Things that have inspired me this week...

I can't tell you exactly when it started but I'm definitely feeling more inspired.

I ran a total of 34 km this week... yes.  And it wasn't freezing.  Double Yes.

I am exactly one week from hauling out my bike and getting ready to hit the roads again.  Big Sigh. YES.

I read this awesome inspiring post from Luisa and followed the trail through some of her links... yes.

I don't purchase much these days - thank you, paying down credit card debt and gettin 'er done - but I couldn't resist this and feel totally inspired every time I drink out of it... yes.

I took some ownership at work and 'brought it'.. so to speak.  Yes.

I had an epiphany regarding chocolate and it not 'owning' me anymore.  Subsequently, haven't had chocolate now for a total of 3 days.  That feels good.  I never had that much chocolate and it had to be dark and preferably with bits of sea salt.  Now I've decided that I can take it or leave it and I feel free... and lighter.  YES.

My chocolate epiphany has extended to a deliberate decreasing of sugar as well... yes *sigh*

I did however, get inspired when I took Kid #1 to the bakery that we frequent after her dance class - 'Dough' on the Danforth, people really... check it out.  Quaint, beautiful, great service, lovely baking. - to pick up this Date Square.  I have cut it into 6 pieces (and already eaten one of the pieces ;-) and it's still too much.  I hope that it lasts well because I think this will be my new treat food for the next 3 or 4 days.
It is a thing of beauty though... isn't it?

p.s.  I don't do enough with dates and used to have this awesome recipe for Date Spice Cake  - I think that I lifted it from the Philidelphia Symphony Cookbook many years ago when I was cooking for the couple in their eighties during my University years - I loved the recipe and have lost it.  If anyone knows of it please send me a comment and we'll exchange info.  I'm up for great ideas though.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins... with streusel

I know that there is a word for how I'm feeling right now... I know it.
I just can't think of what that word might be just now.  It's because my brain is a complete fuzz.  I think it's the time of year, the brainwashing after too many years of bad tv, too much staring at a computer screen trying to think of something cool to say so that everyone will like me and read my stupid blog... or something.  Whatever the reason, I can't think of the word and my brain fuzz isn't going anywhere so I'm just going to babble away here mindlessly.

I really like lemon but my problem with most lemon recipes (I'm almost sure that I've mentioned this before but the fuzz is removing any clarity about it) is that they are just not lemony enough.  I like the tart stuff.  The tart that almost makes you pucker stuff.  I've stopped buying lemon loaf at cafe's (well I've actually stopped purchasing anything edible at cafe's but that's another story) because they just taste like pound cake - not a bad thing at all... if you want pound cake.  If I'm buying lemon loaf then it goes without saying that I don't want pound cake though... right?
So, truth be told, this recipe - that I made up on the fly and put together way too quickly so that I could give my kids something other than the apples that they're totally sick of this week - is not lemony enough for me.  Or for kid #1, so she has informed me.  So if you want to up the lemon stuff then go for it... and let me know what the results are.

I grabbed the recipe from a Canadian Living recipe for Poppy Seed, Sour Cream Lemon cakes and it adapted well.  I suggest mixing the blueberries in the flour before adding it all in just so that the blueberries don't drop to the bottom of the muffins while baking.   I think that the strategy worked.
To add to the fuzzy, mindless babble... I'm looking into co-founding (or at least being a very supportive member of) a community kitchen.  More details to come.  Also, I finally watched 'Food Inc.'.  Very glad that I did, it surprised me and yet didn't totally gross me out the way that I thought it would.  Also, very much affirmed the choices we've been making as a family over the past year.  
Mindless drivel over... make these, they taste good, you might really like them, you might be really glad that you read this silly post.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Canadian Living)... with Streusel (from Ottolenghi)

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest (I used two lemons)
4 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice (from the lemons)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare muffin tin with liners (about 12)
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy.  Add in the lemon zest and cream some more.  Add in the eggs and whisk together until frothy.  Add in the lemon juice and the sour cream.  Mix well.
Add the blueberries to the bowl of flour and stir them in just enough to get them all coated with flour.
Add the flour/blueberry mixture to the egg/butter mixture.  Mix gently just until everything is mixed well (otherwise the blueberries mix start to break open and you want to keep them whole as much as possible).

Scoop into twelve prepared muffin tins and sprinkle generously with the streusel (recipe below).
Bake for about 25 - 28 minutes depending.  The muffins should be golden.

Remove from oven and cool in the tins for about 7 min.  Remove from tin and continue cooling until ready to eat.

Combine 3 parts all purpose flour (3/4 cup eg.)
               1 parts sugar (1/4 cup eg.)
       and  2 parts cold butter in cubes (1/2 cup eg.)

Crumb together (I used a pastry cutter or two forks will work too) until it's the consistency of breadcrumbs.  Use immediately or store in the freezer.

Squash Adventure #2: Black Bean and Squash Stew

This is the second part of my squash adventure:
I had a big honkin' squash... butternut squash to be exact.
I consider myself a squash newbie.
It's not really my favourite thing ever but I gotta learn to deal with it because this squash is seriously huge and there isn't room in the house for it and the kids!

So, I got to work.  I started with the soup.  That was tasty and satisfying... I liked it!!
Then I got ahold of this idea from epicurious to make bean and squash chili.  I liked that idea.  I didn't exactly have the right ingredients but what are you gonna do?  You just kinda roll with it, right?  So, I made not so black bean stew instead.  I have added a couple of spices in the recipe that I didn't have (mostly chili powder) and I also listed what I used.  So, use your discretion here and taste as you go along.
I love that this didn't just use up the roasted squash

(Ok, so I peeled and chopped up the whole squash into nice big chunks and then tossed it in some oil, threw it all on a baking sheet, sprinkled some sea salt and roasted it for 30 min at 400 degrees F - I highly recommend it) but it also incorporated beans.  I'm really trying to work more beans into our diets.  All things considered, this recipe worked really well.  I adapted the idea pretty heavily but the concept works.  I would not have thought of this combination on my own, that's for sure.  I did cut the chunks of roasted squash up a little smaller than they were originally.  You could add some kinda of meat here if you wanted but to be honest, I didn't miss it at all.  In fact, the meat might fight a little too much with the strong tastes already present... your call though.  Give it a whirl if you have a squash that needs a home and let me know how you liked it.  So out of one squash I got two meals and some leftovers... not bad at all.
This ends my squash adventure.

Black Bean and Squash Stew/Chili adapted from

1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 lg onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 lg garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chard or spinach, diced
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
3 cups butternut squash, cut into chunks and roasted
1 lg can diced tomoto
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp thyme
1 dash cinnamon
1 bouillion cube (I used vegetable)
dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

In a large, heavy bottomed pot heat some kind of oil (2 tbsp or so) and saute the onion and celery together.  Let that continue for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to get transparent.   Add in the garlic and chard.  Cool together for about 4 minutes, until the chard begins to wilt.  Add in the mushrooms and the beans.  Mix together.
Add in the squash and tomato and mix together.  Allow that to simmer together for just a few minutes.  Add in the salt, sugar, cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder, paprika, marjoram, thyme, cinnamon, bouillion cube and Worcestershire Sauce (if you wish).
Check tastes and adjust salt if necessary.  Serve alone or with:
grated cheese
sour cream
warm tortillas.... etc.  

Squash Adventure #1: Soup

My Squash Adventure:
Last week I got this mondo butternut squash in the food box.  This seems to pose a problem for me.  What to do with a mondo butternut squash?  I am not someone who adores squash.  It wasn't a regular for me growing up and I'm a little lost with squash of any kind.  I'm learning though.  This is precisely why I love the foodbox.  Although I can ultimately pick and choose what I would like, it's really fun giving myself the challenge of something like this.  I try to regularly choose something that I wouldn't normally choose but that is also seasonal and local, even during the winter.
A word about butternut squash:
It's high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Manganese and Fiber.
It's a little easier to prepare than pumpkin.
It is low in calories but still very filling because of the fiber.

So, armed with my nutritional information and motivated to get this huge thing out of my kitchen, I have embarked on a butternut squash marathon.

I have split the squash into two (albeit still substantial) pieces and will document my squash adventure here on this blog.

The first half of the squash went into soup.  In an ideal world I would have added red pepper... which I don't have.  It was important for me to roast the squash first.  So, I peeled the squash and then tossed it all in some oil, plopped it all on a baking sheet, sprinkled it with some salt and roasted the squash for 30 min. at 400 degrees F.  Another beautiful layer of flavour... haha, that sounds funny.   Caramelize some onions, add in some celery and potato, pour in some broth and whiz the crap up once it's soft... and Bob's yur Uncle!

Half the squash down, next half to go....  My Squash Adventure will continue

Squash Soup
serves 6

4 cups butternut squash, cubed and roasted
1 large onion
1 rib celery
2 med potatoes, diced
4 cups stock (I used vegetable stock)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 cup cream or sour cream

In a large, heavy bottomed pot caramelize the onions.  Cook them slowly in butter over med/low heat until they turn golden brown.  Add in the celery and the potato and allow the potato to brown just a bit in the pot.  Total cooking time here, maybe 12 minutes.
Add in the squash and cook together for another 3 minutes.
Add in the stock, salt, thyme and marjoram.  Simmer together over low heat for about 15 minutes or until all the veggies are nice and soft.
Using a blender, whizz up the soup in two batches.  Pour back into the pot and add in the cream or sour cream.
Check the tastes and adjust as necessary (I needed a little heat in mine for example).

Powered by Blogger.

Archivo del blog

About Me

My photo
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
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

My Photo
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.
View my complete profile



Blog Archive



FBC Member