Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Blatherings & Weekend Cooking!

Where did another week go?  Now I'm wondering my weekend went as well!  Here are some of the things going on in my world.

Work:  I've joined our district's book club again this year.  I didn't advertise it this year, mainly because I was too busy and knew that the number of teachers participating had increased.  Regardless of the audience, it's great to see people get together to read and talk about books!  Our first one was Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  I'll own up to the fact that I didn't get it finished in time, since I was neck deep in the books I've been teaching for class and the review copies I promised to read and review.  I'm going to finish it though and am pretty interested in the story so far.  Talk about an interesting twist to the story.  I kind of feel like I'm reading a book version of Saturday morning cartoons.  Yea, I'll have to explain that one, but I will say that it's a fun read so far.

My popular fiction students have recently set up their own  blogs.  I love seeing their creativity and the way they put together their posts.  The focus of the course is on reading, but you really need that element of writing to bring it together.  Blogs are just a fun way of doing that!  They are also about half way through The Hunger Games.  I'm not sure if I'll still teach it once the movie comes out, so this might be the last year for that one.

My AP class is just finishing up work we've been doing with Frankenstein.  Surprisingly, that reread was a pretty great experience for me.  The first time around I really didn't like it, so I was glad to get a new perspective the second time through and to see what my students have thought.  They are still pretty early in the whole "literary analysis" game, but they are doing well to pick out some nice themes, such as the dual nature of man, the dangers of creation, and man as creator.  We'll be finishing up and moving on to Wuthering Heights, which is another book I'm rereading for the SIXTH time.  No, not because I wanted to, but because I was required to by many of my undergraduate professors. This is my first time teaching it though, so I feel like I need to read it as a teacher, so I can pull out the themes and passages that I want to emphasize.  Still, it should be a great companion novel to Frankenstein and give us plenty to discuss.

My regular junior English classes are neck deep in writing.  That means that I'll soon be reading student papers and not my normal stack of books.  No worries.  It's my job, and I get that I need to see what they're writing if I'm going to help them move forward!

Personal:  I'm trying to get tickets to head to Costa Rica in October.  I thought the tickets would be free, with my frequent flyer miles from all of my other trips, but I think things changed a bit with the regions and miles so I'm going to have to pay.  It's all good.  I'm just excited to get this chance, especially since I'll be staying with my best friend at her parent's place there in Costa Rica.  It will be nice to spend time with all of them.  Getting a substitute for the couple of days I'll be gone (the rest is over fall break) won't be fun, but it will be worth it!

Blogging/Reading: I'm reading like crazy now.  My problem is finding the time to then post and comment.  I'm pretty lousy about all of it, but continue to enjoy trying.  That's what matters, right? 

Weekend Cooking:  Finally, I thought I'd share what I baked up today.  It's SO yummy!  I have this cookbook that is from 1970 that was put together for a church group in my small hometown in Idaho.  These recipes are old school, country cooking.  We're talking about a community that could cook and cooked comfort food galore. 

The recipe I'm making is called "Raw Apple Cake" because I needed to use up some older apples I have in the fridge.  Like a good batch of banana bread when your bananas have started to turn, this apple cake recipe is an AMAZING way to use up any apples you have rolling around in your fruit drawer.

The pictures make it look like it's actually not much to look at, but trust me when I say that it's really delicious.  Also, as a side note, this recipe is easily over 60 years old.  I've updated it with a few "options" that make it a little more heart healthy:  toss in 3-4 tbsp of flax meal, use whole wheat flour instead of white, and/or decrease the butter by 1/3 and add in a snack cup of applesauce (you can't replace too much of the butter or it doesn't caramelize right).

Here's the original recipe for "Raw Apple Cake"

1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. soda
3 c. raw, chopped apples
1/2 c. nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs and beat until mixture is fluffy and creamy.  Sift together the flour, spices, and soda, adding them in slowly to your wet mixture.  Add vanilla, apples, and nuts.  Mix well and put in 9" by 13" cake pan that has been greased and coated with a dusting of flour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until it is a carmel colored brown on top and tests done in the middle when you poke it with a toothpick (it should come out clean).

Serve warm with ice cream, milk, half & half (according to the lady who wrote the recipe), or cream.

Just as my own note to this, I like to reheat it when I eat leftovers.  It really is best when it's warm.  Also, I generally store it in the fridge, to keep it from getting too soggy when left out.  Enjoy!

I actually have a bunch of these older recipes I should share.  One of them, an oatmeal cake recipe I have was one that my roommates used to beg me to make.  I'll dig them out too and maybe share them in a post or two later on.

For more weekend cooking, go to Beth Fish Reads.  You'll find all sorts of great food-related posts and recipes!


  1. Your recipe for raw apple cake is almost identical to the one I use. Haven't made it yet this year, but when I do, I'll experiment with your healthier options. Thanks!

  2. Argh! Wuthering Heights. Can you believe I was never assigned to read that in any of my classes, undergrad or graduate? I just read it a couple of years ago for the first time. I pretty much hated everyone in that book. But I can see why it's considered a classic.

  3. Where the weekend went, you say. Tell me about it! After a 6-day work week, only had Sunday to rest for a bit. Felt like less than an instant. :(

    International Calls to Australia

  4. Why don't you want to teach The Hunger Games after the movie comes out?