the times are changin'
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

reasons why i got into this mess

i randomly read an article today that reminds me why i signed up for this whole theatre teacher gig.
reading this article has inspired a new simple and probably sporadic blog series, where i am going to try to reexamine why i'm doing what i'm doing--my super-objective, if you will, as i would define it in my current drama 1 unit.

as some of you know from reading my past blog posts, i have really struggled with my job this year. for those of you who know me personally, you know that the struggle with my career choice started in college. but, by the grace of God, i have time and time again had it revealed to me that i am in a good, good place. so on with the series....

Reason #1 Why I Got Into This Mess Called Teaching Theatre
increasing empathy & collaboration in young people. something i have been overwhelmed with while teaching is how incredibly egocentric most people in this up and coming generation are. (i also recognize that this is probably true of a lot of people in my age group as well.) they do not want to work or collaborate with other people who are not exactly like them. even with students that are their friends they cannot work together and compromise on ideas and suggestions. further, it is like pulling teeth to get them to think through other people's world-views and convince them that the way they view the world is not the only way to view it. somedays i'm burned out, and i don't push and challenge my students to critical and empathetic thinking like i should. somedays i get them to pick their own partners even though i know it would be good to make them work with someone who is different than them. my laziness and/or exhaustion put aside, this field is the perfect avenue for forcing kids to think differently, to develop empathy and to work collaboratively, which is one of the main reasons i got into this mess called teaching theatre.
link to the article:
"how theatre for young people could save the world" by lauren gunderson
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

lasagna rolls

i found the basic idea for this recipe on pinterest, of course. where else do i find recipes these days? you can find the original recipe here. i think that her recipe is pretty simple...but i just had a long day in the middle of a long week, so i made it even simpler!

6 lasagna noodles (cooked but still slightly firm)
1/2 c. ricotta
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. dried "italian" herbs/spices (i had "pizza seasoning" on hand)
1-2 c. pasta sauce of your choice (depends on how much sauce you like)
1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

boil your noodles. you want them al dente (a.k.a. cooked but not too soft).
while that's happening, spray your pan and then lightly cover the bottom with some of your pasta sauce. 
 then whip together your egg, ricotta, parmesan and herbs/spices.
 put your lasagna noodle on a plate and spread out a layer of your ricotta mixture.
 then layer on some sauce.
 roll it up....repeat process with all the noodles.
put them in your baking dish as you finish each noodle. make sure you put the "seam" (your loose end of the noodle) on the bottom. the transfer was a little tricky, but not as difficult as i had foreseen. just know that i don't know a way around having some of your sauce ooze out a bit.
 cover them with sauce.
sprinkle them with cheese. (i was generous...) 
 bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. 
 while i waited i put together some awesome salads (spinach, feta crumbles with mediterranean herbs, and croutons). i also put in some frozen garlic bread alongside the lasagna rolls.
here they are fresh out of the oven.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

homemade granola bars (with only 4 ingredients!)

in an attempt to be healthier and to stop getting so dadgum hungry in the middle of the day, i decided to try out a new homemade snack food. and it. is. AMAZING. i don't know why i'm so surprised, but these little granola squares are so good. and so much better for you than store bought! goodbye corn syrup and preservatives! (well, that statement really depends on the ingredients you use, and i admit, i could have made them even healthier than i did. i'm not sure if the peanut butter i used is actually preservative free, but the next time i make these granola bars, i'm going to be using homemade peanut butter from a post i just found on pinterest yesterday.) the original recipe can be found here.
this is seriously all you need:
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (i used honey roasted because they were on sale)
3/4 cup peanut butter (the healthier the peanut butter, the healthier the bar)
1/2 cup honey
(1/2 cup chocolate chips--optional. i made half the batch with, half without)

this is what you do:

i first chopped up my peanuts in the food processor, then combined them with the oats. add the honey and mix it all together. i couldn't get it to combine completely, so i did as much as i could without getting frustrated, then moved on with my life.

next you melt the peanut butter and add to the concoction. once the peanut butter was added, it was a lot easier to combine it together. it takes a few minutes to get it all worked in together. give it some time before you decide to add more honey or peanut butter because i was surprised at how well it eventually mixed together.

 if you are wanting to add in anything else like chocolate chips--that's what i added to half the batch--or dried fruit, now is a good time to do that. the "dough" wound up looking something like this. it was pretty crumbly-looking, but it was still moist throughout and once i pressed it into the pans, it was a uniform mixture. 
put the "dough" in a greased baking dish...
and press it down. 

this is what i ended up with.
bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. the amount of time you need and the overall crispiness of the granola squares depends on thick you make them in the dishes and how much you press the "dough." mine were about a 1/4" thick. bake until golden brown.
note: i went ahead and cut mine when they first came out of the oven because they were still soft. after cooling they hardened more, so i am glad i decided to cut them fresh!
did i mention how amazing these are? 

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greeeeeeeeen smoothie

so as part of my week's resolutions, i tried out a smoothie recipe this lovely sunday afternoon that i'll be eating (drinking) for breakfast tomorrow. i made it today in case my resolution for getting out of bed earlier failed and because i wanted to make sure i liked it before i used valuable morning time on something i won't actual drink.

i started out with someone else's smoothie recipe (pictured above) and then added some of my own flair. the original recipe claimed, "drink this daily and watch the pounds come off without fuss." i don't really believe in miracle cures, but i do believe that antioxidants and all the other goodies found in this smoothie help with weight loss, energy, and overall good healthy feelings. the last three ingredients in the list are my own. since i wanted to use it as my breakfast i decided to add the protein powder to help sustain me to my 1:30pm lunch period. i added the green tea because i swear by green tea. it's amazing. i added the strawberries because i had strawberries on hand.

2 handfuls spinach
2 bananas
1 cup yogurt
1 cup water
1 cup chunk pineapple
4 strawberries
1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup blueberry green tea 

put all the ingredients into the blender. all i did before blending was break apart some banana...but that's really only to make it fit better.
 then blend, blend, blend until it's a texture you enjoy.
taste and add any ingredients you'd like to add.
i chose to add strawberries...
and blueberry green tea. (i steeped two tea bags in a 1/4 cup boiling water.)
blend again, pour, and enjoy!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

this week's resolutions

i have a few resolutions for this week. and only this week. i can't commit to anything longer than this week--that's the current state of my mind/heart/life. when i think about all the changes i want to see in my everyday life, habits i want to break, new habits i want to begin...i get really overwhelmed. so, one week at a time. here are the resolutions for this week:

  1. wake up 15 minutes earlier everyday than i have been. i've been hardcore pushing it lately. i've been giving myself juuuuust enough to get dressed and to get to work on time. 15 minutes seems like a doable amount of time to start chopping off this week. 
  2. drink a glass of lemon water before i drink my mug of coffee. i have a deep-seated affection for lemons in general, and this blog post i found further reinforces my love and desire to make my love of them a daily habit.
  3. make a breakfast and eat at home/in the car everyday this week. when i pack it to eat at school, it's hit and miss whether or not it actually ever gets eaten. something i've really been wanting to try is making high-protein smoothies. i found some delightful-looking recipes on pinterest. anything worth giving a second try i will blog about.
  4. be prepared for the school day before the actual school day begins. last week i had an awfully stressful day because not only was my lunch block taken by duty but my planning period was unexpectedly taken up, too. it was so stressful because i barely, just barely, worked it out. not only are my nerves struggling to keep up, i'm way behind in preparing for the after-school play. 
  5. go to the gym at least one day this week. it hasn't been happening at all as of late, so maybe one day a week can eventually turn into, well, more than that.

so 5 goals. i'm hoping i can handle that. i'll let you know how it goes. 
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