Getty Villa, part 2: The Inspired Dinner

I have a fairly irrational love of the Mediterranean, and the Getty Villa just brought all those ushy-gushy feelings of long lost familial connection to all things Greek. 

(By way of explanation-yes, I know that the Villa is Roman, but I haven’t been to Italy yet, so I don’t know if I have a Roman/Italian connection.  This also explains why I must classify my love here as irrational, since there is more Mediterranean land still unexplored by me than land which I have seen, by a looooong shot.  But I still hold fast to my love, love which I choose to think of as some how familial, due to the fact that I have one grandmother of unknown heritage.  Her closed adoption has provided various children and grandchildren the fun of picking the heritage of the month.

This really is all related to the Getty and the dinner I made on Sunday.  After I returned from our field trip, I started planning our Sunday dinner, and I knew it had to be Mediterranean inspired. No other dinner idea would satisfy my Greek love.  It was delicious. 🙂

For your own culinary trip to the Getty Villa:

Honey Orange Pork Kebabs

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves

the orange peel from one orange (sliced, with the white pith removed)

1/2 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons orange juice

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 dry bay leaves

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 pounds cubed pork loin        dsc02875

1 red bell pepper, cubed

1 red onion, cut into chunks


Combine rosemary, orange peel, olive oil, honey, orange juice, lemon juice, and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add pork, stirring to coat with marinade. Cover; chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Thread pork and vegetables onto skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill pork until cooked through, turning frequently and brushing occasionally with marinade, about 12 minutes.

Potato Sald with Olives, Tomatoes, and Capers from

Greek Island Rice Pilaf  dsc02859

3 cups brown rice, cooked

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain

3 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

chopped pistachios

salt and pepper to taste

Simply stir everything together and enjoy!


Field Trip to the Getty Villa

Outer Peristyle at the Getty Villa

Outer Peristyle at the Getty Villa

The Getty is absolutely incredible and entirely worth the trip to Malibu.  I have no doubt that this over-night trip was a wonderful capstone to our year of Ancient History.  Getty turned his summer home into this villa, modeled from a partially uncovered home near the Bay of Naples.  The Villa provides us with such an inspiring picture of some many things Roman-the architecture, murals, sculpture, gardens, home design.  The Villa allows us an opportunity to walk in a disctinly Ancient Roman dwelling.



swimmingThis was the scene the night before…It was certainly busy, fun and crazy at times, but totally, completely worth it.

Budding Creative Writers

Writing is a major component of our tutorial classes, and I can be a bit of the academic writing nazi, driving them as they work to improve their essay writing skills.  My students work incredibly hard and have a lot to show for their labors, but I do know that in all that work, they long for greater writing freedom and creativity.

We are currently right in the midst of a wonderful story writing project, and there is no doubt that all of my students’ previous hard work is paying off now.  Their enthusiastic and fearless approach to writing is quite a sight to behold!  It is music in a teacher’s ears to be repeatedly asked if a student can turn in an assignment early, or if they can have a little more time to edit and revise (not because they haven’t already completed the expected work, but because more class discussion leads to more refinement.)

I love giving students permission to re-write, and revise their blood, sweat and writing tears.  Mind you, I am not assigning more editing and writing and hearing moans, groans and seeing the eyes roll.  They ask to edit.  They want to write one more page or one more chapter and totally revamp a character.  Peer review is marked by meaningful comments and thoughtful reception of these comments. They want to hear my critiques and criticisms, and they follow them. 

This my friends, is the unique joy in teaching.

Random Shopping Thoughts for the Day

I am not pretending that my random thoughts are particularly interesting, insightful or impactful, but this is all that comes to mind and I promised myself that I would post more often.  But don’t worry, there is nothing on my list of goals that says you have to read every post, so everything is good!

Why do we, as educated, civilized Americans, think it is somehow ok to leave our trash, quite frequently fast-food trash, in the parking lot?  What have we not been passing on to subsequent generations so that now it seems to be acceptable among far too many people to simply open your door and set your lunch trash on the ground? 

What makes a person a grocery cart returner?  And not just a returner, but a neat stacker of carts?  How can we get more of these?

Did you know that people still buy Wonder Bread, even here in the enlightened state of California?  I knew that people must, since it is still on the shelves, but I was none the less surprised to see it in the groceries in front of me.  I don’t think I know anyone who buys it (my mom never did, even when we wanted her to), and if you are a Wonder Bread purchaser, feel free to come clean here, but know that it might make me wonder about you, even if I love you.  🙂

And for my final thought, why oh why does my Safeway now have all kinds of photocopied sale sheets plastered on the front doors and all around the cheese/deli case?  It looks so supremely tacky, and it will only serve to drive me to the new Whole Foods…

Hard Work

CFT is blessed in so many ways, through so many people, and last weekend was just one manifestation of this.  Our staff was able to get away from everything and dedicate time to our vision, goals and day to day plans in this incredibly beautiful place.  It was very hard work. 🙂

Twin Lakes Beach

Twin Lakes Beach

Gluten Free Dining: P.F. Chang’s

One element of my gluten-free existence is the anxiety I now face when I go out to eat.  This is very, very new to me since I love food and have an iron stomach.  Nothing has ever bothered me before (expect one Lyonnaise sausage.)  It is unsettling to eat at a restaurant, trying to communicate to the staff what you need, and just hoping that it all got passed on correctly to the kitchen. Having been not careful or explicit enough at a couple of different restaurants so far has resulted in morning after pain and distress, so I get a bit anxious eating out, and I am still wrapping my brain around my attitude about this….

So when I have great success it is exciting, thrilling, and oh, so worth sharing. 🙂  Last week I ventured out to P.F.Chang’s (in Walnut Creek) and enjoyed a delicious, relaxing, gluten-free meal.  The chain has a dedicated gf menu, offering everything from an appetizer, many main-dishes, sides, and a dessert, and our server was well-versed in the safety of everything, even each sauce.  Apparently the gf menu for the whole chain was developed at this location.  I have read mixed reviews about the gf experience here, but I have no complaints, only very high praise for the quality of my dinner, the knowledge of the staff and the care of the manager (plus I had a great time at dinner with my friend!) So I heartily recommend P.F. Chang’s for my fellow gf-ers!

One of the Valuable Lessons I Have Passed On…

During class today some of my students reminded me of something I had enlightened them on a couple of years ago.  This great lesson was not last week, mind you, but at least 2 years ago. 

I have no great recollection of this monumental lesson, but one student mentioned this lesson and several others immediately began talking about how I had taught them something new, those many days ago, something that they remembered often. 

Of course all of the non-enlightened students became quite interested in this well-remembered lesson and begged to be brought into the circle of special knowledge.  

So the older students began to explain the lesson.  “Don’t you remember the time you taught us about the banana?” they asked. Umm, no, I had absolutely no recollection.  I am a humanities kind of gal, not a science chick, so I had no idea what I had taught them about this yellow fruit.  “It was in writing class!”

All of the new students were feeling a tad left out, wanting also know this notable lesson.  So some of the olders began to explain-“Miss Lutz showed us that a banana has 3 sections!”

What!?!?  The newbies were understandably confused-“3 parts, what do you mean?  I don’t get it!” 

So being the dedicated teacher I am, I taught the new kids.  I pushed my banana into 3 neat and equal parts.  Nifty, huh?!?  None of the new kids knew that a banana naturally has 3 segments before this lesson (and apparently I was the first to enlighten all the older kids too.)  

I am doing my part to revolutionize my students’ understanding of and appreciation for the orderly, fascinating design of God’s creation, I just never expected it to be this lesson.

Celebrating God’s Faithfulness

I had a marvelous weekend attending the Valley Church 50 Year Anniversary Celebration.  Since I spent my growing up years at this church, I have many wonderful memories of events and people that all came rushing back.  Two days of catching up with people who saw me grow up, who inspired me to serve the Lord in many ways, who worked alongside of me, and who allowed me to teach their children was quite the experience!

As I reflect on the weekend, I could go on and on (and then this post would never actually get finished), but two ideas are most prominent on my mind-the role of older Christians in my life and the importance and impact of a community driven by a vision to serve God. 

During my time at Valley, God had me surrounded by faithful servants of His.  How can I not be blessed and pointed to God through the lives of couples who continue to actively, daily, sacrificially serve God even while in their 80’s, widows who joyfully meet the daily needs of others in the body, and entire families who have dedicated so much of their lives to the service of the church?  I can’t begin to name all of the people from Valley who have been an example and model to me as the list would just go on and on!

These many people are clearly living a life of purpose, driven by a vision to serve Christ and to see His kingdom advanced.  I love the people who model Christian service in their faithfulness to their families, their dedication to local and world missions, their never-ending service to the church, and their genuine concern for the people in their lives.  The Church’s theme verse for 50 years has been Colossians 1:18, “that in all things He might have the preeminence.” 

Thank God for the many faithful people in His church!

Going Gluten Free

When I made the choice to give up gluten in November, I had an inkling that it would be tough.  I really didn’t know how tough it be be, but I am now happy with the change and content in what it means now.

Why gluten-free?  I first made the change as a rather last-ditch effort to get rid of a long, long, long lasting bout of some eczema type rash.  Pursuing the help of multiple dermatologists brought no relief, so I was pretty open to anything someone might suggest.  And the suggestion to give up gluten kept coming my way…so I did it.  And it worked!

Then I realized that my headaches were gone, and my sinus trouble was a thing of the past.  I generally felt better every single day!  So I decided that this was worth keeping up for a while, just to see what happened and if all these great changes lasted.

They lasted.  And then I cheated…and suffered.  And then I cheated again…and suffered.  Since I am rather slow, It took a third episode of suffering to have it really sink in that this was bigger than the rash. 

Accepting that I can’t handle gluten has been tough, at times very tough.  I love bread and everything about it-eating it, smelling it, mixing it, kneading it, eating it…I love pizza, a culinary treat for me when I have the time is making croissants from scratch, and I can make an absolutely amazing loaf of artisan bread.  I like rye; I like barley; I like wheat.  Knowing that gluten will make me feel horrible right now it motivating, but it can be hard sometimes too.

A couple of things have made this change much more manageable:  my family-their encouragement, support, special cooking, and some dear friends who know what this is like who have delighted me with their special gluten-free treats, gluten-free food at meals and lots of great tips and ideas. 

Even though this has been tougher than I thought it would be when I started, I love living rash and headache free.  I love the fact that I haven’t had a migraine.  I love that I have more energy.  I love not suffering from so much sinus trouble.  And I love that I just had some pretty great pizza last night.  I think I’ll survive. 🙂