Sunday, May 29, 2011

My new obsession (seriously love it more than my luggage)

Ben and I were invited to a Super Bowl party earlier this year and being raised by a Southern mama I knew I couldn't show up empty-handed; that just wouldn't be polite! So I threw some meatballs in the crock pot and did a quick search for a yummy sauce to let them swim in. Alas and alack I didn't find anything that sounded good so I started experimenting and developed a sauce that tasted REALLY, REALLY good... at least to me.

Well, it appears the sauce tasted REALLY good to lots of people because my meatballs were the first to be finished off. Yea me!!! Anyway, I've used this sauce on several other types of meat and I'm OBSESSED!!! I plan on making meatloaf tomorrow and using this sauce on top; I've heard from a reader on Tasty Kitchen that the sauce is delish on chicken wings as well and I can tell you it's fab on boneless pork ribs. So I thought I'd share it with you my dear readers. Does everyone have their pens and paper at the ready? Okay, here it is!

3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce

Melt the butter over medium heat on the stove, dice the garlic (I use my Ninja) and add to the butter. Saute for several minutes, you want it to be really fragrant. Add the ketchup, honey and soy sauce, stir together well and cook over medium heat. The longer it cooks the thicker it gets.

Once the sauce is made you can go ahead and throw in meatballs (from frozen if you're lazy like I am most nights) or pour it over chicken breasts, ribs, chops, etc and bake in the oven.

This sauce changed my life, this sauce makes me happy, this sauce might be good enough to bring about world peace. Okay, that last statement is an obvious over statement but if you make this sauce, it could bring peace and harmony into your home.

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I LOVE bbq sauce. No, wait. That's not accurate, love isn't a grand enough word, it doesn't capture my true feelings for bbq sauce. I ADORE, ESTEEM, REVERE bbq sauce. You might be asking yourself "why is she rambling on about her obviously unhealthy feelings toward a condiment?" The reason is simple. I think I love this sauce MORE than I love bbq sauce. There, I said it. I feel better, don't you?

Now get up from whatever you're doing and make a batch of this sauce, use it on all your Memorial Day bbq fare. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


A mere 5 days ago I posted a project on Donor's Choose to raise money to purchase some historical fiction novels for my classroom. It took 2 days to go through review and an amazing 2 days to be fully funded by my fantastic friends and family. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm surrounded by truly wonderful people who's caring, compassion and warmth know no bounds. Who's devotion to bettering the world for everyone, but especially children in need, is endless.

To everyone who donated to my project I offer another heartfelt thank you. You've made my transition to 8th grade a little easier. To everyone who said they were going to donate but weren't able to because of how quickly my needs were met, I offer thanks to you as well. The fact that you were going to part with your hard earned money to assist my students touches me greatly.

I am amazed at the success of this project and it has inspired me to plan a few more. Not any time soon, I don't want to be greedy! But like so many teachers I continue to be asked to do more with less money, time and resources and I need to look for outside resources to make the necessary things happen. Knowing that I have ALL of you on my side makes me feel like I can achieve more and more of what I hope to for my students.

For those of you who donated, I'll be sending thank you packages in October showing my students using the novels and reports on how the novels have helped them increase their understanding of American history as well their fluency and vocabularies.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped make this happen and wanted to have a part in bettering the lives of my students. You're angels, every one of you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Donor's Choose Project

A few weeks ago I found out I'd be moving up to the 8th grade along with my current students and I'm not going to lie, I had mixed emotions about the move.

My entire career (which I'll admit is relatively new) has been spent in the 7th grade hall and it's my home. I'm comfortable there; I know the curriculum and have pretty good lessons prepared. I also happen to completely ADORE the women I work with and hate the thought of leaving them behind. Plus, I spent all year with these kids! While I'll love seeing most of the kids again there are some that I feel I've done my time with and others I thought I'd lucked on missing (Renee, you know who I'm talking about).

But... change is good, as is challenging oneself. I love the 8th grade curriculum, American history from colonial times through Reconstruction. This is what I spent most of college studying (hand in hand with government types and structures 'cause I'm a super nerd) and I can't wait to share my passion for the subject with the kids. I enjoy the 8th grade teachers and am looking forward to working with them. So when it's all said and done I'm happy to be moving on and to try my hand at something new.

Which, brings me to the title of this post. I have set up a project through Donor's Choose, you can view my page at I'm asking for 5 sets of historical fiction novels to use during our American Revolution and Civil War units. I hope that these novels will help the kids form connections with the time period (the novels all feature main characters the same age as my students) as well as to help increase fluency and vocabulary. Also, we'll be using these books in literature circles so the kids will be working in groups, taking turns filling various roles thus practicing their team building skills.

For those unfamiliar with my school, 70% of our students receive free or reduced lunch so resources at home are often limited and that includes access to quality reading materials. Many of our students struggle with reading and I want to provide them with books that they will find interesting and engaging but will also expand their understanding of the era, its people and events.

I know times are tight for a lot of people but that's the great thing about Donor's Choose, you can donate as much or as little as like. Anything you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much!

I'll be back with a recipe once the sinus pressure in my head dissipates and I know longer want to rip out my throat and tear off my ears. Lovely visual to leave you all with... you're welcome.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The best laid plans...

So I was going to re-post my mom's amazing and beyond delicious spaghetti sauce recipe with some photos of the necessary ingredients and some "action" shots of the sauce cooking and it was going to be glorious. However, that's going to have to wait a few days.

First off, my super old camera is dead so I had to use Ben's camera which was just fine and dandy until the screen started flashing "Change battery pack". Um what? Battery pack, are you kidding me? Why dear boyfriend, does your camera have a battery pack? You too good for regular AA batteries? Anyway, once I got over the ridiculousness of the battery pack I realized I have no idea where the cord that connects the camera to the computer is. Normally I'd find Ben (which is so not hard in our tiny apartment) but he's in Boise for state golf so I'm on my own with this. I suppose I could dig through drawers and root around in the billion Tupperware boxes scattered around our place but that sounds like a lot of effort and it's Sunday and I only have 13 1/2 days of school left and it's really windy outside and basically... I just don't want to.

Now Ben, if you're reading this I took like 4 pictures and they were all of foods you enjoy. Oh, hey... birthday present idea! New camera!!!

Since I've got one more night of flying solo I'm going to attempt a daring recipe that Ben will hate... mushroom fries. I stumbled across a recipe that uses portabello mushrooms but I haven't go any of those so I'm going to try making them with the sliced mushrooms I do have. I've been asked to share the success or failure of this venture with you all and so I shall.

With that I'll leave you for the evening so you can return to whatever activity you ripped yourself away from and I can return to pondering the director's choice to include that weird, creepy ghost Harry/Hermione make out scene in the latest Harry Potter film.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mom is Awesome

I'm not going to mince words, my mom, Karen, is awesome. My mom is so awesome that awesome doesn't even begin to describe her. My mom is so awesome that she makes Chuck Norris' mom cry (there was a lot of Chuck Norris talk at school this week, it may or may not have sunk in).

All kidding aside, my mom really is an amazing woman and I am blessed to have her guiding me through life and helping me become the best person I can be. She thought me to care and be kind, to work hard and never give up, that it's okay to fail and laugh at yourself. 

I was reading this morning (I get a pass on your judgement of my online reading because I've been up since 5 so I could take Renee to the airport) and there was an article about pop culture related things the reporter loves about her mom. I thought this was fabulous and decided to create a list about my mom, the contents of which may or  may not be pop culture related. 
I love that my mom loves:

1. DVRing Joan Rivers on QVC and the running commentary I get as she watches. 
2. college football; watching her watch the Oklahoma/BSU game a few years ago was CLASSIC!!! 
3. to use cream puff containers to make bourbon slushes (it how she was taught after all)
4. to unintentionally embarrass me with her use of hand gestures. And yes, I am talking about the chest pound/peace sign incident at the Mexican restaurant in Moscow. 
5. to look at EVERY purse at TJ Maxx. She is nothing if not thorough and some times I get a new purse out of it. :)

As I said earlier, my mom is awesome and today I'm thrilled to celebrate her. I hope all those reading this are as lucky as I am and have been blessed with a truly marvelous mom. If you do, make sure to tell her how special she is and how much you appreciate all she's done and continues to do for you. Far too often we wait for days like this (where the calendar directs us to buy cards and send flowers) to let the moms in our lives know how truly lucky we are that they exist.

I love you Mama!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prepping for Cinco De Mayo

In case you all haven't noticed, I'm kind of a big deal. So... it should come as no surprise that my calendar has been booked solid the last few weeks. And while I enjoy giving others the chance to bask in my awesomeness I find myself missing the little things that come with flying under the radar. Things like laying on my couch in my jammies at 4 pm watching 10 year old reruns of Law and Order (r.i.p. Detective Briscoe!) and eating Oreos. Ahh, the simple pleasures in life are what make it worth living.

I told you I was going to be silly and sarcastic!

Anyway, Cinco de Mayo is Thursday and as such I plan on serving many Mexican inspired meals this week, tonight's Orange Chicken and Veggies aside. Ben LOVES Mexican food so we eat our fair share of tacos and fajitas but I plan on thinking a bit more outside the box. If you have a tried and true recipe that will please the crowd feel free to share. I'll start!

While the weather here in The Falls is starting to warm up there is still a chill in the air (thanks blustery winds) so I took the time to make some chicken enchilada soup tonight. It's so simple, tastes so great and freezes beautifully. Oh my gosh!!! I feel like Annelle Dupuy from Steel Magnolias, "it was in the freezes beautifully section of my cookbook and I want to bring them something that freezes beautifully". Now I'm gonna have to watch that movie! Shoot!
I doubt that you can tell me you DON'T want to eat this right now!!!
Keep reading to find out how to make your own!
Anyway here's the recipe for my Change Your Life in 20 Minutes Chicken Enchilada Soup:
1 can Fiesta Nacho soup (Campbell's)
1 can Cheddar Cheese soup (Campbell's)
1 can enchilada sauce
1 soup can full of milk
1 can of corn
1 can diced chicken (or you can use a couple of diced chicken breast, pre-cooked of course)
1/2 block cream cheese
1 tiny can of green chilies (optional)

Open and drain the cans of corn and chilies. Dump everything but the cream cheese into a big pot and stir together over medium high heat and bring to a soft boil. While the soup is heating up, cut the cream cheese into smaller chunks. If you're feeling dangerous or deserve a treat use the whole block of cream cheese. Once the soup starts to boil add the cream cheese and stir together constantly for about 5 minutes then reduce heat to the lower side of medium low***. Let the soup cook for about 15 more minutes stirring occasionally and before you know it you'll be ready to dish it up and eat!!! Top with sour cream and cheese and serve with tortilla chips.
***Depending on your stove you might have to fiddle with the temp settings.
I ALWAYS look this adorably retro when I cook!
It makes the food taste better.  

Like I said, this soup is really simple to make and from start to finish only takes about half an hour but tastes like you worked on it for hours!

If you have any awesome Mexican recipes up your sleeves don't be stingy, share!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wow, that's it. Wow.

I was getting ready to post a silly, sarcastic entry discussing the joys (see sarcasm) of being a jr. high student council leader and then toss out the profoundly life-changing recipe for my chicken enchilada soup. Well MSNBC has made that seem like a bad idea. At least for today. 

Osama bin Laden is dead and we have his body. The man who unleashed unimaginable pain, suffering and terror upon the world has met his end, and while I feel a very large sense of relief and closure, the political scientist in me has moved on. Who is going to take his place? How will this effect the many other Al Qaida cells across the world react? What will the response of other radical, anti-American groups, Arab and otherwise, be. 

Only time will provide the answers to my questions but for today good has struck a HUGE blow against evil. God bless all the men and women who have spent the last decade fighting for our freedom and defending us against the ultimate evil. It took a long time but your efforts have paid off.