Oven Reindeer Stew Only in bush Alaska do you get a chance to buy Santa’s helpers at the store… (Note from Sara: Silly Stacy, the ELVES are the helpers, and I myself sincerely believe that eating elves is wrong... but you know, to each her own! I won't judge you.)
Ingredients: Reindeer meat, 1-2 lbs. Cut into bite-sized chunks One onion, cut into large chunks 2 cans tomato sauce 1 can tomato paste 2 cans broth (beef or chicken) Seasonings (garlic salt, garlic pepper, any green stuff like oregano that you have around) 3-4 medium potatoes, bite sized chunks (wait to cut until just before use) Canned mushrooms, un-drained (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325. 2. Mix together tomato sauce, tomato paste and broth. Coat reindeer with this mixture. Add onion chunks. 3. Put the reindeer mixture in the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan. 4. Cover with foil. 5. Bake for 1 hour. Stir and return to oven. 6. Bake for 1 hour. Add potatoes and canned mushrooms. Stir and return to oven. 7. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours longer. 8. Enjoy
My students don't "get" Presidents' Day. We still have school, and they hardly even know what a president is. Did any of us, really, in first grade?
Anyway, another dandy conversation with the same first grade boys as the "Tomgirl" conversation---
Child #1: What's that say on today on the calendar?
Teacher: Presidents' day. Do any of you know what a president it?
Child #2: George Washington! We put a George Washington on our calendar in our class today!
Teacher: Good! George Washington was a president. Do you know what a president is?
Teacher: Do you know how big Alaska is?
Children: *point to map* THAT BIG!
Teacher: Good, the president is the man in charge of Alaska, and Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and California, and New York City, and Hawaii, and all these other places. He's the boss of them all.
Child #2: And Eek too?
Child #4: And Quinhagak? And Bethel?
Teacher: Yes, those are in Alaska. The president is in charge of Alaska, so he's in charge of Quinhagak and Eek and Bethel. And today is Presidents' Day!
Child #3: What do we do on Presidents' Day?
Child #1: We go to Gym!
Teacher: *flapping jaw helplessly*
Child #2: And ELD! We go to ELD!
Child #4: And library. Today is library day.
Teacher: Anyhoo... let's look at the book we're going to read today. What kind of animals are those on the cover? GOOD! That's a mouse, and remember, when we have two of them, we don't say mouses... we say...
Child #1: RATS!
It's a wonder all teachers aren't rendered completely catatonic by the end of a standard work day.
OK, it's time for what I hope will be at least a two-part series over the course of... well.. whenever I have something to share.
The scenario: You have no access to fresh vegetables, and store-bought meat is pretty expensive (although you have some). Plan some home-made meals. Basically, bush teachers, tundra-dwellers, assorted other creative culinary peeps, give me your best. The rules are as follows: None of this "I was in Bethel last weekend and picked up a boatload of fresh veggies" crap. We're talking frozen, canned, dried. Give me a good recipe. Onions and potatoes are OK to include in recipes because they can occasionally be found in village stores.
Tip #1: When using canned vegetables, your faucet is your friend. throw them in the strainer or colander and rinse off the icky juice they come in.
Recipe #1: Tomato-Corn-Black Bean soup (Sorry, I'm not a "measurement" cooker. It's soup, anyway... it's not rocket science)
Ingredients: Oil (really... you're in the bush... use what you have. I'm not going to specify) 1 onion, chopped Some garlic from a jar 4 cans tomatoes, rinsed and chopped 1 or 2 cans black beans, rinsed 1 can corn, rinsed like there's no tomorrow chicken or vegetable broth... more than you think; the rice will soak up a bunch rice/quinoa/noodles (for the uninspired only)/other grain item
Directions: 1. Put oil in a pan. When the oil's hot, add the onions and garlic. Don't go nuts on the garlic. I know it's good, but you don't need to put that much garlic in EVERYTHING. Cook 'em 'til they're clear, not brown. 2. Add the onion/garlic mixture, broth, beans, tomatoes, and corn 3. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down and cover it to simmer. Cook it for a while. 4. If you're, you know, a GOOD cook (unlike my lazy-ass self), cook the rice separately and add it. If you're me, bring the whole mess back up to a boil and add the rice. 5. Cook it some more. 6. Stop cooking it. 7. Eat it. 8. This makes what can only be referred to as a buttload of soup, especially for one person. Invite your neighbors over. Or freeze it. Or, invite your friends over, then freeze the leftovers.
I also added some red hot sauce, just cuz I like it SPICY, but I can't imagine that most would like it.
ETA: I forgot... add dried cilantro and a couple bay leaves. Also, I made a very embarrassing grammatical error, so I fixed it.
Take last night, for example. After watching a work-related training video (On my own time! Unpaid! Witness my professional dedication!), I suddenly became inspired to create some good materials for my students. I just COULDN'T NOT DO IT! It had to be done! How could I deny them, for another day, this great stuff in my head?!
I'm not one to deny a good inspiration (or, OK, maybe I'm a little bit off), so I started working. Unfortunately, I started working at ten o'clock in the wind-howling evening. Three hours later, I had some good stuff to use, and a plan... but for Christ's sake, it was 1am.
I have some good stuff now, but I'm too tired to use it. Not that it particularly matters... On Fridays, I don't even see the group for which I worked so hard to make stuff!
Look! A felted purse! I'm so funny with my puns. Anyway... it was kinda hard to get my washing machine hot enough to felt it up good (they had to mess with our heat/hot water a while back), so it's a "somewhat felted" purse. But I still like it.
For that past two weeks, it's been cold. I may have mentioned and/or whined about this a million times. But one thing was missing.
The wind. It was calm. This is not normal.
Yesterday the wind got her revenge. I was sitting in my windowless classroom when a coworker came in and said "Hey, you been outside?" I hadn't. I looked outside and saw trash and snow and dirt whirling around the playground. Hmm.
The walk home was interesting. Let's just say I made it without falling down and call it a victory. Once home, I listened to the shrieking and groaning and whistling and other assorted sounds made by the contact of the wind with my house.
I put in my earplugs and hit the sack. At some point during the night, I awoke (the earplugs had long since fallen out of my ears), to silence. The wind had blown itself out. All is quiet again.
The following is plucked from a conversation I had with a class of first grade boys. Actually, as you'll see, the whole conversation was pretty passive on my part...
First Grader #1: "Right, Sara, if a girl plays with boy toys, she's a tomboy?"
Me: *not wanting to touch this one with a ten foot pole* "Um..."
First Grader #2: "Right? And if we play with girl toys, then we're tomgirls?"
First Grader #1: "But my sister makes me play girl toys with her."
Me: *runs out of classroom weeping*
OK, so I didn't flee the school. But it's been a long week. I haven't been falling asleep very well, so I'm short on sleep, and I didn't have time to grab my cup of coffee this morning. An impromptu lesson on gender identity to a bunch of six and seven year-olds was just way beyond my capabilities.