Crazy Busy

Life seems to go at lightening speed during the summer. In between all the craziness, we bought a beautiful mini Jersey cow and her adorable calf. Just had to share a picture of her. We also started up with a pastured egg business. With about 230 chickens, we are looking for outlets. We’ve been setting up drop points for an egg CSA, as well as servicing restaurants in Nashville and working with local store fronts to stock our wonderful product. 

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Baby girl and Caleb

I have been working on some egg recipes, since we have an abundance now; so will be posting soon! Enjoy this lovely summer God has blessed us with.

Vanilla Sauce – refined sugar and dairy free

Homemade ice cream in the evening topped with chocolate sauce and freshly picked strawberries is just amazing. For variety, I have been tinkering with a vanilla sauce instead. I LOVE it. I used it today as a dip for our strawberries…yum. If you’re looking to get your 4 tablespoons of healing coconut oil, this is a simple and delicious way.  I use coconut oil not only for its amazing healing properties for post-partum, but also for the nutrient value I need while nursing and its nourishing effects on the thyroid to improve metabolism. Well, really, there are so many other great benefits to coconut oil, you could go and read one of the many books written about its amazing design. 

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photo credit

Vanilla Sauce

makes about 1/3 cup sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 TB coconut oil, melted
  • 1 heaping TB coconut milk powder
  • pinch of pink salt
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or small scoop of a vanilla bean caviar 

Method:

~ Just mix all ingredients well in a small bowl. If poured on something cold, it will harden like a shell; left out during the summer, it is still sauce like and can be used as a dip.

Enjoy!

Sprouted Sourdough Bread

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As I was healing my body from hypoglycemia, I avoided any unsprouted grains. However, buying sprouted bread at the store was no cheap endeavor. So, I began searching for recipes to make my own sprouted bread at home. It was a bit of a more lengthy process than just making bread from flour, but it was so worth the health benefits. Plus, after learning about all the issues with gluten, I didn’t want any extra in my sprouted bread! So we lived on sprouted bread for quite some time while with God’s help, I healed my pancreas through a real foods diet.

After healing that area, I was introduced to the amazing, health-filled world of sourdough. I could not go back to yeasted breads now. Too many wonderful, sustainable results happen with a living, active culture. I have been loving my sourdough bread, which is a daily staple around our home. But every once in a while, it’s nice to have some variety. I had a hankering for some sprouted bread again recently (well actually, my youngest daughter put the thought in my head when she asked why we never had any sprouted, not sour bread any more?), but instead of using yeast, I thought I would try the sourdough starter as my “yeast”. As you can see in the above photo, it did rise some, but not quite as high as it would if there were some gluten in there. Since that is not going to happen, I am content with a slightly denser loaf, packed with uncompromising nutritional value. I expected it to bear a hint of tangy flavor, but to my surprise, there was none. With that in mind, I might add more starter next time and see if it helps improve the rise a little, without adding much tang.  I will update if this is the case. Without further delay…

Sprouted Sourdough Bread

makes 2 loaves

Note: You will need to sprout half of a gallon sized bucket of spelt berries – half of them you will use wet, the other half will need to be dried and milled.  For my process of sprouting, see end of recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sprouted, wet berries (I used spelt)
  • 2 cups hot water, filtered
  • 4 tsp Real Salt, or other non-refined salt
  • 3 cups sprouted spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup active sourdough starter

Method:

  1. Place wet berries and water in food processor or Blendtec type blender. Pulverize until in a smooth, dough-like consistency (or your blender starts dancing around the counter).
  2. Pour above dough into a mixer along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix on medium until dough is formed and is elastic. If too sticky, add more flour, if too dry, add more starter or water.
  3. Divide into 2 equal balls, round out to loaves and place in well-greased and floured bread pans (I use palm shortening to grease and brown rice flour to dust).
  4. Allow to rise on the counter until almost to the top of the pan (remember it does not rise much) -about 4-5 hours.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for between 40-50 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before slicing, if you can stand it. It locks in the flavor nicely.

Though I have not seen any studies on the gluten level of sprouted grains, I sense that it is low to non-existent. If there were more gluten, the dough would rise, for one. But for another, I would react to it. Since neither is happening around here, I am pretty happy with my sprouted grains as a nourishing option.

*Side note on sprouting/My Method:

  1. Two nights in advance, I soak the spelt berries in a plastic gallon bucket.
  2. Next morning, I drain off the water (could be recycled into rejuvalac or for chickens). I place the berries in 2 strainers, rinse a bit, and cover with towel (to keep pests away, or nosy kids).
  3. That evening, I usually see some tails, so I place half of the berries in baking sheets and put in the oven on the lowest temp (170) for the night (12-18 hours). The other half goes into a bag and into the fridge.
  4. The next morning, if the berries are completely dry, I mill them. I now have flour, and wet berries ready to go for the bread. Extra berries can be used to make sprouted pancakes or muffins (with sourdough starter, no less- stay tuned for the recipes!

Find more Real Food recipes at Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays.

Summer Schedule for Education and Beyond

Warmer weather, longer days, colors blooming everywhere – it’s officially summer here. As we have wrapped up our books for the past school year, it is time to get on with a new schedule. We educate year round. I mean, why not? Life is constantly happening, why would we stop learning? I also am not a fan of the brain fog that comes at the beginning of the school year or the fight against having to sit and do some lessons after several months of play time. I learned that the first year we homeschooled. Now, we simply take off time as we need to throughout the year: for outings, field trips, road trips, visits, and holidays. During the warmer months, we put up some of our subjects on a former level – like Latin, Poetry memorization, formal history/geography lessons, and composition/formal writing.

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I also allow for more child-led schooling during the summer. We frequent the library with a list for each of the children. I ask them to get at least one book in each topic: poetry, literature, history, biography, hobby/skill, and science. Those are the books they read during out quiet reading time. For the smaller ones who are still learning to read, I am loving the Playaways from the library, where each can listen to a classic children’s book on headphones. They’re enjoying Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Wind in the Willows, CS Lewis, and more. So wonderful if you don’t have the money to invest in books on CD; or if you have many children on different reading/learning levels and can’t read to everyone all the time. Definitely into making life more manageable.

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I post the schedule though, not as something that everyone should be doing, but merely because it always helped and encouraged me to see how others structured their days when they had a lot to do, and many hands to keep busy.  I also don’t really include a lot of actual times, because for us it’s more of an order of events than of a time schedule. Also helps me not watch the clock or ever feel like we’re “behind”. Life happens and the schedule is made to work for us, not the other way around.

Summer Schedule

6:30-9:30             Morning chores, Early school work (consisting of Math, Language                      Lessons, and Copywork)

9:30-12                Project of the week (skill or new hobby, research time) and free time

12-1                     Lunch and afternoon chores

1-3                       Quiet Time – required reading, audiobooks, art, crafting

3-4                       Free Time

4-5                       Help a buddy (the older ones get a younger buddy and supervise them so I can make dinner with my helper)

Evening               Dinner, clean up

Free Time

Evening Chores (2 children to a room for clean up)

Baths and Story Time

8:30-9:30             Bed – we do staggered bed times according to age

On Fridays, the children are starting up a presentation of the projects or subjects they learned about that week. Last week was our first viewing, still some tweaking to do, but it really was fun. Caleb created a nature house out of objects he found outside. He also put on a puppet show, which ran a little long, but he can work on it. His set and puppets were really neat though, and the little ones love puppet shows. Isaiah had some lego creations, as well as a drawing of the 9/11 attacks and a short description of why we should remember that day. Micaiah had a slide show presentation of pictures she’s been taking and editing. Nathaniel and Hannah had cardboard box buildings and pictures. Mikey just talked about someone else’s bottle rocket. Lastly Ian told us about his drawings. I was pleasantly surprised, and also made notes on how we could make the evening run smoother.

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I also want to get back on track with daily devotions in the morning. To help spread the responsibility and thus ownership of it, I have assigned a day to each of the three oldest to lead a different day. Mornings are tough for me, but I really hope this works 🙂 It usually takes a couple of weeks for a new schedule to stick or work without constant supervision. Every day is a new day to start again!

What about you? How are you enjoying your summer?

(photo credits to my daughter, Micaiah)

Tuscan Soup

Our natural living group gathered this weekend for our monthly potbless. I love gathering with other real foodies to share a nourishing meal. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be at a food sharing event and not have to watch my children like a hawk to make sure they don’t get some offending food stuff; or battle the younger ones after they’ve already snatched some junk food. I appreciate the community we have here and look forward to it ever growing and learning together. After asking my friend’s daughter on what dish to bring, we settled on an Italian vegetable soup, using what produce is in season here now. Here’s the creation:

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photo credit

Tuscan Soup

(Enough to feed a small army)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 gallon chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 quart stewed tomatoes, preferably home canned and organic
  • 4 cups lima beans, soaked and cooked
  • 1-2 cups quinoa, soaked in acid medium first for about 15 minutes and rinsed (to help eliminate any bitter aftertaste)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • swiss chard – 1 1/2 large bunches, chopped
  • kale – 4 cups, chopped (could also use beet tops or any other seasonal green)
  • 4 TB Herbes de Provence (I used Frontier’s)
  • Pink (or Real or Celtic) salt to taste

Method:

    1. Using a large stockpot, add all ingredients but the greens.
    2. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until quinoa is cooked – taste and add salt as needed.
    3. Add as many greens as you can possibly fit into the pot, cook them down a little and more if possible. 
    4. Cook until the stems on the greens are soft, but not mushy.
    5. Serve with some aged Italian cheese.

Pair with a fresh, garden salad with the Creamy Italian Dressing, some Ginger Apple Kefir, and enjoy with good friends and family.