Monday, June 30, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I made this Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake on Sunday morning! SO yummy! Instead of the skillet, I baked in a 8x8 pan. Here is where I got the recipe, but I used Splenda instead of sugar and unsweetened almond milk. This brought down the calorie count, but not enough to make it healthy! I think I will freeze half of it so I can enjoy it later and resist the temptation to not eat it all in one setting! :)

This is Freedom Concert

Christ Community had an amazing Fourth of July Celebration!!! The music was wonderful and it was a PACKED house!!
 The wonderful Jenna Hagar was one of the speakers!
 We honored all the men in uniform!!
 PACKED house!

 Sarah and Elizabeth!
 Sarah and her sis Hannah, who I look forward to getting to know better in Guatemala!!!
 Beautiful show afterwards!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hey! I have a greenthumb!

I have not had luck growing plants, I have killed mint and bamboo in the past (the 2 most un-killable plants). After taking a Doane class from a professor who really inspires me, I decided to try it again and she did help me out!!! Thanks Joyce! :)
I bought some soil and some pots from Target ($1.29 each) and they add some awesome bright color to my porch and when I take it to work, my classroom!
This chocolate mint below is from Joyce's garden, it started out as 3 little leaves and a maple tree! Once I untangled the roots, this mint is happily growing!!
 This is also from a classmates garden and growing greatly!!! I have used these chives in so many meals! Especially for my healthy baked potato soup. I cut off as I need them.
 I bought this oregano on clearance from Bag N Save for $1!
 basil from a classmates garden, I brought this plant inside and then proceeded to knock it over which is why it is growing sideways. Poor basil!
 Parsley! Again, clearance at Bag N Save!
 This I think is cantelope. I was eating cantelope on day and just planted the seeds in this empty container. I could have sworn it was a cottonwood tree because so many of those seeds were flying around.....but then Carissa google imaged a cantelope plant and it was a match! Cantelope takes a lot of space since it is a vine-y plant, so I look forward to it taking over my porch with sweet sweet cantelope!!!
 Here is mint again, I had to buy some at Target to infuse water, and I planted some of it, and look! healthy as can be!!! Here's to forever infusing water!
 Purple basil, I got from Joyce (my Doane professor). I need to research how to use it in recipes. -- It sure makes for a pretty plant! :)

Now the next part is learning to pick, prune and dry the herbs so I can use them year round. I plan on taking some of the herbs to my classroom to add another element. It will also be a classroom job to teach some students to take care of these plants. The mint and chocolate mint can also be used as a calming device, picking a leaf and rubbing it between your fingers gives a wonderfully delightful smell! I am so happy I have a whole wall of windows to give me as a teacher this opportunity! 

Dealing with the loss of a Student

This week was tough grieving the loss of one of my past students. I taught Roy when he was in 7th grade (in Houston), he would have been a Junior this next school year.
It was been really hard to sort through my feelings about this. To be with a student, and to make that connection August through June, and then to have him gone at such a young age just seems so unfair.
You are missed Roy ...
I take a lot of pictures and videos when I teach. The students love to be in the spotlight! Here is a clip of Roy talking to be about the budget project we were doing in Math class. Such a sweet sweet boy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Pasta" Primavera

Now that I have time I am able to try new recipes! More than just one a week! I have been cooking with Spaghetti Squash, it is so much healthier than noodles. I have made a Chicken Parmesan, and a tuna noodle casserole with it. Today I tried a Primavera, but with no meat (I had none on hand). It was really good and the sautéed garlic and onion really gave it a rich flavor!

I got the recipe from and made a couple of adaptations.

1 Spaghetti Squash
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 handfuls fresh organic spinach
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
Chicken or Shrimp
Optional: Add in other vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, asparagus)
Optional: Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan when serving
I cut the spaghetti squash and cleaned the seeds out and microwaved it for 6 minutes
In a medium-size pot add oil, garlic, and onion and sauté for for 3-5 minutes
Add in spaghetti squash and mix well
Add salt, crushed red pepper, and pepper
Add in tomatoes, spinach, and any other vegetables of choice
Top with fresh basil and fresh parmesan

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cake Batter Popcorn and Strawberry Shortcake

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes
I was able to make 14 little cakes

*I put some sugar on the strawberries and let them sit for an hour before serving and I gave others the option of putting some Cool Whip on top! These were light and refreshing!

*When I make this next time I may drop them in muffin tins to they have a pretty circular form.

I made this for our Guatemala Packing Party and it was a hit! Had to leave it at Evas house so I wasn't tempted to finish the rest of it! Here is the recipe and the blog I got I from! I will definitely make it again!


Funfetti Cake Batter Popcorn

Recipe adapted from Mrs. Schwartz's Kitchen


2 bags microwavable kettle corn or white popcorn
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips or vanilla candy melts
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cup white or yellow cake mix
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles


- Pop the popcorn in the microwave, following packaging instructions. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl, being careful to pick out all of the unpopped kernels.
- Melt the white chocolate chips or candy melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each 30 seconds until it is fully melted.
- Stir in the vegetable oil to the melted chocolate until smooth. Then add the cake mix to the chocolate - the mixture will be thick, but mix until well-incorporated.
- Drizzle the chocolate/cake batter mixture over the popcorn and add half of the sprinkles. Use your (clean) fingers to toss everything together until evenly coated.
- Spread the popcorn onto wax paper-lined cookie sheets to allow the chocolate to harden and sprinkle the remaining sprinkles on top.
- Let popcorn harden for about 20 minutes on the counter, or 5 minutes in the fridge, and enjoy!

Appreciating Others

I love to surprise people with little acts of kindness. I always feel so special when someone gives me a little gift. It is always the thought that counts.
 I am so appreciative of the staff that works in my apartment complex, they are always so kind, have big smiles, and know me by name. Whenever I make treats for my kids for Valentines Day or Christmas, I always make a little extra for them.
Today I was at Target and picked up some flavor mixes and some chilled water! Happy 2nd day of summer! :)