Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Enchiladas & Spanish Quinoa :)

I get nervous cooking ONE new recipe, let alone two, but there I was in the kitchen tonight--recipes printed and ingredients lined up.  I figured I couldn't go wrong with a Lynne Rosetto Kasper recipe.  But the other random recipe from VinoGirl on Food.com?  Felt like a crap shoot.
How did dinner turn out?  Great!  It was a great combo.  The best part?  Neither one really took that long to make.

Turkey Enchiladas
(click here for printable copy)

"This recipe is originally from Lynne Rossetto Kasper, the host of The Splendid Table on NPR. It's a great way to use up leftover turkey. It's especially good with smoked turkey!"
2 cups shredded roast turkey ( smoked turkey is fabulous in this recipe!)
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups grated monterey jack cheese
2 (7 ounce) cans salsa verde (look for Herdez brand) or 1 (13 ounce) cans tomatillos ( look for Herdez brand)
2 -4 tablespoons canned chopped green jalapenos, drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the turkey, green onions, cream cheese, and 1 cup of the Jack cheese. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the salsa verde or tomatillos, chiles, cilantro, and cream. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in a heavy, 6-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Using tongs, carefully place 1 tortilla at a time in the hot oil, and leave it in for 5 to 10 seconds until softened. Turn the tortilla over and soften the other side.
Drain over the skillet; then place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top and press to absorb the oil.
Repeat until all 8 tortillas are softened and drained.
Place one-eighth (about 1/3 cup) of the turkey mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll tightly and place, seam-side down, in a 7 1/2-by-11-inch baking pan.
Pour the salsa verde-cream sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of Jack cheese down the center.
Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Spanish Quinoa
by VinoGirl on Food.com

1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onions, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup quinoa, washed and drained (Fran said that toasting the quinoa would add flavor)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Drain tomatoes and reserve juice.
Heat oil and saute garlic and onions until translucent.
Place the tomato juice in a liquid measuring cup and add enough water to equal 1 cup of liquid.
Add the liquid to the sauteed garlic and onions; bring to a boil.
Stir in the quinoa, pepper, and salt.
Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin; cook another 2-4 minutes until hot.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Evolution of Our Thanksgiving

Each year our Thanksgiving group changes a little more.  Around 20 years ago, it seemed like the our girls and C & L's would be young forever.  The plays they wrote, rehearsed and performed, were filled with drama--mainly due to personnel issues.  It's amazing those strong personalities were able to put it all together for us to watch at the end.  T and S, seemed to go along for the ride, but I'm sure they added their own quiet demands to the fray.

Now they're grown and my niece and nephew's children are the youngest--although the oldest just entered her first year of college.  Another generation grown in the proverbial blink of an eye!

And now my folks are spending their last winter in Arizona due to health issues (sadly). I've been wondering how the holidays will look next year.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to be more literate

I grew up being read to by the adults in our circle of family and friends. Once I was able to read, it was my job (joy) to read for those younger than myself. I can still remember reading to my small nieces and pointing out simple, repetitive words, like "the", so they could begin to pick out words on their own.

Every year, it seems fewer and fewer of the short folk who enter L's and my realm know any nursery rhymes or "concepts of print".  And every year I read more and more studies and statistics about how important early literacy is. I have to assume that fewer and fewer children grow up being read to, but I don't understand it.  It's such a special time to spend with a child.  Reading together can be calming amidst a day full of deadlines.  Which is why I chose to continue to read to my girls at bedtime, even after they out grew my lap.

On that depressing note, here are a couple links to some good books for the younger folk--Christmas, fiction and non-fiction included:

Brian Floca books
Never Take a Shark to the Dentist
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Ben Hillman books
Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain

Christmas books:
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
Drummer Boy
The Secret of Santa's Island

Early Literacy benefits

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One word post?

If I did that tonight, it would probably be something like:
That's pretty much all I've got . . . too many things to list and it's just so complicated.
Isn't that the name of a movie?
With Meryl Streep?

The mail did bring some good news: ODS accepted our paperwork to keep Fran on my insurance. Now to do the same for N's. I'd like to say I'm getting good at jumping through hoops, but I'm not.

Maybe going to a romantic comedy with subtitles is what I need tonight.
Hopefully, N gets home in time so we can go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quivering wimpy muscles

I'm still not sure where this latest bout of muscle spasms began.  Perhaps it had to do with holding Hope for an hour, on the vet's hard, little, waiting room bench while we waited for Izzy to return.  My own danged fault.  Not only did I want to comfort her, but she's a nice little bundle who comforts me.

Or maybe it was when I came home for lunch last week and the auto-closer on the garage door refused to cooperate.  I can't believe I used to open and shut that heavy double door all the time--when I was much younger.  Pulling it down probably would've been okay for these wimpy muscles, but I should've known better than to pull it up.  That part was unnecessary.  Such an idiot!

The trick with this back (maybe all backs?) is that I never know right away that I've done damage.  It usually waits a day or two.  If I'm not in denial, I'll go take an anti-inflammatory right away.  Guess that means I thought I was invincible this time.  :>P

So Friday found me flat on my back, Saturday I did too much.  And today?  Today I'll probably rest again and hope I'm able to work on Monday.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I've often heard that, "No one escapes childhood (or young adulthood) unscathed,"I'm guessing here, but I believe we all come to relationships with our own individual baggage.  Some of us with towering, paralyzing piles of it.
I know the two of us did.

Not long after we met, N helped me to open up my suitcases, rummage through the mess inside and then after some good long cries, let me know that he loved me in spite of it all.  And I provided a sympathetic ear for N to talk about his baggage--to talk about what he wanted or was able to share.

I'd like to believe that we helped each other come to grips with our pasts--examining, understanding and then letting most of it go.  BUT we still have issues connected with our pasts that we crash into from time to time.  Stress seems to be the cause of bringing these things to the surface.  And because it is mired in our pasts, I find it difficult to figure out what's current and what's old crap.

We went to see a therapist every week for about 9 months to help us deal with one of our last (and worse) bouts.  It was a good, cleansing experience, but now that several months have passed I'm not sure if we were given any tools to deal on our own.  During our sessions it felt good to have my statements interpreted into something N could understand and vice versa.  I think we both gained more insight into the effects our pasts had on us.  But it stops there.  Emotions run too high to tackle it on our own in an hour's time.

And so, after trying to be understood, I realize that I need to try and understand, too.  End result? I'll be giving some things up I enjoy for the good of our relationship.  He's worth it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Student teachers

I've been enjoying getting to know our current student teacher and at the same time I've been thinking a LOT about how we train our teachers.
I've watched teachers at our school who are unable to give over control to a student, some struggle over knowing what role they play (and probably end up doing more than they should), and others step completely to the side.
I know it's an important and necessary part of the process--for student teachers to be put behind the steering wheel of a classroom, but I'm less sure whether we've found the best way to implement this stage to get the needed and best training for the student.
I'm curious about the idea of a laboratory school. Would it create a more stable learning environment with opportunities to do projects that wouldn't be possible in someone else's classroom? It could be a satellite school that takes student teachers from all the colleges and universities throughout a state, with a teacher/mentor for each grade--who's always there and ready to lend a hand or ear.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn art project for children

Even if you don't have a photocopier/scanner in your home, you can still make a leaf picture/critter with your child.  Teacher L and I were first inspired after reading the book "Leaf Man" by Lois Elhert to the kindergartners.  The two of us bring a variety of leaves for them to choose from (and if we remember, we tell the kids to bring some, too) to make their own critter on half a sheet of copy paper.  After the glue dries, Teacher L presses them and then takes them home to scan.  We mat the scanned pictures and display them in the school before sending the art home.
Also, I like the idea of scanning, printing and cutting out leaves so your child can create a picture each day over the course of several days.  Maybe making a book of their own, complete with a story, to give as a present.
Looking through the book "Leaf Man" (or if you can find a copy of "Look What I Did With a Leaf"), is a good way to jump start the activity.  Or after collecting leaves during a leaf walk, go through the leaves together and start the process by saying something like, "this would make a good ear, head, foot (etc) for an animal".
Here's a link to more ideas: "Leaf Man" teacher guide
Here's more leaf art ideas: Leaf Prints
More autumn art ideas: Art Projects for Kids

Monday, November 1, 2010

You Sexy Thing

During the warm summer months, N and I have no problem getting the pups to go out into the backyard to do their business, but once the temps go down and the rain begins to fall it's near impossible to get Hope to go outside on her own.  Izzy on the other hand, is usually pretty good unless it's a downpour.

And so this past week I've begun to fit a short dog walk into my weekday AM routine.  I was surprised at how simple it was with everything else-- you know, the usual stuff plus 40 minutes on the treadmill.

Imagine how pleased and surprised I was when N got up before me on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend and walked the dogs.

Thanks  N!

Even better than a dozen roses.