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Showing posts from December, 2016

The World's Easiest Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is another topic subject to wildly different opinions.  Most of us reach for the stuff in the packets from the grocery store when we want a cup.  What could be easier?  Tear off top of packet, pour in mug of hot water, and stir.
I have never liked packet hot chocolate made with water.  It is always missing something.  Before today, I would improve on the packets slightly by making it with hot milk instead of water.  I've tried it with regular milk and almond milk- both are pretty good.
But today I tried an idea I saw on Pinterest.  It was insanely easy, and I'll never make hot chocolate a different way again!
Most people I know keep a bag of chocolate chips hidden somewhere in their kitchens.  I keep my stash in the freezer.  My brand of choice is Ghirardelli.  Hershey chocolate chips are no longer good enough.  I know there are people who swear by Hershey's- for chocolate chips and cocoa powder.  But honestly, I've done a lot of baking, and I prefer Ghir…

Breakfast- again!

Breakfast today was fairly simple.  I had my normal cup of tea (Earl Grey), scrambled eggs, cinnamon raisin toast, and a piece of bacon.
Scrambled eggs can be a surprisingly complicated affair.  There are wildly different ways of making them- from very simple to extremely complex (using double boilers and such).  I find that people are usually in one of two camps.  Some people are dry scrambled egg people.  I think these people don't particularly love eggs, but they feel obligated by breakfast culture to eat them.  Then there are moist scrambled egg people.  I am one of these.  I love eggs.  Apart from raw, I can't think of any preparation of eggs I won't eat.  I tend to like my eggs custardy and moist, with soft curds.
Then there's the whole other argument about salting the eggs before or after cooking.  I season mine before I cook them.  I usually add a dash of salt and sriracha.  Some people swear that you shouldn't salt the eggs until after they cook because i…

Youtubers

This is one of my favorite youtube channels.  This guy is a principal at a school in Lexington, KY.  He makes these videos around his school, or in his car.  He brings to light many of the odd situations teachers find themselves in everyday.  And I think he jokingly pokes fun at the us against them attitude between teachers and administrators.

This video is particularly funny to me because we had to do a new battery of assessments right before we got out for Winter Break last week.  It's like he knows...

Winter Salsa Recipe

Can you tell I was in the mood to play with my iPhone camera today?

Homemade salsa is so much better than the stuff in the jar at the store.  I learned a long time ago that salsa is easy to make, and if you make it yourself, you can control what goes in it.  Not to mention you have complete control over the heat level.

In the spring and early fall, when I have fresh garden tomatoes and jalapenos, I like to make salsa with them.  It just tastes better.  But in the winter, I change up my recipe and use canned tomatoes and jarred chipotle peppers.  I love the smoky flavor and the heat!

Here's what I used today to put together a batch:

This isn't everything, but it's the things I switch out between seasons.  Here's the complete list...

1 can diced tomatoes
1 handful fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon of chipotle
one little hunk cut off a white onion
1 teaspoon of aleppo pepper
salt
pinch of sugar

Throw everything in the blender and blitz.  That…

Cheesy-Gritty Breakfast

I love cooking breakfast.  Actually, I love cooking breakfast on the weekends when time is not a factor.  I hate making breakfast during the week.  Cooking is one of those areas where I don't respond well to time pressure.

This particular breakfast was a shining example of what I like to eat- layers of yummy things all piled on top of each other, then mixed up and devoured.

Here's the rundown of the dish...

First I made a batch of garlic cheese grits.  I use chicken broth as the liquid, and I add a clove of whole garlic (which I fish out before adding the grits).  When the grits are creamy and smooth, I stir in as much cheddar as I feel like grating.  On this morning, I was energetic and added A LOT of cheese.  This is the bottom layer of the bowl.

I fried an over easy egg and perched it on top of the grits.

I diced and seasoned a Roma tomato and sliced half an avocado.  Lastly, I sprinkled a crumbled piece of bacon over the whole thing.  Oh- and I didn't douse it with sr…

Nachos- a Perspective

My nacho-universe has been forever altered.  I'm not even kidding.

I love nachos.  I mean I REALLY love nachos.  When I am left alone at mealtime unsupervised, most of the time, I'm making nachos for whatever meal it is.  I have managed to make them for breakfast, dinner, and supper.

Under normal circumstances, I make my nachos in the microwave.  The idea behind nachos (at least for me) has always been quick deliciousness.  The least amount of time possible to go from hungry to salty, cheesy, crunchy nacho paradise.

But one night last week I had an epiphany.  I was craving nachos (not unusual).  I had plenty of time.  Then I thought about restaurant nachos.  Not Taco Bell nachos.  Even I don't particularly like those.  I was thinking about really good nachos from a Mexican restaurant.  I love the slightly browned exposed chips and the extra sear on the toppings.

So I did something I've never done before.  I made my nachos on a parchment-covered sheet pan in the oven. …

Christmas 2016

This is the one thing I know I won't be getting for Christmas- in spite of its obvious awesomeness.  I saw an ad for the Sushi Bazooka a couple of months back and was completely captivated.  Take a look for yourself!



How awesome is that!

But my husband has put his foot down and absolutely refused to buy one for me.  I know that I'm an independent woman and can go out and buy my own... but he is seriously anti-sushi bazooka!  His argument is that it's cheating.  With a little more practice we can make much better, more authentic sushi.

My argument in favor of it is that sometimes you don't want to work that hard, but you still want sushi.  It's cheaper to make at home, and you can use your creativity and make up new rolls (buffalo chicken, perhaps?).

Hopefully over the winter break I'll have time to make some sushi at home, even it is without the sushi bazooka.  :(

Gorgonzola Walnut Scones

These turned out to be amazing!  I pinned this recipe months ago, waiting for an opportunity to play with the ingredients.

A few months back, I posted about my efforts to eat down the contents of my pantry.  I pinned this recipe because I thought it might be a good candidate for some flour swapping.  Turns out I was right!

I used this recipe, with one major alteration.  It calls for 3 cups of all-purpose flour.  I substituted one cup of the AP flour for buckwheat flour.  As a result, while I was making the dough, I had to add a tad bit more milk to get it to come together.  The other detour I made from the original recipe was to slather the individual scones in melted butter before they hit the oven.  Very good call.

I felt like this recipe would benefit from the buckwheat flour because of the strong flavor of the gorgonzola cheese.  Buckwheat flour has a fairly assertive flavor profile that can overwhelm other ingredients in a recipe.  It would take quite a bit to overwhelm the fla…

Using Teacher Read Alouds with Middle School Kids

I teach a combined 5/6th-grade Literacy class for English Language Learners.  It's a small class (which is a blessing after many years of large classes)- so I kind of treat it like a lab.  I find it much easier to try new things with 10, than with 30.

Because all of my kids are language learners, we spend time every single day reading and writing.  They respond very well to mentor texts, so we use them all the time.  On the weekends, I usually read as many education blogs as I can, looking for ideas and strategies to use.

I use low-level picture books in my classroom almost every day.  If I can find books to match either a concept we're learning or a vocabulary word, it's a big bonus.  We've been talking about perspective quite a bit lately, so I found this book...


They All Saw A Cat, by Brendan Wenzel has beautiful illustrations, all showing what the cat looks like from the perspective of other animals and people.  The best part about using books like this is that lan…