I moved!

I moved! You can find me at my new online home, KaylaPins.com!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What is Gluten Anyway?

I had a good laugh watching this clip from Jimmy Kimmel. Although avoiding gluten can be live-changing for some people, the wheat protein is overwhelmingly painted as a nutritional bad-guy.

To prove that people are buying into the hype, the show asked people if they followed a gluten-free diet and then what it was. Their answers were quite funny, and none of them defined gluten as the protein in wheat that gives bread its stretch and seitan its texture.

It comes along with the usual crass of late-night television which is too bad: It has the potential for a great anticipatory set. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Planting Our Little Classroom Garden

Last week my students planted a small garden as part of their Food Issues unit. We are talking about where our food comes from and the importance of local food and community resources.

Our National Honor Society sponsor was kind enough to include my class in a gardening grant and share a sunny spot in their garden. I had good intentions of making a beautiful raised bed, but didn't want to make my students think gardening was hard, expensive, or time-consuming. Instead we went with a simple plastic bag method.

Start by punching holes in one side of a bag of gardening soil, every three or four inches.
This was the students' favorite step.
Turn the bag over so the holes are facing the ground. Cut the top off of the bag, leaving a two-inch border all around to hold in the dirt.
Plant the tomatoes in trenches.
In addition to tomatoes we have a variety of peppers and lots of herbs. 
The garden is tiny- 18 square feet, but is enough to grow all of the tomatoes, peppers, and herbs we will need for Food and Nutrition next year. Hopefully my students learned that gardening can be quick, easy, and rewarding.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Health Fair Appetizers Garde Manger Unit

I have an amazing coworker who organizes, every other year, a health fair that features local health-related vendors. My school extends first block so that every class can spend at least a half hour at the exhibits, learning more about resources in our area.

She asked my Culinary Essentials students to offer food to the vendors. My first thought was healthy muffins, but because my students have already been through Bakery I squeezed in a Garde Manger mini-unit.
This plate features Italian salad-stuffed shells and cream cheese-dill stuffed cherry tomatoes.
The cucumber cups were very fun. We used a melon baller to cut a bowl for our red pepper lentil "hummus."
Our green onion curly garnishes were very easy to make. Just cut little ribbons and toss in ice water for ~10 minutes.
The "prosciutto" with melon was very popular. We just alternated cantelope and honeydew melon with ham. It's an old trick I learned with pepperoni and olives from bartending. :)
I missed a picture of my most popular appetizer, the deviled eggs. Everyone asked for the recipe but honestly we were so far behind (senior skip day... grrr!) that I just tossed in ingredients as a student mixed. Not my best moment. It included mayonnaise, mustard, sriracha, salt, and pepper. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Recycle and ReDesign

I love teaching culinary skills and am blessed to be at a school that allows me to concentrate on one area. But my true love outside of work is textiles! My co-worker asked me to share some of my projects with her class for their recycle and redesign project.
To begin I had the students guess how much money my outfit cost. I'm wearing:
  • Izod floral shirt
  • Silver brand embroidered jeans
  • BCBG Boots
  • Fossil Belt
The closet student guessed $12 and won a beanie that I crocheted from unraveled yarn. The actual cost was $9.35.

I also showed them my T-shirt quilt, quilts that I made from vintage sheets, and bags that I crocheted from plastic bags. It was a lot of fun!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Companion Planting with Compost, Sunflowers, and Cucumbers

We were fortunate to have a few hours of sunshine this weekend. I continued my small-space gardening projects by companion planting sunflowers and cucumbers around my compost bin.
You can read the guest post on my mom's blog, Jo's Country Junction.

Friday, May 9, 2014

FaCS Meat Lab

To demonstrate tender-cut meat cookery, my students made recipes from Cook This, Not That!: Kitchen Survival Guide. Books from the whole Eat This, Not That! series are excellent because they offer lots of flavor for low calories. The recipes are fairly simple to make and can easily be adapted to use less expensive ingredients.
Thai beef lettuce wraps (I used a flat iron steak)

Chimichurri Flank steak (I used a sirloin)

Grilled Pork Chops with Pine Nuts and Peaches
Pound for pound the most expensive part of this lab may have been limes. $1.50 each!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Chopped! Chicken Lab Results

After my students didn't send me their recipes on time I had them do a "Chopped" style lab. In the Food Network show, contestants are given several mystery ingredients that must be made into a specified dish. The students each drew a market cut of a whole chicken and had 50 minutes to create an entree.

Batter-fried chicken thighs with fried flat bread, giblet gravy, and cheddar cheese

Chicken-noodle soup with baking powder biscuit

Barbecue chicken wings with oven baked fries 

Cajun chicken tenders with mashed potatoes
And the winner was... The GIBLET GRAVY group!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY Topsy Turvey Tomato Planter

Today I'm guest posting on my mom's blog, Jo's Country Junction, about my new Topsy Turvey Tomato planter. This particular one is at my home. But what a great idea for a classroom garden! Teachers could easily transport it home for the summer and bring it back for students to enjoy the fall harvest.

CHOPPING! Poor workmanship habits

I'm pretty disappointed with my Culinary Essentials students. Most of the class turned in their summative late and didn't complete their study guides. I had only one group send me a recipe after yesterday's demonstration cutting a whole chicken!

I didn't think it was fair for me to spend time looking up recipes for them, or for me to continue to allow poor workmanship. So:

Monday, May 5, 2014

FaCS Demonstration: Cutting A Whole Chicken

Probably my least favorite farm task, although my parents were supportive of me getting out of it, was cutting up chicken. It is, however, a very economical way to purchase meat for a family. Instead of market cuts families can take advantage of the "extras" like bones and giblets to stretch meals.

Students got started with their study guides, Culinary Essentials Study Guide, Chapter 22: Poultry. We watched the last ten minutes of Cutthroat Kitchen which shows contestants cutting a whole chicken and preparing chicken giblets.

Good Eats Season 14 [HD] Grillis Domesticus does a great job explaining various market cuts of chicken as well as a demonstration of cutting up a whole chicken in the first ten minutes. My set of DVDs does not include this episode but it is only $1.99 at Amazon.
Last week my students drew cards for various chicken parts. I demonstrated cutting up a whole chicken and reviewed student study guides using this outline.

Students worked in groups to decide what to make with their assigned market cut. Their grocery orders are due today at the end of lunch. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. I've heard rumor of fried chicken with waffles and giblet gravy. :-/

Friday, May 2, 2014

FACS Olive Garden Soups Copycat Lab

I owe my survival during my college years to Olive Garden and their soup, salad, and breadsticks. It was a great place to work and I never grew tired of their food!

I often encourage my students to take their first foodservice job at a Darden restaurant. I know that they treat their young workers well and that my students will have an opportunity to be promoted. I have a student who started as an alley coordinator and will be moving into food prep and management!

Other than their great work environment, Olive Garden is most well known for their endless soup and breadsticks! Their variety of soup is perfect for our soup lab.

Students could choose what Olive Garden soup to make:
We had a unsweetened chocolate/broth cube mixup with the Minestrone, but the Zuppa and Fagioli were fantastic! And what would Olive Garden soup be without their infamous breadsticks? The recipe calls for the bread to rise for 45 minutes. My students mixed the dough one day, refrigerated it overnight, and baked them the next day with great success.

Mangia, mangia, mangia! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Unit Price Calculation Anticipatory Set

The Pasta e Fagioli soup calls for a 15-oz can of tomato sauce.

Which did I buy?

How much did I save?

If I were preparing this soup for 24 people, how much money would I save for the whole recipe? (The original recipe serves 8.)