Mid-November in Montreal calls for a lot of hunkering down.
    On every corner in our
neighbourhood towering piles of leaves await the city clean-up crews, outside
houses people are working to put matting down the front stairs, almost as if even
our stairs need overcoats for the Winter to come.

    As
the cold weather approaches I too hunker down. Mornings with the laptop working
on the minutiae of Day Camps are now spent at the kitchen table with a mug of
rapidly cooling coffee beside me and a shawl or muffler wound round my neck!

  
This week saw me sending out the Day Camp Committee Agenda for
our meeting next Monday. It looks as if we may be a small group again, which
has us pondering if we can find any other suitable individuals willing to join
our crew.

   In
the Fall and early Winter a 6 person committee can seem quite doable but as the
weather worsens and University courses grow more intense our numbers seem to
drop, even with the promise of a free hot meal!!Hmm, what is to be done?

 
Tuesday Donna came by to pick up all the little slippers I had knitted
for her Christmas list and very kindly drove me downtown for the first,
post-Synod meeting of Diocesan Council, a longer than usual evening, beginning
with a Eucharist.

 
Wednesday we had scheduled a core Team meeting of the St. Stephen’s
Children’s Ministry, due to a bike accident one member could not make it but
two of us did meet and were still able to make some planning progress. Then
Thursday there was a long Wil Walk to a friend’s home for a consultation
regarding appetizer recipes. Every two years she and her husband host a
gigantic cocktail party for his company’s business associates and I am co-opted
to help make some of the vast array of hors d’oeuvres. That evening Steven,
from MCF joined me for one of our dinner visits and we each had a chance to
update the other on our different Ministries, always a really great
conversation.

 
Yesterday and this morning have seen intensive preparation for the
upcoming 3-day marathon of CTM meetings here at “home base”. The Huyers will be
arriving from Ottawa at any moment, and staying overnight, and ‘til tomorrow
evening. At 3pm they will be holding an SYC Staff Meeting, then tomorrow (also
at 3) there will be a Board of Directors Meeting, and finally, as mentioned
earlier, Monday at 6pm, Day Camp Committee. Whew!

  So
yesterday saw me pumping up the air mattress for Alexander and doing a
HUMONGOUS baking! – Blueberry Muffins, Molasses Crinkle Cookies, Cornbread,
Nana’s Apple Pudding, Tuna Cauliflower Casserole, Pane Casareccia and Roasted
Pineapple!

  All
week there has continued to be a ton of leaf raking, I think I have filled 18
bags to date! With a killing frost in the offing ( we actually had SNOW SQUALLS yesterday afternoon!!!!), I finally dug out a
wheelbarrow full of compost and spread it on one of the garden beds and also
sowed the last of my grass seed in various “bald” spots of the lawns.

 So
we are truly – hunkered down! And suitable comfort food for that status was
last night’s Tuna Casserole ( or “Cazzerole”,
an old St. Matthew’s Church Malapropism!!!).

 Last
evening, while cozied up on the loveseat with my furries and eating a large
bowl of cazzerole, I scrolled through my favourite blogs and thought how this post dovetailed so neatly with my own thoughts.

 
Perhaps you are also hunkering down, if so, here is that recipe…

                                   Tuna Cauliflower Casserole

1 medium cauliflower broken into small flowerets
and blanched for 4 mins.

8oz. wide egg noodles

1 tin water packed tuna

2 cups milk

5 Tbsps. flour

1 large onion, chopped

4 Tbsps. butter or margarine

4 oz. grated Swiss cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook the pasta until
slightly underdone, drain, reserving ½ a cup of liquid.

In the same saucepan melt the butter then add
the onion and sauté for 8 mins. or until softened. Stir in the flour and cook
for another 2 minutes, stirring. Slowly add the milk and keep stirring until
thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the extra ½ cup of pasta water.

Butter a medium shallow casserole. Place
the pasta and cauliflower in the dish and add the tuna, drained and broken into
small chunks. Pour the sauce over and fold in with a wide spatula.

Cover with parchment paper and a small
cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 375F. oven. Remove from
oven and raise Temp. to 425F.  Uncover
the casserole and sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese, return uncovered to
the oven and bake for approx. 15mins. until the cheese has browned and the
sauce is bubbling. Serves 4-6.