Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Great Experiment: Part Three (In Which My Brother Gives His Expert Opinion)

The Great Experiment continues.  I have tried out three new recipes all of which are Niger friendly.  In other words, without too much difficulty or substituting they could easily be made in Niger.

First up is something sweet for a change.  Everywhere I look there are pumpkins and so I've had quite the hankering (yep, a hankering) for pumpkin and chocolate mixed together in something delicious.  I chose this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

Mmm, warm & buttery goodness!
Stop whatever you are doing and make yourself some.  It's delicious and it even makes enough to share with a friend!

Next up is this recipe for Lemon Chicken

I started making this before I realized that the recipe called for the chicken to be marinated in the lemon juice.  Oops!  So I just poured the juice over top and let it cook away.  It was very lemony on the outside.  Maybe marinating it would have allowed the juices to permeate the chicken.  Anyway, even though the lemon taste was a bit overpowering, I actually enjoyed this recipe.  The only thing that was kind of tricky is figuring out what to eat with it as sides.  Any ideas?

Last up is actually a recipe for Shepherd's Pie that my cousin Cheryl gave me.  She fixed it for us and it was delicious so I thought I would give it a whirl too. Simple (especially if you cheat and use instant mashed potatoes) but very yummy especially the topping!

Here's the recipe: 

Cheryl's Shepherd Pie

1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. chopped celery
1 small chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced

2Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 C. boiling water
1 beef bouillon cube

3 C. mashed potatoes

Brown beef, celery, onion and garlic in a frying pan.  Drain off excess oil or liquid.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Add bouillon cube and pour boiling water over top.  Stir until boiling and thickened.  Spread in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  You can add a layer of vegetables if you so desire.  Cover with mashed potatoes.


1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup croutons (crushed up a bit)
1/2 cup shredded cheese 

Melt butter.  Stir in croutons until coated. Sprinkle over mashed potatoes.  Then cover with shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered in oven at 350 F for 30 minutes or until heated through and potatoes are browned.  Serves 4.

Well it turns out that my brother is a faithful reader of my blog.  So he has been read in and understands his role as a guinea pig in The Great Experiment.  As a result, he was coerced into offering his expert opinion on the Shepherd's Pie and here's what he had to say:

Funny guy!  The conversation got even better when I thought I had accidentally deleted his critique.
K:  Phew,  I've successfully avoided my 15 minutes of fame.
B:  If you think you are going to get famous on my blog, you are sorely mistaken!  Well, look at that,  I've located the video. 
Kent, you're time has come!  If I hit the big time, I am sure it will be all because of the Grey Poupon comment. Thanks for participating with enthusiasm in my crazy little experiment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some New Children's Book Picks

There's something about being able to put a children's book in your hands, flip through it's pages enjoying the illustrations and discovering a great new story that's just flat out nice.   Around back to school time, I was sad when I didn't discover any great back to school books to take back to my classroom.  But I wasn't disappointed last week when I visited my local Barnes & Noble bookstore.  I found a whole lot of inspiration and made a very long wish list.  However, I restrained myself and only walked out with three new books and here they are.

The first is The Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell.  I found this one looking through all the Halloween books.  I'm not really big into Halloween so I like the fact that it isn't a scary book even though it's about monsters.  Basically there are three little creatures that are endlessly debating about which one of them is the scariest monster.  Finally, they put their heads together to create the scariest monster ever.  He comes out looking like Frankenstein but he happens to be a very grateful monster and that changes the atmosphere completely.  One of my favorite aspects of the book is that the change in atmosphere is reflected in the illustrations which go from being dark and gloomy in the beginning to sunny and bright at the end.  I think it would be a great book to use at the beginning of the year to talk about using good manners and being polite.  I also think that it has lots of potential for use in my Writer's Workshop.
The next book is called Mousetronaut and it is written by the astronaut Mark Kelly.  This is a partially true story about a mouse that embraces space and ends up saving the day in the space shuttle.  What I love about this book is that Mark got the idea for his story on one of his missions where there was one little mouse out of eighteen that didn't cling to the mesh during the mission but instead floated effortlessly around the cage.  This book would be great to use during a study of space.  But it would also be a great mentor text in Writer's Workshop when talking about where authors get their ideas from. 
The last book I purchased is It's All About ME-ow by Hudson Talbott.  This book is written from the perspective of an older and wiser cat giving advice to kittens and preparing them for a life of charming their humans.  It has a little bit of history, some great diagrams and advice and a whole lot of humour.  It would be a great mentor text for how to or process writing and for writing from a perspective other than your own.  If you wanted to encourage your writers to include things like diagrams and captions this would also be a great example after which they could model their writing.

These books make me anxious for a new little crop of writers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Great Experiment: Part Two

You may remember that I made a deliberate choice to leave all my recipes in Niger.  Instead of trusting in my tried and true recipes, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to branch out and try new recipes that I have been pinning in the last year or so.  You can read all about the first five recipes I tried right here.  But now it's time to reveal my latest adventures in the kitchen.

First up, is Cheesy Baked Ziti found at The Recipe Critic.
Yummo!  I followed the recipe as is and it was delicious.  I've made a version of this in Niger but the sausage and pepperoni mix added a different sort of flavouring.  I highly recommend this one.

Next up is this recipe for Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup found at Random Thoughts and Thrills
Now admittedly, this soup probably didn't have a chance of success in my book because I happen to love my Mom's Tomato Soup recipe but I tried it because it looked deliciously cheesy.  I was not impressed.  However, my brother (not sure that he realizes he is a guinea pig) raved about this soup.  He thought it was hearty and filling so there you have it.  You can make it and decide for yourself.

Moving on to The Pioneer Woman and her Pepperoni Pizza Burgers.
I followed the recipe on these except for the fact that I did not use the mix of sausage and hamburger.  These were good but I think my favorite part was the toasted bun for my burger.  A toasted bun for a burger is a great idea for all future burgers but instead of toasting it in the frying pan, I would toast it in my toaster oven.  One less dish to wash!

This past Sunday I dropped a dozen eggs on the floor and nine of them broke so I was looking for a way to use lots of eggs which led me to make crepes.  The joy of eating crepes was kind of killed when we discovered mold in the syrup we had been eating.  Yuck!  Needless to say there were leftover crepes so I decided to try this Mushroom Ham Crepe Casserole

I followed the whole recipe except for making the actual crepes since that had already been done. I also substitued cheddar for the gruyere cheese. I was skeptical about the nutmeg/mustard combination but it turned out yummy.  The best part about this recipe is that all the ingredients are available in Niger.
Wow!  After posting all these recipes it would appear that I am totally obsessed with cheese which is not entirely untrue.  I do love it! 
Well there you have it - Round Two is complete.  Hope you find something delicious and new to try today.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When It All Goes South

It's that beautiful day when you decide to take a walk in the Wisconsin Wilderness.
You can't help but drink in the glory of fall
and all of it's accompanying colors.
Throw in a gently flowing stream and now the experience is twice as good.
As you head back down the path, you feel compelled to catch this moment,
this walk with friends in a picture.
It's good.
 But it would be so much better if everyone was in the picture
and that's when it all goes south!
Good thing there was a husband to capture a better moment in time.
Friends from Toccoa Falls College & ATL - Heather & Susan

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

O Canada!

O Canada,

You are beautiful!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...