Monday, July 14, 2014

Spicy spaghetti and Meat Sauce


If you don't know by now... I am a HUGE fan of pasta dishes and make them quite frequently. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever eaten a pasta dish I didn't like. Since I began to learn how to cook and experiment in the kitchen, I have always wanted to make my own meat sauce from scratch. While there are some decent jarred pasta sauces out there (Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato Basil, get in my belly!), I think there is something special about a homemade sauce. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to try my hand in this department and came out with a pretty tasty pasta sauce if I do say so myself. Even Ryan liked it and he HATES tomatoes! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 box spaghetti
    (I used vermicelli) 
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. rosemary
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • Parmesan Cheese for topping

Directions: 
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining. 
  2. Saute the onion in a large skillet (I used the cast iron) over medium-high heat in olive oil. Add garlic to the pan and continue to saute for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. 
  3. Add ground beef to the pot and cook until the meat browns. 
  4. Add all of the spices and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and beef broth and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the cooked pasta and cooking water, tossing to combine. Let simmer on the stove for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. 
  6. Enjoy! 

So good! Next time I make this sauce, I might try my hand at canning to store some for a later date since this recipe makes a decent amount of sauce! 


I can officially cross #31 off of my 101 in 1001 list!

Happy Bachelorette Monday Night, y'all! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

America's Weekend-Long Birthday Celebration Schoeff Style

The July 4, 2014 weekend was one of my favorites weekends of the year by far. But then again, any weekend where I'm surrounded by my amazing family from all over the country is bound to be a memorable time. 

Our vacation started at 2:30 on Friday morning since we needed to leave for the airport pretty early! After a full morning of travel, Ryan and I finally touched down in Cincinnati where we were greeted by my parents! We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed straight for my favorite restaurant in the whole world (sorry, La Parilla) to meet up with the rest of my big ole family!
 


Heaven on a plate


Once everyone had sufficiently stuffed their faces with skyline, we all headed back to the house to hang out for the rest of the afternoon before driving into Greendale for the fireworks show later in the evening! Of course we had to play a few card games and some corn hole during this time because let's face it, no Schoeff family reunion would be complete without those two things! Right before the sun set, we all piled into cars and drove down to Greendale Park to claim our spot and watch some celebratory fireworks!






The fireworks show was amazing but our early morning wake-up call was getting to me by this point so we headed back to the hotel shortly after.

Saturday, my parents, Ryan, and I started the day off by getting a workout in at the gym, showering, eating a quick breakfast, and heading straight to Dayton, OH for a family BBQ at my Uncle's house. My cousin, Olivia, and I were one of the first to arrive and went straight for the Margaritas! Clearly, we're not related or anything....


While the whole afternoon was fun, the highlight of the day for me was seeing all nine of the Schoeff brothers and sisters all under one roof, which doesn't happen very often. The family is super spread out (California, Washington, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, DC, and Boston) so to see everyone come together is always such a blessing.

My dad with all of his brothers and sisters
We also all sat in for a family photo that turned out awesome! If you learn anything about my family from this blog post, I'm sure it is that the Schoeff's love a good photo opportunity. It's not the first and it definitely will not be the last group photo you see from this little trip!
 


 
Once pictures were done for a while, we competed in the putting competition on the putting green in their backyard. Par for the entire competition was 18, my dad won with 16, and I fell somewhere in the middle (lower middle...but still) surprisingly with a score of 25!
 
 
Around midafternoon, everyone started to get lazy like sweet Ernie here...
 
 
So we decided to perk up by walking down the street to a local coffee shop called Saxby's for some coffee! Just like we do at any other place, we took the whole coffee shop by storm.



 Saturday night, since most people were still stuffed from lunch, a small group of us decided to grab some pizza and beer at La Rosa's. I had a blast getting to spend some time in a small group with Evan, Jake, Colee, Ryan, and my dad!


On our last full day in town, the Schoeff family had BIG plans. Around noon, we all showed up at a church in Dover, Indiana for an Andres family reunion. If you thought the Schoeff family was big, we're really just one group from my Grandmother's side of the family. Grandma Evelyn was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters, just like my dad and on Sunday, the descendants from those siblings all gathered for mass and a feast.

The literal family tree
It was SO fun getting to spend some time with family that I had never met before and learn a little bit about my Grandma's history.


Girl Schoeff cousins in attendance with a photo-bombing Evan!
We rounded out the whole vacation with a little trip to my favorite German restaurant, Hofbrauhaus. We were missing a few family members at this point who had to leave to get to work Monday morning (WAH) but this was definitely another highlight of the trip! While there was no chicken-dancing on the tables this time, some liters were consumed and some memories were made.

My youngest cousin, Sam, with his Pepsi-weizen.


 
This family vacation was definitely one of my favorites. I swear they get better and better each year! I'm so glad Ryan and I could make it work to get out to Indiana this year!
 
I can officially cross this off family reunion off my 101 in 1001 list! If you want to check my progress, the updated list can be found in the 101 in 1001 tab at the top of this page!
 
Happy Thursday!  

 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

101 in 1001 #47- Tory Row 5K

(So, I started writing this post yesterday when all of a sudden the entire layout of my blog disappeared. I had to start from scratch and like 12 hours later, I finally reached a point where I could present a new post on the new layout. Hope ya'll like it!)

Early last week, our friend Lauren (better known as Berg or Bergie) sent Ryan and I a text message asking if we were interested in running a 5k on Sunday as a part of team Long Trail. Long Trail, for you southerners is a Vermont-based craft beer company that makes some pretty awesome beers! They were one of the sponsors of the Tory Row 5k so when we found this out, of course we were in!

The race events started Friday evening with a bib pick-up party at Tory Row in Harvard Square. When we got there, Ryan and I picked up our race bib, along with a drawstring bag, t-shirt, and water bottle all courtesy of Tory Row. On top of all that, we got a ticket for a free drink and a bacon and spinach flatbread. Seriously, such a good deal since the race only cost $40 and some proceeds went to two different charities in the area. Thanks TR!




Since we were already in the city, we decided to spend the rest of the night hanging out with Eliot and Lauren. Our night brought us to the Playwright in South Boston, where Lauren was hosting a pint night for Long Trail, followed by a trip to Seaport for drinks at the Atlantic Beer Garden. Bergpot ended up coming back out to Weymouth with us at the end of the night since Ryan and Eliot were planning on playing some tennis nearby the next morning.



Saturday morning, we woke up and walked to Uncle Charlie's for breakfast, where we got some pretty funny stares due to these two goobers below:

Lookin' Fine... 
The night before the race, Ryan and I found ourselves BACK in Boston in order to save ourselves the drive early Sunday morning. We went out to Market to celebrate Lauren's good friend Heather's birthday until about 1 before deciding it would probably be a good idea to get some rest before the run!




As you can see, by this point our weekend had already been pretty jam-packed with late nights, drinks, and entertainment. Sunday morning, we all woke up feeling a little sluggish but ready to run! We got to the starting line with time to stretch before the race began at 9:30 sharp.


Before I knew it, it was time to start running! If you know me well, you know that I am NOT a very good runner. It just never came easy to me (probably because I spent the majority of my life in the water... I'm like a living example of "fish out of water"). My goal for the race was to run the entire time and finish under 35 minutes.


The course was pretty decent, with only one of two hills and the race was over before I knew it! I crossed the finish line at around the 33 minute mark, which I was happy with. I ended up running my first mile WAY too fast which hit me around the mile and a half mark! Oh well!


Almost immediately after finishing the race there was a Long Trail Summer Ale in my hand, which was the perfect way to end the event! Seriously, if any of you readers like to drink (free) beer, this is the event for you!! So. Much. Fun.



Thanks again for the invite, Lauren!!

While we're on the topic of fitness goals, I am finally able to cross another thing off of my 101 list as of this morning! Last week I purchased a groupon for 5 yoga classes at Dancing Crow Yoga Studio in Hingham. I cashed the first one in today, where I took a beginners foundation class and LOVED it! I'm so excited to start a new (albeit expensive) practice! 


Happy Tuesday! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Easy Glazed Salmon

Now that summer is upon us, I realize that I can't keep eating all of these crazy unhealthy delicious pasta dishes every night (so I've settled for every other night instead). In an effort to lighten up our meals around here, Ryan and I have been killing this recipe for a couple months now and it is an absolute favorite of both of ours. It's actually one that Ryan introduced to me during the time where I was stuck in class all night long and he was responsible for dinner. Not only is it a fairly easy recipe, but it takes hardly any time at all! Double win!


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/4 lb. Salmon, skinned and cut into filets
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and soy sauce. Set aside.
2. Place the salmon in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. I always ask someone at the grocery store to remove the skin for me before I buy the fish saving us time when we go to put this meal together.
3. Broil the salmon until it is opaque throughout, about 8-10 minutes. Pull it out of the oven and brush the soy sauce glaze over the top of the salmon. Put it back in the oven and broil it for 2-3 more minutes, or until completely cooked through. Enjoy!


And that's it! Seriously, so easy and flavorful! We usually eat ours with broiled asparagus or broccoli and a side of rice!


One more day until the weekend!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Summer!

Summer is officially here!!

While I am happy that summertime has arrived, I will definitely miss the 15-16 smiling faces I was greeted with almost every morning over the past 180 school days. I have learned so much from them and from the teachers at Nash this year that I will carry with me through my final year of this master's program and beyond. Thanks for the great memories, Nash!! Here's a little look back on some of the fun happenings at our little school over the 2013-14 year!

Open House: 




For Open House Night, Jill and I set up the room to look like it does with every student working at their desks. The kids colored faces of themselves and brought in t-shirts that we put on the seats with their open house worksheets.

Thanksgiving:


Thanksgiving Math Turkeys

The Nash Olympics:



My Favorite Valentines Card: 



Working on our Geometry:



Christmas Time:

Polar Express Day 

End of the Year Field Trips and Activities:





Giant Lobster Claw 


For our end of the year gifts, Jill and I went to the dollar store to pick up some beach buckets which Candy, Jill, Lori, and I filled with goodies for each student. I printed off the cute printable that says "Have buckets of fun this summer!", backed them on to yellow construction paper and tied them to the buckets! We also printed out pictures from the year to give to each student to help them remember all the fun times they had at school.

We also did two sets of superlatives, teacher awards and classroom awards. The four of us voted on teacher awards which were awards like "Neatest Handwriting", "Science Superstar", and "Math Master". Each child received a certificate and a medal. The students all voted on the classroom awards and I tallied up the votes afterwards. We went to the dollar store (Love that place for stuff like this!) and picked out silly prizes that went along with the awards. These awards were funnier rather than serious, like "Classroom Comedian", "Amazing Artist" and "Little Miss Fashionista". The kids seemed to love finding out who won the awards and getting the little prizes that go along with them!

The Certificates with the corresponding prize! 
That really is just a brief glimpse into the school year. We did so many fun activities but in the interest of privacy, those pictures cannot be displayed on the internet, so you'll just have to take my word for it!

Have a great summer, teacher friends!!