Coffee, Catholics and Stacy Reinert — With a Recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
‘I cook from the heart,’ says the Catholic farmer and podcaster
Just imagine being a wife, farmer, teacher and devout Catholic who cohosts Coffee & Catholics: A Catholic Women’s Talk Show Podcast. By the end of the day, chances are that this active woman, Stacy Reinert, from Guthrie, Oklahoma, must feel a little fatigued.
A parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Crescent, Oklahoma, Stacy grew up in a Catholic family with parents who returned to church when she was 6 years old. She was then baptized on her seventh birthday. Before she was married, she worked in her parish as a choir director and was very active in other parish activities. Now, she said, she is more focused on her four children, her family and farming.
Why the farming calls is a simple and obvious answer: her husband was raised in a farming family, raising primarily wheat.
“When we got married,” she said, “farming was natural to him, and what we have been working towards over the past 13 years. We even started a vineyard last year.” The grapes, she said, are their new farming adventure.
The family originally started with 17 acres but have added another 36, bringing their farming total to 53 acres. Their crops include corn, zucchini, yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, cabbage and okra.
“We have a wide variety of vegetables,” she said, “and we also grow herbs such as rosemary, basil, dill and chives, and our oldest son takes the surplus to the local farmers market. My son sells the produce, and my husband gets 25% of the profit. The rest he keeps for himself. It has been a good financial lesson for him and keeping track of what he makes each time.”
Their son is using his profits to start his own garden.
Stacy and her husband started talking about having a vineyard when they bought their house 13 years ago. Last year they planted 300 grape plants, four varieties, with the help of family and friends.
“Our homeschool group came out and helped,” she said. “In September, we tied the vines back on trellises, and it is a good, quiet place to pray. With the vineyard we were out there a lot last year and we saw so much of God’s work in it. I ponder a lot on the Bible verse: ‘The fruit is plentiful but the laborers are few.’ It is a family effort. The kids drive tractors and we hand-water all the plants right now.”
The farm’s name? The Orchard Farm & Roadrunner Vineyards.
Of course, part of Stacy’s daily task is cooking and, as it turns out, she enjoys making a variety of dishes.
“I got interested in cooking in college,” she said, “and my closest friends and I would cook for each other. One of them is now a priest. We rotated the cooking each month and I got interested in cooking foods from many different cultures. I like to experiment so a lot of what I make is different. And I cook from the heart.”
Her favorite recipe is a dish her mom makes: beef tips on rice served with a brown gravy and French-cut green beans.
“But I have never made that myself,” she said. “My mom makes that for my birthday, which is on Valentine’s Day. We do a lot of cooking around the holidays. My husband likes everything and tells me I make so many good dishes. His favorite right now is my chicken pot pie. It is really simple, but I really don’t do anything special with it.”
Growing up, she remembers making cookies with her mom. Taking the love from this memory, Stacy bakes many kinds of cookies, such as the white chocolate cranberry cookies (see recipe) and all the Christmas cookies.
“I change cookies recipes, sometimes with add-ins, and sometimes I just make plain chocolate chip cookies,” she said. “If I find something that works, I play around with it.”
Stacy is passing her love of cooking down to her children. She said that breakfast is a big part of fellowship in her parish, and sometimes her children express their growing love of cooking there.
“We go to 8am Mass, and my daughter makes bread, and my son loves to make pumpkin scones.”
Recipe: Stacy’s White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Makes between 3 to 5 dozen cookies, depending on the size.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- One 3.4-ounce package of vanilla pudding mix
- 2/3 cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup shelled pecans, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, pudding mix and vanilla extract until creamy. Stir in the applesauce. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, then stir in the chips, cranberries and nuts. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.