Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Google Education Fairfax Summit

The last two days I have been lucky enough to be at the Google Education Fairfax Summit.   Great sessions and workshops were held, keynotes were given and we got our hands on some fabulous new technologies!

Here are a few of the highlights from the two incredible days of learning:

The best part was building our professional network so we can keep learning together and lead our kids and teachers to discover some fantastic learning!   We created our tribe! 

Michael Wacker's keynote - Connected Compassion.   We spend our days catching kids in nets.  Instead we need to provide them with trampolines so they can bounce back in and get back to learning!  

Jim Sill's Keynote about Reckless Creativity.   How can we have creativity without risk?  Fear really messes things up!  Our job as teachers - teach our kids how to lose their balance and then find it again.

Kern Kelley talked about student managed digital portfolios and about harnessing the power of kids as tech support! Tech Sherpas running a live webcast to answer teacher and student questions, plus helping younger kiddos manage their digital portfolio.

We learned about being a blackbelt writing teacher from Kevin Brookhouser.

Many of our presenters asked us to think about why we were using technology with our kids - Technology is a tool, not a learning outcome! 

We saw a demo of  Google Glass with John Bailey.  AND I GOT TO TRY IT! 

We had a lot of fun in the photobooth too - check these out on Instagram

There was so much great learning and sharing happening.  
Check out the tweets tagged with #gafesummit #fxsummit4c 

If you have a chance to attend a Google Education Summit - JUMP at the chance.  Don't wait!   

Zucchini Lasagna

So I like lasagna...or I should say, I liked it.  I used to like it a lot.  But the noodles are not something I eat anymore because of the gluten.  And the gluten-free noodles usually just have a bunch of junk in them...

I haven't had lasagna in at least 2 years.  And I wanted some!   My mom brought a giant zucchini as a house warming gift when we moved into our new place.  PERFECT!

I made a small one of these last week and it was delicious and decided to make a new one. Some of these photos are from the small pan and some are from the big casserole pan I made.

*This isn't Paleo because it includes the cheese.  If you don't tolerate cheese well, this will probably be delicious without it!

I recently bought a mandolin - and I love all the slicing and shredding I can do with it!  I used the thin slicer blade and sliced the giant zucchini into "noodles."

I lined the pan with the sliced noodles.  Trim them to make the perfect size and line the pan completely.

I prepped all my other ingredients and put them out so layering would be easy.  Brown some sausage.
Chop some bell peppers (and other vegetables if you'd like) and saute them in the sausage pan.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce - make sure you choose a low sugar option.  I used the Tomato Basil sauce that I canned. This has no added sugar and I love the flavor it adds to everything I make!  I also used diced tomatoes with green chilies to add a little heat and spice.
On top of my "noodles" I added sausage, peppers, tomatoes, sauce and cheese.  Then another layer of noodles and repeat until the pan is full.   Finish with cheese on top.   I used a combination of sharp cheddar and mozzarella.

(on the first one of these I made I had some fresh jalepenos so I chopped those
 and put them on top at the end)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for a small pan.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes for the deep 9x13 pan until it's bubbly and browned on top!   Enjoy!

This keeps well in the fridge and reheats well.  We have been packing it and taking it for our lunches this week and eating it for dinner.  You  might find a little extra liquid in your lasagna after you serve the first dish full.   This is just the liquid that cooks out of the zucchini.  After you serve the first bit, just drain off the liquid or dip it out with a ladle before you cover and refrigerate it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

CSA Farmshare Dinner #2 - Baked Italian Spaghetti Squash

See that big yellow spaghetti squash in front? Tonight I cooked it! Even better I made it into an Italian baked dish.

First step is to roast your spaghetti squash. Preheat your oven to 375. The hardest part of this was to pierce through the spaghetti squash. I feel good that I will never be a serial killer, because it was so ridiculous to stab at the squash. I took the sharpest poignancy knife I had that had a solid handle to hold onto and he it into the yellow squash. Then it is time to retrieve the knife and stab again. I probably stabbed about 15 slices into the squash.

Placed the whole spaghetti squash with the pierced skin in some sort of a baking pan. I used a small casserole aluminum pan. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes. Or until you can easily pierce the skin with your knife or a fork.

Let it cool a little or use a pot holder to carefully hang onto the squash will you slice it in half. Use a spoon and scoop out the guts and seeds from the center.

Mine still felt a little firm, so I placed it faced up on a cookie sheet and baked it for another 15 minutes. One website I read said to add a little olive oil, so I tried that on one half. I used coconut oil of course instead. You can see the shiny inside on the left. I don't think the coconut oil added much to it, just made it a little greasier. The side without the oil tasted exactly the same just the less . I don't think there's any need to add the oil.

Next use a fork to scrape and separate the spaghetti squash strands. Again the squash is really hot now so it would be best to wait a while, or if you're impatient like me, hold onto it with tongs or a potholder.

Scoop the loose strands into a baking pan. I like the small stone baker from pampered chef. And add whatever ingredients you like to make your Italian dish.

I chose to use home canned tomato basil sauce, fresh basil from the Farm share, and a nitrate free chicken apple sausage that I bought at Costco. This would be delicious with a meat sauce, or meatballs, or even a mix of vegetables.

I added my chopped up Sausage first, then topped it with the sliced basil, and finally dumped on a pint of tomato basil sauce. I also added a little shredded mozzarella which is a delicious addition if you eat dairy.

Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until your cheese is melted and bubbly. Then enjoy!