Monday, September 30, 2013

Lemon Shrimp Over Cheesy Polenta

I cleaned and de-veined my first wild-caught Alaskan colossal shrimp. Yay, Me! It was super easy and actually entertaining.  Not to gross anyone out, but it reminded me of a science lab dissection.  I know you can't eat your dissection, but you see my comparison, right?  M gave me a tutorial; and here's one you can follow.  Hands down, I would much rather devein shrimp, than handle and cut raw chicken. 

After the "dissection," I seasoned the shrimp and added freshly squeezed lemon juice, while M cooked polenta and topped it with grated cheddar cheese.  We served our lemon shrimp over cheesy polenta with Brussels sprouts. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mint Tea

I have been reading Ayurveda recipes and cookbooks.  My body type - vata -  prefers warm/hot foods and drinks.  This homemade mint tea is a hot and simple green drink for you to try this fall; it's perfect for vata and kapha constitutions when served hot.   Pittas will probably like this drink cold.  You can learn more about Ayurveda here

There are lots of ayuvedic tea recipes online and in cookbooks; I have been enjoying Eat Taste Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living.

For mint tea: You'll need about 5-10 fresh mint leaves (from your garden or grocery market), 1 cup filtered water, and honey.  Place the filtered water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.  Then remove from heat and add the mint leaves. Steep for 10 minutes.  You can strain the mint leaves if you prefer, but I don't.  I actually eat some of them. Pour into your favorite mug - my favorites are my Polish pottery mugs - and add honey.  Sip and enjoy!

Note - While writing this post, I had two cups of this warming, calming mint tea.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Matryoshka Love

Yesterday I attended a baby shower for a friend/colleague who fancies nesting dolls as much as I do. This was the perfect opportunity to make a matryoshka baby gift for Baby B.  Onesies seem to be my go-to baby shower gift because they are adorable, inexpensive, do not require me to lug out my sewing machine, and can be personalized for the baby and baby shower theme.  These are my favorite onesies thus far, and are just too cute!

For the Matryoshka Love onesies, I used the felt heart pattern and the matryoshka template was a combination of the nesting doll cards and the felt nesting doll ornament

Baby B, sending you and your parents lots of matryoshka love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Brain Breaks

Everyday we do a few brain breaks in class.  Brain breaks are easy, short movements that help children and adults re-activate their brains so they can think, learn, re-focus, do, work, etc.

My teaching philosophy - if your bottom is asleep, your brain is too.  Therefore, you need to get up and move - even if it's only for a few seconds or minutes. 

The Brain Break Popsicle Sticks I created with colored Popsicle Sticks and a label maker are a combination of yoga poses, breathing techniques, Brain Gym exercises, and sensory activities. The sticks are all color coded. For instance:

Blue = breathing exercises 
Green = exercises you can do at your seat 
Orange = balancing poses 
Purple = Tighten and release your muscles 
Yellow = Crossing the midline of the body 
Red = Active movements 

When I notice the class could benefit from a Brain Break or two, I stop what we are doing and have a student pick a stick.  I may ask the student to pick a particular color (like if they need to move - I will suggest a red stick), or I may let the student select a stick or two. 

We keep the sticks in a Rubbermaid bento storage box. It's the beginning of the year, so I am still teaching the students how to do the movements.  In order to remember which ones I have taught them, we place all the "new" sticks in one section of the bento box and the "taught" ones in another section. Once we have learned all the breaks, I am sure the Brain Break box won't be so organized. 

I highly recommend you incorporate Brain Breaks into your day - whether you are work with children, or not...

Stay Awake, Take a Brain Break. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ginger Garlic Tea

I survived the first week of school and Back to School Night with the parents.  However, Saturday morning I was feeling a little tickle in my throat.  I don't know if it was the new "germs," the air conditioning that has been blowing non-stop, an allergy, or what, but I refuse to be sick for the long weekend and the second week of school.

When my Baci A. was dying, my family hired a Hospice caretaker, named Sheila, to be with her 24-7.  Sheila was this kind, soft-spoken woman from Trinidad who made ginger garlic tea.  I don't remember if the tea was intended for my Baci or for someone who was starting to feel ill by my Baci's bedside. Anyway, the tea Sheila concocted for us many years ago is still a family home remedy whenever we begin to feel sick.  I will warn you, it's potent.  It may even border on the line of offensive in smell, taste, and from the burning sensation you may experience as it is going down, but it works.

For ginger garlic tea: boil a 1" piece of chopped ginger and a few cloves of diced garlic in water for about 20 minutes.  Then strain the tea and serve the hot liquid immediately with honey. You will need the honey to cut into the potency of the ginger and garlic.  Besides, honey is good for you when you are feeling under the weather. 

Needless to say, I made and drank several cups of this pungent tea Saturday and Sunday and I no longer have that tickle in my throat.  I am not saying this tea will cure everything, but it sure seems to help at the first sign of an itchy, scratchy throat, or at the beginning of a cold for my family.