A Menu to Shine Light into the Darkness

Today is the beginning of my Spring Break. There is nothing Spring about it really, it is cloudy and ridiculously cold. So to cheer me up, I created tonight’s menu full of flavors that will spark light into my taste bud’s and throughout my insides in order to overcome the darkness which resides outside.

I will start with a Roscato Wine Rosso Dolce Italia 2010 (SPEC’s Key Club referral code q66m6nge0z) a new found favorite from my birthday dinner last night at RedHawk GastroPub (pictured right). I will pair this with a Fresh Baked Signature SELECT Artisan French Bread topped with Magnolia Table’s Garlic-Chive Compound Butter. Dinner will be a Brushetta Pasta and a versatile yet simple family favorite Walnut & Grape Salad. Last but not least, we will finish with a new dessert recipe, Cannoli Dip served with Eggo Liege Maple Waffles. I feel the heaviness from the weather begin to remove itself just by writing about it!

Garlic – Chive Compound Butter

Source: Magnolia Blog
Course: Sauces, Scratch & Condiments
Makes: 9 Tablespoons

What You Will Need

  • salted butter, at room temperature
  • chopped fresh chives
  • garlic cloves, minced

What You Will Need To Do

  1. In a small bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the chives and garlic and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
  2. Roll the butter into a 5- to 6-inch log on waxed paper or plastic wrap (if necessary, chill the butter 30 to 45 minutes to firm before shaping), then wrap, twist the ends to secure, and refrigerate.

Brushetta Pasta

Source: Pampered Chef
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Makes: 6 Servings

What You Will Need

  • spaghetti noodles
  • chicken, or vegetable broth
  • small plum tomatoes
  • loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • fresh Parmesan cheese

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Break the spaghetti noodles in half and place them in the Rockcrok® Dutch Oven.
  2. Add the broth.
  3. Microwave, covered, on HIGH for 8 minutes.
  4. Cut the tomatoes and basil into large pieces on the Flexible Cutting Mat and add to Food Processor.
  5. Press the garlic with the Garlic Press into the Food Processor.
  6. Add the olive oil and process all the ingredients until they’re chopped, scraping down the sides as needed.
  7. Remove the Rockcrok® from the microwave, then stir the noodles and broth with the Large Chef’s Tongs.
  8. Add the bruschetta mixture and return the Rockcrok® to the microwave for an additional 8 minutes.
  9. Grate the fresh Parmesan cheese over the pasta using the Microplane® Adjustable Coarse Grater.
  10. Stir and serve.

Walnut & Grape Salad

Source: Jeanie Jo Original
Course: Salads
Makes: As many servings as you need

What You Will Need

  • romaine lettuce
  • chopped walnuts
  • red or green grapes, halved
  • Italian dressing

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Chop walnuts.
  2. Half Grapes
  3. Cut up lettuce into bite sized pieces.
  4. Stir in serving bowl.
  5. Top with dressing.

Cannoli Dip

Source: Belly Full
Course: Desserts
Makes: 10 servings

What You Will Need

  • mascarpone cheese
  • full-fat ricotta cheese, (drained of any excess liquid)
  • powdered sugar
  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla
  • orange zest, optional

Add Ins

  • miniature chocolate chips

Delicious Dippers

  • waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit, for serving

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Place the top 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat until completely combined and creamy. (If the texture seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, use a bit more cream. Keep it mind it will thicken as it sits and chills.)
  3. Add in chocolate chips and fold.
  4. Serve right away or chill for later.
  5. Delicious dippers include waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit.

Jeanie Jo Menu Notes:

  • Make sure to have room temperature butter at the time of preparation. Southern Living suggests, ” To soften butter, we recommend leaving it on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes to an hour.” Sally’s Baking Addiction adds, ” Room temperature butter is cool to the touch and about 65°F. When you press it, your finger will make an indent. Your finger won’t sink down into the butter, nor will your finger slide all around.
  • Make sure the wine is chilled for dinner. Food & Wine states that “in the fridge, it took 2.5 hours for red wine to reach its ideal temperature of 55° and 3 hours for white wine to reach its ideal temperature of 45°.” (check out the post for suggestions on cooling in the freezer and in an ice bucket).
  • Enjoy the wine after it has been able to breathe. Oregon Coast Winery says, ” This breathing process—known as oxidation—helps to soften the flavors and releases its aromas. Most red and white wines will improve when exposed to air for at least 30 minutes in a decanter (SPEC’s Key Club referral code q66m6nge0z). Dinner prep will take a little over 30 minutes, so I will be taking out the bottle of wine first.
  • I am only using the Garlic – Chive Compound Butter for two nights this week (5 servings) so I am making the butter and chilling it in the fridge so this will happen second.
  • Third, I will create the Cannoli Dip and place in the fridge so that it will be chilled for after dinner.
  • Fourth, I will preheat the oven to 350 to warm the French Bread.
  • Fifth, I will start the Brushetta Pasta.
  • Sixth, I will warm the french bread. The best way to reheat French bread is in the oven, says Pantry & Larder. Set your oven to 350°F. Dampen the crust with a spray of water or run it under the tap. Wrap the bread loosely in foil and place it on the oven rack. Heat the French bread for 5-10 minutes – removing the foil for the last 2 minutes to crisp the crust.
  • Seventh, I will make the salad during the last 8 minutes of cooking the Brushetta Pasta (step 8).
  • Eighth, remove Cannoli Dip from fridge and warm the Liege Waffles using the package instructions.

What do you serve to bring light to those dark and gloomy days? Let me know in the comments below.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Until next time ….

Pin Me!

I Did That One Thing …

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

As a middle school teacher, one of the things that is a major pain point in my day is missing work. Class time is provided, support is given, and expectations are set; however, students do not complete the work on time or give it a second thought outside of the classroom. The second pain point in my day are the questions that follow: when are you going to grade that one thing or I turned in that one thing, can you grade it? My response first and foremost is that if you want a grade on time, you will need to turn it in on time.

To prepare in advance and to make this less of a daily hassle I have created a Google Form entitled, I Did That One Thing … this allows students to tell me what missing assignment has been completed, their class period, give a reason it was late (this information can be valuable), and ask any questions they may have on the material that was in the assignment. You may make a copy of this google form for your classroom here.

In addition to the form, I also created the boundary that it will be graded by Friday. If I have time throughout the week, I will remove the missing assignment from the grade book and mark it as completed. But I do set the expectation that it will be updated by the next time our weekly progress reports are out.

Note, I only have this form for those items in our online learning platform, Schoology (which is most graded assignments). Anything completed on paper, shall be turned into the bin at the front of the room and will be handled similarly. I am thinking that the next school year, I will include all assignments, as this provides consistency, a timestamp, and a way for students to communicate why it is missing, as well as a section for questions that they may have. I believe that this process should be taught at the beginning of the school year, so I do not want to change it midway.

What can you prepare in advance to avoid your tanks getting empty? What pain points in your day sometimes make grace, patience, or kindness hard to come by? Please share in the comments below.

Until next time …

Pin Me!

You Don’t Have to Stay the Same

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

When I was a new mom (23 years ago), I was nothing else. I dove head first into a puddle. It was painful. When I was a college student (2nd try 2014), it was the reason I breathed. I dove head first into a puddle. It was unbearable. When I became a teacher, you guessed it, I focused solely on my purpose … so I dove head first right into that puddle. And this one was excruciating. (lets pause on this one for a moment)

As I write this, I am becoming fully aware that in most of my big new opportunities in life I make it my number one priority; CNA, retail assistant manager, new wife, World Vision Donor Service Member, Women’s Ministry leader, stay at home mom, columnist writer … each time diving into this tiny little puddle head first and end up burnt out, unsatisfied, and need for change.

(unpause) I thought that when I became a teacher, I would have everything that I ever wanted. I mean I dreamed about teaching since I was four years old! Why wouldn’t everything just make sense? Why wouldn’t all of the puzzle pieces line up? Why wouldn’t the big picture I placed in my head become reality?

As Emily Ley asks us to define the box (all those individual puddles) we’ve created for ourselves, I come to terms with the idea that I was made for more than just a puddle. Literally speaking, I am a beach dweller and am counting the days until I can live on an island. But figuratively speaking, I need more than just a puddle to live in. In fact, if multiple puddles began joining together I could create a place big enough for what God has planned for me to do!

Porretto Beach, Galveston Island

Emily Ley writes, “Never box yourself in. Never allow someone else to define your limits. And always remember, to grow and change, to evolve and become.” If I step out of my puddle and dive into wide open waters … it will not bring me the suffering I experienced in the past. I am not saying that there will not be troubles, without limits I am more than just a wife, just a mom, just a student, just a _________________.

I am a woman, child of God, wife, mom, homebody, teacher, reader, writer, foodie, soon to be islander, Noonday Collection Ambassador (world changer), step-mom, sister, designer, daughter, life-long learner, aunt, crafter, ethical fashion enthusiast, friend, traveler, humanitarian …

Do you suppose, I am a wildflower?

Alice in Wonderland

Are you holding yourself back by staying inside your box? Please share in the comments below.

Until next time,

Pin Me!

Mindfulness Moments in the Classroom

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

In the course, Trauma Informed Education Journey Part 1 (at IEA Summer Institute), I was reminded of the importance of taking a moment to breathe. I am implementing a mindfulness moment within each class period every day to give students and myself a time to practice our breathing. Using a variety of different mindfulness activities, such as the Breathe Bubble from Calm, to guide us through. I will use the same activity throughout the week to give students a chance to practice and become comfortable with the activity, understanding that this may be new and awkward. I presume that some students will not be interested in this at first (or at all) so I will encourage them to sit quietly as others participate. I look forward to the increased amounts of concentration, sustained attention, and comfort this exercise will provide the classroom environment this year.

How have you added mindfulness to your classroom? Did you see the benefits in the activity? Please share in the comments below.

Until next time …

Pin Me!

He Called Me Mom

Laying in my unmade bed covered in last weeks laundry, my eyes became extremely heavy as though there were weights hanging from my eyelids. I had not been sleeping well since my first child was born 11 months prior.

Realizing that I had not yet prepared dinner, given him a bath nor created a shopping list for tomorrow’s early morning shopping trip I just wanted to crawl underneath my covers and hibernate until his 18th birthday. I began to hear noises coming from his room. “Well so much for hibernation,” I thought as I forced myself out of bed to return to my never ending mommy duties. “Okay a few more hours then I will get some sleep,” I declared as an attempt to motivate myself as I slowly dragged my feet down the hall.

When I arrived at his room I saw him playing with his stuffed Winnie the Pooh Bear, that he stopped as soon as he heard me.

When he looked up at me he was grinning from ear to ear and much to my surprise he opened his mouth and exclaimed, “MOM.”

My heart fluttered, a tear of joy ran down my cheek as I scooped him up not wanting to never let him go. I remember the smell of apple juice and baby powder as I lingered in his room lavishing him with hugs, kisses and telling him over and over again how happy I was to have him call me mom for the first time.

As I carried him from the room there was a bounce in my step. “He called me Mom!” I shouted.

Motherhood is completely and utterly exhausting, it has been many years since that day and I am still tired and I am still happy to have him call me Mom!

Until next time…

Pin Me!