Roadtrip ready!

It’s the last week of school! Woah! I can’t believe it’s already here. I’m very excited for the summer but sad that I won’t be seeing my students for so much time. I’m really going to miss them. I get to loop with students to eighth grade next year which I’m really looking forward to. The opportunities will be endless. I feel like we will be able to learn so much more because we already know each other. I know how my students learn and what they like, so all of that time spent each year getting to know your students — that’s all instructional time now. I plan on larger inquiry units putting my students more in the driver seat of their learning. So obviously, my summer will be spent planning these ideas πŸ™‚

With it being the last week of school, most people think that teachers stop teaching and just play videos. Which, yes, some do. I know plenty of teachers who do. Last year I was teaching high school so I was proctoring exams and grading exams up until the last day of school. This year being with my seventh graders, I get to teach them all the way up until the last day, and that is exactly what I plan to do. Last Thursday and Friday we took our students on a two-day field study. People thought we were crazy, and maybe we were, but the smiles and positive comments from students made it all worth it. Everything I do, I do with my students in mind. Going on this field study to the Genesee river and them using vocabulary that they learned this year to explain their observations they were making of the gorge and the waterfall warmed my heart and put a gigantic smile on my face. Taking them hiking on a pretty rough trail that follows the river and having them comment “This is so fun, it’s like we’re in the Hunger Games!” made my day.

Tomorrow evening we are hosting a celebration of learning for our students and their families. We will celebrate the last few months of inquiry they’ve been doing in all of their classes — which has been quite a bit. The biggest project students have just completed is a historical character file, specifically through first-person narrative diary writings as if they were enslaved people during the 19th century. I’ve had the opportunity to read a few so far and most have brought me to tears. It’s amazing what these seventh grade students have accomplished this year. I can only imagine how far they will all go in their educational careers and beyond.

So, anyways — because this week is going to be hectic with the celebration tomorrow night and some other events this week before leaving for my roadtrip (foreshadowing!) I wanted to make something that would be easy to heat up and eat on the go that was loaded with protein to keep more full and energized. I made paleo stuffed peppers πŸ™‚

Paleo Stuffed Peppers-

4 bell peppers, cleaned out & steamed for 5 mintutes

Stuffing-

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 cup brown lentils, cooked

1 lb of ground turkey, browned with red onion and garlic

1 cup tomato sauce (I used “Organic Grandpa’s Sauces goes Vegetarian” from Wegmans)

spices: ground black pepper, thyme, rosemary, cumin

*I simmered all of the stuffing ingredients on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

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*Stuffed my pre-steamed peppers & cooked in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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Really excited to have one of these each day for lunch or dinner this week.

I also made this mind blowing salad that a friend brought to a party last week & I just had to make.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

1 bag of spinach

1 grapefruit, sectioned & cut into bit size pieces

1 avocado, diced

cracked black pepper

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs vinegar (I used apple cider, but I’m sure balsamic would be awesome too)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

*Literally just toss of all these ingredients in a bowl & enjoy. It is so simple, and light, and refreshing. I have a feeling I will be making this a lot this summer for cookouts and just for myself πŸ™‚

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So, I spoke of a roadtrip… my friend and I are traveling to Nashville, North Carolina, and Virgina Beach for 10 days and I am so excited I can barely sit still. We will be visiting a friend from our Master’s program in Nashville and then bringing in the Fourth of July with my brother in VA beach!

Being a nutritarian, as best as I can be, traveling (as I’ve mentioned before) can be slightly stressful. But luckily I’m a type A person and have a whole list created of possible restaurants and grocery stores in every city we will be stopping in. One other factor is eating when on the road. I despise fast food, clearly, and so snacking while driving may become an issue. To prepare for that I’ve created these yummy muffins.

Chocolate Banana Nut Protein Muffins-

3 over ripened bananas, mashed

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 tbs cinnamon (I love strong cinnamon with my bananas)

*I mashed the bananas with these two spices and then added the processed base —

10 medjool dates

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

1 cup whole grain rolled oats

*I finished mixing this all together with 1/2 cup almond milk & some finely shredded coconut flakes

*I put a heaping spoonful into each muffin tin (lined with paper) and cooked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (really these can be eaten raw, but because they need to last me 10 days – I wanted to slightly cook the banana to keep it from spoiling too fast)

When these were in the oven the chocolatey banana smell filled my house. I know these are going to be a great go-to when we’re on the road and feeling hungry. I am plan on stopping a grocery store and picking up fresh fruit and vegetables as we drive as well for snacking.

Next Sunday I won’t be writing as I will be in a tube floating down a river in Nashville πŸ™‚ But be prepared two weeks from now for a massive post where I will share what I ate while on the roadtrip – hopefully it will be a great nutritarian guide for you in the future if you ever travel to these cities πŸ™‚

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My new favorite toy…

So I’ve had my grill for just about a month now & it truly has become my new favorite toy. I love grilling. Every day. Love it.

My staples for grilling have become the same primary vegetables – portobello mushroom, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant. I toss them with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and my dad’s red rub (mixture of cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, etc) and some dried rosemary and thyme.

I eat them all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No, seriously. Grilled vegetables tossed in a frying pan with an egg – oh yes!

Also – peaches and pineapple. If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to, right now. Go to the store immediately if you don’t have them on hand, fire up the grill, smear the fruit with coconut oil & toss them on there. The sweetness of the fruit really comes out when they’re grilled, amazing!

So obviously because I’ve been eating these same vegetables for all three meals in my day I’m starting to get sick of them in particular. So this weekend I mixed it up a bit. Last night my friend was over for dinner and I did a fun appetizer – cibatta bread grilled and topped with fresh bruschetta. For the bruschetta I used two tomatoes (from the public market), a slice of a red onion, 2 cloves garlic, and a handful of fresh lemon basil (from my herb garden). OMG! So simple, so fresh, so very delicious… especially onto of grilled bread.

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Also while at the market on Saturday morning I picked up my all time favorite vegetable. Scapes! Scapes are the top of garlic when they are sprouting flower stalks from the bulb in the spring. They are super long and curly. They have a mild or bold garlic flavor and a chewy texture similar to asparagus. Scapes are high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants linked to apoptosis (programmed cell death) of some cancer cells.

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You can eat these raw, sauteed, pickled, or made into a pesto. I like them best on the grill. I don’t put anything on them, just toss them on – be careful of any loose ones falling until the grill plates. They grill very quickly, so I stand and flip them frequently.

I also tried beets. I have seen recipes for beet burgers before where you literally roast a beet, slice it and eat it like a burger. So I thought to myself – why not grill them! I cut off the greens, washed and sauteed them with dandelion greens, onion and garlic to make this — which I will enjoy with eggs for breakfast this week.

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Then for the beets – washed, skinned, boiled for about 15 minutes – to the point where they were just starting to get softened. I took them out of the water, let them cool & sliced in half. I tossed them in olive oil and cracked pepper & threw them on the grill.

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Oh yeah babe. These things are amazing. Not sure why I never thought of this before. The grill gives them that slight smoky flavor and crispy charred outside – yum! For dinner tonight I had one of these, scapes and a turkey sausage link over lettuce from my garden with horseradish dijon mustard on the side for dipping. Yum!

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Best part of today – my neighbors. As I was grilling the beets and scapes they were very fascinated. Not knowing what scapes were, I clearly educated them and had them try them once I had them grilled. They all really liked them and plan on going out a getting some for themselves.

My name is Lisa and I’m going to make a change in the world. Each baby step at a time is good enough for me. Having my neighbors trying new vegetables is a high five for sure! πŸ™‚

As the storm rolls in

Tonight I write my blog post as I sit in front of the window and watch the rain pour down & the thunder boom. Growing up as a kid, thunderstorms were always my favorite thing to watch. To see the lightening spark across the sky and listen to the intricate tones of thunder. It’s relaxing to me for whatever reason.

For this week I created two new salads/ salad toppers. I was going to grill some vegetables as well but I didn’t get my cooking on in time before the storm hit, so I’ll have to do those tomorrow.

Salad #1 – Mediterranean Salad

1 cucumber, quartered and sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 red onion, diced

a handful of kalamata olives, sliced

1 handful of parsley, chopped

fresh cracked black pepper

*Mix everything together in a bowl

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*Dressing: 1 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs red wine vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 lime juiced

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There’s a local greek restaurant and they make a salad very similar to this tossed with romaine — it’s delicious & I can’t wait to see it this week. It’s getting hotter and hotter out so my lunches become lighter and lighter. Time for salads πŸ™‚

Salad #2- Kale & Brussel Sprouts

2 cups brussel sprouts

2 cups kale

*Process them both in ninja

1/2 cup almond, chopped

*Toss those together with greens

*Dressing: 3 tbs horseradish brown seeded mustard, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs olive oil, black pepper

*Very basic salad here – but the flavors burst in your mouth πŸ™‚

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For dinners this week – grilling, obviously. And also I bought some dandelions for the first time ever — so thinking of making some sauteed with mushrooms and onions. Whatever I do, I will be sure to post it for next week.

Happy sunshine!

When seasons change

This weekend has really signified summer for me. Last weekend’s weather was beautiful but I didn’t fully enjoy it because I was running around like crazy with my mom (loving every minute of it). But these past few days — I’ve felt like summer. I’ve been completely relaxed and joyous to be outside in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air and sent of fresh flowers.

Friday night I had a friend over and grilled some veggies and chicken sausage for dinner. With full bellies we walked down to Hedonist for some ice cream to top off a wonderful, relaxing evening after a kind of hectic week at school for both of us. We talked about our APPR woahs and our vacation plans for the first week after school ends where we will drive to Nashville and then to Virgina beach visiting friends and family, camping and hiking, and of course enjoying tourist things like the Opry and the boardwalk on the beach for the 4th of July.

Saturday – up at 8am, public market at 9am, gym by 10am, then errands (furniture shopping – which was not successful, still…) and back home to ride my bike to the local park and meet up with some friends to lay in the sun and enjoy some light reading. From there – what else? Mexican. To our favorite Mexican place (same one I took my mom to last weekend) for some margaritas and good food we went!

Sunday – up at 8am, gym by 9am, back home for the rest of the day DIY-ing, cooking, and laying in the sun in my backyard reading my new book (borrowed from a friend)… “White Like Me” by Tim Wise. I’m two chapters in and I sincerely and forcefully recommend every person I know to read this book. It reminds me of the conceptual change work I did in my Race, Class, Gender course in my Master’s program. A great read, for sure!

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Summer. It’s here. My routine this weekend of up early to workout and spending all afternoon relaxing outside and then nights with friends – yes, summer. It’s here.

Food for this week – two different salads to put on top of fresh salad greens from my garden (I’ve waited years to say that)!

First, fiesta quinoa salad.Β 

I followed this recipe except for the limeΒ  – I didn’t have any so I used lemon instead, which was absolutely fine.

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Tonight I ate this with some salmon πŸ™‚

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Second, Mediterranean chickpea salad.

I followed this recipe for the most part. I didn’t have an parsley. I obviously didn’t use normal yogurt – I used coconut milk yogurt πŸ™‚ Also I added some quinoa and grilled eggplant to up the protein content. With the combination of chickpeas, eggplant and quinoa this is loaded with great protein that should keep me full until my light snack at the end of the school day before the gym.

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For the week’s dinners… I have bok choy and mushrooms — which I’m really excited about because I feel like I haven’t had bok choy in weeks. I also have more eggplant, zucchinis, and portobello mushrooms for grilling.