Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Biggest Loser Status and Broccoli Mushroom Bites

It's been a while since I posted here, so some things have changed in my life.  I'm running again, eating clean, and I became the Biggest Loser at my school by releasing 12 pounds in 9 weeks!  I won some cash in a pool that all the contestants put up at the beginning of the contest.  So, yeah.  Now, I'm totally loaded.

Anyway, in my quest to keep going, and to release another 40-50 pounds, I've continued with my journey toward eating only organic, whole foods, and I've taken it to the next level.  I'm always looking for new recipes to make my life easier, and I rarely find something that's easy which is also delicious.  For the old me, that meant going back to fast food and unhealthy processed "food products" instead of trying to find other true foods to make it work, but now it means adapting the recipe into something I love.

The following is an example of finding something I almost liked, and making it fit my tastes a little better.  I have blood sugar issues, so I'm still trying to decrease the amount of wheat and carbs I eat, but for now, these little guys make me pretty happy...  I usually make a batch each weekend, and take one or two to work and eat them for breakfast most mornings.  Or, they make a tasty dinner or lunch if I have nothing else on hand.  Meet my delicious broccoli mushroom bites...

Broccoli Mushroom Bites
1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli crowns, blanched or steamed for 90 seconds (you can sub frozen, probably 2 boxes)
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
¼ c. chopped onion
5 eggs
1 ½ c. shredded cheese (any kind, I use whatever I have on hand like cheddar, swiss, jack, or a mix)
½ c. dry bread crumbs*
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1)   Sautee the onions until just soft, 1-2 minutes, then add mushrooms for a couple more minutes, season, and remove from skillet.  Spread out on a paper towel and let dry.
2)   Squeeze any water out of the broccoli (I use just a tablespoon of water to steam in the microwave, and this reduces the amount of squeezing you have to do to get the broccoli dry enough).
3)   Combine cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, veggies, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
4)   Divide into oiled, non-stick or silicone muffin pan (I have used both a jumbo 6-muffin pan, and a 12-muffin pan, either is fine).
5)  Sprinkle a little cheese on top of each "bite."
6)   Bake at 375ยบ for about 20 minutes, or until set.
7)   Run knife around edges to loosen, then remove from muffin pan.

*If you’re grain- or gluten-free, try subbing ½ c. parmesan cheese for the bread crumbs.


Adapted from Stacey's Snacks

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Violence in America

I keep coming back to the idea that we should not focus on trying to prevent violent acts, but rather, focus on trying to prevent the IDEA of violent acts from coming into someone's mind.  It'll mean we have to commit to removing the stigma from mental illness in this country.  It'll mean we have to commit to providing ACCESSIBLE mental health care to ALL.  It'll mean we have to get to know our neighbors and start acting like communities again.  And it'll mean we have to befriend those who may seem unsavory, BEFORE they birth these unthinkable ideas.  Of course, that'll be harder than focusing on trying to prevent horrific acts of violence with metal detectors, locks on doors, searches, checkpoints, and more security personnel.  But I keep coming back to the fundamental truth in my mind, which is that human behavior is, and will remain, unpredictable.  I just keep coming back to that idea, so I hope writing it down will help me think other thoughts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How to Murder Someone (and get away with it)

If you want to murder someone and get away with it, try boredom as your weapon of choice.  I recently had a day that made me think this could work.  Below you'll find a handy guide for this process.

1. Get your victim to willingly run about 2 miles at their 5k pace at 7am one morning, even if that pace is currently only 15:00.  Be sure it's about 40 degrees when they complete said run.

2.  Somehow --and this won't be too difficult-- get them to fantasize about a garlic bagel with salmon cream cheese as their post-run breakfast.

3. Make them leave before they get to stretch with their running buddies, since that's probably their favorite part.

4. Do not allow them to take a shower, or change their sports bra to a less supportive, more comfortable, regular bra.  Also do not allow them to change any of their sweaty clothes, or to remove their hat all day since their hair looks like crap under there.

5.  Make them rush to their next destination --defensive driving class-- in heavy traffic, worrying constantly about getting ANOTHER speeding ticket on the way to a defensive driving class.

6.  Let them stop at Einstein Brothers' Bagels, only to find a line of about 10 people, and then make them leave because said line will make them late.

7.  Make them rush to a 6-hour (!) defensive driving course which has comedy in the name, but then --and this is kinda funny, which I think makes it also ironic on several levels-- isn't very funny at all.

8.  Make sure the defensive driving course has lots of boring facts, and lots of videos from the 90s, which are played at an extremely high, almost deafening volume.
9.  And this one's the most important one to follow if you don't want your plan to fail: Don't include a video from the 80s (?) with a section on mile markers as a reference for when you have to call for help on the highway.  If you play a video like that, a lady may actually use a CB radio in said video, and also use the words, "Breaker breaker..." when she makes that call for help.  If you do include something like this, the person you are trying to kill with boredom will probably laugh so hard they will not die at all, but instead stay just alive enough to experience the day as torturous instead of murderous.  Seriously.  Don't include that video.  It will ruin your whole plan.
10.  Also, don't misspell "curriculum" on a slide in the class.  That might keep them entertained and giggling for at least 10 minutes of every hour after they spot the mistake.

11.  Oh, and finally, you probably want to make sure they don't accidentally kinda hit a curb in the parking lot of the comedy club on their way out, because they will probably laugh really hard at themselves and at the irony there, too, again, keeping them painfully alive just below the threshhold of boredom which would kill them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

God is dead and alive...

My seventh first day of school as a teacher was today, and it was truly the best yet!  I'm exhausted and my feet hurt worse than they ever did in retail, but as an old band director once said, "There ain't no tired like this!!"

Conversation of the day:
Kiddo: Do you know who this is? [pointing to a cross around his neck]
Me: No, who is it?
Him: It's God.
Me: Oh.
Him: It's God.  When he died.  He's dead, and he's alive, too.
Me: Hmm.  God is dead and alive.  That's confusing, isn't it?

I love my job.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaching is my Weather

Here in Central Texas, they have a saying: "If you don't like the weather, stick around.  It'll change in a minute."  When I moved here for college in the early 1990's several years ago, I learned that the weather was a volatile animal.  And the one meteorologist (now Chief Weathercaster) who could help make sense of it all, in real time, was Jim Spencer, with KXAN News.  My roommates, my sister, and I would watch him when hurricanes came perilously close to Austin, when hail storms threatened to ruin our cars, and when flash flooding was happening (right now!) all across our area.  We'd watch.  We'd listen.  He'd educate.  He'd predict.  He'd... nearly jump with joy about bad weather!?  Yes.  He would nearly jump with joy when he spoke about bad weather.  At first, this was a strange thing to witness.  I mean, people are in danger, possibly even dying.  Isn't it in bad taste to get excited about Mother Nature beating up on people?  And winning??  Well, perhaps to some people, but, I saw a man who was truly passionate about his job.  And who was energized by it all to a degree that I'd never seen anyone be energized by their job.  That, I thought, is how I want to feel about my job someday.  If everyone loved their job like Jim Spencer loves his job, this world would be a much better place.

And so I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology as I intended when I first started college.  And then I moved away and earned my Master's Degree in Psychology, uncertain about my final goal.  All the while, although I couldn't be sure of my end game, I hoped that I was studying to do something I would love as much as Jim Spencer loved predicting, teaching, talking about the Weather.  When I got to do a therapy practicum in grad school, I loved it.  Loved it!  And I was so energized by it.  This is what I want to do! I thought.  But internships don't pay the bills, and I was so so tired of selling things --shoes, jewelry, perfume-- to pay my bills.  Wasn't there something more... worthwhile I could do?  So I started substitute teaching, all the while working toward my license to practice therapy and get paid for it.  Then I moved back to Texas, where my degree was not aligned with the licenses therapists need in Texas.  Still, I worked toward getting that license, jumping through hoops.  All the while, teaching as a substitute in several different school districts, wishing I could just do this full time.  Then one day, it struck me like a bolt of lightening that would have made Jim Spencer jump with joy: teaching is my weather!  I don't want to leave the classroom!  I can do THIS full time!!  It couldn't be any more work than becoming a therapist would be.  So I researched it, figured it out, and 18 long months later, I was the teacher of record for my very first classroom.  It was exhilarating!

 So, you see, when I got this award today at my school, six years after that first year of teaching, we all had a silly laugh about my Super-Fan status, and I was a little embarrassed that I've talked like a crazy person about how much I love Jim Spencer.  But only a little.  Because my appreciation and admiration of Jim Spencer isn't about how cute he is or how smart he is.  It's about how he followed his bliss and found his calling.  And I believe that's a human responsibility we should all take more seriously.  More than feeling a little embarrassed, I felt proud that I can say I love my job as much as he loves his.  Because, I'm still convinced, that if everyone did, this world would be a much better place.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sure, just sleep on my front lawn! No problem.

So, it's a lovely Mother's Day morning in the ATX.  About 60 degrees and breezy with barely a cloud in the sky.  I guess that's why this guy decided to camp on our front lawn??  I mean, I know it's a woodsy front yard  --we just had some limbs fall in the storm the other night--  and there's a picnic table nearby, but does that mean just break out the tent and start camping?  Is this a resident who decided the condo was too... ceiling-y?  Or is it a homeless guy from the park?  I ask you, would this happen anywhere other than Austin, Texas?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chuck Norris was here.

On the street near my house:

That is SO Austin.
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