Sincerely, Stasia

Living and learning on a teacher's salary.

Student Quote of the Day 03.26.13 March 26, 2013

Today we were reviewing fact and opinion before reading a nonfiction article. I guess I should have known better, but I asked my students to give me examples. First response, from one of my boys:

“Fact. I don’t like your hair today. Fact.”

Thank you for your honesty, Dwight Schrute in-the-making. I’ll be sure to try harder tomorrow. Hope you’re all having a better hair day than I am.

Sincerely, Stasia


Dreams March 24, 2013

Filed under: Doctoral Work,Life,Random Thoughts — sincerelystasia @ 8:47 pm
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Now that my final qualifying exam has been submitted and I’m trying to de-stress, I found this appropriate. Dream big, friends.

Sincerely, Stasia


New Jersey Herald – Hijacking public education March 23, 2013

This article by Mike Harris (link below) shares insight on some very important and very real issues impacting students, parents, and educators in the U.S. I specifically enjoy Diane Ravitch‘s site being noted – She’s an incredibly knowledgeable, very well-respected, and credible member of the education community, especially having served as assistant secretary of education for President G.W. Bush.

New Jersey Herald – Hijacking public education.

For more from Dr. Ravitch check out the video below from an address to the United Teachers of Los Angeles in 2010.

Sincerely, Stasia


Just because… March 22, 2013

Filed under: Random Thoughts — sincerelystasia @ 9:35 pm
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Just because...

… you all know that Labyrinth is one of my all time favorite movies and I love David Bowie.

Just a little pick-me-up since I blew a tire two blocks from work after staying late on a Friday to help set up for a fundraiser. At least my courtesy car was an upgrade… Not sure they’re getting it back. Whoops.

Have a stress-free weekend!
Sincerely, Stasia



The thing about working with children… March 21, 2013

Filed under: Doctoral Work,Random Thoughts,Teaching — sincerelystasia @ 3:56 pm
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This is exactly how I feel it’s going when I’m collecting group interview data with students for my pilot study.

Not as funny when you’re actually trying to analyze those types of responses.



Dissertation award, here I come…

Sincerely, Stasia


Student Quote of the Day 03.20.13 March 20, 2013

Filed under: Student Quotes,Teaching — sincerelystasia @ 5:15 pm
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Yes, I’m still alive. Busy, but alive. Quals are due (for good) on Sunday and my sister-in-law’s baby shower was a success (loved it – post is halfway written and on its way) so now I can finally breathe… Until I submit my final qualifying exam and start getting my house ready to host Easter. I’m still finalizing my menu, so if you have any suggestions send me an email – I always love to hear from you!

Overheard during small group:

“Do you know that I had to eat macaroni by itself last night because I didn’t have any more hot dogs? Do you understand me? No one’s supposed to eat macaroni like that. It’s ridiculous.”

The horror. Dr. Sheldon Cooper would be proud.

Sincerely, Stasia


Best Sandwich Ever January 8, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — sincerelystasia @ 8:53 pm
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My time off after surgery has flown by! I’ve accomplished next to nothing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it’s what the doctor actually told me to do. I was hoping to get a bit more done, however, before I go back to work this coming Monday. Yesterday I had my post-op appointment, where I was finally cleared to drive and lift up to 20lbs (watch out large bags of potatoes, toddlers, and car tires – I’m coming for you; my fat dogs, however, are still safe). Naturally the first place I drove to by myself was the mall. I’m getting away from the point, but those of you who follow the blog should be used to that by now.

Despite my crazy day of driving 20 minutes from home yesterday, however, I decided to take it easy today. Doc cautioned me against too much too soon and, stubborn as I am, I guess I should listen. In lieu of a 20lb lifting spree, I decided to try out two Pinterest pins I’ve had my eye on – One is a sugar scrub for legs, the other a homemade cleanser for makeup brushes. I’ll share my opinions on those in my next post. Afterwards I showered (still no small feat) and thought about what to make for dinner. That’s when I made the best sandwich I’d ever eaten. True story.

I’m obsessed with goat cheese. If I see anything on a restaurant menu that lists goat cheese as an ingredient, I have difficulty turning it down. Goat cheese on burgers? Absolutely. Goat cheese on pizza? Hell yeah – Roman was onto something even though Chet wasn’t willing to give it a chance [obscure 80’s movie reference]. Alas, I didn’t have any ground beef or pizza dough. Booooo. But, I did have a few items you’ll always find in my fridge: butter, goat cheese, yellow onions, and bacon. I don’t always have bread, but I happened to have a loaf of boring white bread in the pantry. It had no idea that it was about to go from super blah to absolutely spectacular.

Grilled cheese is awesome, right? Duh. Grilled goat cheese with caramelized onions and bacon? Good Lord, yes, such a thing exists. And it’s glorious. I didn’t come up with something completely new, but I was annoyed with myself that I’d never considered it before. It seems like a lot for a weeknight dinner, but you can get a quite a bit done around the house while the onions are caramelizing and the bacon is cooking. Welcome to heavy rotation in my dinner menu, beautiful.


Raw Onions

I started by slicing up a medium sized yellow onion. It might seem like a lot for two sandwiches, but it reduces in size a lot when it cooks. Onions go in a pan over medium low heat with one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Give them a little toss every now and then. They’ll be beautifully caramelized in about 40-50 minutes.

Raw Bacon

Next I threw my bacon in the oven. Yup – In the oven. The great thing about this is that it’s much easier to clean afterwards, the bacon is crisp and delicious without curling up, and you’re free to do whatever you like while it cooks since you don’t need to keep an eye on it. Oh, and no burning yourself with wayward grease splatter. Bonus. I used to line a baking sheet with aluminum foil only. Now, in addition, I add a layer of parchment paper. It helps the bacon crisp up a little better and absorbs some of the grease. Put the bacon in a cold oven and then set it to bake at 400 degrees. Don’t worry about the preheating time – It’s factored in! It will usually take about 20 minutes to cook, depending on how crispy you like your bacon.

Finished Bacon

 When the bacon is done, transfer it to some paper towels as you usually would. Bacon CleanupTo the right you’ll see one of my favorite things about this method. That, my friends, is a neatly folded little package that gets tossed directly in the garbage. Baking sheet is still clean, no disgusting grease container necessary. Do not, however, get cocky and forget grease can still drip from the seams if you don’t keep them facing up. You don’t need to know how I know that.

Caramelized Onions

This is what my onion looked like after 40 minutes over medium low heat. See what I mean about the reduction in size? I had a bit left over when building my sandwiches, but I absolutely should have used all of the onions evenly split between the two.

Partially Built

Ready for Grill PanHere you’ll see the next steps in my sandwich building endeavor. First I melted a few tablespoons of butter. Those of you who’ve been here before are familiar with my OCD-ish tendencies. I really dislike when I try to butter bread and the bread tears. Problem solved with a microwave and a pastry brush, with which I brushed one side of two slices of bread. On the other slices I layered a healthy amount of goat cheese, the caramelized onions, and two slices of bacon (each broken in half then layered horizontally and vertically). Once you put the sandwich together you’re ready to roll.

I use a grill pan for my grilled cheese. Heat it up over medium heat and put the sandwich buttered side down. This is helpful information if you’ve never made grilled cheese before. If that’s the case, I’m about to ruin grilled cheese for you. Forever. Anyway, once it’s on the grill I butter the other side of the bread and throw a lid on the pan to help the cheese start to melt. Use your judgement regarding when to flip – Usually about a minute and a half. Flip the sandwich, cover, wait about a minute. The second side cooks more quickly then the first, so keep a close eye.

Heavenly Deliciousness

Here you have it. A seriously heavenly sandwich. Like, one-bite-in-and-automatically-my-favorite-sandwich-ever good. I had planned to pair this with a box of tomato and roasted red pepper soup. However, since it had found a home in the back of my pantry, the expiration date was past due. Typical. So instead? Corn. Total insult to this sandwich. Next time I’m thinking either tomato or another attempt at tomato and roasted red pepper soup, but mixed with some cream cheese for an extra rich kick. Don’t ‘tsk tsk’ me – If you’ve made it this far you’re obviously not all that concerned with your caloric intake.

Straight to the Point: Grilled Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Ingredients (for two sandwiches)

  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into strips
  • Bacon
  • Goat cheese (about 3oz)

Steps to Deliciousness

  • Over medium low heat, melt one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions. Stirring occasionally, cook for 40-50 minutes or until caramelized.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil first, then a layer of parchment paper. Place four slices of bacon side-by-side on the baking sheet (more if you’re like me and need extra on the side to make sure it tastes good enough for everyone else and possibly share with others). Put baking sheet in a cold oven and set baking temp to 400 degrees F. Bacon will be finished in approximately 17-20 minutes depending on how well done you prefer your bacon.
  • Spread butter on one side four slices of bread. Placing the buttered side down, spread a healthy amount of goat cheese on two slices.
  • Top with caramelized onions, evenly split between each piece.
  • Break four pieces of bacon in half. Layer two halves horizontally with two halves vertically on each piece of bread.
  • Top each sandwich with another piece of bread, buttered side up.
  • Heat a dry grill or frying pan over medium heat. Place both sandwiches in the pan and cover to help cheese melt. After about a minute and a half, flip the sandwiches with a spatula. Cover and cook for just about a minute.
  • Remove from heat, enjoy your sandwich, don’t count your calories, and thank me for it all later.

And that, my friends, is the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. And I thought of it myself (mini pat on the back). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

Sincerely, Stasia


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