Saturday, June 30, 2012

Veggie Galore!

Veggies, veggies everywhere and what are you to think? Oven roasted veggies are a great addition to
any meal because they are yummy and healthy. And that combination works well for this lady who is on a mission to loose the rest of this baby weight and get back into those old navy pre-baby jeans :)
Here is a simple oven roasted veggie recipe that I found on pinterest and have cooked twice already.

You will need: Potatoes, zucchini, baby carrots, sweet potatoes, whole garlic cloves, onions and tomatoes according to the original pinterest postings.

When I made this I skipped the sweet potatoes and just cut up a couple small red potatoes. Additionally, I have added cauliflower to the mix as well.

Preheat your oven to  350 and be sure to spray your baking sheet or lightly drizzle with EVOO.
Chop and cut your veggies to desired thickness. I lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and some cajun seasoning.

Then, pop in the oven and bake  for 45 minutes. You can dust with Parmesan for the last 10 minutes if you so desire.

Quick, simple, easy and delicious! What more can you ask for! My hubby and I ate it up. I hope you enjoy this recipe and as Julia Childs would say, "Bon Appetit!"

Friday, June 29, 2012

This is why I teach

I saw this post picture on Facebook the other day:


This picture made me laugh because it's so true! I knew this going to college and with performanced based pay initiatives sweeping our system it's even more true, but that is not why I write today. There are moments in a teacher's life where all the hard work, late nights, stressed out moments that make you want to pull your hair out cease to matter because you are reminded about why you teach in the first place. I had one of the those moments at the end of this last school year.

I am a high school teacher who pulls double duty between teaching social studies and reading. Teaching reading at the high school level comes with a little "stigmatism" because not everyone likes reading or they are put in the class to help with FCAT so there is a bit of resentment. Nonetheless, we persevere! Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I would try and move mountains for them if I thought that it would help them and it was what they needed.

So one of the last few days of the school year, I found this note on my desk and it absolutely stopped me dead in my tracks. I teared up and didn't know what to say. This beautiful note written anonymously, revitalized my spirit. I couldn't wait to show it off because I was so proud.
This student wrote about how they didn't really care much for reading as a class because they knew how to read, but what I showed them was that reading is not just knowing the words---that was a skill and there are certain things/ways of thinking that they would need in order to be successful at FCAT.
They also mentioned how they are looking forward to taking my psychology class as a senior! Awesomeness.

I hope that all teachers out there get something like this because it can keep you going. As teachers, we don't have it easy now-a-days in the face of budget cuts, standardized testing, MORE RIGOR (the list goes on and on).  In an effort to keep the spirit of this note alive, I plan on keeping it posted by my desk and in sight for as long as possible!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How do you crock pot?

I la la love my crockpot! It was by far the best wedding gift ever! (Thanks again Adrienne BTW). So the other night, I tried a new recipe for cube steak in the crock pot. Of course, it was one of my many foodie finds on pinterest.

Here is what you need:One package of cube steak (at least 4 pieces to family size)
Two cans of cream of mushroom
One package of onion soup mix
3/4 cups of water
1/2 of a medium sized onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do is mix the all the ingredients into the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours and VOILA! Dinner is done. Normally, cube steak is a tough meat to eat, but when you slow cook it all day you can cut it with your fork! For reals. It was very easy and very yummy. Plus, if you use a reynolds wrap crock pot liner you will have very little clean up! Bonus.

This is a great alternative to frying cube steak which as we all know is awesome, but not so healthy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2Ms= Money and Your Marriage

The other day at a workshop, I mentioned to a colleague that my husband and I generally don't make big purchases without consulting each other. This comment stemmed from a conversation I was having about wanting a new cell phone and I was particularly digging on my friend's new Droid Razor. She said, "Well, I wouldn't ask. I would just go and open up my own account."

Say what!? I was a bit flabbergasted by her comment, but I politely said we really don't make big money decisions like that. I thought to myself I can't be the only one who deals with household money like this? No way. Now, when I am saying spending money, I am NOT referring to everyday/weekly purchases of gas, groceries or paying bills. I am talking about more "wants than needs" over a certain dollar amount.

That's not say if I want to order a book from amazon or buy for myself a new shirt, I have to check with the hubby first. No, that's not how we do things. I'll get my shirt and book because we have a general rule of thumb that anything over $50 you check with the other person or at least mention it ahead of time. It's all about communication and respect. I will note that these little purchases here and there can add up if you do them all the time. However, it's nice to do something for yourself every now and again. Enjoy the fruits of your labors as they say.

At our house, there is no one person controlling the money and there is no reference to who makes more money. Our goal as a couple is to be financially responsible and live below our means and SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! I grew up in a household where my parents were financially irresponsible and it is not something I plan to revisit ever again. There is a comfort in knowing that we are both concerned and diligent about paying off what debt we do have. "Rainy days" and emergencies (God forbid) will happen and if they do I know we are prepared and can handle it. For example, when we found out we were pregnant, we knew we had to penny up and get a newer, safer family car. We didn't like spend the money (i.e. we did not take out a loan), but we were able to quickly (in less than a year) pay it off together.

Is there a one-size-fits all way to handle the money in your marriage? No. But don't let money control your marriage. You should control your money. It's a simple and significant mindset!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pinterest Junkie

I started pinning back in May. It took me a while to "jump on board" but OMG now I am hooked! My life would be complete if only there was an app for Android and I could pin conviently and easily from my phone. I have found so many ideas for work, food, party ideas and cleaning and organization just to name a few. I think to myself, "where have you been all my life?" It makes internet searching so easy.

Of course, most of the pinners are women. Men don't ruin pinterest by posting that nudie garbage. My husband has asked my what are you doing on there? I have tried to explain it to him and he simple states, "okay, whatever." I will note that he has benefitted from some of my recipe try outs. It's kind of like a personality brag board. On another note, if you are a creative person you could benefit from posting your products to get your name out there!

I will definitely post some of my adventures in pinterest in weeks to come. Until then, you can follow me on pinterest!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe Rundown

I love to cook! And I love to eat really good food which does not bode well for my attempt to loose the rest of my baby weight. Nonetheless, I wish to share with you one of my recent adventures in cooking.

One of my absolute favorite restaurants is Carrabbas Italian Grill. My husband and I both love their Mama Mandola's Spicy Sicilian Chicken Noodle soup. I get it everytime I eat there. So in one of my recent internet search explorations, I came across the following copycat recipe and I decided to give it a try. Here is the orignal link.

I did not follow the recipe exactly because my pot was not big enough! So here is what I did.
In my food processor I diced: 10 (or so) baby carrots, 3 stalks of celery, one med. onion and about 4-5 fresh garlic cloves. I them put veggies in my pot with some EVOO and salt and paper and had them "sweat out" while I did the rest.

After I chopped the veggies I opened one can of peeled Italian plum tomatoes and drained the juice into the pot with veggies and then chopped the tomatoes in the food processor ( and then I added tomatoes to the pot).

Next use 3-4 box cartons of chick broth---add all to the pot. For an extra kick to the soup add one to two table spoons of crushed red pepper flakes (optional because it will make it a little spicier)
Then, I shredded a store bought rotesserie chicken and added meat to the soup. Bring up to a boil on a low heat and let simmer for a few hours (or however long you need). Stir often and salt and pepper to taste.

 I cooked the noodles seperately and added them right before it was time to eat. I used Barilla ditilini (any smal noodle will do). And I have to say that it turned out pretty good! My husband even said that it was better than Carrabba's version because it tasted more fresh! Awh, love him. He knows what I like to hear. There's the picture of the final product!

Happy cooking people. I looking forward to sharing more with you soon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Now I lay me down to sleep

My daughter is a busy bee for sure. She isn’t even still when she sleeps because she moves all over the crib. As moms, we are busy to say the least. It seems like there are moments when we do not even have time to think! And then there are times when we can’t stop thinking—our minds just will not shut off. Yea, that's awesome at 3 a.m. right?

A habit that I am trying to follow through on each night as I rock my daughter to sleep is prayer. I used to say my prayers as I tried to go to sleep, but in the quiet of her room I find that peaceful moment of reflection. It is a precious moment between my daughter and I and in that moment I see God’s blessing in my life. I find peace in these moments and it calms my soul and quiets my mind.

Like many other moms before me, I know and feel that becoming a mom has been a complete life changer for my husband and I. At times, I feel overwhelmed, overworked, and underappreciated but I thank God each and every night for my daughter and I pray that he keeps her safe, happy, and healthy.

As a parent, it will be my duty to raise her right and to teach her right from wrong, good from bad. It will be my job to teach her the ways of the lord and his word. It is my intention to continue this bedtime ritual with her for many years to come. Simple and significant.