How to Fake a Delicious Mediterranean Meal

Oh how I wish I could cook traditional Mediterranean food. The Mediterranean diet has been revered as one of the healthiest in the world, and definitely one of the most delicious. I absolutely DIE for couscous, hummus, pita, pasta, and vegetables, but alas, I am not the planet’s greatest chef, and I certainly don’t have the time or ability to create gourmet Mediterranean dishes! But when I’m craving this style of food, this is how I do it. :)

Mediterranean Meal

1) Marinate Chicken Breasts

I use this recipe from Budget Bytes to marinate my Mediterranean chicken overnight. It’s super inexpensive and simple, and you probably have most of the ingredients at home already.

2) Grab Mediterranean Frozen Veggies

Target has an awesome selection of frozen fruits and vegetables. It’s where I buy almost all of my frozen foods. These Mediterranean-style veggies and quinoa blend from Archer Farms are $2 each, and the perfect addition to any faux Mediterranean dish! Nuke them in the microwave for 6 minutes, and you’re good to go.IMG_8021

3) Make Toum

Huh? Yes, TOUM! Toum is a thick, creamy garlic sauce that can be used for dips or sauces on meats and pastas. The process is a little complicated, but if I can do it, so can you. If you really don’t want to make it, just head up to your nearest Mediterranean grocery store and buy some pre-made, it’s delicious!! Grab the recipe I used here. I used my Vitamix and it turned out perfectly!

Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

This is such an easy, delicious meal, and your guests will think you’ve been cooking Mediterranean all your life. :) Add some medjool dates as a sweet side dish. Let me know if you try it tonight!

A Rare Teaching Post… My First Day in the Classroom!

I rarely blog about my actual day job, which is that I am a fourth grade teacher! I absolutely LOVE my career choice, and this is my seventh year in the classroom. I have met some amazing kids, worked with some unforgettable colleagues, and learned just as much from my students as they have learned from me. I thought I’d write a few posts here and there about neat and unique things I do in the classroom this year. If you’re a teacher, you’ll be able to appreciate the hard work I put into our first day, and if you’re not a teacher, maybe the pictures will be nostalgic to your days as a student! Either way, here’s what I did on our first day of school yesterday! :)

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We all wore our new school pride t-shirts, but I was determined to still make it fashionable haha. ;)

We have a jungle safari theme in our class this year! This daily schedule is a perfect addition to an otherwise dull filing cabinet in the front of the room.

Left: We have a jungle safari theme in our class! Right: This daily schedule is a perfect addition to an otherwise dull (and enormous) filing cabinet when you enter the room.

I greeted students with a friendly neon pencil, and I hung a laminated sign with fishing wire, so I can erase and change the books in the book basic based on topics we're learning about.

Left: I greeted students with a friendly neon pencil ($1 per pack at WalMart) by sticking two labels together. Right: I hung a laminated sign with fishing wire with a black line, so I can erase and change the books in the basket based on topics we’re learning about. And that chubby little dolphin was given to me as a gift by a student last year. :)

Top: My two favorite picture books to start the year that are appropriate for any age group!  Bottom: 3 posters that help begin my reading unit and teach students to bridge connections in their learning.

Top: My two favorite picture books to start the year that are appropriate for any age!
Bottom: 3 posters that help begin my reading unit and teach students to bridge connections in their learning. We use this language consistently in the classroom. “I have a text-to-self connection to what we just read.”

I pose these questions to the students, then have them write their answer on a post-it and stick it on the poster. We then look for patterns, and use these answers to develop our class constitution.

I posed these questions to the students, then had them write their answer on a post-it and stick it on the poster. We then look for patterns, and use these answers to develop our ‘class constitution’.

Another two questions. And my favorite response :)

Another two questions. And my favorite student response. :)

I use Class Dojo, which is an online program that keeps track of points for good behavior in class. We also followed my first day tradition of creating our "face wall" using only construction paper. They turned out so cute!

I use Class Dojo, which is an online program that keeps track of points for good behavior in class. Some of the possible rewards are listed. We also followed my first day tradition of creating our “face wall” using only construction paper to show how unique and diverse our class is! They turned out so cute!

I hope you enjoyed my first day! Have a wonderful week!

Celebrate Yourself With a Nameplate Necklace

We all need a little self-love once in a while! A massage, a mani-pedi, a bubble bath, or maybe a small gift to show how much you appreciate yourself. :-)  I decided I wanted to buy myself a little gift to celebrate my sixth year of teaching and reaching my 200th blog post, and jewelry is always a win. So I picked out a darling nameplate necklace from my favorite small business website, Etsy!

I have a “Jessica” necklace that I wear almost everyday, and now I have this new 17.5″ gold bar plated necklace engraved with, (what else), PEPPERMINTING! And it turned out PERFECTLY!

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You either love or hate nameplate necklaces, there is no in-between. Some people may think they’re kinda chincy, but I happen to ADORE them. Sex and the City made these necklaces famous, and even Kim Kardashian wears one with “Nori” on it.

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Carrie made the nameplate necklace trendy and chic.

The $40 necklace itself is well made and gorgeous. It has a strong clasp, and the gold bar shines and catches the light beautifully. The Etsy seller Lena was really helpful, and I received it 10 days after placing my order! What do you think?? Love or hate?!

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Order this personalized nameplate necklace from Etsy seller DazlingJewels here!