Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bread Machine Potato Bread

This is a recipe from my bread machine manual that I have adapted for Gluten free using my Basic Gluten Free Flour Recipe (find the link in labels)

Bread Machine Potato Bread (Gluten Free version)

1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup skim milk powder
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 3/4 cup Basic Gluten Free Flour
1/3 cup instant potato flakes
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place ingredients in order into your bread machine and set on whole wheat setting, light crust to make.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Home made Ravioli Ratatouille Casserole (Gluten Free!)

Last nights supper was the most amazing comfort food I have ever made, and ever had! Ratatouille is normally made with egg plant, but I substituted home made ravioli, and it was to die for! My two year old ate as much as I did! The other two children had a mind block eating zucchini, but I'll win them over yet, this recipe goes in the keep pile!! Serve with fresh Potato bread (recipe tomorrow!) and a salad.

Ravioli Ratatouille Casserol

1 pkg of frozen *Ravioli cooked to directions (boiled for aprox 14 min)
OR 1/2 a batch of homemade ravioli, recipe below.

1 tsp heaped, crushed garlic in oil (or saute 3 crushed garlic cloves in olive oil)
1 16 oz can Italian stewed tomatoes
6 fresh mushrooms sliced (or 1 can drained)
1 small zucchini sliced thin
1 jar three cheese pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a 3 quart, greased baking dish, empty can of stewed tomatoes
Place cooked ravioli in the pan
arrange zucchini,garlic and mushrooms around and on the ravioli
Pour Three cheese tomato sauce over top
Top with mozzarella cheese
Cover and place in 350* oven for 25-30 min until bubbling and cheese is melted.
Serves 6
*NOTE ravioli bought in a grocery store is normally NOT Gluten free. Always read ingredients when purchasing pre-made foods, including tomato sauces.

Homemade Ravioli Recipe

This recipe uses my Basic Gluten Free Flour Recipe, find it in my labels section on the side of the blog

4 cups Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix (or all purpose wheat flour)
1 tsp Xanthan gum (omit if using all purpose wheat flour)
2 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 c. boiling water
Mix all, (I used my bread machine) roll out really flat, cut into circles

Ground Meat Filling:
1 onion, diced small
1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 tsp garlic powder
Italian-type seasonings (oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper)
Brown together, remove from heat.
Add 1/4 c grated Parmesan and 1 egg.

I put these together on a cookie sheet. Brush tops of pasta with water to help them stick together, fill, fork edges together on both sides. Then freeze them for 1/2 hour. Lift off pan with a lifter and place in a sealed container or freezer bag without sticking together too bad.

Basic Gluten Free Flour Recipe

All my recipes use this basic flour recipe. If a recipe calls for a myriad of gluten free flours, add up the amounts and use the same amount in Basic Flour Recipe. It can also be substituted 1 to 1 for all purpose flour by adding 2tblsp of Xanthan gum to this mix..

Basic Gluten Free Flour Recipe

2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup Arrowroot flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato flour (NOT potato starch)

Mix well and add 2 Tblsp Xanthan gum if using as wheat flour substitute. Keep dry in a sealed container.

Gluten free baking tip!
If making cookies, form dough into shape desired and place in freezer for 20min. This will keep the cookies from "melting" all over the cookie sheet!

Gluten Free Life

I've decided to add some posts on Celiac cooking to this blog, as that is a big part of our life at home.
My two youngest, boys,are gluten intolerant. I put them under the Celiac category myself, as I refuse to put them on wheat again just so I can prove it to a Doctor. 6 months of excruciating pain from abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and crying from it all, I don't think so! I had no help from the Dr. when they were babies, he said Dear Son #1 just had a bad temperament and under developed stomach. I was so fed up with his symptoms I started my own searching and found he had 11 of 12 symptoms of Celiac, mentioned it to my husbands grandma and she said it runs in the family! I made an appointment with the Dr and they wouldn't take me for over 6 weeks, so I started dear son #1 on the diet myself, and watched him gain weight and start talking in full sentences, until then he had only been able to babble unintelligibly, and yet he was almost 3. (The Dr said not to worry, they'd work with him when he started school!? I asked how that would work since I was homeschooling, he didn't know!)My son had symptoms of autism, extended, knowledgeable family members thought I should also have his hearing checked as well as the autism angel and I'm sure that is what the Doctor intended to look into diagnosing next. I knew he could hear, because he could follow specific requests, such as pick up the blue ball. But all those symptoms for him disappeared, except for some social issues. He screamed constantly from the day he was born, and we always tried so hard to give him what we thought he needed or wanted to try to quiet him. So some discipline was in order, now that the pain was gone and he could talk to ask for what he needed or wanted. It's still a work in progress, but he is coming out of that shell and starting to get along with his brother and sister and learning not to be so demanding.
Dear son # 2 displayed the same symptoms, but because I was aware, he had a very happy babyhood, although he still needs to learn the consequences of eating the wrong food. He ate a regular hamburg bun from the fridge the other day and spent three days miserably, needing diapers and in pain. 90% of the food in the house is safe for them to eat, but my husband and daughter prefer "real" bread.
So I would like to start adding my recipes here, to help others who struggle with this intolerance. It's a crazy intolerance to deal with without support. You actually go into wheat withdraw, much like a drug addiction. You feel horrible physically, as your body craves it. And then there is often depression, because there is so much food you can't eat, and it makes you withdraw socially as well, since most social outings include food. It was easier to do with such small children because they hadn't years of wheat built up in their bodies to flush out. But even my almost 5 year old gets frustrated once in a while when he can't eat everything I can. We are also dairy free and nut free, (as he is also allergic to tree nuts), but we still use some cheeses. Hard ones such as cheddar and mozzarella and Parmesan appear tolerable, so you will see them in recipes I post. Other wise we use rice milk, but you an sub skim milk.
And any recipes posted can also be made with regular ingredients such as all purpose flour, milk and regular brown sugar (we use cane sugar) I hope you see something you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Home Time Music

Back before Christmas I read to my daughter The Little House in the Big Woods (by Laura Ingles Wilder ) and there was a story about her Pa playing the fiddle for them and them dancing. We use to do that when my Grandma T would come to visit our house when I was a teenager! She taught me basic fiddle and my dad had a harmonica. My mom can actually play guitar but always preferred to listen. But tonight we passed this tradition on to our own 3 children. Husband is a guitar player (as well as a pianist like myself) who has learned the values of traditional music from living with me for the last 8 1/2 years! I even catch him tapping his toe to real western country music (not so much modern country) that the children step dance too. They take Canadian Step Dance lessons every Wednesday with Kelly Maw. The oldest two wanted to show their dad what they are learning, as he works from 6am-9:30pm most days, this was his night home with the family. we started out with Cd's and then I recognized one of the step dance routines was actually to a song I use to play on the fiddle with my grandma! Now I have to say, it's probably been 2 years since I've touched my violin, and quite a few months since I've had out my mandolin. But I dusted off the violin and rosined up my bow really well and my husband pulled out his guitar and we all had a jig of a night! The children even taught me one of their step dances. I really want to take lessons, I even have the shoes. But you know how mothers tend to sacrifice too often.....:) We also did a bit of swing, as the children have to come up with their own routine for a free dance section in Rock'n Robin, a modern song with a step dance beat. My husband can't dance, won't even try. It's about the only thing he's self conscious about. But we made him anyways, after closing the blinds to the front window! We ended the evening with the lights out and the Cd player off, playing our worn out sleepy heads almost to sleep with their favorite lullabies, like Hush-a-bye Don't You Cry, and our version of Rock a bye Baby where no baby falls....we sing:

Rock A Bye Baby
On the tree top
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock
We'll pray to Jesus
To hold you tight
And stay by your bedside
All through the night

That was my daughters song, she hasn't wanted me to sing it at bed time for a year or two now, sadly. But that was her special request tonight! And with a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star we packed them off to bed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thinking Spring!

I'm enjoying reading this blog The Handmade Dress and she has a wonderful tutorial where we picked our tree project! The children loved putting this together. I cut out the leaves and sewed together our flowers, and they went happy with the glue and sticking them on all the branches. We used every day white glue, but I would suggest a quick dry. Although I love crochet (obviously!) my daughter wanted fabric flowers, which for time reasons, I was more than happy to oblige. I cut out a set of double leaves (think figure 8) and one medium sized flower in pink, a small flower in white, and added a flower shaped sequin and a seed bead for the center. After sewing all layers together, and to keep them from looking 2D, I ran a gathering stitch in a 1cm circle around the bottom of the flowers and pulled tight before knotting the thread. My daughter calls this the Cherry Blossom Tree! We added pink and purple plastic "marbles" to our vase and the rocks are inspiration rocks with words like Trust and Laughter and Love on them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

North American/African History Lesson in a Quilt

Pictures are of a display at the Grey Roots Museum and Archive, Owen Sound Ontario. Taken February 15, 2009

Photo Sleuth Exhibit at Grey Roots Museum

Today we went to the Grey Roots Museum and archive for a free family day! They had a wonderful I SPY scavenger hunt and a Chinese art collection from the ROM and my favorite, Photo Sleuths, with a dress up area and a photo studio! The last picture is of my Great Great grandparents Owen and Fanny Showel(nee Wriggly, and yes the "gum" family!) Their picture is part of a permanent collection which tributes the founders of Grey County. The children came home worn out, and I with laryngitis! But it was a wonderful day!

A quick note on the straight faces... At the museum we learned that portrait subjects had to sit still for as long as 30 min for a picture to be taken. Therefore, subjects would lean on furniture and not smile, as a smile is harder to hold. That is why we chose not to smile broadly (if at all)in these sepia photos, trying to make them look historical.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Super Simple Coffee Cozy

In case you were wondering just what I did, here are the super simple instructions!

Super Simple Coffee Cozy

4.5 mm crochet hook
small amounts of worsted yarn
2 "nickle sized" buttons (I found that shank buttons threatened to come undone, so I suggest the 2 or 4 hole kind)
sewing needle

ch - chain
dc - double crochet


ch 33
dc across ch, starting at the 4th ch off hook. ch2 turn work
repeat for 4 rows more, ending row 5 without the ch2 (total of 5 rows) end off and sew in ends.

Look at your work and turn it so that rows 2 and 4 look raised. At one end, hand sew a button on each row 2 and 4. Fold ends together around a mug with or without handles and button snugly, using the dc stitches on the no button end as button holes.

Thank you to Awana Leaders!

My daughter wanted to make gifts for her Awana leaders this week, as they were celebrating "wear red day" for the obvious upcoming observance of Valentines day. I was impressed with her generosity. Of course, she wanted something for all the clubbers as well, but that was just not possible, being that she came up with this idea the night before clubs!

I'm fighting a soar throat, and my brain was mushy. I looked at several different heart shaped ornaments and book marks, but couldn't wrap my head around the patterns, as simple as they were. So the next morning I surfed myself over to Ravelry and hit the group button for Reclaiming the home and sent out an urgent post for help with quick ideas, I had 12 hours to make something for what ended up being 11 leaders. And I wanted something that the children could help put together as well. So after some wonderful ideas posted by the wonderful ladies at Reclaiming the Home, we decided on coffee mug cozies. So at 11am, we clambered into the truck and headed to the dollar store and picked out 11 surprisingly trendy mugs. With some in 50 cent clearance, the bill was just about $10! Then we headed to our local bulk food supplier store (think restaurant supplier meets Costco)and purchased some wonderful Lipton herbal teas and a tray of Farmers Market mini tarts, assorted flavors. We hurried home and after a quick lunch and putting the baby to sleep we started hopping! The children filled each cup with a wrapped tart, (which fit perfect in the bottom) and tea bags, while I made my fingers fly! I still wasn't feeling tops, so covering my mouth and washing my hands a hundred times, I went to work crocheting 11 cup cozies. I was still a little fuzzy, and had no desire to memorize any patterns, (once again as simple as they are) So I just made a basic dc strip and added buttons on one end that actually made these adjustable cozies. My daughter picked out the buttons from my button jar and then the two of them buttoned them around each cup. I finished the last cozy at 5:55pm, (we leave for clubs at 6!)

I did not have time to wrap them or add cards, so I took them to the office where the leaders check in, and the children told what they were for and handed them out to the leaders that had already arrived. We left the rest for the coordinator to pass out to the others. I'm trying to teach my children discretion as well, so I had them give the gifts out of the sight of other parents and children.

Their reaction was so exciting! So many times we just assume that someone has taken the time to thank these people for all the work they put into our children. But as a former childrens club leader of 14 years, let me tell you...its a (verbally) thankless job!! It got me to thinking, that perhaps every Valentines, our family should take the time to thank some of the service workers in our lives, paid or unpaid! I think I would like to make this a yearly tradition. For schooled children, we often give gifts to the teachers at Christmas, but when was the last time you sent a gift to the custodian? The same goes for a church custodian, do you know who yours is? For home schooled, what about sending a fruit tray or small gifts to the local fire station. Call ahead and find out how many are on staff. These are people we hope we will never see working at our house, but are glad they are there if the need arises! Although as homeschoolers, we often feel self sufficient in our homes, there are so many people out there still looking out for us. How about taking this Valentines to thank those who's service we made need in the future, and who's service we do not maybe see and yet benefit from!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Reminisce: About a most misunderstood critter

Every spring, farmers and small boys all across the country wipe down their BB's or 22's in anticipation of rodent summers. They aim at groundhogs that dig up fields, making traveling dangerous across the fields for the larger beasts of the farm. But about 6 weeks before the guns come off their racks, for one day of the year just before spring, we actually honor these little guys. We keep some in cages and poke them out every February 2nd in hopes that they will predict an early spring. But it seems so backwards to me. Such as today. We have a beautiful warm sun shining, snow is melting, reminding us that spring will come eventually. But because Wiarton Willy saw his shadow in the sun, we are actually suppose to have 6 more weeks of winter. Had he not seen his shadow (on a dark, dreary, "winter's never gonna end" kind of day), spring is to be early.
I'm quite the opposite. When I see a sunny day, I'd rather stay outside and play, it's those dark days I'd rather stay inside and go back to bed.
Entire festivals are held around these critters, which are great for the economy and winter tourism of course. But does anyone actually count the weeks until they see the first patch of grass? My memory has me convinced that whether he sees his shadow or not, it's always 6 weeks before you would even suggest spring is around the corner. If March comes in like a lion, it is as an icy blast. But if it comes in as a Lamb, it still consists of the existing snow, and then it leaves as a lion, usually a horrid icy rain that leaves everything dirty and ugly. But the end of March is still more than 6 weeks away.
These poor critters have no choice in their participation of our tomfoolery of the day. And although I do understand a farmers conviction against these critters, I say "RUN CHUCKY, RUN!"