Monday, December 16, 2013

Recipe: Skillet Chicken Breasts

The one food item I try to always keep in my fridge when I'm at college is chicken breasts. I also recently discovered the use of chicken thighs for most of the same recipes. You can do pretty much anything with some good chicken, such as this recipe I concocted one day this past semester.

Chicken breasts or thighs (as many as you want to eat/save for leftovers)
Olive Oil (few tablespoons)
Soy Sauce (enough to provide a marinade base)
Onion Powder
Parsley Flakes
Garlic (I use the jar of garlic pieces available at Walmart)
A dollop of honey


  1. Marinade your chicken in the ingredients listed above for at least 5 minutes or longer depending on how much chicken you are planning to cook.
  2. Pour chicken and marinade into a skillet or frying pan and cover. Cook on medium to medium-high heat 2-5 minutes, depending on amount of chicken meat.
  3. Flip chicken and cook (covered) for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and determine if chicken is cooked through by flaking with a fork or cutting the largest segment in half. 
  5. Enjoy with steamed rice, spaghetti noodles, green beans, etc. I also like to sauté onions or bell peppers in the leftover marinade. 
Photo: I Believe I Can Fry's Flickr page - CC BY-NC 2.0

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chicken-Themed Teacher Gifts

As a future teacher in a Teacher-Education program, I know a bit about teacher gifts. And let me tell you: your (or your child's) teachers do not need another Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul book. But they might be able to enjoy something they could eat for lunch. And of course, English teachers love puns.

I devised this cute gift idea to give to the high school teachers who worked with me in my pre-student teaching program, but I think any educator would enjoy it. First, it's a simple microwavable lunch. Second, it's a mug for reuse or to leave at school for days when coffee is needed. Third, it's a bunch of puns. Success.

I started by purchasing small, simple mugs from Walmart. I purchased Campbell's microwavable soup (chicken noodle, of course) at the same time and made sure the soup would fit inside of the mug. I also purchased chicken-themed kitchen cloths and towels.

I then stuffed the towel into the mug and stuck the soup on top. For one of the mugs (since it was too large to fit in the small bags I had purchased), I wrapped it up using tissue paper and tied with a ribbon. For the other mugs (small enough to fit in the gift bags), I used the towel as makeshift tissue paper for the bag. Either way, the gift ended up super cute.

But here comes the best part: the card. I designed the entire gift with a chicken theme, so the card was, of course, full of chicken-related puns. Since I was completing my pre-student teaching, I wrote the cards thanking the teachers for their help in preparing me to become a teacher one day, but similar cards could be written for your (or your child's teacher), thanking him or her for taking your or your child under his or her "wing" or acting with "tender" loving care, etc. Creativity rules with puns!
I used's Design and Print Online Studio to create these cute postcards using Avery Postcards (# 3381) that you can find in office supply stores.

Food is always a plus for teacher gifts, as are pens and pencils and personalized stationary. Just make sure your teacher has no allergies or food concerns before gifting food.

Enjoy the puns, friends, and gift-give to your hearts' content!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Literature and Fashion Combine

I have always enjoyed modern allusions to classical literature. As a soon-to-be English teacher, I find that modern literature and real life circumstances relate to classical literature so well. And then I found Polyvore. The basic gist of Polyvore is to find interesting clothes, accessories, and home decor items and combine them in unique ways to make cool outfits. I wondered if there was a way to make outfit combinations that represented certain pieces of literature. That's when I got on a roll. See sets I've made and sets I love at my profile and visit my Pinterest page for work-related clothing ideas.

The Great Gatsby | Literature Styles

Fahrenheit 451 | Literature Styles

Moby-Dick Evening | Literature Styles

Moby-Dick Weekend Getaway | Literature Styles

Friday, August 16, 2013

Road Trip Packing

My grandmother and I just returned from a six day road trip to Niagara Falls and back. Before we left, I looked for resources on Pinterest that would help with packing. You can see my road trip Pinterest board here, and I have consolidated and expanded upon many of my favorite resources and ideas to write this post.

1. You do not need a giant suitcase. That will be much too difficult to lug into hotels at every stop. I used a small, carry-on suitcase for clothes and shoes. I used my small Vera Bradley duffel bag for toiletries, makeup, undergarments, and accessories as well as a tote bag for things to do in the car, like my knitting. I carried my clutch purse within my Kavu purse, so I had both handy.

2. Pack smart. I used many resources from Pinterest, including this diagram of a useful packing scenario. I also think that using trial-sized bottles of my shampoo, soap, face wash, and eye makeup remover was an excellent idea.

3. Wear items more than once and use variations.  

I chose to pack five T-shirts, two skirts, one dressy shirt I could wear with either skirt, one pair of jean pants, one pair jean capris, one jean skirt with black leggings, one pair of white shorts, one pair of jean shorts. I also packed undergarments and pajamas. For shoes I wore tennis shoes and packed dressy sandals and Chaco sandals. I also brought one long-sleeved shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, and my rain jacket. 
I did not need all of that. In fact, it would have helped if I brought along another T-shirt and skipped either the long-sleeved shirt or the hooded sweatshirt. I wore one dressy skirt when we went out to a super nice restaurant and I wore the white shorts with a semi-dressy blue/white shirt and a navy cardigan when we went to a moderately nice restaurant. 

I did wear some items more than once, like I usually do when at college, but I carried a laundry bag with me for items I did not want to wear again. When I got home, I just dumped the laundry bag into the washer!

4. Picnic

We choose to eat out only at our prime destinations or when we were meeting friends: Lancaster, PA, Hershey, PA, and Niagara Falls, ON. At via destinations (along the way), we had picnics at rest areas and the occasional gas staton parking lot. 
Before the trip, we went to The Fresh Market in our town and stocked up on fresh fruit, sandwich bread and fixings, a rotisserie chicken (that we ate one night when our hotel room had a full kitchen), snacks (like apple chips, hummus, and Raisenets), and water bottles and sodas. We carried these items in a large cooler in the backseat and got bags of ice at about every other main stop. We also had a small cooler to carry cold items or random things up to our room. Almost halfway through the trip, we stopped at an Amish farmers market to refresh our fruit supply. 
Picnicking saved us money and time and gave us some fun experiences, like eating with the "Thinker" statue in Philadelphia, PA, which I found really funny.

You can see our entire trip route and more pictures on our TrackmyTour page here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

End of the Semester Leftovers

For those of you college students with kitchens in your dorms or apartments, using up leftover food can be a hassle, and it's always a bad idea to waste food you bought with your own money. Here's some tips:

Use to locate recipes that contain whatever ingredients you have.
- I made Banana muffins with the flour, sugar, and mushy bananas I had leftover from previous projects. I got to share them with my literature class and use up leftovers.
Make Trail Mix!
- Got half a box of a cereal, some raisins, chocolate chips, Goldfish, granola, a bag of popcorn, or anything similar? Mix it up and share it with friends! Make sure you have equal amounts of sweet and salty.
- I mixed together Raisinets (chocolate-covered raisins), a bag of popped popcorn (let cool before mixing), and some toasted wheat chex cereal and poured into snack bags to eat during this stressful exam week.

I hope this helps you eat up all those leftovers so you have nothing to waste!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Craft: Tea Bag Wreath

With some help from my tea-drinking friends, I have created a wreath of tea bag wrappers which we used to decorate our small apartment. It's really easy, and a good way to use all of those wrappers that you don't really need anyway. And it didn't cost us anything! See how we did it:

Pieces of cardboard leftover from a box my mom mailed me made our matting.
We tried a couple different strategies. In this one, the tea bag wrappers were layered up and down.

In this design, we decided to do more of a fish scale layering. We went with this design.
 And after hot-gluing the pieces of cardboard together and the tea bag wrappers to the cardboard, we have a finished product! We used command strips to fasten it to the wall.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pinterest Works: Necklace Tangles

As a Christmas present, my parents gave our family a cruise for Christmas! We'll be heading down to Cozumel and the Cayman Islands in couple days. When we were finalizing plans and beginning packing, my mom turned to me and said: "How can I keep my necklaces from tangling?" I didn't know how to respond, but she promptly asserted, "I'm sure Pinterest has an idea!"

She was right, of course.

Just thread your necklace through a drinking straw (bend it or cut it to make it fit for shorter necklaces) and store it away.

It's a great idea and I'll be using it as soon as I figure out what I'm going to wear!
Thanks Pinterest!