Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 8

Chocolate Chip Cookie #1

Chocolate Chip Cookie #2- After chilling the dough.

Chocolate Chip Cookie #3- Adding an extra 1/2 cup of flour.

 Our cookie experiment has come to an end.  Good thing since I'm starting to feel rounder in the wasteline.  : )  We took the same Betty Crocker recipe that we started with, and this time we added some extra flour.  The girls definitely got a much softer and fluffier cookie.  Next time, we'll make them bigger.  Their last attempt at the perfect cookie came with 3 testers.  They gave rave reviews, and one of the testers even said he'd take a dozen of those cookies as part of our payment for chickens.  Great job girls at improving a recipe and learning what to do to make it just right.

We also had some other baking to do today, so rather than learning more new terms, we reviewed some of the things they've already done.  Alegra made more mini pies for me for a Celebration coming up, and this time we allowed the boys to help since they were soooooo bored.     

 Looks like they enjoyed helping, doesn't it?  Little brother got a little carried away with the flour.  I'm surprised it wasn't on his face.  : )  They both took their turn at rolling out dough and cutting out top crusts.  We finished up the cookies, the pies and finished off with two big batches of granola.  What a day!  And one of our taste testers brought us eggs, so that's what we had for supper.  Scrambled eggs complete with garlic, onions, and peppers.  Yuuuuummmmm!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 7

Today we started talking about some of the cooking terms that are used.  To help the girls gain a better understanding of what the terms mean, we put them to use in our meal this evening.  Here is what the chalkboard said for the binders:

Cooking Terms

~Al Dente-  Firm but not mushy.  Use with pasta and vegetables.
~ Au Gratin- Browned or crusted top, usually with cheese, bread crumbs and a rich sauce.
~Bake- To cook food by surrounding them with hot, dry air as in an oven.
~Boil- To cook in water (or another liquid) rapidly bubbling.

I decided that we would take one dish and use all of the terms for today, so we made a chicken noodle casserole.  Now I'm not much into using "cream of" soups, but we did for this one and then discussed healthier alternatives and how we could make our own sauces for the noodles.  The girls boiled the noodles til they were Al Dente.  Then they made a topping of bread crumbs and butter to have the Au Gratin term in there.  We of course baked it in the oven before tasting it.  It tasted as good as it looks!

I think tomorrow may be a big day in the kitchen with another chocolate chip cookie experiment needing to be done, and I'd like to get some granola made and prepare the food to cover their terms for tomorrow.  I think we're going to have a wonderful smelling kitchen tomorrow!  You'll have to stop by!  : )

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 6

Today's Cooking Skills we turned into two days.  It seems that my girls needed some experience in using the rolling pin.  By day 2, they did a great job at getting the correct thickness and rolling out dough.  Here is what we did for our next lesson.  

~Rolling out dough with a rolling pin.
~Cutting shapes with cookie cutters.
~Grease pan by using papers from butter (this teaches frugality also)
~Grating cheese
This is another reason we don't include the brother.  : )

The girls made some of the best, soft, sugar cookies I've had (other than Loft House- we'll have to work on duplicating that one).  We have an abundance of plain yogurt from getting it on sale at different stores, so I've been looking for recipes that I can use it in place of sour cream.  These sugar cookies were perfect for it, and we also substituted half of the all purpose flour for whole wheat.  They turned out great!  If you want to give these a try, here is the recipe.  Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

Day 2 we did some more rolling out of pie crust.  With a Celebration coming up, my good friend Casie and I have been experimenting in the kitchen to have not a very good success with what we've been trying.  So, I thought I'd try these mini apple pies tonight and see who they turned out.  They were fabulous!

I was going over the pie crust recipe with Diella while Alegra took some pictures.  Isn't this picture neat!  She is so creative in her picture taking.

Diella loves to be in the kitchen and has mastered some pretty delicious things.  Alegra mentioned the other day that she would like to be famous for some recipes but just doesn't know what.  Diella makes killer no bake cookies and some super amazing garlic bread.  So, I told Alegra that she could master apple pie and her response was, "only if it tastes good".  : )  Well, these fit the bill.

We cut strips of parchment paper to put in each muffin cup to make the removal of the pies easier.  Then we pressed in the circles she cut out of pie crust, filled with apple mixture, dobbed with butter, and sealed another crust on top.  Ready for the oven!

And this is why we don't let this brother help us either.  He loves knives.  The sharper the better.

Aren't these the most adorable pies you ever did see?  We only did two of them with the lattice top crust-too much work!  : )  I also want to add that I did not use the recipes crust recipe.  I used my grandma German's recipe for the crust.  Also, we guessed at how many pounds of apples we had and just went with it.  I used 4 BIG apples, my grandma's crust recipe and we made 24 mini pies.  I might add though that a few of them didn't get full tops of crust, but just a small circle as we were getting low on dough.  But they still turned out great!  Oh, and the recipe doesn't specify how long to have them in the oven.  We had them in for about 25 minutes.  If you want to try these, here's the recipe.  Mini Apple Pies.

These girls are learning some great skills.  And I'm looking forward to when I can step out of the kitchen and let them run the meals.  That's the girl.  They can cook up a storm while I sip my iced tea and lounge in the sun.  Okay, that probably won't happen, but it will free up my time for other things and not be so busy with all the household duties. 

Also, if you just follow our family in general and not just the homemaking class, you'll be interested to know that Oreo our steer, is getting to be a little stinker since we've moved to the farm.  He's become quite the escape artist.  Jonathon's brother Jeff helped me out last night get him back in and worked at the fence since Joanthon was still at work.  Thank you Jeff for lending a hand.  Oreo's been scanning the area, trying to find his escape route and trying his best, but with no success.  It just might be fixed!  But despite all that, Oreo is still needing butchered and if he figures out another weak spot in the fence, well, he will be butchered sooner than later.  This is perfect timing with the girls learning cooking skills.  Meat is a part of meals and it's great that they'll be learning first hand about the quality of meat, how we get hamburger and then we'll have to of course use it in some delicious recipes.  I'm sure we'll post on butchering day as it will be bitter sweet.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 5

Today the girls learned a lot about eggs. 

On the chalkboard:
~ Cracking Eggs
     * Butter pan so eggs don't stick
     * Make sure no shell is in pan
     * Crack on the edge of pan, place thumbs inside and gently pull apart.
     * Salt and pepper
     * When egg begins to firm up, flip it, 

~Spread butter and jelly on toast

This was our lunch and was so delicious!  We even had a double yoke egg which they thought was harder to flip, because it was so much bigger.  Looking forward to our chickens coming to live with us, so we can have more eggs on hand for these two great egg cookers.  : )

Homemaking Class- Cooking 4

It's time to go over some basic kitchen cooking skills.  Each day we will go over a few important things that they really should know how to do.  We are including Josiah when he is available to participate because in his words, "I might need to know how to do that in case you are sick some time".  Good enough for me.  : )
You can see on the board what they wrote in their binders for today.

The girls made personal pizzas with hamburger buns, sauce, meat, onions and cheese.  Nothing fancy, but it gave them practice spreading the sauce, and sprinkling the cheese.  And they were delicious!

They also demonstrated their ability to peel carrot and cut them up into sticks.  And this is why I don't include Josiah.  He wasn't the safest with the knife. 

And then they made dessert too.  They whisked some pudding mix and milk and we made some peanut butter crumble by putting peanut butter and powdered sugar together until crumbly.  Is a delicious topping on top of pudding and cool whip.

Today was a good hands on day for them.  More skills to learn and check off their list.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Planes, Trains and Angels

The children took a train ride with my parents yesterday.  Here is their amazing journey, told by Alegra.  Don't stop reading before you get to the end.  That's the best part.  
~We met up with grandpa Dan and grandma Deborah, and they took us to the airport/train station. They gave us a tour of it.  My favorite part was looking down from the railing at the airplanes.We took the South Shore Line to Michigan City. 

Me, Diella, and Josiah stood under an airplane.

We went up and looked at all the airplanes. They all had statues in them.

There were two spray airplanes, a red airplane, and a missile.

 It was very windy, and we had to keep from falling over.

 There is a sliding door on one side, and on the other side is a pull open door. 

 I took this picture of this tall church.

When we looked up, it looked like the church was coming down on us because the clouds were moving.

 Grandma took a picture of us after we got on the train.

When we arrived, we walked 6 blocks to the outlet mall.  First we went to the Children's Place, but we didn't get anything.  Then we went to ToysRus.  Diella got a fish, paint-by-numbers and a purple, color, click pen.  I got a panda bear, paint-by-numbers and a pink, color, click pen.  Josiah got a Hero Factory Lego guy, and Grandpa bought Benaiah a toy, semi truck with a loader on the trailer.  Then we went to several different chocolate places to sample chocolate.  That's all we went there for.  We went to the Corelle store to look at all the different patterns.
 We went to Ben's Soft Pretzels and got pretzel sticks with nacho cheese and sweet mustard.  They were delicious!

When we were walking back to where we were going to wait for the train, we saw a gray squirrel.  Grandpa chased it up the tree, so we took a picture of it.

After we walked back to the train station, we realized we had missed the train.  It was going to be 2 1/2 hours before the train would be back to pick us up.  So, we walked to Albano's Villa Pizza and ate supper there. 

It was dark and sprinkling when we were walking back to the train station.  A couple minutes after we were there, two men came in.  The first man was a big, black man.  The second man was small, had a cane and had piercings everywhere.  Grandma offered them chocolate chip cookies that me and Diella made.  They said that they did not want any.  The white man told me and Diella that it was good for us to know how to sew and cook and clean.  Then the black guy said  that the next time we made chocolate chip cookies, we should cut them into stars and put rainbow sprinkles on them.  Two black guys came in and sat down.  One was smoking, and they both talked like gangsters.  The black man sitting with us was named Aldine.  But most people called him Al.    Al looked at the men in the eyes with seriousness, and they stayed away for a little bit but kept coming back.  Grandpa asked Al if they were angels.  Al said that they just came to watch over people.  Then the white man went to the door and said, "It's coming".  Then Al said the same thing.  And then we heard the train.  Before we got on the train, Grandpa shook hands with Al and said, "Thank you".  Al squeezed Grandpa's hand and Grandpa squeezed his.  Then Al said, "There's your train".  We believe that Al and his friend were angels watching over us in a bad part of town. ~

There is much more to this story with the dangers that lurked in that area in the dark.  And the waitress at the restaurant was so friendly and even showed them a pen that had angels on it and Scripture about angels.  My dad was nervous that they had missed the earlier train, knowing what that area was like at night.  There was another car that seemed fishy that was in the area as well.  I had prayed before I dropped the children off with my parents for God to protect us all while we're far apart.  I bless the Lord for doing that and for easing my dad's fears by showing him the angels that He sent to fight the battle (they don't usually look like the glowing, winged things but what they need to to accomplish the task Yahweh has sent them to do).  There are always spiritual battles going on around us, we just can't see them.  What a faithful Father to ease the uneasiness by sending those angels to talk to my children who were very nervous about missing the train and to show my dad that He has all things in His hands and to just trust.  They got home and there wasn't a dry eye during the telling of the story  I just wanted to sing out, "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, Oh my soul.  Worship His holy name.  Sing like never before, Oh my soul.  I'll worship His holy name" (which we did when before Dad and Mom left).  Who knows what could have happened had they not been protected!  Earlier that day I would not have guessed that one of the reasons for me to Bless the Lord was that the Father would send angels to watch over my family and protect them from the enemy's ways.  That was just one of the 10,000 reasons that I'm blessing Him today.   

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 3

Lesson #3 was more cookie baking and an experiment with our chocolate cookie recipe.  I figured we could just use a tried and true recipe of someone else's or we could experiment and really learn what different things do to the consistency of our cookies.  So, for lesson 3 we kept our Betty Crocker recipe the same, only we chilled the dough for an hour or so.  Here is our results, and what else we discussed during this lesson.
Our new and improved "chilled dough" cookie.

Our first attempt at chocolate chip cookies, following the recipe to a T.

Well, we did figure out that the recipe says to bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.  We found that our oven works best by doing these for 9 minutes and taking them out to sit on the tray for a bit.  Our experiment round #1 made softer cookies but still lacked the thickness that the girls were hoping for.  But they were glad for the less crispy edges.  But we figured that was because of the baking time.  So, really, this recipe turned out the same even with chilling the dough. 

We also discussed butter:
~1 stick DOES NOT equal 1 cup
~The better qualities of butter in flavor and health
~In order to cream with sugar, it should be at room temperature, that means taking it out of the refrigerator and letting it sit on the counter for awhile.

So, we are still out to perfect this Betty Crocker recipe just the way my girls want them.  Next experiment will be adding 1/2 cup more flour and seeing what that does to our dough.  They are certainly learning more by experimenting than just trying new recipes.  And they are having so much fun doing it!  That's the important part, aside from growing in knowledge in the kitchen. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homemaking Class- Cooking 2

For today's lesson, we simply went over some of the suggestions that others gave us on our cookie making improvements.  I don't want to overwhelm the girls with too much, and it's just not doable to have them in the kitchen everyday making something along with detailed insructions by me.  So, for today we discussed cookie suggestions and that we would try one suggestion tomorrow with another round of cookie making, and we discussed and they wrote the cooking tips below in their binders.  I love having a chalkboard in the kitchen/dining room!
If you can't read the above tips, here they are:

~Read the directions in a recipe all the way through before you start cooking.
~Anything that touches raw meat should be washed.  Including counters, utensils, serving dishes and towels.
~Wash hands often.
~Wash towels often.
~Check to make sure you have all ingredients and the correct amounts for your recipe before beginning.

Homemaking Class- Cooking 1

Just to break into the class with ease and some fun, the girls worked at making some cookies.  They used the recipe from Betty Crocker and boy were they delicious.  They tasted wonderful, but just weren't as soft and chewy as the girls were hoping for.  We set out to figure out what they needed to do differently to make them just how they wanted them.

 One thing I noticed and pointed out to them was that they handled the dough too much causing it to be really soft.  After reading other's suggestions, we learned that it's best to have the dough chilled.  That will be day 3's experiment without changing our recipe at all

And we had to include the little Miss in our cookie making time.  She was so cute sitting in the chair, with her apron on, watching all the commotion.  : ) 

So for lesson 1, we worked together in the cookie making process.  I pointed out different things such as:

~Fractions in measurements and what if we were doubling the batch or cutting the batch in half. 
~They learned how to use the mixer and get the mixer attachments out of the machine, safely. 
~They learned how far apart the dough should be placed on the cookie sheet and why.
~When to take the cookies out of the oven and how they'll keep baking a little after being left on the cookie sheet.
~Not to leave the oven door open too long.
~How to use the oven.
~Set the timer.
~Eat one when it's warm and with ice cream.  Delicious!

Introduction to Homemaking 101

This year I decided that after we moved and got settled in here at the farm, I needed to start a homemaking class for the girls.  They are super excited about it!  Probably the excitement will disappear when they have to start the cleaning portion of the class, so I started with a fun section, "Cooking".  I know cooking and baking are totally different, but I've lumped them into the same category.  And who wouldn't be excited when we started by making chocolate chip cookies.  I pray that by the end of this class the girls will know how to do everything they need to know for going out on their own.  At least the basics will be covered, and they can learn the other stuff as they need to. 

We will be covering lots of fun and not so fun things. : )  The sections of their Homemaking Binders will be Cleaning, Cooking, Dinner Time, Menu Planning, Hospitality, Sewing, Laundry, Crafts, Frugality, Entrepreneurship, and a special section that I am labeling as "Wailing" taken from the portion in Jeremiah 9:17-19 (we will talk about attitudes and our hearts for others).  I'm so excited to see where my girls will be when this class is over with.  I foresee some big changes and much growth. 

If you want to follow along and teach your girls the same things we are going over, feel free to follow our blog.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun!  Also, if you want to make it a curriculum for other years, I am hoping to put all of the lessons together in one section of this blog, so that they will be easy to find and refer back to.  Let me know if you are joining us with your daughters.  I'm sure my girls would love knowing who is following their journey of learning how to care for their home and family.  And if you live close by, maybe at the end we can do a party with all the girls who have joined in the fun.  It would be a great time to show some of the crafts you've done, sewing projects, recipes you love, and how this helped your family and daughters.  I hope many will join us and take the step to teach their daughters what the schools don't and what it seems like we just don't have time to teach.  It's important, so we're doing it!  Please join us at raising up daughters with hearts to serve their families and those surrounding them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finally some remodel pics!

Alegra's photography skills at work during a gorgeous sunset on the farm.
 It's been so busy around here with getting settled in to the farmhouse, getting areas ready for animals, unpacking, unpacking and unpacking, hosting a Celebration here, homeschooling and just every day life.  I'm a true mother.  My days go by quickly, and it doesn't look like I've done much of anything, but if I were to write a list of everything I've done, well, the list would be long with unnoticeable things, but things that definitely need done.   I decided today that I needed to do some blogging and do some house reveals for you all.  I don't know how to make the pictures any bigger than this without losing them off my page, so hopefully you can get the idea of the changes we made to the kitchen, dining, living and foyer rooms. 

Walking into the front door.

The new and updated kitchen.

Standing in the dining room, looking into the living room.

Standing at the front door looking into the living room.

Looking from the end of the living room towards the foyer are.
And now just some pictures to show you all of the angles.  We are so blessed to have all of this space to have family and friends over for meals and fun. We are still getting used to all the space and learning that there are definitely pros and cons to having a big house.  We are just trying to take full advantage of the pros...by having people over often.  

Would like to add some pictures on each side of the chalkboard. 

This area is not complete yet, but this will do for now until the garage is cleaned out.

That is our home on the main level.  The school room is back the hallway to the right in the picture above and just looks like a well used space.  :)  Nothing fancy.  And the mudroom bathroom I already posted before and after pictures of, but tomorrow it will be completed with the addition of a new washer and dryer.  Yay!!!

Onto our backyard.  This is the view that I see from the kitchen window.  The dog is Jonathon's sister's but he resides here still.  He is usually laying down by the swing set and the steer, Oreo loves to graze in that area.  I think it's because it's on the other side of the clothes line and I've been spending a lot of time out there lately with hanging laundry up to dry.  He usually stands right there and eats while I'm out there and prefers that area also for laying down.  He  is so happy to be over here, back with his family.

 Since I haven't blogged for awhile, I have to get caught up a bit.  The below picture is of Benaiah and Saphira asleep on the cough.  She woke up crying one afternoon and he climbed up there to calm her and they both fell back asleep.  So sweet!

Our little peek a boo baby!  She is becoming so much fun every day!

And her cutest outfit so far!  It says "Pretty like mommy" and even has a hat too but she isn't too fond of hats.  : )  I also have to mention that she sleeps just like me too.  Arms above head.  It's funny how children have these traits of their parent's when they haven't even been around very long. 
  So, there you have it, just a little update on our little family.  I have a couple Celebrations I'm working on with my friend, still trying to get all situated in everybody's room with dressers, etc, and trying to gear up for the cold months ahead.  Although I don't talk about them too much or my hubby will be all ready to head south-NOW.  : )