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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Math is Real Life: Setting Up a Fish Tank

It's that time again, time for Math is Real Life.

It's time to downgrade my big fish tank. I only have two of the original ten fish left.  They died of old old age, by the way. So I got out the little fish tank I use for transportation. 

It had been about five years since I last used it, so I didn't exactly remember how many gallons it held.  I estimated that it would take about three gallons to fill. I even put it beside my Keurig, which takes about a gallon, for reference. 

So, off to the cupboard I went to get the gallons of water usually kept in there, but my hubby apparently didn't tell me we were down to one gallon. Oh, well. I poured it in to see how much it would fill before running to the store. 

One gallon filled the tank almost halfway. 

So, I needed to revise my original estimate of it being a three-gallon tank. It would only take about another gallon to almost completely fill it, which is a total of two gallons. Still, the scientist in me was screaming, "Buy two more gallons, just in case!".  It's better to be over-prepared than unprepared. 

Turns out, 2 gallons did the trick. 

So, with a little estimation and trial-and-error, I got my math on.  It's true, Math is Real Life!  If you want to join the link-up and share your real-life math experiences, click here.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Slow Cooker Teacher Savior: Italian Marinara Sauce

As I am full-swing into the school year now, I rely more and more on kitchen gadgets to make life easier at home.  I mean, who has the time to work 12+ hour days and come home to cook and clean it all up?  Not this chick.

So, in my latest installment of the teacher saviors posts, I'm focusing on the perfect pasta topper: Italian Marinara Sauce.  My family loves it and it's far more organic than the jarred stuff on isle 6 (although I love that, too!).

About 2 1/2 jars (36 ounces) of spaghetti sauce.

8 cups diced tomatoes (1 average tomato yields about a cup)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons McCormik Garlic and Herb Perfect Pinch Seasoning
4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons lemon juice (I use the bottled stuff because I never have fresh lemons lying around)
1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (I have used Splenda, but I prefer Truvia baking blend for it's more organic nature)
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and give them a really good stir.  You want the tomatoes to be completely coated with the herbs.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I do not recommend cooking on high for this recipe.

Take the lid off and turn the cooker off to let the tomatoes cool while you get the pasta water going.

After they have sufficiently cooled so that you won't get burned if they splash onto you, use a blender to puree them to the desired consistency.  If you have a stick blender, you can just blend the tomatoes in the slow cooker.  I used my Magic Bullet to make batches of sauce.  Warning:  If you use a Magic Bullet or other blender that has a lid, you need to make sure the contents aren't too hot or they seem to create excess bubbles that want to explode out.

I save my old mason jars so I can store the sauce in them, but you could just leave it in the Magic Bullet cup.  I only like to leave about 12 ounces out at time so it doesn't go bad.  There's no way I'm using 2 jars of sauce in a few days!

I like to freeze the rest in baggies.  I measure about 12 ounces into each baggie and lay them flat in the freezer.

Enjoy over the pasta of your choice!

So, with about 20 minutes of prep, you can have a boat load of delicious sauce!  Do you have any slow cooker recipes that make a bunch of freezable meals?  I'd love to hear about them!