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We are very happy to share that we are expecting our 7th baby to arrive sometime in late July/early August – and we just found out it’s a BOY!!

Baby 7 Mar-16 3

I am 19 weeks and enjoying the middle of this pregnancy – no longer sick (it was BAD this time) and not horribly enormous yet. My core and ab muscles are pretty shot from all of those babies, so I’m wearing my belly support a little earlier this time. I am prone to headaches, but our amazing and miraculous chiropractor fixes that whenever they recur, so I’m feel pretty optimistic about that. Other than that, I feel great, and I’m enjoying some regular exercise.

We are planning our 5th homebirth (we have also had one hospital birth and one freestanding birth center birth) – and for the first time, we are using a different midwife. Not by choice, but rather by necessity; our beloved Linda will be on vacation (how dare she?!) the week I am due! So we are going with the daughter of the other midwife that worked with Linda during Ellery’s pregnancy (both of whom missed her birth entirely). We like Hannah very much and look forward to working with her.


This recipe makes two loaves of delicious, Trim Healthy Mama-friendly sprouted bread – without kneading or spending more than a couple of minutes tending to it. You simply need to be around to manage the process. You will be letting the machine do the mixing and kneading, and then you will let your oven do the baking. The original recipe can be found here – and you really should go visit that post and look and her step-by-step pictures. They are beautiful and helpful.

After making it according to the original recipe once, I simply adapted the ingredient amounts and mixing order to improve flavor and rising. Below is my version. (I have not yet adapted the volume measurements to weight, as is my preferred practice for baking, but I am working on it.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • 4 2/3 c organic sprouted whole grain flour (I like 3 cups sprouted spelt + 1 2/3 cups sprouted wheat)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put water, honey, and yeast into a 2 lb. capacity bread machine pan. For best results, use barely warm (not hot!) water to help soften the yeast and encourage rising.
  2. Measure flour and salt and add to the pan. Cut your butter into 8 small cubes and distribute them evenly over the top of the flour.
  3. Set the machine to the dough cycle and let it do its work. In the first few minutes, you will want to check the mixture and scrape down the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula, if needed. Add a bit of water if the dough is not very moist – it should be a slightly sticky dough, but still able to form a ball.
  4. When the dough cycle is complete, dump the dough out onto an oiled/buttered counter and press out all the air with your oiled hands. Divide the dough into two equal-sized lumps, form them into a tight ball, then a loaf shape. Put them in loaf pans and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes (or until roughly doubled in size; this will take longer in cooler climates).
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 for 30 min. Remove the bread from the pans and set to cool on a cooling rack, lightly buttering the tops to soften the crust (optional).

NOTES

  • Basically, if you put all ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed above, run the dough cycle, divide into two loaves, rise for 30, bake for 30, and set to cool – you will probably turn out with great bread. I add some helpful commentary for those who have not baked before, but I promise it’s much easier than my wordiness indicates.
  • If you’re going to set the timer on your bread machine and knead it later, you’ll want to place the yeast on top of the flour instead of in the water. The water and honey hydrates and activates the yeast faster for better rising, which is not what you want if you are, say, setting the timer for the dough to be ready when you get home from work. In this case, make sure the yeast is not touching the water or salt.
  • I like One Degree organic sprouted flours, both spelt and whole wheat. Try to find them locally (at a health food store or Whole Foods), but you can order online (I had to). Find the sprouted spelt here and the sprouted whole wheat here.
  • To make rolls, instead of dividing the dough into two loaves, divide it into your desired roll size. I make 24. Allow the rolls to rise in a buttered 9×13 for 20 min, then bake for 20. They are done when lightly browned on top.

There are probably hundreds of similar recipes to be found on the great big interwebz, but I tweaked this to suit a larger crowd. I use my 6 quart crockpot and serve with a nice, big pot of rice and tortilla chips alongside.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thigh)
  • 3 16 oz. jars salsa
  • 3 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 2-3 8 oz. blocks cream cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place first four ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6.
  2. 30 min. before serving, shred chicken with two forks. Place whole blocks of cream cheese on top. It will melt in nicely by itself.
  3. Give it a good stir to incorporate the cream cheese fully and serve over rice or with tortilla chips. I like to include a bottle of hot sauce for the more adventurous.

We moved into this house in August 2008 with three kids and moved out in July 2014 – three days (!!!) before our sixth child was born. It had all but completely fallen apart on us over those six years, so we have poured our hearts, minds, energy, and money into this place. We love how it turned out, and can’t wait to see how the new owners take it to the next level! (It’s currently on the market; if you’re looking for a beautifully renovated 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on 10.2 acres in southwest Michigan, I’ve got a place for you! But act quickly, because activity has been hot on this place.)

These are all real estate listing pictures – befores from the previous owners, afters from the current listing. Just pics today; details in future posts.

EXTERIOR

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KITCHEN

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GREAT ROOM

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DINING ROOM/DEN

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ENTRY

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MAIN BATHROOM

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LOWER LEVEL BATHROOM

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FAMILY ROOM

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BEDROOMS

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LAUNDRY/UTILITY ROOM (no before)

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DECK

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PASTURE/PROPERTY

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DRIVEWAY/WOODS/FRONT YARD (no after)

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First Day of School 2014

We had our first day of (home)school on September 2, 2014. After a two week break due to the pukeys (so fun with such a big family!!) and getting our “old” house on the market, we’re back at it. I will try to update with a homeschool curriculum post soon, but for now, here’s a pic of my students for this year – our first year on the front steps of our new house. Sniff. Bittersweet!

From L-R: Silas (2), Ellery (9 - 4th grade), Callan (4 - preK), Maya (11 - 6th grade), Lyra (six weeks!), Asher (6 - 1st grade)

From L-R: Silas (2), Ellery (9 – 4th grade), Callan (4 – preK), Maya (11 – 6th grade), Lyra (six weeks!), Asher (6 – 1st grade)

Lyra Lucia

We had a baby! Lyra Luca was born at home on July 17, 2014 at 12:34 p.m. (coolest time: 1-2-3-4, get it?). She was 7 lbs. 2 oz., 20″ long, and was born in just over two hours with one push. We moved into our new house just three days before she was born and are still recovering.:) Our old split entry 1975 farmhouse has been completely renovated and is on the market – stay tuned for a post on that!

Lyra is precious, growing fast, and completely adored around here. Thanks be to God for His wonderful gifts! (Follow me on Instagram if you’d like more updates than what you’re getting on the blog lately.:)















Blender Batter Gluten / Dairy Free Dutch Baby (a.k.a. German Oven Pancake)

(When you have free-range chickens AND snap a pic at sunset, your pancake looks super yellow!)

Whew. How’s that for a title?!

We’ve been making and enjoying Dutch Babies for a long time around here. It started with my husband and I sharing the standard 3 egg version, baked in a cast iron skillet, with our lone toddler Maya. Delish. Nowadays, I make (are you ready for this?) the equivalent of 8 times that recipe for the seven of us. This is basically the recipe I use, only I use 1 tsp course kosher salt and start checking for doneness around 20 min. We usually use some form of whole grain flour. But not always…

Now, with me being gluten- and milk-free (I can still tolerate butter, cheese, yogurt), I have had to experiment with a version I can enjoy. And since I’m lazy and try to stick to whole grains, I also had to convert it to a blender batter (no pulling out the gluten-contaminated grain mill). Here’s the version I am enjoying now.

Gluten/Dairy Free Blender Batter Dutch Baby (a.k.a. German Oven Pancake)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 TBSP coconut oil (or butter, if you tolerate it)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole oat groats
  • 1/4 cup whole dried corn
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or 1 tsp course kosher salt)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400. While oven is warming, place the 4 TBSP oil/butter (cut into 4-5 chunks) into a 9×13 pan and place it in the oven to melt.
  2. Put all the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 1-3 min or until grains are no longer chunky. (I use a Vitamix; other blenders may take longer.)
  3. When butter is melted, carefully remove from oven and pour batter in. Bake for 20-30 min, until puffed up and lightly browned.
  4. Enjoy with maple syrup, fruit preserves, or powdered sugar & lemon juice.

NOTES
* Obviously, you can make this with gluten and dairy while still enjoying the convenience of the blender. Just use about 3/4 cup of whole wheat grains (or experiment with barley, spelt, etc.) and 1 cup milk of your choice.
* I usually use unsweetened almond milk.
* I use our own farm fresh eggs and make a double batch, which just fits in the Vitamix without overflowing. Since our eggs can vary in size, I often use 13 (which is more than double, of course).
* You can also skip the blender entirely and substitute 1 cup of your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the whole grains.
* Try other GF grains. Brown rice goes well with oats. Or try brown rice + millet.

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