A little butter loving is going on in my kitchen as I prepare a picnic for the Solemnity of the Ascension today. I’ll explain the importance of this feast day, why we do picnics, and some liturgical living tidbits at the end. I use butter with almost everything, like it’s going out of style. There isn’t one frying pan in this house that’s gone unnoticed by a stick of butter. So, I've got a little extra of the main ingredient as you can gather, its FINALLY summer break, and this is a Solemnity of the Lord in the Easter Season! It's going down!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1/2 cup
(Double if you just can't get enough.)
Here’s the band of misfits.
Ingredients 1. One dash of salt - 1/16 to be exact but who has a measuring spoon that says that?!
2. 2 tbsp Strawberry Preserves
3. 1 stick of Butter
4. 1/4 tsp CinnamonThis makes about half a cup, double if you can’t get enough of it.
Put one stick of butter in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on.
Beat the butter on high for about 4-5 minutes or until it’s fluffy.
After about 5 minutes on high turn the mixer to low and spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry preserves into the butter. Yum! Note: you can really do this with any flavor preserves that you fancy.
Make sure it’s nicely blended, you may have to stir a bit with your baking spatula.
Sprinkle in a dash of salt like so!
Add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, you can add more if you want the taste to be a bit stronger.
Beat again on high for about 2 minutes.
While that is going grab a little jar or container to spoon your butter into.
Nicely blended and ready for canning.
Pack the butter in tightly, seal, and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Ascension Thursday is a holy day of obligation, which in this state of quarantine has been lifted. Today marks forty days after Easter Sunday and exactly ten days before Pentecost! It's an important feast day in the Church because it shows that Jesus' salvific mission and acts of redemption are complete! Our place in Heaven is prepared and we can now partake in sharing in Christ's glory. It's so difficult to wrap my temporally bound mind around the fact that my destiny, my salvation has been completely changed because Jesus conquered death.
The Gospel for the Ascension of the Lord
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
This entire Easter season we have striven to focus our hearts on Christ's resurrection but Ascension Thursday actually feels a little sad, Easter season is coming to a close and Jesus is leaving us. I can't imagine all that his followers had witnessed and felt during their days of standing next to Jesus and it's always painful to see something end, or so they thought. "I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20). This Gospel tells us not to be sad, doubtful, or afraid but to go out and preach his Word and to know that He is here. A glorious place in Heaven has been prepared for us! Ascension Thursday has such an intruiging way of sparking contemplation on death and life and we entertain/ engage those thoughts while eating outdoors and looking up!
This is where our picnic tradition began, like the disciples who stood outside and watched Jesus ascend to Heaven, we sit outside and look to the sky while pondering His return and the gift of Heaven we have been granted. I will pack us a dinner with chicken but you can do any bird (get it- fly, up, sky, bird, ascension... I know, cheesy but I like it). Fruits would be great to pack because Ascension day has traditionally been a day which the first fruits were blessed and eaten. I am going to boldly attempt Strawberry Shortcake, yum! And for my Italian family I will incorporate some sort of bean and grape into the meal, this was typically what Italians would bring to Church to be blessed after remembering the dead. They were supposed to be used as a feast for the dead in Heaven. If you have kids, kites, frisbees, bubbles, etc would be fun to incorporate in your Ascension Picnic too.