Sunday, June 26, 2005

easier than anything vegan black beans

Although this recipe requires some "special" kitchen ware, it's so stinking easy . . . and cheap, too!

1 cup dry black beans
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
salt, chili powder, and cumin to taste

1. Rinse the black beans, searching for any shrivelley looking ones or ones that might be something other than a bean. (Throw the icky ones away, obviously. Or better yet . . . compost them!) Place the (good) beans in a small bowl, cover with water, and let soak in the fridge overnight.
2. Drain the beans and rinse again. Place the beans, onion, green pepper, and garlic in a small (1 1/2 quart) crock pot. Pour in enough water until it is 1 inch from the top of the pot. Cover. Plug in the crock pot and go to work.
3. Uncover the beans. Skim foam from the surface. Add salt, chili powder, and cumin to taste. (Now, in all of my reading of beans and legumes when I went pseudo-vegetarian, you are NOT supposed to salt beans before they cook. It causes the skins to break down, and you get a mushy mess instead of little pods of fluffy goodness.) Serve in tortillas, as a dip for chips, with brown rice, or smash them up and use as refried beans. You could also stir in a can of corn and a can of diced tomatoes for a quick black bean chili.

Oh, and you don't have to use black beans. You could use pinto instead, or vary your seasonings to a more Italian palate and use great northern or some other kind of white bean. (Ah . . . onion, garlic, and bell pepper to start, and finish with salt, lemon, and fresh slivered basil! Tasty . . . !!) Those would be fantabulous tossed with sauteed veggies, whole wheat pasta, and some extra virgin olive oil.

Oh, the possibilities.

Enjoy, mes amis!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

busy, busy, busy

Oh, this is hilarious! I just wrote a nice, fat blog in here, including links, and it mysteriously disappeared. Huh.

ANYHOW, to start over, I've been busy, which is why I haven't posted in a while. Finishing up the end of the school year, preparing for summer school, and a visit with Marie took up my time over the last week. Also, yesterday, I went to Waseca to visit Chelsea and Olivia. We had such a fun day! We just hung out and went for a walk and played Scrabble.

Here's the link to my homepage, where you can see photos of the classroom rearrangement. And I'll post other stuff there from time to time as well.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Willow Room Re-Do Part 1 and SHOUT OUT!

Whew . . . . . . . today was a long, busy day! Natalie and Don have left the Willow Room for the Oak Room for the summer, and the Willow Room is in a shambles. Jen (my new assistant) and I busted our butts to begin making sense of the madness today, and it's already starting to look pretty good. I will try and post some pictures of the finished product when I get a chance. (I'll post to my .mac website, since I don't think blogger's too keen on pictures and such.) However, we were so busy working, I sort of forgot to eat enough and drink enough water today. Gave myself a nice migraine! I came home and laid down for half an hour, and now I feel so much better -- no more splitting headache and nausea. I will NOT do that to myself tomorrow!

I forget how important snacks are sometimes.

I tried out a new mosquito repellant today, which worked wonderfully. I got it at REI (using another gift card! wah-hoo!) and it's DEET free. It's a combination of eucalyptus and lemon. The skeeters still landed on my clothes while I was digging up worms for our worm habitat today, but they didn't come near my skin and didn't even try to bite me! Thought you'd all like the info -- especially 'cause I guess DEET really isn't that good for you. Oh -- and the big tube o' bug cream was about 7 dollars, which I think is pretty reasonable.


Chelsea did this awhile ago on her blog, and I think it's a good idea. I'm going to "shout out" to all of you who have commented on my blog and let you know how cool I think you are! Here goes:

Laure: I think it's so great that although you and I are so far away, we still keep in touch! In a couple of years when I'm back on my feet financially, I'm going fly over the big blue ocean and come visit you. (Well, unless you've moved back to the States by then. Then we'll just have to go together -- you can be my tour guide!) I miss you!

Chelsea: Super-mama extraordinaire! AND, one of my only friends who never disappeared into the land of the married. Not even once. I love all of your comments, I love your blog, and I love you! You're the best!

Marie: My oldest and dearest friend! She who has put up with multi-hour phone conversations mostly where I blab my head off continuously -- you ROCK! (And you're coming to visit in less than a week! Wah-hoo!)

Lauren: My left armpit sister who wholeheartedly agrees with the following comment:DIE BUCKTHORN SCUM! We need to go hiking.

Ann: I used to tease you that you knew everything, and now I stand corrected. You know LOTS, but you know how to find out everything!

Melissa: Chelsea's friend who rescued me from a comment drought. Thanks! Sounds like you are WAY pregnant now -- how's everything going?

Marietta: I MISS YOU!!!!!! (But I have a wonderful letter you wrote me and "write to Marietta" is on my list of things to do!) You are always crazy-busy, (maybe just crazy? tee-hee,) but we still manage to keep in touch. You're the best!

Okay . . . that's it, folks!

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Well, the end of the school year came and went, and I received a LOT of gift cards for Barnes and Noble from families. Thanks to those and my teacher discount, I purchased NINETEEN new books for school. (I technically own them, but I will keep them at school and use them in the classroom.) Here's a list of what I bought:

Diary of a Worm (Doreen Cronin)
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Doreen Cronin)
Bill and Pete (Tomie dePaola)
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Verna Aardema)
Tough Boris (Mem Fox)
Hattie and the Fox (Mem Fox)
A Letter to Amy (Ezra Jack Keats)
The Doorbell Rang (Pat Hutchins)
Everybody Needs A Rock (Byrd Baylor)
Peppe the Lamplighter (Elisa Bartone)
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (Jan Brett)
The Great Kapok Tree (Lynne Cherry)
Frederick (Leo Lionni)
Tikki Tikki Tembo (Arlene Mosel)
Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Sciesza)
Abiyoyo (Pete Seeger)
Sheep Take A Hike (Nancy Shaw)
Shrek! (William Steig)

It was so nice to bulk up my collection of children's books!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

year end report update

14 done, 10 to go. I'm not going to get them all done by the end of this week, but it's going to be very close! I think I may only need to end up mailing out 4 or 5. We'll see.

I'm actually on a roll right now, but my butt's so sore from sitting on a hard chair for so long, I think I have to quit for the night. Gah!

2 more days of school!!! I can't believe it!

Since my life has been nothing but work lately, I have little to say that is actually interesting. Well, here's one thing: four or so of the girls in our morning class have been interested in stripping down to their undies the last few days, dumping a bunch of paint on the floor, and "ice skating." Their bodies end up covered in paint, and we have to hose them off outside before they can put their clothes back on. Very silly, and very fun. But a very big mess to clean up as well! Our floor has sort of a greenish haze to it right now from all the paint. Alas.

2 more days of school.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

procrastination is my worst enemy

Ah . . . last week of school, and I'm not even half done with my year end reports. Ho-hum. I hate being a procrastinator! The hilarious part of all of this is, I will probably finish them in time. Silly Catherine.

I had an insanely busy weekend, including 2 babysitting jobs, so I actually have a little money for a change! Woo-hoo! I also had to go into work yesterday for the preschool's "fifth birthday party." It was a long afternoon/evening.

I just watched the movie "Monsoon Wedding," which Marie recommended to me. It was excellent! I had a hard time following at first, because the dialogue would flip back and forth between Hindu and Hindu-accented English. I missed half the subtitles at first, but then I caught on and followed much better. It was amazing, and Mira Nair is a great, great director. (She directed "Vanity Fair," too. And a bunch of other stuff.)

So, I am going to be writing like a chicken with my head cut off this week. Wish me luck.