Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible
Making Thinking Visible

Arts Integration

Arts Integration
Arts Integration

Good Food, Good Booze, Good Books: A Teacher's Winter Break Trifecta

In today's rush, we all think too too much...want too much...and forget about the joy of just being.
                                                                                      -Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes, I think of myself as an encumbered pack animal, let's say a donkey.  Every day, more and more is piled on my back. Report cards. Christmas shopping. Lesson planning. Returning phone calls. Meetings at lunch...meetings before school...meetings after school, and God forbid if I have to fit a doctor's appointment in. The more that gets piled on, the more of an ass I become. 

That's why winter break is so important. It gives me an opportunity to catch my breath, to practice mindfulness, and to transform back into a human being.  

This week, my We Teach So Hard podcast friends and I are inviting you to a winter break potluck. We've curated some of our favorite recipes for cocktails, entrees, desserts, and good books. Because if you're anything like us, one of your favorite ways to slow down is to sip a cocktail, eat a good meal, and sink into a good book. 

One of my favorite entrees is a vegan carrot ginger soup. If you like the spicy soul-warming sweetness of curry, cinnamon and ginger, you need to try this soup! It's perfect for a cold winter's day in pajamas with a blanket and book. Plus, it's easy-peasy.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 lbs. of carrots, chopped
  • 1 small/medium onion, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 inch of ginger root, peeled and chopped

Saute these ingredients in about 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until onions and ginger are tender.

  •  Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Add 1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) of cinnamon, curry             powder, cayenne pepper, and ground cloves.
  • Add 4 cups of vegetable broth. Simmer until carrots are tender.
  • Remove from heat. Cool for about 5-10 minutes. 
  • Stir in a can of unsweetened coconut milk. I use "light."
  • Finally, puree in your blender OR use an immersion hand   blender. I like to leave a few chunks in mine. 
  •  Reheat without boiling. I serve mine with seasoned croutons on top, or over basmati rice. YUM!

One Christmas, a student's family gave me a big bottle of Bailey's Liquor for Christmas. That break, I ran out of coffee creamer in the middle of a ferocious winter storm. Without really thinking things through, I poured Bailey's in my coffee for three mornings in a row before it occurred to me that I was boozing it up at 9 in the morning.

I do love a great cocktail. And when I don't have to work the next day, I imbibe more freely. White wine sangria is one of my favorites to make because it's not fussy, doesn't require huge amounts of prep, and once it's made, you can drink it for days.

Here's what I do:

  1. Chop a granny smith apple (or another kind of tart apple).
  2. Chop a ripe pear (sweet).
  3. Add a heaping cup of fresh cranberries. I add them whole.
  4. One large sprig of fresh rosemary.
  5. Pour in one bottle of Pinot Grigio.
  6. Add 1/2 a cup of white grape juice.
  7. Stir in 1 can of club soda.
  8. Stir in 1/4 cup of sugar
  9. Add a pinch of cinnamon.
Mix, refrigerate and serve. Mmmmmmmm.

Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it.
                                                                                 - Markus Zusak

Long before I thought of becoming a teacher, I loved books. I couldn't get enough of them. To this day, I decorate my home with books. There are books that I will never get rid of because they feel like members of my family. They changed and shaped me in some way.  I hoard them in order to make them mine.  The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama is one of my treasures. I have read it numerous times, and I am transported in each rereading. 
Tsukiyama's prose is poetic and enchanting. Her characters are heartbreaking and human. They frustrate me, make me want to rage and cry for them...they make me love them. The Samurai's Garden explores beliefs about love, beauty and sacrifice. I don't want to go on and on about the plot, because you can read about that on Amazon or the back of the book. But trust me. You must read this book. And after you do, go read her other fiction. They are wonderful. You can find the book HERE (I make nothing from your purchase. I am not an Amazon affiliate).

I've made a little winter break gift just for you! Click on the graphic to access it. I hope you enjoy.  

If you haven't listened to our podcast, Episode 20 A Winter Break Potluck, click the picture below! We share even more recipes and books. If you like what you hear, consider commenting or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. 

Kathie, Deann, Retta and I wish you a peaceful and relaxing winter break. Stay mindful, healthful, and happy!

Check out their recipes, cocktail and book recommendations below. They've got some great suggestions for you (as well as some freebies).