It’s Been Crazy

The week teachers return and the first week with kids are always a bit hectic. This year it was a whole new level. New computer systems, lots of new teachers, lots of last minute changes (aka teachers deciding to not come back for a variety of reasons) and then 1600 middle and high schoolers descending. Oh, and did the afternoon thunderstorms that sprang up right about dismissal time every day. With all of that is it any wonder I haven’t cooked much the last two weeks? And I’m heading to England for about two weeks to help Brad and Emmie out after her surgery. All is going well. But an extra set of eyes, ears, hands and half a brain might make it a little easier.


I did manage two dishes I was pretty please with. The first used the shredded beef and I added potatoes, carrots and onions. I used a nice zinfandel with beef broth and herbs from the garden (mainly rosemary) for a stew. It came out really well. Lots of flavor. I know it is more of a fall dish, and Florida is still in summer season, but it was really a nice meal. It helped that I had a glass of the Zinfandel with it.


My second dish was a pork loin with grilled vegetables. Sounds simple and it was, but sometimes simple is best. Brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper and graham Marsala. Coat the pork, and sprinkle the dame mixture over the vegetables (after tossing them in oil) and then grill. Both took about 20-30 minutes on the grill on half heat (but all three burners). Great, light summer meal.

My favorite work story for this week happened yesterday. To be fair, similar things happened all week, but this just struck me as the perfect snapshot of my week. I went to deal with a kid’s schedule and my boss wanted to talk to be about the next two weeks (out of the building but still working) so I am standing in the hall between the person making schedule changes trying to sort out the schedule, and talking to him about everything that we have in place for contacting me and certain issues that may arise so he isn’t blindsided by them. One of the guidance assistants comes up as I am standing in the hall between these two offices and asks about an issue with another student. We had three conversations, on widely different topics, happening at once and somehow everything got taken care of as it needed to be done. Multi tasking at its best.

It will probably be a few weeks before I post again, although if I manage to cook something really cool or take a walk and remember my camera I may post before I get back. Have a happy Labor Day!


One night in England Brad made all of us a Pimms. A traditional summer drink (alcoholic) in England I wasn’t sure what to expect as the US doesn’t really have equivalent. But of my, I may have found my new favorite drink – at least in warmer weather.

Pimms is a gin based drink. It is about 40% alcohol so it needs to be mixed with lemon aide or soda to drink. I tried to replicate Brad’s fabulous creation and I think I came close. So … Cherries, strawberries, raspberry and cucumber into a glass with a little ice. Add Pimms and some lemon-lime soda and drink. Apparently if I wanted to get very traditional, I would change out the soda for lemonade and add mint. But for tonight, I’m going with my creation as it is very tasty. Reminiscent of a Sloe Gin Fizz but I can make it myself.

I also got back to cooking today. After a week of getting ready for teachers and kids to come back to school, I didn’t do much last week. But … yesterday I picked up a chuck roast, seared it in a frying pan with some onion and garlic then popped it in the crock pot for eight hours. For a braising liquid I used a little beef broth with a bottle of beer Bob bought, but didn’t like.

20130811-165528.jpg Well, he bought I six pack so now I have cooking beer. I was a little concerned with using this, but I figured I could always add lots of other spices to cover it if it wasn’t good. But, I have never had better shredded beef.

20130811-165833.jpg Very, very tender and not spicy, but flavorful. Today I made shredded beef tacos with it and boy did it hit the mark.

For the tacos I heated the beef with some onion and a little of the braising liquid. To that I added fresh farmers’ market tomatoes and hard goat cheese. The result …

20130811-170053.jpg Not a bad little lunch. Tonight I’m working on shredded beef rolls with butternut squash. If I can get through the papers I’m working on!