Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grinding Your Own Grain for Fresh Bulgars, Meals and Flours

Hi all! I thought I'd share some pictures of my grain mill attachment at work. I have a professional series Kitchen Aid mixer with the grain mill attachment. It works wonderfully. I grind my own wheat, soy, rice, quinoa, barley, corn, flax, rye...any grain I want to cook or bake with. I grind an ice cream pail size bucket of wheat, rye and corn at a time and keep it in the freezer. This helps ensure that the vitamins and minerals are still in the grain when I use it.

wheat berries in the mill

fresh ground wheat

It takes about 20 minutes to fill the bucket with fresh flour.
We'll be heading out on a vacation soon, and I'm taking a vacation from the computer as well! Please check back the beginning of April. I hope to post some fun family vacation pictures.
We've received Hattie's butterfly house, and in April I hope to order the Painted Lady larva. I'll be sharing some pictures of that project as well. Hopefully you'll be able to participate virtually in this project!
Molly has stated that she intends to raise some praying mantises. I'm still thinking about that, but we'll probably end up with some eventually. It does seem like a truly fascinating project.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Word About Gluten Free Cooking

I wanted to put up this link for my gluten free friends. I'm really into the whole grains, and thankful that I don't have any food sensitivities to deal with here at my house. I can not imagine all that I would have to change if I were in their shoes. Just about everything about the way we eat, I guess. The Gluten Free Girl would be one of my starting points, for sure. She and her chef husband make eating gluten free into an adventure of the best kind! It's also one of the only (in fact the only so far) places I've found recipes that aren't entirely based on pricey mixes.
Deanna and Renee, I admire what you're doing for your families. You two are a couple of my favorite moms! Hang in there! My prayers go up for you! Through Christ you can do all things! About Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl .

Clara's Depression Bread

I made Clara's depression white bread (see yesterday's post, and follow the link), with the addition of salt. Since I was experimenting I made only one loaf. I used about 3 1/2 cups of flour (white unbleached) and 1 1/2 t. each of salt and active dry yeast. I added the salt to the flour, and did the rest of the recipe as Clara did. The dough was very fun to work with, and the bread was delicious. Sort of reminiscent of Italian or French bread. This is a real treat. For myself, I can't get over the fact that it offers so little in the form of nutritive value, so I plan on doing some further experimentation with adding whole grains to this recipe.
The finished dough (I always forget to take pictures during the process, but you can watch Clara's video).

I pushed the air bubbles out of the dough with my hands...

...rolled it into a loaf...

...and let it rise covered in the bread pan. I saw that Clara didn't grease the pans, so I didn't either. That was a first for me, but it came out perfectly!

Here's the finished product! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meet the Hillbilly Housewife

You can meet the Hillbilly Housewife here Cook Some Depression Era Meals - Frugal Challenge Monday Hillbilly Housewife Blog. I highly recommend it! She's put together some wonderful material, and has a great website. You can get lots of great frugal living tips here, like this post, giving some great bread ideas. I'm always looking for ideas on using stale bread. The one drawback to making homemade bread is its relatively short shelf life. Sometimes it gets stale before we're through with the loaf. Maybe this cooked bread idea will help!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Best Pancakes Ever (according to Sam)

Yay! I think I figured out how to put the text at the top!

We just ate what my family (especially Sam) says are the best EVER pancakes. Thought I'd share the recipe with you all. It is only found here, folks. It was an original creation. This is enough to feed a family of 6 with some left over.

Buttermilk Apple Sauce Pancakes

3 3/4 cups flour (I used unbleached white)

2 T wheat germ

2 T flax seed meal

4 T. brown sugar

4 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

2 t. salt

4 eggs, beaten

4 c. buttermilk

3/4 c. unsweetened apple sauce

In large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the buttermilk and applesauce. Mix thoroughly. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add to liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly, but don't over mix. Just until lumps are removed. Fry as you would for any pancakes. No fat is needed on a non-stick surface.

We used buttermilk that was left over from our butter making process a few days ago (that I talked about in a previous post). I'm not sure if that was the secret ingredient or not, but they were wonderful pancakes! You can substitute for the buttermilk by adding a few tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and allowing it to curdle slightly.

Here's a pic of the wonderful pancakes.

The family enjoying their pancakes!

Yes, hubby needs a haircut. The frugal woman of the house will get right on that, and I'm sure it will look like all the other frugal haircuts in the family. Here, frugal can read cheap, because we're really NOT living more on less here. I need to learn to give a haircut! Does anyone know of a good blog to learn from? :)

Be sure and tell us how you like the pancakes!

Lentil Chili

The Hillbilly Housewife has a great recipe for a truly inexpensive (I think I'm going to wear out the word frugal, so I'm looking for a replacement) and delicious recipe. Here is where you find it Lentil Chili. Enjoy!

Meet April

If you haven't yet, you have just GOT to be introduced to April. She's a laugh a minute, and has the greatest sense of humor. Plus, she has some good frugal living advice, and some excellent recipes. I highly advise trying Bierrocks. They're wonderful, with or without mustard! Here's some great coupon information. I admit that for a frugal stay at home mom of 4, I've really neglected looking into the coupon thing. Maybe this will get me started! April Showers: Let's figure out this coupon thing. Enjoy meeting April and her family, and I'm sure you'll thank me for introducing you!

The Butterfly Princess (and, help! I want the text to appear above the photos, but I can't figure out how to get it there!)

the butterfly hair barrette

the butterfly pin

the butterfly nose ring

butterfly wonder

We'd heated up our garage for a few days, and must have confused a butterfly, causing it to hatch. Dan gave it to Hattie, who absolutely loves it. She's done nothing but carry it around for 2 days now. She used her birthday money to buy a butterfly house online from Insect Lore ( It will come with a certificate for some caterpillars to raise and observe. We'll request those when the weather in warm again, so we can let them go after observing them for a while.
I didn't realize that she thought we'd push the order button, and suddenly there would be a knock at the door and someone would hand her her butterfly house. She's had 3 major episodes of tears because her beautiful butterfly will be dead before it gets a butterfly house! Children are resilient, though, and she's looking forward to the day when she will have some painted ladies to enjoy. I thought this would also make a good home school project. Maybe my older children can write some reports on what they observe, and Hattie can draw some pictures and add some captions. Look for the results in a couple of months!