Friday, December 11, 2009
and somewhere...off in the distance...a child yawns.
for some people, history is a big ole snore fest subject. i feel likewise about math. no. scratch that. i have a hatred beyond earthly realms towards math. but HISTORY....i like meself some history.
we are studying the ancients right now. we just covered the fertile crecent, the sumerians, and ancient mesopatmia. our curriculum, History Odyssey, gives some craft projects to look up. among those was one for a model ziggurat. zigga-what? oh yes....ziggurat. a temple for worshiping gods. the reference model given in my curriculum used plaster, clay, waiting...and waiting...and painting. ummm......not me. not now. not EVER. i have FOUR kids, one being an infant. so we improvised. i knew my stock of empty boxes that cluttered a cobwebbed corner of our schoolroom would come in handy someday.
try these websites/books for references of study:
The Story of the World: Volume 1, Susan Bauer
Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: an Activity Guide , Marion Broida
simply stack and glue or tape down large to small boxes, cut openings in each level, tear some strips of a box top to make stairs, have the kids make little men and food offerings on leftover scraps of boxes.
this went together in 12 minutes flat and the kids played with it for the next four days. but, of course, it is made with boxes...so don't expect it to withstand kid fingers and drooley two year olds.
p.s. bonus mommy points if you stand over the ziggurat while the kids are in mid play, and using your best mock "god" voice say, "INFIDELS! YOU HAVE ANGERED THE GODS! ROOOOOOARRRrrrrrrr," and tickle them silly.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
our first meeting we made small, freezable pizzas. month two brought meatballs and meatloaves, again a freezer staple. for november we got a head start on the christmas baking season and made bounds of cookies. oh, how i wish my newborn foggy brain would have let me remember to take pictures at those meetings!
but i was of right mind at this month's food club.
we made christmas candy. everyone brought their own supplies, recipes, and merry moods. there were 9 of us and about a million kids and the chatter and noise and good cheer was just what i needed to help boost me through this unfortunately stressful holiday season.
there were peanut butter balls, pretzels, and crackers that were given oozing heapfuls of chocolate. one brave soul made peppermint patties and i've no doubt her hands still smell like mint today. i even discovered a mother's secret recipe ingredient for her fudge....velvetta! i brought my mother's candy molds and made almond joys and mounds, along with almond studded white chocolate and some peppermint bark.
these treats won't last long if kept around for busy hands to snatch and toothy smiles to gobble.
i give you some "recipes". i am not a measure cook. i hate and despise to pull out my cup and measure anything, unless in the necessary case of baking. so these are guesstimations at the recipes i used. i encourage you to step out of your measuring spoon and make the knightly leap into willy-nilly chefing. you may have some pitfalls along the way, but i assure you that you will come out richer...
store all these candies in a covered container in cool, dark spot. do not refrigerate.
almond joys and mounds bars
milk chocolate or dark chocolate for melting (you can use chocolate flavored almond bark or milk
chocolate hershey bars)
sweetned flaked coconut
melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave until smooth (if using the microwave, cook for short increments and stir between each cycle--it will burn very quickly if let cook too long). using a small spoon to help, take a bit of chocolate and drizzle it in the bottom and up the sides of your molds. if you are making almond joys put an almond in the bottom and push it gently into the bottom chocolate. tap your mold against the counter to release any bubbles. freeze for a few minutes to harden. while your first molds freeze, mix your coconut (i used about 2 cups) with confectioners sugar (about 1/4 cup) and corn syrup (about 1/4 cup). it will be sticky and thick. pull the molds from the freezer and fill the cavity with your coconut mixture, leaving a bit of room on the sides for the top chocolate to fill in. cover with melted chocolate and tap again to let chocolate settle around the mixture. freeze again to set, just a minute or two.
makes about 20-25 candies.
for both the white chocolate with almonds and the peppermint bark i used the same chocolate mixture, and seperated it out into two equal portions.
white chocolate or almond bark
peppermint candies, crushed
melt your white chocolate or almond bark as directed above. chop mints and mix in with the peppermint bark batch. pour each batch onto seperate cookie sheets lined with wax paper and smooth out to about 1/4 inch thickness. gently press the whole almonds onto one batch, and gently press crushed peppermints onto the top of the peppermint bark batch. place cookie sheets in the freezer for a few minutes to set. break off into chunks.
my friend, kim, also made these cute little pretzel sticks. they were a huge hit with the kids.
colored melting chocolate
peppermint candies, crushed
melt chocolate. dip one end of the pretzel sticks into the chocolate and lay on a sheet of wax paper. sprinkle peppermints onto the chocolate before it cools. let cool in the freezer or on the counter.
i wish you all a happy holiday season and a merry christmas!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
some might say quiche is best suited for old ladies luncheons or tea banquets. but not me. tonight, as i settle back into my old--very pliable--skin, and also resume my vegetarian ways, i craved this eggy delight.
to cut calories, i made this quiche crustless. and, seeing as though i am the main grocery buyer and have.....you know....been birthing a baby and all.....our pantry was bare. so improvise i did!
typically i would make quiche with an assortment of specialized soft and hard cheeses. i had only cheddar and parmesan and sour cream on hand. i also added a dab of bottled dressing (i really don't know where i discovered that this added just the right zip to the quiche, but i have done it for the past 10 years and i like it...so there!).
this makes 2 small or one large quiche:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided into halves
1/3 fresh grated parmesan
2 tbs ranch dressing (or green goddess, or blue cheese)
diced yellow and red peppers
diced red onion
salt and pepper to taste
butter or no stick spray
beat eggs. add all ingredients to eggs except 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. mix well. pour into well greased glass baking dish. sprinkle cheddar on top. bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until center is set.
you can easily substitute the veggies for any that you like, or make a bacon and sausage one.
i served this with a simple fruit topped salad with nuts and a banana chocolate chip loaf . there is something deeply embedded in my palate that makes it a necessity to have a sweet bread when i make quiche or cheese grits. it is just a must.
3 over ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
butter or cooking spray
mush bananas in large bowl. in small bowl beat sugar, egg, and butter until creamy. add sugar mixture to banana along with the baking soda, flours, and milk. mix well but don't over mix. add chips. pour into well greased bread pan and bake at 350 for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, until center is done.
and this morning, my harrison sleeps.
how sweet it is.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
affectionately called harry. or, as my daughter refers to him, "the reason we didn't get to go to the beach this year".
mothering resumed almost immediately as my two year old decided his eye would apply itself nicely to a bed frame after i had been home from the hospital exactly one hour.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
i thank my mother for this tuna salad recipe. i have changed it only just barely from the original.
plain (full fat) yogurt
crispy crumbled bacon
itty bitty squeeze 'o lemon
salt and pepper to taste
mix and enjoy. i find this particular concoction is especially good as a tuna melt. here, my husband enjoyed it on a croissant toasted with provolone and, yes, more bacon.
this egg salad is absolutely my favorite. perfect for dipping crackers or veggies, a sandwich filling, topping a mix of salad greens, or eaten just with a spoon.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
since lunches around here aren't that fancy most days, i figured i would force some effort out since i was being a big lazy slug otherwise.
on a freezer scan i found a roll of leftover puff pastry dough. hmmm, that might make a crust for.....oh, yes....three cheese pizza!
a quick trip out the fig tree produced 3 perfectly ripe figs, i cut up a nectarine and some romaine, sprinkled some queso seco. voile, salad!
my mom was off today, so a quick call provided me some additional company.
lovely afternoon, indeed!
Monday, September 7, 2009
this jewel is called Fellowship. i L-O-V-E it. it is a family game that we had when i was young.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
there is a local group here that meets up twice a month called Moms 4 Moms. you get the idea of what it's about. this group was integral to my early motherhood survival. i try to show up now and then to make appearances, catch up with old friends, meet new moms, and hug everyone. and especially now that we are slowing down our school schedule in preparation for the baby, i wanted to come and show my support and let people dote on my glowing belly.
one of my favorite parts of this day is browsing the give away tables. people simply drop off what they don't want and it is just like Christmas to a gal like me. i never go away empty handed. i have gotten cloth diapers, clothes, toys, shoes, martha stewart mags....you name it. today was no different.
i got the flowered plates and wooden platters shown above. i can see these flower plates filled with splendid leafy salads and dainty sandwiches, and the large platters will suit any fresh baked bread loaf just right.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
baking these makes your entire house smell like christmas and cheer. and in the ravages of hot hot summers, don't we all need a little christmas and cheer?
this is a bread machine recipe.
scant 1 cup milk (that means, just shy of one cup)
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 ts salt
6 tbs sugar
1/4 cup butter softened
1 ts rapid rise yeast
for the filling
2 tbs butter, melted
2/3 cup chopped dried fruit, we had dried cherries on hand
3 tbs orange marmalade
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice (i did not have this so we just mixed cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
for the glaze
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbs water
zest of lemon or orange
makes about 12 buns
all bread machines are different. ours calls for liquid first and yeast last. add milk and egg. cover with flour. make indentations in separate corners of flour for salt, sugar, and butter. make a well in center for the yeast (being sure to not touch the liquid beneath). set the bread machine to dough setting and press start.
lightly grease a large baking pan with sides.
when dough cycle finishes, remove dough and place on lightly floured surface. punch down dough and then roll out to form a large rectangle. brush dough with melted butter. mix ingredients in separate bowl, then spread over the dough, leaving 1 inch border along the edges. roll the dough up, like a jelly roll, and press edges to seal. cut the roll into about 12 buns and place cut side up in the prepared pan.
cover and let set for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size. bake 15-20 minutes at 400. cool completely. mix the ingredients in a small bowl for the glaze. once buns are cool, spread glaze over the entire top.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
after suffering through a bad bout of flu here, i am back into the land of posting.
with the help of my propitious cake here.
it is like a mounds bar, except crumbly.
whichever way you make it, from scratch or not, it will be sure to please the chocolate lovers palate.
milk chocolate cake, milk chocolate frosting, and then mush a coconut frosting hat upon the top.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
the verdict: resplendently beautiful to the palette
Friday, July 17, 2009
amazing how much older he looks. even his limbs look longer.