Thursday, August 12, 2010


So what in the world am I doing now?  Not enough of the above, unfortunately.  I am hitting the books again.  And the messy classroom.  And computer workshops dragging me into the 21st century with VoiceThreads, Skitch, Google docs and Moodle.  Don't know what those are?  Moi non plus-- me either, well, just barely.  Oh where oh where did summer go?  I am thrilled to see my colleagues again, though, and hear about what they've been up to the past three months.  Learning to captain a sailboat, driving up to Maine, getting a child settled back into North Carolina after being too far away in Texas (and meeting her boyfriend!), spending the summer on Lake George, healing a broken arm and just hanging out on the farm.
The beginning of a new school year is exciting and challenging.  I look forward to the busy-ness.  I like routines.  I am a creature of habit.  I feel old admitting that, but it's true.  In another month we will all be wondering if we really had summer vacation because we will be back into our Monday-Friday mode.

But until then, I will enjoy getting caught up with my colleagues/friends, writing up lesson plans, trying to figure out how to integrate some of this really cool technology into my curriculum, begin planning the March trip to France with my 8th graders, and spiffing up my room.
High school-age son is a senior.  My baby (he would die if he saw that).  We'll make a few road trips to look at schools (UT-Knoxville?  Where did that come from?) and send him off to the mountains of NC for Senior Challenge.  College-age son is a senior, too.  We will help him move into the house he is sharing this year with three friends.  He is beginning to send out e-mails to independent schools with internship programs.  My mom found a cookbook for him called A Man, A Can, A Plan by David Joachim.  I have even tried a couple of the recipes.  Not too bad.  Will he actually use it?  That remains to be seen.  He did teach me how to make perfect iced tea this summer.  And high school-age son was my sous-chef at the beach when we made Shrimp and Grits, one of his favorite dishes.  We played around with the recipe, adding grilled andouille sausage and everyone liked the results. 

So, no tears (at the moment).  I will enjoy every minute (well, most of them) of the time left with them at home and keep cooking for them.  What else can a mom do?

Hot Tamale Pie
(8 servings)

1-1/2 lbs. extra lean ground beef
14-oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
11-oz. can corn with peppers, drained
16-oz. package prepared polenta
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2-oz. can sliced black olives, drained
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 c. shredded pepper Jack or sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 375F.  In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef and onion until browned.  Drain.  Add the tomatoes (with juice), tomato paste, corn, olives and chili powder.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then scrape into a 2-1/2 quart baking dish. Cut the polenta lengthwise into quarters, then slice across the quarters into wedges 1/4-inch thick.  Scatter over the meat and top with the cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything's bubbling.

Bon appétit, my men!

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