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Thursday, March 3, 2011


I love teaching. Really, I do. I never thought that I would be a teacher. To be honest, I wanted to be a physical therapist. Actually, I wanted to be Rainbow Bright or a Popple, but realized several sad facts: I did not have a horse, rainbow colored outfit, blond hair, or the flexibility to roll myself into a ball. It was time for a new game plan...

In all seriousness, I always glided my way through school. Elementary and high school were all a breeze. I did well in my classes, barely ever studied, and pulled very good grades. I loved marching band and musicals. Ah, musicals. That is where I met my first real boyfriend - and although we never put a label on ourselves, we were inseparable. It is so funny to think back on those times. 

I look at my students, who are in middle school and preparing to leave the school and am so excited for them and the opportunities they are about to have. It is hard being the eighth grade homeroom teacher. You get to know their personalities, or at least what they will show you, influence their life decisions for a while, and celebrate when they find out they are accepted to the high school of their choice. You may even become one of those teachers that students come back to see. One of the things that I really pride myself on is being a nutso of a teacher. I am the one that is posing like Superman hanging out of a doorway in the yearbook. Phrases like "coo-coo crazy" and "A line - not a squiggle, zig-zag, or amoeba" and "You make my heart smile." are all things that I say that I hear the students repeat.

But as nutso of a teacher as I am, I am also very thoughtful. This week is Dr. Seuss's birthday. You know, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hatches An Egg, among forty some others. I love to participate in these types of themed activities, but do not like the time I lose curriculum wise. What to do? Tie the two together. I decided that I would have the students make these sopaipillas. They are dough that is  fried, and topped with either powdered sugar, honey, or cinnamon sugar.  The students loved making these and working with their dough. Maybe one day they will all have food blogs of their own because their crazy science teacher taught them how to make food? I can dare to dream...and be the infamous teacher that stinks out the hallway in the meantime. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspooons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, honey, cinnamon sugar, for serving

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, or two sharp knives, cut the shortening into the flour until it resembles course meal.

Gradually add in the warm water and mix until a dough forms. Use your hands to knead the dough for 1 minute and then cover and set aside for about 45 minutes.
Separate the dough into 2 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 3-4 inch squares.
Fry in hot oil until brown on each side. If oil is the correct heat, the dough should puff up within a few seconds. Place on a paper towel covered plate.
Serve warm with honey for dipping or toss in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

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