Monday, May 16, 2022
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I’m Hungry: great educators & coucscous

Another school year has come to a rapid end and I find myself in the same predicament I do every year; with good intentions to make unique and thoughtful presents for our wonderful teachers but with very little time for proper planning and executing. And that translates into boring old gift cards. My teacher friends tell me that these offerings are very much appreciated. That they have more than enough coffee mugs and picture frames dolled with crafty buttons and yet somehow, it just doesn’t feel like enough.

My daughter is graduating from grade 5 this year and transitioning into a new school in the fall and although all of her teachers so far have been incredible, there was something absolutely special about this one.  Just as we were about to hand deliver our little packages, my daughter stuffed a note into the bag.

“Thank you for greeting me every day with a smile and thank you for choosing me to participate in the History Fair. You made me believe I could do anything.”teachapp

I felt so emotional seeing those words on paper. Those heartfelt sentiments expressed in the most touching and sincere way.

In the end, that’s all we really want isn’t it? For our children to grow into the people they are meant to be with all of life’s important lessons under their belt. And teachers are such a big part of that journey. The road can be long and hard but having these important helpers along the way, these amazing life coaches is such a gift. Great educators teach us so much about ourselves. They help us develop new skills and passions and perspectives. They help us deal with emotions and conflict and change. That kind of growth can’t be underestimated.

My father was a teacher for 25 years and he always said that the only thing he ever wanted was for his students to know how important they were. For them to recognize their own self worth and not be discouraged by limitations but rather learn to overcome the obstacles that often, are based on our own fears rather than something tangible that can actually impact our ability.

Our teachers have played such an integral role in the development of our children this year. I see it every day. The way they approach problems. The way they work through ideas. Their love of reading and learning new things. The way my daughter journals every day and the way my son loves to work through intricate puzzles. The way they cultivate and create new friendships. It’s part of this beautiful grand scheme of personal development and it has left me in awe of the beautiful and important work
our teachers are involved in every single day. My daughter’s teacher believed and encouraged her and as a result, she was chosen to participate in two really incredible assemblies.  And it wasn’t the winning or losing of these competitions that mattered ultimately; it was the fact that someone took a chance on her. That someone believed in her.

I hope her teacher knows that we have observed and recognized her efforts.
That we have appreciated her.
That we will miss her.
I hope her summer is full of rest and renewal and love and adventure and that she has the opportunity to enjoy our small tokens of appreciation to ice cream parlors and movie theatres and local book stores.
She deserves all of these things and more.
Hugs + Kisses to you always Madame Miriam.


Israeli Couscous with lobster, dill and chili-lemon dressing

2 cups Israeli couscous
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
3 T minced red onion
1 bunch of asparagus tips, BBQ’d with some olive oil, salt and pepper until they are roasted but still crunchy
2  1 1/2 lb lobsters, boiled for 9 minutes or so, shell removed and meat chopped into 2 inch pieces
1/4 C crumbled feta
2 radishes, sliced paper thin with a mandolin
1/4 C chopped grape tomatoes
handful of roasted pistachios, shelled
4 T chopped fresh dill
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C chili oil * ( measure  3 T chili flakes and immerse in olive oil over night.)
juice of 1 lemon
1 t dijon
salt and pepper to taste

Add 3 T olive to a pan and stir fry the couscous until toasty and brown, about 5 minutes. Add 4 Cups of veggie broth and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse under cold water and add to a large bowl. Add the green and red onion, BBQ’d asparagus, lobster, feta, dill and parsley. Stir gently. Meanwhile, strain the chili flakes and mix the oil with the lemon and Dijon and pour over the salad. Toss gently, plate and garnish with radish and pistachios.

Nicholetta Bokolas is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint. She is a wife, mother and lover of all things fresh and local. She believes good food is meant to be shared and loves coming up with unique recipes that feed both the body and the soul. You can follow Pepper and Paint on facebook and twitter.

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