Friday, December 30, 2011

Bread in Five...GF

Here's what I'm up to today....

I got the danish whisk and plastic dough rising bowl from King Arthur Flour for a Christmas present! The Bread in Five website looks really fantastic. I love how they make bread baking easy for anyone.

Mrs. P

Thursday, December 29, 2011

January Gardening Lists

So this is the time of the year to get started with Texas gardens! Today we planted 6 live oak trees for some much needed shade at our little farm. I also threw some snapdragon seeds in a flower bed, but I'm not expecting much from them. I think they needed to be started indoors first. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised though.

So here are some lists for all of our garden projects for January.

Tool Care and Repair:
Sand down how handles (due to a misfortunate accident with a rototiller)
oil handles
sharpen hoes
clean blades
clean and care for lawn mower...a grandad job as I know NOTHING about mechanical things.

Flower beds
pull weeds
add mulch or leaves for beds that won't be planted yet
till beds that will hold salad greens and flowers

Vegetable Planting from seed or set:
broccoli *
cabbage *
cauliflower *
*first attempt to plant from seed rather than plants
and Hopefully, I will find some strawberry plants...but that will require a dedicated bed

Herbs to plant:

Flowers from seed:
alssum, calendula, cornflower, delphinium, echinacea, feverfew, larskpur, poppies, snapdragon, sweet pea, hollyhock

All tips were from a newsletter printed by Jim Gober. You can read the full newsletter here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Baking Day

We have several things on the agenda today, but the main thing is baking day (because I am in denial that sorting/decluttering the girl's clothes will actually take the most time and suck the life out of of me.) Baking is nice. I love the warm oven and yummy smells of vanilla, butter and cinnamon through out the day. I love keeping my tea cup full of True Blueberry or Red Raspberry tea. I do not love sorting children's clothes. So I'm combining the two, hoping (and crossing fingers) that the lure of baking cookies and hot cups of tea will motivate me to quickly move through the sorting/decluttering. And because I live in a complete state of fantasy, I have even more added to my list. The dream wish list, I shall call it! I mean if I get the parlor cleaned top to bottom, and my baking done, AND the clothing thing done, then I might as well just trade my sweat pants in for a wonder woman suit, because I will be all that AND a bag of chips! onto the baking. Last night I ground flour and started a soaked grain cracker dough. I made it this morning, and the children are nibbling on them and telling me how they remind them of cheeze-its. The recipe is from Nourishing Traditions, but you can also see it on Nourishing Gourmet. It makes a TON of crackers. I used whole wheat flour and whole milk yogurt. I also roll the dough out on a silpat and they bake up perfectly.

Here are some other things I'm baking today:
Mary's Sugar Cookies
(our family's traditional Christmas cookie) I'm making a triple batch. Some dough will go in the freezer and some cookies will be bagged up for AWANA sparks.
Brownie Pudding Cake (original recipe is from an OLD Betty Crocker book)
However, I'm making this version at Nourishing Gourmet.
If time permits I will also make those drop boiled oatmeal cookies that are fast and easy. Hopefully, I will get the AWANA treats all bagged up and ready to go today and tomorrow I can move on to other things.

Other things on the list are:
  • finish putting up the garland and Jesse Tree ornaments (I'm SOOO BEHIND!)
  • sort through the girl's clothes & declutter too smalls, torn, stained, etc (I think the clothes have been reproducing like rabbits in their closet and under their beds!)
  • Tally up points for AWANA store night and email it out
  • Rock baby, tend to baby, change baby, chase the baby, save baby from near death falls off of chairs, stairs, etc -repeat throughout the day
  • Arrange and set up Christmas Caroling at the nursing home for 4-H
  • Clean the parlor top to bottom
  • Make sure Miss A does her "over the Christmas Break" homework from CC. Aren't you glad that you don't have 40 pages of Latin, 10 lessons of algebra and more haunting you all Christmas break???

Hmm...that list is looking a little scary...especially the part about sorting the girl's clothes. Wish me luck and if I don't come back, then you will know I got lost in the girl's clothes. Seriously, they could clothe a small country of girls!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I won!

I entered the Joyous Home 12 Days of Christmas Give Away and I won a copy of the Joyous Home Journal. I have not yet seen it, but I can tell you that the print magazine is absolutely WONDERFUL! It is a beautiful, full color magazine with great step by step articles on all things lovely. I own about 4 or 5 of them. Go to the Joyous Notions blog to see some great Christmas ideas and join the fun. Today's freebie is lovely recipe cards to print off. Yesterday was delicious candied nuts. Each day is a different and fun way to celebrate the Season of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DIY Liquid Stevia Drops

UPDATE: I used 1 teaspoon of the powdered green stevia to about 3/4 c. boiling water. It did not work at ALL. It was not even sweet. What a bummer.

Check out this link to directions on how to make your own Liquid Stevia. This stuff is around $14 dollars a bottle where I live. And the good news is I have an entire bag of the green powdered stevia leaves that I can use and an old dropper bottle so this will cost me zero out of pocket! Now let me tell you a secret about the powdered green stuff. First off, I bought a pound of it. It seemed like such a good deal. And I thought it would be good that it wasn't processed. It is just ground up stevia leaves. So let's recap that...bulk purchase meant it was a good price and no processing seemed like a win-win situation. That is until I made cookies from it. I found a recipe online and proceeded headlong into it. The cookies were sweet enough. That wasn't the problem. The fact that they were GREEN was the problem. And as an added bonus, large amounts of stevia tastes a lot like licorice. Eck! I so do NOT like licorice. And even if I did, it would not go well mixed into a chocolate chip cookie. So if this recipe for the liquid stevia works, I will have found a way to redeem the money I wasted on my pound of green stevia. So I will cross my fingers and get this mixed up soon so I can report on how it turns out.

In the event that you already have a bottle of the liquid stevia I'm including a link for a really tasty recipe that uses it. It is even kid friendly. Here is the Spunky Coconut's recipe for Sunbutter Brownies that uses liquid stevia. My kids and I love this recipe. It's a treat, but so good for you since it doesn't have refined sugars and really packs a protein punch with the sunbutter and almond butter. It's one of the few gluten free recipes that my kids will eat. I will add that if I am making it for my kids, then I will use peanut butter in place of the sunbutter.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reddi-Wip Love

So my husband and I have a weakness. We LOVE to put a big shot of reddi-wip on our coffee. However, at the grocery store last week, I forgot to get some. I forgot cheese and olive oil too, but I won't go into that. Let's just say that shopping without a list and with 4 children isn't the optimal way to shop, especially if you are at the new grocery store in town and you still don't have the layout down.

I made coffee last night and was lamenting the fact that I didn't have my spray whipped cream. It's the little treats that I really enjoy in life. I thought for a minute about just whipping some up in the kitchen aid, but I already had the dishwasher running and just am a tad bit allergic to dish washing. ;-) Still, I really wanted to have a little of that whipped cream goodness on my coffee. Then I remembered my blender and the fact that I had about a half gallon of heaving whipping cream in the fridge. So I grabbed the cream and and my blendtec recipe booklet. I don't have an exact price, but I think you can make at least 4 cans worth with one quart of heavy whipping cream. And if memory serves me right, I bought a QUART of heavy cream for about the same price as ONE can of reddi-wip. I suspect, though that one can of reddi-wip does NOT have 2 cups of actual cream in it though, so the savings is most probably even more...maybe even twice as much.

Here's the simple recipe:
2 c. cold whipping cream
3 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Pour into the blender and pulse a couple of times to blend the sugar into the cream. Then I hit the pulse button for about 30 seconds and had perfect whipped cream. Do not overblend or you will have butter. And as much as I love butter, it is not too yummy on coffee. I put big dollops of that creamy goodness on each cup of coffee, filled a pint jar to the tippy top, and then fed the rest to kids who came in and begged like little birdies. I think it will still be fluffy for about 3-5 days in the fridge in a jar with a lid. I think it would also work fine to cut the recipe in half if you don't need that much whipping cream at one time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Jesse Tree

This is about our 4th year to celebrate the coming Christmas season with a Jesse Tree. A few years back I got a Christmas planning notebook and it included the Jesse Tree Devotions by Ann Voskamp. If you haven't read any of her writing, you are really missing out. She is a very gifted writer. I was going to write about it today and when I went to her website to add a link, I found that she has it available for FREE. So how about that. You can join the fun! Go here and grab the book. Print out the ornaments and paste them onto cardstock. Punch a hole and add a little raffia or ribbon. Now you are set to celebrate Christmas while learning all about Jesus. There is an ornament for each day of December leading up to Christmas. Each ornament has a picture depicting a part of the Bible that tells the story of Christ starting with creation. We read the devotions at dinner and then the kids put the ornament onto some garland that I have hung over the windows. We end up with more of a Jesse timeline than a tree. It's one of the traditions we look forward to each year.