Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Doing alot of nothin'

The only thing I baked this week, besides two box mixes of brownies (eldest child's birthday choice-and holy shit it wasn't homemade!), and meals was mini cinnamon rolls that I made from the Bread in 5 minutes a day brioche recipe... and I didn't even take pictures. Really. I'm hanging my head in disbelief too.

The reason I haven't done much is we had a hideous case of the "cold" eh hem... cough cough, (ha! you thought I was going to say herpes or something huh?). Usually I'm the last to get it, if I get it at all. I got it, and bad. It took me out for a couple of days, and I'm still working it out. Bleh.

I made the mini rolls a bit bigger because I don't have a mini muffin pan(duh), they took hardly anytime to make, AND were yummy without being too sweet. Like anything is really too sweet. HA!

borrowed from
For some reason they didn't appeal to the younger crowd -tee hee more for me and a happy dance- the boy told me that they weren't as good as the big ones and he'd prefer MORE frosting on them. Well, we'd all prefer everything with more frosting, wouldn't we?

You can see how to make them here and the recipe for the brioche here. Sorry I don't have more time to go into detail but will, because somebody is making these again real soon.

We've been celebrating birthdays this month and had another one this last weekend for the eldest child. We surprised her with tickets to see Justin Bieber when he comes to Everett. The only catch, she has to go with me. *snicker*

Wordless Wednesday 31st of March 2010

the children at Salt Creek State Park

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a quick menu and plans

We are now at the end of March and will be entering into Spring break for the big kids next week. My oldest is excited because her birthday is on Sunday. Yes, we have two birthdays within twelve days. She will be celebrating with friends on Thursday -spring break starts then for them- with a slumber party and then she has her last volleyball tournament on Saturday. For the most part we'll be hanging around here during break, prepping the garden, planting some starts, and setting pavers. Next friday we'll be heading out for the Easter weekend to visit family. My husband's sister that lives on the east coast will be out and we are so excited to see them. It's been too long!

Our menu through the end of the month

Monday, 3/22
Salad bar
Tuesday, 3/23
grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup
Wednesday, 3/24
chicken teriyaki and rice
Thursday, 3/25
fractured tacos
Friday, 3/26
homemade pancakes
Saturday, 3/27
leftovers/new recipe
Sunday, 3/28
Mariah's birthday -her choice!
Monday, 3/29
Baked potato bar w/ side salads
Tuesday, 3/30
homemade chicken noodle soup
Wednesday, 3/31
chicken skewers w/ rice & veggies

no recipe for today, I did make some no bake cookies this last week with a new recipe using honey instead of sugar and they never set. Still delicious, but gooey.

My book arrived!

I was so excited when I found out that I had won Shannon Hayes' book, Radical Homemakers, on, I told everyone I could about it. The package arrived a week later and I ripped it open. What a treat to discover that Shannon had even autographed it for me *squeal!* It totally made my day when this arrived, and I couldn't wait to get started on it. So, I kicked back next to my burn barrel, drank my yerba tea and started reading it aloud to my own little homemakers.

Wordless Wednesdays... last of March

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays

I've decided to participate in Wordless Wednesdays. I was already doing something similar and since I've never been officially invited to do it - I'm just doing it, my way, 'cause that's how I roll.

it was the boy's eleventh birthday yesterday - our friends honored him which he thought was totally cool

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yogurt, Pancakes, & Buttermilk oh my!

I made yogurt! And it's actually good! The girls have mentioned a couple of times they wanted yogurt. Funny thing is, when I buy yogurt they either don't like it or it doesn't get eaten before the expiration date. I like plain yogurt, okay vanilla too, but I like to add stuff to it and the stuff you buy at the store is either too sweet, has too much old fruit in it, or it's too sour. So, I decided to do some research to see how I could make yogurt without a yogurt maker.

I finally decided to try this recipe. It was a very easy process -although I wanted to add some sugar and vanilla to the batch, I'm glad I didn't- and my son got to help. This morning when we opened the jar to have some it was the best plain yogurt I have ever had. Nothing in the stores compares. It is definitely one that we are going to keep. We are going to tweak it a bit next time, as I would like a thicker product. I made a half batch and I may have been off a bit in my measurements.

Next time I make it I will photograph the process and share the recipe with my tweaks.

Of course we made pancakes this last week and with homemade buttermilk too! I've raved of these pancakes before and now I'm going to share with you the recipe. I've shared before how much I enjoy Happy's recipe I make her recipe and the only exception is I've been using unbleached flour. I did discover with our homemade buttermilk I need to use a little bit more buttermilk (really just a couple of tablespoons)because of the thickness of the batter. It is a thick batter on its own but add in our buttermilk and it's almost a dough :)

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

3 cups buttermilk *homemade buttermilk recipe to follow
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups whole wheat flour *or in our case just flour

Mix all the liquid ingredients, beat for one minute on high. Mix in sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix in flour until batter is smooth but thick.
Cook on a hot (350 degree) buttered griddle.
Making your own buttermilk is incredibly easy, you just have to be patient. I could have sworn that I took pictures, but I can't find them. So, I will have to share those at a later time. The recipe, as mentioned, is so easy.

Homemade buttermilk

3 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk starter (any buttermilk)

Pour it directly into a clean quart size jar, mix well. Put the lid on. Wrap it in a kitchen towel and place in a warm place, undisturbed for 24 hours. *I put mine in the oven with the light on overnight, but it was on the counter before that* After the 24 hrs is up, shake it up, and open to make sure it has thickened up and smells sweet. Perfect! Just put it in the fridge, it will thicken more once it's in the fridge. You've made buttermilk and now you can go enjoy your pancakes. If you save a cup of this buttermilk, you'll have a starter for next batch and you'll never run out of buttermilk and all the land will be happy because they can have pancakes and buttermilk whenever they want.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

easy homemade granola

No excuses! Granola is incredibly good for you and easy to make. It is versatile, delicious, and completely customizable. My family likes it as a snack and I love it as a cereal too -toss some nanners on it and hmmmmm.

I'm also brewing two kinds of tea today. One jar of black tea for iced tea -which I love just plain, nothing added except lots of ice. The other jar will be a concentrated batch of Yerba Mate -which I bought in bulk from my local herbal shop. There are a few brands out there that you can pick up that are both certified organic and fairly traded. I really enjoy my yerba served over ice with a dash of milk and bit of vanilla syrup. Next time I'm at Costco I'm going to pick up the organic agave syrup and give that a whirl with it.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon The Happy Housewife's recipe for granola. Seemed easy enough and we've had a hankering for a good snack. I've made this twice in the last week and obviously it's been a hit with everyone. So I'll share not only her recipe, but a step-by-step with pictures on how to make it. Like I said, it's so easy to make that there is no way you can't make this! Next week's batch I plan on adding sunflower seeds and almonds to it. Just think of the possiblities! Thank you so much Happy!

Easy Granola

3 cups dry oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup wheat germ

First melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.

excuse this picture bad kitchen pic day
Add the honey and salt and briefly heat with the butter.

Turn off the heat and add the oatmeal and wheat germ. Stir.

Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet. Spread the mixture out evenly and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes.

It will be a golden brown color. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Just a couple of notes -the ten minutes in the oven is not quite long enough for us, we like it a bit crunchy, so somewhere between 10-15 minutes depending on how hot your oven runs.

Read more:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh, the humanity

Lately tears have been the happening thing here at the compound. Everyone has these feelings that I just can't figure out. There will be a toy or a swing that one of the kids wants to play with and then suddenly, everyone wants it. Forget that we usually have a spare somewhere, or that there is tons of other things to do. Mind you, it's just not the kids 'cause occasionally you might catch me curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, but that's another story.

I'm a giggler. I can't help it. It's my defense mechanism. If someone cries I laugh. Not because it's funny, but because that's just how I react, it's my way of dealing with pain. I hurt when one of my kids gets hurt, but I find a way to laugh about it. Laughter is a wonderful healer. I don't panic, I giggle. It eases tensions and occasionally the pain of a scraped knee.

Today it was an argument over the swing. It's big enough to seat two toddlers, and when I last checked on them they were swinging together. But somewhere among all this cuteness and bliss someone decided they no longer wanted to share. There were words, hair was pulled, some shoving, then someone got hit with the swing. Next thing I knew I had two crying toddlers laying in the grass under the swing.

I went out, not rushing -I'm not a helicopter parent and I try to let them work it out on their own first -to see if they were injured or just frustrated with one another. Sure enough I laughed. They looked at me with these eyes as though I was poking fun. I laughed and grabbed them both and hugged them, assured them they were just fine and to play nice and share. Off they went to go dig in the dirt together.

unfortunately I missed the dirt digging event today, so here's one from a couple of days ago

Monday, March 8, 2010

your point? and a menu!

I need to take pictures of my food more often. When I post my menus I'd love to share what it looks like in my house. However, I forget and we just gobble it up. Then sometimes I have something on the menu and we have to tweak things a bit, and then they don't look like they probably should.

this is poached chicken
Last week we were to have beef 'n broccoli with rice. Guess who forgot to pull out the slab of meat to slice some up? Yep me. So we changed it up a bit. Chicken with cheesy cream of broccoli over rice. Half of the family enjoyed or rather, tolerated it and the other half gave the "I'm going to puke" face and went on strike. This happens from time to time in our house and unfortunately for them I'm a mean mom. The deal is you have to taste it. JUST TASTE, one bite and then decide if this really is the worst meal I've ever made. If it's still gut turning, then we work out a deal -say just eat the rice and pick out the chicken -which is what the eldest did and the youngest ate rice and picked out the broccoli. That left one kid who wouldn't touch it, her eyes watered just looking at it. I am not incredibly cruel, I didn't hover over her with my spankin' spoon until she ate every last drop. I simply pushed it aside -still on her plate- and served her some plain rice. That's it. When she asked for a snack, I told her that her dinner was still on the table. At the end of the night, if it's still there, it gets tossed.
I had no point to that story. snicker.

Hey! I picked up some seed potatoes (3 kinds) and a rhubarb start. We're growing taters bitches! In tires! I'll post pics when I get them.

Here's our menu for the next 2 weeks!

Monday: Caesar salads with chicken and homemade crusty bread

Tuesday: French dips w/ salad

Wednesday: tacos

Thursday: chicken teriyaki, rice, and salad

Friday: homemade buttermilk pancakes -with homemade buttermilk ya' all!

Saturday and Sunday we are gone to Mariah's volleyball tournaments out of town.

Next week will be fun!

Monday the 15th: Ides of March Caesar's salad wraps

Tuesday the 16th: ZAKERY's 11th birthday -his choice!

Wednesday the 17th: St. Patrick's day -Crockpot corned beef and cabbage with Irish soda bread -I'd love to add some sort of chowder to this, we'll have to see.

Thursday the 18th: mashed potatoes with beef gravy and peas

Friday the 19th: PIZZA party! Zakery's sleepover

Saturday the 20th: dinner out w/ family for Z's bday

Sunday the 21st: we're out of town again for Mariah's volleyball tournament

getting stuff done

We have been busy around here!

Last week we made granola,

sun tea, bread(every day!),

homemade pancakes, pruned our apple & hazelnut trees, put up a swing,

and took out a fence

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

this week's challenge

Rid my cupboards of the plastic bags.

I wish I had taken a picture of my containers and cupboards before I dumped these bulk sacks but you get to see the aftermath.

Pictured are peanuts from TJ's, almonds from Costco, bulk polenta, bulk wheat germ, bulk cornmeal, and bulk sunflower seeds. All were in plastic bags in either my cupboard or countertop canisters. Good bye!

Now to find a good way to label the jars... I'm thinking either chalkboard paint or just fancy stickers. How do you label?

It's Wednesday in March

my morning Yerba

the boy, self portrait

the teenager, undeniably a self portrait

the three year old who insists that a bathing suit that is too small, backwards, and a solo gardening glove is the proper attire for a cool march morning.

the toddler in the dirt, where she is most happy