Friday, November 29, 2013

After turkey day

So, our Turkey day meal was GOOD. We had green bean casserole, it was AH-MAZE-ING!! I used a recipe from another blog-and tweaked it to fit our dietary needs.
Recipe was changed by using just normal white mushrooms-I used about 10-12 oz as I did not have a full lb of them. I also used regular onions. My flour substitute was oat flour (fresh ground), and I used almond milk vs cows milk. Lastly, I only had organic canned green beans so I used those instead of frozen. It was good, even Nathan enjoyed it!!
I made a strawberry pie-using my normal apple pie crust recipe. It was SOOO good! My pumpkin pie was not very good, I am going to have to buy some coconut ice cream for us to finish it, it is too spice intense the way it is.
We wrapped the turkey in bacon-not sure it made a difference in the way the bird tasted, but it was nice to add to the potatoes! We have a LOT of turkey leftover, and we do not use a microwave, so I am going to have to make some casseroles!! We cleaned the carcass and started a bone broth in the cooker right away, my house smells SOOO good right now!!
My dressing almost messed up the whole meal! I started it later than I should have, so it was not done when everything else was. Overall, it only added 30 minutes to our wait time which was not bad at all.  We bought 2 loaves of gf bread and just toasted it with EVOO and seasoning, chopped up and added celery, onion, and stock. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but we do not eat dressing all year long, only for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Our meal was simple and delicious! We wrote on a "tree" what we were thankful for. Our thankful tree included things from food (pie, turkey...) to family and a roof over our heads. It was sweet and simple, and the kids enjoyed doing it.
After we ate and cleaned up, I really just wanted to pass out! We took the kids to see the lights in the park, it was SO nice! Torrin was so excited, he kept jabbering away as we went by all of the lights. We do plan to go back again in a week or so when they get them all done.
Tomorrow, we have thanksgiving at my moms house. Hopefully it goes well. I know thanksgiving is about being thankful for what you have and who you have in your life. I must say, there is nothing better than the simplicity of staying in and spending the day with family!!

Thinking about thanksgiving-forgot to post this when it was time!

So, Monday night I went to (sigh) walmart. I got some organic goodies so I do not need to go shopping again before thanksgiving. (I hope!)  I picked up the stuff to make gluten free dressing, and hopefully for me to be able to make green bean casserole this year! Last year gfdf kicked my butt on the casserole, the flavor was good, but it was a runny mess!

While at walmart, I got the courage to walk up and reintroduce myself to my younger cousin Leah. I think I surprised her, but she seemed sweet. I had butterflies in my stomach, but I did it! I am thankful for my courage to go up and say hi, and I hope it helps my family. I miss the family that chooses to not act like family, it makes me sad. I cannot go through life waiting on others though, I have to do  what works for our family and if we lose people along the way, then it wasn't meant to be.

Right now, I am trying to plan my thanksgiving feast! I have been on Pinterest trying to find recipes that work for us. I made some apple pumpkin muffins this morning, the flavor was perfect, but I tweaked the recipe a little too much and they were a bit mushy.

Pumpkin pie...need help! Do I do...

Last years filling- this filling was very good, but since I know it is good, I am thinking I might try something new...the crust was edible but not enjoyable. (Gotta love messing with gf recipes!) 
1 3/4c pumpkin, 
3/4c sugar,
3/4almond milk
1/2tsp vanilla,
1/2 tsp slt,
 1/2 tsp cinnamon,
 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

With New crust
1¼ cups rolled oats
½ cup pecan halves (2 ounces)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 Medjool dates (2½ ounces)
1½ tablespoons non-dairy milk

New pie ideas

This pie is to be made a day in advance so it can set well...

8 Medjool dates (4 ounces), pitted and chopped
¾ cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup rolled oats, ground into flour (or ¼ cup flour)
1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 can (15 ounces) cooked pumpkin (not “pumpkin pie mix”), or 1½ cups

The second new pie to try is an apple butter pumpkin pie...

1 cup apple butter 
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk, full fat
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp arrowroot powder
½ tsp cinnamon, if needed
pinch of sea salt
Sweetener, adjust to taste , maple syrup
3 eggs, whisked
Optional Garnish: coconut whipped cream (made with the fat of top of 1 can of coconut milk

I've decided I want to use the new crust recipe..but I cannot decide which pie sounds best

Monday, November 25, 2013

pumpkin WHAT

I am trying to find a good pumpkin pie recipe. Something pumpkin needs to happen! Last year, the pie was good, but the crust was iffy. I think it was the millet flour.

I found this pie recipe on pinterest and am thinking of making it-I do need to pick up some parchment paper, foil and pecans!

I found an amazing looking blondie recipe, but I do not understand how to sub out has all sorts of extracts and substitutes that I do not bake with. I am thinking the powdered stuff is powdered sugar-which I can just buy organic powdered biggie. I do wonder if the butter and stevia extract would be missing flavor if I left them out though.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family Traditions, holidays...

Right now, we are doing a lot of holiday planning. We want to simplify down to the basics. We want our children to remember these things when they are grown. We want simple goodness. I do wish we had skipped Santa, and some of the "magic" I am sure there are ways to make the holidays special and magical without those things. What is Santa stays-but we are making this simpler! This will start with a real tree, decorated with our memory ornaments...some lights, and not much else. I am going to skip a lot of the "clutter" décor as it is just tacky and not very fun. We do intend to make it feel "Christmassy" but without crap everywhere. (Man do I hate window clings...)

Today is Sunday, which is a "school" day for us. It is a relaxed, 2-3 hour, math, reading and writing school day---kind of like the other 5 days in our school week! We do school almost every day. Even yesterday, our "off day" we had a tumbling meet. Zarina got 2nd, Zariah got 7th (they are in different levels, Zariah got a 9.4? but still got 7th place...she did great!) we had a lesson on losing, winning, scores...being happy for people who placed higher...and lots of other touchy topics. We then headed to Joanns to get more felt (CANNOT HAVE ENOUGH FELT!!) and then over to Kohls, where I spent way too much on sheets, but I NEED SHEETS. I only wish I could afford organic cotton...I washed and dried these, put them on my bed and the "No wrinkle" sheets WRINKLED. I might take them back and foot the bill for organic cotton!

Back on topic...

Today, being a "school day", we are going to touch on the subject of traditions. We are planning on figuring out what we NEED/WANT out of each holiday as a family, and what kinds of things make us so happy we want to repeat them every year. So far, we know we want to go see the lights in town on Thanksgiving night after we eat our yummy turkey...maybe pop some popcorn on the stove, fix everyone a mug of tea, pop a Christmas cd in the car and head out!! We have every intention of skipping the black Friday madness, as we NEED nothing other than the precious memories we make by spending time together. (this is easier said than done, as we are human, and there is always something to "want" BUT  we hope to scale things back by ignoring more of the holiday flyers!! That said, it is a good time to make big purchases --the car we just bought--saved a LOT by buying this time of year...also the financing on new appliances when you are in the market for them-the deals are way better this time of year...) BACK ON TOPIC!!!

As a yearly tradition, I am also thinking of gifting new a new p.j. set to each child on Christmas Eve, we would then sit and read some holiday stories and maybe watch a movie...we need to figure out what movies we want to watch each year and when, as well as what books we want to be a tradition.

A couple of years ago, I bought Prancer (DVD) for my mother, I remember her loving the movie and us watching it every year...I hope to do the same with my children!!  I do know that watching a movie is not the best use of "family time", but I also know my children enjoy watching movies, and they appreciate them more now that they are not allowed to just watch tv for the hell of it! Having 3-4 holiday movies to look forward to will be something they treasure! 

The girls are more into games now, so I would love to set up game nights that we do all year long, not just in December...I really think I need a big family calendar that we pencil EVERYTHING onto-including washing bedding as I know it has been at least 2 weeks since I washed the girls bedding-it is in the washer now!

Nathan's Christmas movie choices
Home Alone 2
Christmas Story

Mom's is "Prancer" so I am thinking we watch Prancer at moms house every thanksgiving...we normally do this anyway-but I am thinking we stick with it for sure!!

I am thinking we pick 1 or 2 movies for each weekend and watch them as a family!

While Zariah finishes up her school work, and Zarina picks up their bedroom, Torrin is taking a nap and I am on Amazon trying to finish up Christmas shopping! This year, I think I am putting aside the Santa gifts I had bought already (dino dig-Zarina, duct tape party-Zariah) and save them for their Easter Baskets. In honor of simplifying things, I am looking at buying them a telescope! I know they would love the gifts, (and I would hate them...) but a telescope seems like something they would truly enjoy and it is educational. Now, I know it could be argued that the digging for dinos is educational, and so is designing handbags out of tape...or that I already purchased them so might as well...WELL, I want to stick with LESS IS MORE and have them appreciate what they get. I feel they will appreciate their gifts more if there is LESS. Also, the dino digging is messy from what I hear and April would be a more appropriate time to gift it!

I had hoped to keep the telescope in the $150 range, but it seems the ones in that range are junk...I have reached out to both homeschool communities and am walking away with one that is a bit more than I had intended to spend, BUT seems to be a great tool the whole family will enjoy!

I am including the star finder in the gift, and need to find a couple of fun books to go with it. As I have mentioned before (I think)...we do not teach Science. Science just HAPPENS. We have a mini farm (26 chickens and a rooster count as a mini farm right?) and my kids love to play outside with the chickens, they inspect dead animals when they find them, they capture bugs and torture observe them. The learning just sort of HAPPENS. We also purchased a science book of experiments that we are hoping to enjoy eventually. This is more Nathan's speed than mine... our next big investment after the telescope will HOPEFULLY be a microscope and slides.

I am off to link a lot of what I just said on HERE to my homeschool page. I am horrible at keeping it current...Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Easy banana bread

Easy banana bread!

Makes about 3 mini loafs of bread

Grind up  enough gluten free oats it make about 3 cups of flour


4 ripe bananas
2tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla
1.5tsp xanthan gum
3/4cup organic sugar
4 farm fresh eggs

3cups gluten free oatmeal ground/oat flour (add last)

Mix all ingredients except the flour fast in stand mixer. It should be pretty smooth and start to get fluffy , if my bananas are not really ripe,meaning that the skins are not black yet, I blended them first by themselves at a very high speed.
Once the mixture is nice and fluffy, add in your 3 cups of oat flour.
Grease loaf pans, pour in mixture.
Bake at 350 until done. (I am making these now and will check them at 30 minutes and every 5 minutes depending on how they are baking up)

Busy busy

So, things around here have been super busy! 

I already posted my "eggs" and Christmas felt items I made. Well, the felt stuff is our gift to the kids this year, so I have been working on it every chance I get! I have a long long ways to go! I made some pancakes, strawberries, syrup, tomatoes and noodles now as well! I attempted some lettuce, but I do not like it. I still need to get my hands on an entertainment center so I can make the kitchen set. I think I have one lined up, but the person I am hoping to get it from seems to be having a difficult time getting a picture.... I am kind of scared, because I am really trying to keep Christmas simple, and to show my kids that great gifts can be made inexpensively and loaded with love! I hope I find a stand soon!! I am very passionate about giving my children a great Christmas they will never forget! I have been making the food in front of them actually, and they keep asking why I won't let them play with it. I have not really lied, simply said it is not for them to play with. 
Penne noodles
(Gluten free!)

Pancakes with syrup. 
I still need to sew the syrup together and make more.
I made 9 pancakes!

Nathan helped cut out the strawberry tops!
We made 10 strawberries.
Still working on the bow tie pasta

I made a variety if tomatoes. Still waiting for the glue to try and I will take out the pins!

I am teaching myself to crochet. I had kind of learned awhile ago, but I am venturing out and trying more. I made a cowl scarf with a wool blend yarn and I love it! 

I was also working on my blanket I started a long time ago...I have set it down again...I really do not know what I am doing! 

 Right now, I am working on a purple cowl scarf. It is looking nice as well! I am making it a bit bigger than the other one as it is not a wool blend. 

This weekend, we got a new car! Nathan needed a new daily driver, his car is not worth sticking more money into! We got a 2013 dodge dart. It is a 6 speed manual...which means I have not driven it yet...
It gets really good gas mileage, but it does take premium...

We took it to Tomah to visit my mom. We all fit in it quite well! I took supplies to make an apple pie at moms house, it turned out ok, but the apples should have cooked longer. 

Saturday, Nathan took the big kids to swimming lessons while I went shopping with his mom. We stopped at shopko first, I stocked up on some clearance yarn. I am hoping to make some pretty scarfs. 

We also went to the fabric store and the outlet mall. I was able to pick up some more felt and some of the supplies to make the kitchen set for the kids. 
New yarn and the "oven racks" for the kitchen set we are planning!

Is also picked some other kitchen items up. I got an owl kitchen timer, a colander (that I think I am going to take back since it is plastic and the mall had a nice metal one!) and some other items. I will post pictures later as I don't want the kids to see them! 

Meal plan: about a month or so ago, I got "uncured, nitrate free BACON" at the Madison coop. Well, yesterday we opened it and noticed it is not we sliced it. We tried to fry it up and it is not bacon, but rather a fatty pork steak. So, we set it aside and made some bacon that we know is bacon.
What to do with fatty pork steak that is not bacon? I am making pork and beans...I think!

To start off, I froze my hands off in the garden digging up a couple big, organic, beautifully imperfect carrots! Peel and chop carrots, peel and chop 2 medium organic onions, sauté in olive oil.

While those are softening up,(stir often) I cut up the pork and tossed it in.

I had an overfull jar of turkey broth in the freezer that I semi unthawed and added that in next

More than a qt of turkey broth

Turkey broth added, chunks of frozen broth floating...

I am not good at measuring, but I added probably 4 cups of water and 3 cups of white navy beans. I eyeballed it to make sure that the beans could expand enough. 

I tossed in about a cup give or take some of chopped up spinach

I took a pic after throwing some of it in!

Then tossed in some ground black better and some oregano 
It looks pretty! I can smell the garlic!
Bring to boil for like 5 minutes
Cover and simmer...low
I checked it 2 hrs later
Beans are softening up! 
I am leaving it alone for now and will see what it turns into!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sicky Icky

We have some nasty bugs running through our home. On top of that, a teething toddler! Torrin has not been sleeping at night at all, which is saying something since he has yet to sleep through the night! I am used to being woken up 2-3 times a night by a rooting, upside down/sideways child-but this teething, not feeling well child screams! His poor nose runs like a fountain, and I am pretty sure he has a mild ear infection. I hit one ear with breast-milk this morning (man did that tick him off), and will do the other ear when he dozes off again.
Zariah started all of this! It is always her! She had a fever of 102.7 Sunday. She was achy and just out of it. I knew she was not faking it! Monday, she was sluggish, but managed the day just fine. Tuesday, she claimed she did not feel well again (she looked iffy for a few hrs but then looked like a big faker!)
Yesterday, I went and looked at our new car. It looks nice...I won't really know until I get to ride in it...still not sure if I will drive it (attempt to drive it). It is a 6 speed manual. I CAN drive a stick when I NEED to, but I get stage fright when people watch me,(thanks for that mother...)
I do not want a car loan again, but we do not really have a choice. Nathan's bug (VW Beetle) is falling apart at the seams. You cannot open the door all the way or it pops off, it eats tires, it is burning oil and making funny noises (Not funny HAHA-funny = weird...) it is just a money pit! Hopefully, he gets us enough venison in the freezer so we can manage, the only place to trim our budget is food (AHHHH).

I am realizing that I am socially awkward! I feel like an idiot! A week or so ago, I had a mom at gymnastics introduce herself to me and offer to help with driving. She was so kind...I didn't even tell her my name! I felt weird, I am not used to being put on the spot...I am feeling rude and stupid. So, the next week, I had every intention of saying "Thank you for being kind, by the way, I am Tamika..." but she looked distracted, so all I managed was "Hi, how are you" AFTER she asked me how I was...CRAP!!! Similarly, two days after the first incident, I saw someone I KNEW at gymnastics, but she didn't recognize I said NOTHING until my husband showed up to save the day. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

OH, so last night, I got a bug up my butt and logged onto YouTube to learn to make a cowl scarf!! It turned out great-other than I used a 9mm hook instead of it needed some stretching. I really like it. I want to make my Christmas gifts this year, but being self taught (all the wrong ways) to crochet, I don't want to waste money on the stuff if nobody will like them. I am not sure anyone would wear what I made. We are not a "trendy" group of people around here. I LIKE IT! I am sure my mom will call me a hippie when she sees it-and I don't care-I love it! Right now, I am working on my blanket I started 4 years sat and sat...I took out 6 rows because I realized I majorly messed it up...I "made up" a stitch and have no clue if it is a proper stitch or not...again SELF TAUGHT (before I knew YouTube could teach a monkey to do things). 
Earlier in the week, I started working on the children's gifts for Christmas. I am making felt food for them! I am not even hiding it-it is too big of a project to hide and make them. Instead, I told the kids I am exploring my talents, or lack there of... and that I find it therapeutic-which is NOT A LIE!!!
                                                my felt eggs-they look better in person!

I made a felt snowman and a Christmas tree for Torrin (the girls like them...) I am hoping he messes with them instead of my REAL tree when it is time to decorate them!
                                This is what it looked like yesterday-I am a little farther now

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Feeling rustic!

I have been meaning to post for a few days now, and then just getting around to doing so now. nathan  and his dad went squirrel hunting Sunday, and he shot four squirrels! At first glance, we thought they were quite small and that we would need to freeze them and save them until we got more. I ended up needing a quick meal plan, so I boiled the squirrels down for quite some time and picked the meat off the bone, reserving the broth for making rice. It ended up being pretty good! We added some peas to the rice and mixed it all together!

A neighbor friend shot us a deer! We spent a good bit of time Tuesday night grinding up over 20 1.5-2 pound packages. Monday night was Nathan's late night at work, he came home, ate, and headed over to process the deer. It was a late night, but with the help of the friend and his dad, it didn't take too long. Tuesday morning the kids and I hate steak and eggs, they were soooo happy! It was such a simple, yummy breakfast!

Tonight, we are planning on packaging up the rest of the deer.

I am thinking of stopping at the coop to get some cherry tomatoes and black olives to make a cold gf noodle salad. We have not had noodles in awhile, and it is hard to plan meals when I will be gone all day. I think it would taste good with some venison loin steak!

Yesterday, we had baked beans in the crock pot with bacon and venison, it was a gymnastics night so we needed a meal that would be hot when we got home.

I made another apple pie on Tuesday, it was completely gone mid day Wednesday. I have also been trying to mix up and free enough apple pie filling. We are trying to get an idea of how much filling we need. I am thinking 2 pies a month, Nathan and the girls say one a week!

Things are going pretty well here. House is well lived in, could use a maid... Belly's are filling with halfway decent foods. (The pie was an exception, but they were organic apples and sugar!) my kids are playing, and learning... Life is pretty good!