November 2012

Are Your Children Driving You Crazy?

Are Your Children Driving You Crazy?

Having had the privilege of teaching hundreds of children over the last forty plus years, I know just a tiny bit about the way their minds work. Their lives and ours will be a whole lot easier if we can crawl around in their shoes, get into their heads, and learn what is developmentally appropriate for each age.

Last night, five year old darling Loueva came in for her weekly piano lesson. She is currently working in two books. One is a bit challenging. The other is really easy. While playing from the second book, she suddenly looked up with a glint and proclaimed “I’m really good at piano.” If stars could shine that much, heaven would be twice as glowing. She literally danced with her eyes.

It is such a privilege to be able to craft the confidence in a young child, just by structuring their learning experiences to their unique capabilities. What a joy it is to watch this happen!

A half hour later, her nine year old sister, Clara, had her guitar lesson. What a privilege to learn the F chord, which is a difficult task. Again, a skill was learned; a child grew a few inches in esteem; and the art of discipline needed to pursue learning became embedded in her brain. Both girls are prize students, as is their father, who also studies guitar.

I’ve seen this happen time and again in my studio.

This begs the question: What if parents and teachers were to form children’s pursuits around their talents? What if the smiles that come from the ensuing work enahanced their well being? What if 90% of their lives could be founded on endeavors that would bring them accomplishment and joy?

I believe children who are grounded in achieving based on fun learning experiences that foster a strong work ethic, and promote a love of learning, may be far less likely to get into drugs and other destructive behaviors.

I used to have a great deal of frustration in my teaching until I found that magic formula of having them work constantly at pieces they can accomplish easily. Somehow, this ease becomes hard work. It seems paradoxical, but it really isn’t.

Are your children driving you crazy? Help them find their gifts and encourage experiences that fall in line with them.

Your life and theirs will be much easier. They will seek highs in healthy ways. This may enable them to avoid the pitfalls of depression and anxiety.

 

How To: Make the Perfect Omelette

How To: Make the Perfect Omelette

Sometimes the most simple, everyday dishes are secretly complex works of art, albeit culinarily. Take omelettes for example. Omelettes are one of the most versatile, impressionable breakfast foods that we cook-they can be flavored for every palette-but are frequently the most ill-prepared.

Why?

Well, perhaps it’s because it’s easy to create a slapped together job and call it an omelette. Throw some scrambled eggs in a pan with some filling ingredients and then flip the dish in half when the egg is done, yes?

Well… sort of.

The fact is, making an omelette the right way is a bit of a work of art. The pan must be just the right temperature (pretty hot so that you can make it quickly) and the ingredients should be pre-cooked, not cooked alongside the eggs.

Getting your timing right leads to an egg that is well-done, but seemingly fluffy, and a cheesy filling that is warm and flavorful.

Because there is an art to omelette making, I would like to give a detailed account of the speed, temperature, and pace at which this breakfast item should be made. Read over the following ingredients and instructions slowly for the how to on a perfect omelette.

(How to) The Perfect Omelette w/Spinach & Sun Dried Tomatoes

I’ve developed this recipe after many tried attempts at perfecting the omelette-you want the egg to be fluffy, but the inside to be cooked. Nothing is worse than a dry, over-cooked omelette that has very little flavor. Try these tips/techniques for an easy, satisfying omelette.

Ingredients:

* 2 eggs, beaten

* 1/4 cup spinach, washed and set aside

* 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

* salt & pepper, to taste

* 1/4 cup cheese, shredded (I use sharp)

* olive oil to coat pan

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

* A non-stick skillet meant for an omelette pan

1.) Prepare all ingredients ahead of time and set aside to reserve. Warm a small skillet (one meant for an omelette) and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Allow oil to warm (about 1 minute on medium-high).

2.) Add spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Coat in olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Allow to cook down and roast for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

3.) Take beaten eggs and pour over spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Allow to cook for 1 minute.

4.) Using your spatula, push the sides of the omelette towards the inside and tilt the pan so that any uncooked egg can run to the open pan. Repeat all around the pan so that you cook as much egg as possible. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until egg is mostly done.

5.) Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Lift one half of omelette up and press down against the other half of the omelette. Remove from heat and plate.

Enjoy! Makes 1 serving.

Helana Brigman is the creator of the award-winning blog Clearly Delicious, a food writer, photographer, and chef whose work has appeared in Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine, and her column “Fresh Ideas” for Louisiana’s state newspaper, The Advocate. A doctoral candidate in English, Brigman lives in Baton Rouge, LA, with her dog Eve where she writes, photographs, and eats the best of southern cooking.