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Read Across America With Angela Laird!

Angela-Laird-Miss-Contra-Costa-1Hi everyone! I am Angela Laird, Miss Contra Costa County 2015. In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday today, I wanted to talk to you about the importance of education, reading, and never giving up. My mother has been an elementary school teacher for almost 25 years. Now, growing up with a teacher for a mom wasn’t always easy. You most likely had extra homework during the summer, and you couldn’t get away with anything bad at school because your teacher would talk about you to your mom in the teacher’s lounge. Regardless of the downsides, I would not change my mom’s profession for anything. Her passion for education has given me a passion for education and learning. From a young age, I was taught to read from Dr. Seuss books. By learning how to read early, I was given an educational advantage. Reading just 20 minutes a day can help improve writing skills, listening skills, and can help to expand your vocabulary. Reading is the foundation of learning.

While it’s not my platform, encouraging children to read is a duty that I have taken on as Miss Contra Costa County. Being heavily influenced by my mother’s love for education, I can’t help but take a role in bettering the education of my community’s children. I have a working partnership with my county’s library, and just the other day I was given the opportunity to read at one of our local libraries as a guest storyteller. I loved watching the children’s faces light up as I turned the page and to watch them so enthralled by a story brought a smile to my face.

Angela-Laird-Miss-Contra-Costa-2As we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, also known as “Read Across America Day”, it is worthwhile to remember his perseverance. Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, tried to get his first book And to Think I Saw it On Mulberry Street published 27 times and each time it was rejected. To me, he is a role model and shows that you should never give up on a dream. Can you imagine what our schools would be like if he had given up?

One day, I hope to follow in Dr. Seuss’s footsteps and write my own book. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook asks, “What could you do if you were unafraid?” and with the confidence I’ve gained through the Miss America Organization and my love of reading, I will one day be a published author in the genre of fiction. I am unafraid of failing because we can achieve whatever we put our minds to! Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for inspiring us and teaching us to love reading. Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

xoxo Miss Contra Costa County

Cooking with Miss Contra Costa County: Cherry Pistachio Bark

VDayBark

 

Hi again! My name is Angela Laird and I’m Miss Contra Costa County 2015. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I was searching for a way to fuse two of my foods I LOVE, chocolate and pistachios, into one dish. The Miss California Organization is lucky enough to be sponsored by American Pistachio Growers, which in my mind says, “unlimited pistachios”! How lucky are we?! While I won’t be sharing this with my hunny (it’s all for me!), it doesn’t mean YOU don’t have to! You’ll definitely capture the heart of your sweetie with this chocolate bark recipe. The sweetness of the chocolate mixed in with the saltiness of the pistachios and the sweet tang of the cherries is divine! Enjoy!

Cherry Pistachio Bark

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups dried cherries

2 tablespoons water

2 11 oz. packages of white chocolate chips

12 oz. of vanilla flavored candy coating

1 11 oz. package of dark chocolate chips

1-1 ¼ cups chopped pistachio nuts

Directions:

  1. In a small glass bowl, microwave cherries with water on high for 1-2 minutes, drain if necessary, and set aside.
  1. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, microwave the dark chocolate chips until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Line a 10×15” pan with wax paper and pour the melted dark chocolate into the pan. Sprinkle half of the cherries and pistachios onto the melted chocolate. Let this layer harden before continuing.
  1. In another microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips and candy coating together the same way you did the dark chocolate chips. You can either stir the cherries into the white chocolate to give a pink tint and pour onto the dark chocolate mixture, or sprinkle the remaining cherries and pistachios onto the white chocolate mixture separately. Chill for one hour, or until firm.
  1. Cut into 1” squares or just break apart. Store unused portion in an air-tight container. Enjoy!