Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blueberry Oatmeal Crisp: Taking me as I am

To my friend in the sun hat.   You make me smile.

I can be a pain to be around.  Sure, you get lots of yummy treats, savory snacks, and meals, but you have to put up with ME, the person that I am inside and out. And that person, more often than not, is a pain in your backside.  Or frontside.  Maybe your left or your right side.

I am more often than not thinking about education.  I think about it on micro levels (what is going on in Childrens' heads and how can I take advantage of real teachable moments?) to what is going on macro levels (What is going on in education at our school, district, county, state, nationwide level and how can I make an impact?)  I think about what books to read next so that I have a library handy for my students. I think about what changes need to be made at our school right now.  I think of ways to improve my own teaching.   I think about and dream about education a good portion of my life.  It's really a large part of who I am - and I can't help it.  I'm a teacher, a thinker, an educator and it's what I do.

There are many times when I think aloud.  Thinking about how to improve things.  Thinking about what is wrong with individual situations.  Thinking about how to improve an individual situation.  Trying to understand what is going on on multiple levels.  I think about and rant about these things all the time.  But I was told that it stressed people out and I was stressing people out with all of my thinking aloud and that people didn't like it.  They didn't like being stressed out by my internal thoughts and my external expression.

To be told that a major part of who I am stressed a friend out, and made her even say in passing, "I don't like that part of you" hurt.  I felt guilty.  Dismayed.  The piece of me that I consider to be the most passionate and integral part of what makes up who I am was shot down.  I was wounded.  I cried that day when someone said that they didn't like that part of me.  Sad, I sent a lone text to a friend, who aside from Husband, hears the most of my rants, apologizing to her, in case she ever felt stressed out by our conversations.  Her text back was, "There is nothing to forgive."

And then she sent me this picture with a caption.  (as a note - she took this picture after she got my text, surreptitiously trying to capture these two wonderful old ladies chatting)
"The teacher at the senior center was just not up to snuff."
May ours be a lasting friendship....

And it just made me smile.  She pictures us, 40 years from now, sitting in front of the senior center, still with my thinking aloud about education.  She is by my side, listening and taking it all in.    When I asked her later, if I did, in fact stress her out with all my craziness, she said, "It's who you are.  You can't reject a part of who you are.  In fact, your worry makes my world a better place."  I take that to mean, that yes, I do stress her out at times, but no, she doesn't reject that part of me.

The lesson in all of this is that people have to take me as I am.  All of me.  I'm nutty about education.  I can't stop thinking about it.  I have ideas, practice, thoughts about how to improve things.  And if I don't have the ideas, I'm asking questions, asking people, researching trying to find out ways to make things better.  I'm studying data, analyzing, questioning wondering about all of those things.

And you all know, if I'm not thinking about education, I'm thinking about new ways to make food.  To make it better.  Healthier.  Easier.  I'm contemplating ways to provide access to foods that Son, with his numerous allergies, can enjoy.  I think about ways to take the picture of my food, to entice people to eat what I'm eating, and to cook better food for their families.  I want people to stop eating out so much, stop buying convenience food, and eat in more often.  I think about this very often in the day. If I'm not ranting about education, I'm probably talking about our country's non-healthy eating habits.

I made this for my friend in the sun hat, because I wanted to share a little bit of something sweet with her.  She had to sit and listen to me talk about my grand plans for my discussion with my superintendent, but sat patiently waiting for this little bit of deliciousness to pop out of the oven.  Warm, on its own, it was a lovely unctuous treat.  Son and Daughters enjoyed it, and my friend in the sun hat did as well.  And she gets to enjoy both parts of me - educator and cook.
Blueberry Oatmeal Crisp (Vegan)
Serves 6 to 8

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup coconut oil, slightly melted (softened in the microwave to facilitate blending)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups washed blueberries, picked over (about 1.5 lbs blueberries)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 400.

Make crust by mixing together oats, brown sugar, and flour. Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and blend together with a fork until the mixture slightly clumps together. Set aside.

Toss blueberries with brown sugar, maple syrup, flour, lemon juice and zest. Make sure all blueberries are coated and ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a 9X9 baking pan or medium casserole dish, place blueberry mixture on bottom. Crumble crust mixture on top of blueberries, covering the entire surface.

Bake in 400 oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is brown and crispy and blueberry mixture is bubbly.

Serve warm straight from the dish.

Printable recipe


Lorraine Joy Alegria-Vizcarra said...

The crisp looks wonderful.

Trinab said...

I just made this today, only had 2.5 cups of blueberries so i substituted fresh peaches for the rest. Wow it turned out a hit at my brunch party! And i loved your post leading up to the recipe too :)

Joanne Choi said...

Trinab - the peach blueberry combo sounds awesome!

lobolitagauchita said...

That is the cutest, damn photo of you and your friend 40 years from now!!! I, too, am a PITA.

Unknown said...

I made this for Easter breakfast and it was yummy! I love how quickly it came together.

Lancerika said...

Picked a ton of blueberries from the trees today, waiting for the crisp
to cool down outside on the porch, hopefully, local NC bears won't steal it...
what a delicious recipe..loVe it !!


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