When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Broccoli

(Continuing with my Instagram+Pinterest Recipes series...)

When life (or the lemon tree in my back yard) gives me a giant, oddly mishapen lemon, here's what I do: dash over to Pinterest to find this broccoli recipe

Technically it's a Barefoot Contessa Recipe but I'm sending you to the blog above because she tweaked it a bit, and I tend to make it her way.  (I'm sure the original is equally delicious.)

With any luck, I'll have a new computer next week and can begin blogging more regularly.  In the meanwhile, your heart will benefit as I share more delicious vegetable dishes ;)

Bon Appetit!



Zucchini and The Blue Screen of Death

So my computer died this week.

Like a "Blue Screen Of Death" kind of death.

What's a blogger to do?

Well, here from my phone I thought I'd do some short posts, possibly some that feature Instagram photos. I've never blogged from my phone before so if the formatting's wonky, you know why.

One thing that I love to photograph on my phone is food that I'm preparing.

I found these Zucchini Parmesan Crisps on Pinterest.  (Original source found here.)

You should follow that link right now and make them.

(You can thank me later.)




Berries + Ice Cube Trays = TLF

Remember way back in March when I made these?

I thought you might!

And given how many people come looking for them on the internet, I can tell you that you're not alone.

Unfortunately--to steal a line from my good friend Cookie Monster--chocolate is a "sometimes food."  (This of course is the 21st Century Cookie Monster that I'm quoting.  The Cookie Monster I remember from the early seventies was a total glutton.)

But just because we 21st-century-dwellers know better than to gorge ourselves on chocolate doesn't mean we have to retire our berries and our ice cube trays.  Those guys can still get together without inviting a one pound bar of chocolate to the party.

Here's how:

First you'll want to get an ice cube tray.  Shortly after I made the treats that you see pictured above I bought myself yet another set of ice cube trays.  This pair makes "perfectly cubed" ice cubes (so your cocktails look like they came straight off a bar cart on the set of Mad Men).

Then wash up some pretty berries.  I chose raspberries. 

Insert a berry in each cube...

Add water...


Remove from the tray.  (Cubes slip out of these trays so easily...)

And serve in your favorite beverage.

Mine happens to be water.  

(21st Century Cookie Monster would approve.)

(Don Draper would not.)

As the cubes melt, the water takes on a subtle raspberry tang that's quite refreshing...

...and which, quite frankly, would be great for washing down a few of these...

Maybe next time ;)



I'm Blushing!

Another award?  For me?  Are you sure?

I want to thank Lynn from Upcountryolio for awarding me with The Kreativ Blogger Award.  It's very flattering (and somewhat ironic) that someone as creative as Lynn is giving me an award for being creative.  (We have SO got this backwards.)  But since she hasn't yet sent me an email saying that it's all a big mistake, I'm going to run with it.

As is typical with awards, there are some rules:

1) Give a big shout out & thank you to the blogger who passed on the award to you and link
to their homepage.
2) List seven interesting things about yourself that readers may enjoy learning about you.
3) Nominate seven other amazing bloggers by linking to their homepages & let them know that you have done so.

Now, as some of you may know, I'm not much of a rule-follower so I'm going to tweak things a bit.  Rather than designating seven new bloggers, I thought I would put the word out to all of my readers:  Would you like to participate?  Are there seven blogs you'd like to recognize?  Are there seven things that the world really needs to know about you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then take the award and run with it.  I bestow it upon you :)

Now here are my seven facts:

  • My mom looks exactly like Sophia Loren--maybe even a little prettier.  Here is a picture of us from back in the day.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
  • Don't pin my mama!
  • I can name my fingers in Italian.  I would do it here but I'd butcher the spelling.  The English translation is (starting with the pinkie): the littlest of them all, the one the ring goes on, the tallest of them all, the one that licks/wipes the plate & the one that kills the bugs.  To this day I don't know if this a a real Italian "thing" or if my Italian grandpa just made it up.  
  • As a child I was the queen of stitches.  In a couple-year-period I had them on my forehead, chin and skull.  Thankfully our next door neighbor was a doctor.  
  • I once had a dog named "Laundry."
  • I can recite the first fourteen lines of the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English.  
  • The finger-naming and Canterbury-Tale-reciting are the extent of my "foreign language" skills.  (Have you ever heard Middle English?  It totally counts as a foreign language.)
  • I was a vegetarian from age 12 to age 24.  My husband convinced me to add poultry and fish back into my diet but I still don't eat red meat.  
Okay, that was a whole bunch of random, wasn't it?  (And no, you can't get those three minutes back.)

But seriously--thanks for thinking of me Lynn!  I really appreciate the recognition.



Facilitating the Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation week is something I don't remember from my childhood. Heck, I don't even remember it from my teaching days.  Nowadays, though, it's a big deal.  If you log into Pinterest and type in "Teacher Appreciation Gifts," you'll get roughly a jillion hits.

I suspect my former math teachers would frown upon my liberal use of the number "jillion."

(And perhaps that frowniness is why I never gave them any teacher appreciation gifts...)

But moving on...

So, next week is Teacher Appreciation week and as a room mom I have to--how shall I say this?--facilitate the appreciating.  Yes, that's me: the facilitator of appreciation.

Usually it works a little something like this:  Room moms conduct a survey at the beginning of the school year to collect valuable nuggets of information from the teacher: "What's your favorite color?" "Where do you like to shop?" "What's your favorite restaurant?" etc.   We then use those answers to guide us during the holidays, the teacher's birthday, the end of the school year and, yes, Teacher Appreciation Week.

Typically during Teacher Appreciation Week we try and do a little something each day: Have your child wear blue on Monday!  Everyone brings in a piece of fruit (for a Stone-Soup style fruit basket) on Tuesday! etc., etc.  The problem is that some parents have three kids in three different grades.  This means that on any given day you might have one kid bringing in a banana, one kid wearing chartreuse and a third kid providing a daisy for a class bouquet.  That's fine for one day but five days gets a little old.  And confusing.

Not that I'm saying the teachers don't deserve the appreciation.  They totally do.  In fact I would prefer to give it to them in the form of a big fat raise but that's gonna have to wait until I'm queen of the world.  In the meantime, my co-room mom and I wanted to make the week simultaneously nice for the teacher and manageable for the parents.

This will involve some classroom funds (which thankfully we have), some shopping, some baking, and a touch of creativity.  The end result will be a week filled with small gifts, sweet gestures, a few lunches and one large(r) gift at the end.

I should note that many of our parents will be doing their own gifts, but those who don't want to-or can't-will be covered by us. Of the gifts that we're doing, there are two that I'm particularly proud of and wanted to share here today:

The first is the only thing we actually asked parents to do.  I have to give credit to my fellow room mom as this was entirely her idea, but I love it.  We asked that each child pick out a book from his or her personal collection to donate to the classroom library.  We provided them with homemade "book plates" to affix in the inside front cover.  On the book plate they explained why they liked the book they chose.

My daughter picked Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes.  Here's what she wrote in her book plate.  (The erasure on the word "purse" looks awful in this picture but not so bad in person):

(I blacked out her name which accounts for the box on the bottom.  And I know there are a million talented people out there who could do a waaayy cuter bookplate than that, but we kept it simple and I think her teacher will appreciate it despite its simplicity ;)

The other gift that I really enjoyed is Pinterest inspired.  (Except it kind of isn't.  Variations on this idea have been around forever.)  Apparently this teacher has a thing for chocolate chip cookies.  (I know because my handy survey tells me so.)  So I turned to one of my favorite cookie recipes.  (Found here.)  

Then I stacked the cookies in a cute spaghetti canister (which was my idea, though I wouldn't be surprised if others had done it before me):

Finally I attached this:
It says, "Thanks for making us into such smart cookies," except it doesn't show up too well in this picture.  

And here is the end result:

I'll be presenting her with these tomorrow to kick off the festivities.  

Do any of you have a great teacher appreciation gift to share?  (If it's on your blog leave me the URL and I'll pin it to my "Resources for Room Moms" board.)

Update:  you can buy a canister like the one above by clicking HERE.


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RAMSIGN Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Zené S. She is the winner of my RAMSIGN house number giveaway. Her name was randomly selected by Rafflecopter. (You can see the official Rafflecopter results in my original giveaway post.)

Thank you to all who entered and a big thank you to Ramsign for giving me the opportunity to offer up one of their beautiful signs!

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