• Family Social Studies Night Suggestion
    The goal of Family Social Studies Night is to bring your family together to watch a great movie that nevertheless imparts valuable history content.  All parents are strongly cautioned to preview the movie before screening it for the family.   
    Family Social Studies Night:  September
    Movie suggestion:  Swing Kids, rated PG-13
    The movie follows the lives of several teenagers in Nazi Germany, pressured to join the Hitler Jugend, the Hitler Youth movement, which demands unquestioning loyalty and submission.  Includes some great dance scenes and music of the time period.  Stars Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale give great performances. 
    Recipe suggestion (yes, a recipe for your family to enjoy during the movie):  Chile con Queso (hot cheese dip)
    1 lb. Velveeta Cheese, cut up
    2 tomatoes, cut up
    1/2 an onion, diced
    1 can, 4 ounces, Green Chiles 
    generous amount of fresh cilantro, washed and snipped
    a few shakes of Goya Adobo seasoning, with pepper
    1 clove garlic, pressed
    Place all ingredients in the top of a double boiler.  Bring water in the bottom to simmer, stir as cheese melts to blend ingredients.  Serve hot over tortilla chips, fritos, or "scoops."  Bon apetit!
    Family Social Studies Night: October
    Movie Suggestion:  Glory Road, rated PG
    The movie tells the true story of college basketball coach Don Haskins and his 1966 team that broke the color barrier in the NCAA collegiate championships.  The grit, humor, humility and hard work it took to win is played out against a backdrop of some great Motown music, personally my favorite music genre.
    Recipe suggestion:  Triscuits and Cheese
    1 package (8 ounce) Athenos Feta cheese, in brine, drained and sliced
    1/2 sweet Maya, Vidalia, or Texas Sweet onion sliced paper thin
    a few shakes of dried oregano
    Top each Triscuit with the onion on the bottom, then a slice of the Feta, and then dust with the dried oregano.
    Goes great with homemade iced tea or lemonade!
     Family Social Studies Night: November
    Movie suggestion:  Stand and Deliver, rated PG
    This movie tells the true story of math teacher Jaime Escalante, who was able to inspire and teach children from el barrio to succeed on the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus exam.  When everyone else had given up on the kids, this teacher took inner-city students all the way to earning college credit for their success.  Edward James Olmos plays Escalante, accompanied by fine performances from Lou Diamond Phillips and Andy Garcia.
    Recipe Suggestion: Open-faced Croustini Sandwiches
    1 very long,  narrow baguette French Bread from Tops bakery
    olive oil flavored with minced fresh garlic
    slices of tomato
    fresh mozzarella, slice at home (available at Tops in the fancy cheese dept.)
    washed fresh basil leaves (also available at Tops in the produce dept.)
    Slice the baguette into round slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
    Generously brush on one side with the olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.
    Bake in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until heated through but not dry.
    Serve as open-faced sandwiches by topping each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and a slice of mozarella.  Garnish with a whole fresh basil leaf.  Serve extra flavored olive oil in a small dish on the side in case anyone wants to drizzle a little more on their "sandwich".
    Family Social Studies Night: December
    Movie Suggestion: The Long Walk Home , rated PG
    Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek, this film explores the relationship between a black maid and her white employer as the drama of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott unfolds.  Some racism is portrayed, so parents should preview the movie before allowing small children to see it.  A great movie for anyone interested in the Civil Rights movement in this country.
    Recipe suggestion:  Clam Dip
    1 6 ounce can minced clams, drained, reserving a few tablespoons of the liquid
    8 ounce cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    8 ounce sour cream
    fresh parsley, chopped
    1/2 bunch fresh green onions, chopped, both green and white parts
    2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
    Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add enough of the reserved clam juice to make it "dippable."  Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.  Serve with pretzels, chips, or a gorgeous raw vegetable platter.-
    Family Social Studies Night:  January
    Movie Suggestion:  The Man in the Iron Mask, rated PG-13
    Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, this film depicts the reign of Louis XIV, the legendary "Sun King" of France, an absolute monarch who wields his power for his own ends.  Of course there's swashbuckling by the 3 Musketeers, who must save the kingdom from this dictatorial king.  Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and others, there is some violence with swordplay, and some sexually oriented dialogue and scenery.  Parents are again cautioned to preview all my movie suggestions before being seen by young children.  A good movie for older teenagers since Absolutism, that is, government in which the ruler does not have to follow the rule of law or answer to anybody, is taught in both 9th and 10th grade Global Studies and is always asked about on the Regents Exam.
    Recipe Suggestion:  My mother's Cheese Spread
    1  8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    1  8ounce package of sharp cheddar cheese, grated  (My mother says grate it yourself because the pre-grated has lost its moisture)
    1  4 or 6 ounce block of bleu cheese (again, freshly crumble it yourself, same reason as above)
    3/4 cup walnuts, toasted lightly on a cookie sheet in the oven until fragrant, let cool and then coarsely chop 
    2 cloves of garlic, pressed thru a garlic press
    1/2 finely chopped fresh parsley
    Use an electric mixer to blend all ingredients.  Use a couple or 3  tablespoons of white grape juice or apple juice to "thin" to desired s-p-r-e-a-d-a-b-l-e consistency.  This is not a dip...a spread.  Serve with nice crackers and/or use it to stuff celery.  Most beautifully served, according to her, in a small "crock" or thick earthenware bowl, garnished with a few of the chopped walnuts.  My mother has been making this recipe for 67 years!! (she's 87) and it is really good!
    Family Social Studies Night:  February 
    Movie Suggestion:  Playing for Time  (this movie is not rated)
    Jewish prisoners who were professional musicians in their former lives, now in Auschwitz, are "selected" to perform for other prisoners on their way to the "shower room." This ruse was designed by the Nazis to lull the suspicions of those destined to be gassed.  A great cast headed by Vanessa Redgrave, this film was a winner of 4 Emmy awards.  
    Recipe Suggestion:  chicken and broccoli in homemade alfredo sauce
    2 boneless breasts of chicken, sliced thin
    3 or 4 large cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
    3 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup olive oil
    4 ounce carton heavy cream
    fresh parsley, fresh basil
    dried oregano
    a few chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese
    fresh broccoli 
    hot cooked pasta (I use penne)
    Parmesan cheese
    Directions:  Fry the pressed garlic in butter and olive oil for a few minutes.  As it browns lightly, add chicken strips.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat, without turning the chicken, until it browns on one side.  Turn chicken over and add the fresh and dried herbs, mozzarella chunks, and cream.  Lower the heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk as the sauce thickens a bit.
    In a large bowl combine the cooked pasta and the broccoli that has been very lightly steamed or microwaved.  Pour the chicken and sauce over the hot pasta and broccoli.  Toss with Parmesan and serve immediately.  Serves 4.
    Family Social Studies Night:  March
    Movie Suggestion:  Sully, rated PG-13
    The harrowing true story of US Air Flight 1549 out of LaGuardia Airport that was disabled seconds into the flight by a flock of birds  that killed the engines.  Captain Chesley Sullenberger heroically "landed" on the Hudson River in New York City.  Every passenger and all the crew members survived.  Capt. Sullenberger was able to draw on his  years of flying  experience  and earlier training in the U.S. Air Force as a glider pilot to pull off what many called "the miracle on the Hudson."  The movie also covers the investigation that followed the incident by the National Transportation Safety Board and the criticism Capt. Sullenberger endured. Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood.
    Recipe Suggestion:  Salad Caprese
    fresh basil leaves (available in the produce section at Tops)
    fresh tomato slices
    fresh mozzarella cheese sliced thin (comes in "balls" or "logs" at Tops; can be somewhat pricey, however, it often goes on sale at Tops, usually buy 1/get 1 free which is a total bargain)
     dressing: mix together the following ingredients
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons or so balsamic vinegar
    1 clove of fresh garlic, pressed thru a garlic press, or a tablespoon or so of the kind out of the jar
    salt and pepper to taste
    Directions:  the point of Salad Caprese is to mimic the look and colors of the  Italian flag.  Arrange on a platter, in rows, a slice of tomato, topped by a slice of mozzarella, topped by a whole basil leaf.  Repeat "rows" as long as ingredients last or you have space on the platter.  Drizzle with the dressing.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until time to serve.  Goes great with the croustini bread slices described in the recipe for November or any good, crusty bread.