A Master Plan

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.”   Billy Baldwin

Master bedroom reno 006 Master bedroom reno 001 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, over the next few posts I will be sharing our progress in bringing our master bedroom into the the new millennium.  The room has not been updated since sometime in the 1990s, so it was in desperate need of a facelift, wouldn’t you agree?  Though I still liked many elements of the decor, it was time for a change.

My plan for the room includes the following basic steps:

  • Remove wallpaper and wallpaper border.
  • Paint the room a fresh new color.
  • Replace baseboards with new white moldings.
  • New bed linens.
  • New draperies.

I was pretty sure that I wanted to paint the room blue but I needed some help picking the right hue so I turned to the Internet for some help.  The Paint Your Place feature of the Behr website was an invaluable tool.  It let me upload a photo of my room and experiment with various color combinations.

Behr colors 

This feature and lots of other helpful tools are available at www.behr.com.

The color I settled on is a soft gray blue called Soft Denim.  Here’s the way the paint color turned out.  Looks good, don’t you think?

painted room 001 (2) painted room 002 (2)

More to follow!

Ramona

Train of Thought

The more a woman likes her job, the better her self-image and the more she enjoys her life.     Grace Baruch

IMG_0301 IMG_0402

At the beginning of this new year I set a goal for myself to share a suggestion for improving the image of FACS on this blog each week of 2013. Well, the five of my readers who expressed some enthusiasm for this challenge have probably been disappointed in my efforts to this point. I have to admit that it’s pretty hard to get excited about a project that has met with such a tepid response. So I’m going a slightly different direction to keep myself inspired. I’m going to share projects, recipes, ideas and activities that I hope will inspire you to live a FACS life instead of just preaching it to your students. As the old saying goes, “practice what you preach.”

I thought it would be a good idea for me to share some of my thoughts on living the FACS life so that my upcoming posts would make more sense.  You see, one of the things that I love best about being a FACS professional is that our subject can be as practical or as theoretical as we choose to make it based on our approach to a topic.  For example, baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies can be a very simple exercise in measuring and mixing ingredients.  Or it can be a complex exploration of food chemistry and nutrition.  It all depends on the points you choose to emphasize and the depth with which you explore each aspect of the recipe preparation. 

I made it a practice in my classroom to give each topic and activity as much depth as I could reasonably expect my students to accept and understand.  That’s what I always referred to as teaching in layers.  I wanted to add as much content to my lessons as possible.  This added value was to everyone’s benefit—my students, the administration and ultimately, my own.  The more practically and academically challenging my courses were, the more respected and valuable my program was to the school district as a whole.

In the days ahead I plan to share photos and reflections on the things I do every day that apply the skills, techniques and knowledge that are integral to FACS.  I truly live a FACS life.  I’m constantly trying new recipes, working in my sewing room, redecorating areas of my home, and working to make our money work for us.  Can you say the same?  I challenge each of you to ask yourself if you are truly living a FACS life.  Are you an example to your students and your community?

Quilt smooth Quilt completed 001

The first project I plan to share with you is the master bedroom redecoration project my husband Dusty and I are currently working on.  Come back to see how the project develops and the FACS skills required to make the project a reality.  Hint:  The room design is based on the quilt pictured above.

Ramona

Kitchen Classroom

On Sunday evening Dusty and I decided to prepare General Tso’s Chicken from an America’s Test Kitchen Recipe we found online.  This recipe cuts the 900 calories in the traditional dish by more than half and the fat from 45 grams to just 8!  Incredible, right?!  Here’s the recipe and some photos to document our experience.

General Tso’s Chicken

Cooking spray 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg whites 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 cups (5 ounces) corn flakes, finely crushed 2 teaspoons canola oil
1  and 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1-inch pieces 4 garlic cloves, minced
1  2/3 cup water 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apricot jam  
  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.  Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, top with wire rack, and spray rack with cooking spray.
  2. Place flour in shallow dish. 
  3. Whisk egg whites until foamy in second shallow dish.
  4. Place corn flake crumbs in third shallow dish.
  5. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with corn flake, pressing gently to adhere; lay on prepared wire rack.
  6. Spray chicken with cooking spray.  Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees and coating is brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch, and vinegar together in bowl. 
  8. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
  9. When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat.  Add cooked chicken and toss gently to coat.  Serve.

Per serving:  Cal 490, Fat 8g, Sat Fat 1.5g, Chol 110mg, Carb 62g, Protein 44g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 1410mg

The chicken was delicious and so fast and easy to prepare!  This recipe is a keeper.  For more healthier versions of the recipes you love, check out http://www.americastestkitchen.com/

When was the last time you tried a new recipe?  This little cooking adventure allowed me to use my skills in recipe interpretation, recipe arithmetic (we reduced the recipe by half), and nutrition.  To keep your FACS skills sharp, look for opportunities to put them into action every day!