Saturday, May 24, 2014

Flavorful Food

Food pictures are so fun to take. I always have a few sprinkled throughout the rest of my photos when I transfer pictures from camera to computer. What to do with them except lump in a conglomerate food post?!

We had weekend company in April to whom we served bran muffins and fresh fruit for Sunday breakfast. Annie has also experimented with bran muffins using a cinnamon friendship bread sourdough starter. Those are very moist and tasty too!

Grilled Reuben sandwiches are a family favorite we enjoy quite often. Rye bread was on Manager Special at Dillons (Kroger) and we snagged several bags of organic Mojo chips from the Azure Standard co-op's Bargain Bin. This was the last jar of canned dill spears. Hopefully we will get plenty of cucumbers from the garden this year!

The local homeschool group hosted a Mom's Fondue Dinner. My mother-in-law served fondue for Christmas Eve dinner years ago (when we didn't have so many little people & fingers), and these two are the only times I've ever fondued! Very pretty and yummy!

The table decor was very cute too!

A dear neighbor emptied her freezer stash of blackberries with the request to please make one jar of jam for her. Annie helped me make a batch of very sweet jam and we saved the rest for smoothies and breakfast cakes. We are eagerly anticipating our own blackberry vines to please produce some yumminess eventually!

And last of all, a new recipe for the keeping...Tasty Thai Steak Strips with Peanut Sauce. This was definitely preferred by the adult taste buds.

Tasty Thai Steak Strips with Peanut Sauce

1 lb. flank steak cut on the diagonal into 1/8" thick slices
2 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger/ or 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. lime juice/ or lemon juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
16 oz. rice noodles/ or wheat pasta, cooked

Thread steak strips (I think we used deer loin) on skewers. Combine oil, lemon juice, & garlic and brush on steak. Marinate 30 minutes. In a saucepan combine the remaining ingredients, except noodles, and bring to a boil. Broil the meat for 3 minutes per side. Serve steak skewers over noodles with peanut sauce on the side for dipping. A side of napa cabbage salad adds even more oriental flair to your meal table. Enjoy!

Science Fair

Our science curriculum this year included reading through a science fair project book. I initially thought we would take class time and do several of the experiments together, but the students weren't real enthused about any of them. Instead we covered the material with the vision of choosing one project per child to do on their own after the book was completed. And to make it a fun time we sent an invitation out to other area homeschoolers to join us.

Caroline made a simple AM radio (which actually became rather complicated).

Annie chose natural food dyes.

Riley made a magnetic spring.
Unfortunately as he was setting up his display, several of the magnets shattered.

One other family joined us for the evening. I forgot to snap a picture of their 9 year old's great soil food web chain project. He had a neat display with a jar of soil layers and a nematode under a mini microscope. 

Because we hosted the Science Fair in our garage, Shannon got busy putting insulation and OSB up on the unfinished walls.

We also tore off some filthy dusty tar paper to reveal fresh OSB beneath. It is so nice to give the ceiling, walls, and floor a good sweep and washing, knocking down barn swallow nests, spider webs, mud dauber remnants, cat hair (and smells)! Especially nice is having a multi-purpose room available for group gatherings or kid's play!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Beautiful Blooms

What a fun surprise to have a lovely bouquet delivered to the door!

Meanwhile, outside, some of our mystery trees began to bloom.

Inside I planted a few flower seeds for the garden in plastic strawberry containers to put under a fluorescent light.

This bouquet lasted a good two weeks! We still, over a month later, have 2 green sprigs left that are in a smaller vase. 

Thank you God! Thank you Mom!

Finger Lickin' Foods

While on our travels out west last year, a friend in Washington graciously sent home a portion of her sourdough starter with us. It survived the few weeks in our RV fridge until we landed back in Kansas. Then (after our kitchen was put back together) Annie & I commenced to trying it out. We prefer 100% whole wheat in our breads, so these sourdoughs are turning out a bit dense. However, the family really does like English muffins from this batter, so we double batch them every couple of weeks!

* Especially good toasted for breakfast with cream cheese and strawberry jam! *

I bought some egg roll wrappers on sale at the grocery, so one evening was deemed Chinese cuisine! Using the recipe on the package as a guide, Annie did the prep work while I advised. And took care of the laundry, other girls, and various household duties.

We gobbled the crispy, crunchy, greasy treats...ALL GONE!


Another new recipe Shannon really likes is called Company Coleslaw. I saved this thing from my high school Home Ec class and am just now -19 years later- trying it out!

Company Coleslaw

1 small cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 medium apples, diced
1 1/2 c. grated carrots
1 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. mayonnaise

Yield: 11 one cup servings

I substituted fresh pineapple for the canned. Our local Wal-Mart competitor prices Aldi (60 miles away) and a whole pineapple on sale is little more cost than a can, but much more quantity and nutrition and deliciousness !

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Another Virginia Cousin Visit

Even though our family hasn't made it back east to visit relation in almost a year and a half, our children have had opportunities to be in Virginia with grandparents and cousins. Some of them even came out to Kansas too! 

Kate is closer to Riley's age, but her and Annie had a great 2 days together while she caught a ride here for the weekend. They fixed a mystery lunch for us on Saturday. We chose several items from the menu for 3 different courses. They cooked, baked, and served all the food.

hors d'oeuvres and the menu
 Cora's first course was tea, pumpkin dessert, and silverware.

My first course was dessert, spaghetti, water, napkin, and knife. That was awkward to eat!

I enjoyed the meal so much I forgot to take more pictures! They had fixed chicken quesadillas, broccoli casserole, cheesy potatoes, sweetened carrots, and mixed fruit as well.

the leftover dishes
Later that day we planted a north and south tree row for a (eventually) wind break. Around 18 poplars and that many Thuja Arborvitae - with water drip systems, of course. This is Kansas!

Sunday was spent at an all day church event. I didn't get many pictures of Ms. Kate's stay, but Annie treasures the memories dearly. Cousin times are so precious!