Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fabulous Online Gradebook

I started using this progam last year and my parents and students, both, loved it. As did I -- it takes a time investment to set up initally, but once set up -- awesome!!!!

Here's a link: TeacherEase Web-based Gradebook

Setting it up is pretty self-explanatory; it's a really intuitive program. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is there life after scarfs (and hats and washcloths and this one shawl that time....)?

Here is my knitting dilemma. I can knit scarfs. I can knit hats. Done the occasional washcloth. And, a shawl, once. But, what now? I'm pretty good at all of the above (see the pretty picture?), and I enjoy doing them. But, I'm feeling like I'd like to branch out a bit, try....something else. The problem lies here: I hate patterns. I don't follow them well, and I get impatient with complicated directions. It all stems from the woman who taught me, who had pretty much the same anti-pattern biases. And the fact that I learn much, much better from real life people than books, when it comes to hands-on stuff. Where does one go to find a knitting class?? Not the local Parks and Rec, tried that. And, Michaels has classes on knitted earrings (no, seriously!), but that's not really my thing. Hmmmm.... what to do, what to do?

Anyways, something more successful:

The Chicken Delmonico, while not much to look at, was really tasty. I used an Emeril recipe (here) and adapted it quite a bit, for fat content, ease, and our tastes.

Here's my version:

*Preheat oven to 350.

*Add 1 tsp (or so) olive oil to a heavy skillet and turn on heat to medium high.

*Get out 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts,
Cajun seasoning
. Coat the breasts with the seasoning, both sides, and brown on both sides. Turn skillet down to medium. Place chicken in roasting dish in oven for about 10-15 minutes or until barely done.

*Chop 1/2 yellow onion, 2 large garlic cloves and add to pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes. While onions/garlic are cooking, quarter one container crimini mushrooms. Add to pan and cook until softening (about 3 more minutes). Add scant TBS. flour, and stir until coating veggies. Add one good sized slug of dry white wine and as soon as it dissolves (about 1 minute or less), add about 1/2 c. chicken stock. Let it come to a simmer, and then stir in 1/2 c. of half-and-half (I used fat-free, but do what you like!) Let it return to a simmer and turn to low heat.

*Stir in one can artichoke hearts, a big ol' spoon of sour cream, half a lemon's worth of lemon juice and some chopped green onions. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

*Pour sauce over chicken in roasting pan, and return to oven for about 10-15 minutes. (This last step probably isn't necessary, but I made this dish first, and needed to keep it warm and yummy while I made the corn fritters).

This was really, really tasty! We only ate two of the chicken breasts, so I chopped up the last one and stirred it with the remaining sauce to freeze for a pasta sauce another time. The Emeril version is probably lovely as well -- but a bit more expensive and rich than this version. And -- yay! leftovers!


Last Night's Dinner

The lasagna was really, really delicious -- Jason went back for seconds. The butternut squash itself is so rich and creamy, it creates the illusion that the dish is richer and fattier (?) than it really is. I made a couple of changes from the original recipe -- which was, itself, adapted from Everyday Italian's Giada. I used an organic whole milk ricotta instead of the cottage cheese and fat-free half-and-half instead of the regular milk. Definitely a keeper!

Finished The Time-Traveler's Wife last night and cried, as per usual. A good cry, though:) I went to the library today and got a big assortment of goodies. Sherri Tepper's newest, The Margarets; Joy of Cooking's The Art of Home Canning; another Sarah Dessen; City of Oranges about Jews and Arabs living harmoniously in Jaffa; a couple others. I'm really looking forward to a new Sherri Tepper; it's been a while. And, the home canning -- this is my new project. I've wanted to learn canning for quite a while; I'm planning on trying my first experiments this weekend. Will report on progress!

I am right this second debating on whether or not I'm heading to the gym today. I know I should, but the personal trainer kicked my ass yesterday and am very, very sore. Le sigh....will probably head back over there in about an hour because it is Good For Me.

Tonight's dinner:

*Chicken Delmonico (will post recipe after I tinker with it)
*Sliced Tomatoes (which we did not have last night!)
*Spicy Corn Fritters
*the rest of the Wholewheat French

Monday, August 13, 2007

Virgin Territory

So, I finally step onto the blogging stage, a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. I'm kind of late venturing into the territory....but that's me, the perpetual late bloomer! Right now, I think I'm going to be focusing on my hobbies -- for want of a better word -- mainly reading, cooking and knitting, with perhaps the occasional foray into blogging about teaching. And...it begins......

Tonight's dinner:

*Low(er)-Fat Version of Giada's Butternut Squash via Cookie Madness
*Zuchinni Boats (basically, halve the zuchinni, brush with olive oil, salt/pepper, parmesan cheese, and bake for about 15 minutes)
*Sliced Tomatoes
*Garlic Bread made with Wholewheat French

Currently reading:

*(Third or fourth) re-read of The Time-Traveler's Wife -- it has rapidly become a comfort novel which...it's not so much that the narrative is comforting; it's just so lovely. And, it feels true, or at least the emotion rings true. And, oh, the grace of it all....

*Skimming the Writer's Workshop portion of In the Middle in preparation for school starting back up next week.

*Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, a YA author I've just discovered and am liking a great, great deal.