Monday, May 28, 2012

Poblano pork chili -- our favorite chili!

Don't get me wrong... we like chili in our house. But, we've just never LOVED it. Until now! We absolutely love this Poblano Pork Chili recipe. It's surprisingly light for a chili, has no tomatoes, and is nice and spicy. We make this recipe several times and month... we just can't get enough!

Keep reading below for pictures and this awesome recipe!

Parent volunteer gift

I wanted to do something different for my 2 parent volunteers this year. Something for them AND their child in my class. So... we did this. "We need S'MORE volunteers like you!" The students LOVED it, and the volunteers were so thrilled.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kindergarten Round-Up -- Hungry Caterpillar theme

Yesterday was Kindergarten Round-Up... one of my favorite days of the year! I absolutely loving seeing the looks on their faces. It always rejuvenates me for the coming year, and reminds me exactly why I teach kindergarten!

This year, we went with "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle for our theme. It's a simple, but well-loved story -- and lends itself to cute decorations!

Here's a "round-up" of highlights from our day:
It's always difficult to find an appropriate art/craft for our little pre-kinders. Many of these little ones have never been to pre-school, so scissors are out of the question on this day! :) 

To make this cute little caterpillar, the kids simply glued strips of paper into a circle and added pipe cleaners for antennae. My favorite part was the counting practice. Together, we held the ends of the strips together and counted to 10 or 20 each time. 
(Thanks for the inspiration ABC & 123!)

We wanted our incoming families to become familiar with important people they will encounter at our school. So, my teammate made this cute caterpillar with photos of us, the principal, P.E. teacher, counselor, etc. It turned out looking great, but also served a great purpose at our entrance.

(Thanks for the inspiration, Project Project!)

An important routine we have added to our annual round-up is the "family photo spot." We found that when discussing observations of the kids and making class lists, it was often difficult to remember which name belonged to which child! So, upon arrival, families have their picture taken at our decorated photo spot. This way, we have a picture of each family to make our discussion more productive -- and the families get a picture as souvenir! Here is the "photo spot" we used this year (aren't we cute?!)

 It was a GREAT day... and we will probably be using this theme again next year. It was wonderful!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Easy fabric letters tutorial

I love letters -- I'm a kindergarten teacher! And, I've always looked longingly at all the cute decor letters sold in stores. So, today, I decided to make some myself... and they turned out great! WIth only 3 materials needed!

I knew exactly what I'd use them for, too -- to personalize a whiteboard for our kitchen.

Keep reading below for a photo tutorial. (Thanks for the inspiration A Girl and a Glue Gun!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade taco seasoning

This is one of those things I always make homemade. Here's why:
1. It's ridiculously cheaper.
2. No salt! I just add a small amount when cooking instead.
3. I feel cool. (Possibly the most important reason).
Homemade Taco Seasoning

Simply mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container:
  • 4 TB cumin
  • 4 TB chili powder
  • 2 TB garlic powder
  • 2 TB onion powder
  • 1 TB paprika
  • 1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending how hot you want it)
For taco meat, simply cook and drain meat. Add 2 TB seasoning mix and 1 cup water. Simmer until most of the water is absorbed.
Simple as that. Enjoy!
(Adapted from: Annie's Eats and 5 Dollar Dinners).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Best. Salsa. Ever. (seriously)

The title says it all. I love this salsa. It's easy, quick, and dependable. It's always a hit at parties - and goes great on quesadillas and tacos. 

People are always asking me for my recipe. So, here it is. Enjoy! (Adapted from Annie's Eats.) No photo tutorial today, friends... just a great recipe. :)
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (if you like it really hot, leave the seeds in one)
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (the kind in the jar - love this stuff)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (yes, must be fire-roasted!)
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 scant tsp. cayenne
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro
  • (Equipment) - food processor. I use my "Ninja." Do not use a blender. Blenders only have a blade at the bottom, so it will not get the job done!
Okay, here we go:
  1. Put the jalapenos, garlic, onion, vinegar, and lime juice in the processor. Pulse a couple times until finely chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. PULSE... do not run the processor. You want the salsa smooth, but not pureed. Pulse a couple times, and then check. Repeat as needed.
  3. Do not taste for seasoning yet. Refrigerate overnight, and then check for seasoning. The salsa will get hotter as it sits in the fridge.