Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sourdough Pancakes

Hurray!  This morning I made my first recipe with my sourdough starter--pancakes!  The kids were super excited.  ;-)

Here's the recipe (from GNOWFGLINS):

4T coconut oil (I used applesauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2T sweetener (I used honey)
2 c starter
1 tsp baking soda
seasoning (I used cinnamon and cloves)
1 tsp vanilla
1 T water

The pancakes turned out really good.  I prefer mine more cake-like, but these reminded me of the kind that you get at a restaurant.  They tasted really good, and the kids loved them.  In the course, the instructor pours the batter into a cast iron skillet and bakes in the oven to make one big pancake.  Hers turns out really fluffy that way.  But the ones I made on the griddle were good.  I'd make them again.  :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's Alive!

I was about to give up on my starter yesterday, but I stirred it really well and fed it...and this morning LIFE again!  Hurray!  I think we have a winner.  I have no idea what happened there for a few days, but hanging in there instead of starting over was worth it.  :-)  I think I might even try to increase the starter and make pancakes in the morning...what a fun experiment!  :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Sour Dough

So, I recently decided that I would start experimenting with sour dough.  Why?  With a sour dough starter on hand, you don't need yeast!  Baking with sour dough is healthier for your body.  And, it's kind of fun to think that I can make my own.  Thanks to a great online course with GNOWFGLINS, I have step by step instructions.  And, it's surprisingly easy.

To start with, you just mix 3/8 cup whole wheat flour (Arrowhead Mills, Bob's, and King Arthur are the best--but Handy Andy only had Gold Medal, and I wanted to get started!) with 1/4 cup of water.  (no chlorine--if you have chlorine in your water, you have to leave it out uncovered for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate) Scrape down the sides (to prevent mold) and cover.

After 12 hours, you look to see if you see any life--bubbles in the mixture.

So this is a picture of my sour dough starter on the very first day.  I am really excited about trying out this experiment---especially since it is so much easier than I thought it would be.

Once you start to see life--bubbles--you begin feeding your starter every 12 hours.  Until then, you check every 12 hours and stir vigorously until you do see life.  Then...Remove 1/2 the mixture, add 1/4 c water and 3/8 c flour, stir vigorously, scrape down the sides, and cover.  What's happening is that the wild yeasts in the flour are being activated. 

Here's what my starter looked like in the morning on Day 3:
I am super excited!  I actually did it!  ;-)  So, I remove half the mixture, add 1/4 c water and 3/8 c flour.  12 hours later, I see bubbles, but not life like this time.  But I go ahead and remove 1/2, feed the starter.

Last night, I was still not seeing any good life, so I just gave the starter a good stir and hoped for the best.  This morning, this is what I found:

Oh no!  No bubbles!  There were some bubbles in the top, so I'm hopeful that there is life still in there...somewhere.  I'm going to feed my starter and see if anything happens today.  If not, I'll start from scratch tomorrow.  It takes a week to get your starter strong enough to actually use, so I'm hoping that this will work and I can start using the starter this week!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I recently stumbled across a photo on facebook of a tiny baby--just 6 weeks after conception--who had been miscarried.  The photo of baby "Blessing" was taken by her grieving mother.  It was amazing to see the little fingers on the tiny hand already formed at such an early age.  I was moved by the loss of this tiny infant and had to re-post.

This morning, I awoke to a diatribe on the photo by a person who I have known almost all of my life.  As I said to him in my response this morning, I did not post the picture to begin a debate about abortion, law making, or when life begins.  And I didn't feel it appropriate to respond to his arguments in that forum.  However, I am truly disturbed by some of his statements, and I thought I would respond here. 

One thing he mentions in his post is that as a Christian, I would not like legislation passed that I disagreed with, so my religious beliefs should not be the basis of legislation passing (referring to abortion).  Actually, this kind of legislation has been passed--raw milk, for example, is outlawed in many states.  Homeschooling is banned.  We cannot freely speak even the name of God in a public place.  As a teacher, openly stating my beliefs in the classroom would get me fired (though it's perfectly find for an atheist to tell students who disagree with him that they are brainwashed by their parents).  And in many places, churches are forced to hire people who violate their deeply held beliefs because of legislation that has been passed.  Pastors have been jailed for reading certain scriptures from the Bible.  By the same token, many of the laws I'm sure he accepts and applauds, like laws against murder, robbery, etc, are rooted in biblical beliefs, as is the belief that "all men are created equal."  Our very constitution is founded on the belief in God. 

Another thing mentioned in the post is the question of when life begins.  "This is a fetus, not a baby," he says.   I think it is only people who are removed from the process of life who could make such a statement.  A farmer who has just had his crop destroyed by frost or hail does not say, "Oh, well--they weren't corn, yet."  He laments the loss of his crop of corn!  Likewise, a farmer whose pregnant cow is killed by a flood does not mourn the loss of one cow, but two.  And a mother who rejoices in the new life growing within her knows with absolute certainty that this is a child--one who she will nurse and rock and kiss.  She pictures her baby boy playing catch with his daddy or her baby girl dancing at her wedding--long before she holds that child in her arms. 

Finally, his assertion that adoption is traumatic is very sad, especially in light of the dreadful trauma--emotional and physical--that abortion unleashes on the would-be mothers and fathers (as we are now discovering).  Even if some adoption situations don't turn out perfectly, not a single abortion ends well.  Isn't it better to give a child a chance to have a loving family than no chance at all?  After all, God even used adoption as a picture of His love for us--we are adopted as sons and daughters.  This is a picture of how great His love is for us--that He loves us as His own children. 

It is true that each person has been given free will by God.  We have the ability to make our own choices.  And one day, we will be held accountable for those choices, just as we will be held accountable for "every idle word" we speak.  I pray every day that my words will honor God.  I know that I fail often and dreadfully, but that is my prayer.  I will continue to post things that touch my heart or that I would like for people to think about.  I will not be silenced by ridicule.  I know in Whom I have believed.  And I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Spring is in the air, and I hope it's here to stay!  We successfully kept the plants we planted safe during the last two freezes, and our TX friends tell us we should be safe from now on. 

So, right now, I've got blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry plants growing.  Since berries are on the Dirty Dozen list, I figured I should give growing them a try!  Veggie wise, I've got broccoli, sweet peas popping up, lettuce and spinach, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes.  I'm getting ready to plant tomatoes, peppers, etc in pots inside for transplanting in a few months. 

AND I just joined a coop to get fresh milk and milk products, coconut oil, honey, etc.  I'm SO excited!  Now I just need to figure out the grains piece.  :-) 

Friday, February 11, 2011

So proud of my kiddos today!

Since Megan was a little bitty thing, we have had issues with cleaning up.  She is very obedient and cleans up right away...the problem is that I then find things hiding behind chairs, under beds, and in the closet.  My first thought when Megs was little was that she just had too much stuff (go figure!).  So, we got rid of stuff. 

Then, I thought she needed better ways to organize.  So, I invested in cubby shelves and baskets so that it would be simple to put things where they belong.  It works for the boys--they almost always put their cars in the car bucket, their legos in the lego bucket, etc.  But my Megan still has issues.

So, a few years ago, I started a new thing--every once in a while, I start at one corner of her room and go around the entire room, emptying everything and putting everything that was not in the right spot in the middle of the room for her to put away.  I figured that eventually she would get tired of that and start putting things away. 

Nope.  So, now I have an 8 year old with a heart of gold who still 'hides' things so that she can clean up faster.  Today, after she reassured me 5 times that everything was in its place and nothing was hiding, I decided to take a little bit more drastic measure.  Instead of putting everything on the floor for her to put away, I put it in a laundry basket to "give away." 

Of course, when her Awana book and one of her favorite shoes and several 'special' things ended up in the basket, she started frantically trying to put things away, crying.  It about broke my heart, but I stayed firm. 

As I was sorting through the basket to retrieve the items that don't belong to her, including BOTH pairs of Josyan's tennis shoes, which she had hidden in her closet--why??, in come Tristan and Josyan.  Quickly realizing Megan's dilemma, both boys start helping her put away the toys in the basket.  I told them they had until I was done putting away the other things that didn't belong to Megan to get as much as they could.  I have to tell you that I have never been so proud of my boys.  They were helping their sister just because they love her.  Wow! 

By the time I was done (I confess I took my time), there were only a few things left in the basket, which I put into a ziploc.  Every time I find her room spotless, she gets to retrieve one of her toys.  If I find anything out of place, we do the basket again. 

We had a nice conversation about consequences.  Like that it doesn't really take less time to cut corners, because then you have to do it all over again.  Besides, if you don't put things where they belong, you will have a hard time finding them later.  And Mommy needs to help Megan figure out how to be responsible, and if this doesn't work, we really will have to get rid of things.  Because we need to take care of what we have. 

I hope I'm not the only mom who has a 'hider'--and I hope that maybe this will help those moms with some ideas for taming the hiding monster.  ;-) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A letter to a Senator...

In recent weeks, I have become more and more passionate about food--namely, growing and eating food the way God intended.  I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do feel very strongly that the message should be shared.  Since many countries banned GMOs years ago, I'm really concerned that we, as a society, are being entrenched in some habits that may become very hard to break if the issues are not addressed quickly.

I love that I now see all kinds of products with the "no high fructose corn syrup" labels, even in Handy Andy!  Ketchup, syrup, etc.  And it seems that buying organic has become easier and cheaper in the last few years, as well.  So I know that we can create change quickly if enough people speak loud enough and vote with our dollars.  Every time we shop and buy organic foods, we are telling the stores and the producers what we want. 

It can be very disheartening to hear the responses from friends.  One person said "a tomato is a tomato" and proceeded to call me a "hippie for Christ" (not that I mind being called a hippie, particularly, but still!).  I guess I should have told him to go taste the difference, rather than informing him about the dangers of the foods and telling him how I think God fits into my food decisions.  ;-) 

When I re-posted something about raw milk, Ryan's disgruntled aunt said, "Really, Karen?  Really?"  To which I have to say, yes, really!  It's amazing how the media portrays people who actually do the research--as fear mongers who don't understand that the FDA has said that "there is essentially no difference...blah blah blah."  (this from a US Senator in TX!)  It just tells me that we need to educate people. 

I was telling a friend that, though I have always believed in being self-sufficient, and I have always known that the closer the food is to the way God made it, the better it is, I didn't have a clue about some of the gmo stuff.  Like most people, I guess, I believed that they weren't essentially different.  I had no idea that my food had mutated e-coli in its DNA!  But, now that I do know, our family is committed to doing our best to eat good foods and to educate others.  Imagine what would happen if we all did that?

Just like homeschooling, recycling, etc, eating good foods created out of good farming practices would stop being something "those people" do, and something that we all want to do.  Mainstream, rather than underground. 

So, if you've made it to the end of this post, I thought I'd post a letter I wrote in response to 'that' senator.  Feel free to modify and send to your own legislators. 

Dear Senator ____________,

GM foods ARE significantly and dangerously different than organic foods.  This is why they have been banned in other countries around the world.  Genetically modified foods are created by injecting the DNA of the food with DNA from e-coli bacteria and viruses.  Organically grown foods do not have e-coli bacteria and virus DNA embedded in them.   In addition, research shows that GM foods are NOT safe.  (Another article here) GM foods have been linked to severe allergies, obesity, cancer, and other diseases.  GM foods have been proven to be less nutritious and more allergenic than 'regular' foods. 

Despite continued research to show that these foods are not safe, the consumer is denied the ability to make educated choices about the foods they eat because companies like Monsanto have employees in the FDA and EPA advocating for them and feeding the public and our elected officials false information.  Not only that, but they are putting small farmers who utilize good farming practices out of business through the unethical patenting of life and through monopolizing the food industry. 

I urge you to view documentaries like Food, Inc and The Future of Food.  Eliminating these foods from the marketplace will preserve the livelihoods of small farmers and make all Americans healthier.

You can watch Food, Inc for free on Netflix.    You can watch The Future of Food here

Thank you for your service to your constituents,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Future of Food

Ryan and I just finished watching our third "Food" movie.  The first two were Fresh and Food, Inc, which solidified our resolve to eat locally grown, organic foods and introduced us to the concept of GM foods--genetically modified foods.  Tonight, we watched an older film (2004), The Future of Food.

Essentially, the Monsanto corporation, known as the producer of Agent Orange and other pesticides, has decided to inject genetically modified e-coli bacteria into foods to make them resistant to the Round Up pesticides that they produce.  Then, they took out a patent on those foods, the most prominent of which are corn, soy, cotton, and canola.  So, when the pollen from their GMO corn is blown on the wind into another farmer's field, that farmer's crop now belongs to Monsanto.  Monsanto sues the farmer to either force him out of business or force him to use their seed. 

The GM foods are outlawed in several countries around the world, and many countries won't even accept crops shipped from the US.  Yet, our government continues to claim that these foods are not any different from other foods and does not require any research or regulation of them.  Unfortunately, once the GM crops are introduced, it is almost impossible to get them out.  Unless we eliminate these crops entirely and start fresh while we still have good seed, that is. 

Not only is it imperative that we stop the GM foods from entering our bodies, but we need to let the government know that we do not want GM foods.  Essentially, we need to work together to fight Monsanto and educate consumers in the US. 

You can watch the Future of Food for free here:

I also joined the Center for Food Saftey here:  If you click on the Action links to the right, you can send pre-composed e-mails to your elected officials. 

Get informed.  Buy local.  Buy organic.  Tell others.  Together we can make a difference!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Soaking Grains

So, I've been slowly progressing through the first few GNOWFGLINS lessons.  Yesterday, I soaked almonds, flour for muffins, and rice for dinner.  According to GNOWFGLINS, soaking nuts and grains neutralizes the phytic acid that makes them harder for our bodies to digest.  Adding heat, neutralizes the enzymes. 

The first step, of course is to soak everything.  I just put about 2 cups of almonds in a quart size jar and then filled the jar with water & added a Tablespoon of sea salt.  Cover and soak for 7+ hours, then drain and either put in a dehydrator or on a cookie sheet in the oven at a very low temp with the door open.  The rice was also very easy, although I did have to add some apple cider vinegar to it.  Same with the grain--I mixed 1 1/2 c of whole grain flour and 1/2 c oats with 1 cup of milk and 2T of yogurt. Instead of the yogurt, you could also use buttermilk or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  

I now have my almonds dehydrating in the oven at 150 degrees. When they are nice and toasty, they will be delicious.  In fact, I made some when my Mom was here visiting, and she liked them so much that she made some herself when she got home!  I cooked the rice last night, and Ryan said it was the best rice ever!  And I also baked muffins with my soaked grains--banana muffins.  They are pretty good.  The batter was really wet, like pancake batter almost--usually my muffin batter is more like cookie dough.  But they were good.  And it wasn't a lot of trouble at all. 

So, if it's really helping our bodies digest the grains, it's worth doing, I think.  If you want to check it out, just go to

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Save the Date

Save the Date is a cute new Christian romance novel by Jenny Jones.  With a stack of non-fiction books on my nightstand, I thought I could use something fun and light to read, and Save the Date fit the bill.  Though a bit predictable at times, this book does a nice job of combining an unlikely fairy-tale romance, the basic Christian dilemma of trusting God, and an introduction to a little known social problem deserving of our attention. 

In the book, we follow the funny adventures of the main character, Lucy, who runs a non-profit for teens who have aged out of the foster system, as she bumbles her way through many interesting situations in her staged engagement to Alex, a wealthy ex-football star running for office.  Throughout the story, the spiritual struggles Alex and Lucy face require the reader to look at his/her own struggles with faith and with self-image.  Do we truly trust God with who we are and everything in our lives?  The book illustrates the idea that God is often working in ways we couldn't imagine, even as we plead for Him to intervene and wonder why He's not responding!

Finally, the book asks us to take a look at a problem that we don't often see--the many young adults who have aged out of the foster system and have no place to go.  Thankfully, homes like the one Lucy runs do exist, but I hope that readers of Save the Date will take time to investigate this issue further and see how they can help. 

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