End….of….the….semester! Enh!

I don’t often share photos of myself with you.  Not of my face, anyway.  You might get an arm on occasion, a hand clutching a cup of coffee or cocoa.  But hey, it’s the season of giving.  I give you this.  You’re probably hoping you at least get some cookies, too, and I can’t say that I blame you.

This is the last week of the semester and, of course, the last full week before Christmas.  When I think about that I kind of want to crawl under the dining room table here, wishing there were just a few more days!  But that’s ok.  Today and tomorrow I am reading the research papers of my top-level students, so that’s actually pretty fun.  They write about interesting things, like witches and wars and educational systems.  Then tomorrow night and Friday I get to watch my students perform their final group projects.  I am keenly interested in this.  They were allowed ot pick pretty much any topic–anything from US history, pre-Columbus through the Civil War–and demonstrate what they learned through research in any format they’d like.  I  know there’s at least one puppet show coming, and one ‘talk show, Springer style.’  I’m a little terrified of the latter but also very, very curious.

At the same time, we’re out of un-frozen gingerbread people *and* we’re doing a cookie swap tomorrow, so later today Mr. Pea and I will be making a batch of those divine Peppermint Chocolate Cookies (fudgy deliciousness!) from last year, mainly so we get to keep a few ourselves without indulging in the whole batch.  Oh, yum.  So that’s on the agenda, after haircuts and errands and more grading!

Last night I was tired after fielding student questions at the office and proctoring a colleague’s exam, and really just wanted a burger, some fries, and a beer.  But I didn’t cave in to that crave, particularly since on Sunday I had a cheesesteak and fries (I do have arteries I’d like to use for a while yet).  I roasted a chicken, and it turned out beautifully, which for me is no mean feat.  I patted it dry with towels, seasoned it in and out with salt, pepper, thyme and garlic powder, placed it in a deep skillet (this I think was key), rubbed the outside with half a tablespoon of butter and tossed another half inside, and popped it into a 450* oven for 20 minutes.  Then I turned it down to about 350 for another 50-60 minutes.  It was a 4 pound bird picked up on sale at Whole Foods.   It rested a bit while I made the sides–cheddar mashed potatoes and killer brussel sprouts, halved and put in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of the juices/fat at the bottom of the chicken pan.  After they browned a bit but were still firm I added half a cup or so of water, covered the pan, and let them simmer; I opened it when they were almost done and let the liquid cook off.  Yum.  And to top it all off, I made a pan gravy with the rest of the juices, which I never ever do, but since I made the chicken in a skillet all I had to do was put it on a burner and add a little flour, plus some broth, and voila.  Heaven, and so much more rewarding (and equally tasty) to going out for burgers and fries.

Tonight, on the other hand, may be a different story!

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