When I'm buzzin' and have no camera.

These are the things that I wake up to sometimes.  Ummmmmm.
D has been away working.  For a week now I've been off work/single Mom/cook and canner/friend meeter/Sangria and champagne drinker.  D broke our camera.  It might not be a big break but it's a break.  So, this post is going to be about words way more than pictures.  I found some random crap, some old and some new, rolling around in my iphoto library.  So, I'm sharin'.

My brain has been buzzin' lately.  It's been taking me a while to get to sleep which is an unusual problem for me.  Maybe it's the longer days.  Maybe it's the end of the school year.  Maybe it's just a miraculous flood of energy and thought that I need to stop wondering about and do something with it instead.  I did spend the entire day house cleaning yesterday thanks to said energy.
Here are some things that have been distracting my brain lately:

This blogger kinda just makes me crazy.  She is just so raw and honest about her journey.  I wonder how it feels to just let that go out into the virtual world.  I find her writing not just inspiring but deeply thought provoking in an almost spiritual way.  I also share her feelings of frustration, depression and despair about our planet.  Happy times.

I don't have a picture of my beans or tomatoes.  I have a picture of these beets though because I thought that they were pretty.  
I know that tomatoes and beans are not going to stop world hunger, ok?  But they are what's growing in  my backyard when everything else is just kinda limping along.  So I'm finding that multiple times (I kid you not) each day I'm going out there and checking out their progress.  I touch them, I talk to them and give them little bits of water.  I have these fantasies about being able to provide for my family's tomato and bean needs for the entire season through our own backyard.  Looking at those little green globes and the tiny little purple beans somehow helps me cope.

Kid #2 brought all this crap home on the second last day of school.  This picture is now in my office along with Kid #1's Mother's Day card.  This stuff is priceless.

I'm signing up for this half-marathon in October.  It will be my third one.  I'm making it a goal to come in between 1:49 and 1:59.  I've got some work to do but that's fun work.

Kid #1 took these random shots of our Xmas tree by running past it.  We must have about 50 of these kinds of shots but I  think that they're actually kinda rad. 
I went here on the weekend.  I sat for quite a while in the park where people were playing, reading, talking, smoking up, laughing, sleeping, getting a tan and eating... maybe not all at the same time.  I was completely by myself... for a while at least.  It's strangely empowering, to be with people and not be with them all at the same time.  Somehow, in the warm Toronto sun at Kensington Market during pedestrian Sunday it felt like 'ME'.  It can take a long time to get to 'ME'.  You've got so many 'suppposed-to's' and 'shoulds' to do.  I guess some of us never get to 'ME'.  On Sunday though, I had fun with 'ME' there in the park, with my sandals off and getting grass stuck to my ass.  Feeling life all around me, feeling comfortable in my place there on the grass, not wishing I was somewhere else or with someone else.  Just 'ME'.

Kid #1 took this one too.  Totally untouched.  She's got an eye that one.

Strawberry ice cream

I just watched 'The Yes Men Fix the World' which was a great ending to my day.  I don't mean to blow the ending for you or anything but they don't actually fix the world and to be honest even though I think that they're awesome I still felt a little bit depressed afterwards.
I felt a little bit depressed after reading this book too.  In fact, sometimes the whole state of the western world makes me feel suicidally depressed.  I think about these things a lot.  I'm wondering where all the hippies have gone.  The seventies was an amazing time for new ideas and freedom (of speech not necessarily capitalism although it got in there too) and then the eighties happened.  Are we still protesting?  Are we still involved politically?  Did we just get jobs and move to the burbs?  Shouldn't we be more pissed off?
I had a conversation with a friend recently in which he told me that he knew I was high because we were talking about world government, free trade and the environment.  Here's the clincher though.  I wasn't high.  Damn.  Is that the only time people talk about this stuff?  I actually talk about it... a lot.  I think about it... a lot.  I wonder if things are just going to come crashing down around us... and then I wonder if it might not be a bad thing after all.  I wonder how long the gravy train in the west can continue and how long we can keep our heads in the sand.  I feel sad for my kids and for their kids and I'm not even sure what kind of world they are going to have.
Doomsday crap aside.  I went to my friends C and B a couple of days ago.  They've got this rad place in the middle of nowhere.  They've got dogs and cats.  They've got space for a small orchard and a huge garden.  They've got mondo solar panels set up outside the house.  Wild strawberries, elderberries, blackberries, gooseberries.  Damn.  That's only the beginning.  They work not only in their community to effect change but on a larger scale too.  They believe that thinking  and living environmentally can be financially viable if not as lucrative as we have been accustomed to the bottom line being up to now (well at least up to 2008).  It was good to talk to them about feeling depressed because they were able to pull me up and remind me that even if we can't change the world today we can do something.  Lots and lots of people are doing 'somethings'.

We went to pick strawberries.  We took kid #1 and #2.  Kid #1 filled a basket on her own.  We went back to their place and made jam.  We canned.  It felt good.  Then I came home and canned some more.  I made strawberry rhubarb jam with rhubarb from my backyard.
I wish that I could fix the world.  I wish more than anything that I could clean up the Gulf, that I could put water back in the Yellow and Yangtze river, that I could refreeze the poles and keep Polar Bears on this planet.  Hell, I wish that I could keep all the bike lanes that we presently have in Toronto here for good.  I wish that public transit was viable... for everyone and that our roads weren't clogged with frustrated, angry drivers.  I wish that I could keep the people who need it in public housing and see their lives be better because of it.  I can't do any of those things though.  So... I picked some strawberries while they were still in season.  I mashed and froze some.  I made a boat load of jam and put it on my shelf for the winter.  I made ice cream.

Strawberry Ice Cream - generously adapted from Dave Lebovitz
makes about 1 litre

1 cup milk (I use 4%)
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and the beans scraped out
dash of salt
3/4 cups sugar
5 egg yolks, beaten together

2 cups mashed strawberries (make sure they've been mashed first and then measured)
1/2 cup sugar (make it a generous one)

Combine the mashed strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar together in a bowl and refrigerate.
Combine the milk, cream ,vanilla bean, salt and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat until the mixture is just beginning to simmer and then turn the heat down quite low.  Temper the egg yolks by adding a little of the warm milk mixture to the yolks and mixing.  Add a little more and then pour the whole thing into the milk/cream mixture.  Heat until it reaches 170 degrees F or use the trusty back of the spoon method (using a wooden spoon, dip it into the milk/cream mixture.  When it comes out if you can run your finger through the back of the spoon and the liquid doesn't run back together then it's ready).
Remove from the heat.
Sieve into a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap (or clingfilm... whatever).  Put the plastic right onto the liquid so that it doesn't form a thick skin on top.  Refrigerate until it's well cooled (at least 3 hrs but overnight is best)
Add the mixture to the ice cream maker (or whatever you choose to make the ice cream) and DO IT.
Once the ice cream is ready, pour it into a large bowl.  Combine with the mashed strawberries.
Put all of it into freezer containers.  Freeze until you want it.
Thaw for about 15 minutes before serving.

Dudes... this is growing in my yard... in a couple of weeks I'll have a nice little harvest... can't wait.

Kale and white bean soup... that I totally copied.

I don't like sharing.  Just generally.  It's a horrible thing to admit but the honest truth is... I don't like it.
I do feel that I need to explain this just a bit though because this recipe kinda got birthed because I shared.
I never watched 'Friends'.  Remember that show from the 90's.  I don't think that I made it through one full episode.  It had moments but just wasn't my thing - and I'm always just a little too concerned with being 'counter-culture'.  It was simply too popular for me to go in for.  However, I've been told that there is an episode where Joey Tribianni (not sure how to spell that) tells someone in a restaurant 'Joey Tribianni doesn't share food' or something like it.  Well... that's me.  I don't share... at restaurants.
It bugs the hell out of me if I order something and then people want to taste my food.  It's my food, get your paws off.  I ordered it because I want to eat it... not share it.  Dang.  Plus, I'm totally not interested in eating your food.  If I were interested then I would have ordered that.  So... NO I'm not into having a bite of yours so that you can have a bite of mine.  Then this weird thing happened  over the last year or so where I found myself wanting appetizers and not entrees.  Appetizers kinda bite though if you just get one.  So now sometimes KT and I go out together and just order a truck load of entrees (more like 4) and then share the lot.  Thanks to KT I've discovered that when it's a few things that we can nibble and share that, well, sharing can be fun.

BTW, KT just got back from Spain and Germany and brought me an entire shipment of tea... BFF!

Firm in the knowledge that old dogs can learn new tricks, I went out to this restaurant recently with another colleague of mine.  We were checking out the menu and a few things looked good to me.   She opened up the whole 'sharing' possibility by suggesting a charcuterie plate... meh... wasn't into it.  What we ended up doing though was each getting a soup and then sharing app's of calamari and cauliflower fritters (amazing p.s.).  I agreed.

This soup I made at home happened because I ordered something very close to it and it was good.  The white beans... yeah, perfect for summer... what.  The kale... delish.  The tomato broth... perfect.  And I learned a valuable lesson... sharing isn't always bad.

Kale and White Bean Soup
copied from Mercatto but made up from my head which sounds dumb
serves 8

1 lg onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic (or garlic scapes if it's the season), minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 med/sm zucchini, chopped
1 lg bunch (about 3 1/2 cups) Kale, sliced
1 lg tin diced Tomato (although I found the chunks a little too much - maybe reserve half the chunks)
4 cups vegetable broth
4 tbsp basil, coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 large can (about 400 g or so) white beans (cannellini, navy... just white), drained and rinsed
2 - 3 med/lg Parmesan rinds (my friends idea - a great one - I didn't do it though)

Heat a large soup pot.
Add in about 2 - 3 tbsp of oil (your choice).  Add the onion, garlic, celery and zucchini.  Cook for about 8 minutes over med heat.  Stir frequently so that nothing sticks.
Add in the kale and heat until the Kale wilts.
Add in the broth, chopped basil and salt.   Throw in the parmesan rinds.  Heat for about 20 - 30 minutes over med/low heat.

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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.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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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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