Archive for September, 2009

Pesto & goat cheese pizza

September 23, 2009

Last night David and I made pizzas. One of the pizzas we made is very similar to the veggie pizza recipe I already posted. This pesto and goat cheese pizza was my favorite, though. Since we didn’t have time to wait for dough to rise, we used the garlic & herb dough we’d bought at Trader Joe’s.


  • Pizza dough (enough for  a 12″ pizza)
  • Pesto (ideally homemade, but we got ours at the store)
  • Fresh goat cheese, sliced
  • 1 8-ounce package of shredded mozzarella cheese (we got non-fat)
  • 1/4-1/2 sliced tomato


Roll out the dough, spread the pesto on top, add the other ingredients!

Apple crisp

September 23, 2009

I made this on Sunday since David and I picked so many apples on Saturday. It’s a delicious Fall in New England dish!


  • 6 or so medium/large apples (Cortland apples work really well)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon cinnamon


  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter


>>Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1) Peel and slice the apples. The apples should be sliced fairly thin and don’t need to be cut in half.

2) Place the apples in a glass baking dish (approximately 13×9″). Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar in the apples and toss them around so that the apples are evenly covered.

3) Mix the oats, brown sugar, and flour, then add the melted butter.

4) Spread the oat topping evenly over the apples.

5) Cook for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Capture the Flag

September 23, 2009

Today in advisory, my group was playing capture the flag against another 9th grade advisory. We were totally into the game. I LOVE capture the flag and am pretty sneaky. I made it onto the other team’s side and was about to free three of my students from jail when someone yelled out, “THE TEACHER IS ON OUR SIDE!!!” A 9th grade boy  went to tag me, but pushed a little too hard and fell on top of me. I ended up flat on my stomach with a tall boy on top of me.

I tried to brush it off, but there were still lots of “YOU TACKLED MS. R? SHE’S SO LITTLE! HOW COULD YOU?!?! YOU’LL NEVER PASS ENGLISH NOW!” comments. The boy who tackled me was incredibly apologetic and probably a little mortified. He’s a really nice kid.

I went to the nurse and got bandaged up nicely. There are cuts on my stomach and what I’m sure will be bruises (a little nausea too), and a really big bleeding/oozing wound located on my left arm. Battle scars!

The worst part, though, is that after all this my advisory didn’t even win!!

ear piercing

September 21, 2009

today i successfully stopped a student poised to pierce another student’s ear in the hallway with an unsterilized needle. i rock!

it’s been a long day. too many days are ending with headaches lately.

Vegetarian moussaka

September 20, 2009

This picture isn't so great, but really, this is amazing!

This is the dish my dad made for my mom’s birthday. It is SOOOO good. It looks like it was a lot of work, but I think it’s totally worth it. Thanks to my dad for sending the recipe (and letting us take home the leftovers).


  • 1/2 bag dried lentils
  • 1 large or 2 medium sized eggplants
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley
  • 2-3 tbs butter
  • 5 tbs flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


1) Wash the lentils and put them into a pot (they will expand a bit when they cook, so make sure it’s big enough). Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain but reserve a little of the cooking liquid.

2) Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Salt it and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Arrange slices in an oiled pan, brush with oil on top. Roast in 400 degree oven until softened and slightly browned.

3) Saute the chopped onion in about 1 tbs olive oil until soft. Add the celery and garlic and saute a little longer. Add the parsley, the tomatoes and their juice, and some of the liquid from the lentils if it seems dry. Simmer for a few minutes.

4) Spread half of the lentil mixture in the baking pan. Top with half of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese. Repeat with the rest of the lentils and eggplant.

5) Make a white sauce — melt the butter, add the flour and cook for a minute, add the milk gradually whisking as you go. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. When the sauce has thickened, add most of the remaining Parmesan cheese and take it off the heat. Stir in the beaten egg and the nutmeg. Spread the sauce over the top of the pan. Sprinkle with any remaining Parmesan cheese.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the moussaka is bubbly and slightly browned on top.

Mom’s birthday & fruit picking

September 19, 2009

As you know from the last two posts, yesterday was my mom’s birthday. My parents, David, Carol, Jeff, and I went to my grandfather’s for dinner. My dad made a DELICIOUS meal (I’m hoping to post the recipe here soon). It was a really nice evening.

It's a little blurry, but such a cute picture of my mom and David.

Wait, we all look good??

My mom is so passionate about the story she is telling!

The cakes I made!

Today was a cool day, probably the coolest one this fall (mid 60s). David and I went fruit picking at Brookdale Farm. It was crisp and felt amazing to be outside. The sky was so blue. I really love fall–it is beautiful and there’s a certain excitement in the air. As my sister recently wrote in an email to me, “It’s funny, I think that I have residual back-to-school feelings. The air has already started to turn cool, and I feel the angst and excitement of transition! Will I always feel this way come September?”

We picked raspberries, blueberries, and apples (Cortland, Fiji, Gala, and Honey Crisp). David and I can’t remember). I’m hoping to make apple crisp tomorrow if I can get through some of this grading… Whenver I go to rural NH I wonder why it is that I want to move to a large city. And I think David may love the trees and winding roads even more than me.

Toffee Crunch Torte

September 19, 2009

This is the other cake I made for my mom’s birthday. It is also adapted from Swedish Cakes and Cookies.The bottom is a meringue and for some reason it really stuck to the bottom of my pan. I think that the reason it stuck to the pan is because I didn’t let it cool completely before adding the ice cream mixture. Even though we didn’t really get to eat the bottom layer of the cake, it was still delicious!


  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1 bag of Heath bar crunch (can be purchased in the baking aisle, or you could break up 4-5 toffee crunch bars, such as Skor or Heath), plus extra for garnishing
  • Malted milk balls or another candy for garnishing


>>Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

1) Toast the nuts in a dry, hot frying pan. Make sure to constantly mix the nuts, or they may burn!

2) Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar and beat until thick and glossy. Stir in the nuts.

3) Grease and flour a 9″ circular cake pan.

4) Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Cook on a center rack for 45 minutes. ALLOW TO COOL COMPLETELY!

5) Let the ice cream soften a little bit. Fold the Heath mix (or crushed candy bars) into the ice cream.

6) Spread the ice cream on top of the meringue, smoothing the top.

7) Cover with foil and freeze for at least 5 hours. (I made this several days in advance–it keeps really well!)

8) Decorate with extra Heath bar and malted milk balls before serving.

Almond-Lemon Cake

September 19, 2009

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. I couldn’t decide between two different cakes, so I made both! This recipe comes from the cookbook Swedish Cakes and Cookies, which my sister gave me. It’s a really light cake (if we are like-minded, it’s a perfect cake to eat for breakfast!).


  • 2/3 cup butter, softened (I reduced to 1/2 cup, or 1 stick)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (maybe a little less) chopped almonds
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice


>>Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1) Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2) Add the eggs and beat well.

3) Add the lemon zest and milk.

4) Add the flour and baking soda. Beat until the ingredients are well-mixed.

5) Pour into a 9 or 10″ cake round cake pan that is greased and floured. Bake on a lower oven rack for 35-40 minutes. If you stick a fork or toothpick into the cake, it should come out dry.

6) Beat the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle/spread over the cake while it’s still warm. Sprinkle the almonds on top.

new home, Squam Lake, my grandfather skydives!

September 13, 2009

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated. Between the start of school and moving, I have been totally exhausted and haven’t had much time for anything. Today, though, I am making good decisions: frolicking, baking cakes, updating my blog, and ignoring boxes, planning, and grading.

We spent some time during the week packing, and quite a bit of time on Friday (which I had off). On Saturday, we took the day off and went to my friend Sam’s parents’ lakehouse, on Squam Lake. We had a really great time swimming, boating, and eating lots of delicious food.

Sam took these wonderful photos:

On Monday, Labor Day, we moved in to our new apartment. My childhood friend who I’ve known since I was two, Sarah, came and helped out, though we also hired movers. I was excited to move–to start over in a new place–but it was a little sad. It had just started to really feel like home. That night, my principal and his wife, who’s a Language Arts teacher at the middle school, stopped by and brought us cookies. It was the nicest thing and I smiled about it for hours.

These are photos I took of our old apartment during the week before we moved:

We really miss our rooftop deck.

View from our deck. The trolly tracks went right by us.

Sarah took this of David and me on moving day. We're on our deck (the yellow building).

Our new apartment (I don’t have a lot now, but will take more soon-ish, when we’ve finished unpacking):

This is the entryway when you come into the building. (You can see the front doors in the back of the photo.) Sorry these next few ones are blurry... I was totally embarrassed to be taking photos.

More entryway!

Seating area by the elevator. David hates it... it does sort of feel like a hotel. You can see the art gallery/function room in the back left corner.

Our new apartment! 17' windows!

It's a really open design. I took this picture from the kitchen (you can see the counter).

It's an open concept. This picture I took from the kitchen (hence the counter).

We’ve moved into the same building as our friends (one is an English & Spanish teacher at the high school with me, his wife teachers science at the middle school). They had us over for dinner on Thursday. It’s really nice having friends as neighbors!

I also much mention — happy 85th birthday to Papa R, who celebrated by skydiving last week (he’s a bit more of a risk taker than me…)! My parents went to Texas to celebrate his birthday and were a bit alarmed when something went wrong with the parachute. Luckily they cut it away and the reserve chute worked!!

Here's Papa landing with the reserve chute. Evidently it was a rougher landing because the reserve chute is smaller.

My parents took this photo of Papa landing with the reserve chute. Evidently it was a rougher landing because the reserve chute is smaller.


September 4, 2009

David and I are moving on Monday, so we’ve been pretty busy packing. While packing my desk up, I found some spreadsheets from last year where I checked off students’ homework and often graded discussions. Scribbled around the edges (in addition to my absent-minded drawings of flowers, a lady bug and a birch tree) are some notes of things I didn’t want to forget.

While we were discussing Kerouac’s On the Road, students were fascinated by the relationship between Dean and Sal. They hated both of them and simultaneously admired both of them. I jotted down what one of my students said of Sal, “When he’s alone he shows a little bit of softness.” Yes, yes, yes! I keep rereading it and smiling…

I also wrote down three quotes from Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God that my 2nd period class found particularly beautiful:

“Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy, Janie. Ah’m a cracked plate” (20).

“Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (25).

“You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die” (138).

While I started the first week of school incredibly anxious, I felt pretty great yesterday afternoon–and I’ve almost learned all of their names!)

Okay, back to packing…