Churning the butter

This past week I did a lesson with the boys on how to make butter. Originally I was going for a straight imparting of information but it turned into a bit of a science experiment. You see I bought the wrong dairy product. I reached for whipping cream and came away with table cream. I didn't realize my mistake until we were well into it so I had to think fast to redeem myself. I guess I could have said "hey look, I bought the wrong thing!" but why? After our first run we got our hands on some whipping cream and did it all again!

First experiment (500 ml Table Cream): Shake time: 40 min. Butter achieved: about 1/4 cup.

Second experiment (500 ml whipping cream): Shake time: 14 min. Butter achieved: about 1 cup.

We made a few loaves of bread with the buttermilk and had daddy help us with a taste test to round out the experiment.

For those who would like to give this a try, you will need WHIPPING CREAM (learn from my mistakes people), a big ol' mason jar with lid... or other seal able container which allows lots of shaking room (the more space, the faster the process), a bowl, a wooden spoon, and a sieve to drain off the buttermilk from the butter.

Pour milk into the jar. Shake like crazy. You will eventually get whipped cream... keep going. As soon as the liquid separates from the milk solids you're golden! Pour it all out into the sieve, KEEP THE MILK (it's great for making bread, biscuits, pancake batter, etc.) Plop your butter into a bowl, take a wooden spoon to it to extract any remaining milk... and presto! You can stir in a pinch of salt if you like, or go unsalted.

Simple Bread

Here is the recipe I use with the boys for bread... I think they have made it enough times to almost be able to do it solo! (It's from the book: "From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens" by Good and Pellman). This goes out to fellow homeschool mama Jordin!

White Bread

1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups warm water

2 1/2 tbsp. melted shortening

6-7 cups flour

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

2. In large bowl combine sugar, salt, water, and shortening. Add yeast mixture. Gradually add flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise 2 hours. Punch down. Divide into 2 portions and form loaves. Place in greased bread pans. Prick tops with fork. Let rise until higher than pans (1 1/2 - 2 hours)

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. You can brush tops with butter if desired.

My FAVORITE bread recipe is posted HERE but is a bit more labour intensive and not appropriate for kids because of the boiling water.

A while back Mother Earth News did some articles about No-Knead Breads.... I really want to try this one.... I will let you all know how it goes...

Garden's ahoy

Ok, lame title but I've been throwing up for the past 24 hours and deserve a break on the creativity side of things. I have been flipping through seed catalogues during my downtime and I'm getting excited about planning this years garden. I'm pretty sure I posted about Seeds Of Diversity last year but here is the link to all the great seed sales, mostly in BC and Ontario.

In the USA? Seed Savers is also a great organization. I've had a lot of success with their seeds...

and... they have a blog...sweet!

Here is an interesting article about planting according to the moon cycles... if want to give it a go there are lots of places to pick up calenders... just google moon phase gardening.
The farmers almanac sells a 2010 calender with the moon info included.
Sorry this post is so "linky"!!

A cake for Shannon and Ella

Our Cake
Originally uploaded by from the hip*
I loved how this cake turned. I don't get to do pink too often with so many boys in the house!

Resolution 2010

As you might recall from last year my resolution was to read a book-a-month. I was successful and feel that I like my odds for 2010 so here we go again! Here is the list from 2009:
January: "The Shack" (Young)
February: "Irrisistible Revolution" (Claiborne)
March: "The Book of Negros" (Hill)
April: "The Alchemist" (Coelho)
May: "The Book of Negros" (Hill) ~ yes, again.
June: "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?" (Jacobsen)
July: "Three Cups of Tea" (Morentson)
August: "Three Day Road" (Boyden)
September: "Any Known Blood" (Hill)
October: "They Do It With Mirrors" (Christie)
November: "A Good Yarn" (Macomber)
December: "Alice in Wonderland" (Carroll)

It would be hard to pick a favorite from 2009, The Alchemist has been a long time favorite and I read it once a year. In terms of books I had never read before I will have to say my favorite fiction was "The Book of Negros" and favorite non-fiction was "Irrisistable Revolution".

So here we go with 2010.
January: "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" (Miller)

Yes, I have already finished my January book. It was SO good I couldn't put it down and was so dissappointed when it was over. It's all about living a good story, and what it takes to change the story you are living.


The marker didn't come off. So the paint and fabric pens came out....

Happy (belated) New Year!

We have had a busy start to the year, with a party on the 1st, concert on the 2nd, a day of rest on the 3rd and back to homeschooling on the 4th!

One of my hopes for 2010 is to make more time for creative endeavors and it seems that my youngest has the same resolution. Last night we were sitting down to dinner when I noticed something on his pants...

When I asked what I was looking at he proudly stood up so I could see all the artwork he had done on his lap in pen. As I was formulating my response Dave looked at me from across the room and simply said "careful". I understood. I simply asked that next time he ask before he doodles because some pants are for family time and some are for special times, and very nice work by the way. My plan now? To wash them and see what happens. If the pen comes off fine. If it doesn't I have fabric markers in about a dozen colours that I will give him and tell him to "finish the job". Because if you're going to create.... ya better go big.

And thus begins 2010!

No Waste shopping at Bulk Barn

I recently viewed a video on Facebook of a supermarket that creates no waste.  All of the containers are reusable and you simply fill, use, ...