Thursday, June 30, 2011


Pike Place Market
It has been a crazy week. I left last Saturday for Seattle and I don't think I have stopped since. Seattle was pretty great. I love the west, mostly I love Colorado, especially Boulder, and Seattle to me was certainly comparable. I went to Seattle to attend a conference and also to accept the RAMP award that my school earned this year. Saturday night I met up with my friend Nancy from grad school and we ate at Pike Brewing Company. I will spare you the boring details of the ASCA conference and skip to the good parts. First I went and visited the Pike Place Market. I loved this place the most in Seattle. It had so much good stuff...including the fish throwers, beautiful flowers, yummy food, and Oprah's best macaroni and cheese. The is also the home of the very firt Starbucks. We also did the Duck Tour of Seattle in the afternoon before having some dinner at The Crab Pot. I really liked doing the duck tour because we got to see a lot very quickly, and learned some stuff I would have probably never known. The coolest part was when we went out on the water and saw all the house boats and floating homes in Seattle.

Seattle Skyline from the Duck Tour

Seattle was surprisingly amazing in the weather department. I was expecting rain and coldness, but it was pretty much the perfect temperature and sunny the majority of the time. We had our awards dinner on Monday night. It was pretty nice and it was really great that one of my friends from grad school got the award at the same time...definitely didn't see that coming 3 years ago. I got up really early Tuesday morning before I had to go home and went over to the Space Needle to check that out. I'm really hoping to go back on my way to Alaska one day :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Turkey Burgers!

Mostly I eat regular red meat cow burgers, but we happened to have some turkey so I googled "turkey burgers" to try to make things more interesting. I combined a couple of recipes to get this:

Ground turkey
Granny Smith apple
Fresh mozzarella
Spices of your choice (I just used salt and pepper)
Burger buns

Slice fresh mozzarella (one slice for each burger you need) and set aside. Combine ground turkey with diced granny smith apple. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Shape into burger patties. Once you have burgers shaped, separate the patty in half, put mozzarella inside and reshape the patty around the cheese. Grill and serve on a burger bun, or with no bun! And there you have it, a new burger for your summer cookouts!

In other news...I'm going to Seattle this weekend for a conference/awards dinner! I get to see a grad school friend too! Look for some Seattle stories next week. Babysitting is going well thus far. I hope we aren't in the honeymoon stage. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Babysitting?!?!

Remember when I posted last Friday in my excitement that summer vacation had finally arrived? Well my day, seriously one day, of leisure is today. This summer I have decided to take a job babysitting three girls, elementary age no less. Not that working in the summer is something new for me, but this is alll summer, alll day. I have heard a lot about how I'm crazy for working when I don't have to, but I have to believe that this is somewhat mindless and easy compared to my real job. My new friends (who I don't know and have met once) are on swim team and LOVE the pool. Considering I have had a pool regimen in past summers for getting ample sun and outside time, I figure we are the perfect match. I have looked into some other activities including free bowling and movies. I will also be making my debut in Fairfax Corner as one of the fellow nannies. It should no doubt be an interesting summer. So wish me luck tomorrow on my first day, fingers crossed.

Yes, friends this means my retirement from Summer Study in Boulder is official. Shocking, I know. I thought I might start to regret my decision to fore go my Colorado summer, but that has not happened. Although I will miss those beautiful flatirons and my yearly visit with my good friend Jordan. I will not miss sleepless nights, no air conditioning, and 200 high schoolers. Here's to a hopefully long and fun summer :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

East End Brewery

Matt and I took a quick trip to Pittsburgh over the weekend. Mostly due to the tragedy that I have called my hair the past few weeks. It needed to be fixed and apparently the only people who can listen to my very explicit instructions practice their hairstyling talents in Pittsburgh. We decided to make a trip to East End Brewing Company. My aunt and uncle go here every so often and I thought it was a something a little different to do, but still Pittsburghish so we went. First of all, it's in the hood. And I mean the hood which made it that much more interesting. It's very hole in the wall which you can kinda tell from the pictures. You can just do as you please and taste as much beer as you want for free. They also have root beer and ginger ale. We ended up getting two growlers of the Monkey Boy and one of ginger ale. I highly recommend visiting this establishment.

We made a couple other stops on our trip including visiting my cousin while she was working at Pamela's. It's famous for it's pancakes. And if you know me, you know I can't even stand the sight of pancakes. These looked different so I tried them...the banana walnut variety. I have to admit they were pretty good. Until I got about half way through the second one and my body was like...pancakes?!!? We continued our little jaunt through Oakland (home of Pitt) with a tour of the nationality rooms in the Cathedral of Learning. I hadn't done this since I was in elementary or middle school for a field trip. It was interesting to go back. All in all a very excellent start to the summer.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Behold: The traditional Bennett Wave. 

I want you to know the teachers on the sidewalk look the same as the kids hanging out the windows on their busses. You know what this means? Yes, that's's out for summer! Obviously, I'm thrilled, but it is always a little bittersweet seeing the 5th graders graduate and seeing everyone get older. Let's be honest though...summer is great. This was a very different year. Lots of new staff, not working with good friends, not being so new anymore. It flew by and I think it's because I have found a much better work/home balance. I use to be at Bennett or working on Bennett stuff all of the time, but I have become a lot better this year about leaving work at work. I need to set some really good goals for next year so I will be thinking about those over the summer. I will also be going to Seattle next weekend and to Maine in August. Possibly one of my more interesting summer plans is what I am calling "adventures in babysitting". More on this later. Summer plans anyone?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberries Galore! And the Recipe of the Week!

On Saturday Matt and I went to Hollin Farms. This was a Jeopardy date planned by Matt. We had a fun filled morning picking strawberries and some snow peas. It was quite an adventure. We started out picking strawberries. It was some hard work. The strawberries hide and you have to dig through the plant to actually find berries. And these berries were tiny compared to good old Wegman's, but we still ended up filling 3 quarts of berries. We had so many berries that there was no way we could eat all of them before they went bad...the solution? Strawberry Pie. Also known as the recipe of the week below! After we were finished with berries we moved on to snow peas were were much easier to pick. They were also delicious. We had them for dinner that night and I still am wishing we picked more. I would love to go back later in the summer to pick through some of their summer crops. 

This was not a glamourous activity

Before we get to the recipe...I would just like to note my strawberry pie debacle. When we went to eat the pie Saturday night I was trying to get it out of the pan and it was nearly impossible. This is when I first noticed that I never baked the pie crust. Seriously? This is why I'm not a baker, I prefer cooking food. I have never been so thankful that pie crusts come in sets of two. 

Strawberry Pie:


  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Directions

  • Arrange half of strawberries in baked pastry shell. Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours before serving. 

Doesn't look the most appetizing, but it was pretty good.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Back in January my school had a Bingo Night. We do this every year as a fundraiser and it is no lie my favorite activity ever. I get to share the Bingo calling responsibilities with the assistant principal and we have a ridiculous time calling those numbers. This year they added a silent auction to Bingo Night to raise some more money. The staff was asked to offer themself and an activity that the students could do with them for families to bid on. I sold myself, along with ice cream making. One of the families "bought" me, but we waited until this past week when it was HOT to make the ice cream. We went with plain vanilla, but added some chocolate, sprinkles, and a ton of whipped cream. So here is our vanilla ice cream recipe and a silly picture!

Vanilla Ice Cream:

Use a hand mixer to combine 1 cup, well chilled, whole milk and 3/4 cup sugar. Stir in 2 cups heavy cream and 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour the mixture in the freezer bowl (I have an old school Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker) and let mix until thickened.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Life and Times of HP

HP = Harry Potter. I love him. It's a new love. When the Harry Potter books started coming out however many years ago that was I kind of protested reading them. I mean, wizards and witchcraft, seriously? Not somthing that I would be interested in. In fact, I relentlessly teased one of my college roommates for having a Harry Potter poster hanging in her room...although that still may have been warranted. Well things have changed. My co-workers convinced me around Thanksgiving time that I really need to read HP. So I checked them out of the BES library and read the Sorcerer's Stone in just one day. It was great. I decided I would go ahead and read the whole series. I was no doubt addicted after that first book. I have just finished reading the series and was crushed (no lie) when Dumbledore died. I couldn't get over it for a good couple of days. I went to school the next day and begged the librarian to tell me that he faked his own death...turns out he didn't. And I hate when series/books end because it's like well now what's Harry doing? Ugh. The life of a reader! Thanks, J.K. I'm really, really hoping for her to do another book. I also keep begging Matt to take me to the Hogwarts in Florida. Doesn't look hopeful. I did get him to read the first book, though. I think you should read it to! Go get it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

City Garden

The garden of 709

Well if you know me at all, or you read this blog, you might know that I really like food. I also like cooking. And this may seem off topic, but I really want a dog. Well when pets are prohibited in 709 and when you live an apartment in general dogs seem a little out of the question. What is the solution? In my book, plants, food growing plants especially. I decided that this summer I should have a garden. Another daunting task when you have only an apartment to be working with. When we first moved in (as you may remember from this post) Matt and I adopted the diva of a lemon tree to the right. I am happy to say it's still living after many fights and pep talks (between me and the tree). In April we added an earth box (in the back) with a tomato, red pepper, and a strawberry. We also have an herb box with sage, basil, and cilantro. This picture was taken a few weeks ago, and since then my precious cilantro has met an untimely death, but on the bright side the lemon tree is fuller and the tomato and strawberry plants are sprouting fruit. I'm very exciting to eat these products. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Caprese Pasta

Alright, so again I have no real measurements or recipe for this. After coming home from California the motivation to spend even a little bit of time cooking was daunting. That combined with the fact I actually had to work my day job and go to the grocery store on virtually no sleep made it a lot worse so this little gem was my solution. I absolutely love tomato and mozzarella. I also absolutely love my city garden which you will hear about in the future. So I combined my loves and lack of sleep and this was the product. 

I just cooked up some angel hair and while that was boiling I cut up some fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes. I tossed the angel hair in olive oil and crushed garlic and added some salt and pepper. I topped the pasta with my tomato and mozzarella and cut up some of my garden's basil to finish it off. Delicious!