Thursday, March 5, 2009

Been a little "under the weather"

We have had some of the crud that is going around but I also have been having some other issues and was not able to spend much time on the computer. I am praying that I am better and will be doing some updating and adding lots of posts. I am going to be speaking at our homeschool group when we have what are called Mini-groups. There will be various topics being spoken about at the same time. Mine is about saving money in the kitchen. When I get that finished I will post it on here.
I need to go make bread. I have made a sourdough a few times but I don't like how it has turned out so I am going to make the bread that I made on here again. I really like this bread and I know that it works.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am here- alive- but ended up getting the "crud" that is going around

I thought I would post while I was sitting here in bed- yes bed. How does a mother of lots manage to get into bed at 7 on a Saturday night? I can tell you it wasn't easy. I have planned school today, washed clothes, cleaned, prepped in the kitchen, prepped for Church in the morning and I am not feeling well. I said that I am done so I am taking a break and looking around the net and eating ice cream. Ice cream is sickness cure isn't it? I was always taught that. I did put a banana in it to make it healthy. ;-)
I have a kombucha scoby and made my tea and now have it fermenting. I have my sourdough souring too. Now that we are in a house again, I am going to try and do as much healthy stuff that I can. I would like to add that we are not very healthy. We eat too much stuff that we shouldn't, i.e. the ice cream, but I do try to make what I can and be as healthy as we can be. I know I have said this before, but it is really nice to be back in a house in my hometown with our family and friends. I hope to keep working on my blog and changing a few things around.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tassajara Bread Recipe

As I said yesterday, I made homemade whole wheat bread yesterday. Guess what, not only did it turn out great, it tasted fabulous! My kids LOVED it. It wasn't hard to make. I can definitely see myself making this a few times a week. If you decided to try it, you can play with it a bit. My loaves weren't as big as I would have liked, but they were big enough. I think I needed more liquid, but I will make this as close to the recipe as possible another time before I change things. I tweak and change things all of the time, but when it comes to bread, I am not that comfortable with changing ingredients or amounts. This recipe made two loaves for me that had a good crumb and made great slices. Without any more chatter, here is the recipe:

1 1/2 Tbl Yeast
3 C Lukewarm Water
1/4 C Honey or molasses (I think brown sugar can be used to)
1 C Dry milk
7-8 Whole wheat flour
4 t Salt
1/3 C Oil or melted butter
Egg wash (I didn't use)

Take out a large bowl and put in yeast and water. Mix until yeast dissolves. Stir in honey or molasses and dry milk. Once the sweetener and milk are mixed in, start stirring in 4 cups of the flour. This needs to be like mud. Once the 4 cups of flour are mixed in, you need to keep stirring for 100 strokes. Put the bowl in a warm spot to allow the dough to rise, about 45 minutes. You just made a bread sponge.
After the sponge has rested and risen, it is now time to add the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the salt and oil. Once those are mixed in, you need to start adding in 3 more cups of the flour, one cup at a time. You might or might not need the extra cup of flour. I think it depends on humidity or something like that (although I am not sure). I just add enough to where the dough is just barely sticky. Once the flour is mixed in, it is time to knead it. Knead the dough for ten minutes, until it is nice and smooth. Put the dough ball in a bowl that has been coated with oil. When you put the ball in, flip it over. You are coating both sides of the dough with oil. Allow to rise until double, around 40-60 minutes. Punch down the dough and let rise again, until double in size, around 40-60 minutes.
Take dough out of bowl and separate into two equal loaves. Place your dough into bread pans that have been greased with butter or oil. Smoosh and smash the dough into the pan until it fills the entire bottom of the pan fairly evenly. Now, flip the bread over. Do this to the second piece of dough. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Supposedly if you tap your bread and it sounds hollow, it is done. I just wait until the house smells like bread and the top is starting to get brown. This took around 40 minutes. As soon as the bread is out of the oven, take out of bread pans and let cool on a rack. Once cool, slice and eat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Making things from scratch again- Yay!

I am starting to get back into the swing of things in the kitchen. I have not made homemade wholewheat bread in a while, but today I made two loaves. I don't have have things to make it easier, I did the kneaded myself. I actually enjoyed this today. I haven't tasted it yet but I do hope it tastes great. I also made buttermilk for the first time. I plan on making old fashioned buttermilk pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, but you have to have part of the mixture soak overnight.
I am really hoping to get Kombucha going again soon. I don't have a scoby and I really hope that someone in the local homeschool group makes their own so I can get a scoby- but if not, I will see if the healthfood store has some.
I really, really miss traveling and being on the road, but I also really, really enjoy being in a house again and being creative in the kitchen. The kids are flourishing in church and at home- no complaints here!! If the bread tastes good, I will post the recipe on here tomorrow. :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Menu for the week

Here is my menu for the week:
Monday- Homemade chicken noodle soup
Tuesday- Enchiladas with refried beans, Mexican rice and guacamole
Wednesday-Spaghetti with salad and breadsticks
Thursday- Salsa chicken casserole with leftover refried beans
Friday-Eating at friends and watching Fireproof
Saturday- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and another veggie
Sunday-Leftovers (plan to make enough meatloaf for either meatloaf sandwiches or a repeat of Saturday's meal)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life resumes its' normal speed

Living in a house again has been fun, rejuvenating and easy to get back into the flow of things. I really do miss traveling and getting out everyday and "doing stuff", however, this just feels so natural again. Getting up, doing my morning routine, getting school going, cooking meals INSIDE, etc. We are hoping to get a garden going soon too. I have found a few things out while setting up home again....
1. It is much easier to clean when you have less stuff. I know we have all heard the stuff about decluttering but I don't think I have actually followed through completely. We only had what would fit inside of a very small space, approximately 7X12. We had no knickknacks or any of those types of items. Our house is now decorated very simply and guess what, it is much easier to clean. If I am going to bring more things in, I will see what I can remove. No need adding more clutter and dust collectors- I have better things to do with my time.
2. By keeping things simple, it frees up my time. I have more time to spend with my kids, homeschooling, cooking and my own interests. I have been spending some time in eschatology and garden planning. I remember often feeling like I was always playing catch up. Not so now. I know that I have things to do, but I am able to stay on top of things. This isn't because I am SuperMom (although I joke sometimes about that) but it has to do with starting back up with not much and freeing up my time.
3. Because of 1 and 2, I have much more peace in my life. I am able to spend my time on the things are much more important, my relationship with God, my husband, my children and my friends!
I guess decluttering properly really does make a difference!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bad weather day

Well, sort of. Hubby is working from home today. He has been doing some work for his old boss and since they are calling for ice, he is able to get all of his work done from home. We had our home phone turned on today. Yippee!! I haven't had a phone, and it has been hard. One night dh ended working till almost 10, and I didn't have a phone for him to let me know. Now we have one and I already feel so much better. One thing about homeschooling, we can school during ice storms or not. We are at least getting the basics done and I will do our read aloud and history after lunch.
I have a hard time coming up with a menu that I will stick with. I might try my hand at stretchy beans. I am not sure if Robin at LentilsandRiceblogspot (she has stopped posting for a bit and taken her stuff off the blog) coined that phrase or not, but I think it is a great idea. You make a lb of beans go farther than one meal, usually 3. She really had great frugal and healthy ideas using her stretchy bean recipes. Here is an example of how me sticking with a recipe doesn't exactly work- I used 1 1/2 lb pinto beans and cooked them in the CP. I them made them into refried beans with some seasonings and a half pound of chorizo. Friday night we had burritos with the beans, a little cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa. Saturday I made the beans into nachos. There was still plenty left, so I threw two chicken breasts in the CP, add a bit of salsa and taco seasoning and let that cook while we were at church. I made Mexican rice when we came back and we had chicken tacos, Mexican rice and refried beans. There was still a little bit of those beans left, so I combined the leftover chicken and refried beans, and a can of kidney beans that I mashed into the bean and chicken mix. I spread this onto tostada shells and topped with a sprinkling of quesadilla cheese. So, I managed to stretch the pot of refried beans into almost 4 meals. We were feeding an extra kid for 3 of these meals, so I might have had enoough to make this 4th meal. I hope I can do at least one stretchy bean cycle once a week. Beans are cheap and nutritious, which is a plus for me. DH still doesn't have an official job and things are about to get really tight. Time to really get creative. :-)