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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Why Safe Prom Transportation Matters

Let’s face it, it’s a lot different being a teenager in this day and age than five or ten years ago. As parents, we do our best to catch up, but it can definitely be challenging! One of the most highlighted periods in a teenager’s life is the event of prom. It’s a time to dress up, celebrate with friends, and reflect on the upcoming graduation ceremony that they’ve anticipated since a child. Teens often spend months preparing for this specific event, and it approaches a lot quicker than you’d expect.

One of the things needed for the prom experience is prom transportation. While it’s tempting to gather your son or daughters group into your SUV or minivan and drive them yourself, it’s doubtful that they’ll be looking forward to that. The reality is that most school dance attendees look for a party bus or limousine rental to get the group from the pick up site to the picture destination, the dance, and back home.

prom transportation

If you’ve never reserved specialty Sacramento Transportation before this, it’s challenging to figure out who to trust. After all, you don’t want to send your children off with a company who holds little regard for safety precautions or supervision. A great party bus or limo rental business will work with you as a parent to provide exceptionally safe, supervised prom transportation. It’s a great relief to be able to put your trust into a local company!

prom transportation

Be sure to ask potential companies if you’re able to come view the vehicle beforehand. This is a great way to separate the good from the bad, as companies who don’t actually own their vehicles will shy away from the question. Many people are unaware that local transport businesses source their employees through schools, so the chauffeurs often already have experience dealing with rowdy teenage crowds. In the end, you’ll be viewed as one of the coolest parents around town for preparing this type of travel for their prom!

This post was sponsored by Sacramento Limo Bus. Photo by Caitlyn Wilson on Unsplashprom transportation

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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Wherever You Are Is Called Here: Poetry from David Wagoner

Hiking on Mt. Tamalpais, CA.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

Bird on branch, UC Davis Arboretum

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~David Wagoner

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, not a hoarder. The extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared. These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

 This beautiful, meditative poem by David Wagoner found its way to me via The Writer’s Almanac.

“Lost” by David Wagoner from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems. © University of Illinois Press, 1999. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

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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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

On January 21, 2017, I joined over 20,000-plus other like-minded souls at the California State Capitol for the Women’s March On Sacramento. I wasn’t prepared for the enormity of the event; I had no idea that when I left, I would feel so energized, so heard, or so replete with joy.  This is what democracy looks like.

When we set out on foot, first to cross the swollen Sacramento River, I wondered if there would be anyone else who showed up. It was early, and quiet. We meandered towards Southside Park, and I had my answer.

Thousands showed up.

To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at first. There were so many signs, costumes, and smiles. there were men and women, children and elderly, mobile and non-mobile. Queer, straight, white, black, brown, all kindred spirits fearlessly flying their frustration with the new administration.

I had to walk around to take it all in. The crowd never ended.

Some people were clearly first time activists; others, I could tell, had been here before. And the children, their gently hand lettered signs of hope tinged with fear, stole my heart.

As we marched lines of folks gathered on the sides to cheer us on. They reached out of second story windows and snapped photos from balconies.

We chanted. We helped each other. We united.

This is what democracy looks like.

I’m positive the event coordinators were overwhelmed with the numbers, announcing that they couldn’t start the program because there were some who hadn’t yet left the starting point, miles away.

But when the mayor took the stage, and politicians from school boards to city councils, from Congress to State Controller, we listened. We heard the calls for getting ‘fired up’ and ‘fighting back’ against the Capitol’s west facade, flags flying at half mast.

The rain held off while we heard about women being ‘Raped On The Nightshift’  – female janitorial staff who used their courage and voice to legislate change.

We chanted for human rights, for women’s rights – for grabbing back.

And we felt the power of the 2.5+ million women, men, and children worldwide who were chanting with us; I knew my sisters and friends and my community was with me.  It was like one huge book club discussing our thoughts on a recent novel we’ve read, looking for common threads and weaving in our personal stories.

We vowed to ‘stay loud’ and to fight back, to speak up and defend the rights women have worked so hard to earn.

I stood behind a 95 year-old-woman, wheelchair bound, who wiggled with excitement and energy right along with me as her daughter wiped away tears. I pushed my former students in front of me, young women curious about their future, and felt their eyes on me as my fist rose in the air time after time.

I stood alongside a Vietnam vet pushing his wife’s wheelchair and watched his eyes, eyes that have seen more horror that I hope I ever know.

I heard the rage of a queer woman of color, recently elected mayor, who fears for her daughter’s future.

I felt my grandmother’s spirit pulsing through my chest, a woman who spoke four languages yet never went to college – an immigrant who left a secure life in South America to follow her heart to the United States, and a woman who taught me to say what I think and have compassion for all.

And I wept silent tears as I realized that this moment was just the beginning; that I am tasked to push back for my daughter, for my son, for my mother and grandmothers and all those phenomenal women that have come before me and paved my way to this moment – to this opportunity to show my love for my country.

THIS is what democracy looks like.

And I vowed to use my words, my platform, my writing, my teaching and my parenting not to make war with those that differ but to hold them accountable for THEIR words, THEIR actions. To remind them, over and over, that it is love, not hate, that makes America great. To ensure that this movement – this march, this gathering of humans who are looking to put their voice to the voiceless, to extend kindness to those who are hurting, and to show my children that I will walk the talk for what I believe in.

This is what DEMOCRACY looks like.

I’m not ready to make nice. I’m not ready to give in, to get over it, or to go back.

I’m ready to be loud. I’m ready to be heard. I’m ready to fight back. I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change – I’m changing the things I cannot accept.

How about you?

Here we go!

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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From Full-Time Mom To Full-Time Me?

From Full-Time Mom To Full-Time Me?

Happy times in my happy place.

That’s all I could think of to caption my Instagram posts for the ten days that my family of four was sleeping under the same roof. That, and #ilovemykids. And #summertime, and #tahoelife.

The last ten days have been the best out of the entire summer because my entire family – the four of us – has been together.

Together at Happy Camp - Squaw Valley, CA.
Together at Happy Camp – Squaw Valley, CA.

This is the first summer that my daughter hasn’t lived at home for even part of it. Since 2005, both my kids usually spend a chunk of summer ski race training at Mt. Hood, Oregon, and then for the last four years Lily has worked as a camp counselor there, too. But this year is her first year with two ‘real’ jobs in her college town, and she decided to rent an apartment and stay there.

This summer has been so different. This is the summer I’m really feeling the big shake-up happening between being full-time mom to full-time me.

It’s not really just that she hasn’t come home and put things away in her dresser; it’s not even that I had to go to her apartment to hang out and have sleepovers.

I think the different part of this summer has been how it’s gotten me thinking about how much it is the first summer of life transitioning away from what I’ve known for the last twenty years, away from me being a full-time mom to two and towards being full-time me.

That’s so very different.

full time mom

Before I was a mom, I was a wife and a teacher – but not for very long. I’d only been teaching for five years, married for two; I hadn’t really settled into either identity. When Lily came along I just added ‘mom’ to that identification, and quickly found – as most moms do – that the label of ‘mother’ far superseded any other.

Add in another baby, and twenty years later I’m sitting on the deck in my happy place, feeling tired and slightly sunburned from a long hike, listening to the wind blow through the pines while she sits, curled up across from me, and trying desperately not to think about tomorrow morning when I drop her at the airport and four becomes three again until Thanksgiving. Trying to live in the moment, in my happy place.

Hiking to Five Lakes, Alpine Meadows, CA
Hiking to Five Lakes, Alpine Meadows, CA

Watching my two on the trail today, climbing side by side next to the mule ears and Indian paintbrush, my heart swelled with love. Snatches of their conversation drifted back to me as they plotted their next adventure together (hiking in Wyoming) and I realized that life has a way of transforming different into normal so gently sometimes I don’t even notice.

So this is the next stage, the new normal of raising teens-turning-into-adults. I’ll be catching glimpses of the adults I’ve hoped they would be. I’ll be watching them from behind, noticing the lessons being put into place. I’m sure the identity of full-time mom will gently transform into full-time me, with countdowns on the calendar until the next time we’ll all be in our happy place together and full-time mom can rise again.

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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