Wed 30 Jan 2013
I haven’t posted one of these in a while. I captured my very active, full of energy 4 year old, Sugar Plum Fairy actually sitting down doing her writing and I had to share.
Wed 30 Jan 2013
I haven’t posted one of these in a while. I captured my very active, full of energy 4 year old, Sugar Plum Fairy actually sitting down doing her writing and I had to share.
Thu 21 Jun 2012
Today we are going to immerse ourselves in tubes that carry liquid inside the plant. The word, “vascular,” means “tubes that carry fluid.” Did you know that plants have veins and vascular systems just like you and me? Jeannie, said it this way, “God made living things in a similar way; plants and people both have tubes inside them.” This morning I was talking to my beautiful (inside and out) sister-in-law I told her about today’s adventure and what we were going to explore and she immediately saw the correlation between all of God’s creation. We can see that everything in the world is made by the same artist: God!
So,grab your backpacks! Let’s go explore God’s canvas! Here we go…
Right as we stepped outside we looked at the Calla Lily first. It had great veins…
The Iris’ veins were a lot thinner…
The tomato leaf’s veins were easily distinguishable…
Sugar Plum became attached to the strawberry leaf and carried it for the rest of our journey…
The children were all fascinated with the small plants and the way they distributed water, but they were amazed that something so big as an oak could do the same thing.
Smiley enjoyed the adventure too, he just nodded, held my finger, and smiled…
Can you see the midrib on this oak leaf? It is the vein in the very middle that is thicker than the rest. If you go back through the other pictures can you identify their midrib’s too?
These adventures open up other questions, like… “Mom, why are these leaves brown?” And…
“Where are the veins on this one?”, “That is an evergreen.”, “What is an evergreen?”…
“Why is the local zoologist following us?” (I figure our cat knows more than I do about animals, why else would she leave me the best morsels of the bird, mice, and rabbits after she has dissected them on my welcoming mat.)
And, the best part of the adventure… Having fun with the kiddos in God’s creation!
*If you go out and collect your own leaves, don’t forget to keep them for your notebooking journal!
Oh, Oh…Jeannie, says in a later lesson we get to do an experiment that takes all the green stuff off of the leaf to expose the hidden veins beneath. Exciting!
Disclosure:I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.
The Exploring Creation with Botany was written for ages 6 to 12.
If you missed the first part of this journey, please check out Exploring God’s Creation – Botany.
Fri 8 Jun 2012
Now, before we go any farther, I want all of you to realize that I am not artisan bread maker, I am a lady that bought a grain mill approximately 6 weeks ago, that just wants to better her families diet. I asked friends for bread recipes, borrowed from the two best cooks I know (my mom and mother-in-law), and scoured the internet for intriguing appetizing ideas; all before I started writing this series. Sometimes this happened…
The best dinner rolls EVER… And, then sometimes this happened…
The hardest densest bread brick on the planet. I joked that, “Hey, cracker on the outside, little bit of bread on the inside”, you get two for one. Honestly though, I think I invented reusable bread bowls.
What I am saying is, don’t give up. Cooking is chemistry, so put on your lab coat and go experiment in your lab and enjoy it, have fun with it, and in case you do get discouraged, there are always books like this – No More Bricks.
Plus, like I was saying there are other ways then bread to add whole grains to your diet. For example…
Now, my last post I promised cookies. All I have to say is go ahead and brew you a pot of tea/coffee and get ready to eat a dozen.
Almond Tea Cookies
fresh milled flour, salt, butter, powdered sugar, crushed raw almonds, vanilla…
my little helpers were very excited about this recipe…
cream butter and sugar. Then add salt…
vanilla and almonds together, pretty sure I just started salivating on my keyboard…
lots of flour & a little almonds…
I am surprised I got this picture, little hands wouldn’t stay out of the dough.
quickly roll them, otherwise they will melt in your hands…
Please notice that four were already gone before I could snap a picture… (shhh, don’t tell)
Almond Tea Cookies
2 1/4 cup fresh milled flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts, etc) ground to granules
1 tsp vanilla
1. Crush nuts.
2. Cream butter and sugar
3. Add vanilla, flour, salt, and nuts; mix well.
4. Dough should be a little dry and grainy. Take up to 2 Tablespoons of batter at a time and form into quarter size balls.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
7. Make pot of tea and eat one dozen by yourself. (try to leave some for everyone else)
Don’t forget to visit the other wonderful posts in this 5 day series of Mothering & Homemaking. There are 20 other writers in this series. Please click on the below picture for a line up of the writers and their topics.
Thu 7 Jun 2012
So, hopefully after reading my posts, Quick & Easy, Cheap & Healthy blog posts, and Granola Mom’s blog post, you have decided that it might be good & tasty to add whole grains to your diet. If so, then you need to locate a good source for whole grains. Normally you can find them at health food stores, food co-ops, and online.
Health Food Stores
Food Co-ops (in no particular order)
Grain Mix (Utah)
Bulk Natural Foods (Tennessee)
Miller’s Grain House (Western North Carolina)
Bread Beckers (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia)
Frankferd Farms (Pennsylvania)
Quail Cove Farms (a good portion of the North East of the US)
These are just a few of the options out there. Now, lets get to the good part… What you can do with that whole grain after you have bought it.
Whole Wheat Steamed Buns (with filling)
Oops, forgot the water…
Voila, dough. (While the dough rises for 45 minutes, you can make a filling. We did bean paste, not pictured)
Divide dough into two equal parts.
Roll each portion out to approximate 12 inches by 2 inches wide.
Cut each strip into 12 pieces. Mine were approximately 12″squares.
flatten your square with the palm of your hand.
She thoroughly enjoyed smooshing the dough…
flatten them more with a rolling pin.
brush dough with sesame seed oil, then add filling. (1 tablespoon of filling)
Pinch the edges together at the top, and let rise another 30 mins. (I recommend using squares of parchment paper underneath, makes for easier clean up)
Tightly cover and steam for 10 to 15 minutes…
Whole Wheat Steamed Buns
2 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (*I recommend using a soft white, instead of the hard red that I used)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (olive or coconut)
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
Filling for your buns – Sweet Azuki Bean Paste
1. Mix dried yeast, 1 cup of lukewarm water, and 1 cup of flour. Mix until dissolved. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm place for 20 minutes until bubbles appear.
2. Dissolve and stir together, 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup warm water.
3. Add the sugar mixture to the dough mixture, plus the 3 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough into a large greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Place back into the warm area (I used the top of my stove and set the oven for 170 degrees and cracked the door) for 45 minutes.
5. While your dough is rising you can prepare you bean paste or other filling for your buns.
6. When the dough is ready, divide it into 2 portions. Roll each portion into strips 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut each strip into 12 pieces.
7. Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand. Flatten them further with a rolling pin.
8. Brush with sesame oil.
9. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center and wrap sides of the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges together at the top.
10. Place each roll on a separate piece of foil or parchment paper. Cover the tray with a towel, let the buns rise until they are double in size, about 30 minutes.
11. Tightly cover and steam over briskly rolling/boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes.
12. Serve while hot.
*I made these using the hard red wheat, while they are still good and hardy, I think they would be lighter and fluffier if made with a soft white wheat.
I have so enjoyed this 5 day series so far. I hope that you will stop by tomorrow for the finish. We are going to experiment with making cookies… You must finish with dessert, right?
Don’t forget to visit the other wonderful posts in this 5 day series of Mothering & Homemaking. There are 20 other bloggers in this series. Please click on the below picture for a line up of the bloggers and their topics.
Wed 6 Jun 2012
There are several types of wheat available, and each one is best suited for a certain purpose. If you know which kind of wheat works best for the recipe you’d like to make, your yummies will turn out noticeably better than if you had used a less suitable variety.
Wheat for Bread Making
For bread making, it’s best to use a “hard” variety of wheat, such as hard red wheat or hard white wheat. Hard wheat is high in gluten, a protein that becomes stretchy when you knead it. This stretchy gluten captures the tiny gas bubbles that yeast produces within the dough, which is what makes yeast and sourdough breads rise.
Wheat for Biscuits, Pancakes, Pastries, Cakes, Crackers and Cookies
Soft wheat, such as soft red or soft white, is ideal for baked goods that are not kneaded, like cookies and pancakes, pie crusts and crackers. Soft wheat has a very low gluten content, which when used in baked goods that are not kneaded, results in a tender finished product.
Two ancient varieties of Wheat
Spelt and Kamut are two types of wheat that were grown in ancient times but only recently rediscovered. Both Spelt and Kamut have higher protein contents than wheat, and both are more easily digested than modern wheat. This means that some people who are intolerant to wheat are able to eat Spelt or Kamut, however both grains contain gluten, so they should not be eaten by people who are on a gluten-free diet.
As you may have noticed from my other posts, I have been using the Hard Red Wheat Berries, while they have worked for crackers and pancakes, there are other varieties that are more suited. The recipe for this post although is suited perfectly for Hard Red Wheat Flour.
Edith’s One Hour Dinner Rolls
(these are dedicated to Geek Adonis’ mom, she has been making them for years, they are absolutely delicious and incredibly easy to make. The only thing I changed was making them with fresh whole grain flour.)
Place your buttermilk and butter on low and let it warm up just enough to melt the butter. Do the pinky finger test… (and, yes that is an entire stick of butter)
While your letting your yeast bubble and butter melt, make a spiky silly putty caterpillar…
Mix your dry ingredients (sugar, salt, baking soda)
stir butter & buttermilk and add to dry ingredients (plus, add yeast and flour)…
Now let it rest for 10 minutes… (its already tasty, what? you don’t try your dough?)
Roll it out…
Cut it up…
And, oh Yeah! Add more butter… (I never said these were the best for you dinner rolls, but they just might be the best tasting)
Roll em up…
Fold em up… (whatever floats your boat)
Now watch them grow!
Or not. I went and horsed around with this cutie patootie.
They were risen, they were cooked, they were eaten. Amen.
Edith’s One Hour Dinner Rolls
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 sticks of butter
2 tablespoons of yeast (active dry yeast)
1/4 cup of warm water + 1 tsp sugar (this is for the yeast to grow in)
3 1/2 cups of fresh milled flour
Mix sugar, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.
Warm buttermilk and 1 stick of butter on low on the stove. (not too hot, you should be able to stick you pinky finger in at all times comfortably to check it.)
Mix warm water and sugar (once again make sure water is warm to the touch, but not hot) Add yeast to the warm water and sugar, stir to dissolve yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should bubble and double in size.
When the butter is melted into the buttermilk, mix together and pour into your sugar, salt, baking soda mixture. Stir.
Add 1 1/2 cups of your flour and fold it in. Now, add the yeast mixture and fold it in. Stir in remaining flour. Do not overmix. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Turn dough onto a clean surface and roll it out. I rolled mine out to an approximate 1/4 of an inch. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter and fold a small pat of butter into each circle, then place into a greased pan.
Let them rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
Thank you everyone for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed today’s post, if you missed the first two days of this five day series, please stop by and check them out:
Fresh Flour & Cheesy Crackers
Grain varieties & Camp Pancakes
Tue 5 Jun 2012
Whole grains are cereal grains that contain cereal germ, endosperm, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.
I am currently using a Hard Red wheat berry, but I cannot wait to eventually try some other whole grains. Here is a list of other whole grains you can mill, flake, or just munch as a snack. (and a little bit about each one)
Amaranth – this whole grain contains more than three times the average amount of calcium than other whole grains, and is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Plus, it is a protein powerhouse. It actually has a, “complete” protein in it. No more DGLS acronyms with this grain. (DGLS = Don’t Get Love Sick, which = Dairy+Grain+Legume+Seeds = when you combine any two of those together then you get a complete protein.) Last, but not least, its naturally gluten-free.
Barley – this grain has special health benefits that stem from high levels of soluble beta-glucan fiber. These beta-glucans reduce cholesterol, help control blood sugar, and improve immune system function. It is very high in fiber compared to other grains, but be careful when you look to buy barley, most varities in the US, are not true whole grains, try and look for hulled barley or hulless barley.
Buckwheat – is the only grain known to have high levels of an antioxidant called rutin, and studies show that it improves circulation and prevents LDL cholesterol from blocking blood vessels. This is also another naturally gluten-free grain. (Plus, who doesn’t like the, “The Little Rascals.”)
Corn – Did you know that corn has the highest level of antioxidants of any grain or vegetable? It is almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples! Be careful when buying it to mill, avoid labels that say, “degerminated” when looking for whole-grain corn, and look for the words whole corn.
Millet – this is a gluten-free grain that is high in antioxidant activity, and also especially high in magnesium. Millet is mostly used as a snack, it can be popped like popcorn. It is a substitute flour, where you would only use approximately 30% millet flour in a recipe.
Oats – Early introduction of oats in children’s diets may help reduce their risk of asthma. Oats are higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in carbohydrates than most other whole grains. They also have great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching activity.
Quinoa – this grain is supposedly the more nutritious option for gluten free diets. This is yet another grain that has a complete protein. Quinoa is also the highest of all the whole grains in potassium, which helps control blood pressure. Oh, and its pronounced KEEN-wah. Who knew?
Rice – White rice is refined, Whole grain rice is usually brown – but can also be black, purple, and red. Rice is one of the most easily digested grains. This makes rice ideal for those on a restricted diet or who are gluten-intolerant.
Rye – Rye is unusual among grains for the high level of fiber in its endosperm. The type of fiber in rye promotes a rapid feeling of fullness, making rye a good choice for people trying to lose weight.
Sorghum – this grain is very versatile and very popular with those with celiac disease. It can be eaten like popcorn, cooked into porridge, and ground into flour for baked goods. Sorghum can be substituted for wheat flour in a variety of baked goods, but remember you need xanthum gum or cornstarch for a binder, since it does not contain gluten.
Teff – this grain has twice the iron of other grains, and three times the calcium. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Teff is a gluten free grain and has many uses. It can be ground into flour, eaten as a snack, or added to cereals.
Wheat – Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for cutting, milling, making and baking a loaf of bread in just 8 minutes and 13 seconds. Do you suppose it was edible? (Sorry, I went for a fun fact here, figured everyone knew everything about wheat already.)
Actually, tomorrow’s post is on what types of wheat there are and which wheat is best suited for a certain purpose. This week for all of the recipes, we are using a Hard Red Winter Wheat. The second recipe we tried with our wheat was one of our traditional weekend breakfasts. Camp Pancakes!
I love watching the wheat berries descend into the mill…
Aaah, fresh flour!
quick tip, cover the opening of your hopper with a tea bag to discourage little bugs…
Now, make yummy pancake batter. (maple syrup, water, greek yogurt, fresh milled flour, baking powder, salt, free range eggs, and a hint of vanilla)
Put, Sugar Plum to work crushing almonds…
Add yummy ingredients to batter. (almonds, cacoa nibs, hemp hearts, banana, and frozen blueberries)
stir in the yummies… (do not over mix unless you enjoy smurf colored pancake batter)
pour on yon skillet/griddle…
Oh, they are that good!
See! Love a pancake.
2 cups fresh milled whole wheat flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
The Yummy Ingredients
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1/2 cup cacoa nibs
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1 chopped banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Mix all dry batter ingredients in a bowl. Mix all wet batter ingredients in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients with a spoon until their are no more dry spots; don’t over mix.
Pour Yummy ingredients into batter and turn them into the batter.
Heat a large skillet/griddle to medium heat. Lightly spray or rub oil to coat. Pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto skillet. When the bubbles start to settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.
~thank you for tuning in. If you missed yesterday’s post it was on Fresh Flour & Cheesy Crackers. Tomorrow, I will be talking about, “Which Wheat for What?”
Please remember there are so many wonderful ladies posting this week along with me on topics covering homemaking and mothering. You can visit my intro link here: 5 Day Series, or click on the picture below.
Mon 4 Jun 2012
These past few years my husband and I have slowly worked on changing our diet to a organic, raw, whole grain diet. Our latest endeavor to this end was purchasing a grain mill. With this grain mill I am hoping to add whole grain flour, breads, cereals, and oats to our diet. As I did my research I have found that in my opinion (my opinion was formed through hours of watching videos, reading reviews, and speaking to owners of different mills), there are two hand mills and three electric mills worth owning. From there it is up to the consumer to determine aesthetics, size, preference to stone or metal grinders, and price.
In my experience and in learning from my elders, I have found it best to save up and buy the best tool available. 9 times out of 10, the saying, “you get what you pay for”, rings true. I hope to still be using my grinder in 30 or 40 years time, long long after I’ve forgotten whether it cost me $200 or $500. This doesn’t mean you need to buy it new; do your research, look on ebay, or craigslist, etc.
For a more in depth review of the Wondermill, visit Grain Mill Comparison, it is a great site where an individual has had the opportunity to use various grain mills, seemingly with a unbiased view. For the Country Living Grain Mill, I have not heard as of yet a bad review, the only reason people have not bought it was because of the price.
I very much enjoyed the video review of all three of these machines at, Breadtopia. I also highly recommend looking up each grain mill, the electric and hand mill’s on Amazon, whether you buy them or not on this site, just to read the reviews.
So, after much research, my husband and I decided on the Tribest Wolfgang, Fresh Flour Mill. One of the first recipes we tried was, (as my children call them) cheesy crackers. Beware: you and your family will be tempted to eat the entire batch shortly after they come out of the oven. I am accustomed now to quadrupling the recipe.
First, we filled our hopper with enough wheat berries to make one cup of flour. (we had flour left over, fresh flour will store up to two months sealed and in the refrigerator)
Then, we made beautiful flour. (I still love and am fascinated at this part)
The yummy simple ingredients. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Butter, Fresh milled Wheat Flour, Salt, Cold Water.
Some of the best butter I have ever tasted! It is fromHatcher Family Dairy and is non-homogenized, with no preservatives.
The dough after being pulverized in a food processor. Resembles cheezy sand…
As the dough chills, you can try your hand at making your own cracker cutters.
My heart turned out well and made a great cutter, (others not posted for soddy workmanship) then we turned to icing tops, which worked great for the kiddos.
My Sugar Plum!
They had so much fun!
Pan is full, ready to be cooked.
Done! They lasted all of five minutes…
8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
1 Cup Flour
3/4 teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Cold Water
Pulse everything (except water) together in a food processor until the dough resembles coarse sand.
Pulse in water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Remove dough from the processor, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes.
Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.
(~recipe adapted from tastykitchen.com)
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on types of grain and another happy tummy recipe.
Don’t forget to hop on over to the other 20 bloggers during this 5 day series of homemaking and mothering.
Wed 22 Feb 2012
This may be sacrilege, but I have never really liked pancakes. A piece of bread with an extreme amount of overly sweet syrup just makes me sick to my stomach. So, my poor kids only got them maybe twice a year. Until now! I named them camp pancakes because at first I was thinking of things that would be decently easy to make when camping, without too much mess. That and I wanted something that had some goodies beyond just empty carbohydrates.
So, first I thought of proteins, well I suppose you could add something like bacon, which believe me would be yummy, but it just adds another thing to make, so I figured the protein we put in our smoothies would work, right? It did, it did. We use hemp hearts for our smoothies, they are tiny shelled hemp seeds. These little gems provide not only protein, but a good amount of iron and some fiber. Hemp hearts have a slightly nutty flavor to them.
Next, I was thinking some fruit is always good for us, so we threw in some frozen blueberries (course you might used dried blueberries when camping, not frozen) and chopped bananas. YUM!
Then, raw crushed almonds, I know it sounds weird, but I am a lover of crunchy food, plus I just like almonds.
(Sadly, I forgot to take the picture of Sugar Plum fairy using the mortar and pestle to crush the almonds, the kids love using it)
Last, but not even close to least, broken Hershey Bars. Or, if your a total health nut, we sometimes use raw organic cacao nibs.
As for the batter, you can use whatever you like. I don’t have a favorite, so perhaps you can recommend to us your favorite and I can try them out.
Oh, Oh! I almost forgot. We add our syrup to the batter, and in my opinion, maple syrup is the best. Plus, it doesn’t have that awful high fructose corn syrup in it.
So, after all that, you slap em on the griddle. (might be best to pour batter, not slap)
And, the let the most qualified flipper take over…
Then, you jump on the couch with your fresh camp cakes and ride with miss Sugar Plum fairy to the beach. (Well, that’s where she said we were headed anyway)
Or, you can just close your eyes and enjoy…
Linking up with Adventurez in Childrearing
Thu 29 Sep 2011
Do you guys remember my cape giveaway, since then we have been coming up with different ways to wear the cape. Total we have found five! Here is the latest.
I had so much fun with hers that I wanted to try it on me, of course it was more of a shirt on me instead of a toga, but I absolutely loved it.
All the ways to wear this material…
1. Super hero cape of course
3. Combine two for a child = toga
4. Combine two for an adult = shirt
5. Combine 5 to 7 = skirt
~the adult shirt and skirt pictures hopefully coming soon. Going to try and bribe my beautiful niece into modeling for me.
(if you have this crazy unbridled feeling to buy one of these please visit my etsy shop.)
Tue 13 Sep 2011
My kids love running around yelling bippity boppity boo at each other while holding whatever toy that looks the most like a wand to them. Well, this last week I discovered some of the duct tape crafts. I quickly decided I was going to try and make the kiddos some wands. It was much easier then I ever expected.
spray paint (optional)
hot glue gun & hot glue
permanent markers (optional)
I painted their dowels black because that was the available color in Geek Adonis’ shop.
And, I fully realize that there are a crazy amount of different colors of duct tape out there now, but I was working with what I had in the house or in the shop.
I started with Sugar Plum Fairy’s Boo Stick first.
I ripped a bunch of 2-3 inch pieces…
Folded a corner over, then…
the other corner. Take that and wrap it around your dowel, like so…
Rinse, wash, repeat…
Apply that second piece to the other side. Where the tips are opposite of each other.
Continue doing this until you have the above flower. It was very easy to then paint it pink with a permanent marker.
She immediately went to turning me into a frog, rabbit, ooh and then superman.
Onward, to Little Old Man’s Boo Stick…
Sorry, no tutorial, because this guy – Duct Tape Ninja, did an awesome job and I just don’t think I can top him.
So, after making two ninja stars, I just hot glued them to the dowel and bippity boppity boo!
Okay, so now go make your own and please please show them to me!