Thursday, December 26, 2013

Alton Brown's Christmas Eve Soup

That darned Pinterest...  It's such an easy and pretty way to organize everything I like on line.  I've become so dependent on it that I'm at a loss when I find something I like without an image.  If I can't Pin It, how in the world will I remember it?  Then I had a thought.  When I find something I really like for my kids, I blog about it and I can come right back to it in a snap.  That led to the bright idea to blog about these imageless finds, add my own image, and voila!  It's on my blog AND I can pin it!  I love it.  :)

This recipe if for Alton Brown's Christmas Eve Soup.  I found it on his Facebook page, but of course you can't pin from Facebook...  So here's the image:

And here's the recipe:

We have this soup for dinner every Christmas Eve.
Christmas Soup - serve 6-8
14 ounces kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch thick disks on the bias
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, as needed
8 cloves garlic minced
1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
2 quarts chicken broth
1 pound red potatoes cut into .5 inch cubes
6 ounces fresh kale washed, rinsed and torn into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Brown the kielbasa in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium low heat until it has rendered most of its fat, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons of fat.

Cook the garlic in the fat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, stir in the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Toss the kale into the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.

Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Return the kielbasa to the pot and cook just until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Barbara Park, Junie B. Jones and My Reluctant Reader

My seven year old is a bit of a reluctant reader. She's a great reader, but she'd much rather draw or redecorate her room, and she rarely reads with out being told to - except when it comes to Junie B. Jones books. She simply loves Junie B. and when I hear her randomly laughing in her room I know she's reading something like Junie B. Jones: Toothless Wonder or Junie B. Jones First Grader at Last

Oh sure, the teacher in me hates that Junie B. uses incorrect grammar.  The parent in me cringes a little every time Junie B.'s parents or teachers roll their eyes at her.  However, the teacher in me loves that the teachers also explain consequences to Junie B. and obviously care about her.  The parent in me loves that even though they are simple books and far below my daughter's ability they lure her in and encourage her to read and laugh.  I love that they give her a positive mirror - Junie B. reflects my daughter's enthusiasm and exuberance almost perfectly.

We were sad to learn this weekend of the passing of Junie's author, Barbara Park. We did smile as we read, in People Magazine's tribute to her, that when asked how she so accurately portrayed a six year old she said "I don't have a problem being six years old in my head," Park once explained during an interview with "It's almost embarrassing; if I'm talking to librarians or teachers who know my books and they say, 'How do you do this?' It's not a stretch." She was obviously a woman with a great sense of humor and not afraid to stay in touch with her younger self. Rest in Peace Ms. Park. Thank you for encouraging my daughter to read and laugh.

(Read the People tribute here.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FREE Printable Santa Letter Stationary part 2

Just a quick post to share a fun find.  Christmas is coming (less than two months away as I type) and this is a fun way to spice up letters to Santa.  Pixel Me Designs has created nine fun printables your kids are sure to love!  Visit their site to choose your design and download.

Santa-Dots-preview   Santa-PinkDots-preview 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sedimentary Rock Cookies

My 2nd grader is studying rocks right now.  They made these fun cookies in class this week, and her teacher shared the recipe on the class blog.  I wanted to pin it, but didn't want to direct strangers to their class so I'm reblogging here.  :)

Recipe for the sedimentary rocks we made in class.  

1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1 can sweetened cond. milk
1/2 pkg. choc. chips
1/2 pkg. butterscotch chips

Use a 13 x 9 baking pan.

1.  Melt the butter in the baking pan.
2.  Sprinkle crumbs over the butter.
3.  Pour condensed milk evenly over the crumbs.
4.  Layer the remaining ingredients evenly over the top.
5.  Press down gently.  Bake at 350 degrees.  25 - 30 mins. or until lightly brown.
6.  Let cool.  Cut into bars.   

There are lots of fun rock activities all over the web if you'd like to do some with your own kids, and this is as sweet way to extend the learning!