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A test pattern for a designer in progress – I’ve procrastinated on this one!

Blog Love Tuesday: Bad Bird’s (Andrea Zuill)

I don’t remember how I first came across Bad Bird, but I check her blog daily. Not only is she a great resource for free embroidery patterns, but she also features prints like these birds and she quilts! Yesterday she showed the full results to her Magpie & Hex Quilt that I just love – as someone who wants to learn to quilt (I plan to purchase a sewing machine very soon), it’s inspiring to see her work.

Speaking of those embroidery patterns, Andrea features a free one every month – this month’s is this turkey. I’m working through some of her Christmas patterns now for ornaments. So here’s my current WIP – Bad Bird’s “freakishly cute penguin”:

WIP: Bad Bird's Penguin

Have you stitched a Bad Bird design? Pass the blog love and visit her today.

Brainstormin’ Soup

One of the things I look forward to about cold weather is a night hot bowl of soup. Unfortunately, last year I wore out my old veggie soup standby and by the time spring rolled around I was SO ready to drop the veggie soup for greener pastures.

However, there are so many positives about soup. It’s a wonderful way to get your veggies in. It’s generally a cheap meal, and it’s often fairly easy to prepare. And you cannot beat the leftover factor – I love having dinner done for the next night or two, especially when I know BHE has a meeting or something else rushes us in the evening and we need dinner, pronto.

In fact, tonight was one of those nights – BHE had a meeting, and the boys and I had plans to see a magic show. But since I don’t want to tire out so quickly of vegetable soup, I’ve been playing around this winter, and came up with this – hope you like the results:

1 cup dried beans (I used red kidney, but pinto or white beans would also be good)
6-8 oz. frozen spinach
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
14.5 oz. can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
8 oz. ham (diced or cubed)
1 tsp. (ish) minced garlic
red pepper flakes
garlic powder
coriander (about 1/4 tsp)

*NOTE: This could easily all be thrown together in a crockpot, but I had to soak my beans during the day and therefore did not use this method. If you crockpot, just soak your beans first, sautee your onion and bell pepper, dump it all together and let ‘er rip on low).

Soak beans according the package directions; cook for about 1.5-2 hours.
When your beans hit around that 1.5-2 hours mark, sautee your onion and bell pepper until tender. I seasoned it with salt and black pepper at this time, and added in the red pepper flakes at this point. When it’s starting to get tender, toss in the ham to heat up.

While this is cooking, add the tomatoes, broth, frozen spinach, garlic and seasonings to the beans. Once the onions are tender, throw the onion, bell pepper and ham into the pot. Let simmer to get the spinach cook and let the flavors blend.

Feel free to sprinkle with a little parmesan before you eat it.

The boys don’t really eat stuff like this, but BHE and I were really pleased with dinner tonight, and we will probably be eating this for at least one more meal (probably two). Let me know if you try it, and I hope you enjoy it!

ETA: I FORGOT THYME! I probably used a teaspoon or two of it. Added above.

Promised Spanish Links

Sorry, dear blog. I am not ignoring you on purpose, but there’s a lot of life going on here. I’m hanging with the boys (this week, Monkey got croup); still working; teaching Spanish; attending soccer games and (sometimes) practices; trying to read (just finished Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle) and keep my brain alive via crosswords…then there’s the photography that I love…so blog, there’s not a lot of room for writing. I’ll try harder, promise.

Anyway, I am still teaching Spanish without a curriculum to preK all the way up through 5th grade. So, in case you find yourself in my position and find yourself teaching and coming up with your own material, I present you with linkage:

This week we’re covering opposites (opuestos). I made my own vocabulary sheet in PowerPoint using clipart, found some songs to sing with PreK and kindergarten (and made a sheet for that), AND in all classes we’re going to play “Simon Says”….aka “Simon Dice” to reinforce the concepts.