Baby’s 1st Birthday Cupcakes

Happy Birthday to James! He turns 1 today. He has been such a blessing to our family with his sweet spirit and amiable personality. We decided to make him vanilla cupcakes, nourishing real food style with cream cheese frosting. For birthdays I typically use organic coconut flour with raw honey, but since I am out for the month, sprouted flour will be just fine. I also wait until baby is about 18 months old before introducing honey, so this recipe uses sucanat instead. In general, I try to use a lot less sugar than most recipes – even the “real food” ones. as to assist my children in developing a healthy palate for what sweet is sufficient for a body to handle efficiently and without recourse. Treats are just that – a treat and shouldn’t be the main event, nor should anyone be in a coma or hyper-active after enjoying. This way we can enjoy our treats daily – whether it’s a cookie after lunch, or homemade ice cream after dinner – and still be uncompromisingly nourished.

jamescupcakes

Nourished Style Vanilla Cupcakes

makes about 26 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic butter
  • 1 tsp real salt
  • 3 TB GMO free baking powder
  • 4 pastured eggs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 2/3 cup filtered water (or raw milk, or coconut milk)
  • 2 cups sucanat
  • dash of stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 2 TB vanilla extract
  • about 4 cups sprouted flour (each flour has its own texture and requires slightly different amounts of hydration, so just watch for a good cake batter consistency as you mix)

Method:

  1. Add ingredients to Blendtec (Vitamix) with wet ingredients first then dry.
  2. If not using a blender, melt oils and add all ingredients to a mixer and mix well.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 365 for 20-25 minutes (if you want them to rise, and 325 if you want them flat for frosting).
  4. Remove and allow to cool fully before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening
  • 1 cup powdered sucanat (I powder it in my Magic Bullet – 1 cup at a time)
  • dash of stevia
  • dash of pink salt
  • scant tsp of vanilla bean powder (I got mine from our Frontier buying club)
  • 2-4 TB goat milk, or any raw organic milk (using goat for the baby)

Method:

  1. Powder sucanat in Blendtec or Bullet – add 1 cup and let it run for 60 sec.
  2. Mix cream cheese and shortening.
  3. Add salt, stevia, and vanilla.
  4. Alternatively add milk and sugar until well combined.
  5. Allow to whip up at a higher speed until nice and fluffy.
  6. Keep refridgerated until ready to frost cupcakes.

jamesfirstbirthday

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)

Pizza Night

Friday night is our pizza night around here. Something we have done for years since the oldest were little. Before my nourishing foodie ways, I would buy pizza crusts, and prepare my own pizza with canned toppings and pre-shredded cheese. We’ve come a long way, baby. Here’s our pizza for this evening:

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(picture credit to my daughter)

  • made with sourdough crust from this recipe
  • homegrown tomatoes, home canned to make a savory marinara sauce
  • grass-fed, raw cheese from personal farmers
  • bellini mushrooms and kale for a bit of pizzazz

It was quite delicious. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Honor and thanks to our veterans!

Movie Agenda Review

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
― John Adams

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – Declaration of Independence

If we were not endowed with these rights by our Creator, then who gave us these rights? In our godless culture today, this is not a common belief anymore. Man is now the standard and the people in power get to dictate who has what rights. We live in very grievous times.

If we do not want to repeat history from other socialist countries, we must be informed. We need to know what is really going on. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Get informed. We can’t afford to do nothing. Our children’s future is at stake. Would I say watch this movie? Uh, yea. It lays out the times we live in very well; giving historical basis for everything. Check it out.

 

Chocolate Cake

Today is my fourth child’s seventh birthday. Each child is allowed to pick his/her birthday dinner and also flavor of cake. Now that Micaiah (my eldest) is into cake decorating, she also asks what colors they would like. She received a cake decorating kit for her birthday along with these completely natural dyes for her frostings. Nathaniel picked chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, with blue and yellow decor. I will definitely post some pictures later if my 3 year old doesn’t smear his fingers all over the cake like he did for my birthday cake. 🙂

I love Elana’s Pantry for dessert recipes. However, I am not a fan of grapeseed oil or agave nectar. So, I do make slight changes on her overall excellent recipes. Here is one I adapted from her German Chocolate Cake:

Chocolate Cake – with coconut flour

serves our family twice

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sucanat, rapadura, or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon real salt
  • 2/3 cup palm shortening
  • 10 pastured eggs
  • 1/3 cup cream, preferably raw and grass-fed
  • 1 dropper vanilla stevia

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients first in the mixing bowl.
  2. Add shortening and let mix well.
  3. Add each egg individually, while mixer is running on low.
  4. Add stevia and cream last.
  5. Let mix on medium speed for several minutes.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven in a 9x 13 greased pan, or 2 circle pans at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. A knife should come out clean when it is done.
  8. Let cool completely before decorating.
  9. Enjoy with some real butter frosting, or just lightly dusted with homemade powdered sugar.

 

Thanksgiving Menu

I love big family meal get togethers. I cherish holidays with meaning. It is truly a blessing to be able to gather together and enjoy good, nourishing food with a family.

This year, I will be using (and some re-using) the following recipes for our day of Thanks:

Pear Cider Herbed Stuffing (using sprouted bread)

Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Spice Brined Turkey

Green Italian Salad

Garlicy Green Beans

Praline Topped Squash (using this recipe for inspiration, but using sucanat, sprouted flour, and pastured dairy and eggs)

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Deviled Eggs

And for dessert my mom is bringing:

Pumpkin Pie

Vanilla Trifle Cake (coconut flour cake – using honey instead of agave, with pudding layered in with fresh berries and dark chocolate chunks)

Chocolate Truffle Cake

On Friday, we will be making canolis, an Italian family tradition. This will be my first time making them. My sweet Sicilian grandmother usually makes them. We also usually had lasagna with our Thanksgiving meal; but I think we will have to make that tradition for the day after from now on; to be enjoyed more fully.

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be grateful for.

Too Cute

Even the little ones like to get in on Scripture night. Mikey has been working on his John 3:16 for a little while now. Then recently Ian wanted in on the action and decided that if I recite the Scripture, it still counts.