Monthly Archives: December 2013

Buttery Parsnip and Sweet Potato Mash

It was an amazing day when I discovered that I could essentially turn any root vegetable into a “mash”. All these years mashed potatoes have stolen the show…but if you think about it….sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets. The possibilities are endless. Over the summer I made mashed beets with coconut butter. I don’t think I blogged about it, but it was good. It was the only way I could get my husband to eat beets.

I spent a considerable amount of time deciding whether to use lard or ghee in this mash. I decided the ghee would give it a nice buttery taste, reminiscent of mashed potatoes. OMGHEE!!!  Get it? So good. The leftovers are sitting in my fridge now taunting me!!! Replace your traditional mashed potatoes with this dish and you will never go back. Mashed potatoes are boring. Ick.

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Parsnip and Sweet Potato Mash

3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

1/2 cup cooked sweet potato (about half of one large?? mine were Thanksgiving leftovers so I don’t know how many I started with!)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 small clove of garlic

1 tablespoon full fat canned coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon ghee

salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare (peel and dice) sweet potatoes and parsnips and rosemary.

2. Fill a pot with your parsnips and water and put on the stove to boil. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (roughly 10 minutes). If you start with an uncooked sweet potato, I like this method to cook it.

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3. Place everything in a food processor and blend it up. You may have to push down the sides to get everything mixed up a couple of times.

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^^New can of coconut milk I now order of Vitacost. It’s BPA free and way cheaper than the $3 cans at the store.

Sooooo good! Can’t wait to eat those leftovers! This is a must make.

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Dinner last night….beef roast, broccoli and mash! Omg.

What veggies do you like with your dinner?

Have you ever tried a different type of “mashed” vegetable?

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Inside out and Back Again Book Unit Ideas

Chances are sometime this year whether you’re a teacher, work in a school, know someone who’s a teacher or have kids you have heard the words “Common Core”. What is it? A new set of standards that the country is implementing to get all states on the same page about what is taught in schools. This means all states have the same standards, instead of separate standards for each state like it used to be.

The common core standards are designed to make underperforming U.S students more college and career ready. I believe they are  more authentic and will be more helpful than the old standards for meeting that goal.

Some teachers are irritated with my state, New York, because they have gone ahead and designed whole book units on books for each grade level and “suggested” to schools to teach these units. This takes away creativity of the teacher as she is no longer able to design her own lessons. No one wants to be a robot and just follow a script, which is what essentially the NYS modules are.

My school district has not mandated that we use these units, however I really liked one of the books, Inside out and Back Again by Thannha Lai so I decided to go ahead and teach it. I haven’t followed the scripted lessons word for word; I have taken what I could use and implemented changes that will fit the needs of my students. Okay, since I’m probably boring you with teacher speak, here are some ideas that I used to spice it up.

1. Include websites and more supported material on Vietnam that is student friendly.

Many of the articles and websites that the state used were dry. So here are some that I used to spice it up.

Vietnam War Facts

Fall of Saigon Video

Helicopter Pilot recalls Fall of Saigon

Sweet refugee stimulation video game <<<< really cooL!

Refugee Background

2. Real life correspondence with refugees.

The school I used to work at was an area that serviced a lot of ESL and refugee students. I got in touch with a friend (thanks Judy!) and we organized a little “pen pal” type activity. My students are so excited to see what our refugee student has to say in response to questions they created! We’re reading them tomorrow in class. This will help with their refugee research for the final project. I also reached out to local agencies and organized an office supply drive at my school. Some refugees at a center in Buffalo are having a hard time with supplies for applying for jobs and learning English. I organized a drive at my school and I will deliver the office supplies to the agency when the drive is over. Another great real life connection!

3.Differentiated final project

The final project of the module was the write a poem. I offered them multiple choices utilizing my school’s 1:1 I pad situation. They will use apps like Instablend, Piccollage, Videolicious, and Podomatic to create these projects.

Final Projects for Inside out and Back Again

Also, here is a daily vocabulary bell work packet that I give my students when we start this unit. I do this with all of my units. I take a selection of words from the unit and students work with the words every day upon entering the classroom. 

 

I can’t wait to share the projects when they are completed! This blog topic was way far off from my regular topics but I am excited about the ideas I tried and just wanted to share! Thanks for reading!

If you’re a teacher, how do you feel about the common core?

Does your state have scripted lessons? Would you follow it?

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Holiday Baking Wish List

Anticipating the shorter-than-usual holiday season this year flying by before I can even blink, you better believe I was in the kitchen, blasting Christmas music while baking cookies and putting up decorations the DAY after Thanksgiving.

It was REALLY tempting to go Black Friday shopping…all the ads, the emails, the people posting on Facebook. The only thing I bought Friday was a freezer in anticipation of the 1/4 of a cow we’re getting later in the month. And it felt good! Normally I just end up buying stuff for me that I don’t really need. I get anxiety thinking about all the people. I’d rather just buy stuff online honestly. People are boasting and bragging about all the money they “saved”….however I didn’t spend any so I win!!!

I baked a couple of batches of cookies this past weekend, and I am going full force now trying to make a list of the holiday cookies I plan to make. This weekend I tried out a couple winners that will definitely be repeated…especially these:

Coconut Macaroons with raspberry chia jam from Oh She Glows

macaroons

Also, I made these for my husband and his friends while they were out hunting. They were VERY rich and chocolate-ly. They were so rich it almost easy to not eat the whole batch when they came out. Just kidding I still ate like 3. But it was a valiant effort.

Triple Chocolate Grain Free Cookies

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Mmmmmmm Cookies.

 

So, thanks for Pinterest, I have quite the list going regarding the recipes I’d like to try for Christmas cookies. However I’ll have to narrow it down to 2-3 recipes because baking, especially Paleo baking, can get expensive!!!

I found this spritz recipe in an old cookbook that I plan on making for the cookie press my mom got me last year! I have no idea how to use that thing but Google University should be able to help out a bit.

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Here are some others I have been eyeing:

 

Gluten Free white chocolate cranberry cookies

Paleo Thin Mints & Samoas

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake with Maple Vanilla Frosting

Joyful Almond Coconut Chocolate Bites

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I also plan on making some homemade goodie bag Christmas presents for people, including these recipes (sorry for the spoiler if you’re one of the ones who gets one…….Smile) I want to put them in mason jars like so:

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Salted Caramel Bacon Bark

Holiday Nut Mix

Pretzel Gift Idea

Almond Cherry Bark

 

How will I decide?!?!?!

 

What cookies are you making for the holidays?!?!

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