Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Cream Cheese Chili Dip

One of my fellow pregnant friends from high school pinned this recipe on Facebook the other day and it looked so good, I just had to try it out. It is definitely not the healthiest dish but perfect for Sunday Football. 

2 frozen chicken breasts
1 28 oz. container organic diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted green chilies
1 can fiesta corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
8 oz. cream cheese

Mexican cheese, for topping 

1. Place frozen chicken breasts in crockpot. Cover with tomatoes, green chilies, corn, black beans, ranch dressing and spices. Stir to combine. Add in cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, stirring twice.

2. Shred chicken using two forks. Return to crockpot. Serve dip in bowls with tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese.

Recipe adapted from Rita's Recipes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thai Chicken Wrap

You’re on the roadtrip from you-know-where, looking for a gas stop, and desperately seeking a meal option that is NOT a McDonalds. You pull into one of the many greasy options along the convenient tollway, expecting a gastrointestinal nightmare...

Been there? Yep, that’s right. This recipe was actually inspired by a rest area menu. And it was good. Really good. Enjoy.

Large whole wheat wrap 
1 scoop of cooked white (or Jasmine) rice
1 scoop cooked, diced chicken breast (for a quick fix, brown diced chicken with a bit of soy sauce)
1 scoop diced fresh mango
2-4 T peanut sauce (as much or as little as you like)
(optional) 1 palmful Asian slaw

Add all fillers to the center of the wrap, being careful not to overfill. Fold in the top and bottom and roll to create a burrito.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

With the start of football season and somewhat cooler temperatures, it's time to start making some of my favorite soups for fall! 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
26 oz. organic diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can green chilies
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole corn, drained
4 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. dried cilantro 
salt & pepper, to taste

For toppings: Mexican cheese, shredded, avocado, and crushed tortilla chips

1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours. Remove chicken and shred using forks. Return chicken to skillet and continue to cook on low for an additional hour or until ready to serve.

2. Top with cheese, avocado and crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

I've been wanting to make something sweet for a while now and finally decided on this delicious poppy seed bread.

 For Bread:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/8 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 tablespoon poppy seeds
3/4 tsp. almond extract
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. butter extract

For Glaze:
1/8 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. butter extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

(*Note: The reason that some of my measurements may seem funny is because I only made half a recipe (1 loaf) instead of 2 loaves, which follows the original recipe.)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease loaf pan and set aside.

2. Mix all ingrediants together. Pour into prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. Cool bread in pan slightly before transferring to plate. Pour glaze over warm bread. Enjoy!

To make glaze: Heat all ingredients in saucepan and cook on medium until sugar is dissolved.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Monday, September 3, 2012

25 Alternatives to Book Reports

These creative ideas address multiple learning styles and many provide higher level thinking skills that aren’t found in the “typical” book report. Consider using several ideas and giving students a choice.

1. Design an advertising campaign to promote the sale of the book you read.  Include each of the following in your campaign; a poster, a radio or TV commercial, a magazine or newspaper ad, a bumper sticker, and a button.

2. Write a scene that could have happened in the book you read but didn’t.  After you have written the scene, explain how it would have changed the outcome of the book.

3. Create a board game based on events and characters in the book you read.  By playing your game, members of the class should learn what happened in the book. Your game must include the following; a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story on cards or on a game board.

4. Make models of three objects that were important in the book you read. On a card attached to each model, tell why the object was important in the book.

5. If the book you read involves a number of locations within a country or geographical area, plot the events of the story on a map. Make sure the map is large enough for us to read the main events clearly. Attach a legend to your map. Write a paragraph that explains the importance of each event indicated on your map.

6. Create a comic book version of the book you read that show the major events in the plot. Write captions for each drawing so that someone who did not read the book can understand the book illustrations.

7. Design a movie poster for the book you read. Cast the major characters in the book with real actors and actresses. Include a scene or dialogue from the book in a layout of the poster. Remember, you are trying to convince someone to see the movie based on the book, so your writing should be persuasive.

8. Make a test for the book you read. Include ten true false, ten multiple choice, and ten short essay questions. After writing the test, provide the answers for your questions.

9. Select one character from the book you read who has the qualities of a heroine or hero. List these qualities and tell why you think they are heroic.

10. Imagine that you are about to make a feature-length film of the novel you read. You have been instructed to select your cast from members of your class. Cast all the major characters in your novel from your classmates and tell why you selected each person for a given part. Consider both appearance and personality.

11. Plan a party for the characters in the book you read. In order to do this, complete each of the following tasks: (a) Design an invitation to the party, which would appeal to all of the characters. (b) Imagine that you are five of the characters in the book and tell what each would wear to the party. (c) Tell what food you will serve and why. (d) Tell what games or entertainment you will provide and why your choices are appropriate. (e) Tell how three of the characters will act at the party.

12. List five of the main characters from the book you read. Give three examples of what each character learned or did not learn in the book.

13. Obtain a job application from an employer in your area, and fill out the application as one of the characters in the book you read that might do. Before you obtain the application, be sure that the job is one for which a character in your book is qualified. If a resume is required, write it. (A resume is a statement that summarizes the applicant’s education and job experience. Career goals, special interests, and unusual achievements are sometimes included.)

14. You are a prosecuting attorney putting one of the characters from the book you read on trial for a crime or misdeed. Prepare your case on paper, giving all your arguments and supporting them with facts from the book.

15. Adapt the prosecuting attorney activity outlined above to a dual role project: In one role, present the prosecution’s case, and in the other, present the case for the defense. If a classmate has read the same book, you might make this a two-person project.

16. Make a shoebox diorama of a scene from a book you read. Write a paragraph explaining the scene, and attach it to the diorama.

17. Pretend that you are one of the characters in the book you read. Tape a monologue (one person talking) of that character telling of his or her experiences. Be sure to write out a script before taping.

18. Make a book jacket for the book you read. Include the title, author, and publishing company of the book on the cover. Be sure the illustration relates to an important aspect of the book. On the inside flap or on the back of your book jacket, write a paragraph telling about the book. Explain why this book makes interesting reading when writing this “blurb”.

19. Write a letter to a friend about the book you read. Explain why you liked or did not like the book.

20. Make a “ wanted” poster for a character in the book you read. Include the following: (a) a drawing of the character (you may use a magazine cutout), (b) a physical description of the character, (c) the character’s misdeeds, (d) other information about the character that you think is important, (e) the reward offered for the capture of the character.

21. Create a newspaper that is devoted entirely to the book you read. The front page should look as much like a real newspaper page as possible. The articles should be based on events and characters in the book.

22. Make a collage that represents major characters and events in the book you read. Use pictures and words cut from magazines in your collage. Include a paragraph that explains your collage.

23. Make a time line of the major events in the book you read. Be sure the divisions on the time line reflect the time periods in the plot. Use drawings or magazine cutouts to illustrate events along the time line.

24. Change the setting of the book you read. Describe how this change of setting would alter events and affect characters.

25. Retell the plot of the book you read as it might appear in a children’s picture book. Be sure that the vocabulary and images you use are appropriate for that age group. Include illustrations.