Cream sauce in a daze

I am in a serious fog right now. I haven't yet recuperated my sleep from the chaperoning extravaganza that was last week. I didn't make it into work today because I needed to 'rest'. So, at home I'm faced with the dilemma of needing to get a lot of things done that I have no energy for. Still, I must soldier through it. I must cook - we need to eat.
I have vegetables, LOTS of vegetables. I'm complete flyin' by the seat of my pants and my brain is in fuzz mode. I start chopping, I start slicing some cherry tomatoes, I throw them into the oven drizzled with olive oil and fleur de sel. I rummage through the fridge and find something, anything. What ends up happening...

Tomatoes get roasted...

Veggies get cooked...

Milk gets added along with a smidgen of cream cheese and parmesan cheese...

1 small onion, chopped
3 cups of chunky sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced/crushed
3 cups of greens (chard, spinach, etc)
2 cups of roasted cherry tomatoes
(halve the tomatoes, coat with olive oil, place on baking sheet, sprinkle with course salt, roast for 25 min)
1 small bunch of chives (it is spring! They're in the garden)
1/4 cream cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 cups milk (you could also use a mixture of wine and milk or cream)
basil (fresh would be great)

Heat a large pan, add some olive oil (about 2 tbsp or so).
Saute the onion, mushrooms and zucchini until soft. Add the garlic and saute a couple of minutes. Add the greens and chive and saute until wilted. Add the cheeses until melted in and then add the milk. Add all the seasonings and check for taste.

Serve with some pasta (I used green fettucine).
Pray that at some point you'll remember what it felt like to think clearly.

Apple Bread

I'm wiped out! I can't imagine how I could feel more tired than I do right now... BUT... I did it. I survived a bus of 45 boys (gr. 8 and gr. 10) traveling for up to 6 hrs at a time, music blaring, chaperoning 9 of those boys through 4 cities and 4 concerts (they all sing in a boys choir), 2 Masses, buffet restaurants, barfing kids on the bus and greuling schedules (I said at one point late in the tour that if I woke up to the time on the clock starting with a 5 one more time...!!!). I am home again... with just two kids, two jobs and one husband and boy is it amazing.
I took today off to revive and I would say that I'm about half way there. However, everybody needs to eat... and snack too. After a week of fast food (ok, subway was the lowest I could go, beyond that it was starvation by choice), buffets (in the U.S I learned that buffet means something quite different than in Canada) and eating while on the run, I am soooooo ready to relax with some good meals and comforting snacks.

This bread never fails. It tastes fantastic, the texture is exactly what you want from a quick bread (not too dry, not too wet) and it lasts well. I found this recipe in the 'More With Less' cookbook. It is simple and easy. What I have started doing is, if I know that I'm not going to get through my apples before they go bad, chopping the apples up and putting them in the freezer, bagged in the right portion and ready to go. Just make sure (if you use frozen) that you drain them before putting them into the bread batter.
This bread is going to help me recuperate from my first St Michael's tour For Sure!!!

Dutch Apple Bread
(More with Less)
Makes 1 loaf (I used a smallish loaf pan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar

Add and beat well:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Combine separately:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients alternately with:
1/3 cup sour milk or orange juice
(I used just under 1/3 cup O.J. and didn't have milk so I put in 1 tbsp of sour cream as well)

Fold in:
1 cup chopped apples (not delicious though)
1/3 cup of toasted walnuts (I skipped this though)

Bake in a greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan for about 50 minutes (might need 55 min. but check at 50)

Caramel Apple Cake... an experiement

When you read this I will be away - the wonders of technology! I can still publish a blog post when I am away!!! I'm not sure exactly where I will be but I won't be here - I'll probably be wishing that I were here though. However, right now - I am here, at home. Enjoying my last day of peace for a week. Baking away and getting things ready for my fam. They will be here and I will be gone.

I decided to try this cake from one of our revered Canadian institutions - Canadian Living Magazine. I've read reviews of these kinds of recipes and it seems that they can go either way. Sometimes the caramel gets a little sketchy and it can leave you with a top that is too crunchy and hard. I think keeping an eye on the baking time helps that a little. If you can get it right, it's a very tasty little treat. I'll tell you though, it's certainly no 'thing of beauty' in my opinion.

As usual, I didn't have all the ingredients that the recipe called for. I only had two apples and a pear. The apples were quite small and I think, in the end, more apples (or pears because honestly they were a nice addition!) would have helped the presentation a bit. I also didn't have any lemon in the house and I didn't notice the absence at all.
The title sounded a lot more exciting than the humble little cake looks when you are done with it. Like I said though, it is tasty. I whipped up some cream as well to serve on the side, although some vanilla or caramel ice cream would be just a welcome.

Caramel apple upside-down Cake
(adapted from Canadian Living)

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 lg apples
1/4 cup unsalted butter


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup gran. sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk

In heavy saucepan stir granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat until dissolved. Bring to a boil and continue to boil vigorously for 6 - 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes dark amber (Just a note here: I boiled mine for more like 12 minutes and when
it started to change colours, it changed very quickly. Be ready to take it off the heat quickly and get it into the pan. Also, it will smell a bit burnt - you are literally burning the sugar after all!). Add the lemon juice (which I didn't have) and Pour into 9 inch round metal cake pan (I would also put some parchment on the very bottom - cut in a circle of the same size - just to make it easier to take it out of the pan).
Pell, core and slice apples into medium thickness slices. In a skills, melt butter over medium heat and cook apples until tender and golden. Arrange the apples in the caramel mixture.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
In another bowl beat butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until they are well mixed. Add in the vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour and milk alternately in about 3 batches - beginning and ending with the flour - to the butter mixture. Spread over the apples.

Bake for about 40 minutes (check after about 35 minutes just to be safe). Once finished, invert onto cake plate but wait for about 5 minutes to remove the pan (I used a springform which made this a little easier).

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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