Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! I have lots of recipes that I have been planning to post, but somehow the time has gotten away from me! Ds is having a birthday this month and I have plans for a couple of different cakes. I also have a great gingersnap recipe that I made over Christmas. Whole wheat flour and fresh ginger...yum!
I'm sure that in the next few days things will settle down and I'll get the chance to post. Enjoy 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Maple Cream Fudge

This recipe requires a bit more concentration than the last, but it's my favorite. My mother makes it every Christmas, and no one makes fudge as well as my mother. Fortunately, I've found that while I don't make fudge as well as her, as long as I don't burn this recipe it's really good!!(Even the time that we had to eat it from bowls with spoons because I was too impatient to wait for it to finish cooking...) I don't have a candy thermometer, but the 'soft ball stage' is the same as 235 degrees.

3c brown sugar
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1/3c milk
1Tbsp butter
2tsp vanilla

Pour sugar and milk into a med-sized pan. Stir over low heat for 20mins. Turn up heat and cook until it reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add butter. When it has cooled add vanilla and beat well.

Fudge For J

This is a recipe made by all of my family members. It's easy; and even better, it's good!

Fantasy Fudge

3c sugar
3/4c butter/margarine
2/3c carnation milk
12oz package chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1oz jar fluff-or- 2c mini marshmallows
1c chopped nuts (optional)
1tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, margarine and milk. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chips, marshmallows, nuts, and vanilla. Cool at room temperature.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Joy

Sometimes Christmas comes, and at the end of the day I think, "That was it? I think we missed something!"It's as though someone was slowly let the air out of a balloon. Everything was just a little deflated and flat.
Today wasn't like that. Every moment was filled with devoting myself either to caring for or playing with my children, or in total, blissful relaxation with a great book. I found myself thinking, "What!? Time's up? I'm not done yet!" Not in a panicky way, but like a child who hasn't had enough playground time. I allowed the dc to stay up two hours past their regular bedtime while we played games, just so it didn't have to end.
I wonder what the difference was. Same children, same dh, same home....well, you get the picture! I'm not trying to be philosophical here. I'm just wondering why this Christmas is different. Even now I feel the same quiet joy that I've felt for the past month. I'm content. It was a great day, and I'm happy.

Fatfree Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I got this from the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. It is amazing good, even though I forgot to put in the soymilk! I guess I shouldn't talk on the phone during a busy Christmas day while baking! Oh well, it's delicious, fatfree, and pumpkin. I'll try it with the soymilk in a couple of weeks and see which way I like it better. Also, I didn't have a deepdish pie plate so I made several tarts in a muffin tin. Obviously, if you do this don't cook it as long- 25 minutes seemed to do the trick, but remember that I forgot the milk.

Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie

1 1/2 cups soymilk
1 tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer*
1/4 cup water*
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups pureed or mashed cooked pumpkin (or cushaw or winter squash)
1/2 cup rice flour (or flour of your choice)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. (I used a Pyrex pan, and it came out with no sticking.) A deep dish is recommended because this pie will rise a lot during cooking but will fall back down as it cools.

Put the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend well. Add the pumpkin, and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Pour into a pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn't be uncooked.)

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. For best results, refrigerate until chilled before eating.

*If you don't have Ener-G egg replacer, you can omit it and the 1/4 cup water and use any other replacement for two eggs. Of course, if you're not vegan, you could use two eggs, but why not give the vegan version a chance?

Makes 8 servings, each containing 153 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 264mg Sodium; 3g Fiber.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cheese Ball

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope that everyone has a wonderful time in the next few weeks. Enjoy your families and friends (even those that can be difficult!), and spend lots of time savouring good food. I don't know if I'll be around much in the next couple of days- I may need a break from baking! If I get the time or inclination I'll post about our Christmas dessert.

Today I made a cheese ball- it's pretty basic, but good:

1/2 block light cream cheese
1/4c grated old cheddar
1tsp worsterschire(sp??) sauce
1/4tsp minced garlic
chopped parsley (or dry if it's what you have)

Mix all together, then rool into a ball and roll in more chopped parsley or nuts. Wrap in wax paper and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pumpkin Pancakes

I'm a little scattered today! That pretty much sums it up, I guess. Maybe I had too many mimosas last night! I managed to break some eggs when I cleaned the fridge, I mixed my gf and regular flours in the same container, I thought that my container of cornstarch was icing sugar....It's not even 11am!
To fix a bad link, here's the pumpkin pancake recipe that I posted about a couple of months ago. I can't get the link to work- must be a recipezaar thing? Perhaps it's because the pages change as people add recipes? No clue, but here's the recipe:


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk or soymilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

To make Pumpkin Maple Sauce: Heat maple syrup, pumpkin, and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in small saucepan until warm; cover and set aside.
To make pancakes: Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl.
Combine milk, pumpkin, egg and vegetable oil in small bowl; mix well.
Add to flour mixture.
Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy.
Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil.
Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst.
Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes; repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with prepared Pumpkin Maple Sauce.

I haven't made the sauce, but it sounds great. We ust eat them with pure maple syrup. Yum! This is the recipe that the dc have chosen for Christmas breakfast. I think I'll make them up the night before and just reheat them in the oven (no toaster or microwave here!).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad Nativities

I found this over at the treehouse. Mama Squirrel finds some of the best things. I haven't laughed so hard in weeks!

Oat Pancakes

I generally don't like pancakes, but the exceptions are the pumpkin pancakes I posted about before, and these oat pancakes. The dc like both recipes done up like a Mcd's pancake sandwich- two pancakes sandwiching a scrambled egg and covered with real maple syrup.

1 1/2c rolled/quick oats
2c milk
1c flour
2Tbsp cane sugar
2Tbsp baking powder
3/4tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2c oil
I add:

1 mashed banana
1/3c wheat germ
1/2tsp cinnamon
1Tbsp grated ginger

Mix oats and milk in a small bowl and set aside for 5 mins. Combine dry ingredients and stir well. Add eggs and oil to oat mixture and mix. Add to dry ingredients, stir until smooth. Pour onto pre-heated and oiled frying pan. Cook on one side until the center bubbles and the edges begin to look 'dry'. Flip and continue to cook until done through. (The time here could vary depending on thickness and width of pancakes, so basically if they're a dark brown, they're done. helpful, I'm sure! ;0))

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No recipes today!

Today I'm feeling too poorly to even think about food. Which means I don't have to cook anything today! I've been in the kitchen so much over the past couple of weeks, I think I actually need the break. Tomorrow I'll post my favourite oatmeal pancake recipe though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

GF flour site

Here's the address to a new (to me) site about making gluten-free flours:

Carmel Corn

I finally remembered to buy popcorn! Of course, when I got to the store, they didn't have any out on the shelves, but I kept it together. I nicely asked someone who worked there if they could check out back for me. I even remained calm when the guy tried to tell me that what I really wanted was microwave popcorn. Since I don't own a microwave, this seemed silly to me, but he didn't seem to know that 'old fashioned' folk use a popper and kernels.
I finally got the popcorn! I brought it home. I searched high and low. I realised that I had misplaced my cookbook that contains the carmel corn recipe.(It also has my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe, but that's another story!)
This morning I googled caramel corn, and although the recipes are varied, this one seems to be the closest to mine. (Of course I haven't made it this year, and my memory can be sketchy at time.) So, I'll be trying it out today. I don't know if it's a good idea though, since it seems as though I'm not supposed to make carmel corn this year!

1 cup Butter
2 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Cornsyrup
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
6 quarts Popped Popcorn


Melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, the boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over corn, mix well. Turn into two large, shallow baking pans. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stir every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool completly. Break apart and store in tightly covered containers.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Someone may have noticed that I can't seem to land on the proper header for this site. Just because it's accurate doesn't mean that anyone wants to read about it, and perhaps my life just isn't exciting enough to lure readers. Seriously, I started this blog to have a place where my recipes wouldn't get ruined, lost, or used as drawing paper. Now I find myself wondering if anyone else cares. I've had some negative comments and some wonderfully positive comments, but sometimes I find myself stressing about whether or not my space is inviting, or the title fitting, or even if people are turned off by a lack of pictures or the fact that I'm wishy-washy about becoming vegetarian or eating gluten free. What about those who stumble on here expecting some sage homeschooling advice, and only find a few jokes and lots of recipes!?
I'm afraid that I'm not an expert in anything. I read about my interests, but there's always another post refuting the last article I read. I homeschool my children, but most days I learn more than they do. Maybe not schoolwise, but definitely about living. My children have taught me more about life, love and laughter than I ever knew existed. Maybe I did as a child, but somehow it's passed me by over the years.
I'm afraid that if you're looking for professional help, this isn't the place to stop. If you're looking for someone who makes numerous mistakes and isn't afraid to talk about them, then Welcome!

Cranberry Meringues

This is the recipe that I made today, but I'm not happy with it. Too many of them didn't cook properly. I'm posting it because so many people HAVE had success with it, plus regardless of whether they set properly or not, the failures still taste good. They just don't have the texture to make them something I'd share with friends. Perhaps I should have extended the baking time, but I was so busy today that dh kindly took them out of the oven while I was out!

Cranberry Meringues

3 large egg white(s), at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canned cranberry sauce, whole berry
1/3 cup dried cranberries, about 80 cranberries
Preheat oven to 200°F. Coat 2 large sheet pans with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until mixture is very stiff and shiny. Gradually fold in cranberry sauce (you can add a few drops of red food colouring at this point, if desired) while beating for 1 minute.

Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheet pans; press 1 dried cranberry into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 2 hours. Cool completely before removing from pans. Store in airtight containers. Yields about 4 cookies per serving.

On another note, I have been planning on making carmel corn for the past week or so, but I keep forgetting to buy popcorn! Maybe it isn't meant to be. Or maybe I need a serious break.
Another thing: today I put a ham, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot, covered them with a mix of 1/2c maple syrup and 1/3c water, set it on high, and dinner was ready in 5 hours. It was tasty, easy, and now I don't have to woner about lunch for the rest of the week; obviously we'll be eating ham sandwiches! (Might be a step back from the whole vegan thing, but right now I'm just glad that we had a warm and nutritous meal.)

Changing Lightbulbs

If you belong to any online lists, I'm sure you'll find this funny:

How many list members does it take to change a lightbulb?

One to change the light bulb and to post that the lightbulb has been

Fourteen to share similar experiences of changing lightbulbs and how the
light bulb could have been changed differently.

Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

Seven more to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing
light bulbs.

Five to flame the spell checkers.

Three to correct spelling/grammar flames.

Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ...

Another six to condemn those six as stupid.

Fifteen to claim experience in the lighting industry and give the
correct spelling.

Nineteen to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please
take this discussion to a lightbulb (or light bulb) forum.

Eleven to defend the posting to the group saying that we all use light
bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this group.

Thirty six to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior,
where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light
bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty.

Seven to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

Four to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the
corrected URL.

Three to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to
this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group.

Thirteen to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety
including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"

Five to post to the group that they will no longer post because they
cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

Four to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

Thirteen to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting
questions about light bulbs."

Three to tell a funny story about their cat and a light bulb.


One group lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now with
something unrelated they found at and start it all over

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Leftover Soup Idea

I don't know about anyone else, but when I make soup there's usually a cup or so left over. Not enough for anyone to be bothered warming up, but what a waste to throw it out! So, this is what I do:
Mix leftover soup with some broth (any kind that will complement your original recipe eg/veggie, chicken, beef...), and make sure it's enough to cover the bottom of a casserole pan. Pour the soup into your pan, and heat in the oven at 400F until it starts to bubble. This shouldn't take very long, so while you're waiting, mix up a batch of biscuits, using 1/2 cup more liquid than usual. When the soup is bubbling, pour biscuit dough over the top, place back in the oven, and bake until the biscuits are done- 20-25 minutes.
This is good with any type of soup I've tried it with- veggie, noodle, even a cream soup. If it's leftover chili or even a minestrone that your dealiing with, you could use the biscuit dough or just top with a cornmeal muffin recipe. It's easy and tasty, and perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chocolate mint cookies

These are ridiculously easy, and they're great for a last-minute hostess gift. (I know- I whipped up a batch for a meeting this afternoon!) They're an easy version of the popular Girl Guide mint cookies.
2 boxes semi-sweet baking chocolate
3-6 drops mint flavouring
1 box Ritz crackers

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (I use a metal bowl over a pan of water), add mint to taste (for some, 6 drops may be too much, for other people, not enough!). Dip cookies, place on a greased/parchament-lined tray, put in fridge/freezer to harden, then serve.

I found this recipe online somewhere a while ago, but I'm not sure where it originated. I read a review with it that said if you use Andes mint baking bits, they're great. I haven't been able to find these, but if I do, I'll have to give them a try.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tea Biscuits

This is my favorite tea biscuit recipe. There are some out there that call for cream cheese or sour cream, or even sweeteners or cheese. These are good, even great, but for a plain biscuit to go with dinner, I like these best. The key is to not over-handle the dough, and they'll be light and fluffy.

1/3c non-hydrogenated shortening
2c flour
4 heaping tsps baking powder
1/4tsp salt

Sift dry mixture onto shortening, and mix well with a pastry blender (it will form pea-sized lumps).

Mix 1 beaten egg plus enough milk (I use soy) to make up one cup. Mix gently with the dry ingredients- use a fork, and just stir until mixed; do not beat!
Put dough on lightly floured surface, roll to one inch, and cut out. Try not to mix too much when re-rolling left-over dough.
Bake at 400F until browned, 15-20mins.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Whirly's Shortbread

After the mess of this afternoon, I knew there was only one thing to do: I turned to my friend Whirly who has the best shortbread recipe I know of. She has mentioned that they take butter, and only butter. No substitutions! Sound advice, I think. Also, she wanted me to know that beating them for even ten minutes wouldn't be too much. So, beat them for at least ten minutes, use real butter, and success will be yours! Thanks again Whirly!

2 cups soft butter (no substitutes! )
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup cornstarch

With electric mixer, beat butter until light. Gradually add icing sugar, beating well. Sift together flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating constantly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets; press lightly with floured fork. Bake in 300* oven for 25 to 30 minutes or just until set, but not browned.


The children and I were working on our Gingerbread men today, and I suddenly decided that I should make another batch of cookies. This time, I was going for shortbread. I thought that they would be amazing with lemon icing, and I was going to be whipping up a batch of that in an hour or so....I felt secure in making the recipe from the side of the cornstarch box. I had made it a few times when I was younger, and they always tasted OK.
'OK' is no longer the term I would use. Either I made a huge mistake, or there is something wrong with that recipe. I'll be having a go at them again in the next week, and I'll be making some changes. At least we can cover the ones we have with lemon icing! It's always nice to have a vehicle for your dipping needs!

Added note: the icing is good with the gingerbread cookies, but nothing could fix the poor shortbread. I think it must be due to the fact that I used Earth Balance instead of butter. I haven't had a problem with it before, but that's the only thing that I did differently. Oh well! I'll make up a new batch in a few days. I have a great whipped shortbread recipe that a friend sent me last year. This time I'll use real butter.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All I Want for Christmas

A few years ago if someone had asked me what I wanted for Christams, I would have drawn a blank. Not that I didn't want different this or that, it was just that I didn't want any of it more than anything else. This year, I'm not having that problem. I want a digital camera. I'm not likely to get one, and that's OK, but between you and me, a food blog without pictures is pretty boring. Why bother to read post after post of recipes if you aren't tempted by the fabulous pictures, where the food is plated in such a beautiful and appetizing way that you swear you hear the sound of angels? Ok, that's probably pretty extreme, but a pic to let you kow what you're getting into wouldn't be remiss!
In lieu of having pictures of my own, I'll send you over to Baking Bites, where the pictures are clear and bright, and the gingerbread cookies are what I am refigerating overnight for the dc to put together tomorrow. I haven't had lemon icing with gingerbread before, but it sounds like a good idea, and the kids will have fun piping it onto their creations.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wheatberry Salad

I've been on a dijon mustard kick lately. It has a bite that I've been craving all week with the honey-mustard sauce, and now a different type of salad dressing. A wheatberry salad is great in the summer, but equally good in the winter. Especialy if you add a can of beans to kick up the protein. I tend to need more protein in the winter; must burn it off with the shivering I go through every year! I like to eat this as a meal, but it could easily be a side too.
Boil a cup of wheatberries until tender, about 30 mins. Drain, and add the following: 1/4c chopped onion, 1 diced garlic clove, 1Tbsp olive oil, 1/8c balsamic vinegar, 1Tbsp dijon mustard, 2tsp maple syrup, and a dash of salt. Mix well, and add 1/2 a chopped red pepper, 1 can corn kernels(drained), and 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed).
Basically, from this point you can add whatever you want- cucumber, tomato, parsley.....whatever you think will work. Then just put it in the fridge (covered) for at least an hour. It's pretty good from the first, but allowing it to set really allows the flavours to blend.

Changing Habits

It is hard to change decades of eating habits overnight. It's hard and frustrating. So much so, that I have decided that other than being completely dairy free (I want pizza!!!), the gluten and vegetarian stuff will have to come piece by piece. As we find recipes that we enjoy, I'll use them to replace old favorites.
This week we will be entertaining ourselves with a pre-Christmas tofurky. If it's a hit, we'll get the full meal version for Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday Night Lights

Tonight we skipped bedtime and went to the Cavalcade of Lights. We picked up some hotdogs from a stand (I was the only one to choose tofu!), then skated for a couple of hours. At 9pm there was a terrific fireworks display. I hadn't realised before how smokey fireworks are, but what a mess! Ds was coughing, and I was worried that dd would have an asthma attack.
It's not that I wasn't aware of how damaging fireworks can be for the environment, I had just never been close enough to be engulfed in the smoke. When we went, I actually thought that there was going to be a 'light' display, not fireworks. As we were standing there and the cascades were going off, all I could think was "should I just grab the kids and leave? Am I doing the wrong thing by not boycotting this display right now?" . I stayed. The dc clapped, we choked and coughed, and now I have to explain to my children that although Mommy allowed them to see the display, fireworks are actually a bad thing. Does it make me 'bad' that I didn't immediately leave? I doubt it.
Hopefully, having seen the smoke and heard the noise (although as cascades, there was actually very little noise), I'll be able to give them a better view on the entire problem.

Vegan Cheese

I've had a few successes in the kitchen this week. Nothing tremendous, but I made a pretty good honey mustard sauce and a great wheat berry salad. Today I decided to tackle what could be a saving grace in my home: veggie cheese sauce. I had a bag of nutritional yeast, which has a cheese recipe on the side of it. I had some reservations about the whole thing- after all, I love real cheese! I was reassured by the numerous positive comments that I've found online though. Not for this recipe specifically, but for numerous other 'cheese' sauces.
The recipe wasn't labour intensive at all and was made with common household ingredients,but (my apologies to anyone who uses this recipe)there is no way that anyone in my family will eat this cheese. It tastes like something that is dead and rotting. (Or so I would imagine, since I'm not used to having rotting dead things in the house). Not only that, but the accompanying smell has permeated my house! Sort of a more subtle version of when a neighbour cooked something a few years ago- dh and I could only figure they were boiling rotten whale. :0p
I've found a couple of new recipes that I'll be trying. They incorporate soy milk and/or nuts and tahini, so hopefully one of them will be a hit. If not, then I guess that our dream of mac and cheese will have to remain far off on the horizon.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

I've been reading a lot of meringue recipes lately. They first caught my attention at Cookie Madness, and now I can't get away from them! They're quick and light, sweet but not overwhelming! I decided to give it a go.

3 egg whites
1/2tsp lemon juice
1/2tsp vanilla extract*
2/3c white sugar
1 1/2Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 300F. Combine egg whites, lemon juice and vanilla*. Beat whites until they form soft peaks. Add sugar slowly, and beat until stiff peaks form. (If no peaks form, that's OK too. They'll still be yummy!) Fold in Cocoa. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 min.

If you want, you can add white chocolate chips with the cocoa.

*Vanilla is best when it's the real deal. Here's how:

Split 3 vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife/scissors.
Place in jar with 1 cup vodka, brandy, or rum. Be sure beans are completely covered with vodka. Seal tightly. Let stand in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 months. Shake jar occasionally during the standing time. Can be used after a 4 weeks, but improves with age.
I found the details for this process on different sites, but the main info is from Vanilla Enchantment.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

GF, DF, Vegan Cookie Revised

1/3c Earth Balance
3/4c maple syrup
1/4c molasses
1/4c soy milk
2 1/2c Featherlight Flour mix (by Bette Hagman)
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum (if this is too much or too little, let me know!!!)
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cloves
1 1/2tsp ground ginger

Bake at 350F until lightly browned.

I did it! I was so surprised when this recipe worked. I didn't use the fresh ginger, but I will next time, just to add an extra 'kick'. The cookies were tasty and soft. Not cake-like, but not at all hard. Like a regular-old molasses cookie. (I knew it could be done, I just didn't expect to get it my first try!) Now, I'm not saying that these are contest-winning by any means, but the fact that they're edible has made me so happy! A tip that I found somewhere along the way- when baking with gluten-free flours, sift your dry ingredients at least twice. It adds air to the mix, and allows your baking to raise a better. ( No idea who said it, but it sounded like good advice, and seems to have worked).

Sick Again!

Today I was supposed to take a look at a friend's copies of a couple of Bette Hagman's books, but it wasn't happening. Dd still had quite a bad cough, and I just couldn't bring myself to allow her to spread germs this close to Christmas.
I don't know what it is, but if there's something going around, then it's gonna stop at our house. Germs and viruses love to come and hang out with us. We eat our veggies, we get outside in the sun, we exercise....what else is there? The house is clean, but not so clean that we suffer from a 'lack of germ exposure'. There are two kids and two cats here, there's only a certain amount of clean that you can be. We have an air purifier! I have tried different things to boost our immune systems: echinacea, oil of oregano...we take vitamins! (Aspertame-free vitamins, thank-you very much! It's amazing how hard it is to find those suckers!) We get lots of sleep...well, I mean, I'd certainly sleep for as long as the children allowed, but we all get at least nine hours a night.
So. We should be as healthy as the next bunch, and I am terribly insulted that germs like us. I miss out on way too much skating this way! Oh...and the children! They expect me to be far too entertaining! I have about three hours of entertaining in me per day, and when we're shut up for three days, I'm short a few can do the math there! I know they can entertain themselves, but quite a lot of my time is spent explaining that to THEM!
Off to get a start on tomorrow. Hopefully we'll all be healthy and raring to go! ;0)

Ashleigh's Brown Bread

I know that a lot of people refer to whole wheat bread as brown bread, but where I'm from that's not the case. When I say brown bread, I'm talking about a loaf made with oatmeal and molasses. I got this recipe from my sil, but I'm not sure where it originated. I've made it with all whole wheat flour, with a mix of whole wheat and white, or just with white. My favorite version is the complete whole wheat. It's a pretty dense loaf this way, but it still raises well and has a wonderful flavour.
Some people are afraid to make their own bread. I know that I was the first time! It's not that hard, and you can get a lot accomplished around the house while you wait for it to raise twice and then bake. (Or you can spend some quality time on the computer!)


2c rolled oats
1c molasses
1/4c oil
4tsp salt (I only use 2tsp)

Cover with 3c boiling water, stir well, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, mix in a different bowl:

2Tbsp yeast
1c lukewarm water
1Tbsp sugar/honey

Allow yeast to work for about 10 minutes, then stir mixture and add to the oat mixture.

From 7 cups of flour, add enough flour to make a manageable dough. Put a cup or so of your flour onto the counter, and pour your dough onto it. Knead for 10 min, adding more of your flour when dough becomes sticky.
Set dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat, then cover with a damp teatowel. Allow to raise until double, about an hour. It will raise more quickly in a warm room.
Punch down dough, then form into four loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, and allow to raise (covered) until doubled.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Allow to cool and then enjoy! Or slice it warm and let the butter melt in to your slice, and really enjoy....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


After dinner tonight, I decided that I should give the dc something for dessert. Since it was shortly before their bedtimes, I didn't want to bake anything; it would just come out of the oven when they had to go down. What could I do but turn to the trusty jar of peanut butter. Seriously, peanut butter has saved me many times. It is a great dip and sandwich spread, plus it tastes good in smoothies.
Tonight, I took 1/2c peanut butter and mixed it with 2Tbsp honey, 1/4 dried cranberries, and 2Tbsp coconut. The kids loved it, and it was quite filling. It would be great with apple slices, crackers, celery...basically anything you usually eat with peanut butter.
I probably didn't need as much honey as I used, but I was going for a desserty type thing. You could also add enough graham crumbs to make a stiff base, press into a pan, and serve as squares. Top with a drizzle of chocolate, maybe. Whatever you do, it will be worth the five minutes of effort.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Vegan Cookies

These are a work in progress, so if anyone actually tries this recipe, give me a heads-up! I'm still making some decisions about the ingredients, so they're subject to change. ;0) The dairy-free is for my dd and myself, the gluten-free is my dh, and we're all going vegetarian at some point....unless I get too scared! It was one thing when dh and I were vegetarians. It's yet another to drag two children into it with us.
So, here's the recipe in it's present glory:

1/3c oil (may use coconut oil, not sure yet...)
3/4c sugar (maybe maple syrup, which will change other ingreds of course)
1/4c molasses
1/4c non-dairy milk (I'll be using either soy or rice, but probably soy)
2c Featherlight Flour mix (by Bette Hagman)
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum (if this is too much or too little, let me know!!!)
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cloves
1 1/2tsp ground ginger (may halve this and use some fresh-grated ginger)

The beginnings of this recipe came from Tofumom, but I've made quite a few changes. Who knows what it will look like when I'm done!! I'll probably make some half-batches and choose a favorite. I'll let you know how it goes on Wed. (the day I've booked for baking with the dc.)

Tomorrow I'll be making pumpernickle bread...or maybe I'll hold off until Wed when I already have the oven heated!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Whoosit's Squares

This is my favourite square recipe.

1/2 c butter
1 c white sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/3 c coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Melt butter in a doible boiler (or a bowl over a pot of water), and add everything else except for the eggs. Beat eggs, and add a couple of spoonfuls of heated mixture to the eggs, stirring continually. Add eggs to the double boiler. Cook for 10 min, stirring occassionally. Cool, and add 2 1/4 c graham crumbs and 3 c mini marshmallows (24 large). Pat into a greased pan and refrigerate.

I tend to mix these before the 'syrup' cools completely. That way, some of the marshmallow melts. Yummy!


This is the salsa recipe that I make every year. I usually try to make at least one hot batch, and one mild. The recipe comes from Jean Pare's Preserves book, which is one book I wouldn't be without.

4 1/2 lbs peeled, chopped ripe tomatoes
3 whole chilies, chopped (can use canned)
1 large spanish onion. chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
3-6 jalapenos, chopped
5 1/2 oz tomato paste
3/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
2 tsp paprika
2 cloves minced garlic

Combine all ingredients, and bring to a boil over med heat. Boil 60 mins, stirring occassionally, until reaches desired consistency. Close to the end, taste and add more jalapenos if desired. Can according to bottle directions.

Now, I often add more onion and/or peppers, but I always add more garlic. I usually use four cloves, but we really like garlic! This is one of the preserves that I made for Christmas gifts this year, and those (who shall remain nameless) that couldn't wait to open their gifts were really excited.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Feeling

I spent today doing...well, not much of anything. Laundry, reading, picked up a tree with the dc. It's a tiny, paper tree, but it's the one that the dc wanted. Next year they want a big tree, but this is good for now.
I spent most of today singing Christamas carols and reading Christmas poetry with the children. Too bad for the neighbours- I've had a cold, and probably don't sound so hot! Right now I have Blue Christmas running through my head. I must be winding down.
I love Christmas music. My mother gets annoyed when I sing it in the summer; or she pretends to. Probably secretly laughing! It's one genre where I know a lot of song lyrics. I tend to forget the words to other music unless I'm listening to it at the time. The past two years, I haven't felt too much Christmas spirit. This year, it seems to be creeping up on me. First just odd moments of excitement, and then it became longer-lasting and stronger. It will be nice to sit near our diminuitive tree eating cookies and singing carols. Reading The Night Before Christmas for the umpteenth time of the season.
It takes so little to bring true's a wonder that we don't find it more often!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pumpkin Polenta & Vegetarian

I found this recipe on Tofu Mom's blog. It looks great, and there's a pumpkin seed and sage pesto recipe to go with it. I didn't copy that though, since I'm not sure where to buy raw, hulled pumpkin seeds.

Crispy Pumpkin Polenta Triangles

1/2 cup squash or pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons soymilk
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
1/2 cup polenta cornmeal (or coarse ground cornmeal)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying

In a medium saucepan, combine the pumpkin with the water and bring to a boil. Add the soymilk, margarine, agave and a generous pinch of salt.

Add the polenta cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Cook over low-ish heat, stirring until thickened and cornmeal is cooked - about 20 minutes.

Scrape the polenta into a loaf pan and refrigerate until firm. When firm and chilled, run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the polenta. Slice into 1 1/2 -inch squares/rectangles, and then crosswise into triangles;
Fry the triangles in batches, turning once, until deep golden and crisp, about 2 - 5 minutes per side.

Transfer to paper towels or brown paper bag to absorb excess oil and drain.
Now, I am lactose intollerant, and dd is as well now. Also, dd eats very little meat, and as a family we only eat meat once or twice a week. So....I believe that we'll be going vegetarian. My 9yo niece will be excited. She's been a lonely vegetarian in our family for the past few years.
I'm not sure how dh will take this- we talked about it, but since he's out of town, it wasn't really in-depth. I don't think he'll care- he can always get a burger at work if the need takes him!
I've been hoping for a while to get The Uncheese Cookbook, and now I believe I'll be adding Raising Vegetarian Children to my list. Both books are by Joanne Stepianiak, and have been listed as important go-to books on different sites and blogs that I've been reading.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I really need to pay more attention! I just realised this morning that my profile says I'm an accountant in Afghanistan. Not sure how that happened! It's not hard to tell that blogging doesn't come naturally to me!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wind-up Flash Light

We were at C. Tire the other day, and I finally remembered that I needed a new flashlight. This is something I usually think about after something has rolled under a bed or the power has gone out, so I was quite proud of myself. I knew that I wanted one that didn't require batteries, as I can't remember to buy those either, and I was quite happy with the one that we got. We've had the 'shake' ones, and they didn't last too long. The one that we chose is a wind-up flashlight with two light settings, and it will charge your cell phone! This makes it great for camping or power outages, IMO.


Here is a recipe for granola that I'll be trying out. I had a great granola recipe, but the last time I made it, I came down with strep the next day, and for some reason, I can't even stand the smell of it now. It worked that way for me with Maggie and the Ferocious Beast too. It first aired when I was magnificently ill with preg. #2, and to this day, the lyrics along can cause me to retch. (No joke there, and the kids think it's funny to flip the channel at the appropriate time, just to see me dry-heave!)
I guess it's the same thing as when you smell cinnamon and vanilla, or baking bread (or for some of us, burnt peas), and are immediately swept back to childhood. (My mother used to forget about the peas quite often in her attempt to be a great ps teacher and!)
So! I might whip some of this granola this week to send off to relatives in NS. I'll probably send some cookies or candy along with it; more than likely , I'll be sending gingerbread men, since my nieces and nephews can decorate them, and my fil can sit back and enjoy one of his favourite treats. It's been a while since I made him cookies!

Pumpkin Pie

I didn't start eating pumpkin pie until a few years ago. Not that I disliked it- I just thought it was rather bland. I started experimenting, and have found a few versions that I like. Some involve cream cheese or sour cream, and others aren't really technically 'pie'. This Christmas, I think I'll try this recipe. I mean, they say it's the best, and I'm all for taking things/people/blogs/etc at face value! All right- I might try it out at a potluck first!

Cranberry recipes

I love cranberries, so it's great to know that they are so good for you. They're full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, and are good for fighting urinary tract infections. I'm sure that there are lots of health benefits that I'm missing, so I'll google something later. I just didn't want to lose the vinaigrette recipe below!

Toss 1/2 cup of cranberries into your favorite wild rice or bread recipe to perk up the flavor and add a nice note of color.

For a delicious and quick cranberry-apricot sauce, mix together 1/2 cup each of dried apricots, fresh cranberries, unsweetened applesauce and water, and 1/4 cup of fruit spread in a small saucepan. Cook until cranberries have popped (about 10 minutes) and cool. For a piquant variation, add 1 finely chopped jalapeño pepper before cooking.

Make a no-cook cranberry-orange relish by puréeing 2 cups raw cranberries in a food processor with 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 peeled and seeded orange, and 1/2 cup all-fruit orange marmalade. Chill before serving.

Cranberry vinaigrette livens up any salad: Process 1/4 cup of raw cranberries with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, chives or thyme.

Cranberry soup, served warm or cold, makes a refreshingly tart starter. Cook 1 pound cranberries in 2 cups apple juice, 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice and cloves. When cranberries pop, remove from heat and purée in blender until smooth. Chill if desired. Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


For a few years now, I have been wanting to try a curry recipe that a friend gave us. I've held off though, because I didn't have a recipe for paneer, nor did I know where to buy it. Now I do! I'll have to make it this week. Dh will be so happy!

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 gallon whole milk
2 TBSP lemon juice

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil. (When it has reached full boil, it will look very foamy and quickly - QUICKLY, I say - rise in the pot. To avoid the ensuing mess, remove it from the heat right away.) Add lemon juice and stir until small curds separate from the whey, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Let sit 10 minutes so curds can develop, then drain into a collander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. When cool enough to handle, tie up opposite ends of the cheese cloth and squeeze out remaining liquid.
3. Place paneer, still in cheese cloth, on a plate. Flatten to 1/2" thick and top with another plate. Rest something heavy on top (such as several cans or the Joy of Cooking) and let sit 20 minutes.
4. Pour off any liquid that remains and refrigerate overnight, or use immediately by cutting paneer into 1/2" cubes and frying gently in oil, turning to brown each side.

I found this recipe at food musings, and chose it after checking out several other sites. There were a lot of helpful comments on this site, which hopefully will make my own efforts more effective!

Here is the recipe that I will be using the paneer in. It's one of my favourites, but I've never made it myself. There are lots of other types of mattar paneer out there, some are tomato based, some use tofu to replace the paneer. It just depends on what you like! I found this recipehere. I was too eager to wait for our friend's recipe, which someone (not me) deleted from the computer....

Mattar Paneer

Green peas – 1 cup
Sugar – a pinch
Paneer – 1 cup, cubed
Oil – 1+1 teaspoon
Ghee – 1+1 teaspoon
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick, broken into halves
Cloves – 3
Cardamom – 2
Cummin seeds – 1-1/2 teaspoon, whole
Black peppecorns – 8-10, whole
Onions – 2, medium size, finely sliced
Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon or to taste
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Ginger – ½-inch piece, finely chopped and crushed
Garlic – 3 cloves, finely chopped and crushed
Green chillies– 3, medicum size, medium hot, sliced into halves
Tomatoes – 2, medium size, finely chopped
Yogurt/Curd – 1/2 cup
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Cilantro leaves – chopped for garnishing
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon or adjusted to taste

Method: Boil the green peas with a cupful of water and a pinch of sugar. Cook till tender and keep aside. We love home-made paneer and prepared it very closely as described by Jenn at Atabela, i.e., heat milk till reduced by 1/4th part, add the lemon juice or yogurt (we use lemon juice and found it is more tastier that way), to seperate the curd and whey, tie the curd in a muslin cloth, after the curd is out of moisture, flatten it and cut into paneer cubes. Thanks Jenn for the inspiration. Please see the picture above to see our results.

Heat a pan and pour in the first part of ghee and oil. When smoking hot, deep fry the paneer pieces in oil until light golden color, remove from heat and keep aside. In the same oil when very hot, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, cummin seeds, and finally onions. Saute until the onions are golden brown here and there. Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute taking care not to burn the dry masala powders. Remove from fire, allow it cool, and then grind the onion mixuture to a smooth and thick paste. Heat the remaining ghee and oil. Add ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the ground onion paste and saute for a minute. Add the tomatoes and saute until the oil separates from it. Add the yogurt, cooked peas, paneer pieces and salt. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the garam masala mixture a minute before removing mattar paneer masala from the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves, lemon juice, and a dollop of salted butter on top. Serve hot with chappathis, pooris, bread, or plain white rice. Enjoy mattar paneer masala.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pierogies #2

I can't help it! I am recipe-obsessed at the best of times, but prepping myself for going gf next week might be sending me over the edge. OK, that's a huge exaggeration, but my mind does seem to be spinning, and I keep panicking about what we're going to eat. As if we eat bread or cereal at every meal, anyway! Oh, well, maybe the kids and dh do...panic setting in again!!

1/3 cup Tapioca Flour
1/3 cup Cornstarch
2 Tb Potato Starch
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tb Xanthan Gum
2 large Eggs
1 Tb Vegetable Oil

Combine flours, salt, and xanthan gum. Beat eggs lightly and add oil. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir. This will feel much like pastry dough. Work together into a firm ball. Knead a minute or two.

The recipe in the book and online give further instructions depending on the different kinds of pastas you could make. For the purpose of making pierogi, you'll want to work with small handfuls of dough. Roll it out, with just the minimum amount of flour necessary to keep it from sticking. Too much flour will toughen the dough and keep it from being as sticky as it needs to be. Roll it out to about 1/8 of an inch. Use a biscuit cutter or glass or jar lip to cut circles about 4 inches in diameter. Keep rolling dough until you've made as many circles as it will yield.

Use your fingertips to wet the edges of each circle. Let the water sit for few minutes, making a nice, sticky edge. (By the time you get to the last circle, the first one should be just sticky enough. Spoon some filling into the center of each circle. Fold the circle in half, pinching and crimping the edges until they are sealed tight.

Any that you are cooking right away, set aside. Any that you will be freezing, place on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until they are dry. Once they're no longer sticky you can put them in freezer bags.

To cook, place pierogi in a large pot of salted boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes (and hope you sealed them tightly enough!). Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with hot melted butter.

Pelmini/flour recipe

We had pierogies for lunch, and it occurred to me- once we start gluten-free, no more pierogies! In a panic, I googled a gf recipe for them, and this is what I found(bonus for getting the flour-mix recipe also!!!):

I like the basic recipe of 3 C Brown Rice flour, 1 C Potato Starch, 1/2 C Tapioca Starch and 2 tsp. Xanthan Gum. Sift together 3 times to get the xanthan gum evenly distributed. I use this for just about everything. (Sometimes I add more xanthan gum, like for Pelmini, or use a bit of bean flour, like for pizza crust.) I mix up 3-4 batches of this flour and store it in a gallon container in the refrigerator, then use it cup for cup for all-purpose flour. It's way cheaper than buying bags of pre-mixed flours.

Here's my recipe for Pelmini dough. Pelmini are the Russian equivilant of Pierogi.

1-1/4 C Brown Rice Flour
1/2 C Potato Starch
1/4 C Tapioca Flour
generous 2-1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 Tbs. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2+ C Water

Sift dry ingredients 3 times. Add oil and water. You will probably need to add a little more water, but do it slowly. Stir until dough forms a ball. Make sure it is not dry! It should be smooth and almost creamy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out on board dusted with Tapioca flour.

GF Foccacia

I may not make this recipe with the same topping. I have made regular foccacia and topped it with brown sugar and onion slices, and it was wonderful.


3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 eggs (or egg replacer to substitute for 2 eggs)
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup gf flour (I like millet or sorghum for this, but bean or rice works too)
1/2 cup starch (tapoica, arrowroot, or corn)
1 tsp plain gelatin powder (or agar-agar powder)
1 tsp xanthan gum (or guar gum if corn-free)
1 tsp Italian Seasoning (we like McCormick’s or Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp kosher salt
more olive oil
1 tsp dry rosemary, gently crushed in your hand
several pinches kosher salt
Combine all liquid ingredients (plus sugar) in your mixer bowl. Beat together (with the attachment you would use for making a cake - not the whisk or the dough hook) while you assemble the dry ingredients.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (from yeast through the 1 tsp kosher salt). Add to the wet ingredients in the mixer. Beat for about 2 minutes. The dough will look like brownie batter, not like traditional bread dough.

Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Lightly oil either 2 8 inch round pie/cake tins or one long (7×11 or 9×13) pan. Oil your fingers, then spread the dough into the pans, stretching a bit and making fingertip indentations.

Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. While it is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle the risen dough with a little olive oil, a few pinches of kosher salt, and the rosemary. You can really substitute any other herb for the rosemary, or leave it with just the kosher salt.

Bake for 30 minutes, until it turns golden brown.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gluten Free Pasta

We have been milk-free for the past two weeks (or dd has been), and next week we will become gluten-free as well. Hopefully this will either show us the answer to the problem that we've been having around here, or we'll be able to go back to our 'normal' methods of cooking. Here's a recipe for noodles that I'll make on Monday- not sure what I'll put on them, as dd dislikes spaghetti sauce, and alfredo sauce is out (milk!). Oh well, something will come to me!

1/3 cup Tapioca Flour
1/3 cup Cornstarch
2 Tb Potato Starch
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tb Xanthan Gum
2 large Eggs
1 Tb Vegetable Oil

Combine flours, salt, and xanthan gum. Beat eggs lightly and add oil. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir. This will feel much like pastry dough. Work together into a firm ball. Knead a minute or two.

Place ball of dough on your bread board and roll as thin as possible. One pasta book suggest you should be able to see the board through the dough. The dough is tough and, although almost transparent, will still handle well. Slice the noodles into very thin strips or, if using for lasagne, into 1-1/2” x 4” rectangles. The pasta is now ready to cook, or to freeze uncooked for later use.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of oil has been added for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness and the size of your pieces. You will have to test for doneness.

Makes 3 servings as noodles alone, 5 to 6 servings in a mixed casserole.

Spaghetti: Use the spaghetti cutter on your pasta machine. If you don’t have a pasta machine refer to our online catalog or, roll the dough very thin and cut your spaghetti as narrow as possible. This may turn out a bit uneven, but no one will notice when it is hidden under spaghetti sauce. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling salted water to which a tablespoon of oil has been added.

Chow Mein Noodles: Make the pasta and cut as if for spaghetti. Then cut these strips into 1- to 1-1/2” pieces. Drop uncooked into hot oil and cook for a few seconds (they will probably take less than 1 minute). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Then use immediately or freeze.

Makes about 5 to 6 cups chow mein noodles

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Salt Dough

I used to make playdough quite often. Somehow, I fell out of the habit, and my children have had to put up with the store-bought stuff. Tonight, dd was feeling left out from her brother's games, so I made some salt dough. We'll play with it for a few days, and then make Christmas decorations. (Ds wants to make one giant star for the top of the tree! I can just see the slo-mo fall of the tree!!!)

Salt Dough


4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1-1/2 cups hot water (from tap)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (optional)

Mix the salt and flour together, then gradually add the water until the dough becomes elastic. (Some recipes call for 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil at this point.) If your mixture turns out too sticky, simply add more flour. If it turns out too crumbly, simply add more water. Knead the dough until it’s a good consistency—then get out rolling pins, cups, bowls, straws, cookie cutters, plastic utensils, and let the fun begin!

If you want colored dough, mix food coloring, powdered drink mix, or paint into the water before adding it to the dry ingredients. Or you can paint your creations after baking them at 200 degrees. Baking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of the object, but make sure that all of it is hard. If the dough starts to darken before cooking is complete, cover with aluminum foil. Painted keepsakes will need to be sealed on all sides with clear varnish or polyurethane spray.

You can store your salt dough in a sealed container in the refrigerator, but usually not more than a couple of days.

Added note- if you're planning on making paintable, dryable(is that even a word?) crafts, omit the oil.

Another recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup/so water

Mix and enjoy!

Sugar Cookies

I finally found the time to try the sugar cookie recipe, and it was worth the wait! I left out the orange flavouring, and substituted 1 Tbsp orange juice and 2tsp orange zest. I really liked the way that it all worked out, and will be making them again in the future.

Latest note- unless you plan to freeze these cookies, they don't keep well! One day, tops before they're dry. They're no longer on my 'make-again' list. Oh well...they had the right flavour....almost!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Homeschool Rant

I love this! Some day I may copy it and hand it out to those who assume too much about homeschooling. I'll highlight the appropriate sections, of course! roflol!!!!

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List
From Secular Homeschooling
Magazine, Issue #1

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is - and it is - it's
insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals,
would we admit it?

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now.
Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and
pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like
potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an
adequate job of homeschooling.

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in
teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education - and many of us prefer a more organic approach - we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious,
quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I
homeschool my kids.

23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I
homeschool my kids.

24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about
homeschooling, shut your mouth!

Sugar rant

Well, I have to say it. I hate fake sugar! I think it is absolutely disgusting, and it makes my head hurt. I have yet to eat something that was improved by the addition of fake sugar, and frankly, I would rather go without than be bothered suffering through the torture of eating an artificial sugared dessert.
I realise that some people eat these sugars due to diabetes or a weight loss plan(or probably numerous other reasons), but I can only feel sorry for them. Aspertame, sucralose, whatever....yuck!!!! Apparently Splenda isn't such a bad thing- it's just super-processed sugar? Can't help it- ugghhh!!! How many super-processed, chemical-full foods can we eat without something happening to our bodies? I think that it's bad enough that I use regular old refined white sugar. I should be using cane sugar or maple syrup!
I read an article in a science mag. once about how aspertame was actually invented as a bio-toxin. People feed this to their children!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pumpkin Ginger Whoopie Pies

The kids and I have been invited to a Christmas cookie baking swap. Everyone makes something, and then swaps out a dozen or so with the other participants. I didn't know what to make. I have certain stand-byes that I give out as gifts every year: caramel corn, a Skor-like candy, fudge, and somtimes doughnuts. None of these are cookie-like, so, I went trolling through other baking blogs, and I found this recipe at baking delights .It sounds pretty good, and it has cream cheese! How can you go wrong with that!? I don't like regular whoopie pies though- they tend to be dry and/or bland. Hopefully the pumpkin and spices will rescue these.

Christmas Baking Countdown:Pumpkin Ginger Whoopie Pies

by Marye on November 6th, 2007

To make this ahead you can do one of two things:
1. Drop the cookies by tablespoonfuls on the cookie sheet and set in the freezer to flash freeze. When frozen store in a ziploc in the freezer. Bake according to directions allowing an extra minute or so to get done.
2. Bake the cookies and freeze them without filling. Fill when needed. This can make it a little easier to fill them.
How ever you decide to do it be sure try them. Different and delicious!

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.cinnamon
1 tsp.ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups solid pack pumpkin or fresh pumpkin cooked, sieved and drained well.
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream together sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well.Drop by rounded tablespoons full onto ungreased non-stick cookie sheets or silpat coated sheets, and bake 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until the centers of the cookies spring back when lightly pressed. Cool thoroughly before filling.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 c confectioners
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs minced candied ginger (more or less to taste)
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until fluffy.
Spread filling on one cookie, top with another one.
Makes about 18-20

Sugar Cookies

My grandmother made the best sugar cookies. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was a teen, and more interested in boys than gathering recipes. So, when I asked a family member for Gram's recipe, I didn't get the right one. Who knows? Maybe she made it from memory, anyway! So, the following recipe sounds as though it might come out sort of the same as her recipe. Well...if I replace the orange flavouring with orange zest, anyway! Might have to tweak a few other things too, but only time and snacking will tell! I'll be making these this week anyway, in the hopes that I can figure something out before the holidays. (I'll be halving or quatering the recipe to test it!) (I'll also be using parchament paper rather than greasing the pans!)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
Makes over 80 cookies

From the kitchen of Ralph Eggleston

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
3 eggs
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
red or green sugar crystals (if desired)

Beat together butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, orange extract and eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate until firm, several hours or over night. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until light brown in color. Watch carefully.

Copyright 2007, LLC

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Candy Bar Bars

If, like me, you can't resist the lure of halloween chocolate, this could be a great idea. Make all of the chocolate into a cookie-type bar, and hand them out to friends! Those bars may be small, but a pound of chocolate is a pound of chocolate, and opening hundreds of wrappers isn't the best way to burn those extra calories! I found this recipe at cookie madness, but I'm not sure where it originated.

Candy Bar Bars

12 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats, quick cooking type
1 egg
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
4 cups chopped candy bars – a mixture of Reese’s and Snickers works well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15×10 inch ridged metal pan (jelly roll) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
In large bowl, combine butter and peanut butter; add brown sugar, vanilla and baking soda and beat well. Stir in flour and oats. Set aside about 1 1/3 cups of the peanut butter mixture.
Stir egg into remaining peanut butter mixture in bowl. Using wet hands, pat into a baking pan – the layer will seem pretty thin and you’ll probably worry that you don’t have enough cookie batter to cover the bottom and use for topping. But don’t worry. Bake for 15 minutes.
Pour condensed milk over the crust. Stir together reserved peanut butter mixture and chopped candy bars; sprinkle over all and don’t get too tied up in using exactly 4 cups of candy. Use more, use less.
Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely. When bars are absolutely, completely cool, go ahead and cut. Store leftovers loosely covered at room temperatures.

4 Dozen Bars

Mine aren't out of the oven yet, but once they're cooled and cut, they're heading out the door. I'll just save enough for the family to have a taste. Now to find something to do with hard candy.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin Cookies (Recipe by me)

I made up this recipe for a homeschool drop-in, and they were really popular with the parents and kids. I liked them beacuse they weren't too greasy and flat, and neither were they doughy and cake-like. They had the exact texture that I was going for. Usually I have to work on a recipe a couple of times before I'm happy with it, but these worked well on my first try!

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup b. sugar
1 cup sugar

Cream, and add:

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat more and then add the dry ingredients:

2 cups oats
2 cups flour
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add pre-boiled and drained:

1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchament-lined cookie sheets, and bake at 350 degrees. (Remember to pre-heat the oven!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Tonight we'll be having lasagna. It's a recipe that I've adapted to my own tastes from a Reader's Digest cookbook. (It really only has faint traces of the in the lemon juice!)I love it, and I always make a huge pan so that we can eat it for the rest of the week.

This is my recipe (I modify almost everything I make!)
2 cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
lemon juice(2 Tbsps or so...)
1 container cottage cheese
1 egg (for binder)
1 c ricotta
1/2 c parmesan (Sometimes I don't bother with the ricotta or parmesan...I tend to save those for company!)

garlic (at least 3 cloves)
1 large spanish onion

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, saute until release juices
1 cup pepper (any colour!)
1 med zucchini (chopped)
green beans
squash.....basically chop any veggies that you like and add them!

Top with 3(at least) cups fresh spinach, cover and simmer until wilted (couple of minutes at most)-can use frozen though, and then just heat through!

Then, just layer! I add grated cheese to the top of every layer of sauce. Bake @ 350 for 1 hour.

Monday, October 29, 2007


While I was surfing for zucchini recipes I stumbled across I got caught up in delicious-sounding pumpkin pancake recipes, and I finally decided to try Kree's recipe. It looks delicious, and I think I'll make them tomorrow. I just have to convince dh that it's worth a trip to the store to get the pumpkin!
We haven't carved our pumpkin yet, or else it wouldn't be a problem.


Tonight was meatloaf night. Not vastly exciting to most, but my dc love it. Tonight I decided to
try something new, and made an apple-ground chicken meatloaf. It turned out great, so I thought I'd share my recipe.

1 pkg. ground chicken
3 slices of bread, cubed
1 egg
1 grated apple
1/2 small onion
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, put in pan and bake for 45 min. at 350.

Now I need to surf and find a good recipe for the zucchini I bought today. I'll only need half of it for my veggie lasagna, so I'm thinking muffins or cookies....

Friday, October 26, 2007


I've been sooo unproductive! But, this is fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

learned something new!

Well, I've been spending a lot of time at this site, checking out all of the great recipes. The CM author had a great idea for candycorn pizza that I'll be trying out tomorrow at our gym meeting. It's cute, easy, and something that the kids will love. It's pizza!
This is the week that our halloween costumes have to be done, so of course my sewing machine broke last night. I've been working at dd's dress by hand. Ds might have to buy a costume this year....poor kid. Hopefully he takes it well- it was hard for him to make up his mind what to be this year, and now it might have to be something different.
As you may have noticed, I've learned how to link. (Well, hopefully this works!) It took me a while just to find the page that explains it, so I don't really want to start all over again.
Off to bake a cake!

Monday, October 22, 2007

longer days

Well, I've been getting up earlier for the past couple of months. I'm usualy ready for the day by 7:30. So, why can't I get more free time? It seems the earlier I get up, the more I have to do! Not that I'm over-working or anything, that's not likely. But between housework, school work, play time for the kids, cooking and baking, outings and exercising, I don't have that much time for other things. Such as reading. Never has it taken me so long to read a book! I believe that I've been reading the same book for three weeks now!
Of course, there are also Halloween costumes to make, and quilts that I have yet to finish, and so on and on and why am I not getting anything new worked on? I have a couple of extra hours every day, and yet there it all sits.
Of course, I do still spend an hour or so online every day, catching up on e-mails and checking out hsing boards. But I have always done those things! Somehow I seem to have lost time by trying to gain it.
Ah well, the house is cleaner, the kids are progressing through the school year, and dh is well fed. I guess now that I have the time, I just need to work on time-management!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Well, I've been hanging around other blogger's sites, and I guess that I need pictures on here! I only have the camera on my computer or my cell phone, so it may be an awkward process! Of course, playing with the settings on the computer is the image above. Not the best photo, but I had fun putting the picture through all sorts of contortions before I chose this one. Hmmm...I look sort of sad or frightened in this pic! Huh. Oh well, at least it worked! Now to figure out the whole HTML part of this thing!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

caffeine free

Today I found myself near tears while trying to teach my dd to read. Not that she was doing badly or anything, I was just sooo emotional and frustrated! Then I realised that this is my second day caffeine free (almost).
It's painful! Yesterday my head ached and I felt nauseas, and I was in a terrible mood! Today, although I feel fine and I haven't had a head ache yet, my mood hasn't improved much. This when I'm still having one caffeinated drink a day! Maybe next week, when I drop it all, I'll just sleep for a week. That way I don't have to worry about traumatizing the children! As it is, I went to bed at 7:30 last night. So sad!

Monday, October 15, 2007

New day, new stuff!

I'm really just writing a quick note here to try out our new computer. I no longer have the itallics choice- hmmm...have to look into that! It's funny how quickly things change. A month ago, I never would have thought about replacing our old computer, but there it is, on the floor. Most things seem to go that way for us- we just go along, and suddenly something changes; sometimes so quickly that we don't even see it coming.
Dh had thought that his trip to Pakistan was kaput, and then this week he met a man who's working on another dig there, who just offered to take dh along! So, now we may not get home for Christmas (which will save a lot of money). Plus, dh will be gone for three or four months. We'll roll with whatever comes, but sometimes change takes me by surprise!
Probably everyone deals with this at times, but tonight it seems pretty huge to me!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

too late!

I am awake, and it is far too late. It's now 3:55am! Oh well. Sitting here at the computer is way better than laying in bed wishing I wasn't awake.
Tomorrow (today?) is Thanksgiving- well, maybe that's Monday, but today we will be celebrating it. I am not making much from scratch. That's just not like me! I tend to not take the 'easy' way out when it comes to cooking....
Oh well! Maybe I'll stay in bed until lunch to make up for tonight.(As if!)LOL!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Home Again

Here we are, back from our summer adventures. I didn't get around to half of the things I had planned, but we had fun. Too bad we missed out on seeing the people we had planned to visit; there were just too many upsets and illnesses in the rest of our family.
The children both joined ball teams, and they had a blast! It really capped off the summer when they received their trophies and personal baseball cards.
Unfortunately it was too cold to swim. An ocean of water, and the only week it was warm enough to go in, we were all sick.
Now that we're back it all seems sort of twilight zone-ish. As soon as our plane set down, I felt as though it had all been a dream.
Now it's back to work, I guess. The dc have been doing their schooling for the past month, with the exception of math for ds. (Didn't have the books, so it was all review!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We are done! Hsing is officially over in our home for this year. We'll begin a chemistry series over the summer, but I believe that it will be well accepted by the children.
We didn't get everything finished; ds is perpetually a half a year behind in math, and both dc started new spelling books in April (which of course are not complete).
This is the point when I make the resolution that "next year" things will be different. We 'll stick to our schedule, and nothing will be undone next spring. I'm not sure why I feel the need to make these promises to myself. The children are happy and obviously learning, so why do I feel the need to conform to a ps schedule?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


We'll be leaving early Thursday morning, and I can hardly believe that it's so close. I have a few last minute things to take care of, and then I'll pack. I'm so happy that I'll be home for the summer, but I'm sure that the children will miss their friends.
Due to the fact that we're taking our pets, we won't have the travel freedom that we usually have. I'll have to be around twice a day to feed them if nothing else! It's not that big of a deal though; it will save on being pulled in too many directions by all of the people who want to spend time with us. (Who would have thought that we'd end up being so popular!!?)
Hopefully dh's family will be understanding about this. I don't want them to feel slighted, but it's not as though I have a choice in the matter. Apparently we'll have to travel a few hours to see his grandparents, but at least we won't have to spend the night! His grandmother does not like me in the least (and has told me so), so it's a relief to not have to spend days in her company. I generaly pretend that she does like me and carry on as usual, including her in all conversations, etc. Drives her nuts! (Not even sure why she doesn't like me....I'm so darn likeable!)
Between gifts and books, we might have to take an extra suitcase. This is why I like the train: you don't have to worry about weight or size as much as flying. Unfortunately, no pets are allowed on the "new" train. Poor planning, if you ask me! Hopefully the cats will fly well. My mother's afraid that someone will try to throw us off the plane of Herecles yowls. I did my best with the vet for something to calm him- they were "sure he'd be OK". Oh, alright then....would you folks like to take him as carry-on?
Praying for good weather, a safe flight, and content pets and people!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Books and More Books!

I ran over to the bookstore since they had a sale on today. I bought quite a few books for our summer reading. It may seem silly, but I enjoy owning the books and being able to read and re-read them whenever I want. Plus, I actually save money by not incurring library fines... I think that the library system ought to pay me to not borrow books!
To name a few, I picked up Sarah Plain and Tall, The Velveteen Rabbit, and #3 of The Canadian Flyer series for my 5yo. For the 10yo I grabbed #1 of The Roman Mysteries, Huckleberry Finn, and Owls in the Family. I picked up a few others, plus I already had some books here, so I think we're ready for the summer. Now I need to figure out how to get them on the plane without passing weight restrictions!
I don't need to take any books for myself, which will save a lot of space in our luggage. My mother has bought the entire Outlander series in the past few months, and I'm going to give it a go. I've looked at this series before, but haven't read any of it yet. Hopefully it will live up to the great reviews I've heard from friends and acquaintances.
I'd like to say that I'll read anything, but it's not true. Some books are so horribly written (or edited even!), that I can't be bothered with them. Hopefully by the time the children are grown, they'll have developed a love of good literature, and avoid the mindless drivel that can rot your brain.
Edited to remove tirade!

Meet the Family!

Here are the young ones. As you can see, they posed with their favorite bear, who sat still for quite some time during the creation of this masterpiece! Of course, the children have grown some since this was made; our daughter is now five(gasp-almost six!), and our son is ten. Sniff...he's old enough to go to the corner store alone!!! Hmmm....does that mean he's old enough to take charge of the laundry...?

This is the patriarch of the family, who is also the artist behind all of our lovely family pictures! Perhaps when he's feeling creative again he'll add our two cats to the mix!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

putting it off

I should be doing the housework, but here I am! The children are in bed, my husband is out for a few minutes, and it's quiet. Not that I generally mind the noise, but sometimes it's nice to sit and just think my own thoughts. I'm sure that most people feel this way...
I'm preparing for our trip out east, which at this point mostly involves cleaning the house. I'm a person who doesn't actually pack until the day before a trip, I just make numerous lists to be followed.
The last trip we took, I had to pack 3 months worth of stuff on two hours notice. The only thing I forgot were my running shoes, so I was pretty proud of myself! For this trip though, we're taking our cats along. Hopefully they'll weather it well, since the flight's only a couple of hours.
I've been trying to get my son interested in some of the literature that I grew up reading, such as Eight Cousins or Little Women. (Yes, I know they're by the same author!) He's not buying it though. He'll read them, but he doesn't love them. He enjoyed Robinson Crusoe and The Jungle Book, as did I, and also enjoys Nancy Drew. I suppose that these are all adventures or mysteries, so it's genre related.
I have a summer reading list made up for him, and I threw in mysteries, adventures, suspense, and a few nature books. I borrowed some selections from a few great lists that other bloggers have put out there (who I'll credit when I figure out how to do that!!!-Or even the niceties behind getting permission etc...), and I think that he'll be happy overall. (As long as we throw in some dragon-lore!)
My daughter is just beginning to read, but her joy is in medical texts. My five year old now owns five large and complex books on the human body, it's make-up and functions. Only one is what I would call age-appropriate, but she looks at them every night, and quite often chooses them as her bed-time stories. No one ever told her they were too old, so they're not!

Day One

I've titled this Day One, since I tend to start blogs and then never see them again. Mostly because I would love to have one of those blogs that people go to for a quick laugh, or to glean some wisdom to enrich their lives, but mine never seem to cut it.(IMHO)
This is Spirited Sprites, so named because I have beside me Raising your Spirited Child, of which I have two! We are homeschoolers, and are ending our fourth year. (Well, there should be a 'half' there too!) We are excruciatingly eclectic, but we tend to enjoy ourselves.
If you take the time to read this, you'll realise that I love bracketts and those lovely pause dots.....I think that I actually speak this way, so please be patient! Eventually I'll figure out how to add photos and other little treasures that make a blog fun....until then, I'll just ramble away! Unless of course I forget that I even started this blog, or lose it like I did the last one; not even sure what site I was working with for that one!!