Roasted Chex Mix

Ok.  Enough is Enough.
I've had this sitting in the wings.  Waiting.
I made the mix.  I burnt it a little - totally my fault.  I missed the tobasco.  My fault.  I took really crappy pictures.  My fault.

Then I thought, 'I've got a lot that I haven't used yet.  I'm going to make this again and do it right... and take better pictures, 'cause... damn.'  Then I didn't.  I didn't make it again.  I didn't take better pictures.
I just looked at the stuff sitting in the bags every time I opened my cupboard.  I would think, 'not today'.  Then we went back to school and mysteriously the corn chips disappeared after day 3.  That was weird.  Then by school day 4 the cashews had disappeared.
Later that same day the cheerios made it into the after school snack roster.
It was then that I decided that the whole project was a bust.  I realized the obvious.  I was not going to make this again anytime soon.
I still haven't acquired any tobasco.  The cheerios have by now dwindled to half of their original volume.  The cashews and corn chips have been demolished and only the pretzel's and shreddies are in amounts even close to necessary.

Since I feel guilty for totally procrastinating on the remake I'm not going to continue procrastinating the post itself.  I apologize for absolutely sucky pics but I can recommend the recipe itself.  It's worth it.  if you consider the amount of butter combined with the cereal and chips you gotta know that it's pretty much impossible to go wrong... unless you burn the edges just a little like I did.  If I were to make it again then I would turn the oven down to about 275 degrees and then work up if that's not quite enough.  Please don't leave out the tobasco because it really does need the punch.  This makes a great giveaway and it also makes a great movie night snack.  Or tv night.  Or friends visiting.  Or snack with a drink after the kids are in bed.

Roasted Chex Mix adapted from 'Food in Jars'
makes a lot but I would double it if you want to do some giving away and keeping.

4 cups cheerios
4 cups shreddies
8 cups chex
2 cups pretzel sticks (not the round ones)
2 cups corn chips
2 cups peanuts
2 cups cashews

1 cup butter
5 heaping tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cayenne (or 5 - 8 dashes tobasco - I didn't have any)
10 good dashes (about 2 heaping tsp or so) garlic powder
coarse salt to sprinkle

Combine the cereals, pretzels, chips and nuts in a huge bowl.  Mix well.
In a saucepan melt the butter.  Once melted remove from heat and add in the Worcestershire, cayenne and garlic salt.
Pour the butter mixture over the bowl of stuff... stir constantly.  If you can get a helper then one can pour while the other one mixes and it's much easier.
Heat the oven to 325 (although I ended up turning mine down just below 300 - I think my oven just gets too hot) degrees F.
Divide the mixture between two deep roasting pans.
Bake for just over an hour stirring every 10 minutes.
Cool completely by pouring the mixture out onto parchment paper and spreading it out.  (otherwise it sticks).  Cool and place in jars or containers to give away... or in a nice big bowl in your house and munch away.

Roasted Cauliflower, Bacon and Cannellini Bean Soup

It's only just occurred to me that I could be one of those bloggers who has a 'one year ago/two years ago' spot at the end of each post.  Have you looked at any other food bloggers?  A lot of them have posted what  they cooked or baked a year ago, two years ago and so on.  And yes... it's just occurred to me that I've now been blogging for two years.
I guess that I knew the time was passing.  I remember thinking about it a couple of times - you know 'Hey, I've been blogging for almost two years now' kind of thing.
It's pretty cool, this blogging thing for me.  I started doing this largely because of my sister.  A few years ago I began a little cookbook for her and each Christmas I would add a couple of recipes to the book.  She lives very far away from me so doing it was a fun way of passing on a love of something that we both shared.  Things like spaghetti sauce, chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes and some joke ones too.  I started to think that this could be a lot easier if it was online somewhere.  I really wanted to do a realtime cooking thing on youtube but my house is not really set up for it  - my lighting is horrible and my smoke alarm goes off just about every time I turn on the stove.  I thought it would be hilarious to shoot whatever time it took to make a recipe from start to finish - complete with kids in the background, phone calls, you get the idea.  Anyway, that went the way of many other great ideas... nowhere.  Then one day my sister forwarded me this recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101cookbooks.  Beautiful, intelligent and artful.  I loved it.  What a thing, this food blogging.
That's when the light-bulb went off - I could do this food blog thing and then my sister could access my recipes and see what I'm cooking or baking anytime.  This could be cool.  It also served my love of attention without confrontation perfectly.  I started taking pictures of my christmas baking that year, figured out how to work this blog/typing in the data/thingy, finally got my head around how to get pictures on it and all that and, well... the rest is history.  At first the pictures were really small and I'm a little embarrassed but what the hell... I did it.  I wanted to, I figured it out and I did it.

Now that we are two years on I've discovered more about myself than I ever thought I would just by doing a food blog.  I've gained a lot of respect for writers.  I've tackled some recipes that I would never have even considered before.  I've ranted and raved and probably made a right fool of myself sometimes and other times I may have achieved a level of coherence that I hadn't imagined possible from little ole' me.  In short, I had no clue what I was getting myself into but I'm really glad that I did.

To celebrate I've posted this wonderfully exciting soup recipe (WTF).  Seriously, I wasn't thinking about anything celebratory when I made the soup - obviously.  It's soup.  Goop in a bowl.  More white stuff that looks like porridge until you taste it.  I doctored this soup so far from the recipe that it's barely recognizable but when I tasted the original recipe result the boredom nearly knocked me out.  The soup contains bacon which should cover a multitude of boredom but somehow did not with this recipe.  Doctored up the soup is great although I still throw some chilli pepper flakes on the top of mine before I down it.
Special thanks and love go out to my little sis' for inspiring me to start the craziness.  Thanks to you all for reading my crap and hopefully being entertained and maybe occasionally feeling inspired to make some of it.  Cheers and here's a spoon salute to you my readers for coming with me on the two year journey.   Grab and spoon and dig in.

Roasted Cauliflower, Bacon and Cannellini Bean Soup adapted liberally from... I can't remember... a food magazine...
serves 6 - 8

5 cups roasted cauliflower (broken into florets, tossed in oil and roasted at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes)
1 medium onion, diced
2 lg cloves garlic, diced
1 rib celery, diced
4 slices of bacon, diced
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp salt (I was using low salt bouillon so start with 1 tbsp and add if necessary)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 dash saffron
2 tbsp sugar
1 540 ml can of cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained well
4 cups veg or chicken stock

In a soup pot (or dutch oven) heat oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, celery and bacon to the pot.  Turn the heat down a bit to med/low.  Brown together for about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and brown for another 3 - 4 minutes.
Add in the cauliflower and mix well.  Cook together for about 5 minutes.
Add in the thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, saffron and sugar.  Mix.
Add in the drained beans and stock.
Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Check the tastes and adjust if necessary.
Blend with an immersion blender or ladle into a blender and blend until smooth.

chocolate chip and cherry muffins

Umm, Yeah.  So the Chex Mix post was supposed to be here... but it's not.
I haven't gotten to it yet.  I thought I would but I didn't.  I will though... I promise.
In the meantime though, what have I been doing with myself.  Even I'm wondering.  I'm not going to blather about how the holidays went by so fast that I hardly remember it because I do remember it.  It was wonderful.  It was slow and relaxed.  We watched more movies than I can remember (both on the big screen and the small).  We made a great christmas ham this year that we are still nibbling on.  I have probably eaten my weight in chocolate (no complaints).  I have done yoga at 10 a.m.  I have gone running at 1 in the afternoon.  It's been entirely indulgent and entirely wonderful.  I will miss it.  I have discovered that I only really enjoy watching a soap opera for about 10 minutes.  I tried more than that and I get bored.  Maybe I have a problem.  There it is.  I also discovered that I think this show is crazy.  I thought that Tyra was campy and awesome (and she is) but Wendy is in a league of her own.  She really makes me laugh.  I still only watch about 15 minutes but if it's a lot of fun and it makes you laugh out loud then who cares right?  I have also managed to drag myself through this book series (which honestly is a feat - what happened to the author after book two, I want to know) and was feeling so good about myself, only to discover that if I want to find out what happens to my favourite characters (do I care enough at this point) then I have to get book FIVE (!) and that there are probably going to be 7 books altogether.  I gotta think about this one.  So, as you can tell, I've had my hands full enough.
But work starts back and all that goes with it.  I gotta think about food again.  I mean really think about it in a 'planning-what-might-I-want-to-do-this-week-so-that-we're-not-eating-cereal-every-night' kind of way because no longer can I pad my way to the kitchen in my big fuzzy slippers at 4:30 in the afternoon and peer into the cupboards for inspiration.  It's gettin' real.
I need snacks for work.  For Real.  It's important.  

These really happened more out of necessity than need 'cause I was super craving some chocolate chip cookies.  However, Kid #1 opened this jar of canned cherries and they've been hanging out rather meekly in the fridge door.  I'm wondering how much longer they're going to last before they turn and a whole jar has been wasted.  That would not be cool.  So necessity was born and I was making muffins.  I coulda gone a little more crazy with the cherries but I wasn't sure if it would be overkill.  Feel free to be generous with your half cup.  The muffins themselves were basic and came together in maybe ten minutes flat.  Can't beat that.  So, just like that snacks are taken care of and January is off and running.  

Chocolate Chip and Cherry Muffins adapted from Taste of Home
makes about 10 large or 12 medium muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (2%)
1/2 cup canola oil (or other tasteless oil)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup diced cherries (tossed in a little bit of flour)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or small chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a muffin tin with papers or silicon muffin cups.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in another bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Add in the cherries and chocolate.  Mix
Spoon into the muffin cups.
Bake for about 22 minutes or so.  Cool and eat.

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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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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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