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Archive for July, 2008

preparing the troops

So today we are taking a small road trip.  It takes forever to get the girls packed up and ready to go.  I pack a diaper bag, snacks, books, and other various things to entertain the kids in the car as well as at a restaurant or any other place they might need to sit patiently.  I never feel like I am prepared well, though usually we do okay.  In fact, most times the kids end up playing with some stray piece of something rather than the said bag of entertainment I stressed over.

What do you do when it’s time to hit the road to help your kids cope with being cooped up?

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oldest on left both missing shoes for some reason?

My oldest (crazy looking one on the left above) went through a couple weeks of wanting to make “tonics.”  When asked what kind of tonics or tonics for what the response was always “you know, mom, tonics!”  Oh, that kind.  We made basil olive oil, we made our own vanilla, I let her throw together her own smoothie creation, and play with some of our precious raw honey. 

Fast forward to the twins’ birthday party.  It’s 4 P.M. and my husband announces on his way in the door that he is ill and keeps moving right into the bathroom.  I’m putting whipping cream into the Kitchen Aid for whipped cream and turn for the honey that is not there.  Enter the honey tonic.  This particular tonic was a  honey, a vanilla bean split and bent to fit in the jar, and lavender blossoms.  It looked pretty in the jar, she would roll it around every few days, and I figured what would it hurt to try it in the whipping cream seeing as the party was in an hour and I still had to have something for on top of the cake. 

YUM!  As in “eat the icing and forget the cake” yum!  It had lovely little flecks of vanilla bean in it.  It whipped up very nicely and kept shape fairly well even into the next day when it was finally removed from the cake and enjoyed along with the leftover fruit.  had some yummy icing, the flecks are vanilla bean...not cake crumbs

Vanilla Lavender Honey

In a 1 cup jar combine:

  • handful of lavender (child’s sized handful…1/8 cup at most)
  • one vanilla bean split lengthwise and bent into jar

fill with raw honey and let “brew” (don’t you love how kids think of things!) for a couple weeks if possible.  To speed up the “brewing” time, set in a pan of water over low heat to encourage the mixing of flavors.

Lavender Whipped Cream

Make sure mixer bowl and whisk are clean and dry, place in refrigerator.  When chilled pour in:

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Lavender Honey (or to taste)
  • a few drops of almond flavoring if your feeling adventurous

Mix until stiff peaks form.  Use to ice a cake, as a topping for fruit, or freeze between cookies or graham crackers for an ice cream sandwich!

Forget the cake, I want icing!

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this is yesterdays post, I must have saved instead of publishing…talk about lazy! Scroll down for todays post and birthday cuteness.

It’s hot out, summer is here.  We plan on going to a sprinkler/splash park sometime this week with friends.  I’d also like to go pick some berries to freeze.  The last couple weeks, however, have been so intense for us so far as helping family that I’m not sure it is over yet.  Don’t get me wrong, part of why we live where we live is to be there for family…we want to do it.  With four little ones it just gets exhausting.

Keep the laundry suggestions coming!  I have some vinegar that has lavender blossoms soaking in it.  I’m thinking I might put that in a Downy Ball the next time I do a load and see what happens.  Three of us are extremely sensitive to fragrance so I’ve never used fabric softener, just scent-free sheets in the dryer.  I know the vinegar doesn’t leave a smell as we sometimes use it as a hair rinse.  It will be interesting to see if the lavender smell stays and the starched texture go.

This weeks meals are not going to be planned out due to wanting to be on the go some.  Here are some things on my mind that I’m wanting to fix and I’ll even post recipes of new ones that turn out good!

  • Fresh Corn Polenta (perhaps making the leftovers into corn cakes?)
  • Lasagna (with brown rice noodles)
  • Bean and Beef Burritos with Guacamole and Lacto-Fermented Salsa
  • Chicken Salad (adapted slighty from The Pioneer Woman’s Recipe, don’t skip the grapes or cayenne!)
  • Roasted Chicken (because it is easy and it’s hot out)
  • Green Beans (a big pot full of them cooked long and slow all day until there is no nutrition left, just a less-guilty pleasure from childhood)
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Something has to be done with the zucchini as it’s taking over my fridge and the freezer already has 2 gallons of it shredded
  • French Toast for breakfast at some point, perhaps for one of the days on the road

So this is it, I’m calling this week my lazy week so far as meal planning.  Summer is nearly over for us and I’m calling a truce with all the stress of the last couple weeks and going to make sure to enjoy this one week without financial cost or nutritional detriment!  (okay, drama enough…It’s hot out and perhaps that makes me lazy.)

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The older two planned a great USA birthday party for them!

The older two planned a great USA birthday party for them!

The twins turned two, why does that sound ominouse?

We try to keep birthday’s low-key.  A meal with family (grandparents and great-grandparents as they all live in the same town) and a couple small gifts.  With twins it is easy to combine a gift…we’ll have to watch not doing this so much when they get older but for this year a bike-trailer was perfect for them.  Honest to goodness, they love it and I love the exercise with the older two girls.  You should see them dance around when someone mentions a bike ride.

Other things they recieved as gifts were: blocks, a Minnie Mouse with buttons and snaps, wood puzzles, books, a bit of cash, and a See n’ Say.  I’m pleased as our small home does not have alot of space for extra stuff.  Most of this the twins will be able to use during school time when we start up school.  Anyone with homeschooling suggestions for a mom of twin 2 year olds I’m all ears!  Last year they were still taking two naps and that is when we schooled.  This year could be interesting. 

I’m still interested in laundry tips as well as the homeschooling with twin two year olds in the house!

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Short and sweet since the tummy bug has been visiting us one at a time

CSA: Red potatoes, green beans, jalapenos, corn, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe

Market: plums, green beans, honey, and broccoli

Hopefully tomorrow will have us all on the mend and attending the twins’ rescheduled birthday party

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I have a clothesline, thanks to my dear friend’s husband.  It’s wooden supports are study, the new green line is strung and secure.  Now I need some tips for line drying.

What do you do to help keep things from being so stiff?

Anything to help prevent wrinkling?

I have a little clothespin bag I am sewing and will photograph when I am done seeing as the missing camera has been found!  I had to stop the project, though, due to illness….food poisoning I’m thinking.  This post is the most work I’ve gotten done in the last day, but I’m on the mend and hope to have photos up soon as well as my husbands market report (isn’t he sweet for going in my place!)

All tips on line-drying are welcome and encouraged!

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This bread recipe was given to me by a friend.  I have since changed it around a bit to the way I like it, of course.  I am pretty sure she got her recipe from someone who got it from the Urban Homemaker (and the recipe looks fairly close, giving credit where credit is due…that’s important.) 

I start bread making a day or two ahead of time by sprouting my wheat.  I soak the wheat for 8 hours, rinse it really well, dry it in my dehydrator until completely dry (usually 12 hours, sometimes more or less.)  Once the wheat is dry, I can then grind it.  My mill offers three settings, fine, finer, and finer than you thought possible.  I kind of miss the manual for this reason and this reason alone.  I grind mine on the “coarse” setting that is actually finer than I could get double milling the flour in my old manual.  But we’ll get back to the recipe.   Here’s the ingredients and directions once you have some freshly ground, sprouted flour:

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/3 cup Honey

1/2 cup Yogurt (we make our own from partially skimmed, raw milk)

2 cups warm water

1 tsp yeast (or a little less)

1 TBSP Salt

6-7 cups Whole Wheat Sprouted Flour

In your heavy duty mixer (I currently am using a Kitchen Aid) bowl with the dough hook attachment put the oil, honey, yogurt, and warm water.  Sprinkle yeast over the top and put the salt in off to one side. 

Put in 5 cups of flour and turn mixer on.  You’ll want to keep adding some flour until the dough forms a ball around the dough hook and cleans the sides of the mixer.  Personally I start with 6 cups of flour and most of the time use the full bit of the extra cup.  Much of that depends on your climate, though so start with less and work your way up.  Your going to want you dough to knead for about 5 minutes or so. 

While the dough is kneading, I turn on my oven to warm.  Once it’s done kneading, I turn the oven off.  Take bowl off of mixer, remove dough hook, and place a damp towel over the bowl.  Place in TURNED OFF oven (yes, I’ve forgotten to turn off the oven…twice now…feels better knowing you know I am no where near perfect!)  Let it rise overnight if you start it in the late evening like I do or about 9 hours if you don’t work well at night. 

In the morning (or evening if you start in the morning) you’ll want to divide your dough into two loaves.  I use Olive Oil to knead my dough and shape it.  I do not knead it long, just long enough for it to get a smooth elastic feel to it.  Place into two pans greased with Olive Oil and then they go into my dehydrator covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Olive Oil for about an hour (depending on how cool the dough is when I shape it) or until doubled in size.  You could do this in any warm spot, but it might take a bit longer. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, they will be nice and golden brown. 

I’ve had one batch not turn out (besides the two I baked during the first rise from not turning the oven off.)  Still not sure what I did to that one, but so it goes.  I like to change it up a bit and was inspired again by Urban Homemaker how they add things to their bread. Here’s my two favorites:

Cinnamon Raising Bread: after the first rise, while shaping the loaves.  I knead them out very flat and spread on some melted Butter, sprinkle with Rapadura, a healthy amount of Cinnamon, and Raisins.  Roll up and tuck ends under to form the loaf.  Bake as normal.  (When it gets kind of old it makes amazing French Toast!)

Tomato Herb Bread: after first rise, while shaping loaves.  Knead dough very flat and spread on some Pesto (Basil and Garlic Scape are my favorite.)  Sprinkle with fresh garden herbs (Rosemary is my current go-to), crumpled up Dehydrated Tomato Slices, and a bit of Pepper.  Roll up, tuck ends under to form loaf and bake as normal.  (Makes wonderful Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!)

 

If anyone has any questions please ask, as I am always more than happy to try to help someone get on the right track with making their own bread.  It’s very rewarding, not to mention tasty, to eat fresh bread made with freshly ground flour!

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