Monday, August 11, 2014

Course Guidelines - Paddle Boarding - Gazpacho with Tortilla Strips

I have one free day before I have school commitments, so I thought I would write again while I have the time. Summer has been ebbing away...but I am ready to go back!? I have a new classroom, a new Pre-Calculus book, and several other "new" things happening this year. Most importantly, I am implementing tech in my classes, and at the expense of sounding totally geeky...I really can't wait. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE summer and being able to dictate what I want to do each day...but to me, summer allows the brain to churn and to get ready for these kids! So many of these things are true on BuzzFeed's 26 Signs You're a Teacher on Summer Break --especially #6, 7, 14...however, I actually do miss our cafeteria food!


One of the blogs I have been following is Everybody is a Genius and I got this idea from the author Sarah. Rather than hand out pages of typed info that have bored my students for the last 24 years, I will be handing this out. What's great is that it is very visual, as you can see, and it has QR codes so students can get where they need to quickly (I covered some of the things that needed to remain private.) I will probably do something similar for Back to School Night for the parents.



Have you ever tried paddle boarding? I happen to live in Florida where it is fairly easy to do this every weekend. It is one of the most calming activities I have participated in. I wish I had a paddle board to use whenever I wanted to in order to clear my head when necessary. Recently, I celebrated my 21st anniversary in Key Biscayne and rented a board--it was beautiful! 

Paddle Boarding in the Biscayne Bay
Last year, I went to Puerto Rico with family. My nieces, my friend Lili, and I did yoga paddle boarding at It was unbelievable. The class ended with the most beautiful sunset. Throughout the entire class, I was worried about staying on the board, and not falling...and right at the end of class, I heard nieces had tried something difficult on the paddle board...headstands...and fell right in! So then I did the same...what a relief to finally fall in and not worry about it! My moral from this story is: don't be afraid to take a chance and fall in. All our lives, we worry so much about being perfect and not having fun...the BEST part of yoga paddle boarding was trying something new and actually falling in the water! I tell my students that story when they are afraid to try new things. Falling is sometimes better than standing still and being afraid to fall. 

Yoga Paddle Boarding in Puerto Rico

I also want to share this poster I saw when I was out to dinner at The Cooper Restaurant this weekend. I thought it a good reminder to think about admitting to ourselves the good along with the bad.


My son has been asking for Gazpacho all summer, and I did not come through till this week! Oddly, I used to make Gazpacho often before he was born but not since! A friend had given me a cookbook entitled A Slice of Paradise, from the Junior League of the Palm Beaches many years ago (1996), and it has a recipe for Gazpacho that I love...I dug it out, dusted it off, and adapted it a bit:


  • 3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi chopped tomatoes--1 box is 26 oz. I have two boxes in the picture because I doubled the recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable cocktail juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped avocado
  • 1/4 cup peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I actually used 1 jalapeño, seeds and inner-membranes--the spiciest part--removed)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in food processor except parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and black pepper. Using on-off pulses, process until coarsely chopped. (My note: I like gazpacho with veggies coarsely chopped in it. You could use a hand blender if you like it without the "chunks!") Refrigerate until chilled. Transfer to bowls; add parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and black pepper. 

I like to put more chopped avocado and a dollop of sour cream on top when ready to serve...and of course, the baked tortilla strips! I made these strips at Publix Apron's Cooking School and they were so good!!

Note: My brother-in-law suggested that I cut up another cucumber and put it in before serving, so it's even chunkier! Next time I will only place half the peppers, cucumbers, and Pomi chopped tomatoes in the food processor and chop the other half and add it in at the end. 

Baked Tortilla Strips: 

  • 4 Spinach tortilla wraps
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • baking spray, such as Pam, or a drizzle of oil
(I did not have onion powder, so I substituted dried minced onion, but the powder would have been better.)

Preheat oven to 350º. Cut the wraps in half, and then cut them into thin strips. You want to cut them so that the knife is perpendicular to the diameter of the semi-circle (see how I used math there??). I got lazy and actually put the halves on top of one another and sliced that way...worked well!!

Place the strips in a bowl and either spray with Pam or drizzle with the oil so that the spices will stick to the strips. Place all other ingredients in the bowl and mix...I did it with my hands! Place coated strips on a baking sheet--I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper, which makes clean up super easy. 

The directions from Publix said to bake for 5-7 minutes; I liked it better at 12 minutes--the strips were crunchier, so adjust the time as necessary!

Here is the final result! My husband grilled chicken rubbed with lime, salt, and pepper, and I placed it on a small spinach and arugula salad with balsamic dressing.

Hope you enjoyed. Have a great start to the school year!



Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa! Nice blog... Thanks for sharing our amazing experience doing yoga paddle board. It was truly unbelievable and I am so glad we did it together. "Live well, Love much, Laugh often" - Lili

Unknown said...

Hi Lisa! Cool blog, I just discovered it today!! One day I hope to start my own blog too! I also followed your pinterest. I have been teaching math for 4 years now and would love to update my course syllabus. Can you please send me the template?! School starts in a week here in Hawai'i!! PS - Can't wait to try those tortilla baked chips!!

Lisa Winer said...

Hi! Thank you!! Try this: