Experiments in Cooking

So today was my last day of teaching.  Not my last day of student teaching.  Not my last day of school for the year.  My last day of teaching.  Like for real.   And depending on how grad school goes, it could be like for good.  However.  I will probably end up subbing at home at some point during the next year or so, so saying that is probably a little premature.  Not to mention that five years is a long time to be looking forward and making such sweeping statements.

But anyway, no matter what, I'm on summer vacation.  Thank goodness.

It still doesn't feel real.   I know tomorrow, when I wake up late(r) and realize school is going on without me, it will be real.  And I'm excited.

Speaking of tomorrow, tomorrow starts wedding weekend.  Why wedding weekend?  Well, because NES's roommate is getting married tomorrow night, my roommate from freshman year, AMF, is getting married on Saturday and my beloved babysitter of my childhood (and current friend and one of my grad school guides), TD, is getting married on Saturday too.  On the one hand, I'm disappointed that I can't be in 2 places at once all weekend.  On the other hand, I'm glad that I am in one of them and didn't have to make the choice of which to go to.  That would have been awful.   With this weekend coming up, teaching didn't end one minute to early, as you can see.

And how did I decide to celebrate my last day of teaching?  Well, first of all, I was thinking of ice cream, and I, well, I'm trying to eat well this week because of the impending doom of having to wear a bridesmaid dress and hoping to look halfway decent in it.  I've already failed miserably at eating well this week, so ice cream was out of the question.  Even frozen yogurt was out of the question.  I was thinking Italian ice, but upon research, even that seemed like a bad idea.  Combine that with the fact that the teachers used the leftover cookies and snacks from Monday's department meeting to throw a little "party" for me at lunch, and it was just a bad plan.

They also gave me a really nice card that they all signed.  It was so sweet of them!  I was also bored enough at school today to make an origami Christmas tree.  But that's a different story.  Why Christmas?  Because that's the only thing I could remember how to make off the top of my head.
Ok, this is going to get long.  It's summer.  Isn't that what summer is for?

Right, back to the celebration of being done.  So, ice cream was out of the question.  Also the weather was less than helpful for going to the beach or anything else like that.  It was over 90 degrees today.  It was SO hot in my classroom.  But, then the thunderstorms came!  JLG and I were cooking in the basement, and we were glad we were in the basement at the time.  Thankfully these were no where near as bad as the storms last week with the tornadoes, but the sky looked very threatening.   More than two hours later, the lightning and thunder are still around.
Anyway, I decided that bananas were a safe and healthy treat.  Well, I added chocoate, so maybe not as healthy as they could be, but still, it wasn't ice cream!   Along with the bananas, I am currently sitting here blogging and watching The Phantom of the Opera.  And questioning what to do because I don't have to go to bed early.  Hours after 9:30 p.m. exist again!  Really, I think I'm exhausted and back into the graduation-time numbness toward things really being done for good.  Leaving the school is actually much more bittersweet than I expected.  Really, I think I'll be mostly over that tomorrow.  I think I'm just dealing with almost 5 months of exhaustion.  So, that's how I'm celebrating.

Ok, ok, ok.  Food.  So JLG and I decided to be adventurous in the food department tonight.  None of dealing with the invade--I mean welcomed guests who are currently staying on our campus -- in the dining hall.  Actually, we would have gotten stuck in the rain either on the way there or back anyway, so it's probably for the better.

I've already mentioned my banana creation, so I guess it's time to explain it.  So, I love eating bananas with chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles.  And peanut butter, but I left that out of this one.  Maybe next time.  My mom also used to always get frozen bananas when we'd go shopping near Grammy's house when I was little.  And for some reason I thought of them today.  But I knew it wasn't going to work to dip a whole banana in chocolate and freeze it.  Not in the limited kitchen I have right now.
So, I sliced it.
Then, I melted chocolate chips in the microwave.  First, I tried to dip the banana slices in, but that wouldn't work -- the chocolate just kind of slipped off.  Then I tried spooning it on top, but it wouldn't spread very well.  So, I finally decided to drizzle the chocolate over them and used one of the few resources I do have here: a ziplock bag.  I used it just like I would for frosting; i.e. I snipped a corner and used it as a pastry bag to drizzle the chocolate over them.  Oh, and don't forget the chocolate sprinkles!  Absolutely necessary.
Then I put them in the freezer for about an hour.  I have to admit, I was jealous.  The freezer seemed like a pretty good antidote to the 90 degree temperatures and humidity.
The banana slices are such a easy and (if I had a better idea going in of how to put the chocolate on) somewhat fancy-looking dessert.  Even JLG, who doesn't like bananas much, liked them.
JLG went a little more extravagant with dinner.  She found this recipe for polenta pizzas and we were both curious about polenta, so she experimented with it.  They really are pretty easy.  Easier than expected, honestly.
I think the jury's still out on this one though.  We both thought the polenta was a strange consistency and didn't have much flavor of its own.  The pulled chicken JLG found at the grocery store for making them, however, was definitely a positive.  And it went really well with the fresh mozzarella.  There may be some experimentation with these ingredients coming.  We also added oregano instead of cilantro.  Good substitution.
What am I going to do with myself tomorrow morning when I don't have to be at school?  Well, get ready for wedding weekend, I suppose!  It will be good to see friends again.  The three weeks since graduation have absolutely flown by!


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