and a touch of salt and freshly grated pepper if desired.

Allergen Friendly: Curried Carrot Soup

Serves: 6; Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free*

This is one of my absolute favorite easy, healthy, delicious soups. It comes together crazy fast, has so much flavor, and tastes almost as good without the cream and croutons, as it does with them, making it a great allergen friendly recipe. If you’re off the gluten, though, I recommend getting your hands on some good, gluten free bread and coconut cream, because the combination of the toasted bread, cream, and curried soup is pretty amazing.

When serving this for dinner, I pair it with a hearty salad and extra bread.


  • Baby Carrots, 2 pounds
  • Onion, 1 medium
  • Chicken Broth, 5 cups (sub with vegetable broth for vegan)
  • Butter, 3 Tablespoons* (sub with olive oil for dairy free)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons + more for bread
  • Curry Powder, 2 Tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Heavy Cream, .5 cup (Optional) (Sub with coconut cream for dairy free)
  • French bread (or something similar), 6 slices (Optional)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Optional)


  1. Peel and medium chop the onion;
  2. In a large pot, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat; add onion and carrots; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes;
  3. To the pot of vegetables, add chicken broth, curry powder, and salt; bring to a low boil and cook for 15-18 minutes or until carrots are soft; remove from heat;
  4. While the vegetables cook, brush olive oil onto bread; broil or toast in the oven or a toaster oven, until top is golden brown (2-4 minutes);
  5. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend soup until smooth (alternately, working in batches, puree soup using a blender or food processor);
  6. With the stovetop on simmer, stir in 2 additional cups of water, and bring soup back to desired temperature; taste for salt and pepper, adjusting if needed;
  7. Ladle soup into individual bowls; drizzle 1-2 Tablespoons of heavy cream into each bowl; place bread in the center of the bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper, and serve.

Just A Little Bit Fancy: Sriracha Salmon Cakes with Sriracha Aioli

Serves: 4-6; Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 16 minutes

This was a last minute, “I have nothing planned for dinner so what can I throw together from scraps in the cupboard” invention that is now a Friday family favorite (we eat meatless on Fridays all year). The Sriracha in the salmon cakes adds flavor, not heat, and Toby eats them happily (sans the Sriracha aioli). I usually make only half this recipe for our family, which means the whole thing comes together, start to finish, in 15 minutes, but for feeding more than 2 people and a toddler, you should allow extra time for cooking.

I usually serve this with a green salad or, if tomatoes are in season, with a Caprese salad (fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, dressed with olive oil and salt).


Salmon Cakes

  • Boneless Canned Salmon, 24 ounces, drained
  • Eggs, 2, beaten
  • Mayonnaise, 4 Tablespoons
  • Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Tablespoons
  • Dijon Mustard, 2 Tablespoons
  • Sriracha Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  • Panko Breadcrumbs, 1 cup
  • Yellow Onion, 1 small
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking

Sriracha Aioli

  • Mayonnaise, 8 teaspoons
  • Sriracha Sauce, 2 teaspoons (adjusting to taste)
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Peel and finely chop onion;
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salmon cake (EXCEPT the olive oil), gently stirring until mixed and all salmon chunks have broken up;
  3. Divide up the salmon mixture and form into 12 patties;
  4. In a separate bowl, mix remaining mayo and Sriracha, drizzle with olive oil and stir until smooth; set aside;
  5. in a large drying pan, heat 2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil; when the oil is so hot a drop of water will sizzle in it, add half the salmon cakes; cook 4 minutes per side; transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm (or place in a warm oven); if the pan seems dry, add more oil to it and heat, then add remaining salmon cakes, again cooking 4 minutes per side; remove from pan and combine with other salmon cakes;
  6. Serve salmon cakes with Siracha aioli on the side.


  1. If you prefer not to fry these, you can broil them in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown; watch carefully, though, in case they start cooking to fast. If that happens, just lower the rack in the oven a bit.
  2. Make sure you get boneless canned salmon, or you will spend half an hour picking bones out. Aldi used to carry boneless salmon, but lately, the only stuff I’ve found there has teeny bones in it. When I made this recipe to photograph this week, I got the Wild Planet canned salmon from Fresh Market (also available at Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, and other major grocery stores), and it was perfect.

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Around the Catholic Table Cookbook

It’s been a long time friends. But, I’ve been busy! There have been books and Endow studies and a whole lot of Instagram posts, which are faster and easier to write than blog posts when you only have one free hand and a ginormous toddler sleeping on you. One day, when I have both hands back, I hope to return to writing more in this little corner of the Internet. But, I’m kind of hoping that will be a while!  We’re in the process of trying for a second adoption—hopefully a more peaceful process than last time around, but that’s up to God. I did want to pop on here, though, and let my non-Instagram/Facebook followers know about my newest project, an e-cookbook and essay collection, called Around the Catholic Table: 77 Recipes for Easy Hospitality and Everyday Dinners, which I wrote for a very special cause.

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The Very Best Kind of Hard

Last weekend, I was speaking in Denver, when a lovely woman came up, introduced herself as a reader of the blog, and then asked, “How is your adoption going?”

Surprised, I stepped aside, and pointed at the baby, sitting in the car seat at my feet (we had just arrived).

I was a little confused about the question, since I’ve bombarded Instagram and Facebook with pictures of Toby almost daily since his birth on July 25. But, as the woman explained, she’s not on social media; she just follows the blog. She’d been waiting months for an update and fearing the worst.

“Post an update,” she urged. “For those like me, who aren’t on Facebook.”

So, consider yourself updated, friends. Tobias James Connolly Chapman is here and perfect in every way.

Credit: Andrea Dahm

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Join Us in Praying the St. Anne Novena

I posted this on my personal Facebook page this morning, but wanted to post it here as well, for  those of you who don’t follow me there.

From Facebook:

The Novena to St. Anne starts today and concludes on July 25, which is the day before the Feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim and the day that Toby is scheduled to arrive (via c-section). Chris and I will be praying this novena for his safe and healthy delivery, peace for his parents, and sanity for us (okay, really me, Chris is in no danger of losing his sanity). We would love for as many of our friends as possible to join us in this.
For those of you not familiar with St. Anne and St. Joachim, tradition tells us that these are the names of Mary’s parents (and Jesus’ grandparents). The couple struggled with infertility through the whole of their marriage, until finally, after many years of prayer, God blessed them in their old age with a very special daughter: Mary.
Knowing this, Chris and I have sought St. Anne’s special intercession since the beginning of our marriage. On our honeymoon, we made a pilgrimage to St. Anne’s beautiful shrine in Quebec, to pray for the gift of a child, and we have prayed this Novena together, for the same intention, many times. We also are blessed to have a small third-class relic of St. Anne (sent by a kind reader of the blog) next to our bedside, and a beautiful statue of her and the Blessed Mother in our bedroom. Both devotional items have brought me so much comfort over these past two years, perpetually reminding me that I have a friend in heaven who has walked this same, hard path. I believe St. Anne has been a faithful prayer warrior for us throughout our marriage, and I trust she’s going to keep up those prayers during these final days of waiting.
Thank you for all the prayers offered up on behalf of Toby, his parents, and us. I can’t even imagine where we would be without them.
Here is the link to the novena for those of you who missed it above:


Waiting and Hoping and Praying

Sometimes no news is good news. Other times, no news is…no news. That’s sort of the case with our adoption. I mean, there’s news. There’s dramatic news, sad news, confusing news, good news, infuriating news, unbelievable news, crazy news, and plain old newsy news, but generally, by the time I can get around to sharing the news, it’s become old news, which, really, is no news at all. Right?

In my head, I swear that makes sense.

Sadly, that is my answer to those of you who have been writing and asking for an update on the adoption situation here on the blog. The whole thing is just so changeable, that I’m not sure what to say.  I’ve tried to give regular updates on Facebook, but even that has become too difficult. I worry about saying the wrong thing…or about saying the right thing but having the wrong people read it. I also worry about jinxing myself, which I know is totally stupid and unCatholic and probably going to earn me an extra millennium in Purgatory, but non-stop, soul-crushing, bank account-draining stress does crazy things to your head. So, that’s my excuse.

Because so many of you have asked, though, I’ll try to give  the Cliff’s Note Version update. In a nutshell, we are waiting and hoping and praying.

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One Year Later: An Update…Of Sorts

If there were a contest for laziest Catholic blogger, I’m pretty sure I’d win. It’s been so, so long since my last update, and so, so much has happened, that I’m at a bit of a loss about where to begin.

Probably the best place is with a word of thanks to all of you who offered such kind words of consolation after I wrote about our struggle with infertility and who have been praying for us ever since. At first, I tried so hard to thank everyone individually, but eventually I just got too overwhelmed, by the sheer volume of comments and messages and by life in general, which, if it’s been anything this past year, has indeed been overwhelming.

As some of you know, I’m currently under contract with Emmaus Road to write a book about the house renovations (working title is Don’t Paint the Subway Tile! Lessons in Love, Sin, Gin, and Grace from a Real-Life Fixer Upper). I’ll be starting on it in just a couple weeks, so thoughts about what I want to say are filling up my head. I have lots of those thoughts, but so few are what I had in mind when I originally came up with the book.

Don’t worry, though; the gin recipes haven’t gone anywhere. They’ll still play a supporting role in the book…even a starring role in some parts.

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