Sunday, September 30, 2012


I truly believe the only way for things to change is to be the change. That being said, I have not felt as though I have been capable of being that change lately. I have realized that I can not do it alone, I need the support and help of others who also want change. For most of my life I have been independent, even being voted "Class Individual." It's time for me to finally see what I try to enforce in my classroom on a daily basis, "Life is a group task, a collaborative effort...."

Cocoa Nutmeg Snickerdoodles

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup fat-free dairy sour cream
1 slightly beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat the 1 cup sugar and butter or margarine in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sour cream, egg , and vanilla. Beat till just combined.

Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and baking soda in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to sour cream mixture, beating till just combined. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours or till easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and cocoa powder. Roll balls in sugar-cocoa mixture. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10 to 11 minutes or till edges are golden. Cool cookies on a wire rack.(Makes 48 Cookies)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Excuses

We had back to school night this week. It's always interesting to see the parents of students you have. Without a doubt you can pick out the ones who are there to socialize with other parents, the ones who are determined to get their child into a "better" class, the ones who are just as lost as their child, and the ones who hope that their child has not embarrassed them yet. I'm always happy to hear the parents tell me how much their child is enjoying the class or how much they enjoy being able to see what we're up to on my website. It's amazing to think that when I was in school my teachers didn't have websites, they didn't post the homework online daily, or provide example videos when I didn't understand. I had to bring all my textbooks home and back to school, there were no online textbooks or practice tests. How did I survive? I do have to wonder if the abundance of technology accessible things is threatening the student's overall organization and memory skills. It's comforting to know that students have no excuses, " I forgot my book" - nope, it's online, "I didn't understand that example." - did you watch the video and try the step-by-step problems with answers?, "I forgot to write down the homework" - it's on the website. I guess the only excuse now is that they don't have the Internet at home. And even that gets squashed by the fact that all students have access to the Internet during study halls and free time at school. I guess there's no excuses anymore. What a time we live in.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola
Oven 300

3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside. Mix, in a large bowl, oats, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and vanilla.

Pour honey mixture into oat mixture, mix until everything is evenly coated. Spread evenly onto baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes). Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garlic, garlic, garlic

My husband and I visited Maugle Sierra Vineyards this weekend. We had a great time with friends and would highly recommend the wine! Great music, beautiful inside and outside, tables for picnicing inside and outside, and a great variety of wine. 

We also attended the Garlic Festival at The Mystic Village. We really enjoyed the range of garlic options (popcorn, ice cream, grilled cheese, wings, crackers, fries, and so much more)! Inspired by all the garlic, and the excess of tomatoes from our garden, I decided to make Roasted Tomato Sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
adapted from
Oven 400

Tomatoes (We had Roma, Jet Star, and Cherokee Purple)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil
Italian Seasoning

Cut all tomatoes, at least in half. Fill glass dish with cut tomatoes. Crush a head of garlic onto tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, 2 tbsp balsmic vingear, salt and pepper.

Mix and put in oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully put into a blender and process on low speed with lid on. Add basil and  italian seasoning. Puree to desired consistency.

You can use the sauce now or let cool completely before freezing for later.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Have you ever felt like you could never possibly do all that you need to? That you've clearly overextended yourself but you wouldn't dream of admitting it? Is it crazy to believe that you can do it all? Maybe not crazy, as long as you realize you don't have to.

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - John Steinbeck

Eclair Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (1-stick)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
4 large eggs
2 pkgs. (3.4 oz) Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 1/2 cups cold milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
1 container (12 oz) Cool Whip
Chocolate syrup for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring the water, butter and salt to boil until butter is melted. Add the flour all at once and mix rapidly with a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and stir until the mixture leaves the sides of pan and forms a ball. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition until completely smooth.

Spread in an ungreased 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.

Crust will puff up the sides of the pan while in the oven. When removed from the oven, prick bubbles with a fork. Let cool.

For filling, use an electric mixer to beat the pudding mix, milk and softened cream cheese together until thoroughly blended. Spread pudding mixture over the baked and cooled eclair crust. Spread Cool Whip over pudding mixture. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Great Work

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs

Back to School Chocolate Pudding
from Bon Apetit January 2009
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk first 4 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil.

Boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds. Add chopped chocolate. Boil until chocolate melts and pudding is thick again, whisking often, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla.

Cool pudding 5 minutes. Chill pudding uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.