Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care

This is an amazing book.  I have loved the original Nourishing Traditions for a long time and this book on baby and child care has been much needed.  Sally Fallon Morell, of the Weston Price Foundation (and more), has really gone to lengths to give great detail on prenatal, baby, and child care.  It took me a lot of research and books to get a lot of the information she covered, and she went into more detail on holistic illness care and the teachings of Steiner/ Waldorf than I had learned elsewhere.  A lot of the book was review for me, learned from the original Nourishing Traditions and elsewhere.  The only factual error I found was in discussing EC/ Diaper-Free Baby, where she said to start at 18 months instead of at birth.  Perhaps there are factual errors elsewhere I didn't find? But I loved her detail and information on nutrition and when and what to eat and how to grow a healthy child. MUST READ for new moms.

  Pin It

Friday, November 29, 2013

Best Gifts By Age 0-5

Aden and Anais Baby Blanket (Newborn)
Wooden Teething Ring (Newborn)
The Going to Bed Book (Age 1)
Dinos to Go (Age 1)
Car Carrier (Age 1 or 2)
Low Loader (Age 1 or 2)
Radio Flyer Kids' Wheelbarrow (Age 2)
Richard Scarry's Word Book (Age 2)
Latches Board (Age 2)
Duplo Creative Cars (Age 2)
Automoblox (Age 2)
Take Apart Crane Truck (Age 2 or 3)
Bruder Bobcat (age 2 or 3)
Play Kitchen (age 2 or 3)
Play Doh Tools (Age 2, 3, 4 or 5)
Wooden Workbench (age 3)
Spin Art (Age 4)
Lego Building Kit (Age 4)
Hungry Hippos (Age 4)
Lego Repair Shop (Age 4 or 5)
Tri-Ominoes (Age 5)

Love that wheelbarrow!

\ Pin It

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

As transcribed by my older son's preschool teacher... (the pictures are steaks on a grill with bones).
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hanukkah Menu

Happy Hanukkah!

How about a Hanukkah party??

  • Latkes - eggs, squash/ sweet potato/ potato, coconut flour
  • dripped yogurt
  • cranberry apple sauce
  • wine/ beer - ice
  • spiced cider (Trader Joe's Cider heated up)
  • brisket (brisket in slow cooker with wine or homemade BBQ sauce)
  • deviled eggs (mix yolk with homemade mayo and mustard)
  • persimmons (fresh, in a bowl)
  • olives (jarred, in a bowl, with toothpicks)
  • carrots, celery
  • apple cake (can't believe this recipe hasn't been posted- stay tuned for after party photo and recipe- generations old...)

While you're at it, how about some activities for the kids?

Pin It

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nourishing Traditions Baby Custard and Pumpkin Custard

In Part 1, yesterday, I showed you our GAPS Pumpkin Pie experiment in my quest to find a yummy Thanksgiving Dessert for all of us (my husband eats sugar so his palate requires more "normal"sweets).

I also made the Nourishing Traditions/ WAPF Baby Custard with Pumpkin.

It's good.... so good I may have to make it for Thanksgiving!!

Pin It

Monday, November 25, 2013

GAPS Pumpkin Pie Experiment

Did you know that we are getting a TURKEY?  They go past our house all the time, so the boys were pretty excited to learn that Thanksgiving is about Turkeys.

There is a lot more to it than the bird, and I want to make a yummy meal that all of us enjoy.  So I wanted to test the sweets, so my sugar-eating husband doesn't miss the sugar-- or at least thinks the dessert is worth eating.

My first experiment was making the GAPS Pumpkin Pie recipe from Internal Bliss.

First we made and cooked the crust. We replaced the sugar (honey) with brown-tinged bananas.

Then we made the filling.


And the taste?

Fine. A little like bananas. Ha.  But also a bit like pumpkin pie. I need to up the spice and lower the bananas (I used 3 and could use 2 instead).  It would also be better with a more browned crust-- mine was still a little white in parts when I filled it.

Overall?  OK.  My younger son liked it.  My older son wasn't hungry.  I had a few bites. It was a bit rich. Meh.
Posted by Picasa

See part 2 (tomorrow): Pumpkin Custard.
Pin It

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu - Hanukkah Overlap

  • Turkey (brined, bacon slices laid on top)
  • cranberry apple sauce (boil bag of cranberries and 3 cut, cored, and skinned apples with a cup of chicken stock. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes)
  • cornbread stuffing (hubby's request - we compromised on Trader Joe's boxed stuffing- he wanted Pepridge Farms and I wanted cut veggies mixed with sourdough bread, nuts, and dried apricots)
  • carmelized onions (laid around turkey)
  • Green Salad
  • sweet potato latkes (to celebrate the 2nd night of Hanukkah)
  • pumpkin pie - will experiment with the GAPS recipe and the Nourishing Traditions Pumpkin Custard Recipes
  • Something Chocolate. Or not. This is a lot of food. May make the dark chocolate truffles from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook.

Pin It

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Holiday Cookies w Kids (+ Recipe- Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

This is our favorite gluten-free, sugar-free kids' spritz cookie recipe.  It is modified from the recipe on the blog Nourished Kitchen for Gingerbread Spritz Cookies.  My kids love using a rolling pin and cookie cutters, and they love the flavors in this recipe.

  • 3 cups almond flour, plus extra for flouring your working surface
  • 1/2 cup honey, optional
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat almond flour, honey, eggs, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together to form dough.
  3. Flour your working surface and rolling pin. Spread the dough onto your work surface and roll until about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out with a cookie cutters. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until just browned at the edges – twelve to fifteen minutes. 
  4. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
Pin It

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kombucha Secondary Fermentation

I am finally trying secondary fermentation for my kombucha. I am making it continuous brew, and made a bit much to fill the carafe.  So I siphoned some off to fill a pitcher, added some pomegranate juice, and covered it with a cloth.  In two days, it should have completed its secondary fermentation and be flavored to boot!

Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kwik Sew 2911 Vest and Fleece Jacket

I have used Kwik Sew 2911 quite a bit (here and here).  This was the first time I have used it with arms/ sleeves.

The boys enjoy matching, and the bigger boy needed a fleece vest and the smaller one needed a fleece jacket.  The bigger one is larger than the pattern goes, so I measured him against a large vest and added width and length, and made him one based on that.

I thought the smaller one was wearing mostly 4T, so made him that size.  I did both with pockets, which they are really enjoying these days.

The vest worked out great.

The jacket is a bit big.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY Doll Ergo

Because of its in-home popularity,  I had to make a second doll carrier, Ergo-style (here is the first).

For this one, I had to use my toddler's favorite material, minky.
I then used the preschooler's favorite flannel.  It has trucks on it.  I cut three equal rectangles.

Here it all is on my cutting mat so you can see the sizes.

Then I folded one into a pocket, sewed it mostly around, and turned and topstitched it.

Then I sewed around the other two (mostly), front sides facing, then turned and topstitched it.  I set the pocket as I topstitched it, then sewed the pocket to divide it.

Then I placed the straps and box stitched them.

Then I set the snaps.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: Tartine Bread

I recently got a sourdough starter from someone in town, who got it from Victoria Bakery in San Francisco and it is a 2000.  She told me the story of how the bakery makes a new starter every year, and they name them by the year.  She also told me about the book Tartine Bread, and about how amazing their country loaf tastes.

So I started reading the book, which is so much more than a sourdough recipe.  It is a delightful story of the author's journey to find the country loaf recipe as an apprentice baker, and a detailed explanation of sourdough making and the various steps and stages involved in making his loaf.  It expands into variations of his loaf, then into variations of types of loaves you can make using sourdough to ferment your dough, not all of which are actually sour.  The photos are beautiful and helpful, although on the Kindle, their placement isn't right where I want them to be all of the time (this is a frequent Kindle complaint of mine for photos and charts, though).  The author owns a restaurant in San Francisco, so that also makes it that much more interesting.

So I made a loaf the other day.  It took a LOT longer than expected (nearly two days), but he mentions to watch your dough and pay attention to it more than the specified times.  It is fairly cool in our house (low 60s), so I think that was the issue.  I also tried to proof the dough in the oven with a pot of boiling water, and it didn't really warm it until we used the oven, then put it back into the now-warm oven.  Next time, I will do it this way.

The holes in it weren't as large as I expected, but I think it's a learning curve.  It was tasty, and the troops all ate it-- slathered in butter.

I used the other half of the dough for pizza and it was a failure.  It was too thick and didn't cook through.  I think I can fix that by bringing it to room temperature before baking it (like he says), and stretching it thinner.

All in all, I am excited to see where this sourdough home bread making goes.  There is such satisfaction in baking your own bread, and the health benefits of properly fermenting the dough make it easier on the digestive system.  Tartine Bread is a lovely book to use as a guide.

Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Book Review: Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll

We had a bunch of raw milk that was a couple of days away from expiring, so we had to do something with it.  I had recently made raw yogurt, so wanted to try something different.

I have Ricki Carroll's tantalizing cookbook Home Cheese Making.  The book itself is good.  It's a nice read, tells a good story, and made me want to make cheese at home.  This was AGES ago, when I first got it, then I never was inspired to actually get the extra ingredients for home cheese making.

But now I had some milk and didn't want to make yogurt.  I searched the cookbook for recipes that didn't require any extra and unusual ingredients.  I settled on Paneer, which is Indian Farmer Cheese, and the Mexican Farmer Cheese.  The Indian recipe used lemon juice after heating the milk, and the Mexican recipe used apple cider vinegar.  They both ended up with a similar consistency and non-meltable characteristic, as well as tons of whey left over.  I liked the flavor of the Indian cheese slightly better, though the Mexican one was good in soup.

With the leftover whey, I tried making ricotta and it failed.  I also made her Italian whey bread and it was tasty.  I used a gluten-free flour mix from Trader Joe's, so that probably explains why it was so crumbly.  The kids loved making it, though.

This was entertaining, but I don't think I will be making cheese again anytime soon.  I stand by yogurt as the easiest use of about-to-expire milk.  It was far too much effort for the small amount of cheese made, and it wasn't awesome in flavor.

Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Holiday Photo Ideas (Hanukkah Starts Nov. 27th!)

Gift-giving can be difficult, but having cute kids can make things a lot easier.

What, you don't think my kids are cute?


I mean, what grandparent doesn't love anything with their grandkids' faces plastered all over them?  And what grandparent doesn't think their grandkids are cute?

 With a little advance planning, your recipients will love their personalized photo gifts.

And my goodness, can you believe it is already time to do this?!

Here are some of my favorite Photo Gifts:

  1. Photo mugs.  My sister-in-law gave the best gift ever to Grandpa one year- six identical mugs, each with a photo of a grandkid with their first and middle names and birthdates on it.  He loves that set.
  2. Photo mugs. You could also do a collage~ we actually photograph every piece of preschool art as it comes in the door.  One year, for the teachers, we made a collage with a big class photo on it and six little images of different art projects and gave the same mug to all the teachers.  I also made one for us and my son loves it.
  3. Photo T-shirts. My son got a t-shirt of he and Grandma on the paddle boats at the Reservoir.  It's a nice gift for a kid.  You could give it to cousins.
  4. Photo Totes.  We carry reusable cloth bags around in the car for our groceries, and lots of people also carry these to the Farmer's Market or gym.  This would be a nice place for my kids' photo.  Intimate, but not too in-your-face.  These could work for everyone on your list.
  5. Photo stickers.  One of my yoga instructors has a water bottle with a sticker of his dogs on it.  You could get stickers and put these puppies everywhere.
  6. Photo water bottle.  Yes, they sell photo collage water bottles, too.
  7. Photo Phone Case. This is a little close and personal for grandparents, but what about a gift for Dad?
  8. Photo Mouse Pad.  I made photo collage mouse pads for Father's Day one year and heard an unconfirmed  rumor that Grandma took Grandpa's for herself.  I made one for each Grandpa, plus one for Dad.  Dad still uses his (I can confirm this).
  9. Photo Playing Cards. Perhaps these would be a good gift for the childless Uncle/ Aunt in your family.  A reminder of your cute kids, but not so in their face as, say an iPad case would be.
  10. Photo Calendars.  My uncle's family used to make these for all of their giftees, and they were a sweet reminder of him and his family throughout the year.  Too bad we are all paperless these days.
  11. Photo Necklace/ Photo Key Ring.  These are like modern-day lockets, and some are quite classy.
  12. Photo book of the Year.  A girlfriend makes one of these every year for each kid's birthday, and puts photos in it of the previous year.  I love this, though I haven't ever actually done it.
  13. Photo Ornament. Happy holidays! You could do one every year.

We like to use Shutterfly now that Kodak Gallery is no longer, but there are so many companies and websites out there to choose from.  I also really enjoy the process of making a personalized photo gift really enjoyable-- far more than going to the mall or downtown shopping with the kids.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saving Seeds

We have been saving seeds from veggies we like.  I am hoping they won't rot, or mold, or...???

But what I do is dry them on a towel, then put them into an envelope, and label it.  Then I store them in a large manila envelope, all the little envelopes together...
Pin It

Friday, November 1, 2013

Monthly Garden To-Do List: November

November is a time to be grateful and it is also the month when Americans have our harvest festival of Thanksgiving.  Traditional Thanksgiving foods come right from the garden and are placed in the horn of plenty in the center of the table and fallen leaves adorn the house.  

What I love about Lamorinda this time of year are the turkeys that flock along my street every morning, the males strutting their feathers and the females pecking along.  We counted 40 one day! 

You can start to see your breath in the air, and the trees are naked-- except the glorious persimmon tree with its ripe fruit beckoning bright orange on bare branches.

What's ready?

  • apples
  • arugula
  • beets
  • bok choy
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • gourds
  • green beans
  • kale
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • onions
  • peppers
  • persimmons
  • pomegranates
  • radishes
  • spinach
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatillos
  • turnips
  • winter squashes (pumpkins, butternut squash)

Kitchen Tasks

  • Store your squashes in a big bowl- you can keep them until you need to dust them (about 4-6 weeks or longer).  Play with some butternut squash soup recipes, or make a Thai curry with chunks of pumpkin in the sauce.  
  • Keep those persimmons and love them up!  The pointy ones are astringent and can make you pucker if you eat them too early.  Wait until they are as soft as a water balloon, then freeze the pulp for later, eat it raw with a spoon, or use it in a bread/ cake/ cookie recipe.  We have also made delicious persimmon sorbet, persimmon fruit leathers, and persimmon mint smoothies.  If you freeze it before all the astringent taste is gone, it will defrost without that tang.  The round ones are for eating like an apple, but also are great sliced thin on salads with pecans, walnuts, and/ or beets.
  • Try beets 101 ways. They are amazing fresh if you haven't had them.  What about: steamed, as the base for muffins/ brownies, roasted, shredded on salad, shredded and mixed with carrots and a vinagarette as a salad?  Don't forget those greens.  They are as delicious as nutritious.
  • Apples are still fabulous- try making applesauce, baked apples, or just eating them plain.  You could also make and store apple butter.  Or, of course, make an apple pie for Thanksgiving.
Kid Jobs
  • Did you know pumpkins and gourds float in water?  Try this with the kids in the bath.

Garden Tasks
  • Order bare root trees (Orchard 20% off if ordered by Dec 1st). 
  • If you aren't doing a winter garden, decide how you want to overwinter your boxes.  Straw hay?  Cover crop?  Nothing?  Alamo Hay and Grain sells bales of hay, but make sure to bring the kids because they also have chicks, ducks, and rabbits year-round and they let the kids play with the chicks.  It's a great outing.  
  • Make sure your winter garden is growing by trimming the kale, and picking your produce when it is ripe.  Don't discount the ability of your summer crops to keep growing-- one year, we had a chard plant grow HUGE over the winter and we ate from it the whole time.  
  • Look at your strawberries. If you haven't cut the babies off the runners yet, check and see which ones have roots forming and cut them and move them to another spot if you'd like.  They do best when the babies' roots are over half an inch long.
  • Plant your bulbs for the spring. Home Depot sells huge bags of daffodils and tulips.  Pay attention to which ripen 1st, 2nd, and 3rd so you can have flowers all spring long.  Daffodils and irises can be planted in deer zones.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...