Saturday, January 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Are you in the mood for some peanut butter cookies today? I've never been a maker of peanut butter cookies because they always turned out dry and crumbly. Well, that has changed.

I have a secret recipe now. I got it from a certain Mr. Lemmon who lives down the street from me. He makes the most amazing peanut butter cookies, and the moment I tasted them, I just had to have the recipe.

So I wrestled it away from him and then I locked him in my cellar so I can claim it as my own.

Not really. I don't have a cellar.

This is all you need to make these beauties: shortening, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, peanut butter (duh!), baking soda, and flour. The chocolate kisses are optional. 

Just follow the recipe (at the bottom of this post) and be careful that you don't add too much flour. Sift it as you measure it and don't add a speck more than the 3 cups.

Then do the normal peanut butter cookie thing. Roll the dough into 1-inchish balls.

Gently press down with the tines of a fork.

Rotate 90 degrees and repeat.

Pretty, huh?

If you want to add a chocolate kiss, it's the cherry on top.

Naked peanut butter cookies.

Peanut butter cookies ready for a date with your mouth.

And if your peanut butter cookies come out dry, you can fix that easy. Just put them in a sealed container with a piece of bread overnight, and you'll wake up with soft cookies. It works for any type of cookie. Even the rock hard Gingersnaps you buy at the store.

Here's your recipe card. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mini Teacher Post

I've been sitting on these pictures for months, and since I don't have time to do any of the crafty things I'm dying to post about right now, I'm just going to dump these and get on with it. I hope you're okay with that. I'll try to bring some crafty on this weekend to make up for it, okay?

And I know some of y'all are still waiting for that Menu Plan post. And someone had the gall to request BOY  Valentine bookmarks. And okay, I'm sort of thinking that's a great idea so I'll probably get right on that. Plus I have so many Valentiney things I want to do. So I'm just saying, I didn't forget. I'm just a little backed up.

On time. Geesh. Keep your thoughts clean, will you?

Okay, now that that's settled, let me explain what you're looking at here. This is the top drawer of my desk at school. It's where I keep all the photocopies that I make ahead for the next week, or, if I'm really on the ball, the next month. Seeing this drawer full makes me happy. It makes my heart sing.

That's right, you heard me. I get my thrills off a tightly packed file drawer full of worksheets. No lie.

That's because I firmly believe that all photocopiers are from the Devil. Yep, just like Ferris Wheels and Tea Cups.

Copy machines never work when you need them. Like when your students are lined up outside your classroom at 8:10 and you have to be in there to let them in at 8:15. That's when the copiers get all moody and haughty. I know all you teachers out there know exactly what I'm talking about here. Back me up, will you, because people are starting to think I'm a nut job.

And I am, but that's beside the point.

Copy machines do not operate under pressure. They see a sweaty, stressed out teacher and they're all "Oh, I have a cramp. I'm going to eat a piece of paper and see if it helps. Nope, that didn't work. PAPER JAM! PAPER JAM! Please open door A, pull down Lever B357.6, rotate knob L, and close door to clear paper jam."

Repeat 5 times.

"There. That's better. Please wait 8 minutes while I warm-up again."

GAAAAAAHHHHH! I loathe copy machines.

Which is why I tiptoe into the teacher work room after school, pretend like I couldn't give a rat's hairy behind if I get a photocopy or not, and proceed.

Like I ding-dang don't care.

And it works.

So, I still haven't really explained what that picture is all about now, have I?

Okay, I'm going to tell you, but you have to keep it to yourself. It's my dirty little secret.

I hoard worksheets. There I said it. Please don't hate.

If it makes you feel any better, I only copy exactly what I need. Exactly. And I'm the Paper Recycling Nazi in my classroom. If I see a piece of paper in the trash I scream like I've got a severed limb, clutch my hands to my mouth, and very dramatically exclaim "There's P-P-P-P-Paper in the TRASH! What do we do with paper, class?"

They pretty much think I'm a freak, trust me. I have a whole Fraction Man routine that very nicely confirms their suspicions as well. I'm the CUH-razy 6th grade teacher.

Anyway, I was saying, I don't waste paper. I even print on the back of used paper whenever I can, and my kids are pretty much used to it. They bring me used paper and say "Mrs. Scott, would you like to have this?" Trashy, huh?

The really nice thing is that I actually have textbooks too, so I don't have to copy a ton. Textbooks are a luxury, let me tell you. I have worked without textbooks and it bites.

Nevertheless, there are things that I do need to copy, and I like to have those things copied ahead of time. So I'm not at the copy machine's mercy. And desperately at the copy machine's mercy. Because we do things that aren't pretty when we're desperate, don't we?

I'm just speaking for myself here? Oh never mind.

As I was saying, the packed file drawer works much like my Tickler File, except that I have assignments in days of the week hanging folders for one week, and then if I have more copies than for just a week, they get filed in the hanging file for the subject they belong in. I don't just put photocopies in these files either. I put other things that I need to remember for certain days as well. It keeps me sane.

Well, relatively speaking.

As it compares to myself.

This small hanging file jobber sits on a table in the front of my room. This table is my Command Central. The overhead projector sits on this table, and when I'm writing on the overhead projector, I sit on this table too.

It's a strong table.

This little hanging file is my TODAY file. I have a hanging file for each subject, and in it I keep all the photocopies that I need for the day, as well as overhead transparencies or anything else (except books) that I might need for that day's lessons. This way I don't waste any time looking for things. When I was teaching middle school, these hanging files were labeled by class, or period.

I could not function without this file. It's my BFF.

These are my class job assignments. I used to have them on a poster, but I'm always rearranging the classroom, and every time I do that, I have to assign new jobs to kids. One day I got smart and just turned all the jobs and all the kids' names into magnets. DUH! Now I just move them around when we change seats. It was the best thing when I finally figured this out.

This is another one of those brilliant ideas. This is my Missing Assignments list. It's just a section on my white board where I keep track of assignments that I don't yet have from certain students. I used to nag my students when they owed me an assignment, but that drove me crazy, and it didn't work. When I started writing the assignments down on the board, the kids paid attention.

I list the assignments and the student numbers for the students that have yet to turn the assignment in. I don't use their names because I want to be somewhat discreet about it. Everyone still knows who number 6 is, but it's not so in your face. And let me tell you, it works. Kids see their number up there and they get right on it. It's the neatest thing. 

My favorite is when I post something new and watch all the kids scramble to get their assignments to me. I don't allow them to erase their numbers either. I tell them that their number has to stay up there until I grade and record the assignment. It's torture for them, but I'm a control freak and they just have to live with me.

They're getting used to me and my strange ways.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Woo Hoo! I just had a blog makeover. A little nip here, and a little tuck there . . . what do you think?
Tinika over at By His Design has been tricking out my blog and I'm so excited to have everything all pretty and organized.

I'm especially loving my new navigation bar under my header. It enabled me to get some of the crap off my sidebars. Talk about Clutter City.

I apologize if I was choking up your feed reader dealie bob with all my organization posts. I now have posts that organize my recipes by category, and each of those posts can be pulled up by clicking on the Recipes dropdown menu in the navigation bar. Now when you come visit me, you won't sabotage your diet when you see that gigondo chocolate chip cookie and all the other food porn on the sidebar.

I'm helping you walk the straight and narrow. Because I care about you.

Except you're going to have to excuse me when I post my next recipe. Because I think it's going to be really bad for you.


Tinika also made me a button in the navigation bar for my favorite posts. I love that one. Pickle won't like it though, because I Just. Won't. Let. It Go. He doesn't like it when I tease him. Hmmm, I need to start digging up some family photos. There's some good material there.

Anyway, on with the tour. Isn't the little cupcake with my name at the bottom of the post adorable? I looooooooove cupcakes.

And what do you think of the pencil post divider? It could have been a row of cupcakes, but I'm thinking about your resolve and I don't want to torture you. Because I'm nice like that.

I love the new look, Tinika, thanks. You're the best!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Valentine Bookmarks

I hope y'all aren't getting tired of my magnetic bookmarks yet, because they're baaaaaaack.

Sorry. I love Arnold.

I made these early so you'd have plenty of time to put some together for your sweeties for Valentine's Day.

Here's the first design, front and back.

This one is my favorite. It must be the teacher in me.

These have a lot of heart. I mean hearts.

I can't get enough of pandas lately. I made these from a digital kit called Pandemonium from Designer Digitals. I bought it a couple years ago here. I also want to try the treat toppers and the matchbook candy favors this year. If I have time.

I'm not so wild about the way these turned out. They look fine until you print them. I printed one at home, had one printed at Wal Mart, and then got some more printed at Walgreen's, and they came out different each time. Instead of a lovely brown background, it's more of a pukey green color. Just consider yourself warned if you want to give them a try.

Also, I wanted to share my new discovery with you.

I can turn one of these magnetic business cards into six magnetic bookmarks now. I've doubled the number of bookmarks I can get out of one business card magnet! I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

I'll understand if you aren't as excited as I am.

It's just that me and office supplies, we go waaaaaay back.

Here's how to get six bookmarks. First cut the business card magnet in half.

Then cut each half into thirds.

Then each third in half.

See. This is all you need for each bookmark . . . one little piece right in the middle.

Then I stick the other one on top, peel off the sticky backing, and finally close the bookmark. Now I have perfectly lined up magnets.


By the way, please don't use your paper cutter to cut the magnets. My magnets are just sitting on the paper cutter for the pictures. I used scissors to cut them. If you were to use your paper cutter, it would be very bad for the blade. Very bad.

Here are the bookmarks if you want to make some. First click on each image to get the best resolution, then save it to your desktop. Don't forget that step or they'll look crappy.

Next, upload them to your favorite photo center, and order them as 4x6 prints. Then when you get them home, cut them in half so that you have two 2" x 6" bookmarks. You will fold each bookmark in half so that the finished size is 2" x 3".

By the way, it was suggested that I needed to make some boyish bookmarks, so you can find those here.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Peanut Head's Burritos

This is Peanut Head's Top Secret, perfected over the years, recipe for burritos. He has been waiting, and waiting, and wa-a-a-a-aiting for me to make him a recipe card for his burritos.

I think I've been dragging my feet because I'm not a big fan of burritos. I have texture issues and I don't like the beans. Squish the beans and it's even worse.

Needless to say, Peanut Head is the only one eating the burritos in this house. However, I know that lots of people do like burritos, so I'm going to share Peanut Head's recipe with you.

And because he's holding another can of Chipotle Chili Peppers to my head. He's mean like that.

So if you want to make these bad boys, this is what you'll need: ground turkey (or beef), onion, garlic, olive oil, garlic salt, black pepper, canned black beans, rice, water, salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, butter, flour tortillas, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Start by sauteing the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.

I don't have a picture for the next step, but it's okay because it's not that exciting. Brown the meat and add the seasonings. Cook off most of the fluids.

Drain the canned black beans and rinse them well. This is to rinse away some of the added sodium and wash away the bean sludge that accumulates in the can. I don't know if it's bad for you or anything like that, but it sure looks grody.

Once the beans are rinsed, add them, plus two cans of water. Just rinse the rest of the bean sludge out of one of the cans and measure the water that way.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

In another pan, bring two cups of water to a boil, add one cup of rice, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Peanut Head uses Basmati Rice, but you could use any kind of rice. You could even use brown rice if you want to make them super healthy.

When the beans are soft, use a potato masher to mash the meat/bean mixture.

Only mash until more than half the beans are mashed.

Add the cooked rice and combine. Then add the remaining spices and boil down until it just starts to thicken. It should be the consistency of chili. Remove from heat.

Working in groups of three tortillas at a time, spread a very thin layer of butter on the tortillas.

Then warm them for 45 seconds on high in the microwave.

I could eat one of these buttered tortillas, but once we go farther than this, I'm outta here.

Add 2 heaping tablespoons of meat/bean mixture to the center of the tortilla.

Sprinkle cheese over the whole tortilla. Peanut Head tells me that it's very important to spread the cheese out, otherwise you'll end up with a super hot cheese pocket when you reheat the burrito in the microwave. I think he learned the hard way.

Now you just roll it up like a burrito, however that is. I guess you roll it half way, tuck in the ends, and then roll the rest of the way. Not that I would know.

I have made egg rolls though, so I'm thinking it's something like that.

Aren't they cute?

Since Peanut Head freezes his burritos and then packs them in his lunch, he individually wraps them.

Wasn't he nice to take so many pictures for us?

All done.

Lastly, he stores them in freezer bags with nine or ten in each bag. One batch makes about 30 burritos, so these will last him close to three months.

Now, go make some burritos. They'll keep you regular.