Monday, December 7

Enjoying Shakespeare

Froggy has been enjoying Shakespeare since a much younger age than I thought possible before I had children thanks to the suggestions and guidance of our curriculum.  We started our Shakespeare experience with the Nesbit and Lamb retellings.  With these rich retellings in her experience, Froggy was able to attend and truly enjoy the live performances of our local Shakespeare theater company.

And this year, our Shakespearean adventure has entered a new chapter.  We are reading Othello in all its original glory with the help of No Fear Shakespeare.  The side by side approach allows us to enjoy the rich beautiful language while still understanding the story.  It is a major jump from the retellings and therefore we are taking much longer working our way through the play than in previous years but it is worth it.  I was concerned that the complicated language, the switching back and forth, or the lengthy speeches would be a deterrent.  It hasn't.  I suspect in large part thanks to the scaffolding provided by the retellings.
So you may ask why Othello for our first No Fear approach?  It was both on the rotation for our curriculum and part of the season for our local company.  I am still waffling on taking her to the live production but leaning heavily in favor of going.  We chose the Page and Stage performance to have a chance to chat with the artistic staff before the performance.

Wednesday, December 2

Food Finds

Since we came back from Kansas, we have been having some fun experimenting with new recipes. Not  all of the experiments have been good but here are a couple that are major keepers

The first surprise win was our new favorite pasta sauce.   Froggy really likes pasta with red sauce but didn't really eat the sauce much.  When I offered her this new sauce, she chowed down on it and licked up the sauce.  She now eats the same amount of noodles with at least half again as much sauce and has no idea she is getting any veggies.  It is a double win for the Ima.

The second win is a breakfast burrito recipe I have fallen in love with these.  I could eat them every single day.  Froggy asked to try mine and gave it a double thumbs up,  With her eating them as well, I may need to start making a double batch. I started with this recipe and then tweaked it to suit our family

Breakfast Burrito
8 eggs
1 med onion - diced
1 bag frozen corn
black beans (an amount to balance out the corn)
1 tbsp Taco seasoning 
2 cups shredded cheese
8 fajita size tortillas

Saute the onions over medium heat until translucent.  While they are cooking whisk the eggs.  Add the eggs to the onions and scramble.  Mix all ingredients except tortillas in a large bowl.  Place about a cup of the mixture on each tortilla and roll up tightly (the tighter the better)  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready.    You can heat it however works best for you but I microwave them for about 4 minutes.  Makes for a super easy meal. 

Tuesday, December 1

Trial 2

Flavor Question: Can I make the peach flavor stronger by simmering the peaches on the stove?

Texture Question: How can we make the edges less brown and still keep it cooked inside?

Flavor Hypothesis - If I simmer the peaches on the stove, the peach flavor will get concentrated because we simmer off the water.

Texture Hypothesis -If I bake the bread for one hour at 325 instead of 350, the inside will be done and the edges will not be crispy yet

Experiment  Summary -We simmered the frozen peaches on the stove top between medium and medium-high until they thawed.  We then pureed them and the heat down to low.  We had the peaches on the heat for approximately half an hour. The flavor is definitely more intense. The peaches were hot so we had to be careful not to cook our eggs when we poured the peaches in. We mixed the dry goods into the rest for 40 seconds this time. We then separated the batter into two loaf pans evenly by weighing each pan as we added the batter.  We baked them for an hour at 325 at which point they were done.

Flavor Conclusion -I thought the peach flavor concentrated properly. I could taste the peach this time. I thought the bread was yummy.

Texture Conclusion - I decided the inside was cooked enough and the edges were absolutely not crispy.  I am proud of this one. 

Personal Review -Overall, I think the bread turned out just how we wanted it to.  The flavor was perfect but I still want to try it again with cherries because it is supposed to be a peach-cherry bread and I want to see if I can get the flavor right with both.  The texture was absolutely perfect.  I don't think I need to change anything so now I am going to play and see if the rules laid out in Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food are necessary.