Baking And Art Are Part Of Teacher’s Many Passions

Culinary ability is one of many talents Klaralyn Gatz has been given. Pictured from left to right, Ginger Banana Scones, Ramen Cabbage Salad and Carrot-Ginger Fruit Smoothie. Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

Talent flows from Klaralyn Gatz like water from a mountain spring, but unlike spring water, every drop is collected and shared. The Vancouver, Wash. woman has an amazing ability to transform everything to which she comes in contact, whether it be a lump of dough, a palette of paint, musical notes on a staff, thoughts in her mind or words on a page. In spite of the abundance of talent others clearly see, she remains humble and downplays her abilities.

She grew up in small-town Randolph, N.Y. but has seen much of our nation and a small piece of the world. After earning degrees in English and art from Union College in Lincoln, Neb., she lived and worked in Bozeman, Mont. where she taught both subjects and served as girl’s dean.

She worked as a substitute teacher the last two years she lived in Bozeman and then moved to various locations while continuing to sub for another year. She taught English and proofread text books after she moved to Korea in 2006.

“I taught kindergarten the last two years (in Korea), which was super fun,” she says.

She returned to the states each summer, during the five years she lived abroad, driving from Montana to Maine, while stopping along the way to visit friends. She enjoyed the position of craft director at a camp in Maine for 14 years, where she could “pull off a costume at the last minute.”

This painting, titled “Wishbowl,” is an interpretation of the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. It's based on the lyrics, “we're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year and year . . . How I wish you were here.” It was painted by Klaralyn Gatz when she was living in South Korea and missing many a dear one who was back home in the States. Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

After her stint in Korea, she returned to her beloved Bozeman, where she worked in a record store for a couple of years. She then moved to the State of Washington where in the 2017 and 2018 school year she taught middle school English and history and where she will be teaching art in the fall.

“I love having a classroom because I can decorate it.” She is often asked to decorate the bulletin boards in the hall where she works, something most teachers don’t care to do.

“Teaching is more of a collection of skills than being good at one thing. I’m a good person to have around,” she admits. She likes her job very much and that she doesn’t get stuck in her ways.

“Children are the most dynamic force in the world. Always changing,” she says. “Every one you touch changes the world.”

Some of her other talents include making music with her guitar, her voice and by writing lyrics. She writes funny songs, including one about the terrors of candy addiction. “Hurricane Tim” was written for her nephew when he was two years old. Singing in choirs is another activity in which she participates and joins in with the choir her mother conducts when she is visiting the area.

“If people don’t expect greatness, I’ll sing,” she says. “Singing is very cathartic.”

She, also, enjoys listening to music and goes to 10-20 concerts per year and often travels to other states to hear her favorite performers.

“Some are small concerts. Portland, Oregon is a musical Mecca,” the teacher says.

She has many passions, of which several are driven by music. Most of her art work is music-inspired. She listens to play lists she has put together consisting of songs of a particular artist while painting something that represents a song from his/her repertoire.

“It’s my gasoline,” she shares. “The visuals to me are always playing in my head.”

Her father makes ready-to-hang wood “canvases” for her since most of her art is acrylics painted on wood. She paints murals as a favor for friends and “grumpy signs,” which she sells in her Etsy store, Dreary Dame, along with earrings made from creative finds such as vintage buttons, guitar pics and other “funky little things.”

She says she will never have a gallery and calls herself the Queen of Disposable Art, even though her mother may not agree.

“Mom was my biggest fan. Anything I drew from my earliest memory, Mom put up.”

Her mother still has a file of her early art, including a drawing that was done when she was five years old of 22 members of her mother’s extended family.

Other joys are plants, having good conversation and literature classes, because it forces her to keep her writing skills up to date.

To those who know the Gatz Family, it is no surprise that Klaralyn possesses numerous talents. Her mother, Donna Gatz, is organist at S.S. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, owns a private studio where she teaches piano, organ and voice and is well-known in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties for her musical expertise. Her father is Lynn Gatz, the pastor at four rural churches in Warren, Pa., Mount Jewett, Pa., Derrick City, Pa. and Coudersport, Pa.

“I grew up with two parents who picked their occupations because they were passionate about what they do.”

She plays music while she takes part in another passion, which is baking. She remembers baking at an early age.

“My mom always let us be in the kitchen. When we were little she would give us a ball of bread dough with our own little loaf pans. When I was nine I sold loaves of bread to pay my way to camp.”

She provides her mother’s Mama D’s Bread recipe, along with other favorite recipes. Ginger Banana Scones is a recipe her Aunt Jeanie gave her. The niece makes a variety of scones by changing the wet ingredients “depending on what is in the fridge.” Pumpkin Spice is one of her favorites.

“Most Koreans don’t have ovens in their homes because baked goods are not a part of the traditional Korean diet, so I had to buy an oven to bake. It was the size of a toaster oven, and I could only bake one loaf of bread or one round of scones at a time, but my friends loved when I made them bread or scones so it was worth it.”

Her mother sent yeast in her care packages and the daughter found whole wheat flour in small stores near the Army base.

“But baking was just as fun and almost more rewarding there,” she says while smiling. “I was very popular with our group of friends. They knew Klaralyn would bake bread and scones if they came to my house.”

She prefers recipes that are “more natural.” One of these recipes is Carrot Ginger Fruit Smoothie in which she uses ginger root. She feels it is a stronger, fresher taste and goes well with the smoothie consistency. She developed Kimchi Eggs Galore after she was introduced to Kimchi while living in South Korea.

“It is not a Korean recipe. I just love Kimchi and adding them to scrambled eggs.”

Ginger Banana Scones

2 or more c flour

1 T baking powder

1 tsp soda

3/4 c sugar (brown or white)

1 T powdered ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 c butter, room temperature

1 c mashed banana

1/3 c candied ginger, finely chopped

1/3 c chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Sift or thoroughly mix dry ingredients to prevent lumps. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until mixed completely. Add mashed bananas. Mix until all dry ingredients form dough. Add candied ginger. Knead dough on a floured surface until no longer sticky. Split dough in half and knead into lightly floured balls of dough. Place balls on cooking sheet with a silicon baking mat. Flatten balls into “UFO” disks. Use a pizza cutter to partially cut each disk into 8 triangles (dough shouldn’t stick to the pizza cutter). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until middle isn’t mushy to the touch. Cool, pour Ginger Drizzle over scones, and then separate triangles for serving.

Ginger Drizzle

1 c powdered sugar

1 tsp or more ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 T butter, room temperature

2 T or more milk (or liquid of preference)

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Cream butter into dry mixture. Stir in milk until smooth. Add enough milk so glaze is thick enough to drip off a spoon. Drizzle over scones.

Carrot-Ginger Fruit Smoothie

2-3 inches fresh ginger root, peeled

1 medium carrot

1 banana

1 1/2 c frozen fruit (pineapple/peaches/strawberries)

1/2 c liquid (almond milk/water/juice)

1 scoop protein powder, ideally vanilla, optional

Cut peeled ginger root and carrot in 1-inch cubes before putting into blender. Add fresh and frozen fruit of your preference. If using mainly fresh fruit, add ice cubes for chilled experience. If using protein powder, use amount of liquid recommended on label. Blend until, being sure ginger and carrot are thoroughly blended.

Kimchi Eggs Galore

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

1/4 c chopped onions

1 or more tsp toasted sesame oil (or oil of your preference)

2 eggs

3/4 c kimchi

Salt

Pepper

Fresh spinach

Saute garlic and onions in sesame oil in frying pan. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with kimchi (large chunks of cabbage in kimchi can be sautÈed with garlic and onions, but leave small bits of kimchi and juice with the eggs). Add to vegetables in frying pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once completely mixed, toss in a handful of spinach and mix thoroughly. At this point, you can lower temperature and make an omelet, or stir and scramble on a higher temperature to make a scramble.

Mama D’s Bread

2 c warm water

1/4 c sugar (or honey)

1 T yeast

1/4 c oil (toasted sesame oil)

1 T salt

2 c whole wheat flour

2 1/2 c unbleached flour

Butter (optional)

Place warm water, sugar, and yeast in 4-quart mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and whole wheat flour. Mix until stiff. Continuing mixing while adding unbleached flour until dough is stiff enough knead. Knead on floured surface until no longer sticky. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled in size. Punch down and cut into two portions. Roll out with a rolling pin before kneading into loaf shapes. Put in greased metal loaf pans and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Butter top, if desired. Makes 2 loaves.

Ramen Cabbage Salad

Salad Ingredients:

2-3 packets of ramen, crushed and toasted in sesame oil

Large head of purple cabbage, shredded or finely chopped

1-2 bunches of green onions, chopped

5 whole carrots, shredded or chopped in food processor

Dressing ingredients:

1/2 c sesame oil

1/2 c rice vinegar

1/2 c white sugar

Salt

Pepper

Toast ramen until golden brown and set aside. Combine other salad ingredients in large bowl. Mix dressing in a canning jar and shake well. Add dressing and ramen before serving.

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