Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crochet Chainmail

I've finished Badger's birthday present! He was so excited about it! (yeah, I gave it to him early because he wants to wear it for the Trunk or Treat Outreach that is happening at our church this Saturday.)

Here's the Crochet Chainmail Hood.

and gauntlets.....
my brave knight.....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

Some of you have sent me emails asking for more recipes. Here is one of my favorites! This one is from my friend, Loo, and I have made a few adaptations to suite us.

To make African Pineapple Peanut Stew you will need........

1 c. chopped onions
3-4 medium sized garlic cloves
1 T. olive oil
1 bunch of kale or chard (about 4 c. sliced)
2 c. undrained crushed pineapple (20 oz. can)
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
1/2 t. powdered ginger
dash of cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 c. chopped peanuts, optional
1/4 c. chopped scallions, optional

Here is my beautiful Kale all ready to be chopped.....It tastes extra sweet just now, since we've had our first frost.
Chard works really well too. Rainbow Chard is especially fun. Use what you can find that is fresh and local.

Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add olive oil, onions and chopped or pressed garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, being careful not to burn them. This takes about 8 minutes. While that is cooking, wash, dry and chop kale into 1 inch slices.

Add pineapple and kale to the onion, garlic mixture. Turn the heat down, Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes until the kale is just about tender. Here's what it looks like before the kale has finished steaming.
Add peanut butter, ginger, and cayenne. Cover and simmer five more minutes. Add cilantro, stir one last time and serve. I serve mine over brown rice, but couscous is nice too. Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions for an extra nice touch.

It may not look amazing, but it tastes so so good! Try it and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crockpot Apple Butter

Would you like your home to smell heavenly with very little effort? Then make some apple butter! Here's what you need to do.....

Fill your crockpot with applesauce. I have a large crockpot so it took four and a half quarts to fill mine. (You want the crock to be full so it doesn't burn.) Stir in some cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger or cloves to taste. Add 2c. of sucanat. (or organic brown sugar) and stir. Then leave it all day to cook on low, with the cover of the pot open slightly to release steam. I use two butterknives across the ends of the crock to set the lid askew, but be careful if you do this because the knives can get hot. Stir it once in a while to make sure it isn't burning.

Here is what the sauce and sugar and spices looked like at the beginning...

After several hours your house will start to smell so so sooooo good. The kids will keep coming into the kitchen to see if they can have some, but it won't be ready just yet. Wait until your sauce looks like this.....

See how caramelly it looks? (What? Caramelly can be a word!) At this point your sauce should be done. It should be thick enough to stay on a knife for spreading. If it's not thick enough for your liking just leave it to cook longer. If you like really smooth applebutter then use your hand blender to puree it. Voila! Apple goodness.

My large crock makes 3 quarts and 1 pint of apple butter. I froze mine to use throughout the winter, but you can can it too. (can can, heh.) It would make a splendid gift to share with a friend.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Crochet Quiver

Here's my latest creation......
I am starting to love crochet. It's so much faster than knitting! And although it wouldn't do for some things, it's perfect for quivers. :) I'm also working on a set of gauntlets for each of the boys in a metallic grey yarn. Fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winter's Light

I wanted to share this photo of the boys from a few days back. We had a nice outside play time one afternoon (or was it morning?) and the boys just happened to be in the same place at the same time. So I took the opportunity to shoot some photos of them all together. This one is my favorite, although there were many other nice ones too.
This morning when I woke up and looked out the kitchen window I noticed the change in the light. We had been having many days of "Indian Summer"...where the light is bright as a Summer day and the temperature warm. On these days the animals take the opportunity to store up more food and sunshine for the long winter that is just around the corner. We have been following the same idea, and spending as much time outside as we can.

So I was surprised to see this out the window this morning.....
The light is still bright, but now cold and Winter. It's a beautiful light, really. The darks of the landscape become darker...more still. The air seems fresh. The light is clear. It makes my thoughts seem more audible, and it calms me somehow. Yet, in the same breath, I know it means that Winter is coming soon. Sooner than I'd like anyhow. I love Winter. I love the snow and even the cold in a way is nice. But I just love Autumn so much more, and I wish it would linger a little longer than it does.

We played in the leaves this afternoon, after a morning of learning times at the big table. The leaves are dry and crunchy. We had fun raking them and crunching them with our boots.
The boys built a fort, with two rooms. "A room for a fire and for eating and an armory..." Oh, of course, what else would a boy need? Heh.
The boys' treasured weapons. The blue shield and sword (next to it) Cricket has painted. Aren't they nice?And here is a great shot of my pumpkins. I'll let you decide if I mean the pumpkins or the boys. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Learning at Home this Week

This week has been really good. We are in Week 4 of Homeschool Co-op, and the boys are loving it. The weather has been just lovely and we have been busy doing Autumnal things like raking and drinking cider and baking gingerbread. (more on that later...)

I was blessed by finding a set of science books that I had been wanting for the boys at a rummage sale! We started our first "science day" this week. We are studying light. Here the boys are discussing the properties of light and what kinds of light we see and use in our home.

We did a survey of each room of the house and checked for sources of light and where they came from...if they also were a heat source....and what color of light they were! It was really fun.
Then, in the middle of a very fine make things even better...we received an unexpected package from a dear friend.....addressed to "the Dennis kids"! Eeeeek! How exciting! The boys ripped the package open to find.....four of these! No, not the boy...the apron!
Four Star Wars aprons (totally cool!) and a package of Star Wars cookie cutters! I laughed outright when I opened them! My friend that sent these is the best! She knew that nothing would make my heart warmer than to spend an afternoon in the kitchen with my little men baking. Since the aprons arrived they have helped to peel an entire half bushel of apples for dehydrating...made an apple pie....and today we made Star Wars Gingerbread. Seriously. :)
Don't worry. No babies were injured during the photo shoot. Hen is simply crying because he thinks he should get another cookie. No Hen, I think four is enough!
Can you see them? The cookie cutters were so well designed that they turned out quite well!
Here they are in the cookie jar. I have to say there is something quite satisfying about eating a Yoda sandwich cookie....and I don't think it's because of the buttercream frosting.
Other things of note include (but are not limited to...)

Cricket has learned to paint with acrylics. He has painted his wooden shield and sword and is becoming quite accomplished with a paintbrush.

Badger has acquired the newest Redwall Book from the library and is often found snuggled upstairs somewhere devouring it. He has also learned how to make pancakes, including flipping them on the griddle.

Owl has decided to become my little kitchen helper and has learned how to use the Kitchen Aid Mixer.

And little Hen. Little Hen is getting some molars. He's kinda grumpy. He's also incredibly sweet and still talking up a storm. I wonder when I'll get used to hearing my baby say just about anything. *sigh* He's growing up so fast!

And J & I. We are here. Present. In tune. Choosing. Choosing to live every day together in love....even when things are a little crazy with the house of boys...and the farm chores...and the dirty dishes. He makes me coffee in the morning and I hear "i love you." I see him across the breakfast table and I just feel blessed. Blessed that he has given me these children, this home, his time. His love. *sigh* Life is good. Very, very good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Full Fall Days

First thing the little men do in the morning is get dressed and take the dog out with them to gather eggs. It is an especially fun time just now as we are getting more and more eggs each day. Here are some of the colored eggs that our Auracanas are laying. :)
Badger loves to climb this apple tree. (it's bare, see? all the apples have been used!)
Here, these little guys are discussing the hens' names. My two favorite...."Shinewings" and "Daisy Crown".
Owl loves to ride his the grass... :)
Making carameled apples
Playing in the leaves....
Happy, happy boy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Playfort

We found this Teepee at a friend's rummage sale today. Score! :)
Fun times. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Bushel

Today we brought home a bushel of apples grown by a local man that we recently met. He has a rather large orchard and gardens and sells all sorts of local produce. He also happens to know how to talk to little boys. And his ears perked right up when Cricket showed him the arrowhead he recently dug up from the quarry. When we saw him this weekend he promised to bring along with the apples, a huge spearhead that he dug up on the farm when he was digging for a fence. The boys were soooo excited! And surprise!.....He brought two actually. Both of them were about four inches long and so beautiful. One of them was still quite sharp. It was awesome. The boys were delighted! And I was delighted to bring home this.

It seems like they are all different colors? Well, yes! There are 8 different kinds in there! Cool, huh? I put them on my porch and it smells just heavenly when you walk in the front door. Can you hear me sighing with contentment? I just looooove apple season.
Am I the only one that thinks that the curly peels are so pretty when they lay all coiled up like that? Warm pie for after supper on this busy night. Autumn is my favorite season for sure.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chocolate Brownies

Did I get your attention with that title? :)

I'm going to share one of our favorite dessert recipes. A simple and healthy brownie recipe that is absolutely delicious! Please don't make up your mind about these until you've tried them! They are so so good! I think they just might be the best brownies I've ever eaten!

Chick Pea Brownies

1 15oz. can of chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
3/4 t. baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 c. honey or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Pour the melted chocolate and all the other ingredients into your food processor and give it a whirl. Scrape down the sides and mix it again just until everything is smooth. (it only takes a minute) Put into a 8x8 greased pan. Top with more chocolate chips and nuts if you like. Bake for about twenty minutes until done in center. Enjoy!

The best part about making these with the boys today was finding the littlest man sitting licking out the bowl (aided by his big brother). Look at his moustache chocolat!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning Something New

I've been writing a post for the blog in my head for the past week. *sigh* But I just haven't felt very motivated to sit down and write. (not like me!) There has been so much going on. Our tenth anniversary last week. The boys learning and growing like crazy. Cider season. Yeah. I have started a post called "update" (creative, huh?) but for is a picture of something new.

Last week I got a book from the library about Crochet. I did! I am a knitter. So crochet has always seemed like....well....the dark side. Ha ha. It is sooo different than knitting. And guess what....I think it's quite fun! Oh, and my project? It's a rug! Made out of old t-shirts. Yep! So far it's about four feet across and if I can round up any more shirts it'll be even bigger. I want to make it big enough for the music room!
Want more info about how to make one? Check out my sister-in-laws blog (she gave me the idea) for a little more depth and more pictures.

I'm off to dig through J's things. He must have more t-shirts. :) G'night.