Friday, March 25, 2011

French Duel Immersion

Naomi's school is offering a Duel Immersion program in French starting next year. It is only available to the new incoming Kindergarteners and Naomi's first grade class. We put in her application yesterday. It looked like there might be a ton of applications, but I am not sure if there really are. They are only taking about 50 kids in her grade. Half of her day she will have a teacher that talks to her entirely in French, if she gets in. We asked her if it was something she would like to do, and she said yes.

Some days I feel very excited about this opportunity! How cool will it be if she is speaking fluent French by 3rd grade? And I get excited about the fact that if her brain learns to learn new languages, she can pick up more starting as early as high school. THey say that in 8th or 9th grade they take the AP French exam. I know I would love to be able to know languages.

Other days I feel almost sick to my stomach thinking about how hard next year is going to be for her should she get this chance. I couldn't imagine going into my first grade class and not understanding my teacher. I would have died. So I am trying to prepare her for that possibility. I have told her if she does the Duel Immersion that it will be really really hard. She said she feels a bit nervous, but that she really wants to learn French so she can go to Paris (which will really help her if she becomes a Fashion Designer like on Project Runway, her favorite show) and today she told me that France has a lot of bleu cheese and she can't wait to try more. She is cute!

This program is something we have to really commit to. They want us to stay here until she leaves the 6th grade at least and if Naomi does it, Gwen will get first priority to do it when she enters Kindergarten so that is another 3 years, then add on Bianca's 3 years. So we'd be stuck in UT for the long haul! We probably are stuck in UT anyway because Brian's job is pretty wonderful! And we love the area we are in now. Davis county is pretty nice! I like everyone I have met that is from Davis county. We just wanted to experience living in other parts of the country. We'll just have to travel a lot to make up for it.

So I am wondering what others opinions are of something like this. Do you think its a good idea? Would you put your child in a duel immersion program?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Blondies with Maple Brown Sugar Sauce

I stole this from someone's blog. I have forgotten which one.


1 1/2 sticks butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8″ baking dish. (Line with foil, wax or parchment paper if desired. Grease the lining too.)
Melt the butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat; add both sugars and whisk until combined and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. (i did this over low heat and it seems to take forever. When I tried it on.medium the sugar clamped. I just stirred occasionally until you can't feel the sugar in your teeth when you )

Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly drizzle in the butter and sugar while whisking constantly. Then add the flour and whisk until just incorporated.

*Now, at this point you could fold in your favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, milk chocolate chunks, nuts, etc. Me? I like mine just plain, baby.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Or until you can’t stand it any more and have to dig in!

I found the Maple.sauce on a different site.

3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Walnuts optional
Melt butter and syrup together. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved like in the blondies recipe. Add Walnuts if using.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's for Dinner - 2 nights ago!

I saw this on the Rachael Ray Show! It was good the first night, but reheated it was so much better! Brian agrees! This is one of those meals that even though there is no meat, Brian does not complain. I used 1 eggplant instead of squash (it could handle 2 for sure), whole wheat lasagna noodles, and spinach instead of escarole. We got our Gruyere cheese from Caputos, Brian's one true love in the world, the cheese cost $13 per pound, but was well worth it! We also got the Parmigiano Reggiano from there too, but it was the Gruyere that made the meal!

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
1 pound ruffle-edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular shapes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium head escarole, chopped
About 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
A small handful of sage leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1/3 pound Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and lightly dress with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes, until golden at the edges and tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and under-cook the pasta by about 2 minutes, a little shy of al dente.

While the water comes to a boil, heat about 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium heat in sauté pan. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the escarole and wilt. Season with a little salt and pepper and add the stock; simmer gently until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta with the sage, salt, pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
In a saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cook for a minute or so, then whisk in the milk. Raise the heat a bit and season the sauce with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Let the sauce thicken to coat the back of a spoon, then taste to adjust the seasonings.

Drain the lasagna noodles and add them back to hot pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese mixture and combine evenly. Fold in the roasted squash and escarole. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour the milk sauce evenly over the top. Cover with scant layer of Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese and place in the hot oven on the center rack.
Switch the oven to broil and leave the casserole in the oven until the lasagna is brown and bubbly all over, about 4 minutes.