Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bran, Flax, Zucchini Banana Muffins

This is a recipe I adapted from the back of a Bob's Red Mill package of flax seed meal.

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (or any type of flour...I've used soy, whole wheat, whatever you have)
3/4 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup oat bran. Once I didn't have oat bran, so I used oatmeal, and it was great. Other times, when I haven't had oat bran, I've added extra flour or flax seed meal to equal 3/4 cup.
1 cup brown sugar. I've used sucanat for this, and white sugar when I didn't have an alternative sweetener, or any brown sugar.
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

-Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl

-Add these ingredients to the bowl:

1 1/2 cups shredded/pureed veggie (zucchini, carrots, or squash...whatever you have around. I once mistakenly put in a cucumber instead of a zucchini, and that didn't taste so hot. Don't try it.)
2 cups pureed fruit (apple and banana are what I've used)
1/2 cup raisins (optional). I've also substituted this for chocolate chips.
1 cup nuts, chopped (I use walnuts)


-In a small bowl, combine:
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

-Pour liquid ingredients into large bowl with other ingredients
Stir until moistened. Do not over-mix.

-Fill muffin cups 3/4 full

-Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

-Yield 15 muffins

These muffins are SOOOOOO good, and so moist! And I eat them by the truckload because there's a lot of good stuff in them, and not much bad stuff (unless you put chocolate chips in). They will keep you nice and regular too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pledge. Oh How I Love Thee. Will I Ever Let You Go?

I've been looking for a recipe for homemade furniture polish for some time, and have not been satisfied with what I've found. I tried olive oil, and really liked how shiny everything was for a few days, and then everything seemed to have this yucky, dull film all over. But today I may have found what I've been looking for. Here's what you need:

•Lemon Juice
•Olive Oil
•An empty spray bottle
•An essential oil that smells clean and fresh to you. I used Sweet Orange. Whatever EO you choose, use it sparingly, or not at all if you are pregnant. And remember it is mixing with lemon juice, so pick something complementary.
This cleaning product goes bad in a few days, so you will want to make only what you will use today, and throw out whatever is left over. That's the one downside...I like to make my cleaning products in large quantities, and have them on hand. But let's go with it anyway.
Here's the recipe. I doubled it because I had a lot of dusting to do, but I think it was too much. I should have just started with the regular recipe:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 drops of essential oils
Pour it in, shake it up, spray it on, and wipe it off with a cloth. Easy schmeasy!
Now I may be able to let go of Pledge. She's been one commercial product I haven't been able to break up with. But I think she might be out the door now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Friendships

So, yesterday I got some Amish Friendship Bread Starter from a nice lady on Freecycle. I'm super excited to bake some bread with this stuff in three more days. I'm learning all about it via my new Freecycle friend. Apparently you have to follow strict guidelines (ok, not THAT strict) for ten days....stirring some days (but only with a wooden spoon, no metal can touch this stuff). Then on certain days, you add a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, and a cup of milk. And this stuff just grows and grows. I think it's like kefir and kombucha...a live culture thingy that grows and grows, and is really good bacteria for you. I haven't read that yet, it's still to be confirmed, but that's my feeling anyway. hmmmm....

So, once I have it, I'm supposed to give two new starters to two friends of mine. Since I just moved here, it made me think..."Do I have two friends?" And guess what? I do! Let me tell you about them. I'm super excited about them, actually. One girl I met at a BBQ our first weekend here. Her name's Joanna. She has two girls, 4 & 6. The Princess is as big as her four year old, as an aside. She passed down some clothes and shoes for me, and they were too small. heehee. But I digress...

So, Joanna is a therapist for girls who struggle with eating disorders. She's a super intentional mama, and is constantly learning how to be a better parent. I love it! We have soooo much to talk about....all the things we're reading about in our parenting books, etc. It helps that she has a similar parenting philosophy of gentle discipline, too.

Then, there's Rachael. She's older, loves Jesus, practices Attachment Parenting and Gentle Discipline with her kids, 10 &14. She also is totally into natural healing and eating. She and I have shared natural remedies with each other, kefir recipes, and more. It's been really fun getting to know her. I got hooked up with her when I asked Mark's aunt for a pediatrician recommendation who would be open to Attachment Parenting. Since she didn't know who to recommend, she connected me with Rachael, who recommended a total AP pediatrician! Woo-hoo!

And my third friend is Christina. I met her in the cry room at church two weeks ago. She heard me say that it was my first time at the church, and she invited me to dinner at their house (which we did last night). She has two boys, 11& 8, and a surprise one year old daughter. She parents a little differently than I do, but she and I connect in other ways. Today she and her kids came over and she helped me sew. She also took some pictures of Little Brother (she couldn't get over seeing the fattest baby she'd ever seen). She's a photographer too. Oh, and a sign language interpreter, which is fun, since we do sign language with The Princess. Her family is raising chickens, and her boys loved climbing in our new chicken pen, and coop (ooops...forgot to blog about that).

So, now that I've journaled (sorry for the long post!), it's time to go. Christina invited me to a girls night out movie night with her girlfriends tonight. Gotta run!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why we are doing this...

For the past nine days, Mark's aunt (Willene), cousin (Lauren), and her son (his second cousin?...Garrett) have been staying here with us, in his aunt's house. We also live here with his cousin, Jim. It's a full house!

Today, we set aside the day to have a family "pow wow" about our future, and our life together. We've always wanted to live simply, and get away from the rat race that is so prevalent in our culture. But why now? What prompted us to do it now? Well, we think that there are very hard times ahead for our country (and our world), and we want to poise ourselves to be in a position where we are not only able to survive, but to help others we love. It turns out that all of the family members filling our house also feel this way (we already knew that though), and it's so exciting to be on this adventure together!

All day long, we've been sitting around the dining room table, or lounging on the living room floor, as we talk about how, and when, and what we can do to prepare. We all shared tidbits of information that we've learned that will help us, or that reinforce our feelings about what is coming. It has been such an inspirational time of sharing scripture, and prayers, and also of coming together, and talking about living in community with each other.

I am so lucky to have married into this family!