Squash and Kale Cassoulet and resolutions

I'm not one for these January resolutions.  I'm not.  In fact, I'm trying to recall a time in my life where I made a new years resolution... nope, can't recall even once.
So, I don't hit the gym in January.
I've never gone on a diet in January.
I've never stopped smoking in January.
I've never stopped swearing in January.
I've never been nicer to people in January... I think that you get the picture.  I do make a habit of sitting down and talking through some bigger things with D once in a while though.  I don't think it's quite the same thing though.  The thing about the resolutions is that somehow it becomes a set-up.  It's like we've jinxed the whole thing just by calling it a new year's resolution.  By the end of February the whole thing has been either completely forgotten or so devastated that even the thought of it is riddled with guilt.  However, maybe I have it all wrong.  Maybe I'm the one whose gotten it backwards - if that's the case then I can deal, I can handle it.
D told me lately that he thinks that my writing here has been a little incoherent of late.  I'm not surprised.  December was a bitch - it always is.  My head is tired.  My brain is foggy and my body wants to hibernate.  I took his words to heart though and it got me thinking about what I do here.  So, even though I think that what I'm about to do is pretty dumb, I present to you...

Wanda's Blog Resolutions for 2012:

#1  I hereby resolve to do my best to be coherent.  This means that I will stop posting after work when my kids are home and running around.  I will stop posting late at night when I should be sleeping.  I will not post when I've had less than 5 hours sleep a night... Wait a second this resolution is totally not gonna work, I'll have like a 10 minutes window on Sunday eve after 9 p.m. to blog.  Moving on.

#2  I resolve not use blogging to procrastinate and/or completely avoid other work that should get done... screw it, that's dumb.  Moving on.

#3  I resolve to personally respond to every single comment left on my blog.  (Have you ever actually checked how many people leave a comment... this one is so easy and it makes me look sooooo good) Moving on.

#4  I resolve to my wit more and my sarcasm less... who am I kidding.  Moving on.

#5  I resolve to stop making stupid resolutions.  Even before I wrote them out they seemed stupid and now that I see them on the screen in front of me they look even stupider (if that's even a word).  I think that I might have, once again, veered into 'incoherent-land' just to make matters worse.  I'm going to stop while I'm ahead.

If I'm a little 'incoherent' over the next 2 months (conveniently coinciding with Winter, people) then please forgive me.  I will do my best.  In the meantime, I'm working hard to cook food that will help my brain and my body.  Root veggies are super good for you - I don't know what they do exactly but whatever it is they're definitely going to help me make better posts than this one in the future.

Squash, Root Vegetable and Kale Cassoulet adapted from GoodFood Magazine UK
serves 6 - 8

2 lg parsnips diced
2 lg carrots diced
2 small turnip or rutabaga diced
1 lb butternut (or other winter squash) squash diced
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 tbsp each - thyme, parsley, oregano, rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ketchup
2 lg tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 - 2 cups vegetable stock
3 - 4 dashes of cayenne or hot sauce (optional)
1 large can of diced tomatoes (I used my own which I think was 700 ml)
2 15 oz cans of beans (any will do really but I used Navy beans) undrained
3 - 4 cups kale, coarsely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Throw the parsnips, carrots, turnip and squash onto a baking sheet.  Toss in oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for about 30 - 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.
In the meantime, heat a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add a few tbsp of oil or grease (yeah - I said grease).  Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and sauté for another 4 minutes.  Turn the heat down to med/low and add in the spices, ketchup, brown sugar and dijon.   Mix.
Add in the canned beans and mix.
Add the tomatoes and mix.
Add enough vegetable stock to cover the whole mixture.
Add the hot sauce.  Check the tastes and adjust if necessary.
Add the kale to the top and gradually mix it into the bean mixture once the kale starts to wilt.

Place the roasted vegetables into a large baking dish or even a roaster if nothing else is big enough.
Cover with the bean mixture.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on top of the casserole.
Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the bread crumbs/parmesan is golden brown.
Cool for about 15 minutes before serving.


Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't figure out what day of the week it is.  It's awesome when you finally figure out that it's Saturday but it feels like Sunday... it bites when you realize it's Monday and it feels like Wednesday.  I'm having a 'it's Saturday but it feels like Sunday' day today.
I've already done a ton of chores for the day.  I've already done my run for today - p.s.  I'm now up to 6k without killing my foot.  I'm stretching a lot during the runs as well as before and after.   I'm working my way up to 7k by the end of this week - I've already eaten my lunch.  I've already made my fake order on Amazon - you know, when you click on a few things and you totally intend to buy them but then you get through to the checkout when you are supposed to confirm your order (the very last step) and you log out instead.  Today's order was 60$ - All that I've done and it's only 2 p.m. THE BEST.
Now I could definitely get up to something.  I could clean up the kids rooms.  I could take down my tree.  I could hang up my laundry 'cause I haven't done that yet.  I'm not going to do any of that though.  I'm going to curl up on the couch (if my kids will let me) with a book (does it count if it's on a kindle?) I might (read will) make some tea.  I'm gonna read and sip and not feel guilty at all.  It's cloudy and rainy and cold and I need to curl up somewhere and be thankful that it's the weekend and I have the luxury of curling.  If thing really go well then I might just heat up a little piece of this stuff in the microwave (just a little heat) and have it with a few dollops of lemon curd on the side.  Yup - it's that kinda day.

I don't have much of this wonderful gingerbread because KT got most of it as part of her christmas gift.  I like doing that and I think that she likes getting it.  The recipe itself is a total hybrid.  I only started making gingerbread when I was cooking for the elderly couple during my university years.  They wanted 4 o'clock tea everyday and gingerbread was one of those things that they wanted me to make.  I made it so much back then that I could do with almost without a recipe.  They watched PBS and noshed on gingerbread and tea while I made their dinner.  I've adapted the silver palate recipe to coincide with the recipe I used back then... which was my favourite.  Previous to my time with the Waite's I wouldn't have dreamed of eating gingerbread because... well because it wasn't chocolate.

Now, I love it.  It's one of those things that goes down so well when you are curling up on the couch on a cold, wet, dark Sunday.  At least I think it's Sunday - it feels like it shouldn't be the weekend but I'm pretty sure it is... I'd better go and check just to make sure.

Gingerbread adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook
makes 1 9x9 square pan

2 cups all purpose flour
1 14 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp (or so) ground nutmeg
1 lg egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9x9inch square pan.

Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together.  Mix and set aside.
Heat the molasses and butter together in a heat proof bowl over simmering water.  Set aside.
Mix together the egg and the buttermilk.  Beat together and then add the sugar.
Add the egg mixture to the molasses mixture.
Pour the molasses mixture into the flour.  Mix until combined.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes (turning half way if you need to in your oven)
Remove and cool for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Cut and enjoy with whipped cream or lemon curd or just sprinkle with a little icing sugar.

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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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