Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Eggplant Parmesan
This recipe is one of the most delicious I have ever posted. I am a huge eggplant fan, but have never taken the time to make it correctly by myself. This was 100% worth the time it took. I would say it took about 1.5 to 2 hours total. Definitely a weekend recipe. My only complaint is the time it took cause I wish I had the time to make it more often.

To make the eggplant:
2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
Salt and Pepper
4 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmesan
1 cup Flour
Olive Oil

  1. In a large bowl, toss half of the eggplant slices and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt; transfer salted eggplant to colander set over bowl. Repeat with remaining eggplant and salt. Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 45 minutes. Arrange eggplant slices on a triple layer of paper towels; cover with a triple layer of paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.
  2. While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-thirds of the oven, place rimmed baking sheets on both racks, and heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine. Beat eggs in second pie plate. Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour, dip in eggs, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Set breaded slices on wire rack set over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
  5. Remove preheated baking sheets from oven; add 3 tablespoons oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in single layer; bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 20 minutes. Do not turn off oven.
To make the sauce:
28 oz crushed tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
basil, salt, and pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden, about 3 minutes; stir in tomatoes. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil and season to taste.
To assemble:
8 oz mozzarella
1/2 cup parmesan

Top half the eggplant slices with mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven until melted. Meanwhile, place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange eggplant slices with mozzarella on top of sauce. Place another layer of eggplant on top of mozzarella. Place another thin layer of sauce on top of eggplant. There should be enough eggplant for one more layer. Sprinkle parmesan and one more thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle the remainder of mozzarella on top and bake in the over until cheese is melted. 

**Just FYI...I wanted my eggplant to be crunchy so I didn't layer with a whole lot of sauce. The layers in the baking step can be adjusted to how you would like your eggplant to turn out. I'm fairly certain anyway you do it will be delicious!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

School Days

Just a little update from the world of school counseling. Two conversations I had today are below.

Number One:
Me: Boys and girls, who knows what the yellow pages is?
Student: That's when you highlight the whole page and you aren't supposed to.
Me: Well that's creative.

And Number Two:
Student: Can I be in your friendship club?
Me: Do you really think you still have friendship problems?
Student: Yes, with ____.
Me: Well if you two would stop acting like divas and getting in each other's business all the time there wouldn't be a problem.
Student:Well you are always in everyone's business.
Me: Good point.

On separate note another season of Girls on the Run began today. I'm sure there will be some delightful running notes along the way, especially with my 25 eight to ten-year-old variables. I'll keep you posted, but in the meantime please share with any youth in your life about that antique in your home called the phone book.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Greek Pasta Salad
This pasta salad was my other contribution to our PSU tailgate a few weekends ago. I got the idea from some Greek Salad Skewers I made for my sister's bridal shower awhile ago. The recipe I'm about to give you made a ton of pasta salad so you might want to half it or quarter it depending on what you are making it for. Also, technically for it to be truly Greek you would need to throw some Kalamata olives in there, but I do not like olives in the least and I guess I was feeling selfish when I made this so I skipped them.

1 box shaped pasta
2 pints grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
6 oz. feta cheese

For the dressing:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup oregano

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Excitement Galore!

I haven't posted in forever! I have quite a few good reasons. Life has been exciting around here. Last Thursday was my birthday. Since Thursday is one of Matt's class days I was lucky enough to have my friend, Dana, accompany me to dinner that night. We went to one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Fairfax, Pad Thai. It's a tiny little place, but it's the best I have found in the Northern Virginia area. I made the fatal mistake of saying that I like spicy this time. And they were not joking with my food. It was out of control spicy, but still delicious. It also lasted 4 days cause I could only eat a little at a time. Friday, Matt and I went to Founding Farmers. Another favorite in DC.

I went to Philadelphia early Saturday morning for my friend Melissa's bachelorette party. I took the Megabus up. I survived and would potentially do it again, but it will never be my preferred method of travel. It was great to hang out with friends and have some girl time. Only three more weeks until the big wedding day!

And finally, probably the most exciting of all, my friend Nicole had her baby yesterday! I was so thrilled that all of BES was on baby watch most of the day. I got to meet baby Andrew tonight. He is fabulous and the whole family is doing great. I can't wait to see him again in a non-hospital environment.

While all of this excitement has been fun, I am more than ready to have a boring weekend at home this weekend. I need to seriously relax and get some sleep!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Ok so this looks totally disgusting. Bad photography. Trust me. This stuff is the bomb. Perfect for tailgates or just hanging out and watching football. This is one thing I made for our PSU tailgate hence the terrible presentation and it also had to be cooked in this container on a grill. It went through a lot. I use the Frank's Red Hot Recipe, but I typically make what their recipe calls for and then adjust until it tastes like I want it to. Mostly, I add a lot more hot sauce. So here you go friends!

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (you could also do ranch)
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz.) chunk chicken breast

Mix together and bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Nittany Lion
What I would not give to be in college again. Best four years ever. Wouldn't it just be so nice to have your biggest worry be an exam? Please send me back. For those of you who were worried...Matt has not been evicted. He enjoyed his Penn State time. I think he was even moderately excited during the game. We had a great weekend! We got to visit with my family, see live PSU football, and I got to spend some quality time on the PSU campus and a little bit of time walking around town early Sunday morning. And obviously we hit up the Creamery. There really is nowhere in the world like Penn State. It's my happiest place on Earth pretty much. I really could go on and on, but I'll just leave you with some pics :)

My family outside Beaver Stadium
Nittany Lion getting everyone pumped up

me and my sister

me and a hopefully converted Penn Stater

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Whole Wheat Pancakes
I hate pancakes! Some of you probably never thought you would see a pancake on my blog, but there's an occasion for everything, I guess. I made these during the alleged hurricane a few weeks ago. It was also the week Matt started grad school. I call this the grad school breakfast of champions. I used a recipe that I found on Peabody's blog, but did a few substitutions and I also cut it in half. I got about 4 pancakes out of it. I thought it was the perfect amount.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/8 cup well shaken buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp butter

Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, egg, butter, vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. It will be a little lumpy. Use a measuring cup to add batter to a hot skillet (well pammed). Wait until you see some bubbles rising and flip your pancake. I got four thin pancakes out of my batter. If I'm going to eat pancakes they need to be thin. I cut up whatever fruit was left in the house and found a very small sample of maple sugar pushed to the back of the cabinet. The first one was pretty good for this pancake hater, but I was over it halfway through number two. If you like pancakes though, I would recommend these!

On a very exciting note...we are headed to PSU today when Matt get home from work. I have the day off from school because of the crazy rains and flooding! I'm sure I will have exciting updates when I get back. Matt better love PSU or it might be grounds for separation, or at least eviction :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Where are you sunshine?!?! Today I went for the drowned rat look at BES. At the start of arrival there was no the end I would call it torrential downpour. I was the lucky one with no umbrella. Unfortunate. And not only this, but I also had a Kindergarten friend throw a lovely fit in the middle of the downpour. Nice that my dear sweet friend had a raincoat, but I was not so lucky. I did eventually find a clothes dryer and put what I could in there and was dry for the majority of the afternoon. However, my thick hair remained looking straight out of the shower all day long. Never a dull moment. And please let me mention that another Kindergarten friend was so upset today that when I gave him my sunshine stress ball to hold he accidently ripped off a ray of the sun and then proceeded to eat it. Again, accidently, I'm pretty sure. But I burst out laughing and asked him if he just really ate my sun. He started laughing too which cured the tears and all was well again. Unless you were the sunshine. Let's see what day three brings tomorrow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to School

Room 131
Well friends here is the outcome of work week (the part that's interesting to see and the non-paperwork junk). It appears my office is up and running for the next ten (yes it is actually ten and not nine as most people say) months. As you can tell I'm totally overflowing with stuff and have resorted to plastic bins on top of and underneath everything for storage, but overall I'm just glad my desk is yet to be stacked with paper piles. Another happy note from work week...a whole bunch of co-workers and myself went to HH on Thursday after work. It was a fabulous and very hilarious time. I'm hoping for at least a few more of these to keep things interesting this year. 

Right now they are calling for serious rain all week. I feel like this happens every single year. Does meteorology not understand just how painful the first week of school in torrential downpour can be? Getting confused and lost children off buses and to where they need to be is not fun in the rain. I don't expect to be dry the majority of the week. Cross your fingers for me this one gets lost, minimal tears, and no wrestling screaming children from their parents.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

White Pizza
I love white pizza! Ever since I was a little kid I would choose white pizza over regular. We use to have white pizza every Monday night when I was growing up. A local pizza place had it for half price every single Monday and my mom would pick it up on her way home. It was so good, however, much different from this white pizza. I buy the Wegmans pre-made pizza dough. It comes in a big ball in the refrigerator section. I definitely recommend this or going to a pizza place and asking to buy a ball of dough. We did this a couple times at the Italian Store in Arlington and it's equally as good. Just don't buy the nasty Pillsbury junk. Another tip: roll out the dough and cook it a little bit first. I made this pizza in the winter time and just topped the raw dough and cooked everything together. Not the brightest idea...there was a lot of mess and smoke alarm involved.

After you roll out your dough and its cooking in the oven (about 400 degrees until it starts to turn golden on top) mix up your "sauce." Now, you can do this anyway you want, but I do olive oil, tons of garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Pull your crust out of the oven and spread a thin layer of sauce across the top. I use slices of fresh mozzarella and plum tomatoes for topping along with some fresh basil. And because I always love some spice, a little crushed red pepper flakes. Pop it all back in the over until the cheese melts. I foresee some homemade pizza and football games in my future!