Killing Trees

Hello, my name is Andrea, I work in Special Education and I kill trees for a living. Ok, I don’t kill trees for a living, but every year as the school year starts up, I feel like I kill a small forest.

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That would be approximately 5,000 photocopies. Yes, 5,000. As get all the IEPs and 504s together for teacher distribution the piles of paper mound. At least the cats enjoy this part of my job.

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We get further excitement when I start sorting by teacher …

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This is an annual weekend project here and thankfully Bob does not mind the mess for a few days. Of course, this year he decided it was time to get a new television and television cabinet, so the living room was already in disarray when I started. (I’m still not sure why he feels the need for a new television, but I didn’t have to get rid of the old stuff, so I really don’t care.) He claims it has something to do with the current television being outdated and not having the right inputs or something. I’m sure I could argue against this change, but really, I just don’t care that much.

Since work has started up full swing again (as evidenced by the lack of posts this week) my culinary experiments have dwindled a little. I did make an awesome roasted tomato and kale dish to go with pan fried chicken this week and it was so good, both Bob and I loved the kale. Yes, we loved the kale. Well, I loved it, he liked it enough to let me make it again. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it as I was that tired Friday night. I did do a nice pork chop with beats, carrots and onions which tasted pretty good, but was not photo worthy. Gracie liked this particular dish and she usually just likes the chicken dishes.

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Next week is another long week. Three nights of new student orientation makes for three twelve plus hour days. But, it looks like I am in good shape paper-work wise for the start of the year. Now if I can stay on top of the paperwork it might be a good year.

Spicy Chicken (not wrapped in lettuce)

I came across a recipe for Asian style spicy pork lettuce wraps the other day and thought they sounded fabulous. But, I had chicken taken out of the freezer, Bob is trying to avoid the rice/grain stuff and I only had red leaf lettuce. What does one do in this case? Find a different recipe with chicken? Pull the pork out of the freezer? Head to the grocery for the proper ingredients? Nope, modify.

Basically, I marinated the chicken in cubed pieces in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and peanut oil (I had no sesame oil the recipe calls for). When I got home from work today, I mixed up some sriracha chili sauce, honey, the peanut oil and a dash of sesame seeds (for some reason, those I had – go figure). I pan fried the chicken, placed the hot chicken on the red leaf lettuce and drizzled some of the chili/honey dressing over it. The results were pretty good – spicy without burning and lots of flavor from both the marinade and the dressing. Bob declared the experiment a success.

Over the weekend, I gave in and fed my ice cream craving. For those who live in a region with a Publix grocery store, I highly recommend their Black Jack Cherry Ice Cream. It is so good, and worth every calorie and slight guilt for going off the ranch. This is a real cherry ice cream with chunks of dark cherry and chocolate chips. I go for the full fat, full sugar variety (’cause really, if you are going for the ice cream anyway, ya might as well go all the way). This stuff is so good I may have replaced Bryers Mint Chocolate Chip as the favorite. I’m not saying it has, just that it might.

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On a pet note, we got some lovely rain today; poor Gracie decided to go out at lunch and got stuck outside when Bob went back to work after lunch. Poor thing came home eight hours later soaked.  So wet she actually let me dry her with a towel.  I thought about taking a picture of her giving new meaning to “drowned cat” but she was so sad looking I didn’t have the heart.

 

 

Salads

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Salad does not have to be boring. It does not have to be “rabbit food” and it does not have to lack flavor. Salad, like any food, can be mediocre or it can be great.

The salad above is a variation of one of my favorite salads. It is a jicama base with cucumbers, red onions and carrots. In my typical version I use mango, but as I had apple, and did not have mango today, I went with the apple. The “dressing” is lime juice (fresh squeezed in this case) and chili powder. Yes, chili powder. It marries extremely well with the jicama. It’s crunchy, a tiny bit sweet and has a little tang from the lime and the mildest hint of heat from the chili powder. I paired this with some BBQ pork I had in the freezer and it ended up being a delightful little lunch.

Salad can also be traditional and still yummy …

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I used the lettuce, tomato, and cucumber from the weekly basket, added some of the Farmhouse goat cheese from Scotland (yes, we are still working on those) and leftover hanger steak. I topped it with a mix of grated garlic, black current balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This one came out really good and my only complaint was the tomato – no matter how fresh, tomatoes in Florida are just not Jersey tomatoes and I really, really miss those.

Veggie Basket

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This week’s veggie basket made me smile when I opened it. It is a little more traditional than some of the baskets, but I love everything in it (well, I don’t like the mushrooms, but I exchanged those for a few apples). The red leaf lettuce is beautiful and if the bananas are half as good as the last bunch I will be a very happy girl. I’m super excited about the golden beets. I have a couple of ideas for them, but haven’t settled on any one yet; it will probably depend on what the butcher has that looks good tomorrow.

/happy dance!