The Biology Behind the Bubbles: Root Beer

The Biology Behind the Bubbles: Root Beer
As a high school biology teacher, I was always trying to find ways to intrigue my students and get them interested in the reality behind the words in the textbook.  Our cellular respiration unit always seems to approach when students are past the start-of-the-year enthusiasm and are approaching the get-me-out-of-here-for-winter-vacation doldrums.  And it doesn't help that this is a difficult concept to wrap one's head around. Luckily, students seem to catch on to the idea after I show them...

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Killing My Supper

Killing My Supper
Food is the thread that weaves us all together. Everybody eats something, even if your definition of food doesn’t match my own. I tend to prescribe to the diet that Michael Pollan describes simply as, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Plants are everywhere. And while some of them are “cute”, they don’t have feelings. Plus, they offer some not-so-secret benefits to the planet, like preventing soil erosion, producing oxygen, and if planted with care, help to maintain a healthy...

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Take 2: Cup of Noodles Revisited

Take 2: Cup of Noodles Revisited
After being unsatisfied with my last attempt at making my own version of "Cup of Noodles" from scratch, I went back to the drawing board.  My first version yielded gummy noodles and flavorless broth. This time, I took a suggestion from the plethora of Facebook comments I received, and tried organic vegetable Better than Bouillon.  I also used some organic Ramen noodles that I found at Cost Plus. I precooked the ramen noodles and stored them in the refrigerator briefly until cool.  I didn't...

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Bold Flavors – Asian Wild Rice Salad

Bold Flavors – Asian Wild Rice Salad
I'll be the first to admit, that I tend to be cautious in the flavor department, especially in my own kitchen.  It doesn't help that there are two kids in the house who tend to have taste buds that are apparently in transition all the time.  But my Rouxbe plant-based cooking course is helping me to push my boundaries and I am really loving the result (even if my kids aren't fully on board.) For the past several days, I have been learning about grains and how to use them in a variety of ways....

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Goodbye, Hamlet {A Dog Treat Recipe}

Goodbye, Hamlet {A Dog Treat Recipe}
I am a softie. A rescuer.  Maybe that's why students used to ask if they could eat lunch in my classroom.  It's certainly why I brought home Hamlet, a rescue dog, just two months before our adopted son came home from Guatemala.  I was yearning to nurture - and there was a delay in our adoption paperwork.  And so, just like that, Hamlet helped to fill the void. Suddenly, three nights ago, Hamlet collapsed and I rushed him to the emergency veterinary clinic.  I'll spare you the unpleasant...

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Bird Seed for Breakfast

Bird Seed for Breakfast
When my daughter came into the kitchen this morning, she started to giggle.  And then she asked me why I had bird seed on the counter.  "Isn't that what we used to feed the parakeets?" she asked.  Yep - I suppose millet IS a main ingredient in bird seed, but I tried to convince her that this was slightly different, since it was intended for people instead of our former avian friends. Coconut Millet, photo from Rouxbe.com One of my goals in taking the Rouxbe online plant-based cooking certification...

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Make Your Own: Cup of Noodles

Make Your Own: Cup of Noodles
When I saw this version of homemade cup of noodles, I knew that I was going to have to give it a try.  I have become obsessed with using glass jars in the house - to store, to freeze, and to reuse all over again.  And the jars for this recipe were too cute to pass up.  Plus, I love how they look when they are packed and ready to grab from the refrigerator. I am trying to use as few unprocessed ingredients as possible, and am not thrilled with these little packages of concentrated vegetable...

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Planning Ahead – and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Planning Ahead – and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Since I am not at work all day, I am spending a good portion of my time trying to be efficient so that I can be more "emotionally available" to my family.  One strategy that seems to be working well is to spend some time early in the week prepping a ton of veggies so that most of the heavy lifting is done prior to the dinner time crunch. This week, I got a lot of knife skills practice (which is GREAT for my Rouxbe cooking class!). I diced a butternut squash, cut kale leaves into ribbons, halved...

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Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s Your Daddy?
I believe that one of my greatest contributions to the classroom was that I was maternal.  I was filled with passion for what was right and would act like an agitated Mama Bear if I felt like someone was doing wrong by my students.  Maybe I'd get upset because there was disrespect in a relationship between two students; sometimes students were treated as if they didn't matter; and often, their health was ignored by others who should have been making it a priority. Now that I am no longer in...

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Lesson Plans Aren’t Just for the Classroom

Lesson Plans Aren’t Just for the Classroom
It has finally come and gone - the start of the new school year. And for the first time in several years, I didn't return to the classroom with my children and former students.  After losing my job, I wasn't sure how I would handle the transition.  But I am handling it.  Because I have to. Of course, I couldn't resist thinking about what I would have done on the first day of school with my students.  How would I have inspired them or lit the spark to encourage them to try harder than ever...

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