Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Almond Butter Parfait

For this recipe, I took inspiration from the Peanut Butter Parfait recipe here, then kicked it up a notch. Yes, the baba cakes are required. No, there is no substitute.

Almond Butter Parfait

1/2 c. light brown sugar
3 tbsp cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp dark chocolate almond butter (mine was ground and bought in bulk at the health food store)
vanilla bean ice cream to taste
amaretto-soaked baba cakes (available at Italian groceries in nice little glass jars)

Combine sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter and cook over low heat for approximately five minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in almond butter. Cool to room temperature.

Layer almond butter mixture and ice cream in a parfait glass. Top with two baba cakes.

WARNING: You cannot eat as much of this as you think you can. I promise.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bringing in the Color

I've thought, recently, that I want to be more visually creative. Not because I think I'm wonderful at it or that I can make anything anyone else would like (oh, listen to the fun negative self-talk!), but because I enjoy sitting and thinking about colors and shapes instead of words sometimes.

With that in mind, I've decided to start keeping a watercolor illustrated journal. I bought a set of Winsor and Newton watercolors, a water brush (so handy!) and a Moleskin watercolor notebook. My goal is going to be to make one illustrated journal entry every day in October.

In the meantime, to practice, I painted a kind of weird-looking pumpkin. But you know, I sort of liked it.

I'm a firm believer that being creative is for you, not for anyone else. If you like to sing, draw, write, whatever, then you should. It's about what makes you happy, not what other people enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good Surprises

Teaching is full of surprises, and, frankly, a lot of them are bad. But this morning, I wanted to talk about the good surprises: the quiet student who knocks a recitation out of the park, the lazy-looking kid who turns out to have a brain, or just the moment when one student actually thinks with you rather than having you cram ideas into a vacant space.

It's so easy to be frustrated by the bad surprises, and so easy to forget the good ones. But I've had a couple of good ones already this semester. The first one happened when I assigned a peer editing session. Sure, half the class just basically went through the motions and did their thing as quickly as possible. But the other half took their time and really worked to help each other, to the point where one group actually stayed after class to finish up.

Another small, simple surprise came when two of my students emailed me to ask where the homework that I had (embarrassingly) forgotten to post was. It would have been easy for them to keep their heads down and hope to avoid homework--but they didn't.

So this is my thank you to those students who surprise me in the best way possible. You make teaching bearable.