Saturday, September 16, 2017

Since then-

Don't feel like talking about school.  It goes on as usual.  The new schedule is heavy at the beginning of the week and falls away as the week goes on.  Since I've always seen kids twice a week and now it's only once, planning is a breeze- though content is taking a hit.

Of interest this week has been food.  It's been overnight oatmeal every morning made especially delicious with the maple syrup gifted to me by kmkat.  I made another round of meatless chili last weekend for some frozen lunches.

The new recipes of the week include one with quinoa and black beans- seasoned with red pepper and cumin.  While the recipe didn't call for it, I wrapped this in a tortilla shell and found it very pleasant.

Today I revisited (from several years ago) homemade hummus.  Chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and cumin.  It's kind of amazing the way you can put those things together and create such deliciousness.  

I've also realized that baby carrots have the superpower of being a hummus delivery device.  When we have them in the house they usually go bad.  Turn on their hummus delivery device super power and you run out of them well before you grow weary of them.

So far I think my three favorite finds in this adventure have been chia seeds, cumin and tahini.  Last night I had tahini, chia seeds and honey on some sprouted bread.  It was oh so filling and the opposite of chicken.  This only makes sense if you realize how I have come to detest chicken in all its incarnations.

There is a blog called chocolatecoveredkatie which appears to have quite a few interesting possibilities.  I trust her having had success with her black bean brownies.  It's a little bit crazy the amount of time I've been spending in the kitchen lately.  I might even learn to make it less complicated and enjoy it more.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

All manner of kid things to make one smile.

The high school.  What a great gift this class was to my burnt out self.  The girl who I thought was suspicious of me declared me her favorite teacher this morning.  Although it might have been because she wanted a reference for a special activity but I kind of think it's not.


It was so much fun with the straws, we took some notes and moved to the trumpet mouthpieces and brass tubing.

The mouthpieces were $3 each so I let them keep them.  The above mentioned class member shared hers with her 2 year old sister and returned to class the next day with this-


THAT was so much fun that I rushed through my chat on orchestral and folk string instruments and brought the cigar box slide guitar kit for assembly.

Presenting the various eras of history and the music from each has the potential to be not as interesting. I've started brain storming about how to maintain interest.  As of now the plan is to play some Renaissance dance music on the ukulele.  Not sure what I'll do when we hit the Classical or Romantic period.

After we finish all of the instruments in the portion of the course on timbre, we will be talking about pitch.  I found out THIS was a thing.  It rolls up.  It weighs nothing.  It takes batteries or can be powered with a computer USB.  This will be handy.

With the younger ones I was asked to give some extra recess to K-er's this afternoon, looked up and spotted this- no one needs to be taught that trees are made to be danced around.  That tree must be so happy.

And finally from/for the youngest set.  Greatniece's baby girl due in October-  They had a shower where they live in New York and I finally spotted a theme to knit around.  The little mitts were to be fox faces but greathusbandbob suggested paws and that's the best.  There's also a standard baby sock pattern that I will do in the same colors so that all four "paws" are covered.

Just lots of things to smile at. I can't argue with that.

Saturday, September 02, 2017


One of the three remaining people who read this blog.  I started blogging in 2007.  Kmkat started hers in 2006.  I believe we became friends shortly thereafter.  Today as she traveled through these United States, she stopped for dinner here in the 'burg.  I can only hope that she was as delighted with our company as greathusbandbob and I were with hers.

Yarn snob-Food snob. Same difference.

There has always been a certain amount of joking from knitters about hiding yarn from household members. We don't have that problem here because we spend allowances. Buy what you want, as much as you want and when you want as long as you are paying for it.

Of late resources have been diverted to food items and since those have to be stored in a shared space there is a certain amount of planning that goes into storage. As long as I keep the paper plates, salt and pepper in easily accessed places and things don't fall out of the cupboard, it's all good.

There may or may not have been eyebrows raised at the brown rice syrup, brown rice pasta and one pound bag of raw cashews but you really can't argue with the +/- 20 lbs lost. He knows my argument and has it with himself with every bag I bring in. It's easier that way.

However, countertop appliances are his nemesis. The blender is on top of the refrigerator. The mini-chopper has a cozy spot in the cupboard as do the canning jars. (I knew I'd eventually find a use for those).

In my car at this very moment is a life-size food processor. It's just the $30 one Athough anybody could have convinced me to go big or go home, I learned my lesson of not buying expensive tools until you know what you're doing and know if you're going to keep doing it.

I am waiting for a time when he is not closely scrutinizing what I bring into the house (like when he's not home!) for that. At the very least I want it to be out of the box before he sees it. And he hates cardboard boxes so I may leave that in the car. I can't hide it forever if I want to use it but the goal is to weave it into the fabric of our lives and pretend we've had it for years.

After a nap I will look into making plant based (no cheese sauce) macaroni and cheese. If this can be a healthy low-calorie alternative I will be thrilled (but will have to find a reliable source for nutritional yeast). Other weekend adventures include black bean brownies made with dark chocolate and the go-to honey oat granola bars.

What. The. What. I am cooking food. That's just cray cray.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


I am still winning at food. Overnight chia oatmeal (with maple syrup and cinnamon) is absolutely the best find of this experience so far. Anecdotally chia encourages weight loss. I'm going to guess that it depends on a persons chemistry and reasons for eating. What I do know is that I'm not starving at lunchtime. I still eat a little then but it's not hangry eating.

Weekend plans include more honey granola bars and something yet to be determined. I've got to step out of the "Netflix cycle" where I look at recipes all evening and make nothing. Working on commitment

In more winning news, the in class making of woodwind instruments from straws was a success at the high school. They explored the possibilities (increasing the length, changing pitches with a slide and cutting finger holes to change notes.). One kid bragged about making one and playing it at home. He was a senior. After a second attempt the next day, one freshman was actually able to play with a pleasant tone.

The loudest part of the clips is my laughter but you'll have that. If you only have time for one, watch the second one.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Food from the earth but I'm not becoming "one of THOSE people."

This is what lunch looked like today-


The potatoes were Yukon gold and baked and were so delicious that they didn't need butter, though I did add some cottage cheese to trick myself into believing it was sour cream. The tomato came from a Zumba friend's garden and tasted as a tomato should.

Speaking of Zumba- another goal was met- perfect attendance for the month of August. That put me in "the drawing" and I won my first Zumba shirt. The sad part is that I'm likely done with Zumba with friends until May because I hate driving home in the dark. I will still have WiiU Zumba.


In case I failed to mention it, overnight chia oatmeal is amazing! I don't know if it's the different milks (coconut and almond) or if it's the chia seeds but it has some serious oomph to it.

The chia seeds have made it into the kitchen proper. There was an order delivered to the school that will take some masterminding. We don't have a ton of cupboard space and I have to make it look like nothing new was added. I don't really have to hide it but life is less complicated with a little creative storage.

Waiting to find a place in the lineup is a pretty big bag of raw cashews and the full fat coconut milk for cooking. There are several varieties of brown rice pasta and there also might be a food processor. I'm thinking I may stash the blender for special occasions and store the food processor in its place.

On the experimenting front there are some black bean brownies that look promising and now that I have cashews and tamari sauce, the world is my oyster. Also greathusbandbob is going out of town one night next week and I'll have free reign to experiment with abandon in the kitchen. Never did I think that would be something I would look forward to.

It could be that my new hobby will be plant based cooking. I'm stashing ingredients the way some people stash yarn.

School is school. I love the high school gig. I often wonder if I'm really mature enough to be teaching them and then I remember how old I am and realize that at least I can fake it.

The elementary part is so discouraging. I've gone from teaching music to kids twice a week to teaching them music once a week. The other times I have them I will be monitoring a math computer program. It makes me so sad. There are some days (today) where I only teach 90 minutes of music in an eight hour day. The rest of the day is computer and recess duty. I just don't feel like thinking about it.

And I do think of the world at large. I am mostly rendered speechless about the sad and crazy and need my little bubble now and again.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

In preparation...

Food Food Food.

I feel like I'm always thinking about what I want to make and what I need to make it.  I think I have finally found and collected in one way or another all of the obscure ingredients listed in these plant-based cookbooks.

The trickier ones to find were full fat canned coconut milk, tahini, tamari (which is gluten free soy sauce, I think).  I am most excited about the tahini.

Walmart wins were flax seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, cashew butter and almond milk.  At Aldi I found medjool dates (they are called for in smoothies frequently) and some multi-colored baby carrots as an addition to lunches.

Ordered from amazon are raw cashews which apparently are used to make dairy free cream sauces.  I haven't gone completely dairy free.  there is a little cottage cheese and some mexican cheddar in the diet.  In a pinch I'll have fried eggs for dinner.

The food of the week is rolled oats.  While they don't look very good (having missed the baking soda step, I was forced to improvise) these are tasty and I will definitely try them again.  They are a baked "cookie" made of oats, almond butter, a little coconut oil to hold them together and of all things, blueberries.  If someone would have told me to put blueberries in peanut butter cookies I would have called them crazy.  But, almond butter is just light enough to be able to pull off blueberries.  They are, in fact, delicious.  I haven't looked up the calorie content.  They are sweetened with maple syrup.  Even if the calorie count is high, they are healthy calories rather than empty ones.

This is the treat for tomorrow's breakfast- overnight chia oats. Coconut and almond milk, cinnamon, oats, chia seeds again sweetened with maple syrup.  I'm hoping they will be a little more filling than the total cereal and blueberries because I tend to feel really hungry around 10:00.

I have no idea what chia seeds are or what they will do but I love oats.

I also baked some potatoes for a little variation in lunches next week.  I'll use low-fat cottage cheese as a sour cream replacement.  If it gets really boring I'll find some taco sauce or garlic salt to spice it up.

I've got salad fixings for dinner and I made the refried bean/tortilla lasagne for dinner for a couple of days.  It's so easy to make, tasty and I think relatively healthy.

I also bought real black beans that have to soak overnight to see what the difference in those are.  I'm looking at some black beans with "real" black beans and brown rice later in the week.

You can never really tell with the scale/clothes/time of day combination but the highest last two digits of the scale were once 69 and I've seen 56 a few times. I'm still call it +/- 10 lbs for now.

All else is status quo and I believe that healthy cooking may be my new hobby.  I hope I grow to like it a little better as I go along.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I eat lunch at 12:30 on Wednesdays. The only other person who eats lunch at that time is the infamous p.e. teacher. When I eat in my room it makes a mess so I ate in the lounge.


Today after I sat down I heard about his stomach pain, his hernia, his constipation, the phone call to his mother about what to do about his constipation, what happened after he took the first dose of anti-constipation medicine and what happened after the second dose. He went on to talk about insurance premiums and blood tests. Really? All I can think is that it was his way of saying he'd prefer to eat alone.


In other news the children are not the same as they once were. They squirm, they twitch, they shout, the make noises, the giggle at their ridiculous behavior. I can't even. Today I just had to watch it happen. I had no idea what to do.


Finally, I finished the Atlanticus mandala giant crazed granny square. Only 10 of 12 sections but really, enough already. And I was out of yarn. It's about 5'x5'. Global warming means it will serve us better as a rug but a girl can dream.