Thursday, July 8, 2010

knit snail, flower fairies, & more...

this will be my last post for a bit as i need to focus on getting aydin's grade 2 year planned out & tying up some loose ends before we go on vacation...
i hope that you all have a lovely rest of july & we'll check back in the beginning of august!
first up a few recent knitting & crafting projects...
a gorgeous knit rainbow snail for our friend caleb...

he loves anything & everything rainbow, & lately spirals have caught his this was perfect!

a gorgeous rainbow pouch (also for our friend caleb)...

i absolutely LOVE the way this one turned out & will have to make another 1 (or 10!) soon...;)

an army green pouch for our friend jacob...

sweet spring chicks...(the pattern is from "the children's year")

these would be perfect for a spring nature table...
these flower fairies are for the bits of goodness, "summer nature table swap"...
inspired by "felt wee folk", they are so fun to make & each has her own personality...

and lastly, we had a discovery at breaffast... aydin spotted this little caterpillar, which will one day become a monarch butterfly...
he was a stow-away on this wildflower bouquet that we have on our kitchen table...;)

here's to endless possibilities & miraculous transformations...CHEERS!

raw flax crackers, baked oatmeal, mint chocolate cream bars & pickled okra (the reviews!)


okay, so i said i would post about the results of the various kitchen goings-ons, as well as their 'pricing' & i did not. however, after several emails from various folks asking how things turned out, i will procrastinate no longer. :)

*in my defense, it is not so much that i have been procrastinated, but rather i have realized that both our 2 week vacation & the start of school are looming & these sorts of things do tend to take priority over blogging...however much i may want to post...:)*

ok, so...

recipe #1... raw flax crackers (the link will take you to laura's post w/the original recipe)

cost break down (these are, of course, based on what we have available in our area)

*2 cups carrot juice pulp *FREE*
(our neighbor makes carrot juice daily & saved some pulp for me :)
*2 cups flax seeds $1.74
(i got a bag of bob's red mill organic flax seed from our market. after doing the math it came out to about $2.32/# or $.87/cup)
* 1 cup of raw almonds $1.25
(based on $5.76/#)
*large handful of fresh (organic) cilantro $.75
(got some from the market, $1.50/bunch)

(i didn't calculate the cost for the following as they are staples in pretty much every kitchen)
*3 garlic cloves
*1 TBS Braggs/soy sauce
*1 tsp onion powder
*1 tsp ground cumin

grand total, ~$3.74 for the batch , our rating...***** (out of 5 starts! :)
(i didn't count how many crackers it made, bit i think it was at least 50 or so tortilla chip size...laura??)

definitely a keeper...all natural, organic crackers are expensive!! i love that we now have an alternative. :)

aydin was my "little chef" today...:)

don't you just LOVE the colors??

Drain and rinse almonds. Process them in the food processor with the cilantro, garlic, Braggs, onion powder and cumin.

Get the almond nice and homogenized.

Put mixture into a large bowl and add the pulp and the flax seeds (the flax seeds do not get drained and rinsed because the flax seeds have soaked up all the water!). Mix well.

Spread out onto 4 dehydrator trays lined with teflex (we only have one teflex liner, so we substituted parchment paper cut to size).

Dehydrate at 145 for 2 hours, then turn down to 115 and dehydrate for another 6-8 hours.
(we have a dehydrator that we got at a tag sale, no dials just a dan...plug it in and it does it's thing. i checked the temp, it runs at about 160 degrees so ours didn't take nearly this long. i just kept checking the crackers after the first couple of hours. once they began to curl up at the sides, i flipped them. i will also say that the crackers on the parchment paper 'baked' much faster, and were much easier to flip as well.)

Flip crackers over and peel off teflex. Dehydrate another 2 hours or so until crackers are totally dry and crispy. (so, this recipe estimates about 8-10 hours total 'cooking' time, but ours only took about 4 hours or so. i should have written it down, but i did not expect there to be much variance. it was a good thing though...since i got done "cracker sitting" early, we had time to go to the pool! :)

Break into cracker sizes and store in airtight containers. (i split this batch with a neighbor, it filled three (2 cup) tupperwares with crackers...i would say each tub contained 15-20 crackers of so. since ours came our off a circular model with a vent hole in the center (think bundt cake) i just broke them into random tortilla chip-sized pieces.)

the verdict: these were yummy, both us & our neighbor thought so. i love the way the house smelled & they were easy & fun to make!! i think next time i'll add a bit more garlic, onion powder & cumin, the boys said they could use a bit less cilantro.

they keep well also, i think a week or so. possibly longer...ours are all gone, so i can't really say for sure. i would like to try it with the apple pulp, too. a keeper.

recipe #2...slow cooker baked oatmeal

super easy & very yummy! NOT loaded with sugar & i LOVE that we had everything on hand. :)

we had some for breakfast & then the next day as as snack.

recipe #3...raw mint chocolate cream bars cost break down...

* 3/4 cup almonds $1.00
(based on bulk $5.75/#)
* 5 dates, pitted
* 10 prunes (or more dates, if preferred–replace 2 prunes with 1 date)
**i used 10 dates $3.25
(based on $6.98/#... the math...there are roughly 8 dates in a cup, a cup costs $2.50, so each date is about $.30)

(did not calculate the costs for the below as these are, again, pantry staples)
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (raw cacao powder if you have it)
* pinch sea salt

* 1 1/2 cups soaked cashews
(based on bulk price $8.41/#)
* 1 cup non-dairy milk (i used reg milk b/c that is what i had)
* 1/2 cup agave nectar $1.75
(i got a bottle of 'wholesome sweeteners organic raw blue agave', 11.75 oz ,~ $5 something.)
* 1 tsp mint extract (actually had this on hand :)
* 1 tbsp vanilla extract (staple)
* 1 tsp xanthan gum $3.25
(i bought the smallest little container from our local amish food store, it cost me $3.25. i am setting the price at that for this recipe b/c i have never in my life used xanthum gum & i doubt that i ever will again. )
* pinch sea salt (staple)
* 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach $.75
(they had a 9oz bag of organic spinach marked down to $1.49...woo-hah!)
* 1/2 cup coconut oil $1.00
(bought a jar of spectrum organic coconut oil for $7 something at the market)
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (raw cacao powder if you have it)

grand total invested...$11.00, our rating...* (out of 5 stars :(

i was so very excited to make these, but they were not nearly as good as i was expecting...:(

they were ok the first night. we tried them straight from the freezer first, for more of an ice cream bar effect. but they were much better from the fridge. the boys each ate 2 small pieces.

day #2...things went downhill. the mint green started turning brown (think avocado sitting out) & it tasted grittier. (of course, that could have been my fault. perhaps i didn't grind the mixture enough??)

day #3, had to toss it. the colors were all weird & it just looked totally unappetizing.

okra tug-o-war...
be'be won...:)

the pickled okra was amazingly easy & the end result is quite tasty. we LOVE pickled okra, so this is a very, very good thing. :)

i put ours in the fridge after 3 days, then tasted an okra a day starting after 3 days in the fridge. at first, they were bit tough, but after the 5/6th day they were just right.

they do have a bit of a fermented tang to them, so i thought the boys might reject them, but they did not. in fact, quite the opposite...they ate more than me. :)

i have more in the works right now, as well as some pickled cucumber slices.

please do share your own fermentation recipes, trials, successes & failures.

oh, & on that note, i was planning on making the fermented preserves from nourishing traditions next, but a friend said that they are very ferment-y & not much of a treat at all.

so, thank you for the heads up mamma rae & i'll start looking for a recipes for jam using honey (vs sugar).

will let you know if i find one & how it turns out...:)

happy kitchen explorations!

Friday, July 2, 2010

knitted lovelies...

it has been a while since i have posted about any of the knitted lovelies that i have been working on...
i like to do so not only to keep a record for myself of knitted gifts/projects, but also because quite a few of my creations come from patterns that i have seen on other mama's blogs. :)

and now, to keep the inspiration flowing...
sushi, for orin's birthday...he LOVES sushi!

our sweet 3 year old, ehren, modeling a felicity
these are actually photos of take #3. (the pattern's gauge is quite a bit off & so the pattern did not need resizing to fit a 3/4 year old...which of course i didn't know until after knitting up versions #1 & #2 ;).

it is the perfect topper for this matching poncho...

this set was knit to complete a trade with a very lovely mama for some very lovely yarn...<3> sweet gnome oakies for a friend & a few for us as well. won't they look lovely on the autumn nature table??
and last, but not least...a most extremely late, but not quite too late to still give mother's day scarf.
i cannot post the pattern link just yet though, as i am not quite sure how often she peeks in on our blog, and i certainly wouldn't want to ruin the nearly 2 months in the making/mounting suspense! :)

june bugs & picture frames....

our yard has been swarming with june bugs all week...
as you know, we have 10 chickens. AND as you might also know chickens LOVE june bugs! so, we spent the morning chasing down & catching june bugs as a special treat for our chickens. they go crazy for them!
our mail lady drove up while we were all running around with our various tubs & saucers & asked what we were doing. when we showed her the jar & told her that we were catching june bugs for our chickens.
i said, "it's kind of mean, isn't it??"

to which she said, "no, when i was little, we sued to catch them & tie a string around their legs & turn them into a toy."

seriously! (i don't feel so bad now. :)
our daily rhythm for friday is "project day". we will be spending the afternoon adding watercolors to the back of our photos frame from last week & then adding a treating them with a bit of mama kopp's beeswax finish.
these frames really have turned out quite lovely.

i spotted them on our last trip to michael's (craft store), they were unfinished & only $1.00 each. so, i picked up four, one for each of us (well, not bebe) to paint. and conveniently enough, 1 for a grandmother's birthday & 3 for father's day (i know, we are a bit late.)

we soaked then for about 5 min each as i wanted our watercolors to blend on the wood, but as they were only $1.00 each, i did not want them to end up warping.

i think i may well get quite a few more next time we are in town & stock them away for christmas gifts!
happy crafting!