Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Challenge Day 1: Bring on the pumpkin!

Eggs, graham cracker crumbs, chipotle chilies, milk, squash, cornstarch, celery, wild rice, butter, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, garlic cloves, cream cheese, broccoli crowns, cranberries, golden delicious apples, granny smith apples, onions, craisins, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, applesauce. BAKE ON!

 A week, devoted to purely pumkin.

Start your engines, folks!

Challenge 1: Pumpkin Tomato Soup
Butter. (I predict this will be a common theme in these recipes...)

Onions. Diced. Oh the tears!  I chopped all the onions at once to avoid a battle with the mascara later on.

Celery. Diced.  Yum. And then I remembered I recently acquired a mandolin.  Post chopping.  Its okay, I am a little old fashioned in my craft anyways.

Sweat it all into a beautiful trio.  Then add ginger.  Making me wonder...what ethnicity is this meal even? Question remains. Pour vegetable broth.  Note the spoon (later, we are gonna play a game called what changed in the picture).

Add stewed tomatoes then add ummm oh yeah PUMPKIN!

Game time!!! Try to find what has changed... I seem to struggle with spoons not falling into the masterpiece. Such is life.

End challenge number one.  Oh yeah, baby!  Some may wonder, so Kirsten, how did it it taste?  Well, I must admit, it was a bit of a let down for my first challenge.  If I were a wealthy baby and the baby foods I ate included pureed escargot and champagne in my bottle, I might have enjoyed this soup more, but I will go on!  There is a world of recipes to conquer and it is my duty.  So keep on keeping on. 

Challenge 2: Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt (dedicated to my favorite hipster, Krisi)

Greek yogurt? Yes please!

 Add milk to this creamy delight.

Pumpkin and dark brown sugar says fall like Christmas decorations at Target says September. It just works.

(Insert chorus of angels here) Pumpkin pie spice.  Enough said. 


And can we say delicious? De-li-cious.  Yes, yes we can. Definite repeat to come.

Challenge number 3: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (dedicated to my parents because they slipped the recipe in my mail, and I'm guessing that was a subtle hint)

Step by step photos out the window... so this picture is titled "mixfloursugarsaltbakingpowderpumpkinpureePUMPKINPIESPICEthenrealizeoopsnodocumentationdang photo".

Eggs. Two of them. Does not matter whether the chicken or egg came first. Does matter that they are cage free, organic, vegetarian fed.

Butter.  Dedicated to Saundie, Paula Dean, and all you butter-lovin fools of the world.

Chocolate chips.

 Confession: A handful never actually ever make it into the batter anytime a recipe calls for chocolate chips.

End result? Beautiful!

Challenge 4: Pumpkin Butter (My one recipe that is a butter and my only recipe thus far that does not include butter) That's irony my friends.  Take notes Alanis Morrisette, because your song is not actually ironic at all.

Pumpkin (surprise! or decide)

Simply apple? Simply delicious!

Spice it up with some pumpkin-pie-spice-of-all-yumminess and salt.

You packin? Ha! Yes, I really did just make a corny joke about how you have to have to pack brown sugar.  Don't judge.  Just love.

 Minced onions. (Screeching car sound) Onions? Huh. Ok...

Then let it chillax, all cool, all outside-a school like the Fresh Prince in the fridge. 

This my friends, will be continued.  So much suspense its bake-o-ri-fic! Will the apple butter successfully chill in the fridge without a meteor coming and smashing down the apartment?  What about that cheesecake she put in her Facebook status, is that a secret love child that never will make its appearance to the public?  Tune in tomorrow to find out. Thanks for playing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A collection of things

Someday I would like to start a museum of all the strange things we get as teachers.  Precious treasures our students feel we cannot live with out.

This year has been full of my ever-growing Sponge Bob sticker collection, an insurmountable amount of gum (odd choice but hey...), 3 apples, Halloween candy, clay figures, pictures, letters, coloring pages, a handful of sunflower seeds left on my desk, a unicorn stuffed animal, and a promise of a lifetime supply of coffee for my birthday (too bad that's in the summer...).

My pockets have also come home laden with goodies.  I have confiscated more silly bands than I even want to count (between those and the rubber bands I am sure I could have the ever-so-fashionable bracelets up my entire forearm), toy cars, a sucker, bouncy ball, and silly band rings (seriously RINGS?? what have teachers ever done to anyone to deserve such cruelty?  When necklaces come out...someone is going down!).

Along side all of the treasures displayed and continuing to grow, soon to over take my desk, is the most beautiful collection of things.  As a school, we have been collecting books to give to a school in Kenya with a library that is virtually non-existent.  As books began to trickle in, and we selected books from our own library we wanted to share with the world, my students overwhelmed me with their hearts.  Books pile and pile and not merely with old books but with favorites.  The very books they treasure are the ones they are giving.  Giving not out of access but compassion.  It is a truly beautiful sight to see.  It is said, "out of the mouths of babes"  but today I one-up that to "out of the hearts."

Monday, November 1, 2010


Slavery: as Americans, it is a part of our past we shudder at the thought of, simultaneously, a part of our history that we have to own.  I think most people groups have a thread of something woven into their tapestry that they would rather forget, but there is great value in remembrance.  We shudder at the thought of this dark past we are forced to claim.  It is sick, it is inhumane but the sad truth is... it's not finished.

History class: where most of us memorized date after date of "significant events" decided by some person of importance drove most of us to be excellent time keepers (as we counted the seconds, minutes, hours left until class came to an end).  In my opinion, the true value of history class does not reside in the dates, but in the lessons learned by the experiences of our ancestors.

The Present: as in today. Injustice pervades this broken Earth we live on, and it is probable that one could write for years upon years about all the horrors Earth faces today.  The most powerful way to fight these injustices is education, but it's time to get out of our history books and into our current events.  Slavery is still prevalent and something that we as a nation need to be aware of.  If you don't already know, human trafficking is a worldwide epidemic (check out Not For SaleInternational Justice Mission, Compassion InternationalCome Let's Dance).  Let us not take our freedom for granted, our liberty allows us to fight for that same freedom in the lives of others across the globe and surprisingly in some of our own backyards.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness: the American dream.  Free at last, free at last, praise God Almighty we are free at last!  We are not to live life in chains. Galatians 5:1 says,"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Let nobody not bound to this world, not its riches, not its depths. We are not to be held captive to anything, not in the least.