Tuesday, May 19, 2015


After a couple months of plateau, there has finally been some progress on the job front. I have been applying to any position I am qualified to apply to (and a few I am not) in PA, DC, DE, NH, VT, VA, and MD, as well as a few other outlying places as well, that show up on the job sites I have my information on. I have an interview with a school in Virginia for a second grade position, of which there are 2. There are two days of interviews, which makes me believe I am one of 15 at the most (as they are scheduling them in hour increments), so on first look, I do have a fighting chance. The school looks beautiful, the location looks beautiful, and second grade is a great grade for me. It is about an hour and a half from DC, so closer to where a lot of my friends live and about equidistant from my family as where I live now, which I think works well.

I am freaking out. It will be a 5 hour drive down, and a 5 hour drive home, and thanks to pet sitting and subbing I will need to do both drives in one day. I am hoping the drive down will help to subdue and calm me, and the drive home will hopefully feel triumphant. And if it doesn't, as this is my first interview for a classroom job, it will hopefully also help me feel calm. It has been 8 years since I have interviewed for a job that I had no paid experience doing, and the first interview I am sure I will be the most nervous for the first interview.

In less critical news, my tea stash that was once filling a cabinet, half of my dining room table, and a 4 by 2 foot space on the floor has been reduced to the cabinet and the table only. Sounds silly, but it is the first tangible evidence of me consuming more than I acquire that I've had in awhile, and all of my tea that has over an ounce now lives in a tin in its appropriate spot in the cabinet. Particularly if I end up moving home without a job, how much tea I have will matter a lot, as my organization options will be exceedingly limited. If I am in my own place at a new job, I will just have a new cabinet to organize. Maybe the solution is dedicating a larger cabinet/shelf...

Anyone else nap when they get nervous? I suddenly feel like I know absolutely nothing about teaching at all. Dating is so much easier for me, so much less riding on it. I just need to remind myself that this interview is not that different from a first date - if it doesn't work, I have a plan that is still in place that isn't terrible. It will be great practice, the principal sounded friendly on the phone, and even if I struggle with something unexpected, I will be even more prepared for the next time.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Taco Spice and Hot Weather

I feel like I am in a kind of calm before the storm phase right now. My life is basically just me applying to jobs like a fiend, wrangling and herding truly insane children subbing, wondering where I will be going and what I will be doing in three months. Probably herding more insane children in a different location, at this rate. Kids are terrible these days - I don't remember feeling unsafe as a second grader, but I would have been absolutely terrified if I were in class with some of these children. In the meantime, it has suddely gotten hot as Hades out. Bye Spring, it was nice knowing you for all of five minutes. So I have been going back to more lazy dishes that don't involve the oven, or much effort at all. I have been terrible about going on walks, or cleaning, or anything that involves moving from in front of my fan that doesn't pay me money.

This "recipe" is kind of a cop out, as I know how to make tacos. They are glorious. But I always find myself needing to go to the store for those spice packets. So I decided to give the recipe from Laura in the Kitchen a go. It took spices I already had, and while those spice packets say they only cost a dollar, this ends up being a fraction of that for several meals' worth.
This was a little over one serving when I made it according to the recipe. It worked out though because after using it, I made two more batches to add to it (which I assume will add up to close to 3 meals' worth) and keep sitting around to encourage even further laziness.
After adding the tomato sauce and water, the only drawback was that this takes a solid ten minutes or so of simmering when the packets seem to take less. Logic tells me if I added a bit less water, I could cut this by a couple minutes without sacrificing anything.
It thickened nicely, and I used the leftover meat for nachos the next day. I like my tacos and my nachos with cheese, sour cream, and taco sauce (or hot sauce). Sour cream on the bottom to act like glue to help hold the meat in place, reducing the wreckage from inevitable taco collapses after the first bite. No space for any stinkin veggies for me. Guac is good too.

Highly recommend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Long time...Recipe: Light Fettuccini Alfredo

Blogging fail. Since my computer being broken I have been hyper focused on getting my applications re-rolling (as I am discovering there truly is a never ending list of places to apply, given the application takes an hour on average) and getting my computer back to where it was before in terms of preferences and bookmarks and such. Also, subbing is of course a never ending adventure where at the end of most days I shake my head and realize exactly why so few certified teachers without contract jobs are subbing. It is rough work, so far almost as rough as actual teaching, because the pros and cons are so different. I have been exhausted, and taking a day here and there for more stomach trouble which I turn into an application day.

But, I am making good progress and have relooked at DOZENS of recipes I went back to hunt for to restore my to-make list from before. Last night I made this slightly unconventional Light Fettuccini Alfredo recipe from Laura In the Kitchen. She is one of my favorite YouTubers for food, beauty, and to watch vlogs for, which is rare. Don't let the amateurish website with terribly placed ads fool you, she is very good and also has a Food Network show I have yet to see, and a cookbook coming out this fall that I have already pre-ordered. I always find it strange when established brands have websites that look cheap or thrown together, given how easy it can be to find someone to design a site that is attractive, professional, and functional. That being said, I care about her food, not the site, and things are pretty easy to find on there. I tend to only go to the site to search a specific recipe for measurements, I subscribe to her YouTube channel and watch those for my primary instructions. I like that her videos are so easy to follow, as it REALLY helps me to be able to see step by step what things are supposed to look like.

I found this recipe to be easy to follow, very tasty, and pretty darn similar to an alfredo, despite the fact that it isn't made with heavy cream. It also only took me fifteen minutes to make, which is downright miraculous. After a day of teaching, I need things that can be made in a jiffy. It wasn't as creamy when I reheated leftovers, as the pasta absorbed the sauce a lot, but it tasted the same.
Ground chicken was a bit of an odd texture, given that traditionally cut up chicken breast is used, but the flavor was the same, and it did bulk up the dish a lot more. I was concerned I had not added enough flour, but it all worked out in the end.
I have been trying to use up my chicken bouillon cubes, so I used that to make the chicken stock, so I didn't season the chicken with salt when I browned it, and it worked out great.
I was concerned it wouldn't thicken up enough, so I let mine simmer a few minutes longer. My concerns were unfounded, as I underestimated the thickness of the cream cheese. Still had the same great taste, was a bit less saucy because the thicker sauce stuck to the noodles tighter.
I actually used Trader Joe's Garlic Basil Linguine because silly me forgot to buy fettuccini when I went to the store to get cream cheese and parmesan. Good parmesan really does taste better.
Added in the parsley, and that was all it took.

Seriously, fifteen minutes or less to make. Plenty of leftovers, so I would consider making half batches to keep things more reasonable for just me and remaking more fresh the next day so I could keep it saucy, but it was tasty reheated as well.

I am a hair behind schedule with all the sickness and stuff with my goal of cooking 50 new dishes this year, but that's ok. I am not on a schedule. 11 down, 39 more to go, and hopefully two more this week.