Baked Rice

Warning: This just might change your life.

Rice. A food staple the world over. Something so simple, yet so elusive. Why is it so hard to get it right? Look no further. I've finally discovered a fool-proof way to cook perfect, moist, fluffy rice. And it's actually quicker than the stove-top method. Seriously people, why am I just discovering this?

Baked Rice Method (for long-grain white rice): Preheat oven to 375. Just like stove-top rice you use a 2:1 water to rice ratio. Start by heating a bit of butter or olive oil in a sauce pan. Add rice (not water) and cook until fragrant and a little glassy looking, just beginning to toast. Add water and bring to a boil (which will happen quickly because the rice and pan are already so hot. Season it at this point. After it comes to a boil, cover, and put it in the preheated over for exactly 13 minutes. After 13 minutes, take it out and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork (because it will be fluffy), and serve!


So good we licked the plates.

It's interesting. When I was working at a desk, sitting all day, I would come home from work and sit more. Now that I'm on my feet all day, I actually come home with more energy. And I've been channeling that energy into cooking. So get ready for some food posts.

Tonight I made a delicious dinner. I modified this recipe and I want to share my version with you (because it's better ;). I served it with baked rice, which I'll share more about tomorrow and green beans. Yum!

Lick-the-Plate Chicken with Tomato Saute

2 chicken breasts
1 small container cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves*
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
dried tarragon
italian seasonings
2 Tblsp olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
small pat of butter

*You can also used chopped regular tomatoes, I added in one of our homegrown heirlooms today and it added a lot of flavor.

To prepare chicken, take one sheet of plastic wrap and sprinkle it with water. Place the chicken breasts on top of it and sprinkle with a little more water (the water prevents the chicken from tearing by reducing friction). Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and pound out the chicken breasts into an even 1/2-1" thickness with a meat pounder, rolling pin, or the bottom of a jar.

Spoon about a half cup of all-purpose flour on a plate. Mix in a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of tarragon and italian seasoning. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken directly in the flour-seasoning mixture and shake off the excess. When a sprinkling of flour sizzles in the oil, place the chicken in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the tomatoes to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper. As they let out juices, use a spatula to scrape up the burnt bits from the chicken. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until very soft and beginning to caramelize. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and add chicken back to the pan for about 5 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken a bit. Right before serving stir in a small pat of butter to finish the sauce and ENJOY! Like I said, we like this best with rice, it soaks up the delicious sauce perfectly.


Los Niños

(click to view large)


First Day/Classroom Pictures

I can't believed I've crossed the first-day milestone! Today went so well. Thank you for the prayers! I start out this week with only middle school classes and will add the rest of the grades next week. The middle schoolers come separated boys and girls (GREAT idea). Today was just the tip of the iceberg, but first impressions are that the 6th grade boys are polite and eager, if not a little sleepy at 8:30. The 6th grade girls are hilarious. The 7th and 8th grade boys are chatty, but super enthusiastic, willing to use a lot of Spanish. And the 7th and 8th grade girls were very well behaved and bright! I am praying that the enthusiasm continues throughout the year. Some highlights included catching a 6th grade girl, unprovoked, taking notes on everything I had labeled and everything  I said in spanish throughout the class on her name tag. Way to go above and beyond! On the flip side, another highlight was a 4-year-old baby girl telling me in the hall that "I ain't goin' to your classroom, and I ain't learnin' no spanish." Hate to break it to you sweetie . . . Adding K4-5th next week should be interesting!

Here are some pictures of the classroom that Kristen, a friend and student's mom took this morning. Hopefully tomorrow I'll snag some pictures of the kids. They are ADORABLE.


Back to School!

Sorry for the long, iced-coffee-filled absence! Thanks for sticking with me. There is a good reason for my lack of blogging . . .




School starts tomorrow! It has been a whirl-wind couple of weeks trying to get my classroom ready and my mind wrapped around a plan for how to teach Spanish to 4 year olds all the way up to 8th graders. There have definitely been some stressful moments, but going into tomorrow, I feel good. A surprising lack of stress. I've learned over the few months of trying to get ready, thanks to some good advice, to be flexible and graceful with myself. Now I'm just looking forward to meeting the kids. Having them in my classroom finally, will be a much needed reminded that they are what all this craziness is really about. I'll start the day tomorrow and every morning with by 6th grade boys class! What a way to start the day! So please be praying for me tomorrow. For energy, peace, and a heart that would be set on Christ's glory and loving my students.

I brought a camera to school today to take a picture of my classroom for you guys, but I forgot to take it, so it'll have to wait for tomorrow! (Rest assured, thanks to a little help from my friends, it looks awesome!)