Apr 182014

I’ve been attending or working in a school 9 months out of the year for every one of my last 27 years, from pre-school to finally working under a teacher’s contract as of last January.  I’ve had a lot of teachers and met a lot of students.  It’s no secret that teachers do more than just impart knowledge to students.  I’ve seen teachers work as counselors, cooks, nurses, therapists, meteorologists, coaches, motivational speakers, garbage collectors and more.

With all these roles, teaching can be a bit overwhelming.  Looking back over my career in the classroom, there were so many teachers that impacted me.  My middle school art teachers, who let me spend many of my afternoons creating, my AP English teacher who fostered my continuing love for all things Steinbeck, the college professors who encouraged me to write an honors thesis and present at conferences and all of the other caring, patient adults I interacted with as I grew up really helped shape who I am now.  As a teacher, the impact of other teachers has not diminished at all.  I owe a debt of gratitude to my high school history teacher, who first let me intern in his classroom when I was still a student.  My cooperating teachers, who doubt that I could manage a classroom at all, have fueled my desire to prove otherwise since 2007.  My co-workers have pushed me and encouraged me to try new things professionally and in my classroom since the moment I got my first job in Maine and continuing through my current role in the Berkshires, despite my breakdowns in department meetings, lack of full time status until recently, and inexperience in my field.  Very few of these lessons have to do with content specifically; they’re about life.  Teachers have taught me to set high goals and not to give up.  If there’s a group of people that have really changed my life, it’s teachers.

When I think about all that the teachers I know have done for me, I want to pass that encouragement on to my students.  For six hours each day I have the opportunity to be a really positive force in my students’ lives.  I’m even more inspired when I see videos of other incredible teachers, like this one:

It can take a lot to be a teacher though.  There’s a constant stream of work to be done, the regulations are always changing, students can be exhausting and unappreciative, and more often than not, teachers are supplementing the supplies in the classroom with their own purchases, especially in underfunded areas.  For many of us, that’s just part of the job.  You need pencils, binders, calculators of lab materials for your students?  Then you go out and buy them.   That’s why I’m excited to let you know about the Adopt-a-Classroom program from Office Depot.

Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students.  Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students.  Teachers all over the country and in your local area are doing amazing, innovative things in their classrooms and you can help them do more by donating.  Are you a teacher who could use more resources to change lives in your school?  Register on Adopt-a-Classroom and let people help you.

If you have any stories of teachers that changed your life, I’d love to read them in the comments.  We could all use more inspiration!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Apr 152014

Reflections On My Last Plan:

I had an incredible amount of success with my last round of new (to me) recipes.  I wrote about how much I loved the asparagus and goat cheese galette, but the Tomato Artichoke Lentil Stew from A Couple Cooks was also a hit.  We got three or four meals out of the recipe, which was a nice added bonus.  My previous plan also included my first ever tofu scramble, as part of the Tofu Breakfast Burritos with Tempeh Bacon from Food52.  What took me so long to scramble tofu?  These burritos were awesome, though I think I’ll skip the tempeh bacon next time.  Though I liked the flavor more than I expected, the slices just didn’t do it for me.  I also feel like tofu and tempeh in one meal is probably more soy than I need at once.  


But despite all those glowing reviews, the best thing I made over the last two weeks was probably the Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers, also from Food 52.  Brian crowned them the best veggie burgers I ever made…and I’ve tried making a lot of veggie burgers.   Even though we ran into a little bit of a time issue during preparation (the burgers need to sit in the fridge for several hours), they held together better than almost any burger I’ve ever made.  The recipe made 8 burgers easily and I probably could’ve pushed for 10.  They’re also cooked in the oven and not pan fried which was a relief because I always struggle with pan frying veggie burgers for some reason.  I’ll definitely be revisiting these burgers…after we eat the 4 sitting in our freezer.  And maybe when I revisit them, I’ll take pictures, because I apparently didn’t bother this time around.

Because of life, leftovers and the usual menu rearranging that happened to the original plan, pasta with pesto sauce and frittata did not actually make an appearance on our table during the past 2 weeks.   That’s okay, because it made planning this week all the easier!

If my last menu plan was a combination of trying new recipes and revisiting old ones, this one is fueled by a very crazy week followed by an unplanned one.  It’s the week before spring break which apparently means all the things need to get done and all the events are happening.  So there’s a lot of leftovers on the agenda in an effort to minimize my time in the kitchen.   Once school’s out I’m planning to try some new things, including asparagus fries and making my own tortillas!  I’ll definitely let you know how that goes. Next week, break week, is not so busy…to the point that I don’t really know what’s going on, except that there’s lots and lots of tentative, up in plans that may or may not happen and will affect my meal plans.  One thing I do know is that we’re going to try and reduce the contents of our freezer – I really want to make and freeze more things (ice cream!) but there’s no room!


(Brian cooks!)
Loaded baked potatoes and salad
Easy Springtime Crockpot Minestrone (How Sweet It Is)
leftover crockpot minestrone
Tuna Noodle Casserole (Chow) and salad
leftover tuna noodle casserole and salad
asparagus fries
(specifics to be determined)
some sort of tacos with homemade tortillas
Easter with friends!
Ham, a potato dish, salad
Easter leftovers
pasta with pesto that was frozen last fall
Eating out?
veggie burgers, from the freezer?
Breakfast for Dinner – waffles or pancakes?
Stir fry with frozen vegetables?
Apr 132014
Highlights: Easter + Sponsor Shout Out

Can you believe Easter is only a week away?  Are you ready? I’m not, on a practical or spiritual level.  I always intend to prepare myself more for the major Christian holidays and spend more time soaking in their significance, but making that a priority is much easier said than done, though the She Reads [...]

Apr 062014
Spice Blends–My Kind of Convenience (Review & Giveaway!)

Remember that time (3 days ago) when I posted about making more things instead of buying them?  There’s another aspect to that philosophy that I didn’t really include.  To borrow a phrase from Rachel Wilkerson’s earlier writings, “Don’t be ridiculous”.  I have a full time job, I’m a graduate student, I have a husband who [...]

Why Buy When You Can Make?

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Apr 032014
Why Buy When You Can Make?

Occasionally I’m asked what my blog is about, or what my philosophy on food is – they’re both pretty intertwined.  I generally say one of two things: Michael Pollan’s “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” or my own “why buy something when you can make it yourself?”  But as much as I agree with [...]

Highlights: Spring Vegetables

 Posted by at 6:27 pm
Mar 302014
Highlights: Spring Vegetables

I don’t know about in your neck of the woods, but around here, it’s finally looking like spring.  The weather’s warmed up a little bit, the snow is melting and it’s been raining tons (April showers, right?)  I know I’m not alone in my desire for this long winter to end as soon as possible [...]

Old and New, a Menu Plan

 Posted by at 8:02 pm
Mar 282014
Old and New, a Menu Plan

You may have noticed a lack of menu plans around here lately.  Why?  For one thing, I wasn’t sure people were really finding them interesting/useful.  That, and the fact that I haven’t really been planning menus for the past several weeks. My period of un-planning wasn’t intentional, but looking back it was definitely an interesting [...]

Twosday XIV

 Posted by at 5:24 pm
Mar 252014
Twosday XIV

Things at school that have made me happy, recently: 1.  Discussing the fact that Looking for Alaska is probably the best John Green book with a group of teenage girls in the hallway after school on Friday and introducing them to Vlogbrothers. 2.  Not proctoring this round of state-mandated testing.  I’m usually on the proctor [...]