It's that time of year again! Josiah likes to show off all his pumpkins.
What a couple of cuties if I do say so myself!
She kind of has the teeth of jack'0'lantern
Michael had the honor of scooping the guts out. Hailey just wanted to eat it all and Josiah just wanted to carve. We found a great kids knife that worked well with carving pumpkins. With some help, Josiah had a good lookin' (albeit very simple) jack'o'lantern.
I had a great weekend at my sister's house. Here are some pictures she took on her camera. I copied them off her blog because I liked them so much. Here are Stacie's 3 youngest and Hailey in the tub. Hailey didn't know what to think about all those kids in the tub with her.
I have very few pictures of Hailey because I'm usually the one behind the camera. She is such a snuggle bug!
I can't believe she's already 14 1/2 months old!
Andrew (Stacie's 3 year old) took this picture, thus the unflattering angle. Still, not too bad for a 3 year old. Stacie is just starting to show. I think she's almost 6 months along now. She looks and feels great! Not bad for for her sixth pregnancy. We are starting to look like twins again now that we both have almost the same hairstyle/color. I love being an identical twin! We even finish each other's sentences. We had a great time of just hanging out and watching the kids. We always like to try new recipes, do small re-decorating projects, watch documentaries and period pieces and chat until midnight. I really treasure these times with her because they don't happen very often due to us living 3 hours apart. We always try to schedule our visits when the husbands are both working on the same weekend. I feel sorry for anybody who isn't a twin!
I use the Home Cheese Making book by Ricki Carrol to make queso fresco (Spanish for fresh cheese) and feta. We haven't had good luck with the hard cheeses, but queso fresco is so versitile that we use it for just about everything.
Also, I use Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon as a resource/recipe book for some of my recipes. I usually end up tweaking them quite a bit to my taste, but it is good for some basic recipes. I mostly like all the information in it regarding nutrition.
Josiah started unofficially homeschooling this fall. He is learning how to write his letters and numbers. Hailey likes to homeschool, too. Her idea of homeschooling is chewing all the erasers off the pencils (which is what she is doing here). Josiah is having a great time with his sister now that she is old enough to play with him. He loves to have me dress her up. In this picture, she just attacked Josiah whilst astride her Retro-Rocket. Josiah is great at playing dead. Not sure why I couldn't turn this picture. Sorry! Hailey and Josiah playing sword fights. These are their Halloween costumes this year. Here are some cute pictures of Josiah and Hailey checking out my pretty fall asters. They love to smell the flowers, even the ones that don't smell very nice.
I grabbed this picture off of my sister's blog. It shows us both nursing Jacob and Hailey at the same time. This was taken back in Feb. I thought it was cute. Well, I'm off to The Dalles to spend a weekend with my sister. Can't wait to see all her kiddos! Josiah can hardly stand it. He loves to play with his cousins.
I just had to add this recipe to my blog since pumpkin is "in" right now. My kids really like this as a snack. Also, it is wonderful to take for potlucks because it serves a lot.
Healthy Pumpkin Squares:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt 1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free) 1 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 3 eggs (you can omit if there is an allergy and it will still turn out good) 2 cups pumpkin (I grind up and freeze my own pumpkin) 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup honey (this just depends on how sweet you want it, I always do 1 1/4) 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (homemade/frozen is best) 1/3 cup olive oil 1 tsp vanilla extract Sprinkle with pecans or walnuts after pouring into bar pan (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix wet ingredients together in kitchen aid, add all dry ingredients, beat well. Pour batter into a bar pan or 9 x13 inch pan. May want to grease pan with olive oil if not using stoneware. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 generous squares.
I can't believe that we've already seen snow this year here in the GrandeRhonde Valley. While it didn't stick down in the valley, the surrounding hills got a good dusting yesterday and this morning. This is the earliest I've ever seen it snow (sometimes we've gotten snow right around Halloween). It was snowing into late June this year, so I feel like I've missed out on spring and now fall. My two favorite times of the year. Most of the trees around here are still green, I bet this has been a shock to their system. All I can say is, "How about that global warming?". Josiah may get to build his snowman that he's been dreaming about a little sooner than we anticipated!
I've had several people request my raw soured cream cheese recipe. If you want to make cheese, this is the easiest cheese recipe you'll find. This cheese is super versatile. I use it in place of ricotta, cream cheese and cottage cheese. Also you can make fabulous cheese dips out of it that will wow your guests every time! They'll have no idea that what their eating is really good for them. I've found that people who are normally lactose intolerant can eat my cheeses because they are raw, even better if they've gone through the souring process first because it takes less of a toll on your system to digest it. Plus, this is a great way to use up your milk that is starting to go sour. Don't ever dump it down the sink. If it is raw, it doesn't get putrid like pasteurized milk, it just goes sour. Sour is not bad! If I don't have enough old milk to make it that week, I'll freeze the old milk and just keep adding to the jar until my half gallon jar is full, then I'll make cheese. So here is my method for making this very simple cheese:
Raw Soured Cream Cheese:
WARNING: This recipe WILL NOT work with pasteurized milk! Only use RAW milk.
Pour 1/2 gallon of raw fresh or sour milk (into a 1/2 gallon glass jar (two quart jars would work as well). You could do whatever amount you want. This usually makes about a 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Also you can use whole or skim milk. With skim milk the cheese will be drier and more crumbly.
Set it on the counter until you can see a clear separation of the whey and the cheese. This may take a few days depending on who warm your house is. After you see the whey separated, pour the contents of the jar into a lined (a thin dish towel or cheese cloth will work) colander. If you want to catch the whey (great to use for a natural preservative in homemade mayo, ketchup, etc) put a large bowl under the colander. Just check every so often so that bowl doesn't fill up with whey to the point that it is touching the bottom of the colander (it won't drain as quickly).
Let it sit in the colander all day, then at night you take the ends of the dish towel or cheese cloth and tie them around a kitchen spoon and hang bag on top of a pitcher/bowl/pan finish draining the last of the whey. You can let it sit all night. In the morning, dump the cheese out into a bowl add Celtic Sea Salt to taste and place in the refrigerator or freeze it until you are ready to use. I use the in my lasagna, Mexican dips, cream cheese fruit pie, anything that calls for cottage cheese, cream cheese or ricotta and of course my cheese dips. It is great to have some stored up in the freezer because when I make a something, I always make a lot of it.
Easy Raw Soured Cream Cheese Dip Recipe:
1 1/2 cups raw soured cream cheese (or however much you want to make) 1 garlic clove pressed 2 tsp fresh chopped basil or 1 tsp dried basil Celtic Sea Salt to taste
Put this out with some homemade sesame crackers and your guests will love it!
3 cups water 1 cup milk 1/2 cup rolled oats or steel cut 1/2 cup barley flakes 1/4 cup quinoa 1/3 cup dried fruit of your choice 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
Bring water to boil in saucepan. Add milk, oats, barley, quinoa, fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring back to boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. If using steel cut oats, may need to cook for 20 to 30 minutes and add a bit more milk or water if it is getting too thick and the oats still aren't done. Garnish with sucanat, honey, or maple syrup and slice almonds or chopped nuts of your choice.
I double or triple this recipe and freeze any leftovers. When you reheat, just add some milk or water to the saucepan. You can't tell that it has been frozen. Great for a quick breakfast. Also if you have a baby, throw this into blender or food processor with some milk and it makes wonderful baby cereal. Ladle into ice cube trays and freeze for individual servings.
If you have a food processor, this is such an easy recipe. You'll never avoid making biscuits again. These are actually good for you! They also freeze really well.
Preheat oven to 400
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt 1 Tbl backing powder 1/4 cup cold butter or coconut oil (cubed) 1 1/4 cups milk, kefir or buttermilk
Using pastry blender or food processor, mix dry ingredients together then cut in cubed butter or small chunks of coconut oil. Blend until it looks like coarse meal. Add or stir in the milk, kefir or buttermilk just until it holds together. Should be fairly moist to where you should just be able to pour the batter into a 9 x 9 square pan. May want to oil pan if not using stoneware. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes our clean and slightly golden brown on top. Cut into squares and serve.
This is wonderful if you are wanting to make biscuits and gravy!
3 cup whole wheat flour 1 1/8 cup warm water 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tsp honey
Measure liquids into bowl. Add dry ingredients, knead in flour until dough is workable. Don't over-mix because it will get stiff! (It is important that the mixture not be too wet because they will explode in the tortilla press.) Let stand 10 minutes. Shape into 2 to 3 inch balls (depends on how big you want your tortillas to be) and let stand 10 more minutes. Place in electric tortilla press to shape and pre-cook. I usually leave mine in the press for 15 to 20 seconds. Cook in oil or without oil in pan. Can place parchment paper between extra tortillas and freeze them in a gallon-sized bag. When the tortillas are gone, I keep my bag with the parchment paper in the freezer so it is ready to go the next time I make tortillas. You can double this batch and have lots to freeze.
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 cup water 2 tsp honey 1 tsp salt (optional)
(You can omit the sesame seeds for just a basic whole wheat cracker)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil baking sheet (if using a seasoned stoneware pan, there's no need to oil). In medium bowl, combine flour and sesame seeds. Add oil, blend well. Add water and mix to pie dough consistency (don't over mix or it will be too tough to roll out). Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness in pan. Score with knife into square or diamond shapes. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. They will burn easily, so watch them closely once 10 you get to 10 minutes. Let cool. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/4 cup of oatmeal 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice 1 cup of honey 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 2 cup of canned or cooked, ground pumpkin 1/2 cup olive oil 2 cups of chopped apples (I used diced canned pears and it was still yummy!) 1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Combine all dry ingredients, then combine all wet ingredients, add wet to dry, then fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3rds full and then sprinkle cinnamon and sucanat on top (optional). If you have a stoneware muffin pan, spray with olive oil spray and fill without using paper muffin cups.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans. makes about 1 1/2 dozen muffins.
Here is my gumbo recipe. This makes about a 1/2 gallon. You can double, triple or quadruple depending on crowd size. It freezes really well.
In large stock pot or Dutch oven:
6 T olive oil or coconut oil
2/3 c flour (I use Whole Wheat Pastry flour)
mix these together then cook on low heat until dark brown, stirring frequently (especially at the end)
1 onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4 minced garlic cloves
(I also like to add zucchini, yellow squash, okra, spinach, lettuce, or collard greens, if on hand)
3 cups water (or 3 cups of chicken, beef, seafood or pork broth)
beef or chicken bouillon, to taste (I use the healthy stuff from OR spice)
2 cups of diced tomatoes (fresh if possible, but canned will work, too)
1 cup shrimp cocktail sauce, chili sauce or barbecue sauce
2 Tbl molasses
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 TB dried
2 cups shredded meat (I use turkey, pork or beef)
2 cups chopped smoked sausage (any kind you like)
1 lbs shrimp (peeled) (can add other seafood if on hand)
hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a simmering boil and let it simmer, lid off, until flavors have blended.
In the meantime, cook 1 or 2 cups of brown rice (sometimes I like to use a wild rice mixed with whole grain Jasmine rice) with two cups of water and a little oil. Simmer until liquid is absorbed. Throw this into the gumbo when done. Mix well, then serve.
Have you seen the price of real maple syrup lately? Unbelievable! I had to find another alternative and my friend gave me this recipe. I usually quadruple this recipe because my motto is: if you are going to make something from scratch, make a lot of it! I freeze the excess. This will save you a lot of money. I use this homemade maple syrup in all my ice creams. When you use sucanat, it can separate and get hard in the bottom of the jar. If this happens, warm the jar up in a small pan of water on the stove and it will pour out of the jar again.
Here is the recipe for syrup:
Pour: 1 cup boiling water
Over: 2 cups sugar (sucanat)
Add: 1/2 maple flavoring and 1/2 tsp vanilla (you could use more or less of these depending on your taste, also OMIT MAPLE FLAVORING IF GOING TO BE USING IN ICE CREAM, unless you're making maple nut :)
Just play around with it until you find the flavor and consistency you like. We just let ours cool on the counter and then store it in the fridge in a glass jar. I just bought some maple flavoring from natures pantry yesterday and it cost like $4.50 or so. Hopefully it can save a little money.
I redeemed this recipe off the back of a box of Alber's corn meal.
Healthy Sweet Corn Bread Recipe
1 1/2 to 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c honey
2/3 c whole grain corn meal
1 T baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1 1/4 c milk, buttermilk or kefir
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c olive oil
3 T butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, honey, eggs, oil, butter, mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into a greased 8 or 9 inch square baking pan or into a muffin pan. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
I just tried these today, and they were super easy. We really liked them! Thought I'd share this recipe with those of you I know who are looking for healthier dessert alternatives. While this recipe has a lot of fat in it, they are all natural fats and there is no refined sugar or salt, and it is made with whole grain. Enjoy!
Rich Peanut Butter Bars:
2/3 c all-natural creamy peanut butter 1/2 c butter 1 1/2 c sucanat
Melt and mix these 3 ingredients together over low temperature on stove top. Don't get the mixture too hot because you are going to add eggs next.
Next, add into that mixture:
2 eggs 1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 c cocoa (optional - use only if you want to make this into a brownie recipe)
For bars, press into a 9 x 13 inch pan; for brownies, press into a square baker. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. IMPORTANT! Let it cool completely before you cut it or eat it. It will crumble if you mess with it when it is warm.
I tried this really easy recipe that my sister gave me and made it without refined sugar and used raw dairy products. It turned out really good. Thought I'd share it with you all. It is super easy and looks fabulous! People won't believe it's healthy for you.
True Berry Pie
1/3 or 1/2 cup honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 cups berries (any kind or a mixture)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 TBS arrowroot flour (powder)
1/2 cup cold water
Bring to boil, simmer stirring till thickened. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir constantly remove stir in 2 TBS of butter. Set aside.
Soften 1 package cream cheese or 1 cup homemade cream cheese from raw cows milk (recipe for that in Nourishing Traditions). Blend 2 TBS raw cream or milk. spread on bottom of cooked pie shell (graham). Pour cooked mixture in. Chill.
Here is a recipe for healthy, homemade graham crackers you can make a crust out of:
Homemade Graham Crackers:
2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 c regular whole wheat or graham flour
3/4 c sucanat
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter, cut into 1/2 pieces
2 Tbl honey
2 Tbl molasses
1/4 c cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. In food processor or by hand, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Add the cold butter and process or blend with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the honey, molasses, water and vanilla. Mix until dough starts to come together into a ball. Split dough into two balls. Place a dough ball on two stoneware bar pans or cookie sheets. Roll out dough until it is an 1/8 of an inch thick. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2 inch squares and prick several holes into each square with a toothpick. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on edges. You want them to be crispy but not burned! They burn easily, so watch them closely. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Break them up and store in tightly sealed container. If you are wanting to make a pie crust, just roll dough out it a pie dish instead of a bar pan.
2 large egg yolks and 2 whole eggs (room temperature) - if using small eggs, add a 5th whole egg
2 Tbl white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 Tbl whey (this is the natural preservative)
1/2 to 1 tsp raw honey (depends on who sweet you like it)
1 to 2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
2 cups olive oil
Mix everything together (except the oil) in a food processor or blender for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then very slowly add the oil. By the time all the oil has been added, it should be the proper consistency. This makes about 3 cups.
Jackie's Raw Ranch Dressing Recipe:
This is just a dump and taste as you go recipe. I'll give you the ingredients I use and you'll just have to figure out how much of each to add.
Raw buttermilk or milk (add until the correct consistency)
Raw vinegar (apple cider or white wine both work)
Garlic (fresh minced or powder)
Onion (fresh minced or powder
Parsley (dried or fresh)
I was reading the Bible one morning and I came across some wonderful nuggets in Micah. I honestly didn’t know how much I would get out of reading this minor prophet, but I found that God has something to say to mothers in this book. The first nugget was “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul”? -Micah 6:7b. God is telling us that the life of our children is precious. He hated that His people in the Bible days sometimes practiced the evil art of sacrificing their firstborn children. They thought that it would save them from their sins or bring them “luck”. It was considered the “ultimate sacrifice” back then. The last part of that verse, “The fruit of my body” was a sweet reminder of how God views our children. If he considers our children “The fruit of my body”, then I need to think of them the same way. Many people ask why Steve and I want to have a large family. This is the main reason. We consider them “the fruit” of our lives. The only thing we will take with us when we leave this world is our redeemed souls and the redeemed souls of our children. We consider them a blessing and not a hindrance. It is not an easy life, but God gives us strength and has miraculously provided for our needs many times. I would like you to view your children as the “fruit” of our bodies today. It will change your attitude if you are struggling with a difficult situation. The other nugget I found was when I kept reading this wonderful book. Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” How can we apply this? So many moms call me and ask me, “What should I do, my child is doing such and such?” We can go to the Word. God says He will show us what is good! So let’s break this down.
He requires us to act justly. This means we need to judge situations fairly and without partiality. Many times one child is acting up more then the other. I make unfair and rash judgments when I don’t think things through and that child gets blamed for more then he or she actually did. We need to pray before we punish. This means that it’s OK to tell you children that you need a few minutes to think about the situation.
He wants us to love mercy. Many times when our children deserve a punishment God leads us to give mercy instead. This shouldn’t be all the time; otherwise our children would go wild! But if you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, He will guide you to give mercy to teach a sweet lesson on how our God deals with us.
He wants us to walk humbly with your God. If you can do this, walk with humility before God, you will be able to admit when you are wrong to God and to your children. You will have a more peaceful life if you do this. Your children will see that Mom makes mistakes too, and they will be taught to forgive as they long to be forgiven. The moment I think I’m doing “pretty good” at this mom-thing, is the moment that I fall flat on my face! I have to be humble. I have to remember that my strength comes from God. I am but a weak vessel that has amazing potential because of God’s grace and mercy. He is the one that gets the glory for any of my victories.
So there you have it. Who knew Micah would be speaking to moms in this day and age! Go with God and present your lives as living sacrifices to our Savior. Serve your family with humility, mercy and love. He will BLESS you, immeasurably!
From One Mom to Another,
Stacie Brown Wife to Steve Mother to Joshua, Marcus, Jessica, Andrew, Jacob and another Baby due in April.