Saturday, January 31, 2015

The World According to Bella

On The Road-Day 2 
Mrs. S says I am becoming a seasoned traveler. I've now been through Kansas and Oklahoma and Texas and ending up in New Mexico for the night. I had hoped we'd get to Tucson in time to watch The Puppy Bowl but it isn't looking too promising but hopefully you can catch the show.

Puppy Bowl XI will air Sunday, February 1st at 3 PM ET on Animal Planet. 220 paws, or 55 puppies, will take the field for Team Ruff and Team Fluff. They’ll have a serious competition to see which team will achieve the coveted title of Puppy Bowl champs.

Points are scored whenever the pups carry a toy into the end zone. Housebreaking is still on the radar for these pint-sized pooches. Therefore whenever there is an accident on the field a flag is thrown. Stoppages occur when a water bowl runs empty.

The ride was very long again. I did my best to be good but it was so boring looking out the window. Kansas just had a bunch of fields, train tracks and oil rigs. Oklahoma had oil tanks, and more train tracks. Texas just lots of cows and was smelly. But it was a rest stop in New Mexico that really caught my interest. Just as I got out of the car I spied two bunnies heading for the bushes. I dragged Mr. C across the parking lot and the chase was on. I would have caught one of those bunnies if Mr. C hadn't slowed me down with that darn leash.

Mr.C has picked out Pet Friendly Motels for us to stay at,  He scored big on this one. As we pulled up to the entrance several dogs were outside with their owners to greet me.  Our  room had this doorknob holder. We knew this was our room. 
The best part of the hotel was a mini-fenced in dog park just for their furry guests out back. They thought of almost everything with Poop Bag Stations outside the motel in several spots. Now if they had only had a supply of milk bones I would have given them 5 stars instead of 4. 
Let's hope I get more sleep than last night. The other place was just too noisy and I wasn't really tired.

Mrs. S and I watched some super bowl commercials before going to bed just in case we miss seeing them tomorrow. Check out these links. 
Love, Bella
P.S. Mrs. S has already picked out my outfit for our AZ destination. I had hoped it was left behind in MN-no such luck! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The World According to Bella

On The Road
Yesterday I missed all my usual naps. Last night I tossed and turned and had a hard time getting to sleep. Something was up but I wasn't quite sure what. Seemed like a lot of activity packing and cleaning the past few days. This was more than going to the lake. I was getting worried. 
Just as the sun came up Mr. C and Mrs. S sprung into action.  I was getting even more stressed wondering if I would be left behind. I felt better when Mr.C  put my bed in the back seat knowing I was 'in' wherever we were going, But the lack of space for me was a huge concern.      
FINALLY Mrs. S told me we were headed out West and we had some 1,600 miles to go. Now this sounded like a VERY long time in the car. When I heard our first destination was Wichita I wished I was Dorothy. I'd click my paws and be there in a flash. But at least I was not being left behind. I did my best to be good. I mostly napped, looked out the window and checked on their driving every so often to see how many more miles were left. My highlights of the day were the rest stops with  trash sniffing and the snacks Mrs. S brought for me.  
The motel was another story. I freaked out, paced for several hours before I could settle down. I just hope I can sleep tonight since I spent my whole day resting. At least Mr.C did get me to the dog park really early this morning. So early there wasn't one doggie to play with. I had the whole park to myself. 
Love, Bella

that mashed avocado toast is really big on the social media?
This breakout healthy breakfast item has been hashtagged on Instagram more than 1, 000 times in the past month. #avocadotoastismyjam and fans have posted 62,000 avocado toast- related tweets in 2014. 
So if you want to join the craze make a slice sometime. Add a little lemon juice and salt to a mashed avocado,spread on toasted bread, drizzle with olive oil and add a few red pepper flakes for a kick. The good fats and fiber in the avocado fill you up and help you feel full longer.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Busy Afternoon in Room 13

Life in a kindergarten class moves at a fast pace with a variety of activities all day long. Today was no exception. After lunch there was time for me to reread " Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas". This go around we focused on the illustrations looking for the color red and other Chinese symbols. We talked about good luck and how the author even signed the book wishing the reader Good Luck. Kindergartners always have lots to say and remembered many things from last week's reading. And were they ever excited when I handed the book to a student and told class I was donating the book to be shared by all 6 kindergarten classes. They thought it was a sign of good luck for them to have a new book. 
The Chinese New Year starts February 19th so all classes will have a chance to share the book in the next few weeks. 
The big project for the afternoon was starting their February calendar. This idea came from Pinterest.
Lucky I will not be there for the messy part-stamping their hand in red paint and turning their handprints into cardinals. It looks like a 3 day project to me since they only got branches glued on today. 

Of course free time was a big hit and all were engaged in some fun activity. But little did they know that a really BIG surprise awaited them later in the afternoon.    

Just as I was leaving  the Viktor Viking van pulled into the parking lot. 
Viktor the Viking is the official mascot of the Minnesota Vikings football team. 
He was making a surprise visit to the school  for an assembly on bullying.  I am sure the crowd will go wild with this visit! 

Speaking of football check out this link to an amazing array of Healthy Recipes for upcoming Game Day. There are some 50 recipes to choose from and I posted some pictures. They all looked quite yummy.
Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower

Broccoli and Cheddar Quinoa Bites

Spinach and Artichoke Hummus

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Scrambled Eggs with Boursin Cheese and Spinach

Scrambled Eggs with Boursin Cheese and Spinach
Cook's notes: Its easy, fast to make and looks fancy. These creamy scrambled eggs are sure to be a family favorite. Another delicious flavor combo would be topping the scrambled eggs with a piece of smoked salmon or cooked ham slice. The egg dish is served over whole grain toast. Recipe serves 2-3 and adapted from Carla Hall co-host of The Chew.
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried chives and parsley flakes
  • 2 TB. from a package of Boursin Garlic and Herb Cheese or Alouette Garlic and Herb
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, stems trimmed

  • In a blender add eggs, cream, spices and Boursin cheese. Blend well.
  • In a large skillet melt butter on a medium high heat. Add egg mixture and spinach leaves.
  • Gently stir in a figure-eight motion until eggs are cooked, creamy and not dry. It just takes a few minutes. 
Cook's notes: I thought these kitchen tips were useful to pass along.

Great idea for a kid's party -freeze ice cream scoops ahead of time. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cherry Glazed Chicken

 "Music, in even the most terrible situations, must never offend the ear 
but always remain a source of pleasure."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart; January 27, 1756- December 5, 1791) is among the most significant and enduring popular composers of European classical music. His enormous output includes works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Many of his works are part of the standard concert repertoire and are widely recognized as masterpieces of classical music. And he achieved all this in 35 short years ! 
Fun Facts:
  • Mozart was 5 years old when he wrote his first composition
  • Mozart wrote over 600 works during his lifetime, including 41 symphonies and 27 piano concertos
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned to speak 15 different languages
  • Mozart composed very quickly and wrote huge amounts of music
  • He was extremely extravagant and constantly in debt
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died of of kidney failure December 5, 1791 in Vienna, Austria and was buried in a pauper's grave
  • His music lives on and the musical works of Mozart include the following:
The Requiem
Operas include:
Don Giovanni
The Marriage of Figaro
The Magic Flute

Cherry Glazed Chicken
Cook's notes: A real plus for this chicken entree-only one skillet is needed to make this recipe. It's a versatile dish since the cherry glaze can be substituted for cranberry glaze. Just use dried cranberries and cranberry juice. Pork tenderloins can be substituted for chicken breasts. 
Recipe serves 2-3.
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins 
  • 1 tsp. each herbes de Provence and dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 2/3 cup diced sweet onions
  • 3/4 cup diced red and yellow sweet peppers
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup cherry juice
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 TB. balsamic vinegar or chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • Mix both herbs together and rub chicken with seasoning. Salt and pepper.
  • Mix chicken broth and cherry juice with cornstarch and set aside.
  • In a large non-stick pan heat oil on medium heat. Add peppers, onion and chicken. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in cherry juice and broth mixture, dried cherries, balsamic vinegar, syrup and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until chicken reaches 170 degrees using a meat thermometer (about 20 minutes).  You may need to add more chicken broth if sauce gets too thick. 
  • Sprinkle toasted pecans on top of meat and serve.  

Bon Appetit!

P.S. Last, but not least, being part of Multicultural Children's Book Day was a wonderful opportunity for me to connect up with organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of and promotion of multicultural children’s books. I hope you were able to look at some of the book reviews. It is amazing how many new culturally diverse books are available. This was the second year of this event and it just seems to get bigger with more sponsors and co-hosts supporting the event.  

Today's The Day

Today We Are Celebrating:

Updates: One of the goals for today's event is to connect organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of, and promotion of multicultural children’s books. See blog January 25th for more information on today's event.

There is a  giant blog tour and Link-up
Our Big MCCBD Linky is LIVE today so that bloggers can link up their multicultural children’s book reviews so that readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers can explore lots of books with diversity content via book reviews, book lists, and links.

A virtual book drive
MCCD  has  partnered with First Book for a Virtual Book Drive to help in our efforts to place multicultural books in locations where they are needed.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party
Use Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Today, January 27th
9pm to 10pm EST

Here’s your chance to win 10 packages of Diversity Books for Kids and chat about multicultural children’s books with MCCBD founders Valarie Budayr (Jump Into a Book) and Mia Wenjen (PragmaticMom)!

“MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.”

Follow this link to Multicultural Book Reviews by bloggers and to #29 Ever Ready review of "Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas" 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Buttermilk Cheddar Bacon Bread and Chili

Kraft Foods' "Food & Family" magazine -- a quarterly publication -- prides itself on showcasing recipes for simple meals and snacks. It provides readers with budget-friendly ideas for quick, nutrition-packed lunches, celebration meal menus, desserts and recipes for family faves. The magazine's first free issue appeared in 2002 and and Kraft mailed the magazine to subscribers without a charge until 2009. Now, you can buy a subscription for a printed copy of the magazine delivered to your home or you can view it online for free after you register for the site.The magazine costs $13.98 for a one-year subscription; 

Recently I came across this publication and was impressed with the recipes, straightforward directions and easy to find ingredients. My lake neighbor Kathleen brought a loaf of Buttermilk Cheddar Bacon Bread to a neighborhood gathering. The recipe came from "Food and Family" magazine Fall 2014 issue and it was the perfect accompaniment to main entree chili.  This bread would be a great side for a Super Bowl party. It is moist and flavorful. 
  • 2-1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 large egg-room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk--room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup Kraft shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or 1 TB. dried chives
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a loaf pan.
  • Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
  • Whisk egg, buttermilk and melted butter in a separate bowl until blended.
  • Add to flour mixture along with bacon, cheese and chives. Stir just until moistened.
  • Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  • Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. 
 A simmering pot of chili will warm up any occasion. It's the quintessential recipe for curing comfort food craving. This chili recipe was posted previously. It serves 8-10.
 Chili by Ever Ready

Cook’s Note: This recipe tastes better made a day ahead for the flavors to meld. 
  • 3 lbs. hamburger, cooked, drained and crumbled 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ½ tsp. pepper 
  • 2 cups diced celery 
  • 2 cups diced sweet onions 
  • 2 (24 oz.) jars of spicy tomato basil sauce or Marinara sauce
  • 3 cans (14.5) diced tomatoes basil, garlic, oregano 
  • 1-cup catsup 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 4 TB. fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 TB. brown sugar 
  • 2 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar 
  • 1tsp. dry mustard 
  • 3 cans light or dark red red kidney beans, drained 
  • 3-4 TB. chili powder 
  • Brown hamburger with onions, celery salt and pepper to taste and drain. 
  • In a crock pot or soup pot add hamburger mixture with rest of ingredients. 
  • Simmer on low heat covered several hours stirring occasionally.