Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great recipe for granola

My sister-in-law sent me the following recipe, and I love it! The recipe is very easy and quick, it's much cheaper and fresher than store-bought granola, and it tastes DELICIOUS!

Put in a pretty container, this would also make a nice gift for a new mom, a busy friend, or anyone else that you would like to show some kindness.

1 box (6 cups) rolled oats - I used quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped nuts - I used sliced almonds
1 cup ground wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup honey (or honey mixed with maple syrup)
1/3 cup oil, any kind - I used coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried fruit, optional


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the first 5 ingredients. Warm the honey, add the oil and vanilla. Drizzle the honey-oil over the dry ingredients and toss to coat. Spread the mixture onto 2 cookie sheets. Bake about 30 minutes until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.

When done, remove from oven and stir in dried fruit if used. As the granola cools, it will lose its stickiness and become crunchy.

Makes about 9 cups.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

9/11 was an inside job

In light of the recent "terror attack" on the Delta flight, I would just like to make it clear that I am 100% convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, a false-flag attack by our own government.

Sadly, most conservatives think that even investigating the facts is unpatriotic and leftist. Please take the time to watch this important documentary.




Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone. Please do not miss the best gift of all - salvation by grace through faith free to all who put their trust in God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8,9





We took a 3-day trip to Flagstaff last week to go play in the snow (about 2 1/2 hours north of here). It's nice to live in a warm place like we do, but close enough to the snow if we want to "get our fix".

Solomon and Miriam


Isaac and John


Becky


The view from our balcony.


Our family's coats. That's a lot of people!

(There are 8 in the picture. No, I am not pregnant. I brought both a coat as well as a snowsuit for the baby. If I don't say this, somebody will ask me about it.)



Our little snow princesses



At a cowboy museum in town



Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just a bunch of pictures

Between tending to various chores, I wanted to upload miscellaneous pictures from the last few months that I thought were too cute not to blog.

Miriam enjoying a messy snack...

(she needs the cell phone to call her Daddy all day long)


... with Becky


the culprit:


Solomon's favorite hobby: reading


Some wonderful friends sent the kids a box full of really cool science kits. Thank you again!!




Miriam pushing Becky around in her toy stroller


Every mom's favorite place to find the baby...

(And just in case you were wondering, my boys almost never remember to flush. Please forget that I ever told you that.)


In fact, there's a video about it. The mess was already there, I figured I might as well make the best of it and get some funny footage.




Miriam came out of her bed at night and decided to sleep in the dirty laundry pile in the hall instead, where she could see and hear us


Pushing Becky around again. They both enjoy it tremendously.


Not sure what she got on her mouth, I think it was diaper ointment.


John dressed up as a revolutionary American soldier. There is literally NEVER a day he does not dress up as something. On Sundays, he sometimes tries to sneak a costume under his church outfit, just so he knows it's "there".


I thought it was funny that our family alone took up the whole pony ride



Isaac, dressed up as a fireman. There was a fire truck in the parking lot for fire prevention month, which is why both Isaac and John wore their costumes.



We made pretzels the week that we learned about Russia in school.



Isaac made this Viking shield himself with some help from me. (Sorry, the camera messed up on this one.)

Maple syrup makes for great hair gel. Smells nice, too.


The kids enjoying some German stollen and hot chocolate with whipped cream and peppermint sticks. Isaac and Solomon are both such sweethearts, just like their Dad.



Becky is addicted to these candy canes. They ARE very good. I found them at Whole Foods, they are 100% natural and organic, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. They are made from brown rice syrup, and taste wonderful.


Did you know that if you stick a candy cane into a lemon and start sucking, the lemon juice will eventually come up through the candy cane straw? - Instant lemonade!


Another bread recipe

Recently, I blogged about the recipe I use to bake all of our breads. It was taken from the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day", and it's true, it takes me no more time than that. Every couple of days, I make a batch of dough, bake 2 loaves of bread from it, slice both when they are done baking and cooling, and then stick one in the freezer and leave one out to eat.

However, this dough is not suitable for crusty breads like French bread, or for pizza crust. The authors of the above book came out with a new book recently, called "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". In this book, they give a great recipe for dough that works wonderfully for breads that need more crunch. It is not 100% whole grain, so if your family doesn't like whole wheat they may still like this one.


INGREDIENT
VOLUME (U.S.)
WEIGHT (U.S.)
WEIGHT (METRIC)
whole wheat flour
5 ½ cups
1 pound, 9 ounces
720 grams
all-purpose flour, unbleached
2 cups
10 ounces
270 grams
granulated yeast
1 ½ tablespoons
(2 packets)
0.55 ounces
15 grams
salt
1 tablespoon
0.55 ounces
15 grams
vital wheat gluten
¼ cup
1 3/8 ounces
35 grams
lukewarm water
4 cups
2 pounds
900 grams


I included the weights because rather than measuring my ingredients, I weight them with my digital kitchen scale, which is much faster and more accurate. I simply put the mixer bowl on the scale, pour in each ingredient, and then hit "zero" before adding the next.

Add all ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined. If using a Kitchenaid, mix with paddle (not dough hook) for about 1 minute. No need to proof the yeast, knead the dough, etc. The dough will be wetter than bread dough typically is, which will allow it to rise even without being kneaded.

Allow dough to rest for 1-2 hours, until doubled in bulk. At this point, you can either refrigerate your dough in a covered container for later use (for up to 2 weeks), or use it immediately. The dough is easier to work with if it has been refrigerated first.

To use, wet your hands, and tear off as much dough as you will need. This batch makes enough for about 3 baguettes/pizza crusts/small freeform loaves. Sprinkle dough liberally with flour, and shape into whatever you are making. Allow to rise until doubled, and then bake.

I let our bread rise on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. When it is done rising, I slide it onto a pizza stone that has been sitting in the oven at 425 degrees, and bake until the top looks golden brown. Adding a glass bowl with water to a lower rack in the oven makes it come out even crunchier.

freeform loaf
tastes great dipped in olive oil as a side dish to pasta, or sliced with ham and cheese on top

For pizza, I roll the pizza crust out on the pizza peel that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, prick it all over with a fork, and then slide it onto the stone immediately without letting it rise. I bake it at the highest temperature on my oven for about 5 minutes, then take the crust out with the peel, add the toppings, and slide it back onto the hot stone in the oven until the toppings are done. The crust comes out fantastic!

chicken pesto pizza

Please let me know how you like the recipe if you try it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

John's birthday

John turned five last week. The theme of his party was "Pirates". My camera is broken and it was acting up, so I did not get a lot of pictures.

We played walk the plank, pin the treasure on the treasure map, another treasure-themed game, and had a pirate ship pinata.

For the cake, I made a sheet cake and decorated it like a treasure island in the middle of the ocean. On a side note, if you are looking for great all-natural food colors, check with a Whole Foods market in your area. The one I shop at let me buy small quantities of the bulk bottles they use in the bakery. The colors work great, and are a fraction of the cost of what I used to pay for the India Tree colors.



It's hard to believe John is five already. He is such a sweetheart. He tells me dozens of times per day that he loves me, and writes me sweet notes such as "My love for you is as big as the sun".

For over one full year now, him and Miriam have pretended to be husband and wife, it is so cute.

John has always been very advanced for his age, especially in his verbal skills. My husband was reading the book of Jonah to the kids recently, and John interrupted him with: "Excuse me please, when Johah was in the whale's belly, that was a foreshadowing of when Jesus would go to Hell for three days and three nights."

At a hotel recently, as we stepped into the elevator, he told me: "Mommy, I noticed this elevator has a tendency to go down."

He cracks me up every day, and his sweet smile is irresistible. I wish he would stay this age forever!

Friday, December 18, 2009

McCormick Stillman Railroad Park

We wanted to go to the railroad museum. So Mom took us there. It was fun. They had like 6 entertainers! (they were all TV characters) They also had a carousel, two trains, and enough lights and decorations to drown a HORSE! I could take plenty of pictures of my siblings. It was fun!

Isaac and John in front of a train with lights on it,


Carousel pictures,





Pretend train pictures,


Pictures of my brothers by themselves,





And Isaac and John in a train



John is the cutest penguin I've ever seen.


John couldn't resist the temptation of being with Tigger,


Isaac and John about to ride a train.