Monday, March 28, 2011

busy busy

Yes our little world has been busy, busy. We were able to throw in some fun as well. We took a vacation with my family in the beginning of March. It was lovely. Warm sunshine, sandy beaches, and not having to cook or clean describe my ideal vacation. We came home and our busyness came into full swing with trying to get back into routines, piles and piles of laundry along with looking for a new house. As our family grows we are also growing out of our house, we are expecting baby number three in October. We had been planning and saving to buy a house since last summer. We set a deadline and over the weekend we found our prefect home! Hurray! It's in an ideal location, updated, cute, and energy efficient. And I already know one of my neighbors! We made our purchase agreement and if everything goes according to plan we will be able to move in the first of May.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Changing seasons

The days are turning colder and colder as we settle into our long Michigan winters. They start a little early around here, but we've managed to escape the snow..for now. I've been been trying to come up with ways to keep our home warm and inviting. And so I've begun a soup journey to learn the art of making soup. I love soup, I could eat it every day for every meal. My first soups when I first married, which was almost 4 years ago now, mostly tasted like salty water. Well I'm still learning but I've come a long way from that first giant pot of salty chicken vegetable water. I've learned that simplicity is key, and time and waiting is absolutely necessary. So now I start a day ahead of time, you can even start a couple days ahead of time. I would categorize the soup that I've most recently made as a harvest soup with potatoes(yes it does matter what kind of potatoes you use, I like yukon gold), sweet potatoes, carrots, and a slow cooked chicken stock. So I'll call my soup Vegetable Harvest Soup, no it's not vegatarian.

You will need:
5 pieces of bacon
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
3 carrots
4 chicken thighs, you can use any pieces of chicken with bone and skin
5 potatoes, yukon gold, or other yellow potato with thin skin
1 sweet potato
salt and pepper to taste
First you cook 4 or 5 pieces of bacon, eat bacon, or whenever you cook bacon for breakfast reserve the drippings. Chop onion and carrots, saute in bacon drippings until onions are transluscent and carrots start to soften, add garlic saute for another minute or so then add chicken and enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then turn heat on low,  lightly simmer chicken and veggies for up to 12 hours. Do not heavily boil or your broth will have an off flavor.After it reaches a boiling point, I turn it down as low as it will go and leave it all day checking once in awhile to add more water as necessary.  Remove bones after 10-12 hours, ladle of excess fat and grease. Day two, bring soup back to a boil and add diced potatoes and sweet potatoes, you can also add more carrots at this point. Lightly boil until veggies are softened. Add salt a pepper to taste, if you leave soup on low heat the potatoes and sweet potatoes will break down and thicken the soup.

One thing I love about soup is you can make it your own, whatever you have on hand you can throw in, you can also stretch out the soup and add more veggies and water as it gets eaten up. Yesterday I boiled extra potatoes, carrots, and a sweet potato in salted water and added it (water used to cook veggies too) to the little bit of soup left and it was still as just as tasty.

This blog is inspired by Lonna's recent blog posts about whats on your families dinner menu, so here is what we've been having  the last few days. I haven't put much thought about our menu for the days to come, maybe you could help me out on that one. What's on your menu this week?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gluten Free "Birthday Cake"

One of Anneli's all time favorite things is birthday cake, and since Amelia's first birthday is right around the corner I decided to start experimenting with different recipes to try and find a cake that would be gluten free, low in sugar, and somewhat healthy. Well surprisingly my first shot was a success. Even Hunter who cares very little for sweets enjoyed this cake. I'm going to call it Sweet Potato Zucchini Cake, although I also had yellow squash on hand that I through in there also. So here it is, you can also make this recipe your own, I find it very forgiving.

Sweet Potato Zucchini Cake


1c buckwheat flour
1c oat flour (you can grind oatmeal in a coffee grinder)
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp cloves
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3c pure maple syrup
3/4c coconut oil (much cheaper online than in the stores!)
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla
2c grated zucchini
1c cooked sweet potato


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour 25x9 cm round bundt pan, you can also use loaf pan but will have extra batter. Sift first 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl. Mix in zucchini and sweet potato. Add dry ingredients and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool and turn upside down on cooling rack or plate.

I also tried to make a frosting for this cake, last night failing the attempt. I do have the concept but failed to execute it properly. 1 can coconut milk, 1 to 2 Tbsp maple syrup or to desired sweetness, corn starch or arrowroot powder, maybe 1 tsp or so dissolved in COLD water....yes this is where I failed, and salt to taste..oh 1/2 tsp or so. My frosting turned out all lumpy because I had a memory lapse and used hot water instead of cold water to mix in my corn starch. It tasted creamy and delicious, just very lumpy and the texture bothered me a bit. Heat coconut milk on low heat, stir in maple syrup, and salt, bring to low boil and whisk in corn starch that has allready been dissolved in COLD water. Stir until thickens, cool and frost on cooled cake. VOILA...gluten-free, dairy free cake!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gluten Free?

Awhile back I sought out help for Anneli and her eczema. For as long as I remember she had rough dry skin that would break out in itchy rashes now and then. I had some thoughts of it being a possible food allergy but was clueless, except for a 200+ dollar allergy testing from a doctor, how to go about finding what allergy she might have if any. My sister introduced me to this wonderful website forum where you can find countless information on health, nutrition,  and how-to's.  I posted some of the symptoms Anneli was having and I got quite a few responses, one woman told me the three main food allergies are wheat, dairy and soy. Pretty sure it wasn't dairy since we do very little dairy in our home, I decided to cut wheat out of her diet. And realizing it's not really fair for her to go in it alone I made the plunge myself. We have now been wheat-free, gluten-free for almost two months. Anneli's skin smoothed out, no more rough dry skin! She seems to be doing really well with it, her being only 2 helps alot, she isn't really aware of all the things she isn't eating that others eat. Yes, it can be challenging. Outtings and eating out can be difficult, I've learned to plan ahead. I haven't tried my hand at gluten-free baking yet, but I have been experimenting with making pancakes. Our little farmers market has a stand that sells freshly ground buckwheat.So after a few experimental batches I came up with this:

"Soaked" Buckwheat pancakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup oat flour, I ground rolled oats in a coffee grinder.
enough plain yogurt to wet the flours
1 Tbsp honey (don't use if child is under 1)
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp warm water
1 egg

coconut oil or butter for frying

Soak flours in the desired amount of yogurt, I use mostly yogurt and add just a little water till I get the desired consistency. Soak flours in yogurt mixture 7-12 hours, or overnight. This process breaks up the phytic acid. Phytic acid bonds with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. It also makes the buckwheat more palatable, since us westerners are use to a white bread diet.
When ready to make your pancakes, mix in honey, salt, dissolved baking soda. Seperate egg white from yoke, add in yoke, beat egg white until fluffy(this makes fluffy, light pancakes) and fold into your pancake mixture. Heat skillet, add butter or oil. Ladle batter onto hot skillet, cook until brown and lots of little bubbles form, flip and brown the other side, cook all the way though. Serve with maple syrup or other of your choice. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Begins!

We have had very hot humid weather here for the last few weeks. Thankfully the last few days have cooled off (high 70s) and we have been enjoying some refreshing rain. HA! I don't know if I would have ever caught myself saying that when I was living in Oregon. 

Anneli is filled with such joy and often has a smile on her face.

Anneli looks like she is posing for the camera

These girls make the silliest faces

Butterfly wings

The girls went to a birthday party down the street recently and brought home these adorable butterfly wings. Anneli has been fluttering around the house in them ever since.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Family Visit

We had a wonderful visit from my mom and sister and her two little ones recently. We all crammed into our little apartment, which was a bit cozy. We were all sleep deprived but we did squeeze in a fair amount of fun with 4 kids all needing naps. Here are a few highlights from their stay with us.

Martin and Iya

Anneke in the sandpit at the Children's Museum

Anneke and Anneli at the Children's Museum

Iya and Martin in the ball pit

                                                Anneli making very silly faces


Anneke looking very stylish!

Iya and Martin takin a stroll

Mom, Lindsay, Martin and Anneli in the backyard