Tuesday, June 5, 2012
A few weeks ago I took the boys on a field trip to the Innerspace Caverns just north of Austin.
They were having a homeschool special day so we got discounts on the tour, gem mining etc. The boys had a fantastic time! They learned so much! I just wish we were studying geology but this came up after we had already started on the animal kingdom section.
The boys touching the 1 rock in the cave you are allowed to touch.
The caverns went down a LOONG way. Some places were kinda tight and then there were BIG areas like this. The farther we went down the more humid and hot it got. (and it was a cold day!)
Sooo the update...
Math: 10 days to multiplication mastery (we need to re-enforce the basics) Starting day 4 tomorrow.
History: Istanbul/ Turkey
English: figures of speech and contractions.
Science: continuing our Animal unit, learning about animal behavior
Art History: Continuing study on Impressionism, this week we will be creating our own impressionist paintings.
What we are reading together: Works of VanGogh (reading & studying the paintings)
Alec is reading on his own: Oliver Twist
I am reading on my own: Atlas Shrugged (I'll be reading this one for a while!) in preparation for part 2 of the movie coming out in October.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Now I am a chef at a shop that sells gourmet cheeses, and yes, we feature MANY different grilled cheeses on our menu. We recently changed things up on the menu and added some new ones. Out of all of them I think this one has become my favorite.
Bacon Jam is amazing stuff. Bacon is pretty awesome on it's own, bacon jam just kicks it up a few notches. Now I make our bacon jam from scratch for the kitchen. You can do it yourself, it is however time consuming. You can buy it from Amazon.com here , but $19.99 for only 7 oz (plus shipping) is VERY steep in my opinion. If you are in my neighborhood stop by Gourmage, We sell our special recipe (using high quality Raisin River apple wood smoked bacon) for WAAY less.
So back to the grilled cheese, First you want to seek out some really good multi-grain bread. You won't find anything good in the bread isle of your grocery store, all those loaves are too soft and squishy. Head over to the fresh bakery, or better yet if you have a good farmer's market close by or a good independent bakery check them out. I cannot stress how important the bread is. A grilled cheese is just a few ingredients, maybe 4 at the most, tops. All need to be the best you can find.
Next is the cheese. Now at work I make this with Chimay Grand Cru.
Chimay is a Belgium brie-like cheese. The rind is washed in the famous Chimay beer giving the cheese a yeast-y almost bread like finish. It is fabulously stinky, smooth and creamy. It is a great melting cheese, making it perfect for grilled cheese, fondue, mac and cheese, etc.
Next of course is the bacon jam. As I said before it is a long process to make it. The majority of the time tho (well how I make it anyway) it doesn't need your attention. I use the slow cooker to cook it. From start to finish it’s an all day job, but oh so worth it. Here are some links to a few recipes. In my recipe I do not use chipotle. I prefer for this application it tastes purely of the bacon.Slow Cooker Bacon Jam
Homesick Texan Bacon Jam Recipe -This one was the first one I made and while I LOVED the smokey spicy-ness of it, I felt it totally overpowered the cheese.
The trick to grilled cheese is to grill the bread on all sides. I use softened butter and smear all sides of the bread. Grill until the first 2 sides are browned and slightly crispy. Next spread on about 2 oz. of bacon jam (more or less depending on how large your slices are) and top with about 4 oz of the Chimay cheese (make sure to cut off the rind and slice in to thin-ish slices so it melts faster) Top with the other slice of bread (also browned and crispy on the 1 side) placing the un-grilled side up. Cook over med-high heat for about 4 minutes each side or until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted.
( I apologize for the lousy picture. I had to rush and this is what turned out. :( poo poo. But the sandwich was YUMMY)
A few other ideas for the bacon jam (if you decided to make it you will have a LOT of it. But fear not, it lasts a LOOOONG time as long as you keep it tightly covered in the fridge)
- Heat it slightly and smear it on a freshly made waffle.
- Breakfast sandwich. (biscuit or English muffin split open, smear of bacon jam and an over easy egg. I suppose you could do scrambled egg, but the runny yolk is so much more fun!)
- Smear on bread for a turkey sandwich instead of mayo.
- My FAVORITE BURGER: Good organic ground beef, stuff the center with Tallegio or Chimay and grill it. put a thick smear of bacon jam on top of the meat after you have flipped it and serve on a grilled bun.
- OR Mix some bacon jam in the ground beef!
- Mix it in your Mac & Cheese
- Bacon Jam, lettuce and Tomato sandwich :D
- Just a spoon is good too!
Recipe: Grilled Cheese with Chimay and Bacon Jam
2 slices good quality multi-grain bread
2 oz. bacon jam
4 oz. Chimay Grand Cru, rind removed
Spread butter on all 4 sides of bread. Cook on griddle over medium-high heat till browned. Spread bacon jam on one of the sides, top with cheese and place other slice of bread on top. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a cold beer. ;)
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Currently Alec is getting ready to compete in a home school science fair. He has been diligently working this past weekend on it. He hasn't written his report yet, nor have we started on his display. (YIKES!) I just pray he gets it done before Friday morning.
On the work front things have been going great. Had a photo shoot week before last with not 1 but 2 publications. If you are in the San Antonio area grab the April/May/June issue of TASTE magazine. My fresh chevre ice cream will be featured as well as some BEAUTIFUL pictures of cheeses from the shop. We also had our local paper come out and do a story on the candies we made for Valentine's day including strawberries and cream marshmallows. (they are SO GOOD!)
I made some Salted Caramel sauce that we added to the hot chocolate and we sold out EVERY DAY last week. Then I got a little naughty and made the breakfast special Irish Oatmeal topped with diced green apple and drizzled with the salted caramel sauce. HEAVEN in a mug!
So I had started this back a long time ago in an effort to get me to post more often, so I'll start it up again, tho this will be for last week
So last week we worked on:
Math: Beginning geometry (eek!!!) and of course practicing math facts (mostly addition and long division)
History: Asia/Hong Kong
English: Continuing unit on Poetry and Prose
Art History: Continuing study on Impressionism
What we are reading together: Masterworks of Monet (well, reading and studying the paintings)
Alec is reading on his own: Oliver Twist
I am reading on my own: Mockingjay (on the kindle app on my phone) I know I am totally late to the whole Hunger Games craze. My friend just got me started on it.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I have no clue.
I am sitting here tonight in the class room, by myself. The boys are sleeping, Derek is playing a video game downstairs (some new game that he has been glued to since he got it) and I am up here grading papers, organizing completed assignments, printing and clipping coupons. Feeling a bit annoyed. You know that saying "No man is an island", well I am feeling like an island tonight.
I know everything I have read about homeschooling says that you (as the mom) shouldn't count on your husband to be involved at all in the schooling. I am just feeling quite over-whelmed at the moment. My kitchen is a disaster, pile of dirty laundry is almost as tall as me, and of course I have a small stack of assignments to grade, grades to enter in the grade book, bathrooms that need cleaning, trash that needs to be taken out, and a thanksgiving dinner to plan. I won't get help with any of it, and Derek is angry with me about I am sure all of it.
I wish I could be like some of those other moms out there that can post about how they are proud of their dirty dishes, piles of dirty clothes and smelly bathrooms because it all means They are busy doing something more important and impressive.
My husband isn't impressed at what I accomplish in a day. He doesn't care that today I got 1 load of laundry done, gave Alec a history test, worked on a Science lesson with him, went to the bank, Target, Walgreens, HEB, put out a PTA drama fire, helped Cole with his homework, made dinner, swept the kitchen floor (not once but twice today) and paid the bills. None of that is impressive because there are still dishes in the sink. Frankly it drives me crazy too. But when it is 11 pm, and I have to prepare for school tomorrow, and I am just flat exhausted I almost feel guilty for needing sleep.
Well, I have taken enough of brake time, back to work grading papers, and perhaps I can get a load of laundry tossed in before I pass out from sheer exhaustion.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Well, yesterday was a day. It was a hard day to say the least. He just wasn't feeling it. It would take him 30 minutes to do 1 very short activity in his language arts booklet and fought it the entire way. He took so long to do 3 math problems. And every 5 minutes he needed to go to the bathroom, get a drink, re-sharpen his pencil, get a tissue, you name the excuse to not do his work and he tried it.
Yesterday I wanted to scream and rip my hair out.
I did not however. My hair and vocal cords are intact. Instead we closed the books, put them back on the shelf. He went to his room to read, build legos whatever. I went to my room, sighed heavily and prayed for a better day.
And today was better. Much better. He busted through his work and we were done by 12:30. I know now, every day can't be like today, or like they have been. We won't always finish on time, we won't always work all day. Not everything on my lesson plan will get done when I have scheduled it. I feel the pressure of needing him to have a perfect day every day, and get through all this work as quick as possible since he is a bit behind of where he "should" be. Should by whose standards? Well, that I need to let go of too. It's just us. In our homeschool there are no TAKS tests, or STAR tests. There is no model for him to live up to. It is more important to us that he actually understands what he is learning and retaining it rather than blowing through as many lessons as possible.
So that was my last heavy paragraph for the day. I promise.
I have been working on so many things the past week, it's crazy. At work last week I made Ricotta cheese, it was amazing. I never made cheese before, but came across a recipe from Nancy Silverton for ricotta. It looked so easy! and there was less than 5 ingredients! I made it at home this weekend and we have been eating it almost non-stop.
So 4 ingredients. That's it. Full fat milk, heavy cream, lemon juice and kosher salt.
You combine everything (don't stir) in a pot and place it over medium heat. bring it just to slow bubble. Remove it from heat and allow it to sit at room temp. for about 15 minutes. Use a solid spoon (not slotted) to spoon the curds and whey into a strainer lined with cheese cloth set over a bowl.
Let it drain for an hour or so on the counter, then you will get this:
I then tie it up so It can drain for the last hour in the fridge
After it is done this is what you get:
Creamy, thick and delicious! My personal favorite is to smear it on a toasted baguette piece, top with sliced strawberries and a little drizzle of really good balsamic vinegar or honey. Sunday night I made Derek and I calzones with it. At work we sampled it out with a drizzle of basil infused olive oil. DEE-LISH!
Here is a link to Nancy Silverton's recipe from Bon Appetit Ricotta Cheese
Next up Mozzarella cheese!!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Last night Derek and I had a little date night. His parents are visiting so they took the boys for the evening. We spent our fun date night going out to dinner (Jason's Deli ) and going to Office Max and Hastings. I got some organizational things for home school (binders and such) and was excited to find this book in the clearance bin at Hastings
It's a very cool book, a perfect addition to our art curriculum. This month we add another subject to our schedule. Last month we added English/Language Arts and so far it has been going great. This month we will be adding a more formal History/Geography curriculum (from Alpha and Omega). Alec has been doing just so good. He is so happy and back to his old self. A friend of mine sent me this picture, I printed it up last night and put it up in the class room.
It just made me think of Alec (and I think that is why she sent it to me).
Cole got his progress report from school, all A's. He was less than 10 points away from having 100's across the board. This is one proud mama! He loves math, everything is math and numbers. He quizzes us any chance he gets.
So that is us in a nutshell the past month or so. :) more to come
Monday, September 12, 2011
So this week we are working on:
Math: just reinforcing math facts and learning about Roman Numerals.
History: continuing our study of WWII. We will start this week on the Pacific front of the battle.
Current events: last week Alec chose a story about a local woman who celebrated her 100th birthday. It was touching and sweet. I loved how he called her a "young lady".
We are reading together: Diary of Anne Frank
Alec is reading on his own: Moby Dick
I am reading on my own: My life in France by Julia Child (on the kindle app on my phone)
Alec did awesome today on his own. Me working 2 days a week has really helped him learn self motivation. I leave him a list of assignments to complete by the time I get home from work (usually around 3pm). The first couple weeks he didn't get much done. He would spend the day playing with his Legos, reading (which I didn't mind at all) or sneaking television. But having to spend Saturday and Sunday doing school while his friends were playing wasn't too much fun so last Friday and today he got everything done on his list including his chores.
Cole as usual is doing awesome. All his work that has been coming home has been 100's. He has had 2 spelling tests since the first day of school and some "practice" tests. His spelling tests he got 104's on (because the teacher puts extra credit words on there that are hard ones and he gets them all correct.) The practice tests are all 100's as well. Last week I took him out for ice cream to celebrate. He was so sweet and invited his brother to go too.
Well I better wrap this up. It's 9:30, I can still hear the boys in their rooms playing. They are supposed to be sleeping (in a perfect world they would listen the first time) but I hear Legos instead. I gotta go get my lesson plan ready for tomorrow, review the math one more time, and come up with a fun activity to help Alec learn his vocabulary words for history.
Till next time y'all have a great night!