vegetarian awareness week

Vegetarian Awareness Week: My First Live TV Cooking Demo

Did you know the second week in September is Vegetarian Awareness Week? If you’re like me, eating veggies over meat is just a no-brainer; I think the last time I remember actually consuming a red meat burger was during my college years in 1985…

Things have definitely changed since then. I could barely cook back in the 80s, and going out for burgers was an exciting dinner treat on our budget. Just look at me now! Some of my best moments are spent in my garden and kitchen with my kids, cooking and eating as healthy as possible.

vegetarian awareness week

Living in California, having space to grow my own veggies and citrus in my backyard, and easy access to local farmer’s market produce has been such a gift towards healthy eating and cooking. This year we planted San Marzano tomatoes and 30 pepper plants! It seems like there’s always something in season that’s so delicious and full of nutrients that raising my kids on a low meat diet was simple; they’ve become fine cooks and enjoy trying all sorts of seasonal fruits and veggies. To encourage a love of food, one thing I always did when they were little was allowed them to pick out one new fruit or veggie on every grocery shopping trip. This didn’t always result in a new addition to their palate, but it did always result in them trying something new, like it or not.

Vegetarian Awareness Week
Making vegetarian tamales – I love cooking with my kids!

Vegetarian Awareness Week is just a perfect opportunity for me to share my love of cooking and healthy eating, and thanks to the folks at Cucina Antica, I have the opportunity to do my first ever live cooking demo on TV! And yes, just a little bit nervous, but honestly knowing that the product I’m sharing is one I use and enjoy makes it easier. You can watch my live demo here. Have you tried Cucina Antica cooking sauces? Cucina Antica sauces are authentic family recipes with no added sugar or preservatives and made with imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes. I love the copious amounts of veggies in each jar, the lack of artificial preservatives and no added sugar, as well as the variety of dishes I can make with each one.

For Vegetarian Awareness Week I’ll be making this yummy recipe for Spaghetti with Sautéed Eggplant – I’m so excited!

 Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce
  • 1 lb. Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 6 baby eggplants
  • 2 tsp. Romano cheese
  • Fresh basil to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  Preparation:

  1. Slice eggplants into 1/4″ vertical strips. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil.
  2. Season eggplants with salt and pepper and sauté in oil until just slightly wilted. Set aside.
  3. Prepare spaghetti al dente. Meanwhile, heat Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce.
  4. When pasta is finished, drain and coat with one cup of sauce to prevent noodles from sticking.
  5. Plate pasta and top with eggplant slices. Cover with remaining sauce and top with Romano cheese.
  6. Garnish with basil and serve.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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My Heart Is Heavy As I Watch The Hate Unfold In Charlottesville Today

My Heart Is Heavy As I Watch The Hate Unfold In Charlottesville Today

My heart is heavy as I watch the hate unfold in Charlottesville today. I try to distract and distance myself by puttering around in my garden, moving the sprinkler from one dry patch to another, hopefully coaxing a few more blooms into fall. I dodge the bees in the veggie garden and catch a glimpse of a red throated hummingbird as it delicately feeds on my front yard red salvia. My four legged pal naps on the shaded wicker couch as I move in circles, trying to avoid confronting the hatred and violence I know is consuming my news feeds.

I don’t usually write and publish on the spot like this. I’m more of a pensive writer, allowing thoughts to mull in my mind, forming connections and thinking deeply about how I share my voice in this vast Universe of creative people. I typically journal and notetake and combine what I read and hear and see into hopefully, some version of hope and gratitude for all that I am and all that I have to learn.

But as I watch the hate unfold in Charlottesville today I find myself heavy with sadness, climbing the stairs to my upstairs writing perch. My phone has been exploding with Twitter updates and live videos from the New York Times, and I find I can only watch and read the smallest amount without having to shut it down.

It’s part self-care, part bewilderment, part fear – combined with an enormous amount of guilty helplessness as I sit safely tucked away, in my white family in my suburban home in my liberal northern California town.

my heart is heavy

But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? Those who stay safely tucked away in their beliefs, teetering on the edge of exploding and showing their real selves. I meant to be writing about my children today, about having seniors and about college and starting school years.

But I can’t. My heart is too heavy watching the hate unfold in Charlottesville today, and it simply feels selfish.

I know that racism exists. I know that there are those who believe in the ‘white right’ and above all else, feel victimized and as if they are somehow having their centuries old rights and ancestry stripped away by those who are different. From those who have darker skin, or religious differences, or who love people that they love even when being told that the Bible calls them sinners.

I know all that. I see it hiding in my community, occasionally creeping out in my classroom with greater frequency since last November. I understand the responsibility of raising a white male and think deeply about how I can use my life to make the world a better, kinder, more loving place.

I use my position as a teacher leader to teach compassion, to offer evidence from history about learning from the past, and employ my voice and my words to somehow attempt to do my part.

My Heart Is Heavy As I Watch The Hate Unfold In Charlottesville Today

But today, my heart is heavy as I watch the hate unfold.

I want to blame 45, but I know he didn’t suddenly cause people to think this way. What he has done since November is offered validation for those shallow, spiteful, fearful souls to empower themselves and speak out, lash out, and spew their hateful words into our Universe.

I know signs of hope and light will surface – the first to appear was John Pavlovitz’s “Yes, This is Racism”  for which I am holding onto while my news feed screams “Charlottesville remains on edge ahead of “Unite The Right” rally”, the governor declares a state of emergency, and a car plows down protestors. Violent clashes erupt as people supporting Black Lives Matter join in counter-protest. 45 tweets “Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!”

All that we have done? Who are WE? It’s not me. It’s on you now, 45. All that YOU have done – and what are YOU doing to make it better? Get off your golf cart and step into reality.

Sitting in my writing room, gazing out at the green treetops and the sun dappled grass I feel so far removed, so helpless. I do not agree, I do not believe, I do not support. This isn’t MY America. This isn’t my view of how history should be formed. This isn’t what I want to teach.

This IS racism. This IS hate. This IS fear and vulnerability and small-mindedness.

This is NOT what I choose as the future for my son, my daughter, and the hundreds of children I’m about to share my heart with this school year.

I stand in unity with those using their bodies and voices and hearts against hate. I stand with the women and men and children to whom this is nothing new – just more visible.

I walked with women and men and children in January in hopes that my heart wouldn’t feel so heavy today; I write with hope for tomorrow.

THIS is how I fight back.

My Heart Is Heavy As I Watch The Hate Unfold In Charlottesville Today

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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STEM in U.S. Schools

Do you know about the state of STEM in U.S. schools?

Do you know about the state of STEM in U.S. schools?

If you’re a teacher, you likely have at least heard of STEM – but if you’re a parent and don’t know about this cutting edge opportunity for your kids, and the state of STEM in U.S. schools, I’ve got some exciting information for you!

As an AVID teacher and coordinator, I was invited to San Diego to attend a conference about the state of STEM in U.S. schools, sponsored by U.S. News and World Report to learn more about how to include STEM into AVID’s college and career readiness program.  STEM is an acronym representing the intentional inclusion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in our academic programs; STEAM adds in the arts.

Keynote speaker Eric J. Gertler, Co-Chairman and Co-Publisher, New York Daily News; Co-Chairman, U.S. News & World Report; CEO, Ulysses Ventures, talked about how six years ago U.S. News created their first STEM conference to address a need for a ‘culture shift’; the science and education communities felt a broader awareness of what STEM is and why it’s important was necessary to address the growing need for skilled workers in STEM fields. At this time, media companies with smarts and money were able to engage public with ‘state of STEM’ as they saw it. 

What is the state of STEM in U.S. Schools?

Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer, U.S. News & World Report and main moderator of the conference, shared not only a journalistic perspective about STEM but also his strong belief that as the chairman of U.S. News STEM Solutions, a national forum that brings together corporations, he can work to “assist educators and policymakers help the U.S. fill jobs by creating a more skilled and competitive workforce”.

Have you seen these recent videos bringing a current look to STEM?

 

Microsoft’s ‘Make What’s Next’ Ad Shows How to Pursue STEM | CMO …

LeBron James and Adriana Lima Tell Kids to Be Scientists, Not – Adweek

It is through such use of media and journalism that companies can begin to identify what STEM is for the general public – because as the saying goes, “If you don’t know what it is, you can’t become it”.

How do we spotlight students for STEM in U.S. Schools?

STEM in U.S. Schools

Peter Callstrom is the President and Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Workforce Partnership, which “funds and delivers workforce programs to train and support job seekers to meet the needs of regional employers (and) also conducts in-depth labor market research in order to understand employer’s needs and trends in our economy”. Mr. Callstrom illuminated us to an ‘awareness gap’ going on in our schools which may be contributing to the low numbers of students (especially girls) who are studying STEM in lower and higher education programs. It makes one wonder – how are kids going to join workforce/careers they don’t know exists? And how can teachers/administrators/parents begin to bridge this gap? Through his work as CEO of S.D. Workforce Partnership, he has identified that 5 mil American youths are not working or in school between the ages18-24. To help address this issue, he created the Life Sciences Summer Institute, which offers paid internships to youth studying STEM fields. In addition, he spoke about the Amgen Foundation Biotech Experience, which is training teachers in STEM techniques.

STEM in U.S. Schools

How do we recruit teachers to spotlight STEM in U.S. Schools?

STEM in schools

Katherine Wilcox, the Executive Director of the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program which “empower(s) STEM professionals to transform public education through teaching and tutoring in high-need communities” EnCorps is the only non-profit dedicated to recruiting STEM professionals. Currently,  the United States is facing one of the worst teacher shortages since 1990. According to research from California State University, California alone needs 33,000 new math and science teachers over the next ten years! EnCorps estimates that there are 35,000 high need students receiving high-quality math and science education by an EnCorps STEM Fellow since 2008. These fellows averaged 17 years in a STEM profession prior to joining EnCorps, and 82% of the participants have either a STEM Masters or PhD. EnCorps has partnered with over 250 schools, school districts, and program organizations to help solve the STEM Teacher crisis, according to their website (http://encorps.org 2017).

STEM isn’t going away. The state of STEM in U.S. schools is evolving, but not at a pace healthy enough to fill all the open jobs and to push the U.S. to the forefront of our global quest for a better quality of life. The U.S. News STEM Conference is one positive step in the right direction.

Stay tuned for more about the STEM revolution in higher education in future posts!

Click to VIEW the 2017 STEM conference SCHEDULE.

This article was first published by Jennifer Wolfe on The Educator’s Room.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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What I Can Do Right Now: Spread Love

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. 

Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor…

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.

Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.

~ Mother Teresa

Every morning, right after my first cup of coffee, I struggle with checking my Facebook feed. Lately all it does is make my heart catch in my throat, speed my pulse into triple digits and leave me feeling….well, a bit helpless.

I hate feeling helpless. It goes against everything I profess about ‘walking the talk’ and teaching audaciously. Feeling helpless is like taking no steps forward and ten steps back.

That’s simply something I’m not willing to do at this point in my life.

In my classroom, I see a microcosm of our world; children from different backgrounds, races and religions. College interns come to my classroom every day,  struggling with student debt and affordable housing, all while trying to work and study and figure out what they want – or will be able to – do when they graduate.

I feel it all around me – the tension, the fear in the eyes of those afraid of what is to come, and the rising sense of a societal acceptance to speak out unkindly, to group together and cast sideways glances at each other. I don’t like it. It scares me, it worries me and wakes me up from a deep sleep.

Last week, I created a ‘hope’ wall for my students. I wanted them to feel safe sharing what they hope for in their life, and I wanted to be able to make it visible.

From the hope wall:

“to make new friends”

“to do better each day”

“to make my parents proud”

“to be nicer to everyone”

“to help others to the best of my abilities”

Every day a new anonymous ‘hope’ appears. Hope for good grades, for friendship, for acceptance. Someone is hoping for a tattoo….one to be a pilot, and another to meet Alex Morgan.

I felt like this was one thing I could do to overcome feeling hopeless: I could grow hope and simultaneously, I could spread love.

For me, teaching is a service job as well as a profession where I utilize my creativity to first connect, then instruct. I’m constantly striving to creatively connect with my students, to get them to trust me – and themselves. I want to teach my students how I want my own children to be taught – I want to use this platform, this opportunity, to spread love in whatever small (and hopefully large) ways I can.

These small steps, this little bit of teaching audaciously, helps me feel less hopeless. I imagine all of us just doing a little bit, every day, to help our country move forward in love and kindness. If you’re feeling like I am, I urge you to just find one thing you love to do – take one small step forward each day to spread love wherever you go, however you can.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Alone And Lost In A New York City Nightmare

It’s broad daylight on an ordinary day…or so I think. Over the loudspeaker, the emergency message screams to “pack all your belongings and get out!” Disoriented, I spin and spin until I realize I’m alone and lost in a New York City nightmare, away from my family.

Why am I here? My mind races to center, to grasp any sense of normal.

I can’t move fast enough, and I’m isolated. My children…..I can’t find you. You’ve disappeared, dissolving into a murky future that doesn’t make sense. Why can’t I find you? I always, always know where you are. 

Frantically I search for everything I know to be real. I’m in my house now, pawing through my childhood treasures, scooping figurines and trinkets with broad strokes into a bag as would a burglar. With each movement, my mind flashes back to small moments of beauty, happiness and joy. Where to begin, where to end? The clay figurines, so thoughtfully crafted with childhood fingers…the bookmarks they made in preschool, the framed photos of us smiling at the parade. 

I move from room to room wondering where I will put all this, what bag or box will be big enough, sturdy enough, to contain all that is dear to me. What will I forget? How will I choose what to carry? What will I leave behind, remnants of everything I once had?

I think of my husband, thirty years of him by my side, and I return for more. Remember my wedding dress, our box of letters from college. Our rings – I must get our rings. My children – where are you? Desperately, I run down the hall to their room…but it’s not there. I’m somewhere else, someplace I don’t recognize. Have I been here before?

Breathe…think. You can do this. Opening the door, I’m outside. The sun beams down as I approach the outdoor cafe. I see the complacency on their faces, the men who sit outside with their coffee and cigarettes. They smile, the edges of their mouth crinkling up in dominance. They know they’ve won. They think they’ve got this. They wouldn’t let

Right and left, I see bodies fleeing in desperation, moving chaotically as they search for helpers. I know I can’t be the only one…just breathe. Say excuse me, there must be some mistake. I just need to get past you…

They wouldn’t let me, though. They chuckle, and remind me to hold close to what care about – they are coming, and I’ll need my armor. This battle will be relentless.

Squinting at their glare, I contemplate my next move. They’re running now,  saw small pods of people flowing down streets and alleyways, towing bags and boxes of their lives. I feel my anxiety throb, my chest heaving for air. My hair covers my face, my hands strain to hold tight. I’m lost, alone, petrified.

 I stretch, desperate to see over their heads…swiveling to my left as the formation, comes towards me. I freeze, pulling my life towards my mouth paralyzed with terror…

I shoot out of bed, fumbling for my pulse. This is it. It was pitch black as I run for the front window, pull open the curtain and gazed out at the empty street. Silence. I’m alone. A shiver runs down my spine as the wind picks up, rustling the ocher leaves down the deserted sidewalk.

Pulling the down comforter guardedly under my chin, I withdraw to my refuge. My pulse calms as I settle in. I am home. Motionless, my body stills. I make out the quiet breathing echoing down the hall. Cola cocks one eye towards me from his dog bed, then gently settles down with a sigh. All is as I know it to be in this moment.

No more watching the news before bed, I promise as I will myself to sleep.

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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