Pimento Cheese

For a quick summer treat, whip up a container of Pimento Cheese. You can use it to make a sandwich or spread on crackers like Triscuits or Ritz, or make an easy school lunch with this dip/sandwich spread!

1 lb sharp cheese, grated.

1 jar pimentos

1-2 tbsp mayonnaise

pimentocheese

Red pepper to taste

Combine in food processor until smooth or leave a bit chunky. 

Other serving options:

  • top a baked potato and brown in the oven
  • grilled pimento cheese sandwich
  • heat in an oven-safe dish for a warm dip
  • cut jalapeno peppers in half and top, bake till melted
  • toast on crusty french bread

(Recipe courtesy of Dot Moore)

Mexicorn Dip

Mexicorn Dipthis dip is a refreshing snack or appetizer that can be made a day before an event.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes drained
  • 2 cans mexicorn drained
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese

Combine mayonnaise and sour cream and mix well; add drained cans of Rotel and corn and mix well. Cover and chill. Best if made day before, serve with corn chips.

(Recipe courtesy of Dot Moore)

Take Care of Yourself

At our core, teachers are caring professionals who dream of making a difference in the lives of students. We take on the challenge of shaping the future, lighting the spark of curiosity and preparing students for productive lives. The world often sees us in a different light:  teachers are those who can’t do anything else, or teach so they can have a long summer break.

The fact is that most teachers are committed, sacrificial, and hard-working professionals, who defy that stereotype routinely.  Some of us defy the stereotype to our own detriment, running ourselves into the ground while working unpaid overtime on lesson plans and grading papers, taking graduate school courses, serving on committees, volunteering for social causes, coaching teams, or sponsoring extracurricular clubs. Help_Help_small (This doesn’t even factor in family commitments.)  The mental and physical health of most educators is often at risk, and the normal stresses of the job are compounded by the scrutiny of parents, administrators, state & federal mandates.

In his article from Education WeekChristopher Doyle spotlights the decline of teacher health and well-being.  He proposes a shift away from the excellence “rat race” that emphasizes perfection and increasing demands. He espouses that real change will only come from the top down.  Sadly, changes like these may not come in our lifetime.

In the meantime, we as teachers have to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from mental burnout and physical erosion.  Creating a balanced, healthy and restful lifestyle not only helps us, but it sets a great example for our students.

I know that you’re seeing that stack of papers or the unwritten lessons and thinking, no way.  My challenge to you would be to adopt a few personal practices that can bring refreshment and add margin.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Put it on the calendar.  Whether it’s a workout, a fun activity, a day trip, or even a nap, the best way to prioritize it is to put it in writing — when it’s on the calendar and the time is allocated, it’s harder to dismiss it.
  • Get quiet.  I’ve recently begun a daily meditation practice using a smartphone app called Headspace that makes it easy to begin a mindfulness habit. For me, the ten minutes it takes can be hard to carve out, but the benefits are worthwhile.  This simple practice really enhances my ability to focus and relaxes my mind for the tasks ahead.  If you aren’t ready for meditation, spend three or four minutes listening to your favorite song, and give your mind a short escape from the burdens of work.
  • Take a break.  Partner with another teacher and swap responsibilities to create space for a date night or personal break.  (If you have your own young children, offer to babysit for them in exchange for some time off when you need it.)
  • Exercise.  The billionaire industrialist Richard Branson gives credit to fitness as the source of his boundless energy and enviable string of accomplishments.  Working out on a regular basis can pay huge dividends in terms of energy, mental focus, and overall health.  Some experts suggest that the time you spend working out can be subtracted from the amount of time you need to sleep, due to the benefits of a healthy heart rate.
  • Pursue other activities.  If your focus is devoted strictly to school and teaching, your perspectives can narrow.  A well-rounded life that includes other interests and hobbies brings unique perspectives to your lesson plans and presentations.

I know it’s difficult, and I’ll admit I’m no master in this area.  Take a baby step toward treating yourself a little better.  You’ve earned it.  You’re a teacher.

(For more ideas on this topic, see this article Greater Good.)

 

Chicken Spaghetti Soup

This recipe is great for the night after you make a batch of spaghetti (or other pasta) for supper. When making that meal, be sure to cook some extra spaghetti noodles. Refrigerate the leftover noodles. The next morning place noodles in crock pot with a bag of precooked chicken, 1 box of chicken broth (or 2 cans), 1 cup of water, and 1 frozen bag of diced carrots and green peas. Add 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve with crackers or bread and a side salad.

“2 for 1” Pot Roast

This pot roast is a “2 for 1” meal — pot roast on night #1 and barbecue on night #2.

Night One. roast1

INGREDIENTS

    1. 4-5 pound eye of round roast – depending on your family size
    2. bag of baby carrots, washed
    3. ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
    4. 1/2 tablespoon salt;  1 teaspoon black pepper
    5. medium onion, chopped
    6. bag of small potatoes, washed and quartered
    7. bag of salad, dressing and fixins
    8. “take & bake” bread or bread of your choiceroast2

Place first six ingredients in crock pot.  Fill with water to top of roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  

Serve with salad and bread.  Leftover broth can be poured over roast for presentation and/or used as “au jus.” 

Night Two. 

The next night you can shred the leftover roast, place in crockpot, and add barbecue sauce. Cook until heated for 30 minutes. Serve on buns with french fries.