Monday, February 22, 2010

For Dinner - Pasta Spinach Casserole

Pasta Spinach Casserole tonight:  mix a pound of pasta cooked with a bunch of fresh chopped spinach thrown right in the boiling water, with an egg beaten with 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Then mix 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and Italian herbs into the bowl of pasta, spinach and egg.  Layer in a 9x13 pan with, first half a jar of spaghetti sauce, half the pasta, some mozzarella and parmesan cheese to cover, then the rest of the sauce, the rest of the pasta, and more mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (take foil off last 10 minutes).

Instead of layering this in a pan you could just mix it all up (with half the cheeses), and freeze it in one or 2 ziplock bags.  When ready to cook, thaw it, dump it in a pan, put more cheese on top and bake it for 60-75 minutes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things I Need

As I was out taking a walk today, on this the first sunny not quite so cold day in forever, I was thinking of the things I cannot do without, in no particular order  . . . .

I need sunny days to be outside in for at least a bit.

I need to touch living soil -- unpaved earth.

I need to be near living water -- the ocean, a river, the tiny pond in my yard.

I need time to just vegetate, read, think, drink tea . . . .

I need to talk to friends, face to face.

I need a large kitchen window, looking out on at least a tree, some flowers, and bird feeders. 

Wow -- I think I get just about all of these things at least once a week -- sometimes every day for days at a time!  Not a bad life at all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Dinner

A yummy easy stir fry for dinner, seeing that it's Chinese New Year as well as Valentine's Day. Orange Flavor Stir Fry Beef with Asparagus, Carrots, Celery and Cashews.

First thinly slice some beef (I used about a pound of eye of round that was on sale for about $2.30 a pound, a good price for beef with virtually no waste). I sprinkled it with some meat tenderizer and mixed up a marinade of soy sauce, some grand marnier (because I found some in back of the cabinet -- the recipe called for sherry, but I had none -- any kind of acid or alcohol would do I think), a bit of salt and some honey. I thinly sliced up about half a red onion, 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks and some asparagus, the first of the season in that it was under $2 a pound! I heated up some oil in my big fry pan, stir fried the onions and then thew in the meat and stir fried it. I removed all of that and then put in the veggies. Meanwhile I had a sauce of soy sauce, orange juice, honey, some chinese chili garlic sauce, and some cornstarch. When the veggies were stir fried I put the meat and all of its juices and marinade back in, along with the sauce, and cooked until it thickened. I added the cashews right before serving. With rice of course.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Next Year's Homeschooling Plans

Well, I finally have some time to sit down and actually write something for this blog I set up some time ago! Since I have been pondering what to do for next year homeschooling-wise for my 2 daughters that are still at home, I thought I would write about my thoughts on that. They will be 13 and 17 next school year, in 7th and 11th grades.

For many years we have been using Sonlight Curriculum, a literature based history focused curriculum that can be used for a range of ages. So between 4 daughters I have covered the various eras 2 and 3 times already. My high schooler needs to cover American History this coming year to meet high school requirements, however I am reluctant for my youngest to cover American History next year when (1) we are finishing up a world history cycle this year, which has a strong component of American History and (2) she'll have to do American History in just a couple of years at the high school level anyways and I want to save the American History materials that I'll be using with my high schooler for then.

So -- I've decided that my 7th grader will focus on U.S. Geography. We will be using Trail Guide to U.S. Geography by Cindy Wiggers, using a notebook method, along with Time for Kids Our Fifty United States, Kids Learn America (an activity kind of book), Cooking Up U.S. History (which has a section organized by geographic regions and has good reading lists of fiction and non-fiction books from which we will draw some literature and supplimental books), and of course our fabulous National Geographic Family Atlas and the World Almanac and Book of Facts.

My high schooler will be doing American History, using Joy Hakim's History of Us, along with supplimental books and PBS programs. She will likely participate in our geography studies also, perhaps to the degree of receiving a half or full credit in geography. She will also be doing American Literature, utilizing the literature portion of Sonlight's Core 400 program, most of which I already own since her older sister did this 6 years ago.

I'll do a separate post about my thoughts on science (if I ever come to some conclusions!).