Day(s) Off Form

cook_leftSometimes we have duties to perform which are absolutely unavoidable. Here’s a composition topic where NI2 students are required to complete a day-off form. You will find attached a file with an example of what you are supposed to do and a day-off form which you must complete. You may want to take this exercise one step further and submit the form to your partner for his/her disapproval. He/She will have to provide as good a reason as you have. Write 100 to 120 words. The photograph belongs to Clare Barnes, Jr.




10.07.07. Composition Topics, Force-Feeding, Humour, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

4-Bean Chili


24 oz Bean Appétit Chili Mix

8 cups water for cooking

1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken

1 ½ cups onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup green, sweet pepper

4 cups canned tomatoes

1 8-oz can tomato sauce

2 tbsp chili powder or to taste

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp sugar


Sort and rinse bean mix. Soak beans overnight in refrigerator. Or, quick soak by bringing beans to boil in water. Immediately remove from heat and leave covered for 30 minutes prior to use. Drain. Cook beans. Brown ground meat. Sauté onions, garlic, and green pepper. Combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer on low approximately ½ hour. Makes 12 1-cup servings.

The Bean Appétit Chili Mix is a mixture of kidney beans, navy beans, cranberry beans and black beans, packaged by Carlson-Arbogast Farm, in Howard City, Michigan.  I added, as I usually do, 1 tbsp of baking soda to the beans and let them soak in water overnight.  I didn’t brown the ground meat, I used leftover roast chicken instead.

The painting that illustrates this post is by Caroline Magert and its title is Kitchen Floor. Those of us who enjoy the company of cats know how true to life this picture is. I love it.

10.07.07. Advanced, Art Forlorn, Recipes, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

Trail Mix Cookies


½ cup (organic) salted butter at room temperature

6 tbsp. peanut butter

½ cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large (organic) egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. wheat germ

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granola

½ cup lightly toasted pecans

½ cup raisins

½ cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375⁰ F (190.556⁰ C). Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and wheat germ. Reduce speed and add baking soda, salt and flour. Stir in granola, pecans and raisins, and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving room for cookies to spread. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until nicely browned.


36 cookies

10.07.07. Basic, Recipes, Shops, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

Bird Watching

If you enjoy bird watching, the best you can do is hang a bird feeder from a branch of a tree in your own backyard. Assuming you have a bird feeder, a tree and a backyard, naturally. I have a bird feeder, my neighbour has a tree, and my niece has a backyard. That’s why I can sometimes spot these birds below: the Northern Cardinal, the House Finch, and the Black-capped Chickadee. The pictures, I found on the Internet. I left my camera in Spain and hope to retrieve it the next time I visit—in a year or so, God willing. The exercise attached, I designed for NI1 students, but I’m sure some of you NB2 students will easily answer correctly as well.

Northern Cardinal

House Finch


Black-capped Chickadee



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Intermediate, Multiple Choices, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

Missing You Already

Well, not exactly. I’d been so waiting for ages to shake the dust from my feet that when time was nigh to perform the actual deed, I was beguiled into not doing so, which is why I’m publishing this post tonight, lest I forget at eight past three p.m. on 29th June I abandoned  those horrid, horrid, rotten creatures to their fate—and was born anew. Ta-ta! I hope not to see you tomorrow, nor next year, nor in heaven, nor anyfuckingwhere. In a year or so I hope to feel as carefree and blasé as the model on page 68 of Clare Barnes, Jr’s Sleeping Under Blankets below. Just without the black drop.

10.07.07. Diary, Humour. Leave a comment.

The Music Goes ‘Round and Around

This is quite a catchy tune. It was written in 1935 by Red Hodgson and the music is by Edward Farley and Mike Riley. Personally, my favourite version is Louis Prima’s, of Jungle Book fame, but we’re going to use Danny Kaye’s for this exercise. For NB1 students of English.




10.07.07. Basic, Force-Feeding, Phonetics. Leave a comment.

‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

People talk about third world countries as if they were far away in a distant planet, but the truth is we’ve got them just round the corner. Horrid, horrid world—and so static! Nothing ever does change. Here’s a gapped text for Intermediate students.



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Gapped Texts, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Exotic Pets

Spain abolished slavery in 1542, France for a spell in 1789  and definitely in 1848, the U.K.  in 1833,  the U.S.A in 1865, and Russia in 1861. The sale and purchase of animals is nothing short of slavery. A gapped text exercise for Upper-Intermediate students.



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Gapped Texts, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

The Zero Conditional

In the Zero Conditional, a.k.a. Scientific Conditional, we deal with a real situation: we are talking facts. Both the main clause and the subordinate or “if” clause take the Present Simple.

You die if you drink poison.

The order of the clauses is irrelevant. However, if the subordinate clause goes first, a comma precedes the main clause.

If you drink poison, you die.

We may substitute “when” for “if” with hardly any difference in meaning.

When you drink poison, you die.

The Zero Conditional can also take the Past Simple in both clauses.

If we behaved, our grandmother bought us sweets.

Listen to Goldie Hawn sing Nobody Does it Like Me and fill in the gaps with the missing words you hear. Most of the sentences in this song are Zero Conditionals. It will help you remember this structure.



10.07.07. Basic, Force-Feeding, Grammar, Humour, Lyrics, Music. Leave a comment.

A Photographer for Life


You know, it isn’t easy to choose among all the many powerful pictures Margaret Bourke-White took throughout her lifetime. I decided upon this one because of the ironic message she delivers through a myriad of contrasts: black/white, cheerful/glum, well-off/hard up, on foot/by car, sideways/frontward, above/below, and so on. A True or False exercise for Advanced students.



10.07.07. Advanced, Humour, True or False. Leave a comment.

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