School's back in session!
The first day of class sets the tone for the whole semester, and it's important to find a balance between engaging students with a touch of humor and making the pace for the course clear. I often engage with colleagues to learn more about their pedagogical approaches and follow pedagogy blogs. I've created two activities that have worked well for my world music survey courses, as they both show students how music can unite or divide us, and allow students to connect with each other through a shared interest that they may not know they have.
Icebreaker #1: Music and Social Media
Students pair off or break into small groups and are given five minutes to see if they follow one or more of the same artists on social media. It is an exception to the no technology rule that many educators may set. This activity gets the students talking to each other in an informal fashion and allows for initial connections. There may be a number of students who are not on social media, or who do not have a device with them, but they can still engage in discussing a favorite artist.
Icebreaker #2: Favorite/Least Favorite Song
Students are all asked during name introductions to name their favorite and least favorite song/artist/genre. It is surprising to see the variety of music styles that students will name, and the influences said selections show. While one cohort may lean towards a disdain for country music, another may overwhelmingly share an interest in the genre. One artist or song may be a dividing topic. This leads to in-class discussion and creates a greater ease in sharing one's thoughts. It also allows all in the room to be exposed to new music as well.
In the words of Madonna, "music makes the people come together."
In a survey class where many students may not read music, a fun way to have students engage with the elements of music is to have them share a video example that they feel exemplifies a specific element, e.g., beat, rhythm, or timbre. The answers may surprise you in their range. I personally have found that "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen is selected every semester (likely pushed forward by the 2018 film of the same name). However, students have also selected a Christian hard rock band, a Korean band's reality contest cover of "Creep" (one of Radiohead's biggest hits), and ... "The Llama Song." Let the earworm commence!
Quick! The chicken didn't defrost and you need dinner, stat. Ready, set, lentil.
Trader Joe's brown rice and yellow lentil spaghetti is cheap, versatile, and kid-friendly. It also has high protein (14g a serving!!). Red lentil penne is a great substitute as well, but this particular recipe works best with spaghetti.
1/3 package Trader Joe's brown rice and yellow lentil spaghetti
4 oz mozzarella - I use the BelGioioso mozzarella balls (in bulk at Costco hashtagcheesebonanza) and cut them in half
1 c. cherry, plum, or grape tomatoes, chopped
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar (Wegmans has a delicious organic balsamic vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil water and make pasta to al dente (check this - package says 6-7 minutes but you may need 7.5 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Divide pasta into two servings.
2. Lightly drizzle pasta with olive oil once in bowls.
3. Top each bowl with mozzarella pieces, tomatoes, and basil.
4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
5. Top with fresh-ground salt and pepper (Himalayan pink salt is amazing!).
6. Eat up and adjust meal plan :-).
Fat, fiber, starch, protein. My nutritionist told me that in order to feel properly satiated from a meal, it must have these four things. I found a quick and delicious solution that I am putting into my regular meal rotation STAT. It even travels ok with a small ice pack to make a great workday lunch.
2 cups mixed greens (I have been LOVING Lef Farms greens from New Hampshire)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
handful of crumbled tortilla chips
1 oz chopped cheddar cheese (I HIGHLY recommend Tillamook Medium Cheddar)
4-6 slices of Boar's Head Salsalito Turkey
1.5 T Marie's Creamy Chipotle Ranch dressing
Mix together and eat!!
Photo evidence of nutritious deliciousness:
Ah, bread pudding. A dessert that actually is BETTER gluten-free! GF bread seems to really absorb the wet ingredients nicely, and it's such an easy and quick treat. It's also great because unless you consistently eat 2-3 slices of bread each day, chances are you are going to find yourself with stale bread pretty quickly. Also, you likely have all of these ingredients in the house. This is all the photo evidence I have of the latest iteration - and the twist of adding cream and walnuts is what made this version a keeper. It was gone in a matter of hours!
GLUTEN-FREE CINNAMON RAISIN WALNUT BREAD PUDDING
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
8 slices GF cinnamon raisin bread (I love Trader Joe's brand, but Canyon Mountain, Rudi's, and Udi's all make decent ones, too)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 T. water
1 T. vanilla (Neilsen-Massey really is worth the extra money - Marshalls sells it sometimes)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together dark brown sugar and water. Microwave for 60 seconds or until it begins to melt a bit.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all wet ingredients, making sure eggs are thoroughly blended.
4. Tear slices of bread into approximately 1" squares. Place in a separate bowl.
5. Add walnut pieces to bread bowl.
5. Pour all wet ingredients over bread pieces. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes so the bread can sop up all the moisture. Stir once or twice during this time to mix the pieces around some more.
6. Pour into pan.
7. Bake for 35 minutes on center rack. Depending on your oven, it may be done at 30 minutes.
This tastes amazing warm, but is also fine at room temperature with some whipped cream.
It's brownies in a box! Step One: Cut a hole in the box...
and then add a few simple ingredients to make bakery-worthy brownies!
I found Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips at a local grocery store chain last month and I'm hooked (why is it that "a food you like whole and would not buy if smashed repackaged as crumbles of that food you like in a more convenient form" is always so exciting?)! I've used them as a topping for hot cocoa, and tonight created this treat that in my eyes (I suppose in my taste buds, actually) is fit to be on display at Flour. I wanted something better than plain brownies, and a Google search showed that subbing unsalted butter for oil makes box brownies taste richer. I also had some heavy cream to use up and FACT: ganache is one of the best foods ever.
1 box of Krusteaz gluten-free double chocolate brownies (I've tried multiple brands, and this one is the best!!)
5 1/3 T of melted unsalted butter (Kerrygold is grass-fed and yummy) in place of oil
1/3 cup of water
2 T. espresso powder (use instant coffee or espresso grounds if you don't have powder -- I recommend Lavazzo decaf espresso)
1 t. vanilla
12 oz. Guittard semi-sweet chocolate (I used a 9 oz. box of chocolate and added chocolate chips when the box wasn't enough)
4 oz. heavy cream
2 T. unsalted butter
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
Prepare brownies according to directions on box (mix together and pour in pan :D ) and mix in espresso powder and vanilla. Cook according to your taste - I like medium-well brownies, so if you test with a toothpick, it doesn't need to be completely clean in order to be done. Take brownies out and let cool on a wire rack in the pan.
Break chocolate into pieces and melt in a pan over medium-low/medium heat. Add heavy cream until the ingredients blend together, then add in other ingredients until a smooth consistency is reached. Make sure to taste the blend once or twice along the way - you may need to thicken it up with more chips, add a bit more cream ... it varies. The mint taste can be strong and you may want to temper it a bit.
Take a chopstick and poke holes all over the top of the brownies, and then pour ingredients over the top of the pan. Some ganache will seep down, and the topping will get close to the top of the pan (I used an 8 x 8 pan). Let sit as long as you can - the longer it sits, the more the ganache will harden. However, if you leave it about 30-40 minutes, everything will still be warm and it will taste like lava cake!
Enjoy with a cup of tea, and top the brownies with whipped cream if you'd like.
It's not the most glamorous picture, but I couldn't stop running quality control checks, so this is the best documentation I have until I make them next time!
New York's hottest new club is called Instant Pot. Yes, yes, yes, this club has everything: lava cakes, steam release, steaming buckets ...
The Instant Pot hasn't jumped the shark yet, but perhaps it will be a food trend that will remain in our long-term food culture, just like coconut oil ... RIP OK and Orbitz Soda, two trends that didn't make it.
This recipe is so hands-off and gives you leftovers for at least one extra meal. It's good hot
and great as a sandwich the next day.
as THREE-INGREDIENT BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD
2 packs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2-3/4 c. Frank's Red Hot Sauce (use to taste)
1/2-3/4 c. Marie's Chunky Blue Cheese Salad Dressing (again, use to taste)
1. Prepare Instant Pot (IP), ensuring steam valve is closed.
2. Place chicken in pot and cover with water.
3. Select "slow cook" and then select "adjust" to put temperature to medium.
4. Set timer for 2:00.
5. Once the timer goes off, do a quick release.
6. TIME-SAVING HACK: Transfer chicken to your KitchenAid mixer and shred chicken, using the paddle attachment.
7. Mix in the hot sauce and blue cheese dressing to your liking. '
8. Garnish with carrots, celery, and Absolutely Gluten-Free crackers as you see fit.
Who doesn't love General Tso's (General Gao's) Chicken? Sweet, spicy, yummy goodness. I wrote a recipe for a weeknight fix for when you're craving Chinese food RIGHT NOW, and it only takes three ingredients!
-Wok Oil: Sun Luck Seasoned Wok Oil is cheap and delicious!! I haven't tried another brand and have no need to. This flavor blend is perfect.
-Trader Joe's sweet chili sauce: $1.49 a bottle and is an essential for your fridge/cabinet.
-boneless, skinless chicken breasts: You can get great organic ones at Trader Joe's. Bell and Evans' organic products are also great -- and of course, local farms!
-Use a cast-iron pan! HashtagLodgeforlife.
THREE-INGREDIENT CHINESE CHICKEN
-1 pack boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into small pieces
-2 T. (approx.) Sun Luck wok oil
-1/2 bottle Trader Joe's sweet chili sauce
1. Heat cast-iron pan on medium-high until hot.
2. Add oil and let it get to a near sizzle.
3. Add chicken and stir until browned (well, actually, doesn't it make more sense to say "beiged?").
4. Cover and turn heat down to low for about 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked (check temp with meat thermometer). You may need to drain a bit of grease off, but it will be minimal.
5. Pour in the sweet chili sauce until the chicken is thoroughly covered.
6. Turn heat back up to high so the sauce will glaze. This happens quickly - 1-2 minutes.
7. Turn off the pan and serve!
Some excellent side dishes to accompany this chicken are broccoli made in a wok (again, with Sun Luck Wok Oil) and Feel GoodFoods [Gluten-Free] Vegetable Potstickers or Vegetable Egg Rolls (available in most grocery stores' frozen foods section).
Gluten- and dairy-free dinner that tastes just like takeout!
Oy with the Pizza!: An Allergy-Friendly Guide to Feeding Your Colleagues, Co-Workers, Students, and Employees
Who doesn't love pizza for a gathering? It's readily available, it's convenient, it's quasi-portable ... and it has many ingredients that can make people sick. People with diet concerns or food allergies often dread food-based/mealtime gatherings, or even avoid them all together, for fear of being hungry, embarrassed, or other reasons. Telling people with allergies "there's pizza, or you can bring your own food!" puts people in the situation of having to find and pay for their own food, which puts them at a disadvantage and visually and socially ostracizes them (Sally in the corner with the salad). Food unites people, and not including everyone in a gathering can divide them.
If you are planning an event and looking to stick within a budget, have no fear! Options are readily available.
Disclaimer: while the majority of my suggestions are for those who are celiac or on a gluten-free diet, I have thrown in ideas for those with other special diets, e.g., keto or dairy-free.
Crackers that get dipped in a communal dip container are a double no-no: not only are the crackers often not GF, but the crumbs cause cross-contamination (I'm all about alliteration :) ).
-have a separate GF plate. If you can only swing one thing of dip, put half on a glutenous plate, and the other half on a GF plate.
-add vegetables. You can even get bags of carrots at 7-11 if you're throwing a grad student party in a hurry :)
-GF crackers: the brands Edward and Sons and Absolutely Gluten Free are terrific, and even those who CAN eat gluten will enjoy them!
-cheese. Just about all cheeses are gluten-free.
-meats! All Boar's Head products are gluten-free - their sauces, dips, deli meats, cheeses, etc.
-fruit. Even if people are low-carb, berries and kiwi are often considered fair game.
Many regional and national chains offer GF pizza. You'd be surprised! Note: most places only offer one size of GF pizza (the small), so depending on the number of people, you may need to get a solid allergy count.
Domino's has GF crust, but notes that cross-contamination is highly likely. The crust is tasty, and Domino's often fits student budgets.
Papa Gino's uses an Udi's crust and is one of the only places to offer both small and medium crusts. A separate preparation area is used. Pizza Hut also uses this crust.
Pizzeria Regina offers GF crust ONLY in their Allston location (not in the North End), and they are very good about what sauces and toppings are safe.
Bertucci's now has a cauliflower-based GF crust, and they are one of the first chains to offer a GF menu.
Papa John's recently added a crust made from ancient grains (sorghum, etc.)
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) offers a choice of cauliflower-based OR grain-based GF crust. You can even get the BBQ chicken! Win!
Chuck E. Cheese even offers GF pizza!
Mac and cheese is off limits for many people! However, there are a number of easy swaps/additions:
-GF pasta. Stop & Shop even makes their own GF brand that is terrific! Barilla is the favorite of America's Test Kitchen, and you can even get high-protein versions with chickpeas, lentils, etc., many of which are safe for people on FODMAP/low-carb diets.
-rice is safe for just about everyone. Rice PILAF, however, often is not.
-corn is off-limits for some, but an easy and cheap staple for many.
-salad WITHOUT croutons is often safe. Salad dressings, however, often sneak in soy sauce (which has wheat) or other iffy ingredients, so do not add dressings in to salads for a group gathering.
-mixed vegetables. Very few diets restrict vegetables!
Little else is sadder to people with special diets at a gathering than seeing that the only dessert is cake. However, even a side of frosting (usually GF) saved for guests can be a special, well-appreciated treat. The bakery chain Sweet sells frosting shots! Here are some other options:
-pudding is often gluten-free, cheap, and tasty! Jell-O and Kozy Shack are two good brands.
Parfait is easy to make with fruit, whipped cream (or coconut cream), Cool Whip, nuts, and GF cookies such as KinniKinnick's vanilla wafers (sold at most grocery stores), or some combination of such items.
-chocolate (though GF people are always happy when there is more variety than flourless chocolate cake or just plain chocolates)
-fruit with toppings available, such as ReddiWip's new almond milk and coconut milk whipped creams
-GF crisps - fruit crisps made with GF oats or without glutenous flour (Ocean State Job Lot always has great prices on -- and a great variety of -- Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flours/oats/mixes)
-Kind bars - again, even available at Starbucks and 7-11 (RIP, Tedeschi's...)
Have I made you hungry yet? Happy dining!
I have long liked kefir's magical probiotic mix, and had received a recommendation to drink ryazhenka for even more potent probiotic benefits. Ryazhenka is kefir that is then baked. It's tough to drink by itself, but as a smoothie base, it rocks. I combined it with Tune It Up Protein -- a slightly chalky-tasting powder, but its no-junk ingredients and high protein (15g per scoop) make up for the hint of barium flavor :-p -- and some things in the fridge/freezer, and surprisingly had an easily-digestible smoothie that kept me full for 5 hours!
Much better than a post-smoothie sugar crash.
4 oz. plain organic ryazhenka
1/2 scoop of vanilla Tune It Up Protein
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
handful of fresh strawberries
handful of frozen blueberries
few chunks of watermelon
some Granny Smith apple (who was Granny Smith, anyways?)
big splash of Harmless Harvest coconut water (it is super cheap at Costco and is the best flavor. Do not accept the imitators!! Also, their customer service is stellar.)
Puree until liquidy enough to drink.
Drink it up! Feel full and happy and energized!
Conferences can be many things: A great opportunity for networking! A chance to see a new city! A time to catch up with colleagues! A place to learn about the latest trends in your field! A way to accrue air miles! For people with a food allergy, conferences are also a time when you worry you may not have safe-for-you meals for days.
Once I learn that I will be going to a conference (either as a presenter or as an attendee), I start mapping out all of my options for food. There's not a lot of down time once a conference starts, so having as much information available before you land. Here are my suggestions to you, after a few rounds of putting my research skills and my interest in being a concierge to work (with some 90's allusions thrown in for fun).
Step 1: We Can Have Lots of Fun
Admit it, it is exciting to use our research skills to figure out a map of Places to Dine. I recommend starting with thinking about what it is that you need. Will you be provided with meals at the conference and solely needing a location for a networking dinner? Will there be multiple locations for the conference, or is everything based at a hotel or an event venue (e.g., a convention center)? Take a look at the schedule, and see where the food lulls may be.
Step 2: There's So Much We Can Do!
Now that you have your locations, and a basic overview of the times you'll need food, you can start making a list!
Places to search:
Yelp. You can search for a number of terms, such as "gluten-free," "gluten-free lunch," "gluten free bakery," etc. It sounds obvious, but just as with JSTOR, changing the terms even a bit can alter the search results. It's important to make sure that the results aren't just there because they say that the restaurant has nothing safe for people with a gluten allergy, as that will show up in the search terms (ah, data, you've tricked me yet again!). Scroll down to the "recommended reviews," and see why "gluten" came up.
Hit up Google with similar terms.
Step 3: It's Just You and Me!
This step doesn't work well in this list, but it's part of the song.
It may be worth posting on your society's social media sites, or tweeting using the conference hashtag, to see if there are other GF attendees. Maybe you can have a lunch club, and the strengthening of social capital is important as well.
Step 4: I Can Give You More
Often times, restaurants will either have a gluten-sensitive menu, gluten-free bread, or accommodations that are not listed in Yelp results ... or even clearly on their website! If there are a few restaurants or cafés within a quick walk of the conference site, give them a call, tweet them, or message them and see what their options are. Some GF-friendly places do not openly advertise their options (sometimes even on their menu!). One of my favorite restaurants of all time makes GF pizza, but it is not on the menu (and it's affordable and delicious). If you call and they say "yeah, we serve meat," then you're probably out of luck for GF understanding. :-p Also, some eateries will proudly market their GF menu options, but a call or further examination of the menu may show that "GF menu" means "that plain salad" and little else.
You can also contact the hotel/event site and see what options are available within the premises. Hotel gift shops and snack bars are not known for their reasonable pricing or their allergen-free treats, but you may be able to find a package of almonds or some string cheese that you can grab in a pinch.
In addition, some event sites or hotels have coffee shops in them. The lines are often long during breaks, and it can be frustrating to wait to not find anything other than glutenous cookies! However, larger Starbucks now carry individual blocks of Tillamook cheese (called "Tillamoo" for some reason), GF cookies, bananas, almonds, and you can purchase the blueberries that accompany the oatmeal.
Peet's offers a GF Morning Glory muffin in some locations, and their coffee is gluten-free as well. They also offer some GF nut snacks as well.
An increasing number of hotels will offer Udi's bread. It might have to be defrosted, but it's something to help you get a proper sandwich!
Step 5: Don't You Know that the Time Has Arrived? (HUH) (Fiddle Riff)
You should have a few places on your list now. Airports are starting to up their game with GF options as well. Here are a few examples:
Boston: GF buns and fries at Wahlburgers, a variety of options at Legal Sea Foods (Legal was one of the very first chains to offer a GF menu, and they do it well)
Philadelphia: Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A (CFA has THE BEST GF buns, and their delicious waffle fries are all gluten-free)
D.C. (Reagan): fresh fruit, Lucy's Cookies, and Mary's Gone Crackers at the news stand (thanks to In Johnna's Kitchen for that tip!)
As far as conference cities, here are some terrific places that I've found:
Manhattan: Tu-Lu's Gluten-Free Bakery, Glaze Teriyaki (fast casual right near the Strand Bookstore! They also have locations in Chicago and Madison, WI, and San Francisco), multiple Whole Foods locations
Philadelphia: Sweet Freedom Bakery (not just GF - allergen-free as well, and their coffee rolls are DELICIOUS), Paesano's (home of THE BEST sandwich in the history of time - the Paesano), and Taffet's
Indianapolis: Pearings (GF crepes and super-friendly service!), Caf Patachou