Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Great Experiment: Part One

When I left Niger I made a deliberate choice to leave behind all my recipes mostly because I didn't want to lug my recipe box back and forth across the ocean.  I also thought it would be good chance to try some of the yummy looking recipes I've pinned in the last year.

In July the experimenting began and the theme was chicken - the whiter the meat the better since it's not often that we get to enjoy white meat in Niger!

Inspired by the Olympics, I thought I would hand out some medals.  In 5th place it was Chicken Cesar Sandwiches. These are incredibly easy to make and great for a nice light meal.

Finishing just off the podium in 4th place was this White Chili Recipe.  This had awesome flavor but I will say that if you plan on making it you should be careful with the Cayenne pepper.  Definitely cut back!

Coming in 3rd place is this recipe for Mexican Stuffed Shells.  I've never made stuffed shells in my life so this was a first for me.  I loved the flavours in this recipe.  Very different from Italian but it's delicious and the only thing I've made without chicken!

It's a tight finish between 2nd and 1st.  Coming in 2nd is this recipe for Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas.  If this medal was being given for suitablity for Niger this recipe would definitely win.  It's delicious and the ingredients can all be found/substituted for in Niger.  I loved the flavour of lime and chicken together.

And the gold medal finish goes to Summer Squash Chicken Alfredo.  This is the first time I've ever used sun-dried tomatoes and let me tell you they are delicious especially combined with the squash, the bacon and the sliced almonds.  Yummo!

There you have it...part one of the experiment yielded lots of chicken goodness and not a loser in the bunch! 

Which one are you tempted to try?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I've Walked Away

I've walked away from so much chocolate in the last month it is simply astonishing!  It's hard to believe, but if I carry on like this it might even rival that one year in college where I decided not to eat chocolate for the whole year.  Of course, I didn't count the one malt ball I would have while I cleaned the bottom of Forrest Hall every week day afternoon.  I don't even like malt balls so that tells you how desperate I was for chocolate.

Anyway, here are some things I've walked away from.
Hershey's Dark Chocolate + Pretzels = Good Idea

I put them down and walked away.

But that was trumped when I passed this version in the next aisle.

Is there anything about this that doesn't seem like a good idea?  Well, I walked away anyway! 

Okay, technically it took me a little while to let go but then I saw these.

Hello!  Where have you been all my life Dark Chocolate Raspberry M&Ms?

Hey, I even put these down and walked away.  Where is this self-control coming from?

Of course, I hadn't seen the recipe for White Chocolate Raspberry Popcorn or Dark and White Chocolate Raspberry M&M cookies or Raspberry M&M Bars or Raspberry M&M Cookies with Raspberry Glaze.  Alright well, I might have to go back for these but hey, I walked away once so that's got to count for something!

But it might have been hardest to walk from this.

I know some of you are thinking, "That took some real self-control, Beth!"  And you are right!  I had this overwhelming urge to buy one, wrap it up and spend big bucks to send it to a friend in Niger just so they could open it up, roll their eyes and have a good laugh as they opened the fridge door and placed it's melted blob of chocolatey goodness next to their perfectly pyramid shaped Niger bought Toblerone.  Now, wouldn't that be funny?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Perfectly Perfect Picture Books

The Teacher Wife

I love picture books so who could resist this linky party!  It's so hard to even begin to choose favorites but just for fun I'm going to share a few that I find I constantly come back to for one reason or another while teaching.

1.  Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Picture Puffins)
Julie Vivas is probably right up there on my list of favorite illustrators which means this book already has something going for it.  But I also love the relationship Wilfrid has with his elderly neighbors and the kindness he shows to them.  It's such a great book for discussing memories too.

2.  Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond

This is another book in which I love the illustrations.  I come back to this one whenever we talk about rhyming words because there's lots of fun to be had here.

3. Heatwave by Eileen Spinelli
Heat Wave

Let's just say this one makes the list because where I teach in West Africa we can all identify with it!

4.  Wolves by Emily Gravett
This one makes the list because it's written by a British author and I'm not sure how much exposure others might have to her writing but she really is quite a clever storyteller.  Rabbit checks out a non-fiction book about wolves and becomes so engrossed in reading up on their characteristics that he fails to notice that he has placed himself in harm's way.  Like I said, "Clever Storytelling."  Definitely worth checking out!

5.  My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza
My Lucky Day
Who can resist the illustrations or the tale of the tricky little protagonist contained in this picture book?

Well that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of my favorite picture books!  So I'm wondering for all my non-teaching readers what was or is your favorite picture book?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Price Is Right

When you hang with this girl...

the Price is right!

Living on the edge...


Trying on crazy hats...


Making weird faces...


Wearing a mou mou...

now that's free too!

Belly laughing...


Oh now, hold up a second...that ain't free!

If you want to own that one, you gonna have to pay for it!

J. Price - this one's for you! :)

Disclaimer:  No actual terrifyingly high ledges were used in the making of this post.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Red Carpet Treatment

When I arrived at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, I was herded down an escalator with two other families from Niger and what felt like a couple hundred more people to wait on the airport bus system.  Little did my friends know that they were in the presence of celebrity or they might not have left in such a hurry for London.  At the very least, they might have snapped a picture before leaving.

As with most celebrities, the beginnings were humble.  When I arrived on the scene things were quiet.  One might have even been able to hear the plants growing in this vertical garden. 
There was time to buy a French pastry and a coke and enjoy a quiet morning in the airport.

But as time went on excitement began to build!  Photographers and videographers arrived and began snapping pictures and filming. 
A celloist appeared, sat down and began to grace his audience with beautiful music.  An Air France receiving line formed to provide a warm welcome on to the plane.

And I...well, I let it all go to my head and started snapping pictures of myself.  After all, everyone else was doing it!
So it was that as I passed down the reception line of cheering and clapping Air France employees, I learned that my moment in the spotlight had come because I was a passenger on the first plane to leave the newest terminal in the Charles De Gaulle Airport. 

Good thing the red carpet treatment had nothing to do with me because I can see that I might get quickly carried away with it all...unless of course, it came with a first class seat!  I wouldn't have argued with that.
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