This week and last week was all PARCC testing. I don’t blog while at work (for obvious reasons) but during testing season teachers have a lot of quiet, siting time at a computer while students also have a lot of quiet sitting time at a computer. Last week, I pulled up a new word document and started writing to pass the time, which I then transferred here later for publishing.
I’m sitting at my computer now. It’s about 8:45am on a sunny Friday, a nice break from the downpour we’ve been having all week. The kids are in the middle of their 3rd session of the PARCC test, so the room is almost silent except for the clack of keys and the occasional sound escaping from their headphones. This is a stressful time for the kids, and also a time I notice how much influence I have over them and, by default, their results. I express the importance of the test, acknowledge the difficulty of it and assert my confidence in them that they can do a great job by working as hard as they can. My students work so hard, taking almost all the time allotted, giving me their best effort and feeling fulfilled afterwards in that effort.
A student just looked up at me with a drawn face. A little boy, bright and a quick learner, but often seeking attention and needing that validation. I shoot him a quick smile, signal a deep breath, and then give him a thumbs up. His face brightens and he smiles back, adjusts himself in his chair and continues back to work.
I find myself doing things like this a lot. Smiling at students, laughing at their jokes, finding joy with them in the little moments. And this happiness, this peace I feel, I see reflected in them. Their attitude in class, towards assignments, towards each other makes one incredible classroom atmosphere. Teaching is a powerful thing.
The funny thing about happiness is we always seem to be searching for it outside of ourselves when it’s actually a choice we continually make. You can choose to be happy and at peace, or you can choose frustration and angst. It’s a constant choice that takes practice and determination. It’s a choice that is tangible to others, though with polarizing effects. Mostly you’ll attract good souls who will cause your happiness to grow and strengthen. But you’ll also attract some animosity, people who don’t like to see someone happy. What’s funny about kids is they will all reflect your happiness, at least from what I’ve seen in my teaching experience. The same can’t be said for adults. When do we lose that?
The kitchen is a great way to share happiness with others. Good, healthy food is a wonderful way to show love and appreciation to yourself and your loved ones.
It’s safe to say cauliflower one of my favorite vegetables. I can even eat it as a main meal, like this amazing recipe! I’ve tried the cauliflower pizza crust a few times, ever hopeful, but it left much to be desired. I was skeptical about cauliflower rice, especially because I don’t have a ricer, but was thrilled with the result. Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge rice aficionado, or because the curry added so much flavor, but cauliflower rice was great. Even more so the added nutrition you get from the switch. At any rate, I can’t wait to try it again!
Asparagus Curry & Cauliflower RicePrint Recipe
- 1 bunch of asparagus (about 12 stalks)
- ½ spanish onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed as desired
- 1-2 tbsp green curry paste
- 1 14-oz can coconut milk
- 1 14-oz can chickpeas
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 limes
- 1 head of cauliflower
- Cilantro to garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, begin the curry. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Dice onions, green pepper, and jalapeno, seeding the former in accordance with your desired spice level. Chop the ends off of the asparagus and cut into 1 - 1.5 inch sections. Peel and dice ginger.
Add onions and peppers to the pan and saute for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Add asparagus and saute for another 5 - 7 minutes. Add ginger and curry paste and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk and a little water if needed. Bring to a boil, add chickpeas and simmer about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the onions are sauteeing, cut the cauliflower florets off the head. Place into a food processor about 1 cup at a time to ensure an even processing. Process the first cup, pulsing a few second at a time, until about the size of rice. Remove and place into a bowl. Repeat until the whole head is riced.
Heat a second large pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil. Add riced cauliflower and salt. Saute for about 20 minutes until cauliflower is cooked and a little caramelized. You may need to add more oil and adjust the heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
The rice and asparagus curry should finish around the same time. Serve together, topped with cilantro and the squeeze of a lime.