Cooking During the School Year

There’s no denying that if you’re someone who loves to cook, you’re going to enjoy the process of meal planning, looking up recipes, and the actual process of assembling a meal.  And then there are people like me who really despise the whole process.

I enjoy looking at finished meals, but I don’t enjoy anything else about getting from picture to final product.  This becomes a real issue when it comes to heading back to school.  During the summer, I keep fairly busy, but I can come and go as I please in the kitchen, plopping ingredients in the crockpot with little forethought.  Going back to work on Wednesday has caused me to pause and reevaluate the way meal preparation will go heading forward.

One of my August goals was to preplan meals in advance.  I have been pretty good about this, but now that the 8:00-4:00pm schedule is about to hit my husband and I, it’s important that I change my approach.

Things to consider:

  1.  Dinner planning is easy: crockpot to the rescue
  2. I can’t really do leftovers because microwaves are not easily accessible at my school
  3. I will be the only one who is bringing a lunch because my husband’s new school provides lunches to their staff (lucky!)


An absolute MUST in planning meals is Pinterest.  I simply search “Easy” “Crockpot” “Recipes” and the rest is history.

 Crock Pot Chicken Gyros

Honey Chicken Sesame Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

Orange Chicken

And I’m planning on A LOT of leftovers!


These meals need to be smaller, piecemeal, and require only refrigeration at most.  I’m so glad I invested in a mini fridge for my classroom!

Stock Items:

  • Yogurt
  • Kashi Granola Bars
  • Cheese Stick
  • Whole-wheat wraps
  • Whole-wheat crackers
  • Apple Slices/PB


“Bunny Veggie Wraps”


Less and More in 2015

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions.  We love to love and hate you.  I love to make them, but I get frustrated because I want certain outcomes, but don’t always know how to make them happen.  For example, I am trying to lose those last few pounds and keep them off; how original.  I feel like I’m pretty healthy as it is, so what else is there left to do but stay consistent?  I want to read more books, but how will I actually incorporate that time into my day?  Create everyday.  Sooooo…create everyday?  Oy!  Aaaaaand now I’m overwhelmed.


While sifting through blog postings about New Year’s Resolutions, I came across Erika’s “Less & More in 2015” from All Things E.  Her process of developing her own resolutions led her to creating two lists: Less and More.  How simple.  How complete.  THANK YOU!200 (1)

In 2015, I want less of these things in my life:

  • Negativity – I want to let go of trivial things and do so in a faster, lasting manner.
  • Skipping days at the gym
  • Nighttime snacking
  • Artificial sweeteners

In 2015, I want more of these things in my life:

  • Reading time.  My goal is to read 50 books this year.
  • Genuine interactions with people.  Technology is a facilitator, not a replacement.
  • Gratitude Lists
  • Creative Outlets – My bullet journal and new crafting room will make this possible.
  • Cooking at home
  • Daily flossing – time to be an adult, I guess

Love of Language: Mark Twain’s “Corn-Pone Opinions”


I have a confession to make.  I have never read a Mark Twain novel, even the biggies: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  It isn’t because I don’t have respect for Mark Twain, it’s just that I was never provided the opportunity throughout my own education, nor have these two novels been incorporated into any of the curriculums that I have taught from.  I have read the short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” but admittedly, that is the beginning and ending of my Mark Twain exposure.

As I switch off my University of Cincinnati Student hat to my AP Lang fedora, I have stumbled upon my next encounter with Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  Our current unit presents the topic of popular culture, and while one may not think about a novelist and essayist from the 1800s as someone whom should be included, after reading his essay, “Corn-Pone Opinions,” I dare say that it is the very site in which the conversation should begin.


If we consider what makes a trend, a fad, a fever catch fire, and by definition agreed upon the masses, popular culture’s definition is: the mutually agreed upon qualification of…something.  Twain’s purpose for writing this essay is two fold: A.) To define what a corn-pone opinion is, and B.) that all corn-pone opinions are based upon the need for people to seek out other’s approval; politics, religion, morals not being excluded from topics that are directly influenced by corn-pone opinion development.


Corn-Pone Opinion: (Noun) Broadly speaking, it stands for self-approval.  An opinion based upon the assimilation of thought to conform to the majority in hopes of receiving approval

It’s not my goal to debate his thesis, but to share with you the eloquence in which he supports himself.  Because of the nature of Advanced Placement Language and Composition, the need to analyze for rhetoric and purpose, appreciating how something is said and not its message, as well as my devotion to sharing my love of literature, I wish to share with you my four favorite quotes from this essay.

  1. A trend begins by someone changing the norm.  For six months (give or take depending on the part of the country you’re from) people laugh.  Six months later, people reconciled and the norm violation is accepted and admired.  No one laughs.
  2. Public opinion resented it before, public opinion accepts it now, and is happy in it.  Why was the resentment reasoned out?  Was the acceptance reasoned out?  No.  The instinct that moves to conformity did the work.  It is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist  What is its seat?  The inborn requirement of self approval….But as a rule our self-approval has its source in but one place and not elsewhere – the approval of other people. 
  3. The matter of association and sympathy, not reasoning and examination; that hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon morals, politics, or religion which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies.
  4. Self-approval is acquired mainly from the approval of other people.  The result is conformity…I think that in the majority of cases it is unconscious and not calculated; that it’s born of the human being’s natural yearning to stand well with his fellows and have their inspiring approval and praise –  yearning which is commonly so strong and so insistent that it cannot be effectually resisted and must have its own way.


This is real corn-pone bread:


Corn-Pone Recipe

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