Tears were flowing as our plane took off from our home in Washington DC to embark on our new journey in California. As much as we love Los Angeles, we also couldn’t help tearing up the next morning when we caught a glimpse of the Capitol building on the news. Washington DC is inspirational. It is a city filled with intelligence and passion. Washington DC has made us stronger, and taught us what it means to work hard for what you believe in. After two years of learning from some of the best educators in country at Georgetown and KIPP DC: AIM Academy, we are taking what we have learned and bringing it back to California. Brent will be putting his MBA to use at McMaster-Carr, and I’ll be teaching 5th grade at KIPP in South LA. Mama raised us to never throw away food, so in the weeks before our move I started cooking unusual combinations of food to make sure everything got used. While Marta was visiting DC we decided to use the last of our baking supplies to make energy bars. We just started throwing energy bar ingredients into the kitchenaid and hoped for the best. The result was quite delicious, required no cooking and was perfect to have on hand while packing. It has now been over a week since I’ve had all my kitchen supplies, and I am so eager to cook! The moving truck arrives in LA tomorrow, so I’ll be energized and ready to cook and blog West Coast inspired meals.
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 1/2-3 cups old fashioned oats (depending on how the peanut butter and oats are sticking)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup grade a maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with wax paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 opposites sides. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients, tossing with a wooden spoon to mix evenly. (I used my mixer)
3. Last, mix in the dried fruit.
4. Pour the mixture to prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly to the sides. To make energy bites, divide mixture in a mini muffin tin. Press down firmly to compact the granola.
5. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours, up to overnight. When firm, using the wax paper overhang, lift granola out of pan and place on a cutting board. With a large, sharp knife, cut into bars.
The Focus Cookie first made its appearance in Mrs. Lowry’s classroom a few days before DCCAS standardized testing. The kids and I were getting burnt-out from all the intense work and stress. We needed joy and enthusiasm. The Focus Cookie was invented as a way to have fun, without sacrificing sacred learning time. I told the kids that Focus Cookies have a magical power and ability to help students focus and master math skills. My too cool for Mrs. Lowry sixth graders rolled their eyes when I pretended to sprinkle magic focus dust on each cookie, but raved about the taste and kept asking for more. Yesterday on our way back from the sixth grade West Virginia camping trip we stopped at Splash Down Water Park before saying our goodbyes. We spent three hours in the pool, and were treated to cookies and snow cones before boarding the bus. A bunch of KIPPsters ran up to me after eating what I considered to be delicious cookies and said, “Mrs. Lowry, these cookies are good, but they’re nothing compared to Focus Cookies!” We’ll see how much math they retain from the year, but at least they know how to recognize a good cookie.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl and mix thoroughly. Beat butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Drop small spoonfuls onto an un-greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remember, the cookies will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven. I personally enjoy gooey undercooked cookies, so I only cook them for 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Kerri inspired my love for the combination of figs and prosciutto when she hosted pizza and game night back in April. I decided to experiment with the sweet and savory combination, and recently I blogged a dried fig jam recipe with the intention of using it as a substitute for pizza sauce. This elegant flatbread recipe requires no measuring, and can be made simpler with store bought fig jam and pizza dough. Oh, and although Brent was not a fan of dried fig jam by itself, he loved this pizza!
Kosher Salt To Taste
Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Thin
Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
Washed And Rinsed Arugula
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Roll out 1/3 of the pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place on a large baking sheet.
3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Spread fig jam over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
4. Lay sliced of mozzarella all over the surface, and top with proscuitto Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. All ovens are different, keep an eye on it!
5. Just before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan.
6. Cut, serve, and enjoy.