Archive | August, 2013

WIAW: Low motivation

28 Aug

Due to the fact I actually took pictures of some of my eats yesterday, I decided to continue the trend with What I ate Wednesday. This isn’t everything I ate….didn’t take pics of lunch or dinner but…..

Peas and Crayons

 

I am obsessed with most of Juli at PaleOMG’s recipes. I think I’ve woken up and made her carrot breakfast cake/muffins at least five times this summer. And that’s saying a lot since usually when I wake up I need to shove my face with food and coffee immediately. They take about 30 minutes to bake. So if I’m willing to wait you know they’re good!! Her blog is probably my absolute favorite blog to get recipes from and I have been known to repeat many of her recipes and use them several times a week. They really are amazing. Love it!

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I added blueberries instead of raisins. And there’s some frozen strawberries from my berry picking adventure last week.

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Yesterday I FINALLY found the new Quest bar flavor White Chocolate Raspberry. I have been looking for it forever and shamelessly begging them to send me a sample.

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Verdict……meh. I think it might have been a fluke though because the texture was just dry and crumbly. It might have been an issue of the GNC storing them wrong or getting damaged during shipping because the flavor was really good but it seemed dry for some reason. I have experienced inconsistencies from bar to bar though with Quest Bars so I will not give up on this flavor!

In other news: Here are some pictures of things you probably shouldn’t have in the house when you want your pants to fit.

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Ohhhhh myyy goddddddd….. This is really a mistake on my part for buying this at Wal-Mart and now getting addicted to it. If you feel as if you can support a 3-5 dollar a pint addiction, go pick up a pint. So creamy and full of flavor. This company also uses all natural, non-GMO ingredients and doesn’t have any nasty additives (this is what justified me buying it). I literally CANNOT put it down once I start eating it. I am in an internal battle regarding the question to buy this again or not. I want to try the coconut kind really bad!!!! But I also like fitting in my pants!!!

Also, a stroll through the kitchen for any reason is finding me grabbing a handful of these babies….

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Seriously…why do I buy these things?!?!?

But in all honesty, I am definitely off track as far as my eating habits go since returning from the honeymoon. I don’t know if it’s just being idle and not working and having a routine….or what. I am constantly hungry (hence all day snacking on chocolate chips) and when I do eat meals it doesn’t even satisfy me. I have no motivation for ANYTHING including workouts. Ugh. I know it’s from all the crap I put in my body the last month and am hoping I fall into a better routine and start feeling better once school starts. I joke about it but I know I just need to stop buying things like the stuff in the previous pictures because if it’s not in the house I won’t eat it. But.it’s.so.good…..It’s an ugly cycle because I feel like crap, which makes me want to eat more crap, which makes me feel like crap! I need to get my motivation back!!

What do you do to motivate yourself when you’re in a slump?

Are there any snacks you absolutely CANNOT put down therefore do not buy?

Classroom Organization Ideas

27 Aug

Almost time for back to school…..dun dun dun. Yup. Summer went by in a flash. It was expected to though. I am in denial about going back kind of happy to get back to work. There’s only so much HGTV & Food Network one can watch and Pinterest-ing one can do without feeling like a lazy, good-for-nothing pile of crap. Plus, you know, the whole getting paid thing is nice too. Contrary to what most people think teachers do not get paid in the summer!! It’s nice to have summer off but by the end of summer I NEED to start working again. It’s kind of like if you asked your boss for two unpaid months off. It’d be awesome, but eventually the bills need to get paid.

That being said, today I visited my classroom to set some stuff. Last year I had tons of ideas on the blog about catering your classroom to the common core. This year, the incoming 8th graders are supposed to be notoriously disorganized, so I’ve set up my room to support them to be successful. I designed one side of my wall with a chalkboard I’ll update every week that includes the essential question (what the students will be learning), an “I Can…” statement (what they will be able to do at the end of the lesson), HW that is due, and HW for that night. This way, no student will can ever say he didn’t know what was due when, etc. I have a feeling it might be hard to keep up with a little, and there’s no saying it won’t change from day to day. But I feel like the students NEED to know what they are supposed to be learning every day, and have a measurable “I Can” statement.

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Now if I could only find my chalk…..

I also added some more goofy posters with quotes to make it look like I’m a cool teacher.

LOL

HA HA get it?

punctuation

Punctuation!!!

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My favorite book of all time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Surprisingly, To Kill a Mockingbird is on the 8th grade common core list!!! I’m not doing it this year but I can’t wait to do it in the future. I just hope 8th graders can deal with all the language….another blog post for another day.

7 more days!!!!

What organizational details are you adding to your classroom this year?

Review: Ellicottville Brewing Co.

26 Aug

One of the (only) cool things about the area we live are the couple of great local breweries not far from home. Not far = less than an hour. But it’s totally worth it for delicious food and beer, especially since the offerings in our town are less than stellar.

Saturday we headed out to Ellicottville, NY for a day of hiking (this was actually an excuse to go to the brewery, on my part). The hike was supposed to be quite a  climb up a mountain but we took a wrong turn and ended up going in a big circle on the side of a hill. Still fun! There were plenty of fresh berries to pick and eat on the way and some neat views too.

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After we worked up a sweat on the hike, we naturally had to shove our faces with beer and fries  refuel with protein and carbs. Ellicottville Brewing Company has always been one of our favorites, but they recently re -opened after a large remodel and addition so I thought I’d do a review.

First of all, the remodel to the place was amazing. They turned a tiny restaurant into a large facility with two added bars (one outdoor and one more indoor for a total of 3),  beer garden with outdoor seating and (I think) banquet facilities for weddings and events. It was beautiful inside and out.

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new indoor seating

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new bar inside (crappy pictures, I tried to look like less of a creeper taking pictures)

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outdoor seating and bar

I thought it was weird when the hostess asked for my phone number, but I guess this is the system they use instead of those buzzer things. I thought it was a cool idea. You don’t have to carry around a germ-covered buzzer and keep track of it. They texted me when my table was ready and it was far below the quoted wait time. We hadn’t even ordered our drinks at the bar yet!

I went with the oatmeal stout. I don’t know what it is but ever since St. Patrick’s Day this year I have been obsessed with stouts. This one was had a rich, chocolate-ly, coffee taste without being too heavy. You’d think these types of beers would make you full but it went down (too) easily.

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Austin got a hoppy type. I forgot to take a picture of it but he liked it. We ordered our favorite appetizers, loaded brewer’s fries. They come topped with pulled pork in their amazing BBQ sauce, melted cheese and scallions.

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We also split a BBQ brisket sandwich. I absolutely love the BBQ sauce. The sandwich came with a side salad and pickle.

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The brisket was pretty good- a little tough but the flavor was excellent. No I was not being particularly healthy on this day if you didn’t notice…..things have been a little more lax since the wedding….it feels good to relax a little! I know I’ll clean it up once work starts again.

Both dishes were around ten dollars which made for an inexpensive and tasty lunch.

I highly recommend checking out EBC if you are in the area!! Good beer and food!

What are your favorite types of beer?

Berry Picking: Need recipes!!

22 Aug

I’m just trying to soak up the rest of summer and enjoy myself during this nice weather. I’ve been toying with the idea of going berry picking all summer and decided to just pull the trigger yesterday. I was hesitant because since we’re moving in less than a month it’s going to be annoying to put all this stuff that’s in my freezer and move it….but I just don’t think I can pass up the great prices.

I won’t have to buy berries from the grocery store all winter. I hardly use berries like these anyways. It’s just when I need them for a recipe/feel like a smoothie.  So I’m just going to suck it up, freeze them all and transport them when we move. NBD. It’s an absolutely awful time to be interested in preserving food and moving!

The place I was going to had a great mix- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and green beans. I wasn’t really sure what to expect so I just headed back to the fields planning on getting a little of each.

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The strawberries were the easiest. They were nice and big and easy to spot. Took me about 10 minutes to gather 3 pints.

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The raspberries were a different story. I was so excited when I first saw them because they were HUGE and was about to dive in like a little kid…until I heard the buzzing of HUNDREDS of bees all around me. I’m a little scared of bees…I’m not allergic but I honestly can not remember ever getting stung by one (I might have been once but wasn’t sure) so I have always been scared of the ‘unknown’. I took me a while to get three pints dodging in and out of the less bee-populated bushes. They were sooooo good though so it was worth it (had to taste test them obviously).

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After that I only had the energy to get one pint of blueberries. We don’t like them as much so that’s okay.

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All in all I got three pints of strawberries, three pints of raspberries, one pint of blueberries, and a crap load of green beans (not a precise form of measurement).

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My eyes were bigger than our freezer. I froze most of the goods but made a quick raspberry freezer jam with a pint of raspberries and honey. Freezer jam is just jam without a ton of added sugar and preservatives so you don’t can it and put pectin in it like regular jam, but you have to eat it or it goes bad obviously.  After trying to search on the internet all day yesterday I am still pretty clueless about how to make jam or jelly!! Do I need sterilized canning jars??? Do I need a pressure canner? Do I need to add sugar and pectin?? AHHHH so confused. Please link me to some of your trusted recipes! I bought a thing of no sugar needed pectin but I have no idea what to do with it. It says no sugar needed, but then when I Google a recipe there’s sugar added. Makes no sense. Help!!

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I was on a full fledged sugar rush yesterday afternoon. They are so irresistible!!

This morning I made some N’oatmeal and topped it with some of the fresh berries and “jam” I had made.

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Yum!

I need jam/jelly advice and recipes!!! Please help!

WIAW: Supermarket-less week

21 Aug

Participate in What I ate Wednesday in order to justify a possibly abnormal obsession I have with taking pictures of my food? Don’t mind if I do!!

Yesterday my day centered around picking up our weekly CSA share at the local farm. Seems like a mundane activity for most but I was way too excited. I was also killing two birds with one stone and met the woman I get ground beef from at the farmer’s market to pick up 10lbs of grass fed ground beef for $60. Not a bad deal!

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It was a beautiful summer day on the farm! The farm we have been getting our ground beef from gives it to us frozen. I was anticipating getting some fresh beef from the farm we get our chicken from (a different farm) but he told me his won’t be ready until December. That meant I had to grab more of the frozen stuff which is going to be a pain in the rear to move it all in a month when we move to our new house. But I didn’t want to get stuck in a meat-less situation. We still have one bird in the freezer but it will probably be the last for the year. Did you know that chicken and poultry is supposed to be only eaten in summer because it is a “cooling” meat and beef and other red meats are supposed to be eaten in winter because they are “warming” meats? This was obviously how things were before modern supermarkets and everything was seasonal. I learned that from Joel Salatin. Makes sense!

I hit the local food jackpot with the CSA and farmer’s market in addition to the ground beef! Is it sad that this was the highlight of my day and seriously made me so happy???

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The haul included:

cabbage

zucchini

squash

lettuce

rainbow swiss chard

onions

potatoes

yellow beans

pastured eggs

ground beef

Pastured eggs are to die for. I will never ever go back. They are $3.50 a carton, which seems expensive but you are getting way more nutrition for your dollar. Supermarket eggs are essentially useless and tasteless. I don’t even consider them food, honestly.  The yolks of the eggs we get are indescribable. Rich, creamy, and bright orange.   Plus if you count eggs as a ‘protein’ they’re really rather cheap comparatively. That’s 4 servings of protein for under $4.

Last night for dinner I cooked up leftover butternut squash curry and turned it plus the delicious eggs into a quiche using shredded sweet potatoes as a crust. Beyond delicious. All I did for the crust was shred 3/4 of a huge sweet potato in the food processor, squeeze the water out and mix it with 2 tbsp of lard. I pressed it in the pie pan then pre-baked the crust for twenty minutes. Here is a recipe that I based my crust off of.  Then I put the leftovers in with 6 eggs and poured it into the pan and baked for another 45 minutes. Eating the leftovers for lunch in T minus 21 minutes.

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So delicious! That’s all I have for now. All this local food shopping has made a trip to the supermarket this week unnecessary! I couldn’t be happier! Today I may try to go berry picking to take advantage of summer fruits while they are fresh and cheap to stock in the freezer.

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Call me crazy, and our honeymoon was fun and everything, but this is seriously what I missed when we were at the mercy of an all inclusive resort for our food. Nothing makes me happier than cooking and eating food whose origin I am aware of.

What local food are you taking advantage of?

What do you get in your CSA these days?

Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry over Coconut Cauliflower Rice

20 Aug

Did someone say squash!?!?!? Seriously way too excited for fall for that sole reason. Regardless of how long the title of this recipe was, it sure was tasty! To tell you the truth, I thought it up while laying in bed Sunday night until approximately 2 am not sleeping. What was I doing? Thinking about food, apparently. Something about knowing I was going into work the next day made me not be able to sleep. Never fails.

I love squaaaaash! I can’t wait to eat massive amounts of it when it’s in season. I’m also planning on blanching and freezing some so I can have it throughout the winter.

We’ve been having chicken for the last three nights because the other night I roasted another delicious pastured chicken from the farm. It seriously feeds us for up to 5 days. So worth it. This is what it looked like before:

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Those veggies fried in the fat were to die for. It also makes for yummy leftovers, which I used in this recipe. It took about an hour to put the whole thing together.

Butternut Squash Chicken Curry over Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”

finished

Serves 2-4/ Prep time: 30 mins /Cook time: 20 mins

1 cup cooked, diced chicken breast (roughly one breast. you could add or take away as needed)

4 large carrots

1/2 of a medium butternut squash (I used the narrow, top part)

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

1 can of coconut milk (full fat)

3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1-4 tsp curry powder (I used 4 and it was VERY spicy)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp rubbed sage

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

dash of cayenne

Cauliflower Rice

1/2 head of large cauliflower

2 tbsp full fat coconut shreds

1-2 tbsp full fat coconut milk

salt, pepper

I first prepped veggies. I peeled the butternut squash by cutting the round bottom off and peeling the top part.I sliced the onion. I peeled and cut the carrots into small, bite size pieces. I minced the two cloves of garlic. I cut the squash into 1 “ cubes. Then I put them on the stove in boiling water and cooked them for 5 minutes. You don’t want them too tender or they will fall apart.

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Meanwhile, I cut off the head of cauliflower and rinsed it, then broke the florets into the food processor. If you’ve never made cauliflower ‘rice’ you need to try it! So simple, easy and delicious. (Or you could always use regular rice). After the cauliflower is “riced” I put it in a microwave safe bowl with all the other ingredients, cook for four minutes, stir, then cook for another four minutes. Done.

Set a deep sauté or sauce pan on the stove on medium heat and add some coconut oil or lard. When it’s ready add your garlic. Let them get fragrant and add carrots.

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Cook for 5-6 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of your broth so the carrots get soft. Then add onions and a little more broth.

carrotsonions

Cook for another 4-5 minutes until everything is nice and soft. After your squash is par boiled, portion out about 1/2 cup and process it to a puree. Add the rest of the diced squash and COOKED, diced chicken to the pot along with the coconut milk and the rest of your broth. Add the pureed squash to the mix.

squash puree

The reason I thought I’d add this was because the pureed squash gives it a thicker sauce when finished. It’s optional, but it worked out well!

Now, add your spices! Feel free to experiment here and go up or down depending on your tastes.

Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low. When it’s done everything will have a deep brown and smoky smell.

done

Top coconut cauliflower rice with curry. Eat up!!

curry

‘Twas good !

Do you ever get recipe ideas while laying in bed?

What vegetables do you put in curries?

Make your own sunflower seed butter!

19 Aug

Do you ever find a recipe online and make it so many times you deem it safe to post on your own blog? I think I’ve reached this point with sunflower seed butter AKA Paleo friendly Sun Butter. When I originally made it I followed this recipe, but now that I’ve made it so many times I want to share pictures from my batch this weekend. If you’ve never made it (or made your own nut butter) you MUST give it a shot especially if you are buying expensive jars of nut butter fairly frequently. A pound of sunflower seeds cost under $4 which is super cheap for a jar of quality, organic nut/seed butter. Plus you can customize with no added sugar which most industrial made ones have.

I start with roughly 3 cups of UNSALTED, RAW organic sunflower seeds. I toast them in a sauté pan for 3-5 minutes until they are just getting fragrant and brown.

sunflower seeds

I toss them in the food processor and turn it on. And wait. It will become grainy, then when it starts to stick to the sides and resemble clay, I drizzle in 1-2 tbsp quality olive oil. (This happens after roughly 5 minutes)

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You can add more if you want a creamier butter. I also add a dash of salt at the end. You could add sugar, honey, or vanilla to spice it up to your liking as well!!!

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So good, and cheap!

Enjoy!

What is your favorite home made nut butter?

Which ones do you think are worth buying?

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