During the FVTC open house that was held this past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to give a campus tour to a high school senior and his “entourage of supporters” (his mother, 2 of his grandparents, and 2 of his siblings). I wonder if that young man realizes how fortunate he is to have so many loving, supportive people interested in what he plans to do with his future…
As I walk the halls and sit in the classrooms of FVTC, I’ve not been able to ignore that there are a few “lost souls” who appear to have less than stellar motivation and/or drive to apply themselves fully to their education. I think it’s such a shame to see hard earned money wasted. This isn’t just about money, though. I think it’s incredibly unfair to the instructors, who plan and work hard to train us to become the best we can be, for students to disrespect them by texting on their cell phones, whisper with friends sitting near them, or to fall asleep during lectures.
My point is that school, as in life, is about getting out exacty what you put into it. In my opinion, life is too short and precious for it to be a spectator sport. Play the game and enjoy yourself while you’re doing it! As Helen Keller said, “Life is a bold, daring adventure, or nothing.”
OK, off of my soap box and back to my story. The family I was with was interested in learning about what the culinary program at FVTC offers. Being in that program myself made it all the more enjoyable for me, and I was happy to show them around. At one point in the tour, I mentioned that I’m enrolled in the culinary arts program, at which time the mom asked, “What made you decide to get your culinary education here? There are 4-year culinary schools close by, aren’t there?” THERE IT WAS…The opportunity to answer “the question of all questions”! Frankly, I’m surprised that I didn’t pass out from the sheer excitement of being able to share my love for my school. I explained to her (while trying to maintain eye contact with all 6 sets of eyes!) that there most certainly are other options for obtaining a great culinary arts education, but that none of them would afford me the opportunity of a hands on learning experience in the kitchen while simultaneously taking the necessary general education and core credit classes I need for my Associate’s degree. In other words, I’m gaining more knowledge in a shorter amount of time (2 years vs. 4) and at a lower per-credit cost. Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure that a private school education is awesome for some people, but it wasn’t a great fit for this unemployed girl. I need to learn and apply my knowledge in the work force as soon as possible. The fact that Fox Valley Technical College’s culinary arts program is accredited and the instructors and curriculum are certified by the American Culinary Federation sure didn’t make my decision a difficult one either!
I LOVE MY SCHOOL!!
This week’s recipe is one that is sure to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night. The fact that it’s a budget meal makes it one of my favorites. Nearly all of the ingredients were on sale, so this delicious chowder cost me just $1.42 per serving to make! The clams were the best deal, costing only $1.00 per 6.5oz can at CVS! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Have a fantastic week and I hope you’ll stop by again soon!
(Picture source: www.figis.com)
BEC’S KICKIN’ CLAM CHOWDER
Yield: ½ gallon (approximately 8 bowls)
2 oz butter (1/2 stick)
8 oz chopped onion (about 2 medium onions)
8 oz chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3 (6 1/2 oz.) cans clams
8 oz (about 4) medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups frozen corn niblets
16 oz (2 cups) chicken broth
8 oz (1 cup) clam juice (or juice from canned clams)
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, jalapeno, and garlic; cook about 3 minutes or until tender.
Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and whisk to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and clam juice and bring to a boil.
Add milk and all other ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.