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September 2010

Loaves to Fishermen

Loaves to fisherman ad_small

I found out about this today, and had to share it with you, especially for any locals that visit this space. We're heading to Lafayette on Friday to meet up with some homeschool friends and we're planning a special stop into the Great Harvest Bread Company to send a message of hope, thanks and delicious bread to the fishermen of the Gulf Coast. This a wonderful tangible service opportunity for kids to be part of, my own are looking forward to handwriting notes on our donated loaves.

A little help and a little hope can go a long way.

{If you can't make a personal visit, I have a feeling you could call in your order :: 337-236-8966}

 


Monday Bites ~ Naan {pita}

fresh naan
       

After yet another delicious dinner featuring this easy and versatile flat bread, I had to share this very, very simple recipe. When I cook it, I do it in a cast iron pan over the stove. It puffs up and makes delicious pitas. When Joe cooks it he does it over the charcoals outside, which makes a very tender moist naan (no pocket). Both ways are fabulous! We've been eating these once a week lately with fresh homemade hummus, raw veggies, rice and curry sauce, grilled veggies. Last night Joe roasted garlic and mixed it with a little olive oil... smeared on a hot piece of fresh naan... wow! And they're wonderful with goat cheese too..... and well, I think you get the idea they are just good with anything!

Remember our Roasted Veggie Pizza recipe? This is the crust recipe, which can be made in a bread machine on the dough setting, How easy is that?


Naan ~ Pita ~ Flat Bread

1.5 cups of warm water (80-90 degrees)

1/2 tsp sugar

3 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp salt

2.5 tsp yeast


*mix these up in a bowl and let them sit until a little frothy from the yeast, then mix in...

1 cup of wheat flour

2-3 cups of white flour

  

*keep adding the white flour until the dough is pliable and soft but no longer sticky. let it rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes. 

  

*If using a bread machine, add the items in the following order : water, sugar, oil, salt, flour, yeast. In a bread machine you will need 3 cups of white flour & 1 cup of wheat flour. (use dough setting and then follow directions below)

   

*after the first rise punch down the dough and cut it into 10-14 pieces about 3 inches around in size. lightly flour these and let them rise for 20 minutes or so. roll them flat & thin with a rolling pin and flour. cook over charcoals on a rack, much like cooking pizza on the grill or in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil. keep them warm in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin as you cook them (see above photo).

  

the skillet method: (excuse the poor lighting in our kitchen)

skillet method 1 

toss the flat dough piece into a preheated lightly oiled pan....

  

skillet method 2 

when it starts to get all puffy flip it... lightly brown on both sides and its done.

  

Smear with roasted garlic and olive oil, goat cheese or dip in curry sauce or homemade hummus.... see I'm getting carried away again....

  

Enjoy :)

     


Sid

Sid

You would think I had just asked him to clean up!

   

Some friends of ours just lost their furry pal of ten years this week. It made me look at our own nearly 9 year old furry family member in a whole new light. 

I've often told people : "A dog is like a kid that's not allowed in a hotel."

To all my fellow friends who move every couple of years, you know exactly what I mean by this. 

8 years ago with a round pregnant belly (Soph) we went to pick out Sid from a litter of pups. Actually we were just going to look at them, ha! No one ever just looks at puppies. Joe had narrowed the 4 male puppies down to two that he liked... we played with them and he chose an adorable chocolate brown and white speckled pup with a perfect bullseye spot on it's side. As we continued to play with the pups and get to know their parents a bit, I noticed the first pup we had picked up had not left Joe's side. It was the strangest thing, but he followed Joe all through the yard. Sitting at his feet whenever he stopped walking. Joe was watching the kid puppy interaction and hadn't noticed. 

"You can't have bullseye," I said to him finally, and then pointed down at his feet "that one all ready chose you."

He looked down and there sat the number two choice. Sweet floppy ears and big brown eyes. Little tail wagging. Still seated directly at Joe's feet. 

It was puppy love.

As we drove away, that little nine week old ball of fur on my lap began to howl... a three year Jade burst into tears "We have to take him back to his family!" she wailed. We assured her we could be his family now, that she would be his new sister and Sam would be his new brother. 

And that is just the way it's been. He is our furry son.

This dog of ours is the gentlest dog I have known with both the kids and the crazy 11 pound cat (see here) that uses him as a spring board. He never ate a chicken, though I am sure he thought, perhaps even dreamed, of doing so. He follows the kids from room to room to check on them. Sleeps under their beds. Is hilariously afraid of thunder and nervous about suitcases and moving boxes. Wags his tail and nudges my hand with his nose every time I buy him a bag dog food, as if to say thank you. Is incredibly loyal. He barks at Joe daily when he comes home from work, drives me crazy and makes me laugh (see here and here and here). Whenever we leave, he is at the door waiting, tail wagging when we return. His most favorite place to be is right in the middle of the chaos of our big noisy family.

And this week, I was reminded of how thankful I am that he chose us.

All of the above sentimental rambling could be rolled in to two words that would be good enough for Sid.

  

"Good Dog"

   


Creating a Nourishing Home

beeswax
 
 

Over the past few months I've gotten to know Donna Ashton little by little through The Waldorf Connection.

After listening to the first 2 series I was hooked! Over the summer I've been slowly listening to the Homeschool Expo that Donna most recently put together. It is such a wealth of wonderful information. I am finally starting to feel like I understand Waldorf Education. 

One of the most wonderful things about all of this information is that it is put together by a pro homeschooling community of people. In the beginning there was much debate in the Waldorf world as to wether or not true Waldorf could even be done in a homeschool setting. Fortunately more and more people are receptive to Waldorf at Home. In the past, each "show" was an hour long talk between Donna and an expert. Of course most of them would not refer to themselves as experts, but for those of us just getting our feet wet, they certainly are a wealth of knowledge! 

If you have questions about Waldorf, or just want some good positive information on Waldorf Homeschooling, these are wonderful resources to explore. Donna offers past shows in the series and also in smaller theme based packages.

This afternoon Donna is exploring the early years of Waldorf and you can "attend" the event for free by registering here : The Waldorf Association  

It should be a very inspiring and creative event, I hope you can make it!

      


Basil, and confessions of a crappy gardener

trim
 

So my dreams of living a crunchy sustainable life may be a bit, well, shall we say far fetched?

At least, with the gardening aspect.

"I just toss seeds in the ground and they grow!" report far too many of my friends.....

Well, do you suppose they might come toss the seeds in at my place? I could use some help.

I suck at gardening. (that is a bad word in our house, by the way)

I can grow rosemary. I can grow tomatoes. I can grow basil.

Mountains of basil.

lap full of basil
 
 

A very small amount of carrots and lettuce made their way to our plates last winter...... but for the amount I put in the ground..... not much makes it to the table. I'm not whining here, just being completely honest at my inability to feed my people from the family garden. I can't grow dark leafy greens or beets no matter how I try.

I can't even grow zucchini. (I hear you gasping!)

This fall I was so ready to toss in the towel....

Until that husband of mine, in the gentlest way he could, said this to me:

"So you're just gonna give up?"

"Ha" I scoffed. "Give up, uhm, of course not."

And with a very grumbled spirit I spent the weekend working the beds.... adding manure.... piles of our own homemade compost.... 

5 garden beds and several large pots later I had a little hope as I planted some seeds.... some seedlings..... 

Nothing like a sore back and dirty fingernails to ground your soul and give you hope.

As I tended to the beds this weekend I cut back a HUGE armful of basil. My big girl followed me around the garden snapping photos as I trimmed.... 

armful
  

pesto to be
  

pesto ice cubes

      pesto ice cubes

  

After several batches of homemade lemon pesto were made to freeze and save for the winter I gently reminded my stubborn heart to not give up.... to keep on keeping on. And somehow this week with those thoughts in my mind I stumbled upon this quote....

   

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are"

~Theodore Roosevelt


 Sometimes, I think the universe just has perfect timing......

   

~~all the garden photos were taken by my Jade girl~~

  


dust covers for the girls

So it seems as if the sewing duo (aka the girls) are here to stay out on the table. I've been sewing almost daily, no sense in putting them away. But they were naked! Or "nakey" as we say in our house..... so after scrounging around in my fabric stash and remembering a few yards of oil cloth I bought on sale months ago.... I came to this idea. 

  

  oil cloth covers

 sergers are a funny shape!

     

I sewed one up for Miss 11's machine first..... yes we finally put my old machine in the girls room (more on that soon). And I loved it so much that my serger and sewing machine got one next. They were all made up after dinner before bedtime in a flurry of tracing and cutting and sewing..... 

   

stitch detail

stitching detail

    

Basically you just need to measure the sides of your machine, add a 1/2 inch seam allowance and an inch for the bottom hem. I sergered them together and used a decorative stitch to hem the bottom. Or you can trace an old cover if you happen to have one. They aren't perfect, but you know they keep the dust off a sewing machine rather well, and best of all they look smashing with turquoise and orange. Oh, I am smitten with this print!

Happy stitching friends!

(oil cloth is Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner)

   


Monday Bites ~ DIY Sprouts

These little green bits are a favorite around here. My little guy will eat them be the handful (or mouthful) if given the chance to do so.

At $3 - $4 for a plastic pack full of them at the grocery store we long ago decided they were a treat. Something to relish every now and then. Over the summer we've gotten the hang of making them by ourself. Not only is it economical, but friendly to the earth too. And the little guy can eat as much as his sprout loving tummy desires.

These would have been especially appreciated back in the cold months of Wisconsin winters when there seemed to be not a fresh local green leafy vegetable in sight for months....... 

We eat these in salads, on sandwiches and yes, by the handful.

    

seed soaking 

      

Start by soaking a Tablespoon of sprouting seed in a quart sized mason jar of water for about 10-12 hours.

  Drain the water, rinse the seeds and rinse every so often throughout the day. Leave in a sunny place on the kitchen counter or in a windowsill.  I try to rinse mine 4 or 5 times throughout the day.... since they are on the counter at room temp, they will mold if not rinsed often. They need rinsed 3 times a day minimum.

    

sprouts
    

By day two you will have little green sprouts and by day 4/5 they will be ready to eat. We find that a Tablespoon nearly fills a mason jar in about 6 days. We let our sprouts get a wee bit bigger than the grocery store variety. (A little more sprout for your time/money in my opinion)

Add hummus and naan and enjoy....... oh---so---good.

   

sprouts 2 

   
  

PS - We've had great luck with this sprout mix, we use the salad blend with lentils in it, yum.  

   


Pollywog Britches & Autumn Tenderfoot Bags

And the name is:

Pollywog Britches!

   pollywog britches debut!
   

A mix of my hubby's suggestion and Rachel's suggestion.

{which means Rachel, you are getting a much coveted jar of wild picked blackberry jam, I know full well you will savor every bit of it!}

And if I had enough jam to share with you all, I certainly would.... perhaps we should organize a homemade preserve swap.... now that would be fun!

Along with the new linen britches, there are some limited edition autumn Tenderfoot bags......

   

autumn bags 

      

Thank you all for the great suggestions. Sharing shop happenings with all of you is great fun.... thanks for sharing the excitement in the debut of the Pollywog Britches..... and not that I'm trying to sell you stuff, because I see this space as being more friend than business based...... but if you did have your eye on a little something from the shop..... in the "message to seller" type in the code : GYPSYPAL15 to receive a 15% discount off your order. The coupon is good through Monday 9/20. Discount will be refunded via paypal.

There should be some perks for being my pal, right :)

Happy Weekending!