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Archive for January, 2011

This weekend flew by.

Friday we went out for dinner and drinks with friends but came home early.

Saturday morning I got up early to go to the gym. My Saturday morning Body Balance class was awesome as usual.

P1292911 Boiled potatoes, boiled beat, lamb’s lettuce, smoked salmon and a dressing mad from yogurt, fresh dill and a bit of salt and pepper.

I came home from the gym, made a quick Sweden-inspired lunch and then Sebastian and I were off to pick up his mom.

P1292915 It was a short visit but a good one. It was her first time in Bonn so we walked around looking at the sights then went out for dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant.

Every time I see Sebastian’s family, I know more German. It’s really nice to be able to participate more and more in the conversations.

To say it was a short visit is an understatement. She spontaneously decided to come to Bonn from Berlin. Arriving at 5pm on Saturday and leaving at 7am on Sunday.

After saying goodbye to Sebastian’s mom, I went back to sleep and accidentally slept until 10:30. Breakfast was rolls around 11 making lunch late- about 4:30.

P1302925 Sunday lunch was paninis with sautéed vegetables.

I cooked up some eggplant, red pepper, red onion and zucchini along with my new favorite seasoning.

P1302926 This Mediterranean mixture even has sea salt and lavender.

P1302924 Spot the lavender?

P1302939 I spread this jarred bruschetta on the mini chiabata rolls,

P1302941then stuffed the rolls with the sauteed veggies, lamb’s lettuce and cheese.

P1302943My cast iron pan made a good sandwich press.

P1302948Messy but delicious.

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Today was a normal, busy Monday. I’m starting to feel like I’m coming down with a cold so am taking it easy tonight.

Dinner is in the oven and I have a thermos of hot water ready for tea. The sofa, my mom’s quilts and the TV are looking really inviting tonight.

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Sometimes great things come from what appears to be a mistake.

P1292902 In the world of flopped cookie dough balls, these cookies are that delicious mistake.

P1292906

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

  • 1/2 c. non-dairy margarine or butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk of choice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 c. unbleached organic flour
  • 1 heaping cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 c. white chocolate
  1. Lightly toast the macadamia nuts in a non-stick pan, stirring frequently until the nuts turn golden in color. (Don’t let them burn like I did or else you’ll have ugly black specks in your blond colored cookies.)
  2. Place 3/4 of the nuts in a food processor and blend until a macadamia nut butter forms. I added about 1 Tbsp of the margarine half-way through to speed things up a bit.
  3. Cream together the margarine, macadamia butter, sugars, vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Sift together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. Add 1-2 Tbsp of milk to form a dough.
  5. Roughly chop the remaining macadamia nuts and the chocolate. Fold into the dough.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat oven to 350 F (175 C) and scoop dough into balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 P1282890P1282889

We are gathered here today to join two flavors…

P1282894 The only ingredient un-photographed is the milk.

It was an afterthought.

P1292908 The final product is simply irresistible.

When I got home on Friday, I wanted to celebrate reports being done. These cookies fit the bill.

I brought them to a report-finishing celebratory dinner on Friday and no one could believe that these buttery, chewy, crumbly, slightly salty cookies were 100% vegan.

P1292896

Delicious- no animal products necessary.

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Nearly there

A simple list to uncomplicated the last few days.

1. After 22 hours and 38 minutes of report writing over the past 4 days (yes, I’ve been timing myself,) I am nearly there. Only 13 ‘General Teacher Comments’ to go.

P1202782 Building a Roman road.

Even 9 year olds deserve to play in the sand tray.

2. Today I had to use a bit of tough love on a student. I know is was necessary but I still feel like my heart has frozen over.

P1202790 Draw a tear on that eye, kid, it’s how I feel.

3. I ate Ethiopian food for dinner last night. The food was good but the company was even better.

4. My team teacher accidentally ate my avocado at lunch today. At least she only ate half.

P1262859

5. Last week I made that salad dressing using honey mustard and flax oil. Over the weekend Sebastian cleaned the refrigerator and discovered that both the mustard and oil were expired by several months. I still used the dressing today and it tasted just fine.

P1232846 6. I love blood oranges. Speaking of love, 160 electronic recipe books were discovered on my computer today.

PC041657 7. Apparently Sebastian loves me.

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After spending a good amount of time this morning finding any excuse possible to procrastinate writing reports, I finally got down to it.

Seeing that I’ve spent the last 8 hours writing, I’ll make this post as language light as possible.

P1222806 Where to begin? Intimidating, no?

And that’s only the half of it.

P1222804Good Morning’ tea and pancake plans.

P1222811  A scoop of protein powder in the batter made for ultra fluffy pancakes. Topped with pecans, coconut butter and maple syrup, yummy.

After breakfast, I was ready to go.

First up, art.

P1222841 Pre and post our lesson on facial proportions in portraiture.

The best part of being a teacher is witnessing children learn and expand their understanding right in front of you. It’s so cool to be a part of this learning. This simple art lesson took place in 40 minutes. The little artist was so proud of her much more realistic second drawing. We’re now doing one facial bit at a time. We’ve done eyes and noses. Next up, ears, mouths and hair.

P1222819Social studies followed a short re-hydration break.

P1222833  Will break for breaded and baked eggplant.

After finishing social studies, I started on science then decided to swap over to math instead.

P1222827 Snack break!

After that, the photos stopped but the work didn’t.

Luckily I had a cheerful pot of roses beside me all day. Every time I glanced next to my computer screen, I couldn’t help but smile.

P1222822 Just so perdy.(Pretty spoken like my grandpa.)

P1222821

Tomorrow I plan to finish science, literacy, ICT and the general teacher comments.

I’m saving PE and Design and Technology for the work week.

Wish me luck, peace, insight and honesty.

Night all!

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I’m often amazed by flavors.

Sitting around my kitchen are dozens of food sensations, just waiting to be revealed.

Mix a little of this with a little of that and BAM!, you’ve got something great.

Last night’s dinner was a little like that.

Modest little sweet potato and his color companion, pumpkin were just waiting to be made into something flashy.

That’s certainly what happened.

Sweet, spicy, aromatic soup.

P1202770

Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Makes 4 large servings~ Adapted from this recipe

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 red chilies, sliced (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 average sized organic Hokkaido pumpkin,cut into chunks (deseed but don’t peel)
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
  • 750ml (a bit less than 3 1/4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 200ml (a bit less than 1 cup) coconut milk
  • 2 heaped tsps of curry powder (or curry paste)
  • Fresh arugula, parsley or cilantro to garnish
  • Slivered almonds

Method
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onions, chili, ginger and garlic until soft.
2. Add the pumpkin and sweet potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with the curry powder. Fry gently for another few minutes.
3. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer gently until the potatoes and pumpkin are cooked.
4. Blend the soup using a submersion blender or allow it to cool down a little then pour the soup into a blender and blend at high speed till smooth and creamy.
5. Reheat a little if necessary and serve with some fresh greens and slivered almonds. Delicious served with hot naan bread.

This morning we woke up to snow on the ground. I had hoped the ‘wintery’ part of winter was over but wasn’t so lucky.

P1172752

The photo above is from 2 mornings ago. Every day before work I go out on the emergency exit balcony and take in the view. The few minutes I spend out there are precious to me, especially on days like this when I can’t help but feel like God has created a beautiful sight just to get me in the right frame of mind for the day.

I hope to keep this positive frame of mind over the weekend as I write reports for my students. Wish me luck.

I hope you all have a great Friday tomorrow.

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Ranch Party Pretzels

Here’s a goodie from my time back home this Christmas. I had so much fun working together in the kitchen with my mom.

These pretzels found their way into my mom’s gift bags this Christmas.

Her friends were happy to receive them!

PC222383Start with a bag of pretzels and dump them into a ziplock bag.

These waffle pretzels are just too cute.

I prefer the pretzels unsalted as the seasoning will add a bit of salt later on.

Speaking of which, you’ll also need the following:

PC222381  Popcorn oil, ranch seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning.

PC222382 Mix together the oil and seasonings.

PC222386 Pour the seasoning mixture over the pretzels, seal the bag then give the pretzels a little shake, rattle and roll.

Ranch Party Pretzels

  • 1 bag of pretzels
  • 1/3 cup popcorn oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 package dry ranch powder

Combine the oil, seasoning and ranch powder. Pour over pretzels in a large zip-lock bag. Shake. Rest. Serve.

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Lentil Veggie Burger

My brother, Ben, gave me a new vegetarian cookbook for Christmas.

He’s thoughtful like that.

The other day I made my first recipe from this gem.

I changed it a bit from the original, but the possibilities of additional adaptations are really endless.

P1152707

Lentil Veggie Burger

Adapted from Vegetarian by Anthony Carroll

Makes 6 burgers

  • 1/2 cup red or brown lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, finely ground
  • 2-4 Tbsp. wheat germ, as needed to thicken
  • 1 small egg
  1. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer for 25 minutes and drain.
  2. Return lentils to the saucepan and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the stock is nearly all absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, add half of the olive oil to a non-stick skillet and fry the onion, red pepper and carrot for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Mix the lentils, onion, peppers, carrot, ground pepper and soy sauce in a large bowl. Stir in the ground oats and egg to combine. Add wheat germ as needed to help the mixture stick together.
  5. Divide the mixture into 6 equal parts and form into patties. (An ice cream scoop with the pushy-outy spring works well for this.)
  6. In a clean skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and fry the burgers for 1-2 minutes per side.

P1152709 The flavor of these burgers was a bit bland as is, but this got my wheals a turnin’ with possible variations like…

Indian Lentil Veggie Burger

  • Add fresh ginger and garlic to the onion mixture and garam masala, chili powder and cumin to the spices.

Italian Lentil Veggie Burger

  • Toss chopped olives, garlic and capers into the veggie mixture and Italian seasoning into the other spices.

Mexican Lentil Veggie Burger

  • Spice it up with taco seasoning and fresh cilantro

I’ll let you know when I try some of these variations. I also want to try making the burgers with canned lentils as that will save about an hour and 10 minutes of time.

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