BBQ Brisket: A Quick Recipe to Help you Find Time for Tech

Here is a favorite go-to recipe that I use when I’m super busy.  Maybe I know my calendar for the day (or week) is full.  Or maybe I really need some down-time to sit and read because I’ve been so busy.  Maybe I just had some professional learning and I really need “play time” to experiment with a new idea.  If it was just me at home, I’d probably just cut an apple and dip the slices in peanut butter and call that supper.  But for some reason, other people think we need to eat real meals!!  So this is a quick go-to recipe that I can add a salad or some type of hot potato and vegie to and satisfy those other people.  It is easy to get ready early in the morning or at night.  You can spread out the cooking/serving over two days.  In fact, it’s better that way!

BBQ Brisket

2-4 lbs. beef brisket
Liquid smoke
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder (use what you have and like)

Rub the brisket surface with liquid smoke to wet, then sprinkle generously on the seasonings you like. Salt alone is enough. Wrap the meat tightly in foil and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour per pound of your brisket. Remove the meat from the oven and let cool.

At this point, I put the meat in the refrigerator over night or even for a couple of days. When I know I need the quick meal, I pull it out, slice it across the grain for added tenderness and put it in a 9×13 pan. I cover it with whatever bottle of BBQ sauce was on sale most recently at our grocery store, cover with foil and bake for about another hour at 300 degrees. You can also put the slices and BBQ sauce in a crock pot to simmer while you’re at work. Be sure to use the low setting.

I’ve got a brisket in the oven for the “first round cook” right now, and I’ll be sure to snap a photo and add to this post when it is done!!

Personalize Your Professional Learning!

One of our optional tech training sessions I offered this summer was all about taking your professional learning into your own hands using technology tools. I put the resources I shared with participants into a LiveBinder to organize things and share some of my own thoughts and challenges with them, and I wanted to make it a little more accessible. So I’m posting access to the “binder” here on by blog as an embedded object for you all to use! Take a minute to comment and let me know what you like and what I should add to this binder! And have a great time learning about the things you’re passionate about!!

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

Freezer Cooking to Find Time for Tech

“It’s a great idea . . . I just don’t have the time to implement it.”Small containers of food for the freezer.

“I just don’t have the time to get comfortable with this new technology.”

“I don’t see how you find the time to learn how to use this new stuff.”

If I had a dime for every time someone referenced not having enough time as the reason they haven’t used technology, I’d be a rich lady! But every time I think about the issue, I realize that they are right. Teachers are busy people with loads of expectations put on them by their students’ parents, administrators, the state and national government, and yes, their own expectations to be creative and do great things with and for students. Many of them coach in addition to the full time responsibilities of the classroom. Most have families that we want them to continue to relish and prioritize and spend time with. Some are raising young children, others are supporting spouses and parents with health and/or age concerns. Many of the teachers I support volunteer time in their churches and are active in their communities in many ways. So when I propose that they try something new in the area of instructional technology why should I be surprised when the issue of “finding time” to try it comes up? Time is a limited resource.

So I’ve decided that one of the new areas of emphasis for my blog this year will be about helping people “find time for tech.” I’m examining my own strategies for how I’ve found time to prioritize my own professional growth in instructional technology and I’m picking the brains of others I know who seem to be efficient with their time. Every once in a while, I’ll be posting a suggestion under the category “Find Time for Tech.” And this is the first post!

This first suggestion is just for those teachers who are responsible for meal preparation in their families. Sometimes this is a shared responsibility, but more often than not, meal preparation is one spouse or the other’s sole responsibility in a family. And for those teachers who live on their own, meal prep, like every other household chore, is a nightly task. So if you ever have to head home from school to pull open a fridge or cupboard door and scratch your head about what to fix for supper, this post is for you.

Several years ago, I began doing a “freezer cooking” session during the first week of August, because the start of the school year with two young children to care for was so tiring that I would come home each day too tired to prep supper. So the first two weeks of school would always find us going out for pizza, burgers, or hoping that Grandma would call to invite us over for a real meal! One summer as the start of the new school year approached, I recalled that the previous August’s dinner times hadn’t been so pretty and I resolved to do better that year. I thought…”I have time NOW, while I’m on break to prepare some meals, so why don’t I take advantage of it!”

I researched online (dial-up modem-based internet . . .) and found some information on “freezer cooking.” I read through some other cooks’ methods, checked out a “OAMC” Cookbook (Once-A-Month-Cooking), from the public library and I set to it. I did a bulk shopping day and then a marathon cooking day where I prepped ground beef for use on taco night, a big batch of meatballs, a couple pans of lasagna, and some plain ground beef with onions to top a store-bought pizza crust. It all ended up in my deep freeze ready for the first two weeks of school.

That year was so nice. At the end of a long day of helping students organize notebooks for the year, learning names and playing get-to-know-you games, figuring out which student just couldn’t sit by which other student, teaching classroom routines and expectations like where to turn in papers and what the tardy and late-work policies for the building were….knowing that I had supper prepped and ready to heat up when I got home was sooo nice. I even took a quick nap after school one day and still had hot supper on the table for my family. I swore that EVERY year, from then on, I would do at least one freezer cooking session in the summer to start the school year off.

So, my first time-finding tip in this series is to explore on your own the concept of freezer cooking. Use keywords like once a month cooking, once a week cooking, meal prepping, and of course freezer cooking.

Pinterest will have some ideas:

#freezercooking on Twitter and Instagram will yield some results, too! Ask your Facebook friends for their favorite freezer-friendly recipes or if any of them want to get together to do a shared-cooking day!!

Then on each of the nights when you have dinner pulled out of the freezer . . . “find time for tech” by spending the 30 minutes or so that you would have used to prep supper to explore a tech tool or topic.

iPad Timer and Timer+ Video Review

Classroom teachers use timers all the time. I used to keep a stopwatch AND a kitchen timer on my desk when I taught middle and elementary school. In my science classes, I often needed multiple timers for each group to time experiments. I was also NOTORIOUS for being the teacher whose class was late to “specials” like music, library, art and PE. (I started life as a middle school teacher who lived by bells . . . then moved to an elementary building where each teacher’s schedule was so unique they had to get their classes where they needed to go on their own time!! What an adjustment THAT was!) So timers are a valuable resource in my eyes. Here is a short video reminding readers that the iPad operating system has a nice built-in timer/stopwatch as part of the Clock app, and also a review of an alternative timer app, Timer+ that I think is worthwhile.

If you’re interested in trying Timer+ link to it in the App Store here!

iPad Integration: Audio Recording Ideas

Voice Record Pro is an app I recently added to my own iPad to compare it to iRig Recorder, the app I had previously been recommending to teachers that who were interested in an app for simple voice recording.   Here are some screenshots from inside the app:
When you first open app you’ll see a list of your saved recordings and on the upper right the recording controls:


When you first choose the red “Record” button,  screen looks like this:


You can “Check Level” to make sure you’re getting a clean recording, then tap “Start” to actually begin recording and the screen shows a moving needle indicating recording:


Once you’re done and click “Stop”, you’re presented with a screen like this one where you can change the default file name from the date and time to whatever you’d like the file to be called: