Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas... or dumb dumb fast food.

I meant to give you an update a couple of days ago.  Then things got crazy and by the end of the day I was so bagged that I couldn't think.
I wanted to give you a fantastic recipe for some of the fantastic food that I made this week... except I didn't make any.
I had thought that I could give you an entire post on planting garlic cloves in the fall and how they would turn into awesome garlic scapes and whole cloves of garlic next spring... but I didn't actually plant any.
The real kicker here is that I can't really figure out what I did.  I know what I didn't do but what the hell did I do?  Here's the rundown.  I met this wonderful lady this week.  She is fantastic and being able to work so closely with a Canadian Icon is an honour.  (I'm using present tense because I get to see her again this week)  She is coaching two of our boys who are soloing with the TSP next weekend.  I'm in the thick of that.  The concerts are piling up thick and fast over here.  Advent season is in full swing.
Truth is, as much as my heart was in the right place,  I wouldn't have known what to cook because my head was drowning in a sea of work.  I did manage to keep biking to work all week.  It's the time of year when each week that goes by and I'm still biking feels like a gift.  First of December and still going strong.
One of my friends and colleagues and I are going on a little adventure late next week.  We've decided to finally do something we've always wanted to do.  We've researched, we've sought out a venue and we've booked our time.  It's going to hurt a little but we'll be able to hold each others hand and eat chocolate together to dull the sting.  So that was a big part of my week too.
I've been fuelling my runs with this music... and some of this too.  It's amazing how some good music gets you through a hard-to-get-motivated run.  These guys came and did a workshop at our school a week or so ago and they totally got me into piano trios.  Especially this one.  BTW - they are the most generous people - the cellist stayed back after the school show and coached some of our gr 12 boys who have formed a string trio.  Genuine.

It's amazing how quickly one's brain can get sidelined.  I've been so focussed on how busy things are that I've talked myself out of making food.  It's too time consuming.  I don't have the ingredients.  I have no inspiration.  Screw it.  This took me about 15 minutes tonight.  It's tasty.  It's good for me and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than going out.  This isn't so much a recipe for you as an inspiration.  Add and subtract at will.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla's
serves 4(ish)

2 med sweet potato's, partially peeled and cubed into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (400ml) 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and set aside
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of salt and pepper
shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, whatever you've got)
sour cream
greens (again, whatever you've got: spinach, lettuce, chard, etc) broken into small pieces
soft tortilla shells

Boil the sweet potato cubes in a small amount of water for about 5 minutes or just until soft but not mushy.  Drain and set aside.
Heat a large pot or skillet over medium heat.  Add a little oil or lard if you have.  Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently.  Once the onion is softened add in the garlic.  Cook for about a minute and then add in the drained beans.  Stir constantly.  Add in the sweet potatoes and the spices.  Stir until everything is mixed well and things are pretty dry.
Remove from the heat.
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet (caste iron works really well here) over medium heat.  Add a little lard or oil but just a little.
Place 1 tortilla shell on the heated skillet.  Add about a half a cup of the bean/sweet potato mixture and spread it out evenly.  Add a good sprinkling of cheese and place another tortilla shell on the top.  Turn over once the bottomed looks slightly browned.  Heat until the cheese has melted.
Remove from heat.  Cut into quarters and add some sour cream and a generous tbsp of salsa on top of each piece.

Apple Spice Bread with Egg Whites

It has come to my attention that there are a few of you out there who actually suspend your lives for a few minutes to look at my blog.  This is awesome and I love and appreciate you.
I have learned recently that there are others from this same group who not only stop on this blog for a few minutes to scroll through the pictures and see if sugar and chocolate are involved in the recipe but who take the time to read what I spew out in these paragraphs.  Just knowing this scares me.  You are the people who send shivers down my spine.
You see, I don't think about who is going to read any of this while I'm typing.  I'm not typing to a demographic.  I'm not typing in response to an expectation.  The way it usually works is that I think something and then start writing not.  I'm not even joking.  This post is a great example of my lack of planning.  I didn't even know what I was going to write literally as I started typing.  The first sentance just sounded good to me and I went with it.
I'm sure that this knowledge explains a lot about my writing to you.  It might explain the typo's (maybe - that's just not re-reading though).  It might explain the rambling.  It might help you understand why my paragraphs are so bloody short.  It doesn't, however,  explain why I keep doing it and this is the embarrassing part for me. I don't even know why I keep doing it.  Why does anyone keep doing something that they don't really want to do and think is lame?  Why do I keep telling myself that I can book that night out with a friend and then have to cancel every single time?  Why do I tell myself that I'll totally get to folding the laundry that's hanging on my hall railing this week and it still hangs there until Thursday or Friday... every single week.  Why do I keep ordering apples, telling myself that this week I will take them for lunch,  when I know that none of us really really like eating them and that they will probably go soft before we remember that they are there.
And that my friends is the real point of this post.

I know it took a while and I bet your head is still spinning a little.  Don't try to figure it out just accept it.   Don't sit back and wonder why I wrote 4 paragraphs just to get to apples.  It's fruitless.  I couldn't give you a decent reason but either way apples were the point all along.  I buy them and them we both look at each other and think 'later'.  And then they're soft.  So last week I made apple crisp with honey and I felt so awesome for being all 'whole wheat and honey'.  This week I've added egg whites because when you make your own ice cream (and yeah, apple crisp  absolutely does NEED vanilla ice cream) you have a lot of egg whites slowly getting freezer burn.  So it's begun.  The mission to empty my freezer of egg whites and to use up this week's apples.
Just for the record, apples are coming with my food box again tomorrow.

Apple Spice Bread with Egg Whites adapted from 'Great Good Food' by Julee Rosso
makes 1 lg sized loaf

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or red fife flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg, cardamom
zest of 1 small lemon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream
juice half a small lemon (probably about 1 tbsp)
1 egg
2 - 3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups apples coarsely chopped but not necessarily peeled

Preheat oven to 350°
Grease and flour a loaf pan (I used a smaller one but should have used a large one) and set aside.
Combine both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and lemon zest together.  Mix and set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, yogurt and lemon juice together and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk or beat the brown sugar together with the melted butter until there are no lumps and the butter is completely incorporated into the sugar.  Add in the egg and the egg whites.  Beat at a slightly higher speed until the mixture has increased in volume just a little.  It should feel like one big combined light paste.  Add in a bit of the flour and continue beating or whisking until it's all mixed in.  Add a little of the buttermilk mixture and beat until it's all mixed in.  Continue to alternate the two until everything is used up.  Try to end with the flour mixture.
Gently fold in the apple pieces and stir until they are well mixed into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before cutting - although I couldn't quite accomplish this... Kid #1 and I shared a piece quite a bit sooner than 20 minutes... totally worth it.

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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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