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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Sourdough…

Judah and I have been experimenting with sourdough lately. We have made some great bread, mostly whole wheat with some other grains added in for intrigue… I’m really learning alot about the amazing properties of sourdough and how useful an addition it is to one’s diet. We generally only eat sourdough bread (and pancakes!) but Zach is usually responsible for all of the bread making however, since he has been off becoming a fire fighter we have had no one to bake our bread, so Judah and I stepped up to the task. This website has been a helpful resource. In light of Judah’s recent dental crisis, it is especially important to us to ensure that she is not only consuming a healthy diet, but also a proper balance of various foods that enable her body to process the nutrients it is taking in. When improperly prepared, bread and grains can really limit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Hence, sourdough! Also soaking or sprouting grains is an ideal means of preparation. It’s interesting information and so far, the baking of the sourdough has been fun! As you can see.

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Judah and Zach thoughtfully made a cake for my birthday last week. Zach claims that Judah did most of the assembling. It appears to have been a very fun time. Even in black and white. Blaster was pleased to be able to join in on the excitement as well!The end result was this:And this too:It was a wonderful cake! Zach is amazingly skilled at giving gifts as well as at making cakes. He gave me a lovely handmade pottery wine caraffe that he found here. It’s beautiful and ever so useful as I have been mostly pouring my wine straight from the carboy these days…

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It is very clear to me this year, that the designated time we have together to celebrate Christmas, is really all about spending our time together, peacefully and happily and mirthfully. The surrounding months are busy with work and classes and various time consuming activities and events…but I am so thankful to have this protected time together for now. And this is how we choose to spend it:

yumBaking Christmas Eve banana bread. Sleepy Stockings… (artfully knitted by my mother)Loving each other!

Taking a wintery walk in the snow with our dogs.

As I write this, Zach and Judah are working on a barrage of Christmas cookies in the kitchen…it’s a lovely time.

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I cannot imagine a life in which I have a small child but no sling. People think I am crazy in my exuberance over this amazing little scrap of lovely green linen. They have no idea however, how easy the past 15 months have been for me due to said scrap of linen, and how content and happy my sweet baby has been.

Judah naps in her sling,photo(72)nurses in her sling, photo(71)and is generally pleased to be in there while we go for walks all over this town, clean house, garden, cook, etc.

It’s so nice to be able to hold her and still have two hands free to do whatever I like and she clearly loves to be at a similar level with me; to see the world and it’s goings on.

If I were going to pick one thing – one super awesome baby “gadget” necessity, it would be my sling. We don’t use cribs, changing tables, swings, funky chairs for babies to hang out in, etc. But we use this sling daily, and it is definitely a key aspect in my bonding relationship with this small child.

What do people even do with their babies if they don’t have a sling? Everyone should have one. And if they live in Homer, they should purchase them here.

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Summer fun. I feel like there is always so much to do during summer…and time goes by so quickly (and summer only lasts for like, two months anyway) that before you know it, the snow is falling and unachieved summer plans are sabotaged. I’m just going to make a list of Necessary Summer Experiences for this year.

-Swimming in the Ocean (with or without Judah, as she seems a bit put off by the frigid water)

-Anderson Bluegrass Festival (everybody who is anybody will be there, I assure you)

-Fishing Fishing Fishing

-Camping upon Camping

-Fires on the Beach

-Spend alot of time in Fairbanks. Primarily at Chena Lakes with Fun Friends.

-Volleyball (but where and with whom?)

-Pick Berries

-Make Jam

-Make delicious berry or flower wine or mead

-Visit Bethel? (this may be wishful thinking)

-Harvest Lettuce Daily From the Garden

Well, thats my list for now. I’m sure it could use some additions.

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I was cleaning up the kitchen over the weekend and realized that there were quite a number of things (intentionally!) fermenting on the counter. Zach has been using sourdough for all of our bread baking, pancake making, etc. He has a white starter and a whole wheat starter. They are great. Anyway, they were both out ready to use, along side the yogurt that I make every couple of weeks or so. I love making our yogurt and am excited to try a custard style yogurt soon if I can find some good guidance in that direction. Presently I just heat milk, sometimes add dry milk powder (but more often do not), let milk cool a bit and add a tablespoon or so of yogurt from the last batch and then let it sit for several hours. It’s good. I like plain yogurt, partly because it does not have added sugar but also because it is versatile and can be used instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. Judah loves it as well, as you can see. photo(41)Also fermenting in our kitchen, is a new batch of mead that I spontaneously decided to mix up. I buy raw honey in bulk from the natural food store in Homer and it comes in a one gallon container. That is lot of honey…which is good, because we use alot of honey, but it was starting to crystallize, and while that is no problem really, it was a good excuse to make a (hopefully) delicious cinnamon mead. Mead is also so very easy to concoct. I heated some water and stirred about 1/3 of a gallon into it to melt, and then poured that into a one gallon cider jug with a couple of cinnamon sticks, a packet of champagne yeast and filled the jug to the top with water. There was also some sterilizing of the equipment, but that is very boring to write about. It’s also a little boring to have to wait like, a month before I can taste the mead and then probably two months before it is really ready for drinking. It’s a simple process, but is definitely an exercise in delayed gratification.

Disclaimer: I’m very nonchalant in my following of recipes. By nonchalant I mean, I don’t follow them at all. So, if one were to set about making mead or yogurt for the first time, they might want to obtain a few more details about the specifications involved. I feel like I have the hang of the process and no longer bother with reading temperatures and such. It works well for me, but it is not exactly good directions to give someone else.

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Our garden is moldy.

we grow mold along with the zucchini

we grow mold along with the zucchini

Zach went to the trouble of building mini greenhouses for our boxes, so that our precious plants would have some respite from the dreadful wind. Evidently they are doing their job…perhaps just a bit too well. Zach remedied the issue with the covers, but now we have moldy plants. I’m not so sure what to do about that. Someone suggested lime? We’ll give that a go, I suppose. The garden is doing well otherwise, which makes me thrilled!

In other news, Judah is discovering loads of new things. She found a pair of sunglasses at Haven House the other day and insisted on wearing them, so when Zach picked us up from work in the morning, he was greeted by this: photo(35)Also, while at the bank, a lady (who clearly has no concern for Judah’s teeth) gave a sucker to the baby. She was very impressed. photo(36)More than happy to share, as well!photo(37)She was definitely into the sucker and was quite unhappy when she had to give it up. It is waiting in the truck for the next time she has a giant meltdown about driving.

Vegetable Korma for dinner tonight…it’s simmering on the stove at this very moment. I think I am breaking out of the cooking rut. We had spinach lasagna last night. We’ll hopefully have some delicious white wine as well. The wine that has been steadily brewing has come to it’s completion, I believe and shall be bottled tonight!

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