Spartichoke Sandwich

You know that silly ice breaker question-- If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be? My answer HANDS DOWN would be Blue Bakers Spartichoke Sandwich.  Blue Baker is a bakery in my college town that I ate at 569337 times in the course of my 4 years at A&M. Sometimes I legitimately consider driving the 1.5 hours to College Station just to get this sandwich, but then my common sense kicks in. So I decided to crack the code and figure out how to make my own Spartichoke sandwich (Reese calls this my dinosaur sandwich--because it is a vegetarian sandwich, possibly? I really don't know why he calls it that actually).

2 slices sourdough bread
1 handful of baby spinach leafs 
1 oz of goat cheese
3 artichoke hearts separated
5 strips of roasted red pepper 
1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar reduction**

** Reduce 1c balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar until liquid is 1/2 its volume to create reduction. 

Assemble ingredients, slice and enjoy!! 

 Doesn't this look magically delicious (err sorry a Lucky Charms commercial just came on), but really this is a magical sandwich! 

Linking up with Charlotte and Whitney!!!
From Our Kitchen To Yours
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Weekend Shenanigans: Puppy Love

This may come as a shock to many of you pet lovers out there but neither I, nor Reese, have ever had a pet. Well I did have a fish once-- her name was Angel, because she was a Angel Fish (duh) and my brother had a fish name Picachu because it was 1999 and Pokemon was all the rage-- but I digress. For the most part we have been petless. So when this weekend started with Reese's roommate coaxing me away from the pool with promises of sweet love from a 4 week old Australian Shepard this previously-indifferent-to-pets-petless girl started to melt a little bit. 

Her name is June and she makes my heart melt and she loves me and we spent the majority of Sunday snuggled up on the couch watching Bravo and she loved it therefore confirming she is in fact a girl... anatomy didn't need to be confirmed. 

 Reese and I both verbally and non-verbally agreed that we are kind of obsessed with her and even though we would have NO IDEA what to do with a dog we both not so secretly want one. Currently we are loving that we get to have all the fun with no responsibility. 

A part from all the dog lovin that was going on at their house this weekend we had a little get together to celebrate Beau's (Reese's Roommate and June's dad) birthday! We spent the afternoon at the pool and our evening grilling and having a little birthday party! After my little hostess gone wrong a few weeks ago I was nervous to make anything, but I seemed to impress with the Grilled Peach Salsa I whipped up (you can find the recipe here). Most of the night consisted of grilling, laughing, birthday shenanigans and listening singing loudly to 2000 Pop pandora station. 

Beau is SINGLE ladies... in case you were wondering.
He now comes with the most adorable dog on the planet ... just sayin. 

I know sister,the weekend wore me out too, and yes I agree we need to link up with Miss Sami for Weekend Shenanigans because you are just too cute not to share! 

Sami's Shenanigans
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How Not to be A Hostess the Anti Tutorial

On any given day all I want to do is throw a dinner party. Yes, I know it is very 1960's meets pinterest of me but I just love them. The friendship, the food, the laughter I just want to spend my days (or probably more accurately my nights) filled with these things. I am just at the brink of the dinner party age --not to mention I have not gotten to partake in ritual of "I'm getting married buy me stuff so I can hold socially acceptable gatherings at my new home". So basically I look for any reasons to break out my fancy food skills. Before school concluded for the year my department decided that we were going to meet and get some curriculum planned for the next year in my apartments conference room therefore making me the de facto "hostess" of this event. 
Challenge Accepted.
My thoughts went immediately to what food I could make, where I could incorporate bakers twine and how this was the perfect excuse to finally buy a white serving platter with out having to drop $45,000 on a wedding. As any good event host would do I browsed though Pinterest for the perfect meeting food. I landed on crostini... not too sweet, not too savory, looks pretty, and relatively easy. The day of the meeting I cut, sliced, spread, arranged and drizzled until the crostini were perfect. I walked my happy hostess butt over the the meeting room and waited for all to be dazzled (oh and to plan next years curriculum). The meeting came and went and despite a few witty quips about how "everyone HAD to eat one" exactly 2 of my 24 crostini were eaten. 
I called my mother defeated in which she offered some "things to think about"

Consider the Meeting Time

The meeting was scheduled for two in the afternoon which is basically the teenage boy of time, awkward and unsure of what to do with its hands. Choose and "Eating Time" When planning an event where you want to serve food (and actually want people to eat it) make sure it is at a universal "eating time".  Or specifically specify on the invitation, or in my case email, that food will be served. Lesson learned.

8am: Breakfast
11-12 pm: Lunch
 5pm: Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres
 7pm: Dinner
8pm: Dessert

Consider the Guest 

"You're a Food Snob"--my mother 
Yes she is right, and NO I am not sorry about it. I love food and I love good food I will not apologize about that. I should have however considered my guests, they are not bloggers or fellow food snobs (although they do appreciate good food I am sure). They are teachers who came to sift though piles of books in hopes of finding something a 14 year old boy will actually read (quite a task in case you haven't had any experience with 14 year old boys lately). If I was going to serve anything I should have just thrown some chips in a bowl, some cookies on a plate and called it a day. Lesson learned. 

Consider the Space 

The conference room in my apartment complex is beautiful but most of the room is taken up by a large conference table and chairs (which only makes sense because it is in fact a conference room). The crostini I made were way more conducive to a mingling environment rather than a sit down meeting.  Choosing food that is easy to eat in the environment provided is pretty much a direct indicator of whether it will actually be eaten. Lesson learned. 

So basically my first attempt at a hostess was an epic fail because their really isn't anything worse than no one eating your food in a cramped room at an awkward time. Please learn from me. 

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Texts to My Best Friend

Well you see, I took a vacation. Now I use the term vacation very loosely because my vacation consisted of well pretty much anything that you would not this actually happens on vacation... like cleaning, and teaching snotty summer school kids, and starting (and then unceremoniously stopping) cleaning out my closet. 
The truth is it always takes me a little while to adjust to summer (aka no blogging for three weeks, gasp, I know you missed me) I know what you are thinking "girl, like how much do you have to adjust to? Bikini, drink, pool. Lather, rinse repeat." Alas it does in fact take some time. For some adjustment means clearing your mind of all things for me adjustment means texting my best friend,KatieBeth, all of the meaningless things that can now take up space in my brain because I do not have to make up (err I mean carefully plan out) a lesson plan on my way to school. 

Let me demonstrate...

I text her ALL and I do mean ALL of my dressing room selfies. Shopping via iMessage which is basically the best feature of my phone, well except maybe the fact I can call for a pizza in the middle of class Zach Morris style. 
Also on a side note when I got to the register this dress only ended up being $10. Let's hope she wasn't lying and I do in fact not look 400lbs in it. 

 I text her screen shots or links from Buzz Feed at least 56 times a day. These gems are from fathers day Buzz Feeds lists on the Hottest TV Dads. Personally I think Christopher Hayden should be way higher on the list (although for the record I am, and will always be, team Luke).

I text her IMPORTANT pop culture BREAKING NEWS, in case you were wondering Kimye's baby falls into both categories. 

 And obviously if Kimye is important than a GROSS oversite of basic Real Housewives of Orange Country trivia is totally textable.  
Side note: This article is from BuzzFeed (told you I average 56 screen shots from their a day) about Tamara Barney's Wedding to Eddie. Her dress is KILLER, Vicki's dress is NOT. They have also not fixed the naming error despite the 6824624 loyal fans gently correcting them. 

annnnnnnd that is my summer so far. Heres to hoping I can pull it together and spend some more time at the pool drink in hand and bikini in the sun ... all while texting KatieBeth. 

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Reflections on Year Two.

 Everyone always says that the second year of teaching is always easier-- to some extent I agree and to some extent I totally DISAGREE. 

 I realized early on this year that if my students were going to be successful I needed to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be vs. the teacher I thought I was suposed to be. I knew that I wanted my classroom to be organized chaos, I wanted my students to make their own choices and accept the consequences that came with those choices. I wanted my students to love coming to my class. 

My classroom is LOUD and I am perfectly ok with it. This year I realized that as a teacher I thrive on the organized chaos my lessons tend to create. I want my students up and moving and talking and creating because that is where the magic happens. My first year I was afraid that I couldn't handle the chaos. This year I threw caution to the wind and welcomed the chaos with open arms--and it worked. Yes, I spent 30 trillion hours picking up their trash off the floor, and straightening desk, and repeating "have you lost your ever loving mind" but they learned and they had a little fun while they were at it. 

Consequences-- they are a part of life just like death and taxes and everyone having a love/hate relationship with Taylor Swift music. I learned that if I didn't give my students boundaries and consequences no matter how much I knew they didn't mean to hit so-and so with the marker they threw across the room or they forgot their essay in their other binder which is (insert made up place here) they had to suffer the consequences. My goal has always been to use my class as a class where student don't just come to polish their reading and writing skills, but they come to polish their being decent people skills as well. 

Nope, were teachers NOT students... or sisters

 My second year of teaching I decided on 2 goals 
1. teach the PERSON 
2. teach the STUDENT. 
8th grade is such a rough year. It is where the "high school threats" start, "real" relationships start "real" heartbreak happens, friends are made and lost and made again. It is really a defining year. I think that is why I love it so much there is something so sweet about getting them right before they enter the all consuming world of high school that makes them listen just a tiny bit more than any other time in life. Ultimately I needed my students to love coming to my class not because they loved English (although that would be a plus) but I needed them to love coming to my class so that they were open to my encouragement, pressure, love and acceptance whether it was their best or their i'l get 'em next time.  

My first year I learned about the navigating being a teacher and surviving. My second year was all about the students and their needs. Their needs to have a teacher that is willing to try something that is not accepted, to make them learn from their mistakes and love them beyond words even when hitting them over the head with a textbook seems like a better option. 

Now onto year three. 

You can find my reflections on Year One HERE 
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