Friday, September 14, 2012

Grammar Police PowerPoint Template

You asked for it, you got it! If I eventually get hired as a language arts teacher, I plan on using this in my classroom. My fellow education students loved it so much, they wanted the template. So here it is, free for the whole world to use!

Click here to download!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Herbed Oven Dried Tomatoes

Oven dried tomatoes remind me of sun-dried tomatoes, except you can make them at home and they don't cost much at all! Since I can't seem to grow tomatoes myself (I have a brown thumb), I usually get a lot of tomatoes from friends and neighbors who always seem to grow too many! Another trick is to go to the local farmers market and ask for a discount on a bunch of the tomatoes rejected by buyers. They don't have to look pretty for you to make this recipe, just cut off the ugly parts and you're ready to go!

You'll need:

  • A lot of tomatoes! - Washed and ready to cut.
  • Olive oil - enough to coat all of the sliced tomatoes
  • Garlic - 2 - 3 cloves finely chopped (more or less depending on how much you like garlic)
  • Basil (and/or other Italian herbs) - dried would be okay but fresh-sliced leaves are better; use enough to get a good flavor over all of your sliced tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat oven to a low temperature: around 200 degrees.
  • Slice the tomatoes somewhat thinly, less than a 1/2 inch thick.
  • Toss the sliced tomatoes into a big bowl with the garlic, olive oil, and herbs.
  • Place the tomatoes in a shallow pan in one layer - you could use a cookie sheet if you line it with foil and turn up the edges so that the juices don't drip over the edge.
  • Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Bake in the low-temp oven for at least 5 hours; until they are dried out but not burned. Some recipes out there suggest 8-10 hours! Just be sure to keep an eye on them.
  • You can store them in mason jars with a little more olive oil. I don't know how long you can store them--but if you keep then in the fridge, I'm sure they'll last a long time.
Use them on pasta, on bread, or with recipes that call for sun-dried tomatoes. I'm looking forward to trying them in a hummus recipe this year.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kale Chips on a Griddle

I make kale chips on my griddle. To me, it's very simple; I improvise when I make them. But I've had several people ask (and beg) for the recipe, so I'll try to write down how I make them. Results may vary.
  1. Heat up the griddle. I think I set the heat to about 350 degrees.

  2. Wash the kale and remove any hard stems. Keep the pieces of kale as large as possible.

  3. Coat the kale with olive oil. For this, I have a special Pampered Chef device: a Kitchen Spritzer. I also put a little olive oil on the griddle to keep the kale from sticking.

  4. Lightly salt the kale--I use sea salt.

  5. Place kale on the griddle in one layer. Overcrowding will steam the kale rather than crisp it.

  6. Keep an eye on the kale. When they start to dry and change color, turn them over. After I turn them all over, I usually turn off the griddle. This way I don't accidentally overcook the chips (aka burn them!).

After they are good and crispy, you should be able to pick up a piece and it should maintain it's shape. Put on a plate to serve. Serve immediately--I can't imagine that they would store very well.

Sometimes I use this recipe to create a kale chip bed for serving steak or chicken.

Rubble Watch Update - 2012

Jeez, I'm down to just an annual post on my blog?!?!?!? I have to do better than that! The Rubbles down the street have a purpose for some (not all!) of the rubble. It seems that, in their spare time, they use a bulldozer to push some of the rubble around. The purpose of this activity is create a rubble/land bridge across the creek running behind their house. Okay, not a bad plan; as long as they put a culvert pipe under the rubble for the water to flow through. Otherwise, they've made a dam. But what they are going to do with the other several tons of rubble remains to be seen. Fortunately, the rubble has been sitting so long that it's created an environment perfect for weeds and grasses growing well protected from the danger of being mowed. You almost can't tell that it used to be pieces of a building.