Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Monday: Choosing a New Color for the Kitchen

Gary and I both agree that even though it has only been three years the kitchen needs a new color. We had to move quickly when painting every room in the house back in 2008. There was little to no time to learn what each room was like and any color was better than what the house had originally. The kitchen did not turn out as planned. In fact, the color was off a lot from what I had intended. Thankfully three coats of paint later it looked less pink... but it still reminds me of pink rather than the adobe brown it was supposed to be. 

Now that I spend almost all my time in the house, everyday, day after day, the darkness of the color and the one window in the kitchen makes it feel heavy. At night, almost like a cave. My pictures always look yucky (part of which is the camera) and I am so ready for a change. But... the color still has to look good with our brown and tan hand painted cupboards. Not looking like those will change in the next year at least. 

I taped color samples all over the kitchen. We aren't looking at any colors except the top three. Below that is just to dark for the room. 

More samples. The color has to stand out against the white (which will hopefully get a touch up this summer all through the downstairs).

Like my new shutters? Those were installed in the back bedroom when we bought the house. We painted them and mounted them last week on the wall. Some rough sanding has been done. We will either stain or wax them a bit to keep them looking aged. I hope to display some family photos... who knows! They are a work in progress but I feel like they will look amazing against a fresh paint of grey/blue. 

See this lovely fan **sarcasm**. That is going to! Hopefully about the same time we paint the kitchen. We never use it. It is on a three way switch that constantly blows out one of the light bulbs and it just gets dirty. We hope to replace the three way with a regular switch and I have long been inspired by mason jar light fixtures. I think we can DIY ourselves a great, cheap, new light fixture with just a little effort.

Check out my inspiration on Pinterest!

Mason Jar Hanging Lights

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop Internet Censorship

Update! According to an email I received last night 13 million people told Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet and the SOPA  and PIPA bills were dropped. Apparently even other major nations stopped and took notice. Pretty impressive.

Now if only we could protect the right to choice for vaccinations, raw-milk, and the rights of small organic farms the same way. I can't tell you how many petitions I have signed asking GMO foods to be labeled as President Obama promised before he was elected.

However, it is still awesome to see that the people do still have a say in the politics their government practices...

Normally this would go on our soapbox page... but it is time sensitive and happening today!

Ways to see just what this is all about:
Infographic (a general diagram of what the bill will do... notice censorship of emails?!? How about Uncle Sam just listen in on every phone conversation while they are at it.)
Stop American Censorship Website (sign a petition)
Wikipedia - Stop Online Piracy Act
Craig's List SOPA & Action Page
List of Strike Sites

Watch this video:

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate. Kill the bills: PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House. Our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity depend on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cuppow: Have You Seen It?

Cuppow... turn any wide mouth canning jar into a travel mug. Hello! Let me know when and where and thoughts about affordability if you see it. I am extremely curious.

"BPA free, durable, made in the USA & can be recycled."

“This is Cuppow – a new lid that lets you drink like a boss from virtually any wide-mouth canning jar. It’s a simple, eco-friendly alternative to poor-performing and messy disposable hot cups, and over-built and expensive travel mugs..." - Lovely Package

Looks neat to me. Oddly wide mouth canning jars fit amazingly well into the cup holders in our Saturn. We simply travel without a lid but it is always at the risk of major messes! I will have to keep my eyes peeled for this product. Do you travel with canning jars? Any solutions?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What we do...

Everyone knows that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  That is most likely the reason I received five (yes, five) crock pots for my birthday last year!  But all on my time spent in the kitchen, is not really spent in the kitchen.


I make bread dough.  But it has to rise.


And beans need to soak overnight.

And then sit simmering on the stove for two hours.

See.. so a lot of my time is not spent in the kitchen.

This is what do we do while the bread is rising... or the beans are simmering...

My girls and me.  They are my little shadows.  Always following.  Always asking if they can help.  Yes, they help.  Wearing crowns.  Dressing up.  Cuddling.  Reading books until Lettie falls asleep.  Tea parties with baby dolls and teddy bears.  Making secret places with sheets and blankets.  Sliding.  Swinging.  And taking lots of silly pictures!

Oh, and sometimes we dress the dog in baby clothes...

She took off her hoodie and left it on the back porch in the rain, by the way... 
I don't think she was very happy with us.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Real Food Wisdom from 100 Years Ago: What We Knew Then & Should Know Now


I enjoyed the post from Food Renegade today and thought it was worth sharing here at TBH. The book "Graded Lessons in Physiology and Hygiene" written by a physician, Dr. William Khron, and used as a textbook in Texas schools in 1908 can actually be found and read online!

I intend to read "Grade Lessons" for sure for myself but enjoyed the amazing & knowledgeable quotes from the book shared in Kristen's post. For example, Dr. Khron shares a list of adulterated foods and his quotes are surprisingly correct for a time less medically knowledgeable. The following quote is just a sample of what Dr. Khron thought about one of these adulterated foods:

“Butter is sometimes made entirely from … cotton-seed oil, to which coloring matter is added to make it look like pure, yellow butter made of rich cream. This product is called butterine, or oleomargarine. It can be sold for about half of what good butter would bring…. In the United States there is a law against the sale ofbutterine that is not stamped to show plainly to the person buying it that it is not genuine butter, but an imitation. Such laws are right in protecting the people against false or counterfeit foods, and in preventing people from being imposed upon” (page 39). 

I grew up eating margarine and remember when I was so stubbornly offended that my mom found out butter was better for us. I didn't want butter... I wanted the fake, tasty stuff. Thankfully I have since changed my mind. 

Check out one more quote from the book and then visit Kristen's awesome blog, Food Renegade, and read the book online for yourself.
“Sugar, syrup, and candy are sometimes made from corn by a peculiar process, by means of which the starch of the corn is changed into glucose, and a kind of sugar not so sweet or healthful as sugar made from sugar-cane or sugar beets. This sugar is quite apt to ferment, or sour, and decay within the bowels, thus causing disease. Some candies are colored with poisonous matter” (page 39).

Can you say yuck?!? Hopefully my day in yogurt making and fermentation experiments pays off. I hope to undo some of the harm of those adulterated foods. 

Homemade Greek Style Yogurt (version 2)

I recently realized while going through the motions in my kitchen, making Greek style yogurt, that I have been keeping a secret from you.  That the way I make my yogurt has changed.  I had found new shortcuts and before I had time to tell you it became habit.  So yesterday while I was catching up in the kitchen, baking breads and cooking beans, I took a few photos of my latest gourmet shortcut to share.

Into three glass quart jars (you could use clean applesauce jars or even pickle jars) spoon two tablespoons of store bought yogurt into each jar.   Let the yogurt come to room temperature.

In a large stainless steel pot, allow three quarts of milk to come to room temperature.  Then heat the milk slightly until when test it with a finger, you can't feel it, hot or cold.  Body temperature, I guess.

Pour the warm milk into the jars.  Put a lid on each.  (The red funnel is part of a canning kit and makes filling almost any jar so easy.)

Find a helper and shake each jar to distribute the yogurt into the milk. 

Fill a cooler with bath temperature water.  Cram the jars into the cooler and shut the lid.

Set the cooler in a nice warm spot (mine is always on top of the freezer - this is also where I set bread to rise) and let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  I have found that letting the yogurt sit for longer makes a thicker yogurt.  Over Christmas when things were a bit hectic here, I accidentally left it for 48hrs.  It looked like curddled milk but after I strained it, it looked fine.  A tad bitter but fine.

Line a bowl with a clean pillowcase.  Pour the yogurt into the pillowcase.

Tie it up and let it drip until the volume is reduced by half.  Since I made three quarts of yogurt, I let it strain until I have collected a quart and a half.  This will leave you with one and a half creamy quarts of fresh yummy yogurt. Since it is almost identical in consistency to sour cream, it can be used cup for cup in traditional recipes. My husband and oldest son eat this stuff by the bucket, the bucket, I swear.  You should see their idea of a serving size.  I figure I'm saving some serious cash making the stuff myself.  We make ours plain and unsweetened but for a serving you can sweeten it up with a tablespoon of some homemade jam for a real treat.  



In the kitchen I was fooling around with a new gluten free bread recipe.  Sandwich bread, breakfast bread.  No artificial binders or fillers.  So healthy, made with almond flour.  While almond flour is getting plenty of talk (and for good reason!) it is a bit expensive.  I ground my own in the Vitamix and after mixing was pleasantly surprised to pull this out of the oven....

Super rich and healthy... very substantial.  A bit much for the little ones but an awesome grain free bread for a grown-up breakfast.  Highly recommended!  

almond flour bread recipe from making love in the kitchen - meghan telpner

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nourishing Our Children: 20 Minute Free Video on Traditional Diets

The first 20 minutes of the Nourishing Our Children video. The full presentation materials (DVD, e-book and study guide) can be obtained with a donation of $55 to the Nourishing Our Children campaign through January 18th. 

My thoughts on the first 20 minutes:
Nourishing Our Children is based on answering the question, "Can we be well fed but malnourished"? The video covers how Weston Price (a Cleveland dentist) set out to answer that question as he began noticing the increasing deformities in the mouths of children here in Cleveland, Ohio. Within the last year my eyes have been open to traditional foods. Fermentation (needed desperately in my diet to combat my infestation of candida), raw milk, animal fat (keeping the fat in our food and diet), eating non-industrial (man made) food, proper food preparation (soaking of grains, sour dough preparation, fermentation, etc.), etc.

Starting with reading "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck my eyes were startlingly opened to the idea alone that fat is extremely good for us and essential in our diet. The right kind of fat, used correctly, do not make us fat! Amazing. I know. We are so focused on "low-fat diets". That is hardly our biggest health concern.

I have continued to endeavor to change my diet and Wade's from the industrial diet we are so very used to. Because of finances, busy life, and learning it is a slow and gradual process but I am encouraged by the knowledge that I now know how to well nourish myself and my children (and husband God willing!).

There is one more point I want to address. While I embrace and appreciate the idea of traditional diets and believe there is clearly something nutritiously right about them. I am cautious to embrace the idea of evolution being the driving force behind our need for traditional diets. I look at the concept of traditional foods and diets in light of what the Bible teaches us about our history and from our history our diet. What God made was perfect, what man makes is flawed. Everything with a grain of salt and seeking the truth through God's eyes.

What are your thoughts? Is this idea of traditional foods completely new and foreign to you or is this something you are already changing about your life style? I would truly love to know.

Keep your eyes open. Jackie was busy in her kitchen this morning. She may have something fun to share! You know... she is my inspiration for looking at holistic and natural health. She discovered it first and has paved the way and inspired me for years. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good Food Friday: The Ups and Downs of Gluten Free

No actual recipe today friends.  Just a story about food... 

I love a challenge, in the kitchen that is.  There is such a feeling of accomplishment when I can convert a conventional recipe to a healthier version.  It started with changing simple ingredients like sour cream to homemade yogurt or butter for applesauce.  Then I ventured into adding some extra things like nuts or seeds.  I was feeling good, making things from scratch with almost 100% success, cutting out all the fillers and extra processed components of recipes.

About 4 years ago our family physician suggested we try our second son on a gluten free diet.   My first thought was I am totally up for this; he will miss out on nothing.  I read and studied and experimented and tested, learning the properties of the various flours and the ratio of butter to eggs.  I was really proud of my accomplishments.  I even found a decent recipe for bread.  (The store bought stuff while gluten free had a TON of extra processed garbage in them!)  So basically the entire family went gluten free.  It was not a difficult decision to make, it was simply easier than making two different meals. Minus the bread.  There will always be two kinds of bread in my fridge, both homemade, one spelt the other gluten free.

A year ago, in another challenging attempt to save a few bucks, I bought a pasta machine.  Not one of those you can see in the late night infomercials that blend and extrude but the shiny old fashioned metal kind with the clamp and the crank.  Oh it is beautiful.  Once a week, usually Thursdays, I bring the machine down from the top shelf in the pantry, pour myself a glass of red wine (what is a good pasta dinner without one!) and crank out the good stuff.

Honestly, it's  okay.  This is the one thing that is killing me about gluten free.  I have done so much reading and testing that I feel by now I should have struck gold, but I'm still not happy.  So much of pasta making is in the ingredients.  I have used only farm eggs and fresh ground rice flour.  But the one thing I absolutely do not want in my pasta are the very ingredients that determine its success... fillers.   Starches.  Empty calories.  Corn based binders.  Really?  I have come all the way to run into this.

Yesterday all I could think about was making ravioli.  At two, I assembled the fillings.  At three I had finished researching a new pasta recipe.  By four, I was making a second batch of dough, with my standard and somewhat disappointing recipe.  Big sigh.  Huge sigh.  Here is what the four hour project/finished ravioli looked like...

and you can see by my kids plates they had no complaints.

Neither did my husband...

But by my fourth square, I was done.  It did not taste like I wanted it to.  Like I dreamed about all afternoon.  Like I remember before going gluten free.

So why?  Why keep on trying?  Keep falling short...

Because the chance of success, a total complete success, is just so close. This entire post may see kind of negative but I promise you I never see it that way.  In my experience, all of the best things I have achieved were difficult.   Having kids young.  Getting through school.  Learning to cook and bake.  Being involved.  Having more kids.  Building a home.  Making time to be me.  Having one more kid.   Soon I will have this under my belt too.   I have learned so much.  I'm sure I take most of it for granted now, I know the kids do, in a good way.  They know that I can make anything and never doubt my experiments.  So I'll keep going and failing and succeeding because in the end I believe it is the journey that counts.

How about you? C'mon, share your success/failure stories...


Gluten Free Inspiration -- some sites I visit often for all their yummy recipes and super ideas!

Gluten Free Recipes - Elana's Pantry
Elena's Pantry :  A very clean and simple site with awesomely nutritious foods

Making Love in the Kitchen :  Meghan is an inspiration!  All her foods are insanely creative and yummy!

Know of any others???  Share the love... We gluten free people need to stick together!


Also, don't forget to let us know you are out there and reading!

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