Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Skillet Hash

This recipe comes from Food Network Magazine. It's pretty easy and turns out well. As you can see in the photo, I tend to overcook the eggs, but you can make them as firm or as soft as you like.

Ingredients:
3 russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds - I use whatever kind of potatoes we have on hand)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
8 large eggs (or less, depending on how many each member of your family likes)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes in a few places with a fork and microwave until almost tender, about 10 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool slightly, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice. (I do this step ahead of time because peeling hot potatoes is tough work!)

Heat the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, then flatten the hash into an even layer, pressing gently with a spatula. Cook undisturbed until crunchy and browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the hash in sections and cook until browned on the other side, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

Using a spoon, make 4 shallow indentations in the hash and crack 2 eggs into each. Transfer to the oven and bake until the egg whites set, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and top with the parsley and scallions, if you'd like.

Per serving: Calories 449; Fat 25 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 485 mg; Sodium 821 mg; Carbohydrate 34 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 23 g

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cherry Pie Oatmeal

Lately I've been in love with preventionRD.com and her recipes. She does not disappoint. I'd been wanting to make my own steel cut oatmeal after getting addicted two winters ago to the frozen ready-to-eat version at Costco (I even blogged about it here) but hadn't had the motivation until I saw her recipe for Crock Pot Cherry Pie Steel Cut Oats. They are easy and delicious!

Author: Nicole Morrissey

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours 5 mins
Serves: 4

A little something sweet and simple to start your morning off right. Kid-approved, no doubt!

Ingredients:
4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I found this at Trader Joe's)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup sucanat or other granular sugar (I used sugar in the raw)
1 cup dry steel cut oats
1 (20 oz) can no sugar added cherry pie filling (couldn't find this so used a pouch of Tap'n Apple all natural cherry pie filling from Whole Foods)
1 cup pitted bing cherries, fresh or frozen (Publix makes a nice bag of frozen sweet dark cherries)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and stir. Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Stir before serving hot. (Our crock pot runs pretty hot so I set it to low for an hour then turned it down to warm for overnight. Stirred it about an hour before serving and turned it up to low to help it finish cooking and thicken up.

Note:
Recipe adapted from Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats with Blueberries from Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Satsuma Tree

For Christmas, Chris got me a Satsuma orange tree! Satsumas are hardy in our climate; the fruit is sweet, seedless and easy to peel. T's second grade teacher had one in her yard and shared her extras with us - a real treat. Super excited to grow one ourselves!
Here is the tree, on Christmas morning
And here it is, planted in the side yard!
Maybe this time next year, we'll have some fruit? 

Friday, December 27, 2013

RIP Cadenza

We often said, "We don't have a cat, a cat has us." The first January we lived in our house, this gray kitty showed up and took residence in the breezeway. We fed and watered him, and Emily named him Cadenza. He never came inside (too many allergies) and he wasn't always a friendly cat (he could pretend to be and then his true nature would come out with a swipe or a scratch) but he was interesting.  

2003 - first Christmas with a cat

He loved to sleep in odd places, like the roof of the truck or wrapped around one of the tires. (I even wrote a post on his ability to sleep anywhere - here)

 Cadenza with Em in 2006. 

In the beginning, he ruled his territory with an iron fist. No other cats were allowed in the yard. In fact, he'd go next door and beat up their cat, just for the sake of it. As he got older, he softened and soon other cats were allowed in the yard and even to sleep in the garage and breezeway. This fall he had really been slowing down, losing weight, sleeping a lot and missing meals. We hadn't seen him in about two weeks when a couple of neighborhood kids came to the door on Friday to ask if we were missing a cat. His body was in the creek. We figured we wouldn't see him again, that he'd gone off to the woods to die; the rain must have washed him back to us. Friday afternoon we gave him a proper burial in the side yard. Farewell, kitty friend. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas in the House


the little tree
new Snoopy Christmas pint glasses
The big tree on Christmas morning

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 1889

Thomas still loves the Presidents. When I told him I saw President Harrison's Christmas dinner menu, his first question was "Which Harrison? The grandpa or the grandson?" Given that it was 1889, it was definitely the grandson, Benjamin. He has two claims to fame - his grandfather was President (William Henry Harrison) and he served in between Grover Cleveland's two terms.
From Chicago Daily Tribune, December 22, 1889.
Bouches a la Reine "bite to the Queen" is a little puff pastry (about the size of a biscuit) filled with meat (specifically sweetbreads) and gravy.

Consomme royale is a savory shaped custard made with consomme (a rich clear broth), gelatin and egg.

Potatoes Duchesse are fancy mashed potatoes - piped from a bag in small portions with a frilly tip and baked to crispy perfection (hey I'd eat that!).

Terrapin a la Maryland is turtle meat in a sauce served traditionally in a turtle shell. 

We also had a chuckle about Mr. Morton being the Vice President. We love the School House Rock song, The Tale of Mr. Morton: "Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence, and what the predicate says, he does."

Needlesstosay, our holiday menu will not be as extravagant as President Harrison's!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thai Pizza


For Solstice, Chris requested a pizza that would complement his latest obsession, Sriracha sauce. He loves it on pretty much everything but this Thai pizza turned out to be a real winner! We liked it so much we had it again on Sunday!

I read a bunch of recipes online and via pinterest and used this one as my model.

For the pizza crust (see our favorite crust recipe here or) buy some from your favorite grocery store. The sauce is peanut sauce from the international aisle at Publix. The original recipe had chicken; Chris requested shrimp so we coated it in peanut sauce before adding it to the pizza. Our major change was adding cilantro - not key - leave it off if you hate it - but if you love it, the more the better as it adds just the right fresh bright note to each bite of pizza!

Approximately 1 pound pizza dough (we used about 3/4 of a batch of our favorite Crusty Pizza Dough)
5 ounces peanut dipping sauce (we used Tsang Bangkok Peanut Sauce - see photo below), divided
12-15 cooked medium shrimp  
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
cilantro, peanuts, fresh lime and sriracha sauce for topping

flour and corn meal for prepping the dough and baking

Prepare the oven. We place our bigger pizza stone on the bottom rack and preheat the oven to 450. Sprinkle some corn meal on the pizza peel so the pizza will slide off easily. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface and then move to the pizza peel.

Prepare the slaw. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, vinegar, ginger and garlic and then toss the veggies in the dressing - the carrots, cabbage, scallions and basil.

Toss the shrimp in about 1/3 cup of peanut sauce and set aside. Spread the remainder of the peanut sauce on the pizza crust, just like you would with tomato sauce. Top the sauce with the mozzarella and then arrange the shrimp on top of the cheese. Slide the pizza into the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until you can see the crust is set up and the cheese has melted. 

Take the pizza out and cover it with the veggie slaw. Put the pizza back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, just to heat the veggies through. 

Take the pizza out and cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Top each slice as you like - lots of cilantro for me and lots of sriracha for Chris!
The finished product!
 
Peanut pizza sauce

Monday, December 23, 2013

Misty Tallahassee

After all the fog we've been having, it finally got cold - down near freezing. In the mornings instead of fog, we get this amazing mist off all the (warmer than the air) bodies of water. This is Lake Leon at Tom Brown Park, taken December 17th:




Saturday, December 21, 2013

RIP Friends

Lost two friends, both 41, way too young, both memorialized yesterday. The first, Ogg (everyone called him by this last name) we knew because he was friends with my brother, Christian. They were in the same class at CWRU where Ogg was a member of my husband, Chris's, fraternity (connection two). We saw him a lot at his job at Grum's sub shop on Coventry where he worked during undergrad. He always was happy to see you. Just an all-around great guy. Second friend lost, Diane, was a friend of mine through Alpha Chi Omega. She was active in her local alumnae chapter in Ocala, Lambda Omicron Lambda, and through that we got to know each other at State Days and Conventions. Her kids were interested in some of the same things as Thomas - in fact she and her family were at the same space shuttle launch that John took us to. Diane seemed only a little ill, with strep, but it became systemic and although it seemed like she was going to rally and overcome it, the infection won in the end. Truly tragic. Both of these fine people will be missed. We made a donation to the American Heart Association in honor of Ogg and have contributed with other AXO sisters to a fund that will memorialize Diane in a couple of meaningful ways. Sending condolences to their families and everyone who was closest to both of them. RIP friends.

Dr. Glenn Thomas Ogg, 41, of Freeport, New York, passed away of a massive heart attack Monday, December 9, 2013. He was born in Oberlin on December 13, 1971.

He graduated from Midview High School in 1990, Case Western Reserve University in 1994 and Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 1999. His practice was in the Freeport, Long Island, New York area.

Glenn was an avid sports fan, especially football, which he played for 13 years as defensive tackle and nose guard for Midview, Case Western and Southern Michigan Timberwolves semi-pros. He loved coaching football for St. Paul’s Catholic High School in Norwalk. He was a member of Elyria Masonic Lodge #787, Marshall Chapter #47, Elyria Council #86, Elyria Commandery #60 and 32nd Degree Mason in the Valley of Cleveland. Glenn also belonged to numerous medical societies and Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity as President at Case.

Glenn is survived by his wife, Alanda T. Ogg (nee Thomas) of Freeport, New York; parents, William L. and Marilyn E. Ogg (nee Tester) of Grafton; brother, William K. (Jennifer) Ogg of Hebron, Ohio; nephew, Will and niece, Olivia; grandfather, Clyde L. Tester of Norwalk; and step son, Michael McClelland of Freeport, New York.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, William H. and Mary Ogg; and maternal grandmother, Helen Tester.

Dr. Glenn, our big Teddy Bear, will be deeply missed for his big smile, good humor and great bedside manner.

The family will receive friends and family Thursday, December 19, 2013 from 7 to 9 P.M. at Busch Funeral Home, 114 Second St., Elyria, with Masonic Services at 7:30 P.M. A visitation will also be held Friday, December 20, 2013 from 11 A.M. to 12 Noon at the funeral home. Funeral Service will begin at 12 Noon with Rev. Delaine K. McGhee officiating. Interment will be at Resthaven Memory Gardens, Avon. A fellowship luncheon will be held following the interment at the Elyria Masonic Center, 251 6th St., Elyria (across from Elyria High School).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 1 Union St., Suite 301, Robbinsville, NJ 08691 or at donate.heart.org

To leave an online condolence, please visit www.buschcares.com source
DIANE KATHLEEN LONG, 41, of Ocala, Florida, was called home to be with her Lord on December 14, 2013. She was born on February 20, 1972, in Orlando, Florida, the middle daughter of David Franklin Long and Marcia Moritz Long. She was a member of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orlando. Surviving are her daughter, Lauren Elizabeth Nguyen, and son, Logan David Nguyen; parents, David and Marci Long; sisters, Dena Long and Denise Long Gallagher (Bill); nieces & nephews, Jordan Shapiro, Thea Gallagher and Eli Gallagher; and paternal grandmother, Mary Etta Long Mayo. Diane’s formal education went from Bunny’s Montessori School, Goss Methodist, Park Maitland, Lake Highland, Boone High School, to Stetson University, where she graduated with her MBA. She was a CPA, but found that her calling was working with animals. She attended the Florida International Teaching Zoo (FITZ), until her time of passing, and had dreams of one day attending school to become a veterinarian. Diane was involved with and in charge of many groups and activities, including: Alpha Chi Omega, South Ocala Elementary School PTO, Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS), Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, Pampered Chef, Hunter’s Ridge Homeowner’s Association, Home Schooling (CHIA & HEART), Imagine Home animal transport, Big Brothers and Sisters, Grace Covenant Church craft bazaar, and play groups for her children. A memorial service will be held at 11 AM, on Friday December 20, 2013, at the Shores. source



Friday, December 20, 2013

Family History Friday

Today's my youngest brother's birthday (who says history has to be old?). Here he is with his family piled on top of him on Thanksgiving. Hope he has a good day today.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cookie Party 2013 Recap

Some of the cookies!
Great fun and laughter at our annual holiday cookie party Friday! I made an effort to take more photos this year - enjoy!


Abe made a sushi Christmas tree!
Here I am fully outfitted by my Mom - including apron, earrings and tree shaped spatula!
(Thanks photographer Tara!)



Amazing 3-D star castle tree by Sarah K and Abe
Showing off our creations (above and below)

This year we had 21 guests plus the three of us for a total of 24. For the cookies, as usual, I made two batches of White Velvet Cutouts, one of Sour Cream Sugar Cookies and 2 of Cut Butter Cookies (these are best of building cookie structures). We had two soups - a quadruple batch of Cheddar Chicken Chowder and a gallon of Tomato Bisque (from Publix). We also have Publix to thank for a small tray of vegetarian finger sandwiches (egg salad and pimento cheese salad). Sloppy Joes completed the menu. This year we made 5 pounds of meat - 3 pounds ground beef and 2 pounds ground turkey with 4 cans of regular Manwich and one of Bold. We had plenty of leftovers of everything to send home with guests. :)

Thanks to everyone who came out and made our evening so much fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Foggy Tallahassee

We have had a lot of fog in the mornings lately in Tallahassee and a few mornings where the sun didn't seem to be able to burn off the fog. Fascinating.

I took these Tuesday morning, December 3rd.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Ingredients:
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable stock
4 cups whole kernel corn
1 Tablespoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek)
1 Tablespoon corn starch

Directions:
In a large dutch oven or soup pot, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add sweet potatoes and cook five minutes. Add garlic and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer just until potatoes are done. Puree potatoes, onion and garlic and return to the stock. Add corn, salt, hot sauce, pepper, sugar and dill. Turn off heat. Mix yogurt and corn starch together - if too thick add a few tablespoons of broth from the pot - and add to stock, mixing well. Return to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with Cheddar Biscuits. Yields 8 servings. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Salad

From preventionRD.com, this is a great way to use up extra chicken. We've made it a couple of times with smoked chicken - the smokiness adds a nice extra layer of flavor that complements the wing sauce. YUM!

Ingredients:
5 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce (note this is the buffalo sauce, not the hot sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt buffalo sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir in chicken, celery, cilantro, and blue cheese. Refrigerate until serving or up to 5 days in the fridge.

Yield: ~ 4 cups chicken salad (~8 servings, 1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 100 calories; 2.5 g. fat

Friday, December 6, 2013

Family History Friday - Aunt Margaret

Today we'll lay Aunt Margaret to rest. She was my father's sister, second child (of five) of my paternal grandparents. In her honor I thought I'd share what I think is one of the earliest photos we have of her.
On the far left of the photo is my grandmother, Margaret Novicky Zoldak. She is holding her second daughter, Margaret, (my dearly departed aunt) on her lap. Standing next to her is her cousin Justine (with crossed arms), then seated is Justine's mother, Julia Kranjnik Zoldak, and on her lap is Julia's third daughter, Josephine. Next to her is Julia's second daughter, JoAnne. The boys are cousins on my grandmother's side with my grandmother's sister Sophie standing behind them. The man standing in the back on the left is not a relative. Aunt Lill thinks he might have been Aunt Susan's boyfriend at the time. We believe the photo was taken in the summer of 1929 at Euclid Beach Park. 

Margaret Z. Matlak (nee Zoldak)
Cleveland, OH
Jan 18, 1927 - Dec 3, 2013
MARGARET Z. MATLAK (nee Zoldak), age 86. Beloved wife of the late John A.; dear mother of Mark Matlak and Marjorie Gessner (husband Michael); dear grandmother of Daniel and Kevin; dear sister of Lillian Krizansky, Rosemarie Martin and the late John Zoldak and Florence Halagan; loving aunt of many. Funeral Mass Friday 10 a.m. at Church of the Gesu. Please meet at church. Inurnment All Souls Cemetery. The family will receive friends THURSDAY 4-7 P.M. AT MAHER-MELBOURNE FUNERAL HOME, 4274 MAYFIELD RD. (AT BELVOIR BLVD.), SOUTH EUCLID (216)-382-4500. The family suggests memorial gifts to Gilmour Academy, 34001 Cedar Rd., Gates Mills, OH 44040. Condolences at www.mahermelbourne.com - See more here 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Christmas Goodies

How fun is this? Chris bought holiday flags for Thomas for the car:

We also decorated the yard, the house and the Jeep. Here's the yard:

Santa on the right is new - Thomas wanted him because he liked the penguin flight attendant serving milk and cookies!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cheddar Biscuits

A family favorite!

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, kept cold until used
1 cup cold buttermilk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembled coarse cornmeal. Toss grated cheese into the dry ingredients. Stir in buttermilk to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead quickly 6-8 times. Pat dough to 3/4-inch thick and cut with 2-inch round cutter to form biscuits (use a drinking glass if you don't have a cutter). Be careful not to handle dough too much or it will be tough. Bake biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and puffy. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lasagna Soup

We saw this recipe in Cooking Light and thought it might be a good option for when we want to do something different on pasta Wednesday. 
It turned out delicious!

Ingredients: 
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into pieces (about 10 noodles)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (we used Johnsonville sweet Italian)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus thinly sliced leaves for topping
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling, optional)
1/4 cup half-and-half
Ricotta cheese, for topping

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain; drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft. Add the sausage, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened.

Add the broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the noodles, basil, parmesan and heavy cream; simmer 2 more minutes.

Divide the soup among bowls. Top with ricotta and sliced basil.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Quick White Chicken Chili

We discovered our favorite White Chicken Chili recipe after having white chili for the first time on a visit to Louisville in the 1990s. While we love that version, it's a big project - starting with dry beans and ending hours later in a satisfying rich bowl of goodness.

When I saw this quicker recipe, it had been years since we'd had white chili. This version is a lot faster and lighter but delicious and modern - and definitely worth sharing!

Adapted from this recipe found via pinterest. (Check it out - her photos are much better than mine!)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups cooked chicken (Chris had smoked chicken the day before so we used the leftovers - yum!), shredded
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 can (4 ounces) green chiles
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2-3/4 teaspoon oregano
4 cups chicken broth
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Juice of one lime (ours was very juicy so we only used 1/2)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:
In a large pot, saute the onion in olive oil over medium high until translucent.
Add chicken, beans, corn, green chilies (with juice from can), cumin and oregano. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and then add the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the broth to reduce. Add salt and pepper (to taste), lime juice and cilantro.
Leave simmering on stove until ready to serve.

Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded Pepper Jack cheese, avocado and tortilla chips. (The Pepper Jack cheese on top really complements it - yum! Also I added the leftover avocado right into the leftover soup.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Granola

When I saw peanut butter granola on Pinterest, I knew we had to try it. The original recipe was just a little too sweet for me so I made some adjustments on the second batch... and added some extras. Now I'm addicted!

Adapted from this recipe.

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups oats
1 1/2 cups lightly salted cocktail peanuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a big baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl and microwave 15-30 seconds, just to soften up the peanut butter so you can fully combine the ingredients. When they are smooth, stir in the oats until they are evenly coated.

Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet. Try not to press down on it - keep it light with lots of air around pieces. Break up bigger pieces so it all will cook evenly.

Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring gently after 15. You want it to be golden brown. It will crisp up after it comes out so don't worry if it seems a little soft when it first comes out.

Let cool on baking sheet, then add peanuts and chocolate chips and enjoy!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quote of the Week

"Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don't claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through and be silent."
-Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Friday, May 17, 2013

Congratulations, Chris!

For the second time in recent memory, Chris won the Albert J. Harris Research Award!
The IRA Albert J. Harris Award is given for a recently published journal article or monograph that makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of prevention or assessment of reading or learning disabilities. 
The award comes with a medal (see photo) and a cash prize. This year's award-winning paper, with co-authors Lynn Gelzheiser, Donna Scanlon, Frank Vellutino & Laura Hallgren-Flynn: "Effects of the Interactive Strategies Approach -- Extended: A Responsive and Comprehensive Intervention for Intermediate-Grade Struggling Readers" published in The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 112, No. 2 (December 2011), pp. 280-306.

His first win was in 2006:
Patricia G. Mathes
Carolyn A. Denton
Jack M. Fletcher
Jason L. Anthony
David J. Francis
Christopher W. Schatschneider
"The Effects of Theoretically Different Instruction and Student Characteristics on the Skills of Struggling Readers" Reading Research Quarterly (vol. 40, no. 2)

Congratulations, Chris! I'm proud of you and difference you are making in the world through your work. Now we just need a trophy cabinet... :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Egg Muffins Reinvented

Last month I started making a batch of egg muffins each week so hubs would have an easy quick breakfast ready to go in the morning before work. The first batch came out of the ramekins no problem. The second week, they really stuck. So I left the muffins in the ramekins and stored them in the fridge that way, covered in plastic wrap of course. One day last week I had a light bulb go off over my head -- what if you could eat the container the eggs were baked in?

Egg Muffins Reinvented!
Instead of putting the peppers in the egg, put the egg in the pepper!

Here's what you'll need:

12 eggs
8 ounces button mushrooms
5 large yellow, orange or red peppers
a couple sprigs of thyme
a few sage leaves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

And here are the steps: 

Step 1
Roast the mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 450* F.
- Clean and cut up the mushrooms. We quartered the small and medium ones and cut the larger ones into sixths.
- Toss the mushrooms with 1 teaspoon olive oil and the leaves of a couple sprigs of thyme and then season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the mushroom mixture on a baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes, stir and then roast another 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are browned. Set aside to cool (and try not to eat them all!).
Step 2
Prep the peppers
- Cut the tops off and carefully remove the seeds and inner membranes.
- Find good baking dishes to use so the peppers will stay upright. Our ramekins were just the right size:

Step 3
Prep the eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375* F.
- Beat 12 eggs thoroughly (I like to do this in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup as that way they we are ready to pour the eggs into peppers.) Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4
Assemble and bake
One of our peppers had a bad spot so
the fifth muffin baked in a ramekin.
- Arrange the ramekins with peppers inside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Pour 4-5 ounces of the eggs into each of the peppers, dividing the liquid about evenly between them. They won't come out completely evenly since each pepper will be shaped a little differently. The goal is not to overfill the peppers - eggs expand as they bake and you don't want them to overflow as they bake.
- Sprinkle one-fifth of the mushrooms and herbs onto the eggs.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until fully set.

We'll be making these again, I think, especially once our pepper plants in the garden start producing!


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