Posted on

Harvest Colors by Jess of broodbaby

This time of year I am as busy in the kitchen as I am the studio.  The bounty of the summer garden becomes a harvest that needs to be processed, packaged, and stored so that it can continue to nurture us through the long winter months here in New England.  Tomatoes are simmered into sauce, cucumbers are pickled, and fruits of all kind are frozen.  The bounty of goodies requires that I spend quite a bit of time chopping and slicing, but the rewards are many.  Not only will we have a taste of summer available to us in the dead of winter, but I’m finding I’m inspired by the colors around me in the kitchen.  The rich reds of the tomatoes and coral lusciousness of the peaches: suddenly I know what to do with the brightly toned stash of cashmere sweaters that I wasn’t quite sure how I’d repurpose yet.  A creative appetite has been satiated, as well now, as I envision a neighborhood of little playful houses growing on my studio shelves.

My Little House Cashmere Pillows have been a delightfully fun community to build.  Each seems to have its own personality, and all have a secret.  The front door to each one is a pocket!  Use it as a tooth pillow or tuck away messages or a favorite charm.  Perhaps a small little snack for later so that the house that was inspired by my kitchen work can repay its creation with afternoon fortifications.

jessCollage

Easy Frozen Peaches:

10 peaches
the juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup of sugar

Combine the sugar and the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
Slice each peach into eighths.
Toss in the lemon and sugar mixture in two or three batches.
Lay the slices out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze.  Once frozen, bag or pack them in containers of your choosing for storage.

Listing link:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/160427285/little-house-cashmere-tooth-pillows?ref=shop_home_active
Shop link:  www.broodbaby.etsy.com <http://www.broodbaby.etsy.com>

Posted on

Making Bird Feeders with Harvestmoonbyhand

My daughters and I recently made a variety of homemade feeders and seed mix for the birds. We have enjoyed watching a variety of birds eat at the feeders: nuthatches, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds, house sparrows, and purple finches.

These recipes are easy and fun to make; and watching the birds provides entertainment, enjoyment, and educational value for people of all ages…especially children.

Peanut Butter Bird Seed Balls
Peanut Butter Bird Seed Balls 
before they were placed in the freezer.

Ingredients:

2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (use whole wheat if possible)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup unsalted nuts
4-5 chopped apples
1 cup raisins
1 8 oz. jar chunky peanut butter
1 cup bird seed
1 c. suet

Directions:

Mix ingredients well. If necessary you can add additional suet or even bacon drippings if it is too crumbly. Shape into balls. Freeze.

These can be placed in a mesh bag and hung outside on a tree limb for the birds to enjoy. Otherwise, do as we did: place them on top of birdseed in an open feeder.

Popcorn Bird Treat


Popcorn Bird Treat before was placed in mesh bags.
Ingredients:

Peanut Butter
7 cups popcorn (no salt or butter)
Blanched peanuts, Craisens, raisins, and/or dried blueberries
Egg shells
Cracked corn
Black oil sunflower seed

Directions:

Mix all together and put in a mesh bag. Hang in the tree for the birds to enjoy.

Hanging the feeder filled with popcorn, fruit, and 
other goodies for the birds.
Suet and Meal Worm Log Feeder

Log – about 2 feet long that is dry
Eye screw
Drill with various size drill bits
Suet
Dried meal worms
Twine or heavy yarn

Place eye screw in one end of the log. Using a drill and various size drill bits, place many holes in the log that are about 1/2 deep.

Drilling holes in the log.

Fill with suet and dried meal worms.

Placing suet in one of the holes.

Put twine or heavy yarn through the eye screw and hang onto a tree branch. Make sure the branch is thick enough to support the feeder.

Two birds at the feeders.

As a side note, within one minute of coming indoors from hanging the log feeder in the tree, a black-capped chickadee found it. From that point on, there were many bird visitors of different types (mostly chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers).

Ann Rinkenberger is the owner of Harvest Moon by Hand that offers natural, hand-embroidered and needle-felted toys; Waldorf-inspired window stars; and homeschool supplies. 

To see other hands-on projects, tutorials, recipes, and homeschool ideas, please visit Harvest Moon by Hand’s blog. Harvest Moon by Hand also can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Window stars available through Harvest Moon by Hand.


Posted on

Weekend Tradition

Our family lives far far away from our relatives.  While we live as expats in Kenya, the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all live in the Netherlands, Germany or the USA.

Our kids are growing up in a mix of Dutch, German and host culture traditions and customs and they have been third-culture children their entire life.  We have five different countries of birth among the six of us and four different nationalities (our latest addition is still in process and you can read more about it here)

Since we are so far away from our families, my husband and I feel the need to create a lot of family traditions and ground the children in their various cultural backgrounds.  One of our traditions is a nice weekend breakfast!  It’s an activity that involves the entire family in the preparation.  Our current favourites are either thin pancakes, from a Dutch recipe that our nine-year old has down to a science, or German waffles!  The latter involves a lot more adult assistance and supervision, but the results meet an exciting crowd each time.

040

Our waffle iron is the exact same waffle iron that my husband had waffles from when he grew up in Germany.  My dear mother-in-law brought it over to Kenya at one point in time as she saw it to be more useful here in Kenya, than it would be in Germany between her and my father-in-law.  Boy, was she right and her grand-kids have been very grateful for that!  The 70’s waffle iron gets pulled out on a regular basis and we enjoy the German waffles!

Do you feel inspired to make waffles sometimes?  Then try this lovely recipe for some yummy waffles!  It was originally from a German Cookbook, but has been altered (or perfected?) to suit our family’s taste!

  • 125 g softened butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 375 ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. First split the eggs (egg whites in one bowl, egg yolks into another small bowl).  Add the salt to the egg whites and beat them until they are stiff.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until creamy
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture and beat until creamy
  4. Slowly add the flour and buttermilk to the butter mixture until all are incorporated
  5. Carefully fold the stiffened egg whites under the dough

Preheat the waffle iron and put about 3 table spoons of dough into the iron for yummy waffles!

Delicious with powdered sugar / lemon juice and sugar / maple syrup / honey!

Enjoy!

Posted on

My New Favorite Herb—Chives

Do you ever find yourself in a food rut? I used to all the time. I’d grab the same thing for breakfast every day and limited myself to a small list of options for lunch and dinner. I eat a paleo diet, and while most think that to be quite limiting, it’s honestly not. I was limiting. I did it out of boredom and convenience, plain and simple. When you are chasing after three kids, homeschooling and running your own business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to make things easy.

I’ve was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, a thyroid auto-immune disease, two and a half years ago and with it brought a whole host of issues including a leaky gut (really that came first, I just didn’t know it) and food intolerances. And guess what causes food intolerances? Yup, you guessed it, limiting your diet.

Eating the same thing often is not only boring, it’s not healthy! For the past two months I’ve been doing an elimination rotation diet. What that means is I don’t eat anything that I had become intolerant to—through testing I discovered I have intolerances to gluten, eggs, dairy, all nuts and sweet potatoes—and I don’t eat anything twice in a four day time frame. No more eating the same breakfast every day or the same lunch just because it’s easy and convenient.

I was eating super healthy, just not with enough variety. I have found the best way to add variety to my diet is through the flavor palate. It’s easy to rotate through a different protein and couple of veggies every meal, but I began to crave new flavor combinations as well.

Chives are an herb that I have grown in the past, but never really enjoyed. Suddenly I love them!

Chives

I’m an avid albeit fairly novice gardener, so first off, the crop I planted of them last year winterized so it was like a gardening bonus this spring. Booyah! Turns out that they are a perennial bulb like others in the onion and garlic family. Duh, I should have thought of that when I first planted them, but the bulb is so small it’s easy to miss. I love a plant that will winterize since here in NY that can be tough.

Second, the flower is equally yummy as the typical leaf that you normally see. It’s big and purple much like a standard Allium, just not quite that large. It’s a beautiful herb and a nice visual addition to the garden.

Third, they are super easy to grow organically. Literally plant and water. They don’t need a heavy dose of fertilizer, they need very little  maintenance and pests leave them alone. Cut them about 1-2″ above the ground when you harvest (only cut what you need at that time and you can continue to have some all season) and once they flower you can cut the plant way down in preparation for next year, or do what I do and just continue to harvest until you put the garden to bed for the winter. They can be thinned at any time, and should be every 2-3 years, so they are easy to thin and share with other herb gardeners.

The flavor is milder than green onions in my opinion and excellent in stir fry dishes, on veggies, eggs, chicken, beef or pork, soups of all kinds,  and they make a great addition to pretty much any salad. I use my kitchen sheers, cut the long leaves up and shred the flower for my salads, along with some thai basil, cilantro and dill. Yum.

Chives have been around for about 5,000 years originating in China. Adding them to your foods can lower blood pressure and aid in digestion. They can be frozen or freeze dried, but they don’t dehydrate well. Bummer too since I love to use my dehydrator on my herbs.

So I highly recommend this herb as both a tasty and beautiful addition to your garden this year. And please leave a comment and let me know what herbs you are loving right now, I’m always on the hunt for more to add to our repertoire!


Chives

Chives

 

Posted on

My Enchanted Life

As the weather gets warmer my days get busier so I need meals to be simple. I run a full time business, The Enchanted Cupboard, while running my household and homeschooling 4 children. I need to keep our meals healthy and nutrition filled! I love this recipe because it is what I make with the last 2 chicken breast when I am doing big batch cooking and it is packed full of yummy veggies. Dicing up the veggies and adding it to chicken salad is a great way to boast your kids diet with lots of color that are full of antioxidants! I serve this for lunch on whole wheat bread and a cup fruit salad. You could easily make this low carb. and gluten free by serving it on big lettuce leaves like a wrap! If you like this easy recipe and want more come checkout my own blog and see what is cooking in my kitchen.

Mama’s Chicken Salad

Ingredients

2 skinless boneless precooked chicken, diced
2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 med. size onion dice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or orange pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, veggies and herbs. Set aside.
Add mayo and mix gently until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

•.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•

IMG_0767

On my work table I often have much smaller versions of play food just right for Waldorf Style dolls. I work with wood and paper clay to make play food.

churchdoll3

This sweet little set is made of wood and is just right for doll house dolls. I so enjoy creating for this miniature world of childhood play. Come on over to the Nature Table and see what is cooking at the Acorn Cafe.

•.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•:*¨¨*:••.,¸¸,:•

The Acorn Cafe

 DSC_0004

On the first day of Spring the world was a buzz of activity at the Acorn Cafe.

DSC_0002

Everyone was enjoying the wonderful food made by Miss Dandelion.

DSC_0001

Grandpa was having his favorite tomato sandwich.

DSC_0003

A few fairies stopped in for tea and sweets.

DSC_0006

Four forest friends enjoyed an after noon treat.

DSC_0006

All were happy on this bright spring day.

Items on the Nature Table:

Wooden toys, playsilks, and dolls can be found at The Enchanted Cupboard.

Felt Woodland Friends can be found at Muddyfeet.

Acorn Cafe  and table & chairs were created by Willodel.

 

Posted on

Indian Flatbread Recipe

The other day our family made some Indian food. We love to cook together as a family. Now that the kids are turning into teenagers I find it is an important task for me as a parent to teach them how to prepare food. I can’t help but have these horror-images of the children moving away when they go to college living on junkfood and instant soups. They may still end up living that way but as  parent I feel I must at least try to give them the skill set to cook and take good care of themselves…Right?

Our son loves hot food. Our daughter not so much…

But she really enjoyed making Indian flatbreads we served with the chicken dish we prepared. It’s kind of funny how people on the other side of the world came up with a type of bread that is a lot like tortillas made in the Americas…Since my husband is part Mexican we eat a lot of tortillas in this household. So we were really excited to try Naan.

naan

 

You don’t need very many ingredients to make Naan.  All it takes is 4 different items and a bit of time to rest the dough. That’s always a tough one. Who has time in this fast-paced life? But we try to make time on weekends for our cooking adventures together.

Ingredients:

3-4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups plain low-fat yoghurt

How to make it?

Step #1  Combine all the dry ingredients and mix them together well.

Step #2 Slowly pour in the two cups of yoghurt and stir it until the dough stiffens. When you can’t stir it any more it’s time to knead the dough with your hands. We first worked it into a big ball inside the bowl.

Step#3 Dump out the ball of dough and knead it into a nice stretchy consistency. It shouldn’t be too wet nor too dry.

Step#4 Put a touch of oil in the bowl and put the dough back in the bowl. Roll the dough around in the oil. Cover with a towel and let it reast for one hour or more if you have time…

Step#5 Shape the dough into 10-12 even little balls. Depending on how much flour you use you get more or less bread…

Step#6 Roll out the little balls and shape them into thin flatbreads. We made ours round and of about 1/4 inch thickness. But I remember seeing them in Indian restaurants looking kind of rectangular.

Step#7 Put the flatbread one bread at a time in castiron skillet on the stovetop. Brown it on one side for a minute or two then flip it over and do the other side. Put your flatbread in the oven under the broiler. Leave there until the breads puff up then remove and put in a basket with a dishcloth in it.

This bread is so yummy. It has a slightly sour taste from the yoghurt. And guess what? There was none of Naan left after dinner.

 

Posted on

~ The ”Yummy” soft center CHocOlate cake ~

Let me share with you a simple dessert today !! It’s been so long since I haven’t made this recipe yet it is so simple and delicious.

I made  it for Valentine last week and we were all awww over it !!

IMG_5743 crop blog

What you will need:

~ 4 squares of dark chocolate

~3 eggs

~ 2 egg yokes

~ 4 tablespoons of cane sugar

~ 1/3 cup of spelt flour

Here we go…

~ Butter 4 ramekins.

~ Beat the eggs with 3 tsp. of sugar until the volume doubles.

~ Melt the chocolate in a bain marie.

~ Pour the melted chocolate into the beaten eggs mixture.

~ Add 1/3 cup flour, and mix delicately until you obtain a smooth texture.

~ Pour into the buttered ramekins.

~ Put into the oven for 12 minutes at 3750 degrees.

{ note: The center of the cake must be ”soft” , don’t overcook  !! }

IMG_5738 crop blog

~Humm…chocolate while melting in the bain marie …at this point it’s hard to resist tasting…but it’s worth it, be strong my friends !!

IMG_5739 crop blog

~ Starting to blend everything together ~

IMG_5752 crop blog 1

 ~ Ta Da-a-a-a !!!!!!!!!!!!

There you go …it’s now time for my favorite part…Enjoy your chocolate cake !!

~Julie

Posted on

Lip Balm recipe and how to

At this time of the year, my lips crack like crazy. It’s very painful, and certainly not beautiful. After buying some fancy homemade balm, and getting them eaten by my kids, I decided to make it myself a try. I’ve looked around on the internet for recipes and made up my own based on those and on what I had on hand.

What you will need:

1½oz of beewax, grated

10z of coconut oil

1 Tsp of Lanolin

1 Tsp of sweet almond oil

10 drops of peppermint oil

A sauce pan

A glass/metal cup

Water

Wooden or metal stick

2 oz jar

 

What you need to do:

1. Put all ingrediants into glass cup except the essential oil. Put water in sauce pan and put the cup in them, making you a bain-marie.

2.Still with the stick until everything looks homogenus.

3.Remove from heat and stir in your essential oil.

4.Pour into jar.

5.Wait a little for it to harden

6. Enjoy the relief!

It’s very easy to make and I’m happy that I tried. Please tell me if you try this recipe!

Posted on

Farm Fresh Eggs Breakfast

Please enjoy this recipe sent in by Natural Kids Team Member Wendy from Birchleaf Designs. It sounds really yummy. Maybe I can get some eggs from the farms around here to make it.
—————————————————————-
Here on the BirchLeaf Farm, our chickens are laying eggs  like crazy…even in this cold, cold weather!
Go Ladies Go!
When we have an over abundance of eggs, we like to bake  up this tasty lil’ breakfast dish:
Egg Cake
10 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cup flour
2 Tsp baking powder
4 Tbl butter
1/2 cup milk
little bit of sweetener (optional)
Beat eggs in a bowl, add flour and baking powder and mix  well. In a small pan, heat up butter, milk and optional sweetener – we do not  add sweetener because we like to add maple syrup on top when  eating!
Take heated mixture and gently fold into the egg/flour  mix. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13″ baking pan. Bake at 375 for about 25  minutes or until golden brown.
Serve while hot and add your favorite toppings! We like  to add maple syrup and blueberries, but the options are limitless!
Enjoy!
Love,
Wendy

Posted on

Best Chicken Stock

This wonderful recipe was sent in by Natural Kids Team friend Beccijo Neff from the Enchanted Cupboard. Our family composts. I never thought about using the scraps in such a way. Now we must give it a try.

=====================================================================================================================Best Best Chicken Stock

The best part about this recipe is that it is free (depending on your garden and pantry). This stock is made from thing you would have just thrown away and a few herbs. If you grow your own herbs then there is no up front cost. I must warn you I am not a measure kind of cook, it is all about smell and taste to me. Cooking is a craft and act of love and that is how I cook. This stock can be done quickly if you buy the items or you can save the items over a few weeks and make this on a rainy day!

 
You will need these cooking tools:

 

1 Stock Pot Strainer/Colander Canning jars
While you are doing you every day cooking do not throw away the cut off ends of veggies. Here is a list of things to save skins and all: Onion Garlic Carrots Celery
Add these items to a large freezer bag or container to store in your freezer. Once you have collected enough to fill your stock pot ( for me about a months worth) then it is a good night to have roasted chicken for dinner, save the bones and make your stock the next day. If you want to do this right away then you can buy some of each item and cut up into large chunks and put into your stock pot and you can always get a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store, remove the meat for another meal and add the bones to the stock.
Herbs to add: Handful of Parsley 1 bay leaf 1/2 Handful of Thyme 1/2 handful of Rosemary A few peppercorns
Read to make stock: Put all ingredients into a large stock pot, fill with water, and slowly bring to a boil. Skim foam that floats to the top during this slow heating process and discard. Reduce heat and simmer for four hours.  Skim often. Let stock cool and skim of extra fat. Strain the stock from the solids and discard all the other items. Stock can be used right away or frozen in jars for later use.
Cooking: This is an unsalted stock, once you are going to add the stock to your soup I add salt to taste then. You can use this stock in and recipe and soup that calls for chicken stock. To make a vegetable broth just omit chicken.

Beccijo http://www.theenchantedcupboard.com http://www.theenchantedcupboard.etsy.com