Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I made Bread.
It's simple really.  I got what I needed and made bread.   It looks a little weird and I was on the verge of getting kinda upset with it.  You know the feeling.  Something that you worked on, something that you kinda need, something that you gave a crap about... it might not be the way you wanted it to be.  Just a little, tiny bit of panic sets in... and depression.  Yup, there's a little glimpse into my inner torment.  I've been here before, something in my knows that I can deal with this set back.  I gotta step back, take a deep breath and decide what my next move is.

Breathing.  Slowly.  Thinking.

Then I sliced it.
It looked fine.  The crumb looked fine.
So then I tasted it.  It tasted fine too.  My personal crisis was averted.  This is a good thing because there are so many other things that are important too, that need attention in the world.
So, the moral of this story is... don't sweat the small stuff that you really can't do anything about... well it's kinda the moral.  Maybe the moral is... don't judge a book by it's cover, give it a chance.  Hmmm, maybe the moral is just follow the damn recipe better and don't mess with it, Wanda.
I'll leave you to choose which moral you like best.
Thing is I've moved on because I gotta get my act in gear and get some jam hapnin' round here.  I'm off to get some blackberries (fingers crossed) and I've got some lovely raspberries waiting in the freezer.   It's pretty much totally peach season and so that's next on my list.  Oh yeah... and did I hear someone say 'Ripe Tomatoes'.  I was just talking to my Mom-in-law and it looks likes I have a 'small' (read: probably only slightly under 30 people at the end of the day) BBQ to host while my cousin/sister-from-another-mother is here in two weeks.
Yeah, I know it's two whole weeks.  But I got a garden that's been needing some attention while I've been off making birthday cakes and bread.  And I've got a menu to plan.  

Breathing.  Slowly.  Toasting.  Bread.  Butter.  Jam.  Yum.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
adapted from 'More with Less'
makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 pkg active dry yeast

Set aside for 10 minutes to get foamy and double in size.

In one bowl combine
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup skim milk powder
1 tbsp salt

In another bowl combine
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

In a saucepan add
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp oil
... and heat just to lukewarm

Once the yeast mixture is done and is all foamy and awesome then add it to the bowl of whole wheat flour/skim milk powder.  Mix well
Add in the warmed water and honey.  Mix well.
Add the rest of the flour.  Mix as best as you can.
Knead for about five minutes using more all purpose flour as needed.  The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl.  Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise until doubled (about an hour but might need a little extra)
Divide the dough in half.  Shape each half into a loaf pan.  Butter the top of each loaf, cover with a clean cloth and let it rise for about 45 minutes.  The dough should have doubled (or so) and look like a bread loaf shape in the pan.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Cool for a bit in the pan before removing.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Fact:  I've been filling my freezer and pantry shelves a whole lot more than I've been cooking lately.  I feel a bit guilty about it and even a bit lazy for it but there it is.

Fact:  Sometimes I get to run and bike all in the same day.  I feel neither guilty nor lazy for that one AND, however strange this may sound to you, it's a huge treat.

Fact:  Even though I'm not cooking as much, I'm still knee-deep in birthdays.  So, I've been baking.

Fact:  One week ago my grass was brown.  Now it is green.  We are presently experiencing our first rainy day in what feels like a very long time, with temperatures below 25 degrees.

Fact:  Kids like cake a whole lot more if there are sprinkles on it.  Especially if putting the sprinkles on the cake turns out to be an art project.  The sprinkles on top of this birthday cake are in the shape of a 'T' at least, our 'art project' version of a 'T'.  (lot's of quotation marks in that one)

Fact:  I will bake you the cake of your choice for your birthday... eventually.  It might not get there for your birthday.  Right now I owe my BFF nothing less than: Bread, rhubarb/blueberry/strawberry sauce, vanilla cupcakes and... something else that I can't remember at the moment - I'll probably have to ask her about it.  My BFF's birthday is in July too.

Mom-in-law had a rainbow birthday cake last week.  This week my close friend T was coming over for dinner and a late celebration of his July birthday.  He said, 'Let's just get together and drink'.  I responded with a choice word or two and then told him, 'You'd better just tell me what you would like me to make otherwise I'm gonna go ahead and make you something and you might think it sucks.  It's your birthday Bitch!'  Nice friend eh?  He responded with a choice word or two of his own and then told me he wanted my Shepherd's Pie (nice choice, I agree) and chocolate cake.  T absolutely can't stand fruit in his cake (that includes jam - I found out).  So this is what I made him.  We had a great time eating Shepherd's Pie, drinking some great stuff and eating our cake too.

Chocolate Birthday Cake
adapted from Nigella Lawon - 'Nigella Bites'

2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cocoa powder (I use Cocoa Camino)
3 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 lg eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup chilled water


6 oz bittersweet or dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids and up)
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp cream (a little extra if necessary)

Butter and flour (or use parchment) two 8 inch round cake tins.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the flour, sugars, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.  Mix and set aside.
Mix the eggs, sour cream and vanilla in another bowl.  Whisk together until creamy and set aside.
Beat together the butter and veg. oil using a machine or by hand until just mixed together.  Beat in the chilled water.
Add the flour mixture and mix together nice and slow.
Add in the egg mixture and mix until everything is blended well.
Pour equally between the two tins.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for about 10 minutes in the tins and then remove to cooling racks.  Cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.  Set aside once melted to cool slightly.
In a large bowl beat the butter until it's all creamy.  Add in the icing sugar and beat again until well blended.
Add in the vanilla and chocolate and mix until well blended.
Add in the cream just until it reaches the desired consistency.
Ice the cake one the cakes are completely cooled.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Ripple

Well, it's August.
What a summer it's been so far.
I haven't gone away for vacation - I might still but I might not either.
So far I've been keeping myself occupied but not busy with lots of stuff.
Here's a little run-down of things that I've been doing and/or working on:
 - Starting my half-marathon training nice and early... 'cause I want a good time this year, Oh Yeah.
 - Trying to figure out why one of my tomato plants is drying up.  Figuring out that it's getting too much water and then nursing it back to health.
 - Reading... lots. Trying to read things that make me think without getting me too dark.  It's hard and it often doesn't work 'cause I'm not terribly interested otherwise.
 - Going here... and here... and seeing this at a cheap theatre... and getting together with lots of friends.
 - Trying to figure out how not to be completely broke by about the middle of August (might almost be successful this year)
 - Actually taking Kid #2 to a park (!) on two different occasions.  It really is a big deal.
 - Making lots of birthday cakes and presents (July is birthday central around here)
 - Not cleaning my house.
 - Making ice cream.

Yeah.  I made ice cream... again.  Peanut butter... again.  With Caramel ripple this time... I burnt the caramel.  That sucked.

The peanut butter ice cream recipe is good but this one was better.  I think that the honey thing changed the texture too much for me.  I used a creamy honey rather than a clear, runny variety.  I wouldn't do that again.  Generally though the other peanut butter ice cream recipe was just a more pleasant taste and texture for me.  I also wasn't in love with the caramel ripple thing.  I think that the chocolate worked better.  Quite honestly I think that the caramel ripple idea would work better with vanilla ice cream or something like it.  A simpler ice cream to showcase the caramel.  Caramel is special and shouldn't be competing with a strong flavour like peanut butter... I know, right?
Seriously, I have a cue of ice cream recipes that I want to try out.  I'm not sure where to go first.  Coffee maybe... I don't know.  There are so many.  Maybe this one?  Either way, if you want to make peanut butter ice cream I wouldn't honestly go with this one.  I would make the other one... and if caramel sounds like the perfect addition for you then by all means go for it - add the caramel recipe below.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Ripple
adapted from The Kitchy Kitchen

2 cups heavy cream
2 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 or 4 (I used 4 because I had an extra yolk leftover from something else that I forgot about until the last minute so I threw it in)
3/4 cup regular peanut butter
4 tbsp clear, runny honey (if you use honey infused peanut butter  - like I even knew that existed - then decrease the amount to 2 tbsp)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla


1 cup sugar
4 oz butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Using a heavy bottomed saucepan heat the cream, milk and sugar until the sugar is melted and the mixture is just under a boil.  Turn the heat down to low.
Mix together the egg yolks and set aside.  Add in a little of the heated cream/milk to the egg yolk bowl, stirring  constantly.  Once the cream/milk has warmed the yolks then add the whole bowl back into the saucepan.  Heat again over medium heat until the mixture reaches about 170 degrees F or is thick enough to do the finger test successfully.
Remove from the heat and add in the peanut butter, honey, salt and vanilla.  Stir until everything is well blended.  Run the mixture through a seive.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, placing the wrap right onto the custard so that it won't form a crust on the top.  Refridgerate at least 3 hours but overnight is best - the mixture needs to be completely cooled.
Churn in an ice cream maker as per normal.
Layer the churned ice cream and the cooled caramel (directions below) alternately beginning with a little caramel on the bottom of the container.
Freeze... and then serve.

Heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over med. heat until the sugar liquifies and turns brown but doesn't get burnt (like mine did) - as soon as it starts turning colour you could try turning the heat down significantly to prevent the burning.  Let it turn med/dark brown (it will get dark and burnt very fast so watch it carefully)
Remove from the heat and add in the butter (the stuff will bubble a lot so be prepared).  Mix well.
Add in the cream and vanilla and mix well.

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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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