Crispy Kale… and Angulimala!

For today’s Wednesday Workshop, I chose the famous Buddhist story of Angulimala.¬† Knowing the boys in my group this term, I thought they’d find a story about a fierce bandit brandishing weapons very appealing ūüėȬ† As the story is so violent, I thought I’d better create a milder version, suitable for the primary school age group.¬† I didn’t want to be responsible for nightmares about murderers and necklaces made of severed fingers!!!

Last night, M drew¬†fantastic pictures of Angulimala¬†(pre and post meeting Buddha) for the children to colour.¬† I loved the “embellishments” that the children made to the¬†pictures.¬† A couple of boys drew lots of swirling black smoke around the head of the ‘robber’ Angulimala¬†and then golden light around the head of Angulimala¬†the monk.¬† Apparently, this was to demonstrate the state of Angulimala’s mind (black smoke = troubled/suffering; golden light = calm/positive).¬† I was very impressed.¬† These kids are only 7!

Leon Angulimala

As usual on a Wednesday, Lil’ L wanted spinach pancakes for dinner.¬† As I didn’t have any spinach left, I made regular¬†pancakes and filled them with pieces of roasted sweet potato, roasted garlic and pine nuts.¬† To make sure he had some greens, I roasted half a bag of kale to make ‘crispy kale’.¬† This was meant to be shared by the whole family, but by the time I sat down for my dinner… the whole lot had been munched!

Crispy Kale

We’re all loving “crispy kale” at the moment.¬† When we stopped having dairy at home, I needed to make sure we increased our intake of other sources of calcium.¬† Kale is¬†a true “super food”, packed with calcium and other good stuff.¬† I looked on the web for inspiration of tasty ways to serve kale, and kept coming across American recipes for ‘kale chips’.¬† I decided to have a go¬†at¬†roasting kale and was amazed to find how¬†deliciously crispy it turns out!¬† It tastes very similar to the¬†‘crispy seaweed’ that we get in our Chinese takeaways.¬†¬†Our kale intake has gone from one extreme to another this year… a¬†bag of kale¬†used to languish¬†at the bottom of the refrigerator, used occasionally to make ‘5 veg mash’, but now we’re going through 1-2 bags a week!¬† Lil’ L absolutely loves it.¬†¬†It’s a¬†great way to get kids¬†eating their greens!¬† The recipe can be found here.

Monkeys and Ducks

For this afternoon’s Wednesday Workshops, I chose a re-telling of the Jataka Tale ”The Monkey King’.¬† On You Tube, I found footage of adults and children at an NKT¬†Festival re-enacting the tale in a very amusing way.¬† I thought it would be fun to show the children the NKT’s¬†version, then we could re-enact the tale ourselves.¬† I quickly drafted the tale as a play suitable for the age group I’ve¬†got this term¬†(5-7 year olds),¬†grabbed the laptop and mangoes and¬†half¬†walked / half ran to school (tight for time as usual), lugging my ridiculously heavy bag up and¬†down the hills (this is my exercise¬†for the day).¬†

The children seemed to love the play.¬† During¬†play time, a few of them started to make¬†costumes and props and they’re hoping to perform the play in front of their class.¬†¬†I was very impressed¬†with the reading skills of¬†the children; there was one¬†Year 1 boy in particular¬†whose reading and acting skills blew me away!

It was swimming lesson night for Lil’ L and his friend Lil’ S.¬† On the way, I stopped to post a letter at Batheaston¬†post office… and discovered 4 mallard ducks waiting to cross the High¬†Street!¬† There were¬†cars coming from both directions and a bike speeding down the hill.¬† I jumped in the road to try and stop the traffic and let the ducks cross safely.¬† The ducks weren’t paying any attention to my lollypop lady hand signals so I ended up dashing behind them and herding them across the road.¬† The guys outside the pub cheered and gave me a clap.¬† Cheeky things.¬†

As always on swim night, Lil’ L wanted spinach pancakes for tea with roasted butternut squash and pine nuts.¬† I thought I’d experiment with the filling tonight and make a white sauce.¬† Lil’ L took one bite, burst out crying and shouted “THIS IS RANK!!!!!”¬† It did make me chuckle¬†as I’ve never heard him use this¬†expression before… or look so disappointed with his dinner!¬† I think it was the mountain of wholegrain mustard in the sauce that did it for him.¬† Needless to say, I won’t be publishing the recipe.¬† I, on the other hand, loved the sauce and ate it all up ūüôā