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 happiness...it'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 housewife..lol!)
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! Must...get...away...from...computer....!

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 Northpole.com, 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!)