Angel Food cupcakes with Lemon glaze

What's happening in my life:
I've joined Pinterest.  I don't know what it is really.  I don't know if 'joining' is a word that you use in reference to 'pinning' pictures... whatever.  It looks like a virtual vision board to me which feels ever so slightly lame but my sister joined and invited me and I joined because I love her.  Then I found out that all these other people give a crap about Pinterest too.  Weird.  So here I am.
I'm still biking... in February... in Toronto.  It looks like it's going to be that kind of winter this year.  So, I'm going to take advantage of it and try to push away all the guilt and fear surrounding what this means on a global scale (the guilt and fear are ebbed just a little by the cold snap in Europe - 'See Wanda, it's really really cold somewhere').
Kid #1 has gotten to the final round of a national short story competition.   She is going to be published no matter what and we are incredibly proud of her.  So at the ripe old age of 11 she has already performed on tv, sung with Michael Buble and been published.  What's next for god's sake?
I've been working on my jar pile in the cold room.  It's all been experimental this year.  All this canning and how much of certain things do we actually use and all that.  I already know FO' SHO' that I need double the amount of tomato stuff next year.  Probably a little less on the fruit front.  I've already finished my beet pickles (which were awesome and I'll do some for you soon) and my green tomato and tomatillo salsa is at the halfway point.  It's kinda fun, all this.  Oh yeah, and if anyone has some ideas for canned pears - please let me know.
Remember how a few posts ago I was telling you that I was L O V I N G this song?  (Incidently, they can to this stuff live - I know, right.)  We just found out that they're filming their music video tomorrow here in Toronto and they're looking for kids between 8 and 20.  Yup - kid #1 and I are going.  I know I'm not 20... shut-up.

I'm on a mission now to begin to work through my frozen summer harvest.  I've got bags of corn, green beans, broccoli, pesto, herbs, blueberries, peas, peaches... and other stuff I can't remember right now.  I figure that the end of February (well 2/3's of the way through) is as good a time as any to start clearing out in a serious way.

These cupcakes were 'created' in direct correlation to the freezer thing.  I had a huge, almost shockingly so, container of egg whites.  In fact, I didn't even use them all for this recipe.  So even though I love angel food cake and I'm tot's not scared of it now that I know to hang it upside down, I wanted cupcakes... with lemon.  I wanted to put cherries on top, one's that are also in my freezer, but I didn't un-freeze them in time.   Even though these don't get the upside down treatment they still held up pretty well.  Bite sized angel food... hell's yeah.

Angel Food Cupcakes adapted from "How Sweet It Is'
makes about 20 - 24 cupcakes

12 lg egg whites (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup icing sugar (sifted)
1 1/8 cup sifted cake and pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
grated zest of 2 lemons
blueberries (I used frozen ones from last summer) or cherry pieces for the tops

Let the egg whites rest for at least one hour at room temperature (you can do up to 24 hrs easily).
Line about 24 cupcake tins and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the icing sugar, flour and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl begin to beat the egg whites at medium speed using a mixer.  Once the whites are frothy add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the mixture forms soft peaks (this took me about 10 minutes with my hand mixer).  Add the sugar slowly whilst continuing to beat.  Continue to beat until the mixture forms soft, droopy peaks.  Add in the vanilla and beat a little longer.
Slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg whites a half a cup at a time.  Fold gently and lovingly (!) until everything is mixed.  Fold in the lemon zest.
Pile the batter into each lined cupcake thingy.  I piled mine until they were just reaching the top of the liner.
Place a few blueberries or cherry pieces on top of each cupcake.
Bake for about 18 or so minutes or until the cupcakes look golden and are springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and slather the tops with the lemon glaze while the cupcakes are still warm.
Cool before eating

Lemon Glaze

Juice from 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat just until the mixture begins to simmer and then turn the heat down to low.  Continue to heat on low until the syrup begins to thicken (about 10 minutes).
Pour over cupcakes while they're still warm from the oven.

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Happy Valentines Day.  And in the true spirit of this blog I am celebrating by giving you... Oatmeal Sandwich Bread.  There.

I just learned today that the Catholic Church doesn't name this as the feast day for St. Valentine anymore.  Apparently this has been the case since the 60's.  The reason being that there were simply too many Valentine's, too many stories and too little official documentation (read: lots of urban myth) to go on.  So today is the feast day for St Cyril and St Methodius.  They were brothers I guess and I'm not sure why they were important but you can read all about it and tell me later.  To me the really important point is that the whole Saint Valentine thing isn't really official anywhere except in pop-culture.
What did you do today?
Are you doing anything for V-day?
Did you buy your kids chocolate?
Are you a total bat who has no heart and absolutely no sense of romance?  
My answers to those questions go like this:
Re #1 - Going to work just like every other day.  Not going out tonight because everywhere is full of couples paying too much for their 'prix fixe'.
Re #2 - No
Re #3 - No.  
Re #4 - Maybe
Anyway - I'm not a bat and I do think some things are romantic I just can't think of them right now and when I do I'll be sure to write it all down here.  My kids weren't completely devastated by our lack of gift giving today so far as I can tell.  We all get quite enough chocolate in our lives but fresh baked bread?  Well, I don't know if it's even possible to get enough of that.

I realize that I'm posting this a little late for your V-day meal or gift giving or breakfast in bed.  But maybe, if you're one of those people who maybe consumed a little too much alcohol either out of complete bliss or utter depression OR if you've eaten so much chocolate and candy today that you are having trouble settling yourself down enough to read through a complete sentence... maybe, just maybe this bread is exactly what you need in your life.  Sweetened with some honey.  Complete with oats to settle your insulin levels.  Lots of carbs to sop up alcohol in the stomach (a little bacon might help with that too).  You'll feel better.
That being said, I do wish that you all had a wonderful St's Cyril and Methodius day.

To You... From Me.

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 Cup Oats
2 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 generous tbsp's honey
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 tsp salt

In a measuring cup or small bowl combine the lukewarm milk, yeast and honey.  Stir to dissolve the yeast and set aside in a draft free spot for about 10 minutes.  Mixture should be puffy and bubbly and smell like yeast after.
Combine the oats, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour together in a bowl.   Add the salt.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and then the melted butter.  Mix until it forms a rough dough ball and begin to knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes.  Dough should be smooth.
Place dough in a buttered bowl.  Cover with a clean cloth and set in a draft free place for about 50 - 60 minutes.
Remove from bowl and knead only a couple of turns.  Form the dough into a log and place in a lightly greased loaf pan.  Rub the top of the dough with a little grease or butter and cover with a clean cloth.  Let it rise for another 75 minutes give or take, until it's risen over the top of the loaf pan and forming a nice dome.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 - 40 minutes.  You should be able to knock on the bottom of the loaf and it should sound like a knock.
Wait for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Vanilla Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Buttercream Filling

I love that no matter how old you are you can continue to learn about yourself.  I'm learning new things about myself all the time.  Sure some things stay the same - I will never LOVE parties And I have always disliked desiccated coconut - but other things can change.
So hear I am thinking that I'm this crazy sweet tooth person 'cause it's always been that way.  Back in the day my friend T and I would do some stupid things.  We were both broke in university... like damn broke.  Not like 'I'm-just-waiting-til-my-parents-bail-me-out-in-a-week' broke but 'I'm-hoping-that-my-roomie-is-cool-if-I-only-have-$20-for-groceries-from-now-on' broke.  There were lots of times that I rode my bike in the middle of winter not 'cause I wanted to but because I couldn't afford the damn subway tickets.  So T and I would pool our money quite often.  If I had extra (which was a lot less than he did) then I would contribute more and vice versa.  We would buy enough food to feed ourselves silly for a night or two.  Cook together, gorge ourselves, have way too much fun laughing and then mellow into some serious conversation until the wee hours of the morning.  I remember on many occasions buying multi-packs of chocolate bars would be a big part of our evening.  We would eat them (yea, that's right - plural, more than one each) either on the way home or while we were cooking - although that often was too long to wait.
At school, I would often willingly forfeit lunch in order to eat chocolate.  Nasty stuff - the stuff from the vending machine - I had no taste.
When D and I got engaged we didn't do the ring thing (that came later), instead we stopped at an awesome chocolate place and got a big box of chocolates that we hand picked.

Sweets have been a pretty big part of my life and I just assumed that I must therefor be a sweet tooth.  I guess that I never paid much attention to the fact that I disliked cheesecake because I found many of them too sweet.  I also ignored the fact that I almost never - N E V E R - order dessert when we go to a nice resto.  I may have overlooked the fact that I complained so much about the 'too sweet' hot chocolate from Starbucks that she found out that I could order it half sweet (and with no whip).  Dang.  It's all hitting me now because ... I didn't like these cookies.  They're too sweet for me.   Truth be told, I didn't even try them.
I know.  My kids love them.  Derek has even had one or two.  Me... not even one.  Too sweet.  Not even attracted.  Couldn't care less.  My God.  What's happened to me.

While I'm off figuring out exactly what it is that I am interested in eating when it comes to snacks or treats, go and make these.  They don't suck, I do.  It's not them... it's me.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Buttercream Filling adapted from 'Whoopie Pies'
makes about 25 med/small pies

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
4 tbsp veg. shortening (I know... yuck)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 lg eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Beat together the butter and shortening until it's light and cream.  Add the eggs and the buttermilk, beating until they're all combined.
In another bowl mix together the milk, baking soda and vinegar.  Add the milk mixture to the buttermilk mixture and mix.  Add the vanilla and mix in.  Add in the flour mixture and beat until combined.
Drop the batter by tbsp's onto the baking sheet keeping space between each so that they can spread.  Bake for about 10 minutes or just until the cakes begin to brown.
Remove fromt he oven and cool for a couple of minutes before removing front he cookie sheet to a cooling rack.  Cool completely.
Make the filling below and dig in...


1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together the icing sugar and the cocoa powder.  Using a fork begin to mash in the room temperature butter until the texture is quite crumbly.  Add in the cream and vanilla and continue to mash and then beat until the mixture is smooth and spreadable.  Add extra cream if required.
Spread onto the underside of one completely cooled cookie and then sandwich with another cookie.

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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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