A Busy Weekend

Saturday started with a bit of snow, nothing sticking, but any snow is pretty exciting in the Willamette Valley.  The kids had basketball games and district solo competitions in music so we ran around a lot until afternoon.   When we got home, I finished up the bathroom flooring and cleaned house. It was not a terribly exciting day.

Sunday was a bit more productive.

Soaked Almonds in the Dehydrator

I started the morning by putting my Soaked Almonds in the dehydrator.  I had soaked 2 cups of raw almonds in 4 cups of water with the addition of 1 T of sea salt.  I let them soak overnight the drained and rinsed them.  I put them in the dehydrator at 112 degrees and they should be done on Monday morning.

I learned from GNOWFGLINS, that nuts tend to be high in phytic acid, a substance that reduces your ability to absorb the minerals in them. Almonds are no exception.  It is thought that soaking them inhibits the enzyme and makes their digestion and absorption more efficient.

Rice Soaking in Water and Cider Vinegar

I also put on a pot of brown rice to soak for Monday night’s supper.  I combined 4 cups of hot water (just under a boil) with 2 cups of brown rice and 4 Tablespoons of raw cider vinegar. I will cover the mixture and let it hang out on the back of the stove until tomorrow evening.  Then I’ll drain off and replace the soaking water, add a Tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of salt.  It should probably take about 25 minutes to cook.

I used the Kefir Bread recipe from Just Like My Nan Made, to make a loaf of sandwich bread.  Noah helped my start the dough in the bread machine.  We combined:

Kefir Bread
  • 450ml milk kefir
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 t salt
  • 4 T sugar
  • 750g white flour
  • 1 T dry active yeast

Once it finished in the machine I put it into a loaf pan and let it rise on the shelf next to the dehydrator.  Then it was into the oven at 450º for 10 minutes followed by 25 minutes at 400º.  I messed up the timer at the beginning so my loaf turned out a little dark, but it tastes great.

Bottling the Hard Cider

Joe decided to finally get the hard cider into bottles.  We had talked about whether we wanted cider or apple wine several time so we decided to do both; half cider and half wine.  Joe siphoned off half of the carboy into a bucket and we’re going to add potassium sorbate to stop the fermentation and then bottle it tomorrow (we might ass a bit more sugar).  The other half,  Joe added some dissolved corn sugar to and bottled into beer bottles (they’re stronger than wine bottles).

I made a batch of Orange-Coconut Granola in the afternoon – the recipe (adapted from the Moveable Feast) follows:

  • 4 cups thick oats

    Orange-Coconut Granola
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • zest from 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/6 cup agave maple syrup
  • 1/6 cup tangerine honey

Melt the butter and add the honey, syrup and juice.  Stir to combine.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and stir until well coated.
Bake at 350º for about 35-40 minutes – turning occasionally

I also made up a batch of sourdough bread, but it seemed oddly sticky so I put it into the refrigerator to rise slowly until I get home from work tomorrow.  The milk kefir and kombucha are tended to, the new batch of greek yoghurt (thanks again for the instructions Salad in a Jar) is in the warmer, and I made a batch of egg salad for breakfasts during the week.

I also finished a batch of dried strawberries from some that were leftover from Valentine’s Day.  I’m going to try to grind them up and use them as a sprinkle over yoghurt or oatmeal.


Our new Floor – We Love it

I finally finished the flooring in the master bathroom this afternoon.  It all started at least two years ago when we noticed a crack in the vinyl flooring just outside the shower.  Upon closer inspection we discovered that water had been leaking out of the shower and had damaged the subfloor in about one square foot.  I had to pull up the vinyl to dig out the water damage and let everything dry.  We didn’t want to put down vinyl again and the installation was going to be really expensive to rip out the old vinyl or cover everything with a new subfloor.  We settled on cork about a year ago after putting a cork laminate floor in the laundry room, but the room is oddly shaped and we weren’t sure we could tackle the installation and the laminate might not be safe in a bathroom so we just kept living with a hole in the floor and a rug trying to hide it.

A couple of weeks ago I found a blog of a family that had redecorated a room using a vinyl product called Allure from the local Home Depot. 

It floats over the floor so you don’t have to prep the old flooring.  It can also be cut with snips, so you don’t have to remove the toilet – we did remove and then reinstall the base molding.

It was also a great price, only about $32.00 a box and we used just over three boxes.

Citrus-Coconut Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of two oranges
1/3 cup butter
1/6 cup agave maple syrup
1/6 cup tangarine honey
1/3 cup of orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Combine the oats, walnuts, coconut, salt, and orange zest in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a saucepan over and stir in the syrup, honey and juice. Pour the mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Divide the mixture equally between the two silpat-lined baking sheets and spread into a thin layer.

Bake, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 45  minutes, until the granola is toasty and golden.

Let the granola cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Checking in on My February Goals

I made a great meal of: I want to to use the upright chicken roaster that I found at the thrift store. Okay, this I cannot seem to remember, so it’s being moved to March (spring break seems like a good time to remember to defrost a chicken)

I baked: I’m still trying to perfect the sourdough bread in the bread machine.  Maybe just dough in the machine and then bake in the oven.  Ill try that next month.

I preserved: boy, I’m baffled here – still baffled, but I did make some delicious pickled red onions.

I stockpiled: I still need to replenish the water supply – this was a bad month for water, but a good month for deodorant (12 sticks).

I handmade/started to hand make: I want to make soap
I did it – Goats milk with olive and coconut oil.  It’s cut and drying.

I repurposed: I need to finish my new apron – Not yet, but It’s still February…..hmm

I saved money by: No spend January was a bust, but we did save some money.  This month I think we’ll try to eat food out only one time each week – and even then, maybe with a coupon.  I need to rethink these.  My aspirations do not fit my reality.

I sowed seeds/planted seedlings/cuttings of: Still kind of cold for this now.  Snowing today – enough said

I harvested: I still have turnips in the garden – and I still have turnips in the garden.  I need a turnip recipe.

I tried something new: I want to try to rethread my loom and make a bookmark

I read and was inspired by: I’m nopt sure, maybe something from the new ALA list.  I read  books 7, 8, and 9 in the House of Night series  by Kristen and P C Cast and The Lost Stories of the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flannagan.

I finally tackled: I want to tackle my weight.  I want to keep track of my food everyday this month starting after the Super Bowl junk feast.  Weight not fantastic, but better.  I did Finish the long awaited bathroom floor.

I really enjoyed: I want to really enjoy Valentine’s and make it special for the kids and my husband. It was lovely and lasted two days as no one was home for dinner on the 14th.

Fantastic Oatmeal – What?

I’ve always been okay with eating oatmeal, but I’ve never loved it.  Today, I fell in love.  I followed the recipe at Kath Eats Real Food.  This is the creamiest, most flavorful and delicious oatmeal I have ever had.

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oats
3/4 banana – sliced

Combine the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  During the cooking, stir like crazy to break up the bananas and make everything creamy.

Remove from the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Divide into two bowls and, to each, add 1 teaspoon light brown sugar and a tablespoon of peanut butter.


Food Storage on a budget – 2012

I keep thinking that I should get back to working on my food storage, but the couponing has not been terrific for me lately. Even over the holidays, that last year were fantastic for baking supplies, the deals were pretty ho-hum.  I thought I’d try again as this weeks’ prices on sugar from Albertson’s are really good.

There is a store coupon that brings the sugar from $4.29 /4 lb to $1.99.  I combined it with a printable coupon from smart source ($1.00/2) to get each 4lb bag for $1.49.  I think I’ll try to get 40 – 50 pounds.  I know this is above my $5.00 per week limit, but in these times of good-couponing-famine I think I need to strike while the iron’s hot.

The total should come to $14.99 for 40 pounds of sugar.