Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tomato Bruschettas

I LOVE FOOD!!!!!! The problem is that I'm not much of a cook.  Something that I am really good at making is Bruschettas.  They are so easy to make and when you have a garden in your backyard that keeps producing tons of tomatoes, this is my go to snack.  I've seen these made many times and everyone makes them differently, but they are all pretty much made the same.  What I love about this recipe is that I can just throw stuff in without measuring and it comes out great.  Like I mentioned before, I am not much of a cook, so when I cook something, I always need a recipe, which I then follow to a tee. Well, not this one.

Tomato Bruschettas

Salt and pepper
Chopped basil
Olive oil
Sliced french bread
Minced garlic

1.  Slice the french bread into slices.  If you are in a hurry, like I always am, pop the slices into the toaster.  If you are not in a hurry, brush a little olive oil on each slice and toast it in the oven until they are golden brown.      
2.  Chop up the tomatoes and place them in a mixing bowl.  Pour some olive oil over them.  Make sure it's not too much because then the mixture will be too oily.                                                        

3.  Mince some garlic, as much or as little as you like.  Personally I love garlic so I use a lot! Once you have minced it, place it into the bowl with the tomatoes.                                                                              

4.  Chop up some fresh basil leaves (preferable chiffonade method just because it looks pretty).  From looking at my picture you can tell that I tried to use this technique but because I am not an experienced cook,  it didn't really come out that way (my husband can chop up basil using that technique but he was  on a conference call.)                                                                                                                    

  5. Now add salt and pepper to taste and mix it all up.  Once you mix it all up, take a big scoop and pile onto your toasted french bread and VOILA! Your snack, lunch, appetizer, whatever you want it to be is done. 

That's what I love about this dish, it can be whatever you choose.  The day I made this was my day off so it was our lunch. Hope you like it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Fair

My summer vacation is now over and has been over since the end of August.  I still don't have kids coming in to use the library or to check out books because I am right in the middle of our Scholastic Book Fair.  At our school, just like many other schools, the teachers create wish lists for their classroom libraries.  My first 2 years at the Kennedy Library, I had a teacher preview day for the teachers only.  The purpose of this was to have the teachers came in to create their wish lists and it usually took place after school. The process was long and tedious, therefore some teachers would not even show up. They had to write the name of the book, the price, the location, etc. all of this info on these little slips and let's face it, they just did not have the time.

This year, I decided to do something different.  This year I decided to make it easier for the teachers to put together their lists, while making it easier for the parents to purchase these books for them. I am very happy to say that I think I have accomplished this.  As I sit here and write, while I drink my cocktail, I am reflecting on my day, I can honestly say that what I did worked. How do I know it worked? Because several of the teachers and parents that I talked to, told me that it was a wonderful idea! Here is a picture if what I did.

I went to Target and purchased several of these plastic containers.  I was lucky to find them on sale for $3 each. I then used Microsoft Publisher and created a postcard for every teacher. I listed their name, room number, grade and a little message.  I even put a little picture of each teacher so that new parents were able to find their child's teacher. The teachers then came in looked at all the Scholastic books displayed, picked the books they liked and placed them in their container.  They were very surprised as to how easy the process was! I then used the little slips I had used in previous years, wrote their name on the slip and placed it in the book like a book mark.

During our back to school night, parents came in asking for the wish list slips.  We then explained the new process and they LOVED it! It even seemed like more parents bought more books.  Some teachers received all the books they had placed in their container! The teachers loved it because they didn't have to write up all these little slips with lots of information and the parents loved it because the books were already there for them to purchase.  They didn't have to go search for the books on their own.

This is the sign I put together to hang from the ceiling above the containers. I also used Microsoft Publisher for this.  The stars were cut using our Ellison machine.

I will definitely do this again for our next book fair.  I really did receive several compliments about how easy this new process was and I also heard several "Great idea!" comments. By the time I left our book fair, I was glowing. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Great Books

One of the coolest things about working in a school library is that I have kids coming in to check out books all day.  When they come in to the library, I get a chance to read to them.  The book I am reading to the younger one this week is:

Product Details

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Apr 5, 2011)

The book is about Dr. Jane Goodall as a young child and some of the things she did when she was young, with her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee.

This is a very cute book and the kids are really enjoying it.

For the older kids, we have been reading:
Product Details

                                                  Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Feb 14, 2012)

This is a great book! I read this book during my summer vacation and I thought that it would be great for the kids at the school. This is a story about a boy who is born with facial deformities and has been home schooled all of his young life, until now.  It's a very touching story about what he goes through everyday and what it is like for him, going to a school with other kids as he enters the 5th grade. 

The kids are really enjoying this one too. Sometimes when I stop reading and tell them that we will continue next week, I have heard a few "Ah's." 

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Family

Here is a picture that I took in December of my family.  This is the picture I used to send out as our Christmas card this past year. I love photography, but I don't claim to be a photographer.  I just like to take pictures. I pin lots of pictures on Pinterest because I hope that someday I could take pictures like the ones I pin.  
De La Cruz Family

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cajun Barbecued Shrimp for dinner

Last night the hubby made me one of my favorite dishes of all time! The dish is a Cajun dish, Barbecued Shrimp with a side of collard greens. The Barbecued Shrimp recipe is one of Paul Prudohomme's. Let me tell you, it's not one of the healthiest dishes because it's loaded with butter, but it is so DELICIOUS! I was good all week, so it was ok for me to eat it. The collard greens were really good too and that is a recipe that my husband put together after his many trips to New Orleans.

Victor's Collard Greens

Now Remember that this recipe is just estimated because my husband, just like his mother likes to add just a little of this and a little of that (I really dislike that).


1 bushel of Collard Greens 
2 strips of bacon
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop collard greens, thin (chiffonade) and set aside.
2. Cook bacon to almost crisp and set aside.
3. Discard bacon fat from pan, but leave about 1 tbsp.
4. Chop up bacon and return to pan.  Add vinegar and sugar until it simmers, then add the greens.
5. Toss the greens and cover.
6. Wilt the green for about 20 minutes until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Then serve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


My garden is coming along. It's so cool that it's 35 degrees outside yet I am growing herbs indoors.