Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY Kids Target Practice

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kindergarten Printable Writing Paper with Picture Box and Name and Date

My son is working on writing and telling stories with pictures and words as he is learning to read at school.  He really loves it and wants to practice at home.  There are a number of books available at stores like Lakeshore Learning (a few of their things are below, with links to amazon).

But he was feeling like the pre-bound books were way too long for his stories.  He wanted just a page or two or three.  So we created a template when an online search didn't have what he wanted.  We made two printables, one with space for name and date, and the other without.  Enjoy!

Here is the writing paper with a box for pictures and name and date lines.

Here is the writing paper with just a box for pictures and lines for story writing.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kids' Art: Popsicle Stick Snowflakes/ Stars

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Kids' Hanukkah Art: Dreidel Decorating

We have been getting ready for Hanukkah, and I saw this make your own dreidel kit and thought the kids would love it.

This was really fun for both ages (3 and 6).

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kids Art: Make a Dreidel out of a coloring page and a pencil

We found this dreidel coloring page online (I didn't note from where- sorry~!) and cut and glued and taped and attached it to a pencil!  Super fun!!

The little one clutched his for hours.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hanukkah Recipes: Latkes and Cranberry Apple Sauce

Hanukkah is a holiday which celebrates the Jews in the old temple hunkering down during a war with enough oil to last only one night.  But...  the oil lasted in their candelabra for eight nights, which was a miracle.  

It wasn't typically a major holiday until fairly recently, when the Christmas hype and marketing caused people to overestimate its importance and start giving mounds of gifts.  Passover, in the spring, is a much more important holiday, as are Rosh Hashannah (the New Year, celebrated in the fall) and Yom Kippur (ten days after Rosh Hashannah).  

Families typically celebrate Hanukkah, also transliterated into being spelled as Chanukah or Chanukkah, by lighting the candles of the menorah at sundown, adding an extra candle for each night until the slots are all full.  While the menorah is being lit, the family says two prayers (a special one is added on the first night to mark how special it is to be together and start Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights).  The menorah is a special Hanukkah candelabra that is handed down through the generations, and kids in school often make them, so many times families have more than one.  The candles, also specially made for the holiday, are allowed to burn until they are finished, and the menorah was historically placed in the street-facing window to spread the light of the holiday.  

The commercialization of December has added gifts to Hanukkah.  Families used to give gelt, or money, and play games like dreidel and sing songs.  They eat latkes, cooked in oil to again remember the oil that lasted for eight nights.  In Israel they eat donuts for the same reason.  Nowadays families will either give a gift each night, or choose one night to exchange gifts or give the children more than one gift on one night.  Families have different traditions based on what their lineage is (Askenazi or Sephardic), and this is true of many Jewish holidays, especially with the traditional foods, which differ by region.  What is traditionally eaten by Jews whose ancestors are Russian is different than those with Spanish ancestry. 

My great-great grandparents came from Russia and Poland, which makes me Askenazi.  They emigrated to Ellis Island in the middle of the 19th Century.  Growing up, we celebrated Hanukkah with Latkes and Cranberry-Apple sauce, which was my mom's change on the typical apple sauce eaten with latkes.  Others prefer sour cream on their latkes, and I often serve them with dripped yogurt instead.   The menu for Hanukkah isn't really fixed, since it is so many nights, but there is often one night chosen to be celebrated more than the others.  In addition to serving latkes, often a brisket or roasted chicken is eaten, or chicken soup.

Traditional Potato Latkes (almost my Mom's recipe)

Growing up, we got to eat these exactly once per year, on one of the eight nights of Hanukkah.  It was a much-anticipated evening, since making them is so small feat.  I skip the potato peeling as an adult, and it shaves off a lot of the prep time.  We also like to have two skillets working at a time.  My home, however, smells like latkes for a week after making them~ just like it did when I was young. 

2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 cups potatoes, grated and drained (we use the food processor)
2 T onion, grated
1/4 t. pepper
2 T flour (can substitute white flour with whole wheat, rice, or coconut flour without noticing)
1 t. baking powder
coconut or olive oil for frying

Mix ingredients in large bowl.  Cut open a stack of brown paper bags.  Heat oil about 1/4" deep in skillet.

Place mixture in to hot oil by tablespoonful and flatten.  Fry both sides. Take out onto cut open brown grocery bags, or layer in a Pyrex with the paper in between and keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees.

Serve with applesauce, cranberry-apple sauce, sour cream, or dripped yogurt (cultured cream cheese).  Best served HOT.  Recipe can easily be scaled up or down.

Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Latkes

My husband and I started making these nearly a decade ago, when I stopped eating potatoes and vegetable oils like canola oil.  I have included an egg-free version, so you can see that substitute binders like flaxseeds and chia work just as well as eggs.  

3 eggs (3 T flaxseed meal or chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for at least 10 minutes if egg-free)

3 cups sweet or regular potatoes (or a mix), grated and drained (food processor)
2 T grated onion
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T flour (rice or coconut flour if gluten free)
1 t baking powder
olive oil for frying

Mix ingredients in large bowl.  Cut open a stack of brown paper bags.  Heat oil about 1/4" deep in skillet.

Place mixture in to hot oil by tablespoonful and flatten.  Fry both sides. Take out onto cut open brown grocery bags, or layer in a Pyrex with the paper in between and keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees.

Serve with applesauce, cranberry-apple sauce, sour cream, or dripped yogurt (cultured cream cheese).  Best served HOT.  Recipe can easily be scaled up or down.

Cranberry Apple Sauce

Boil a bag of cranberries and three cut, cored, and (optionally) skinned apples with a cup of homemade chicken stock and a cinnamon stick. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Mash with a potato masher if you prefer a different consistency.

Cultured Cream Cheese

Cultured cream cheese is just a fancy way of saying dripped yogurt, or even Greek Yogurt.  This is delicious on crackers or bread, or even as a dip for veggies.

To make it, place your colander into a bowl.  Line it with a cloth (cheesecloth or similar~ even a light dish towel or cloth napkin would work).

Dump a quart or two of full-fat organic yogurt into the colander.  Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Save the liquid~ it is called whey and is useful for fermenting or it is high in probiotics and you could eat it plain or in a smoothie.

Using heads and feet make a thicker stock.  We usually use a carcass from a roasted chicken, and add a third of a pound of chicken heads, a third of a pound of chicken feet, and a few chicken necks.  We get all of our meat from our local meat club CSA Marin Sun Farms.  Their chickens are pastured on the heels of the cows, which is as good as it gets for chickens.
  1. Fill a stock pot with filtered water, the bones, a quartered onion with its peel, 3 roughly chopped carrots, the greens and middles of a head of celery, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
  2. Bring it to a boil.
  3. Skim off any foam.
  4. Lower to a low simmer, and simmer, covered, for 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Strain and store.  We like to use canning jars and put the lids on while hot so they sort of "can" themselves.  Many recommend to use stock within a week, but we feel like this gives us a bit more time with it.  We store it refrigerated and use it as often as possible-- often in place of water in cooking or just to drink as a beverage with meals.
As long as you are making this, you may as well go ahead and make some chicken soup!  Good ol' Jewish Penicillin.  

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Kids' Cooking: Making Pancake Batter from Scratch

We have been making these pancakes a lot, and my older son, who is in K, wanted me to write out the recipe so he could make the batter.

Now they can make these from start to finish, with only a little hovering by a grown-up.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

V and C Toasty Homemade Hand Warmers

We made two sets of the Homemade Hand Warmers from V and Co in about half an hour this afternoon, including my little helper filling them and helping hand sew up the holes.

They are basically 4" square pouches filled with rice and 3 drops of lavender essential oil.  I microwaved them for 20 seconds to make them warm, but she also says you can freeze them for cold packs.

Can't wait to try these outside!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Actual Thanksgiving Menu - Probably

So... I had plans for Thanksgiving (here).  After some cooking, here is what we have in store for tomorrow. Probably.

First Course

Leek Soup my own recipe, with extra ginger and leeks


Crisp Roast Chicken (Best roast chicken recipe ever)

Vegetarian Stuffing from Trader Joe's (fancy, I know. My husband loves the stuff)

Paleo Stuffing from Paleo Movement - replace beef for pork, skip the nuts (I just forgot them, am not anti-nut), added raisins 1/4 cup

Mashed Cauliflower from Zen Belly - will make this tomorrow

Cranberry Apple Sauce from yours truly - BUT I used pears instead of apples and added some orange zest and an orange- and added a teaspoon of salt.

Third Course

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies from Gourmand in the Kitchen- replace sugar with half as much honey, add 1/4 c. more coconut flour to compensate for texture difference

Pumpkin Custard from Nourished Kitchen (with no whipped cream for topping)

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu + Shopping List

First Course

Deviled Eggs (Hard boil 4 eggs, slice in half. Mix yolks with 2 T homemade mayo and 1/2 t. mustard.  Replace into whites.)

Pumpkin Soup (Saute 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic, add 2 cups chopped pumpkin and 1" fresh peeled and chopped ginger, then add 1 1/2 qt. bone broth. Bring to a boil, add 1 t. salt and 1-3 optional chilies.  Lower to a simmer for 25 minutes.  Blend using an immersion blender. Also great with carrots.)

Main Course

Roasted Chicken (Bake a whole chicken in a Pyrex with a sprinkle of sea salt at 350 for 1.25 hours.)

Vegetarian Stuffing from Running in a Skirt

Paleo Stuffing from Paleo Movement

Mashed Cauliflower from Zen Belly

Cranberry Apple Sauce from yours truly

Third Course

Whipped Cream (1 pint raw cream in mixer with 1 T vanilla and 1 t. honey)

Pumpkin Pie Recipe Made w Honey from Prairie Homestead

Pumpkin Custard from Nourished Kitchen

Shopping List

4 Eggs, hard boiled 
6 eggs, fresh
homemade mayo (1 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 egg, 2 T lemon juice, 1/2 t. sea salt, 1/2 t. mustard powder)
1/4 t. mustard

 4 1/2 qt. bone broth

whole chicken
1 lb. ground meat
1 3/4 pints raw cream

2 T lard
2 T coconut oil
stick butter

1 carrot
2 stalks celery
8 apples
2 bell peppers
1 lb. mushrooms
3 bags cranberries
2 cups chopped pumpkin, raw
2 cups cooked and mashed pumpkin
1 head cauliflower
4 onions
5 cloves garlic
1" fresh peeled and chopped ginger

 4 t. sea salt 
1-3 optional chilies
1 T fresh rosemary
1 T fresh thyme
5 T fresh sage
1 T pumpkin pie spice (or 2 parts cinnamon, 3/4 part nutmeg, 1/2 part cloves)
1 T chives, optional
1 cup honey
1 T + 1 t. vanilla

1/2 loaf rice bread, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 c. raisins
1/3 c + 2 T coconut flour
1 1/4 c. flour
4-6 T cold water

+ ingredients for
Pumpkin Custard from Nourished Kitchen (her website is down)

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