Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet Potato Soup

This recipe has few ingredients, but it does keep you pretty involved. But I think it's worth it, especially for fall and winter!
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What you need:
  • 1 large head of cauliflower (I promise you won't have too much)
  • Olive Oil
  • Spice of your choosing (I added chili powder and paprika)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups water
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut up cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place on ungreased  cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and and your spices.
  3. Place in oven and cook until soft. I would suggest about 30 minutes, but check after 25.
  4. In a large stock pot add sweet potato, onion, and garlic to a boil. I added a bit of salt when it came to a boil. Reduce heat  and allow to simmer until sweet potatoes are soft. I'd suggest checking around the 15-20 minute mark, but it won't take long since the potatoes are small.
  5. Once the sweet potatoes are soft add the cooked cauliflower to the soup.
  6. Divide the soup in half and blend one half. Keep the other half in the stockpot.
  7. Once the first half is blended add back to the stockpot and stir.
  8. Add salt to taste.
  9. Enjoy. At this point I added a lot more salt because I like the savory sweet taste of things, and it was still a bit bland.
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Mango Smoothies

This smoothie recipe is much tastier than the last. While I do like bananas, too much banana taste makes the smoothie less enjoyable for me because I prefer to taste the sweeter fruits. So, for this one I kind of adapted the recipe. 
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What you need:
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 banana (save the other half for breakfast or a snack!)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
Directions:
  1. I cut up my mango ahead of time and let it freeze overnight.
  2. Simply add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy with your breakfast!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Spinach Pesto Penne

Spinach Pesto Ingredients
What you need:
  • Penne
  • 1/4 cup penne pasta water
  • 8 oz spinach, remove stems
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • ricotta (set aside)
Directions:
  • Cook pasta according to box directions. When pasta is done save 1/4 cup of water. Drain the rest.
  • Pulse spinach, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic in a food processor until smooth.
  • Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to blended pesto and mix.
  • Mix pesto and pasta. Season to your liking.
  • Top with ricotta cheese. Enjoy!

Spinach Pesto

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Avocado Smoothies

I love avocados. You can see my past avocado recipes here and here. So, when I saw a recipe for a smoothie that  called for avocado I jumped at it. I love that avocados easily conform to the salty or sweetness of any recipe. I'm not a huge fan of homemade smoothies because I always think they taste kind of bland. I would be lying if I said this was the best smoothie I ever had. It was good but I think it might have needed a bit more honey or more fruit added to it.
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What you need:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups ice

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Directions:
  1. Blend all ingredients together. I would suggest blending the ice first so it breaks unless you have small pieces.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy. Makes about 2.5 full glasses.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Black Bean Soup

Get ready for a load of food posts. It's hard to make food posts when I'm at my parents' house because I just don't have the desire to cook. However, for the next week or so I'm dog sitting at my grandma's house, so I have a few recipes I'm going to whip up!
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I got the recipe Comfy in the Kitchen, but I'm going to adapt it the way I will next time I make it.

What you need:
  • 1-1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3 cans seasoned black beans (2 not drained or rinsed, 1 drained but not rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Rice (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a large pot that you will use for the soup saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are soft. 
  2. Mix in the chili powder and cumin.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (water, chicken broth, beans). Do not drain or rinse the beans. I am adding an additional can of drained beans because I really like beans and I want a more of a chunky consistency. If you don't I would suggest sticking with just the two cans. I drained the third can because there is already a lot of broth.
  4. As I waited for the soup to boil in order to let it simmer I started my 20 minute rice.
  5. Let soup simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes add half the soup to a food processor or blender. Puree the soup and add it back into the pot. This is why I added the extra can of beans. I accidentally pureed too many beans and was disappointed. This step also helps thicken the soup. Don't be alarmed if you think it's too brothy. It's still delicious.
  7. Put some rice in a bowl and top with the soup
  8. Enjoy!

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¿Cómo Estás?

Kerry Layton
Kerry Layton
I realized that I don't really write about things other than what I make or where I go. I was writing a whole lot more when I was student teaching. That was mostly because I had something to write about. Now all I do is work and I just don't have the energy or want to blog about substitute teaching. I really dislike subbing. I don't think I'm bad at it, I just don't like it. I know it's the best way to get a teaching job.

The past few weeks I have been subbing for an ESL class. In order to find substituting jobs many school districts take advantage of a system called AESOP. Teachers can post jobs and subs, like me, can accept or decline them. One Saturday I saw a listing up for an ESL job which gave me three days in my preferred district. The teacher and students liked me so much that the teacher asked if I would like to sub for seven more days! I didn't hesitate with my response!

The kids are so amazing. The class size is small and the kids are good kids, they just can't speak English well. I've been introduced to so many new things. I learned how to say "hello" in Russian and Greek (below). I learned how to write my name in Russian. I learned how to make tacos like a Mexican (add cilantro! Why did I not think of that?). They have also played Spanish music for me. It's so cute to see them sing along to the music.
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Hello in Russian
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Hello in Greek
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My first and last name in Russian!
They even wrote me cute notes! I feel bad because lately I have had to yell at them a few times, especially one boy because he is always distracting himself. I try to be tough not mean though, and I think it shows because they still really like me!
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Te way the day works is that I start off at the high school and then I move to one of the middle schools. The kids at the high school are less talkative, and I spend less time with them, but it is still interesting to know about their cultures. They are from all parts of the globe.

I spend most of my time at the middle school. I have at least 2 classes with the kids, so I get to know them really well. There is a family of two girls and one boy from Mexico, a girl whose parents are Mexican, and another girl who is new from Peru. The girl from Peru doesn't know any English. The two girls from Mexico know very little English, but their brother came here two years before them so he knows how to speak English really well. It's so cool because I get to speak to them in Spanish! I'm not at all great at it and many times I do have to use a translator, but it makes me realize that if I were to go to a Spanish speaking country I could see myself becoming fluent because I am still able to make conversation with them using my bit of Spanish and their bit of English

I absolutely love learning about other people's cultures. So, I really enjoy being in this class. Also, I love English. I wanted to be an English teacher, but thought it would be harder to find a job as an English teacher than a Social Studies teacher (only to find out that it's the opposite). I spoke with the teacher about what I needed to do to become an ESL teacher. I would only need my ESL endorsement to teach it. She said that many universities have grants where they will pay you to get it and many school districts are desperate for ESL teachers. I am seriously considering going to get my ESL endorsement. Even if I have to pay it'll only put me back about $2000 because I only need to take about five classes. The only thing holding me back is that I really want to teach history. I have so many good books and ideas about the subject that I would hate for that to all go to waste.

Below I have some songs that the students have introduced me to. The girls have a crush on Prince Royce. Haha.

How many languages can you speak?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ann Arbor Weekend

Yesterday my mom, dad, and I headed up to Ann Arbor to see my sister. She currently goes to the University of Michigan for grad school and was in a play in the area. Yes, she goes to U of M against the wishes of my dad. He's a huge OSU fan like most Ohioans. My sister was a theater major as an undergrad, so she tried out for a local play. I saw several of her plays at the University of Toledo, and I've always enjoyed watching them. 

My parents and I headed out around 2:30. It wasn't snowing here so I was surprised by the amount of snow we hit near Vermilion.
We got to the theater around 7:30 for the 8:00 show. The ticket got us in to see both Hilarious Chekhov plays, The Bear and The Proposal. The theater is at the end of a dead end road, and you wouldn't even know it was there unless you were looking for it. I took a picture (below) of the outside, but it was dark so the picture is pretty crummy. photo 004-1.jpg

My sister was actually in both of the one acts because the girl who was supposed to be in The Bear had to drop out. She was stupendous in both! I don't know how she can memorize all those lines because I can't remember anything to save my life! I didn't get any pictures of the first play because I was too afraid to take them. The director said no flash photography so I wasn't sure if that meant none at all. I was actually really surprised how well the pictures came out because I had to take them when the actors were really loud because my camera made too much noise when I took a picture. Anyone know how to keep it from making a clicking sound? 
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Afterwards, my sister talked with her friends then we headed back to the hotel. We picked up my mom because my dad didn't feel well. We got McDonald's and went to her apartment because I had never seen it before. It was a fun night of talking about the past, and like always, we laughed a lot.
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We left today around 10:30 am. I wish we could have spent more time there, but its hard with work schedules and life in general. I took pictures of downtown Cleveland because who would I be if I didn't! :)
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sticker Canvas Board Word Art

I have the best Aunt in the entire world. She goes out of her way to make others happy and she's done more for me than I can say. She also loves wine. I saw a canvas board with a wine saying on it and I knew that I wanted to make one for her.

This is a super simple project that doesn't even really require a post, but I figured I've been lacking on posts lately so I would make one. I've made something like this before, but I used foam letters.You can see that post here.
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Supplies: 1. Paint for your choice. 2. White paint (optional) for touch ups. 3. Stick letters (I used 2 in. letters). 4. Canvas board
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Place letters any way you'd like on your canvas board. In order to keep my letters even I went back and fourth between the top words and bottom to make sure I'd have enough space.
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Next, paint your canvas board. I did about 2 coats with a few touch ups here and there. I also want over the letters with white paint because I'm a messy painter!
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Then you're done!

Monday, February 11, 2013

12 Thanks: V.2

In February I am thankful for my mom and dad's house. As much as get annoyed with my dad and would rather have my own place I cannot act like living with my parents is the end of the world. I am very blessed to be allowed to stay here for free. Free food, electricity, heat, internet, and cable. My parents know I don't want to be here but have graciously welcomed me back home.
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As you can see I desperately need to clean my craft closet. And living with my dog isn't so bad! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cleveland City Guide: The Bomb Shelter

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I'm a huge fan of thrift stores and antiques. I blame my dad for this hoarding of antiques gene. I've been kind of in a slump since being back because I haven't found a good antique or thrift stores. The one in my hometown is pretty picked through. I was very happy when I stumbled upon this place while I was reading Mandi's blog.

I was really excited when Morgan, my friend, said she was free because I was dying to check this place out. It's called The Bomb Shelter, and it's only a short ways away in Akron, Ohio. Living north of Cleveland Akron always seemed so far away, but it really isn't. The Bomb Shelter itself is really worth the drive. It is full of the most eclectic assortment of things I have ever seen in my entire life. You can find anything from vintage clothes, to record players, to stop lights, to kitchenware. They had old ovens and cars. It was such a cool place. I felt like I was on American Pickers. Morgan did say that if you didn't have a family that place would be the perfect place to go to buy pictures for your home to make it look like you do. There were so many old family portraits which was kind of cool in a way, but to furnish your home with them would be kind of creepy.

I went with the intention of buying items for my cocktail cart. I didn't find anything which is typical when you are actually looking for something you want. I did buy three albums (The Doors, The Mamas and the Papas, and America's Greatest Hits) and a really cool airmail stamp. I wanted to buy more things but I realized that I needed to be practical and while I'm living with my parents I will never have the space for any of it. At the end we were greeted by two dogs which I'm assuming belonged to the owners. I felt creepy trying to take pictures of the dogs, but what can I say I have a soft spot for them!
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