Sunday, September 25, 2011

Have Cookies, Will Travel

These administration classes are kicking my butt in terms of homework. I can honestly say that I am a bit overwhelmed. I didn't anticipate it being so much. It's well worth it and I am certainly learning a lot. I'll make it, but boy am I tired!    
We had back-to-school night this week. I had a lot of parents this year, even Senior parents came! I showed off our new document cameras and talked about the new senior math class we're piloting. It was a great night, no complaints, and I got out earlier than I thought. The only downside, I missed a lot of season premieres that night! Thank goodness for Tivo, unfortunately with all the homework I haven't been able to catch up on them yet. Maybe next week.....
My husband had won a contest being offered by his Alma mater (Sacred Heart University) for a free night stay at a hotel and tickets to the homecoming game for this weekend. It was nice to get away, even for just one night. We got to participate in the tailgate prior to the game, had free lunch, watched his team win the game, got a free appetizer at a local restaurant(Flipside Burgers and Bar ), tried a new frozen yogurt shop(16 Handles), and spent some quality time together. It was a nice distraction from all that I had waiting at home (papers, case analysis, articles, project proposals).

These cookies were a special request for a colleague of my father-in-laws who was moving. She ended up moving before they were delivered. So my father-in-law shipped them to her new home in New York. I am pleased to say they survived the trip and she loved them! I was very skeptical that they only had four ingredients, but they were so good. You can also add more to them, chocolate chips, raisins, etc if you wanted to.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Oven 350

One cup creamy peanut butter

One cup white sugar

One teaspoon baking powder

One egg

Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl.

Beat in the baking powder.

Add the egg. Mix until it is all well combined.

The dough will be sticky, so be prepared to get your hands messy.

Roll some dough into a ball (I used a small cookie scoop). Roll the ball into white sugar.

Line a baking sheet, covered in parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, with sugary balls of dough.

Bake in the oven for about ten minutes. You will know the cookies are done when they feel coherent, but still a little soft.

Take the tray out of the oven and let the cookies rest for at least five minutes. Afterwards, carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. After ten minutes or so, they will have hardened and be glistening with sugar.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apples and Santa?

The weather is starting to proclaim that it is indeed fall. With some help from my parents we were able to close the pool yesterday (much easier than opening it). And today my husband will be taking out the air conditioner. The smell of cinnamon floats around all of the stores and apple cider, candied apples, and apple cider donuts are everywhere. The recipe today is a nod to the obssession that is apples this month.
 Unfortunately, the department stores have decided to skip fall and opt right for Christmas. Who's shopping for Christmas gifts and decorations right now? And why does someone down the road have a giant santa/snowman/reindeer inflatable globe on display in their yard already? I'm all about celebrating the season, but why did we skip fall?

My 6th year classes are proving to be a lot more work than my master's classes. I have to admit that I was not expecting this. I foolishly assumed that a graduate class was a graduate class. Boy, was I wrong! In fact I have to get back to my homework now!

Apple Cider Cake
adapted from
Oven 350

Cake (more of a bread texture)
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup apple cider
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 Tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Grease three 8-inch layer cake pans(you could do this in two); set aside.In large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar; add beaten eggs and mix until well incorporated.

In small bowl, mix apple cider and lemon juice. In separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Add apple cider and flour mixtures to creamed mixture, alternating. Mix until well blended, but don’t overmix.Pour batter into cake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

Apple Cider Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

In small bowl, mix together sugar, salt and cornstarch. In saucepan, heat apple cider and lemon juice. Add sugar and stir until mixture thickens. Add butter and stir.

Cool before spreading in between layers of cake.

Cider Buttercream
1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon cvanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple cider
cinnamon for garnish
In large bowl, cream shortening and margarine with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add cider and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Cover assembled cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hello My Friend

Ten years ago today, my husband and I started talking again, after being apart for over a year. I had just started my freshman year of college and didn't quite grasp what was happening as I got ready for my classes that day. Thankfully, neither of us lost anyone in the events of that day. However, we gained a deeper understanding of the love that we shared and missed so much. We began talking everyday, sometimes for hours using calling cards. We didn't have cell phones then! Although the events of that day will forever be in all of our minds, I will also always remember it as the day I got my best friend back.

After four days of school, I have high hopes for the school year. I have primarily freshman (algebra and geometry) and one senior level math (advanced mathematical decision making). So far, I've really enjoyed being back. I don't necessarily enjoy being up so early, but it's good to be teaching again.

I also started my administration (6th year) classes. The one class I've been to was great. I felt that the teacher had so much insight into being an administrator and being in a classroom.My Monday class is the one I'm a bit stressed over. Having not actually met the teacher or had class yet, I already have five chapters to read and many reviews/assignments to write. I'm always up for a challenge, but does it have to be so great of one?

As far as the house goes, we have been primarily still dealing with cleaning up after hurricane Irene. My husband has really been stepping up to the challenges of new home ownership. He even went so far as to get out on the roof and clean out gutters! It seems like something so little, but it's a whole new thing for us!

Peaches and Cream Pie
Oven 350

3 cups fresh peeled and chopped peaches
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter

Place 3 cups fresh peaches into pie pastry.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt. Add eggs and sour cream.Blend well.

Spoon mixture over peaches.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.A pastry blender works well, but two forks or two knives will also work.

Sprinkle meal mixture evenly over pie. Bake 60 minutes or until golden.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We've got the Power!

We survived Hurricane Irene with only a few tree limbs broken and a very messy yard of sticks and leaves. Surprisingly enough, we only lost power for about a minute. We were very fortunate to have power this week. Most of our families went without power for quite a long time. Unfortunately, some people still do not have power back. I had professional development days on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. However, school for the students will not start until Tuesday of this week. It's sad to say we've already had two "snow" days and school hasn't even really started!

My administration classes start this Wednesday. I received an email from the teacher of my Monday class with detailed lists of assignments due before our first class, including five chapters of a book I have not even purchased. I guess I better get on that!

One of my friends from high school, Laura, got married yesterday. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding, complete with tents, fireworks, a butterfly release, a beautiful bride, and great cake! It was a great day for it and I was so happy to have been a part of their special day.

Not too much going on in terms of the house. I tried a yellow paint in my office, not quite sold on it yet. I'll have to take some pictures of it. It's a bit more yellow than I had anticipated. The good thing is that I only paid $5 for the paint. Has anyone else every shopped at the clearance/mistake rack at Lowes or Home Depot? If you're not super picky about a color it's a great deal!

Strawberry Bread
Oven 350

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped

Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended.

 Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.

 Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes