pear upside down cake

It's Mother's Day this weekend.  To be honest it's not something that factors heavily on my radar.  Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate my own Mom like crazy.  I'm sure that she wanted to (and probably should have) pound us through a wall on more than one occasion.  I'm positive that she got pretty tired of trekking me off to skating and piano lessons.  Let's not even go into how many hockey practices and games that my brother was involved in.   She was probably pretty tired of the 'get yourself downstairs to that piano and practice' routine as well.
She was pretty patient with us though.  We thought we were getting away with things when we probably weren't.  While she was teaching piano after school we were NOT doing our homework but watching tv instead for example.  When I told her that my brother J and I had to go out and run an errand it was really to try and find the 'thing' (don't even know what it was called) that I knocked off Dad's car while going around a corner.  J came with me to help me and we found it because he had his head stuck out the window and saw it lying on the grass at the side of the road.  Thank Jeebus.  She probably knew.
When we went to a friends place and left late but still made it home for curfew because we drove at speeds on the highway that would make any mother's heart stop... she probably knew.

My Mom should be comforted by the fact though that in spite of all the stupid things that we did we always loved and never wanted to worry or hurt her.  We knew when we were being stupid (also something that she would be comforted by I think) and we always appreciated that we didn't get the 'you're being so dumb right now' card shoved down our throats.

I'm sending my Mom and My Mom-in-Law flowers today.  They deserve it for bringing up D and I.  My own expectations around Mother's Day are pretty much zero.  I don't need anything except a quiet day.  Kid #2 already gave me his card because he made it at school and couldn't wait until Sunday and quite frankly didn't understand why he would need to.  That's cool.  Kid #1 says that she would like to make me breakfast in bed but I'm dubious about that even coming to pass.  D won't be doing anything and since he's not my kid I'm cool with that.
Thanks Mom for somehow knowing.  Enjoy the flowers and have a great day.

Pear Upside Down Cake adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
makes 1 8x8 inch square cake


1/2 cup butter (salted or unsalted.  either is fine)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 med/large pears cored and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (I used ones that I had canned)


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 lg eggs
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg and cardamom
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the butter and brown sugar in the bottom of a 9x9 inch square cake pan.  Place the pan in the oven until the butter and sugar have melted together.
Remove from the oven and stir just to mix.  Line the bottom of the pan with the pear slices overlapping if and when needed.  In my opinion you can't have enough pears.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamom together in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the milk and vanilla together and set aside.
With a mixer (or by hand ;-) mix the butter and sugar together until it's light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs and continue to mix until it's well combined and fluffy.  Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately beginning and ending with flour.  Should take about 3 additions for the flour.  Mix well after each addition.
Pour the cake mixture over the pear/butter mixture.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and immediately invert onto a serving plate.
Feel free to serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

A day in the slice

I'm sitting and typing this while dripping wet.  That's how much I love you and love doing this blog.
Whateve's right.
Where have I been and what have I been doing? Well, get ready for it sob*sigh*cry*blah*blah*... here it comes.
Non stop I tell you.  May and I aren't fans.  We don't get along and if May was a person we wouldn't be hangin'.  It's busy and frustrating and relentless.  There.  I've said it.  So while I get ready to go on tour and prepare choirs for weddings and get kids ready for auditions and take my own kid to endless rehearsals and concerts and write down endless notes on the calendar for school outings and festivals and dance recitals, I also managed to get in a little bit of time with D.
We spend some time at a friends b'day party... this is my kind of party.  That's D in the background wearing the orange shirt.  He hadn't started playing yet and I kinda missed filming that part - Duh!

I took some time to walk around by myself and get some crackin' shots of trees and things.  I'm playing around with my iPhone camera so bear with me.

I made some wicked Pear upside down cake which I'll be sharing with you in a day or two.

I downloaded some music that actually seems to keep my legs moving.  Embarrassingly, it's heavy metal. But great heavy metal.  "Who controls the past now controls the future. Who controls the present now controls the past. Who controls the past now controls the future.  Who controls the present now.'  Just sayin'

I went out with T.  We caught up and he bought wayyyyy too much wine.  We ate ourselves silly and it was a ton of fun.  We totally lost track of time and stayed out way too late on a school night.  I was a wreck the next day but it was totally worth it.

What haven't I done?
 - Cleaned my bathroom or swept my floors for starters.
 - Watched much tv except for this and this which have convinced me that if I lived in the UK I would pretty much just only ever watch tv.
 - Sat down to sift through my ideas for a new project at work that I really do have ideas for and need to put into black and white in order to start making sense of it all
 - Stepped into the toy area of our house... and I'm not going to for just a little longer.

I think that you get the picture.  I'm going to go and dry myself off now.  The rain and I played together twice today.  Once when I rode my bike home from work and the second time when I went out for my run.  Soaked twice... it was fun.  Thanks May.

Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks and no nuts.

How did it come to this?
I ask myself that question a lot.  When I hear certain news stories, read people's Facebook status updates, watch tv.  I was laying on my couch yesterday trying to decide what to do next.  Before switching on what has to be the world's stupidest movie and the biggest waste of my time in a long while, I had the tv on.  For the few minutes that it was on I saw a Canadian talk show host interviewing a woman in suburban Toronto.  This woman was talking about her lawn... her grass.  The grass on her front lawn(!).  She was explaining that a tree had been removed leaving uneven grass and a bare patch on her front lawn.  She needed advice from an expert so that she could once again have the best grass on her street(!!!!).
At first I thought it must be a joke.  But the show seemed to be taking things further by having a expert work with her.  This woman was absolutely sincere and in earnest about her lawn.  She was completely committed to having the best grass on her street.  And then I thought, 'How did it come to this'.
Who in hell cares whether you have the best lawn on the street.  Grass is something I consider just filler between my door and the sidewalk.  I know that it's not the best use of the space and I completely understand that it sucks the earth of it's good stuff.  Damn.  Dig up the lawn and put veggies in there.  At least it's productive.
But seriously, why do we care.  Does it honestly say something about me as a human being if I have the best grass on my street?  Or if I have the worst grass?  I don't think about people that way at all.  I don't ever wonder what their lawn looks like or if it's the best lawn or if maybe I should consider not talking to them anymore if it's the worst lawn.  I guess that it just never occured to me that the grass on my lawn was something worth competing over and/or making an effort with.

D was telling me about a visit he made to a friend a couple of days ago.  They were having some lunch and hearing these weird noises coming from outside.  Deciding to go for a walk along the beach after lunch they left the house and discovered that the weird noises (which had been going on for some time now) were being made by someone using some machinery to remove dandelions from their front lawn. Wow.  Dandelions are actually useful and grass isn't.  This person was spending a lot of time to get a great but useless lawn and removing truly useful stuff in order to do it.  I'm astonished.

Well after that whole revelation I was exhausted and had to refuel with some of these cookies.  It was truly important.  I suppose that the time I spent making these cookies could have been spend outside pulling up my dandelions or trying to repair the holes in my own grass that have been made by racoons or squirrels digging for grubs. But the truth is that I don't care.  I don't care about whether my grass is awesome because there are so many really important things in my life that I don't have time to worry about my grass.  Cookies however are another matter entirely.

Chocolate, White Chocolate Chunk Cookies adapted slightly from Eats Well With Others
makes about 30 smallish cookies - 24 med. sized cookies

8 oz very dark or bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 lg eggs
3/4 cup white chocolate, chips are a good quality bar cut into coarse chunks

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler (you can just simmer a little bit of water and place a heat proof bowl on top - but not touching! - the pot).  Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line two cookies sheets with parchment or a silicon baking mat.  Set aside.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl and set aside.
Add the sugar, espresso powder and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and mix well.  Add in the eggs one at a time and whisk well after each addition.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture.  Do it in about 3 batches mixing well after each addition.  The batter will become quite thick.
Add in the white chocolate chips/chunks and mix well.
Scoop the dough onto the cookies sheets using about a tbsp of dough for each cookie.  These cookies don't spread very much so they can be fairly close together.
Bake for about 10 - 11 minutes or until they look just a little under baked.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
Stores well for about 3 - 4 days.

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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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About Me

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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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