Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Leftover Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

It's pretty rare that I've run a lab that requires chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that actually used the entire can; at home it never happens (for me that is, maybe you can't get enough!). Here's how I deal with the leftovers.

Plop each pepper onto a baking sheet lined parchment paper, careful to include a healthy amount of sauce with each but keep them separated. Then throw that puppy into the freezer for an hour or two, won't take long to freeze:

Once frozen, they pull off the paper nice and easy, sauce and all:

You can then toss them into a freezer bag, and they'll be easy to pull out one at a time whenever you need them.

Now that you know the trick, you can apply it to so many more foods than just peppers. This is also how I freeze berries and chopped veggies - freeze them separate and flat, then when they go into the bag they don't freeze into a ginormous clump that's impossible to break up without a hammer or defrosting.

Happy freezing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pediatricians Say Absolutely NO DRINKING WHILE PREGNANT - it's about time!!!

Finally, finally, FINALLY, pediatricians are saying point blank NO DRINKING WHILE PREGNANT!

Why did this take so bloody long? Why, for years, have they allowed doctors, researchers, hairdressers to advise women that a little bit won't hurt? Unfathomable, completely unfathomable, given the irreparable harm that we know prenatal exposure to alcohol can have!

In my Child Development classes I told my students point blank, I don't care what you read in the news or see on TV or even hear from your doctor, NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY.

And then I showed them video after video of the results of fetal alcohol syndrome. Some years we read articles written by families affected by and children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder themselves. One year I was even able to convince a small group of girls to read "The Broken Cord" and use it for a book talk there were supposed to give in their English classes. All of this uphill against a media constantly blaring "Oh, a couple of drinks here and there won't hurt."

And let's not even get into how people don't understand what really constitutes "a couple of drinks." In towns that I've taught in there were massive amounts of people who thought a couple of drinks = passed out before midnight.

Thank you, pediatricians, for finally getting your act together!

NPR Article "Pediatricians Say Absolutely No Drinking While Pregnant"

Full text of clinical study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Infographic from Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Meal Prep Monday - A New Link-Up from Miss, Hey Miss!

I stumbled upon this new link-up from Miss, Hey Miss!, and thought it would be a great one for all teachers but especially FACS teachers!

The idea is to share ideas for lunches that you can prep ahead of time for the week, helping all of us to expand our repertoire! 

One of my all-time favorite kitchen appliances is my rice cooker - how did I live without one all of these years? Perfect rice every time without having to watch it.

So here's this week's lunch. I started off preparing a big batch of brown basmati rice in the rice cooker. After it's finished, I toss in a bit of chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt - mmm, better than Chipotle rice! Being unprocessed, this rice contains all eight essential amino acids, but is a bit low in lysine. What has lysine and goes perfectly with rice? Beans, of course! I divvied up the rice into containers, added a bit of seasoned black beans to each, then packed up smaller containers of cheese, guacamole, salsa and lettuce, that I'll be able to just grab each day as I pack my lunch bag. I can heat up the rice and beans, then add in the cold ingredients. Yum! Hearty, filling, and a pretty quick prep.

So excited about chowing down on this that I forgot to take a photo of it altogether, but I think you get the idea. This was the first time I've tried one of those Wholly Guacamole minis - it was great!

Also included in the linky are four different graphics you can choose from to create a Meal Prep Tip! Here's mine:

The three-cup Glad rectangle (pictured above) is my go-to, fits perfectly in my lunch bag. 

BY THE WAY, I will be posting about finishing my first marathon this week, check back!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lab Notes

After every cooking lab I have always thought to myself "Next time I need to remember/change/etc." Usually I even jotted reminders down. When next time came around, it was kind of a crapshoot whether I would remember those thoughts or come across those notes, which resulted in many a palm-forehead experience. Then I started keeping the notes with the recipes, but that meant that I only reviewed them as I was beginning to prepare for that lab, and some reminders I needed further in advance. Finally I got around to doing the obvious and keeping all of my lab notes in one place, which turned out to be immensely helpful. For each lab I jotted down what I wanted to remember for next time, such as

  • things that worked well that I want to remember to do again
  • changes I want to make next time
  • steps/procedures to review or emphasize the day of the lab, based on mistakes or misunderstandings that happened in the kitchens
  • other helpful reminders/hints to myself

Sidenote: It's funny now to see the recurring themes, such as "do not accidentally turn off oven." When the oven timers would go off students would hit the "Cancel" button thinking they were turning off the timer, when in fact they were turning off the oven. This was a big problem when that timer was just for the first check!

It's a simple thing, but very helpful. Having the notes for several recipes on the same page also helps because I wind up reviewing them more often, rather than just before using a specific one. And of course, it makes it easier to identify patterns over time.

What do you do to make sure you remember your wishes for "next time"?