Saturday, January 24, 2015

Keeping My Word

Happy Saturday! Our weathermen didn't let us down, because the sun has certainly returned, and in full force. It is shaping up to be a beautiful day, which is a nice reprieve from the gloomy weather we have seen these past couple of days. It's still a little bit chilly, but you won't hear me complaining, as it is really the perfect weather for a run. But we'll get to that in a minute.

Yesterday I was pretty quick to leave school (but let's be honest, I usually am), but instead of heading straight home, I headed over to the Museum District to check out The Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall, as part of The Menil Collection. I'm almost embarrassed that I thought this was a limited-time exhibit (nope, it's been at this very location since 1996), but it did me over there! I'll be the first to admit that I am not one for art. I'm no good at art, and even The Louvre didn't do much to impress me. I know, I know. But I was inspired to stop by when I saw it featured on 365 Things Houston. And while I can't necessarily say that I saw the art in this grocery-store turned room-with-fluorescent lights, it was colorful and fun and has an oddly calming effect. I can see how it could be a very reflective space for some people, but I'm probably missing a lot of the deeper meaning behind it. But at least I felt cultured, you know?

I hit a little bit of traffic on my way home, but I managed to make it home before traffic started getting really bad. I made a quick pit-stop at HEB to get a couple of ingredients necessary to make these Black and White Baked Doughnuts, recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker. I came across this recipe while reading a BuzzFeed article (ugh, this confession happens far too often), and though I actually don't like doughnuts in the least, I wanted to try my hand at them, because they could be a fun and aesthetically-pleasing treat to give to other people. 

I ordered a Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan (honestly, best $10 I have spent in a while) from Amazon, and I was thrilled to learn that it would be delivered on Friday. What's better than baking after a long (but short) week at school?

I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous about one thing: browning butter. I have seen other recipes that call for brown butter and passed them up because it seemed like too many added steps. But I'm not sure why I had that idea in my head, as browning butter is actually pretty easy. Because butter can go from brown to black real quick (ha), I have a couple of recommendations.
  • Brown your butter in a light-bottomed pan. This way you will be able to keep your eye on the color of the butter.
  • Stir, stir, and keep stirring. Browning butter takes but a few minutes, so I would just focus on that rather than trying to tend to other tasks at the same time. This advice coming from the queen of multi-tasking.

And now that I have successfully learned how to brown butter, I can't wait to try other brown butter recipes! Another thing to be remembered about these doughnuts is that they are baked instead of fried. Meaning they will taste a bit different. But you can take solace in the fact that they're a little bit healthier than a doughnut from Shipley's, right?

And the wheels are already churning with other potential doughnut recipes. You may be seeing them pop up on the blog pretty frequently. You have been warned!

The doughnuts were probably the most exciting part of my evening, and that was perfectly okay with me. I went to sleep not long after 10:30pm, and my body clock must really be on that eight hours a night timeline, as I was up and at 'em at 6:45am. I made myself stay in bed for a little while longer, before deciding it was time to make good on my eight-mile run promise. Like I said, it was a little bit chilly, but it was the p-e-r-f-e-c-t running weather.

I ran just over eight miles through my neighborhood, which resulted in quite a bit of looping around and backtracking, but I did it, and I felt great. No IT band tightness, and though I ran it a little bit slower than my usual pace (maybe this note from my principal isn't always true), 

I am still glad that I got out there and crushed those eight miles. All I need is a little bit of hill work, and Austin here I come!

After some breakfast and a shower, I crawled back into bed with the intention of grading my student's short answer responses that I had intentionally put off to the weekend. I remember writing (and struggling with) these short answer response questions when I was in school and taking the TAKS test, so it is no surprise to me that my students struggle with them, too. They are making progress, though, as slow as it may be, and that's about all that I can ask for. We are going to be giving them at least one short answer response a week, and probably two as the test gets closer, so I'm hoping they will start to become second nature. Anyway, working from bed is never a good idea. Not only did I get extremely distracted, but I ended up taking a two-and-a-half hour nap. Whoops! I then decided that it was too pretty of a day to spend inside grading, and I needed to go somewhere without wifi, that I loaded up my backpack and hopped on my bike over to Wilchester Elementary school, where I sat myself down and finished that grading.

It was a little bit windy, which is always tricky, but it's amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your motivation. And now I'm hoping to get a little bit more school work done, so that I can fully enjoy what I hope will be some more beautiful weather tomorrow!

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