Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ambulances at School and Cranberry Hootycreeks

Another day, another recipe. This one is from last weekend -- I decided I needed a new type of cookie, and I remembered the ones I had in California, they amazing cranberry, oatmeal, white chocolate cookies with pecans in I went on a quest to find the recipe. Let me tell you something -- it's amazing how many different recipes people have for cranberry cookies out there! Anyways...I ended up finding them after much searching (when I probably should have been lesson planning...but that's neither here nor there), and found out they're called...Cranberry Hootycreeks -- I'm not even kidding. I tried to figure out what a hootycreek actually was to no avail...but I gave up when the cookies were done, because well -- they were too tasty to leave just sitting there. I actually snarled at Tyler when he tried to eat one...anyways! Below is the recipe. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 and 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or chopped walnuts are good too!)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (softened...NOT melted)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix in the white sugar and the brown sugar. Add in the nuts, cranberries, white chocolate, and the baking soda. Mix in the flour and salt. 

Use spoons to make balls of dough and put them on a greased cookie sheet. Put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are brown. Any cookie dough that is left over...just roll it into a log and freeze -- you can have cookies all week! 


Anyways, while that's baking -- here's something interesting that happened this week. It was a relatively calm week. I taught the students about evolution/natural selection (one of my favorite topics) and I had relatively few outbursts...only 3-4 times did students either---

A. Start rapping about Jesus (my response: excellent, mail those lyrics to Drake!)

B. Get up and say "ADAM AND EVE WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE ON EARTH! SCIENCE DOESN'T BEAT THE BIBLE" (Yep, and if Adam and Eve were the first people on earth, all you need to know is that evidence suggest they were made in Africa.)

C. Sigh and say "Do we HAVE to know this if we don't believe in any of these science-lies?" (Yes, it's on the test.) 

But I was enjoying the week overall. Well...Friday rolls around, and I've only packed one enchilada in my lunch box to feed me during a work day where I burn 1900 calories on you can assume I'm relatively grumpy because I'm hungry. My students come in after lunch just flipping out about this kid who got the "living shit beat out of him Miss!" as one of my students put it. Apparently one of our students had to be taken away in an ambulance because there was a bloody fight during lunch. After asking several students what happened and getting some crazy stories, I pieced together what happened...
Kid A wanted to fight Kid B, because Kid B punched Kid C in the eye the day before, and Kid C is Kid A's good friend. So Kid A came up to Kid B during lunch and said "You wanna fight me now or after school" and Kid B was smart enough to say "now" and in 20 second it was over. With a Kid B on the ground lying in his own blood, and Kid A being arrested. 

I say smart enough because if it was after school, god knows if that kid would have gone through it without serious permanent damage, or even if he'd be alive. As my students described to me what happened, that Kid B was hit "20 times in 20 seconds" I just couldn't help but be amazed by the cycle of violence. 

What's going to happen next? Are Kid B's friends gonna fuck up Kid A? Or maybe Kid A's brother? Or sister? When does it stop? How do you make it stop? For someone who really likes answers, I can't figure out one...What do we do, show them a video about non-violence? Create a mentoring program? Yell at the top of our lungs that if they just graduate and go to college things can be so much better?

It's what they see all around them...when the people around you aren't handling things with their brains, but their fists, what are you supposed to do? It takes amazing will power...strength of character, to not partake in that behavior, especially in the group of students I work with. 

I think you can teach students to handle situations with their brains, not their fists. Build their brains up, give them knowledge, tell them exactly what they need to do to get into college or whatever post-secondary career they want, show them how to do it. Push it ALL the time. They might be in school for less time than they're out in their communities, but there is a way to get the message across -- I know they have in other low-income districts. How though and why don't we as a society? I don't know. 
A woman was charged with a felony earlier this year for lying about where she was living to get her daughters into a better school, because she knew that not all public education was equal, and it's true. We can't stand for that. My students don't deserve any less of an education, or a chance at understanding why they need to use their brains and not their fists than the students in the Alamo Heights district. The only difference is money and skin color. 

By second lunch, they wiped up all the blood from the floor, and my 7th period students came into the classroom, saying how they could have taken Kid B, or discussing what fight strategies they would have used. 
Yeah, we definitely have to find a way to stop it. Any ideas? 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Revamp + Update since 12/27/2010

So I haven't updated this blog since before break. I've been back in school for a couple of weeks now, so I figured it was time to actually update this thing based on how I've been and also the changes and not so change-y changes in my life.

First of all, on 12/27/2010, while in CA, T- asked me to marry him. It was beautiful, because the way he chose to do it was so us...and it just showed me again why I know he's right for me. He packed a wonderful meal, complete with french fries, and we went to the beach, all bundled up (me with my new snuggie), and right at sunset, he first it was just a sweet shpeal about how much he loves me, how I'm his best friend...then I saw the box, and it was all blurry from there. I just know that I don't think I could have been happier at any moment, and I'm still reeling from it. It was amazing, and it couldn't have been more wonderful.

On to the revamp! So I started thinking about all the things I loved the most (besides T-, and Jacques, and family)...and it's of course food. I love food, what else could motivate me to write? So, I present to you FOOD. I'm going to try and make every post include at least one recipe that I've recently made and hopefully pictures...and of course my thoughts, etc. So for today: Sweet Potato Pie.

So T- and I were going over to our friend Mi-'s house last Saturday for dinner. Since we've been in Texas for a while, I decided to get my "southern" on and make a sweet potato pie, because heck, I've never had one and the prospect of turning a potato into a pie was fascinating...what was once a potato is now a PIE...albeit with many more calories, less nutritional value, and much tastier...

Anyways, I thought it'd be ridiculously difficult, the whole potato-to-pie deal, but it's not. I whipped up the filling in about forty-five minutes (including potato baking time), with some basic ingredients. The pie was a success -- it tasted creamy, cinnamon-y, and yummy. If you're a fan of pumpkin pie -- you'll love this. It's:

1, 1 lb. sweet potato
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 a tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked pie crust (I used a butter crust and it turned out fantastic)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil the sweet potato for about 30-40 minutes until it's mash-able soft. After it's done, pull it out a peel off the skin. Using a fork, break apart the sweet potato in a bowl, and add in the butter and blend it together with a hand blender. When it's a smooth texture, add in the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Blend it together until it's super-smooth, and a pour-able consistency.  After that, just pour it into your pie crust and bake it at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until the filling puffs up and browns slightly around the edges.

Enjoy with vanilla ice cream! Until next time...enjoy the pie, and I'm going to enjoy my time with my new fiance :-)