Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Properly Use Garlic

The truth is...  I adore garlic.  After mincing it up, my eyes may or may not roll to the back of my head as I inhale it's fragrance from my garlic-y hands before washing it off.  I think seven-eighths of my readers just fled in fear.  That might have been too much information.  I said may or may not, for heaven's sake.  Hang in there, because this is definitely not TMI for any true foodie:

How to Properly Use Garlic
  • Add garlic required in your recipe at the end of preparing your dish.  If a recipe says to saute or boil the garlic, don't.  It easily burns and it's amazing flavor contribution is lost.  Add the garlic right before blending, baking, or in the last stirring.
  • Seeding garlic will make it easier to digest, and it's a simple step that should be followed anytime you use it.  All you do is:
  1. Slice cloves in half, length-wise.
  2. Locate the seed in the center and pull it out.  There's something very satisfying about this procedure.  Just saying.  And there go the rest of my readers.

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday and

Monday, October 25, 2010

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

With this being my first year homeschooling outside of state-run programs, there is no lack of options to choose from.  While I'm still developing our school and my children currently learn from an array of different methods, what drew me to incorporating some of the Charlotte Mason method was it's focus on creation and the arts.  Grab something warm to sip and get cozy, there were a lot of contributors for this edition!

Susan from Stitching Life has provided a lovely Vivaldi Composer Study.  What a great resource!  I'll be incorporating it into our school this November.  Thanks so much for sharing this, Susan!
Photo from

Epi Kardia contributed this wonderful hymn study.  It's easy to follow and so much research has been done.  I'll also be plugging it into our autumn studies.  I love it!

Having issues with dictation?  Seven Little Australians has found "the missing link" that they share in their post, Charlotte Mason and Dictation.

Photo by

To Love shares a beautiful post on a day in the life of homeschooling her six children.  Ah, just read her To Chronicle a Day post and feel content and inspired.

Photo by Holistic Homeschooler

I love Holistic Homeschooler's Silent Saturday; What's in a Walk? post.  Sometimes, it's just so bonding to slow down, take a walk, and drink in the gorgeous creation that surrounds us.  It makes me happy that the Charlotte Mason method of schooling makes room for times like this.

Photo by Sage Parnassus

Sage Parnassus shares her experience at the Charlotte Mason Education Conference.  It looks like it was a time of wonderful connections, encouragement, and inspiration.  But the best part of it all?  Coming home to her four sweet children.

Jennifer over at Adventures in Mamaland shares some Hebrew/English Copywork Sheets.  Jennifer provides copywork verses in Hebrew and English for Jewish students or those with an interest in Biblical Hebrew.  She also shares a cute video from Naomi Rivka's Antimation.  Pretty cool what you can do with a 5-year-old, some egg cartons, and a webcam.  This was a follow-up to a homeschool animation workshop they attended the previous week. Jennifer and her children were studying ants, so that's what they animated! Check it out!

The Crazy Homeschool Mama took her school outside the classroom on a road trip back in time at the Fort Walla Walla Museum.  What an engaging experience!

Photo by

Need some reading lesson ideas for your first grader?  Why yes, I do as a matter of fact.  All Things Beautiful has More Reading Lessons on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  There are some great ideas!
Photo by

Tammy at Adventures on Beck's Bounty shares a Nature Study Via Feline; a witty, impromptu nature study on moles, complements of their cats.  Every moment can be a learning moment, right?

Chi-ann shares about how she and her children had been struggling with getting out of the house to enjoy nature and her attempts to find creative ways to make sure her kids have a chance to appreciate our world.  Read about her solutions in her post, Nature Studies: Is This Cheating?  Haha.  I think not. :)

How do animals camouflage themselves? Lynn's children did a hands-on study to find out.  Read what they did and find more ideas on her post, Nature Field Trip.

Pamela shares a new leg in her homeschooling journey in her post Same Direction/New Path.  Hearing other family's processes and decisions can be so helpful and thought-provoking.  I love watching different families uniquely provide for the needs of their children. 

Photo by

Aaliyah Williams's article on the For-Profit Education Hall of Fame captures the entrepreneurial spirit and inspires me to train my children in a real-life, hands-on structure.  Who knows?  One of our children could make this list in a decade or so?

Beatrice Owen has a post on 50 Awesome and Inspiring TED Talks for Homeschoolers.  This article is is chock full of information on all sorts of subjects.  What interests your kids?  I bet you can find an article in here that will spark some serious ideas.

Do you own an iPhone or Android?  Check out the Top 20 Mobile Education Apps shared by Eadwine Walter.  What a great way to take some school with us wherever we go!  Another one I like to use is Flash Tables; a little math on the go for the children to practice with.

Here's an article to enrich us teachers.  Leslie Yoleson has contributed Top 40 Video Sites for Teachers. Learn a little something new and impart it to your students!

Bridget Nicholson has provided a book list of 80 Best Books for Nature Lovers.  The list is so long, it's easy to pick and choose which books would best fit your family's interests and beliefs.  This is a book list for high school aged students.

Do you have a teenager interested in public policy?   Check out the Top 10 Most Influential Public Policy Professors.  Public policy is a unique and changing career field to enter. These 10 professors have been particularly influential in helping shape the direction of academic thought in the area.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the charlotte mason blog carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

I'm sharing this at:
Making your home sing Mondays

Sunday, October 24, 2010

French Olive Fig Tapenade with Cheese ~ A Recipe

We discovered this combination of flavors a couple weeks ago and have since devoured two large batches of it.  Salty olives.  Sweet figs.  Creamy cheese.  The garlic.  The garlic.  Just writing the word garlic makes my mouth water.  A special thank you to the cayenne for a subtly spicy finish.  I am in love, I tell you.

We've found the best results when using fresh herbs and chilling the olive mixture overnight or at least for a few hours to allow the flavors mingle a little.

French Olive Fig Tapenade with Cheese
Serves 6
Prep time: 20 minutes (also allow to chill for a few hours- overnight)

1 cup dried figs or 1 pint fresh figs, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper
2/3 rounded cup kalamata olives, chopped
3 small cloves garlic, seeded and minced
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnut pieces
8 oz. feta or cream cheese (we suggest feta)
  1. Bring figs, water, wine, rosemary, and thyme to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients but the walnuts and cheese.  Stir well.  Cover and chill anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  On stoneware (preferred) or a baking sheet, bake walnuts for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.  Set aside.
  3. Before serving, place cheese on platter.  If using cream cheese, squish it down to about a 1/2 inch thick circle.  If using feta, crumble it and loosely bunch it together to about the same size. 
  4. Combine walnuts and olive mixture.  Spoon it over the cheese and serve with crackers, French bread, and/or or vegetable slices.
Squishing the cream cheese.

Not too worried about a perfect circle.

Eat me.  Eat me noooooowwww!
~Browse more riddlelove recipes here.~

I'm sharing this at the Gluten-Free Parade, Real Food 101.

California Autumn-Winter Salad ~ A Recipe

I'm not going to say that California is the best state in the world (or country.  Whatever).  That goes without saying.  Hehe.  This lil' ensalada is one big fat brag on the Golden State.  California absolutely pops in the Autumn. The colors.  The flavors.  The colorful flavors.  Look:

My husband suggests adding thin slices of smoked or sushi-grade salmon into the salad.  I love the way that man thinks.
California Autumn-Winter Salad
Prep time: about 20 minutes 
Serves 8

1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts (whole or in pieces)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 head in-season lettuce, chopped
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly chopped
2 cups micro sprouts
1 pomegranate
1 pear
1 apple
1 avocado
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups grated Parmesan or crumbled feta (we recommend feta)
  1. Prepare salad dressing (listed below) and let it sit while you craft the salad.
  2. Caramelize the nuts by melting butter in a pan, then add the nuts and drizzle the honey over the nuts.  Stir well.  Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare the pomegranate over a bowl of water.  Slice pomegranate, then thumb out the seeds.  The membrane will float, the seeds will sink.  Pour out membranes and water from the bowl, strain the remaining water out, leaving the seeds alone with virtually no mess for you to clean up!  See pictures below.
  4. Thinly slice the pear, apple, and avocado.
  5. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Allow each person to pour desired amount of dressing over their bowl of salad. (Keeping the dressing separate allows you to make the salad ahead of time without it getting soggy.  You can prepare the salad a couple hours before serving, stored in the fridge.)
Honey-caremelized pecans

Step 1: slice pomegranate, get bowl of water.

Step 2: Thumb out the seeds into the water.

Step 3: Membranes are floating, seeds are sinking.  Success!

Step 4: Draining the membranes and water out.

Tada!  No mess!

We like our fruit chopped like this.
    For the Dressing

    2 chives, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced (optional but recommended
    2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 Tablespoons raw honey
    1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    pepper to taste
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    Combine all ingredients but oil.  Whisk dressing as you pour the oil in to incorporate it well.


    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Pumpkin Scones Akin to Starbucks (with a Healthy Twist)

    Let's get real here, folks.  Y'all know I adore healthy foods: real, whole, slow, soaked, raw, fermented, home-cooked...  I'm all about it.  But sometimes I forget to soak grains and flours the night before, or am just plum tuckered out at the end of the day.  So... sometimes I give myself a little slack.  It's okay to do that sometimes, you know.  Instead of spending a fortune at Starbucks and filling our family with refined yach (that just shouldn't taste so darn good), here's a little treat we indulge in from time to time.  You can make these the day before; they'll keep okay.  Or... you can double the recipe, eat some today, and some tomorrow.  Maybe.

    Thanksgiving is a'comin' and these would make a tasty breakfast for Turkey Day...

    As-Healthy-As-It-Gets Pumpkin Scones Akin to Starbucks
    Makes 6 large scones (picture the ones at Starbucks)
    Prep time: 15 minutes.  Bake time: 14-16

    2 cups spelt flour (freshly-milled is preferred)
    1/4 cup rapadura
    1 Tablespoon non-aluminum baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    6 tablespoons chilled butter
    1/2 cup pumpkin (or kabocha) puree
    3 Tablespoons buttermilk
    1 egg
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
    2. Combine dry ingredients (flour through spices) in a mixer.
    3. Set the mixer to a low speed and cut in chilled butter (slice butter like your'e generously buttering a slice of bread and drop the pieces of butter into the mixer, one at a time, while the mixer is on low).
    4. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (pumpkin, buttermilk, and egg) together.  Keep the dry ingredients mixing on low and slowly pour the wet mixture in until it's well incorporated.  
    5. Form the dough into a ball.  Now squish the ball into a 1-inch-thick circle on a lightly-foured surface.  Slice the circle into 6 even pieces and set them on a baking sheet (preferably stoneware).  Into the oven they go.
    6. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges begin to slightly brown.
    What the dough looks like before you cut it.

    Now it's cut!

    What they look like when they're done baking.
    For the Glaze
    • 2 cups powdered sugar (if you want to avoid refined powdered sugar and you own a Vita-mix, get your Vita-mix recipe book out and make your own powdered sugar from evaporated cane juice, turbinado, or even rapadura)
    • 2 Tablespoons milk (whole, raw milk is preferred)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • 1 pinch cloves
    1. When scones are cool, mix ingredients until smooth.
    2. Dip the top of the scones into the glaze until they're well-covered, or drizzle glaze over the scones with a spoon.
    Dipping scones into the glaze.
      Or, the drizzle method.


      Monday, October 18, 2010

      Nourishing Potato Cheddar Soup ~ A Recipe

      Oh, how I adore soup weather.  I could seriously eat soup every day when it's chilly outside.  There are so many types and flavors.  It surprises me that this is the first soup recipe I've posted; new ones are being created in this kitchen all the time.  

      If you like a soup that's healthy, flavorful, and comforting, you've come to the right place.  This warming dish is crafted with probiotic-rich creme fraiche, immune-boosting chicken stock and garlic, and sniffle-fighting cayenne pepper.  But for those of you who don't enjoy spicy soups; fear not.  My son is spice-sensitive and he loves this soup.

      Nourishing Potato Cheddar Soup
      Serves 8+

      2 red onions
      2 Tablespoons butter
      2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      6 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped (you can use any kind of potato, but if you use a bigger kind, reduce to 4 potatoes)
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon if you like it spicy or if you're wanting to win a battle with a cold)
      1 teaspoon thyme
      3 cloves garlic, seeded and minced
      1/2 cup creme fraiche
      1 cup cheddar cheese (preferably raw), grated
      Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

      Optional Garnishes
      finely chopped chives
      bits of nitrate-free bacon
      • Melt the butter with olive oil in your soup pot.  Saute onions in the butter until soft over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
      • Add potatoes and stock.  Bring to a boil and skim off any foam.
      • Reduce heat to a simmer and add cayenne pepper and thyme.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
      • Remove from heat and add garlic, creme, cheese, salt, and pepper and puree soup with a hand-held blender until desired smoothness.
      • Fill serving bowls with soup and garnish (optional) with chives and bacon pieces.

      Sunday, October 17, 2010

      7 Reasons to Choose Celtic Sea Salt

      1. Unlike most salts, Celtic Sea Salt does not put harmful additives (like aluminum to keep it from caking and bleach to make it whiter-looking).  If you choose a good brand, the salt is dried in the sun and wind, and that's the only processing it gets.  The enzyme activators and around 80 trace minerals your body needs to survive are still in tact and ready for you to absorb.
      2. It has usable forms of crucial iodine, which aids in metabolizing fat and helps thyroid function.
      3.  It contains absorbable magnesium, which helps your body become heart disease-resistant and aids absorption of calcium, enzymes, and potassium.
      4. It's flavor is highly superior over common table salt and improves the taste of dishes requiring salt.
      5. Gives your body higher resistance to viral and bacterial infections.
      6. When choosing Celtic sea salt, look for a light grey coloring.  It means it contains usable, vital minerals your body needs.
      7. Most sea salts have been refined (see reason number one above).  If your sea salt is white, you're using processed salt.  The "Celtic" part of your sea salt is important.  It most likely means it's been harvested the same way for centuries and all the good stuff in the salt is still there (check the labels to find your salt's story).
      Resources: Nourishing Traditions, The Maker's Diet, Azure Standard.
      * I am not employed by any of the above mentioned brands.  These statements are tip-of-the-iceberg findings from several years of personal research.*

      I'm sharing this link at Real Food WednesdayPennywise PlatterSimple Lives Thursday & Fight Back Friday.

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010

      East and West, Part 1

      My husband is in Slovakia.  This is where he plays.

      There was literally dancing in the street in a place where showing any sign of emotion is normally unheard of.  Boy, did they respond to Jesus!  I'll let Jeremy share the whole story.  It's good.  Really good.

      This is where he spoke at mass.

      It was his first time attending mass.
      I can only imagine the feeling of standing in a place where, after a thousand years of ancient truth was taught, contributing a piece of revelation into that timeless truth.
      I really miss him.  The kids really miss him.


      The kids and I are staying with my parents.
      My dad taught our older children how to dive under waves and how to body surf, just as he taught me when I was their age. 

      My four-year-old wanted to join in the lesson.  From the shore.

      My two-year-old?  After falling into three inches of water, she decided to practice on dry sand.

      Jeremy really misses us.

      That's what us Riddles are up to this week.  We are east.  We are west.   We are stepping out.  We are learning new things.  And we are very thankful for video chat.

      I'm sharing this at Gratituesday.


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